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Academic year: 2022



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Conservation and Heritage Consultants 2 7 Sydenham Road, Norwood SA 5 06 7 Phone (08) 8362 63'J'J Fax (08) 8363 0121






Conservation and Heritage Consultants 27 Sydenham Road, Nonvood SA 5067 Phone {08} 8362 6399 Fax (08) 8363 0121





1.1 1.2 1.3 2.0 2.1


2.3 2.4



Background Objectives of Study Study Area

RECOMMENDATIONS OF REPORT Planning Reconunendations

2.1.1 Plan Amendment Report

2.1.2 Port Willunga Historic Conservation Zone Conservation Recommendations

2.2.1 Aldinga Township 2.2.2 Heritage Advisory Service 2.2.3 Heritage Incentives 2.2.4 Conservation Guidelines 2.2.5 Building Files

2.2.6 Slate Elements

2.2. 7 Marking of Historic Sites

2.2.8 Retention of Historic Cultural Landscape Tourism and Promotion

Conununity Involvement

2.4.1 Seminars/lectures/practical workshops

2.4.2 Continuation of work of Heritage/Design Advisory Panel 2.4.3 Aldinga Library History Centre

Council Management Recommendations 2.5.1 Council Strategy

2.5.2 Positive Action in the Public Environment 2.5.3 Training of Staff


3.1 Chronological Development of the District 3.2 Analysis of Cultural Significance

3.3 Significant Historic Themes 3.4 Analysis of Building Types 4.0 PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION 4.1 Topographical

4.2 Urban Development 4.3 Rural Development


5.2 Format 6.0


6.2 6.3

HISTORIC CONSERVATION ZONES Historic Character (Port Willunga/ Aldinga) Zone 6.1.1 Policy Area One- Port Willunga Beach/Foreshore 6.1.2 Policy Area Two - Port Willunga Core

6.1.3 Policy Area Three - Port Road 6.1.4 Policy Area Four- Aldinga Village Willunga Historic (Conservation) Zone McLaren Vale Township













7.0 PLACES OF LOCAL HERITAGE VALUE 7.1 Background and Criteria

7.2 Individual Places Assessed by Area 7.2.1 Aldinga Plains (and Village) 7.2.2 McLaren Vale

7.2.3 Port Willunga

7.2.4 Sellicks Beach and Hill 7.2.5 Willunga





Katrina McDougall, McDougall & Vines Elizabeth Vines, McDougall & Vines

Ruth Baxendale, Willunga Branch of the National Trust



30 121 168 187 223 295

296 297 298



The Heritage Survey of the Willunga District was undertaken as a review of the heritage assets of the area and was based on an earlier survey of the Fleurieu Peninsula undertaken as part of the State Historic Preservation Plan in 1985. All places identified in the course of the review process were assessed to determine their heritage value and recommendations made for their inclusion in the Development Plan as places or areas of Local Heritage Value.

Historical Background

First surveyed in 183 9, the Willunga district has considerable cultural significance due to its position as one of the earliest settled areas within the State. The district is an important example within the State of both the theories and practice of establishing the province of South Australia. The historical process of surveying and settlement of the Willunga District is clearly discernible through both settlement locations and road alignments. The importance of the district as an early agricultural region is evidenced by the large number of buildings remaining in the area which were constructed prior to 1860 as part of farming activities.

These places include farmhouses and dwellings of pise, brick and stone, barns, sheds, wells, stables and other associated farm structures such as timber post and rail fences, slate water tanks, stone culverts and bridges.

These early buildings of the Willunga district form an important collection of vernacular structures which represents, in the use of construction styles and materials, the adaptation of early settlers to their new place of residence. Willunga' s slate quarrying industry was essential in the economic survival of the colony as a whole during the Depression of the early 1840s and played a large part in shaping the physical characteristics of the Willunga area. The development of viticulture as a major primary industry at the turn of the century also shaped the physical development of the district. The towns and villages of the area became important centres of community activity, reflected in houses, churches, hotels, shops and a whole range of other buildings.

These important historic elements of the district form the basis for its cultural significance and its value as a cultural tourism destination.


This report recommends Council action in five major areas: planning, conservation, tourism, community involvement, and Council management.

The most important of these is the preparation of a Het·itage Plan Amendment Report for the Willunga District incorporating a Schedule of Local Heritage Places and Historic Conservation Zones, and the retention and strengthening of heritage conservation provisions already in place in the Development Plan.

