History in the Hills

History in the Hills 01Everyone loves history, whether it be local gossip, an obscure link in a family tree, wartime legends and famous battles, convicts and settlers, architecture or just a good historical novel! Well for all those history buffs, up until Sunday, May 25th, the History Trust of SA is holding its 5th annual SA HISTORY WEEK with a great variety of places to visit, state-wide.

We didn’t manage to get to all of them, but the ones we did see were a real treat. The Marble Hill Ruins, Mount Lofty (pictured right) are still a rather grand structure, even after the Black Sunday bushfires in 1955. It is easy to imagine the grandiosity of the purpose built Governor’s summer residence with the 360 degree view and huge stone walls that still remain. The tour, run by the Friends of Marble Hill, is interesting and thorough and you can even have coffee and cake in the old stable house.

The Adelaide Gaol (pictured far left) is not in the Hills, but I bet everyone has heard of it. It is Australia’s longest running gaol, opened in 1841 and closed in 1988. If you’re a South Australian, this is one place you must visit and I recommend it for the whole family, it’ll put you off crime for a lifetime!

History in the Hills 02In Mount Pleasant we visited the Soldiers Memorial Hall where we received a friendly greeting from Paula Bartsch (pictured right) who runs the local History Room. Paula is a volunteer on the committee for the Hall and has painstakingly organised the local districts’ history into an easy system for anyone to browse. Paula has archived photographs, family trees, biographical details, maps and much more dating back to the beginning of settlement. Open by appointment: Paula Bartsch – 8568 2126.

The Hahndorf Village self-guided walk is a must with brochures available at the Tourist Information Centre. You will have to do some sleuthing as not all the buildings are labelled, but we managed to meet some wonderful locals while looking for obscure cottages. Of course the Hahndorf Academy (pictured above) was an easy find and well worth a look at the gallery and wonderful German Settlers exhibition.

The Lobethal Archives and Historical Museum exhibits German settler and Lutheran Seminary memorabilia and will be open at 2pm on Saturday, May 31st, or else by appointment, call Rainer Haarmann 8389 6699.

For more details about what’s on during History week, see history.sa.gov.au