Kapunda is where Australia’s copper industry truly began.
In 1838, a sheep farmer named Dutton stumbled over some moss-coloured stones on land that wasn’t his. He sent the stones to be assayed in the United Kingdom and had to wait two years for the results. It was of course copper-ore and Dutton and his partner, Bagot, bought the land around Kapunda, announced their discovery and built Australia’s first mining town. The million pounds worth of copper it produced is said to have saved the state from bankruptcy.
Start your visit at the Kapunda Visitor Information Centre. It contains an ingenious display of the town and surrounding area. Pick up a brochure describing the Kapunda Heritage Trail. This 10km walk through yesteryear will lead you into the old mine area, past tunnels, open cuts and miners cottages. Visit Map Kernow on the southern edge of town, an eight metre high statue constructed as a tribute to the copper miners of Kapunda.
Don’t miss the fascinating two-storey folk museum, regarded as the finest in Australia, with its extensive agricultural and mining displays. Bagot’s Fortune is an excellent interpretative display of the mining history.
Kapunda was also the home to Australia’s Cattle King, Sir Sidney Kidman, for more than 40 years. Nearby Anlaby Station is a magnificent example of a pastoral homestead, now offering accommodation.
You will find the area surrounding Kapunda rich in history and attractions too.
Freeling is a quaint rural town. You may recognise the Railway Hotel from the popular Australian television series McLeod’s Daughters where it was featured as the Gungellan Hotel.
Roseworthy is home to Roseworthy College, Australia’s first agricultural education centre. Inspect the Dryland Farming Museum which depicts typical Australian country life.
You will find inspiring exhibitions by local painters and potters at the Balaklava Courthouse Gallery. If travelling in August, don’t miss the annual Balaklava Cup race meeting.
Mallala was home to an airforce base used during the Second World War. These days you can enjoy national and international motor sports held at the racetrack built on the site.