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Neglected Jewels of Clare Valley

Updated: Sep 28, 2021

Around Clare, three attractions are listed as Jewels of the Clare Valley, and these are

  1. Martindale Hall, on the Wakefield River

  2. Mintaro Heritage Township, by the Wakefield

  3. Kadlunga Estate, with the best rainfall in the area


Martindale Hall

"The jewel of the Mid-North is Martindale Hall, a 140-year-old Georgian-style mansion that featured in iconic Australian film Picnic at Hanging Rock."

Why is Martindale Hall so valuable?

Martindale is still furnished and decorated as it was in 1950, when Dorothy Mortlock's recent husband Jack Mortlock died of cancer, and she locked up and moved to live in Adelaide (Dorothy Mortlock resided at 27 Avenue Road, Millswood SA up until around 1963).

  • Martindale Hall still holds the treasures of its previous owners, and is still welcoming visitors.

  • Martindale Hall’s extensive Mortlock Weapons Collection was provisionally listed by the SA Heritage Council in July 2020.

  • The Martindale property contains more than 1000 potentially historically-significant items including furniture, furnishings and specialised collections.

Heritage listed Martindale Collections include

  • the Mortlock Weapons Collection, (illustrated)

  • The Billiards & Sporting Collections,

  • The Pictorial & Heraldic Collections - All are Objects of heritage significance

  • Martindale Hall has so many items of significance, it is anticipated they will be grouped into a further 13 collections and presented to the SA Heritage Council over a series of meetings for consideration for listing as State Heritage Objects.

What if Martindale is sold off (again)? Obligations apply to owners pursuant to Section 28 of the Heritage Act that objects cannot be moved, altered or sold without permission. "Experience the grandeur of Martindale Hall a 19th Century Georgian Mansion, browse the artefacts and original furnishings, enjoy the history of our wealth pastoralists, along with the splendour of a bygone era, a unique living experience!"

Questions about Martindale Hall (from 'Martindale Secrets')

  1. Why did Martindale Hall get sold (in 1891)?

  2. Who bought it?

  3. Who owns it now?

Ayers House Chandelier and Dr Darren Peackock
Dr Darren Peacock NTSA Chief Executive Officer with the chandelier of significance

The Importance of Martindale Hall and its contents

"Martindale Hall is a key strategic asset for the Clare Valley and is a major drawcard for visitation and tourism business." Roy Blight, Chief Executive Officer, Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council (NOVEMBER 6 2014)

"Martindale Hall is a jewel in South Australia’s cultural landscape and it is unthinkable that it would be privatised,” said the Shadow Minister for Environment and Conservation in 2014.



Another Jewel: The beautiful town of Mintaro

  • Situated on the far eastern edge of the Clare Valley,

  • Mintaro is considered one of the jewels of South Australia.

  • This little state heritage town is rich with history

  • the Mintaro Historical Society Incorporated is dedicated to capture and savour it.

Bursting with rich history and heritage dwellings, Mintaro was declared a Heritage Area for South Australia in 1984. It has continued to attract tourists from near and afar, while remaining largely untouched and protective of its past.

  • During the nineteenth century there was two main mining industries which helped shaped Mintaro as a town.

    • Between 1840s to 1850s, it was in a key position for an overnight stopping place for bullock drays transporting copper from Burra to Port Wakefield.

    • Then from 1850s, the quarry in Mintaro was opened and has been a leading producer of high quality slate since; even today it continues to produce what is considered one of the world’s best slate.

Mintaro Hideaway houses in Mintaro
Mintaro Hideaway in Mintaro 41 Burra St Clare Valley, Mintaro, SA 5415

The village of Mintaro was formed at the crossroads of the Great Western Road (later known as the Gulf Road to Port Wakefield) and the North Road to Burra Mines.

  • The early settlers provided services and facilities to the drivers of the bullock teams.

  • This necessitated the construction of the Hotels, a flour mill, bakery, butcher, brewery, blacksmiths and various other shops, all of which flourished,

  • up to 100 drays a day passed through the village. Several of these business’s continue to run in their original sections today.

Bullock Team carting a dray
State Library of South Australia Bullock team pulling a dray loaded with wool bales through a flooded river


Kadlunga Estate, with the best rainfall in the area

Kadlunga, a well-known homestead and estate built in the 1850s, is located near Mintaro, 126 kilometres north of Adelaide and 19 kilometres south east of Clare, and is primarily a cropping, sheep breeding and cattle operation.

James Stein was a pioneering European settler of South Australia’s mid north and founder of the now heritage-listed Kadlunga estate.

This estate was once the property of the Right Hon. Sir Samuel J. Way, and was situated on the north railway line, 80 miles from Adelaide, and six miles from the former Mintaro railway station. It is one of the favoured pastoral districts and enjoys a reliable rainfall, the average being about 27 inches.

The homestead is approached by an avenue a mile in length, planted with a variety of ornamental trees.

  • Many other plantations can be seen from the house, and the whole property shows that considerable care and money has been spent in improving and beautifying it.

  • When Kadlunga was purchased by Sir Samuel J. Way in 1881, it was placed under the management of Mr. F. H. Weston.

The original picturesque stone homestead buildings of Kadlunga estate, founded by Stein, were listed on the Register of the National Estate in 1978.

Stein built the original homestead, completed in 1857, constructed of random coursed bluestone.

  • That house was incorporated into the 1919-20 alterations, when the house was virtually rebuilt.

  • Since the rebuilding little has been altered, having been in the Melrose family since 1916. The building is in good condition and is well cared for.

Stein established this homestead on a tributary to the Wakefield River, in a valley beneath Mount Horrocks, and named it Kadlunga, an Aboriginal word for 'sweet hills', after the abundant honeysuckle located there at the time.

  • However, the property was also known as Katalunga in its early period.

  • The two-storey homestead was renovated in 1919-20, and is surrounded by park-like grounds.

Who owns it now?

  1. Grandson, South Australian grazier Hamish Gosse, sold this family's historic station property in the Clare Valley for an asking price of $22 million.

  2. Kadlunga was bought by Northern Territory cattle farmer Tim Edmunds - Advertiser story by Tom Bowden 31 Mar 2017

"In his own words, he’s found a rare and precious gemstone – with a price to match."

3. Shock Re-Sale of Kadlunga - Historic S.A. Kadlunga station sells in large off-market deal ($40 m.) Story by Ingrid Fuary-Wagner Jun 11, 2019.

"It's a once in a life-time opportunity to try and grab it," Mr Millington says.

(Collinsville merino breeding empire was also sold to Adelaide businessman George Millington)

  • "And to bring a stud back here and have Collinsville still based in South Australia I think it's fantastic."

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Jeff Hollywood is my name, I worked as a trainee Woolclasser at Kadlunga.... for Hamish Gosse in the 70's. I still see, in my mind's eye, the Mintaro road, in the dark after Cut out from Narioota, in I think was a Morris Major, late at night and thinking what a magical road into Mintaro was. Eugene Fahey, was the Contractor and a great man / and Mentor of we young blokes working as teenagers in the Mid North shearing sheds.

I still travel up to Mintaro regularly, just 'cos i can, and I still get goose bumps when I pass Neil Paulett's turn off and head down towards the Magpie 'n Stump Hotel, looking at the priceless view from…

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