There are a range of structures recommended for individual listing as Local Heritage Places representing the major themes of development of the district. These include small farming cottages, associated outbuildings, former mills, wineries, brick kilns, commercial buildings such as stores and shops, small factories, churches, institutes, former hotels and other elements such as war memorials and avenues of memorial trees. Other structures such as bridges and culverts are also recommended for retention.



At the same time as the planning protection proviSions are formulated, a detailed Conservation Management Strategy will need to be developed as part of Council's overall policy development. An important part of the success of Conservation Management Strategies is the involvement of the public in the process, particularly building owners. Consequently a program of community involvement in Conservation Strategies should be developed which includes the provision of seminars, lectures and practical workshops based on conservation principles for various building types and places. Education and assistance should be available to ensure that privately owned heritage assets within the district can be incorporated into the overall Management Strategy for Willunga and the amalgamated Council area. Therefore it is considered essential to continue the Heritage Advisory Senrices as a management tool and the associated work of the Heritage Design Advisot-y Panel. Positive action by Council in the handling of conservation issues relating to Council owned properties and public places will create an appropriate example of good heritage practice.

Apart from Heritage Conservation, it is important to recognise the value of these places within the area of cultural tourism and subsequent economic development strategies for the Council area within Council's Business Plan. The rich scope of heritage assets within the Willunga area should be promoted as a major tourist drawcard and incorporated into marketing strategies for the area. Publicity and promotion should be actively sought, and a series of publications should be developed.

The implementation of the recommendations of this report will require the formulation of a clear corporate policy relating to objectives for heritage conservation and management.




1.1 Background

This Heritage Survey of the Willunga District was commissioned by the District Council of Willunga prior to its amalgamation with Noarlunga and Happy Valley Councils. The area had previously been assessed in a Heritage Survey undertaken for the South Australian Department of Environment and Planning by Heritage Investigation and Historical Consultants Proprietary Limited in 1985, as part of the overall Heritage Survey of the Fleurieu Peninsular (Region 4 of the Division of the State into Heritage Regions. Region 4 included Willunga, Strathalbyn, Port Elliot, Goolwa, Victor Harbour and Yankallila).

The 1985 Survey identified a large number of Heritage Places which were classified into categories A (of State Heritage Significance) and B (ofLocal Heritage Significance).

A number of the places identified as being of State Heritage Value were included on the State Heritage Register. However, the remaining places identified as both A and B items remained unprotected by any legislation.

With the passing of the Development Act 1993 opportunity arose for local governments to review the heritage of their districts and determine a Local Heritage List which would be scheduled in the Development Plan as a Heritage Plan Amendment Report. This review of the heritage assets of the Willunga district was consequently commissioned.


Objectives of


The objective of this Heritage Survey of the Willunga District was to reassess those places previously identified in the earlier Heritage Survey and document them to a level which would allow their processing a Local Heritage Places.

All places previously identified, and others located in the course of this survey, were assessed to determine their heritage value. It was also intended to provide recommendations for (Willunga) District Council on issues of ongoing management of Heritage Places. The principles behind these recommendations could then be used as a basis for heritage management for the amalgamated Council.

The scope of this study did not include consideration of pre-European settlement patterns of the Aboriginal residents within the Willunga District. However, the issue of Aboriginal Heritage Sites should be considered as a further subject of study when assessing the overall heritage assets of the district.




The survey area covers the District Council of Willunga prior to its amalgamation with Noarlunga and Happy Valley to form one large Local Government Area. (Refer map of area in Section 7.)




2.1 Planning Recommendations

2.1.1 Plan Amendment Repot·t

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Following the adoption of this report by Council, a Heritage Plan Amendment Report (PAR) for the whole council district should be prepared by Council incorporating the Schedule of Local Heritage Places and Historic Conservation Zones recommended in this report, and retaining and strengthening the heritage conservation provisions already in place.

The objectives and principles of development control should incorporate a carefully considered balance between conservation and development objectives.

The Development Act Section 3 6(3) provides that "where inconsistency exists between the building rules and the Development Plan in relation to a Local Heritage Place, the Development Plan prevails." This allows for flexibility in building and planning requirements which can lead to a better conservation approach to any proposed development. Also Development Plan Standards such as lot size, car parking, set back, open space and land use requirements need to be dealt with flexibly, in order to achieve conservation aims and assist in ensuring the viability of new development associated with conservation.

Principles for land division and subdivision control within Historic Conservation Zones should be carefully considered and the principles be related to the historic value of the areas proposed for further subdivision.

