Kapunda and surrounds

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 a whole two years for the results to make the return voyage. It was of course copper-ore – moreover, the highest grade ore found anywhere in the world to this day.

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 proved a huge shot in the arm to the fledgling colony of South Australia, which was languishing in the economic doldrums.

The Kapunda Visitor Information Centre is a wonderful place to start your visit. Downstairs from the information desk is a thoughtful and ingenious display of the town and surrounding area. Be sure to 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. Admire the many buildings adorned with magnificent ‘Kapunda lacework’ and remember to look up at ‘Map Kernow’ on the southern edge of town. This eight metre high statue was 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, with a working scale model of Kapunda’s original Cornish Bull Pumping Engine. A motor pavilion features Kapunda’s old fire engine and ambulance.

Kapunda was the home to Australia’s ‘Cattle King’, Sir Sidney Kidman, for more than 40 years. He oversaw the establishment of enormous horse sales, which came to be regarded as the world’s largest. Eventually, he donated the family home to the community to be used as a high school. Nearby Anlaby Station is a magnificent example of a pastoral homestead, originally settled by the Dutton family.

The Wheatsheaf Pub at Allendale is a must do when visiting Kapunda. Other attractions include The Mine and Map The Miner Monument.

Visitor Information: Kapunda Visitor Information Centre, Thomson Building, Corner Main and Hill Streets, Kapunda. Phone: (08) 8566 2902.

Freeling is a quaint rural town with many historical buildings. You can wander the heritage streets at leisure, or follow the walking trail and learn about Freeling’s rich farming history.

But a growing number of visitors are heading straight for the Gungellan Hotel – as seen by fans of TV series McLeod’s Daughters in some 100 countries. The pub and streets of Freeling featured regularly in the McLeod shooting schedules, with nearby Kapunda and Roseworthy occasionally being called into the action. The proprietors of the Gungellan Hotel (formerly The Railway) are used to answering questions from the series’ many fans. Souvenirs are available to purchase.

If you’re wondering, the McLeod’s station ‘Drover’s Run’ lies some 15 kilometres to the south-west. It’s a real property called Kingsford. Of course, the local countryside is one of the major stars of the show – and free for everyone to enjoy!

Roseworthy has a major grain-holding centre and is home to Roseworthy College, Australia’s first agricultural education centre. Part of this campus is devoted to the Roseworthy Agricultural Museum, housing one of Australia’s most impressive collections of farming implements and machinery, all restored by volunteers to their former – and mostly working – glory. One of the more unusual machines is a tractor that is started using a 12-gauge shotgun cartridge.

Kapunda Australia

Category: Destinations

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