By Kendrea Rhodes
Lenswood and Forest Range is a community rich in life and living; an area so famous for its orchards, vineyards and wineries that you might not notice the thriving history group, well-attended community association, Cold Store Co-operative Society, lively cricket club, sacrosanct bowling green, Fred’s Tank, historic primary school, community traditions and dedicated locals. But they’re there.
In celebration of this vibrant community, the community association worked with the history group, the school, residents and the Adelaide Hills Council for two years developing the Heritage Trail at Lenswood Centennial Park to commemorate Lenswood’s centenary.
The Trail highlights the shared history of the area and starts with Peramangk traditional owners in the main area of the Park. Then over the bridge you can see gold speculators; settlers going about their work (timber cutters, charcoal burners, pioneer women); horticulturalists; viticulturalists; and today’s burgeoning tourism industry.
This history is depicted in ten steel sculptured silhouettes dotted throughout the Park on the lush 830m trail, canopied by birdsong and eucalypts. Lenswood Primary School year 6 and 7 students (2017) created artworks as inspiration for the silhouettes, which were modified to meet steel laser cutting and engineering approvals. Each silhouette on the Heritage Trail has a plaque highlighting its historic importance and a QR code link to online information.
The area was once called Forest Range and before that various names including Jerry’s Flat. The Lenswood township was not officially called Lenswood until a postal receiving office was opened in 1917. In apt reflection of their beginnings, the two pivotal icons of the town — Lenswood Primary School and Lenswood Post Office — were celebrated together in October, combining the opening of the Heritage Trail with the 150th anniversary of the School. Peramangk/Kaurna elder, Ivan-Tiwu Copely performed a Welcome To Country at the Park and a Smoking Ceremony at the School. Special guests, Adelaide Hills Mayor, Jan-Claire Wisdom and the Minister for Education, Mr John Gardner, also attended the celebrations.
The Heritage Trail silhouettes and historic plaques were sponsored by a broad cross section of the community including the Lions Club of Onkaparinga, Lenswood Primary School, Lenswood and Forest Range History Group, Forest Range Recreation Ground, anonymous donors and families: Coulter, Mason, Vickers, Schultz, Shaw, Peterson and Murdoch. The Adelaide Hills Council and Federal Government supported the project through grants, approvals and accessibility.
If you’re interested in the history of the area please visit the Lenswood & Forest Range History Group’s webpage for detailed information regarding the Heritage Trail, local history, useful links, references and photos, or you can visit the Lenswood Primary School Website for more interesting history.