Full and detailed re-assessment of the Willunga Historic Conservation Zone already incorporated in the Development Plan is ercommended. It is considered that this area may be of State Heritage Value, and a full investigation of its relative heritage status should be undertaken. Individual places should be fully documented to the required level.

2.1.2 Po1·t Willunga Historic Conservation Zone

Due to the heritage significance of the historic core of the previously delineated Historic Character Zone (Policy Area Number Two) this small area within the Character Zone should be re-scheduled as a Historic Conservation Zone or Area based on the boundaries outlined in this report. (Refer Section 6.1.2) The purpose of this new zoning is to provide added protection to ensure that all elements of the heritage character are retained, including cultural elements such as landscape and road pattern, and that individual buildings are not demolished unnecessarily.

2.2 Conservation Recommendations

2.2.1 Aldinga Township

This report recommends the upgrading and enhancement of the heritage qualities of this early township within the Aldinga!Port Willunga Historic Character Zone (Policy Area Number Three). Building conservation and refurbishment, street planting, new development and identification signs (and delineation of the township area) should all be undertaken to a consistent and well defined framework. A Main Street structure could be an appropriate mechanism for achieving these objectives.



2.2.2 Het·itage Advisory Service

After Council amalgamation the current Heritage Advisory Service should continue as this is a most effective management tool for the heritage assets of the area. Allowance should be made within Council's financial budget for consideration the likelihood of reduced State Govermnent funding for this initiative.

It is considered that a regular set time program for the Heritage Advisory Service is more effective than a program which is based on an "as needs" approach. This ensures that policy and strategy issues are considered as well as responses to specific Development Applications.

2.2.3 Heritage Incentives

The currently successful Heritage Incentives Scheme comprising a rate rebate should be continued. Consideration should be given to the establishment of a Local Heritage Fund to provide encouragement and finance for conservation works on identified local heritage places.

There are several ways of distributing the monies from a Local Heritage Fund for conservation works. Grants are appropriate in small amounts for activities such as fencing, painting, roof repairs and verandah repairs which can be considered external works in the public domain. Low interest loans for larger amounts of funding are an alternative method and have the advantage of recycling fund monies. However, the administration cost ofloans should be kept to a minimum.

The fund could also be used to pay for additional professional involvement in design work for conservation as well as for actual physical works to buildings. Note that architectural assessment of Development Applications for heritage places should lie outside the fund and be covered by current Council budgeting for this service.

2.2.4 Conset-vation Guidelines

Conservation Guidelines should be prepared for Historic Character and Conservation Zones and also for particular buildings types such as

• stone barns and outbuildings

• early farming cottages

• early commercial and residential buildings in towns

• slate structures and elements.

• cemeteries and churches

These guidelines would be similar to the Conservation Guidelines which have been prepared for other Councils and which are made readily available to the general public for reference and as an important education tool when works are proposed for places identified as a part ofWillunga's heritage assets.

2.2.5 Building Files

A system of files which contain all information available on each place identified in the Heritage Survey should be established. These files could contain National Trust, Council and other information consolidated into one location. The Local History Centre at Aldinga Public Library could be expanded to include these building files complemented by National Trust information.

The information contained in these files will be of immense value to owners, Council staff and elected members, and also prospective buyers of any heritage property.



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A strategy should also be developed for alerting owners to the heritage value and the provision of incentives for the retention of any buildings which are at risk through potential redevelopment or neglect. The physical elements of Willunga' s heritage have a significant contribution to make towards tourism in the district and all efforts should be made to encourage owners to retain identified heritage buildings and structures.

2.2.6 Slate Elements

Throughout the district, as would be expected, slate has been utilised in many forms as a constructional material for both buildings and engineering structures. Elements identified so far have included bridges, culverts, dams, tanks and fences. Council should determine a policy with regard to the conservation of these elements by developing a full inventory. Council could consider workshops of possible interested people and full technical and practical advice from stone specialists, particularly from the Department of Mines, should be made available for both Council use and for the owners of slate structures.

There are numerous quarry sites around the district which would be an excellent subject for a separate study with collation of information already available. A detailed map plotting quarry sites and their relative significance and current function would be useful.

2.2. 7 Marking of Historic Sites

Many significant sites exist within the Willunga district where important structures or places have been demolished. Council should consider a method of marking these sites where appropriate, particularly where early photographs exist, with some form of interpretation signage. Sites such as the former site of the Willunga Primary School, the site of Samuel White's Tower in White's Valley, the White's Valley Congregational Church and other significant sites could be marked in this manner.

2.2.8 Retention of Histm·ic Cultural Landscape

It is important that the heritage qualities of the cultural landscape be in some way retained and conserved in order to provide a full physical picture of the history of the district. Heritage elements in the landscape include:

• Fences - post and rail, post and wire, slate, timber picket

• Hedges -artemisia (wormwood), duranta

• Tree Plantings - pines, olives, figs

• Gardens and notable tree species

• Barns and outbuildings

• Forms of agriculture or horticulture, almond groves, wheat or grazing fields.

Many of these elements of the cultural landscape are fragile and ephemeral in nature and will require some level of intervention to ensure their retention for at least some time into the future.


Most of the significant trees identified in the Heritage Survey are planted exotic species and on private land. Moves should be made by Council to approach owners in order to ensure the retention of these significant trees. These have been identified on individual building data sheets and a short indicative list follows:

• (MV16) Strout's Farm- Moreton Bay Fig (f'icus macrophylla)

• (MV19) Peppermint Farm- Pepper tree (Schinus mol!e)



(PW!3) Rosa's Cottage, Port Willunga- Aleppo Pines (Pinus halepensis)

(MV04) Mannings Farm - Olives (Olea europa)

(API!) Duncan Stewart's house- Scots Pines (f'inus sylvestris)

Trees in other areas including those within Council land or those planted by Council, those in public areas, and older avenues of street landscaping should also be carefully assessed when any work is required on these trees or around them. There are also significant trees within areas not covered within this report which include trees in McLaren Vale, particularly around Hardy's Winery and trees within the Willunga Historic Conservation Zone. Council should take particular care to ensure these significant areas of trees are managed in an appropriate manner and it is recommended that a full assessment of significant areas of planting should be undertaken.

2.3 Tourism and Promotion

The rich scope of heritage assets within the District Council of Willunga Area should be promoted as a major tourist drawcard and incorporated into marketing strategies for the area.

Publicity and promotion should be actively sought and include publications on the different aspects ofWillunga' s heritage.

• The provision of heritage information as a basis for cultural tourism should be actively undertaken by Council's Economic Development Officers. This information should be widely disseminated to tourist organisations and bodies involved in the tourist activities in the district.

• The information contained in this Survey should be incorporated into the Willunga 2000 Plan as part of the economic development section which also includes tourism. The information should be used to identifY opportunities for linking cultural tourism and economic development within the Willunga area.

• The preparation and publication of an A3 broadsheet setting out the recommendations of the Heritage Survey would be a useful community information process and can form part of the public consultation requirements of the PAR process.

• The Visitor Centre at McLaren Vale is an excellent location for elaborating on the heritage basis of many the tourism attractions of the Willunga district. A program should be discussed with the Centre management.

• Information on historic walks, either self-guided with accompanying historical information pamphlet or with a group and guide could be considered.

• Publications on key elements of the Willunga District's heritage, such as wineries or early agricultural buildings should be developed for provision of information for tourism activities.

2.4 Community Involvement

2.4.1 Seminars/lectures/practical workshops (based on Conservation Guidelines)

It is essential that the community, and particularly owners of heritage places, be involved in understanding the heritage qualities of their properties, particularly the physical care required to retain the significance of the place. It is therefore recommended that a series of seminars, lecture and practical workshops be developed and these should cover important issues such as stone repair, particularly for fieldstone barns and outbuildings which appear to suffer the most damage due to deterioration over time.



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There are also many cemeteries throughout the district which are scattered and not in use. These require considered care as they are an important resource for research and genealogy, and attract many visitors. Workshops should be held to emphasise the need for conservation and care and Conservation Guidelines should be prepared which deal with the issues of grave care and maintenance and the retention of historic character and context in early cemeteries.

2.4.2 Continuation ofwo1·k of Heritage/Design Advisot-y Panel

The Advisory Panel established by the Willunga Council has served an essential role in the management and direction of heritage conservation in the area. The Panel has become a key mechanism for community involvement in heritage conservation issues and the management of Willunga' s heritage assets through its consideration of Development Applications and strategy and policy issues. This valuable expertise should not be lost after amalgamation.

2.4.3 Aldinga Libra1-y Hist01-y Cent1·e

Continuation and upgrading of provision of information on local heritage through the Aldinga Library History Centre is recommended. Further funding should be sought from sources such as the History Trust and Community History Programs.

2.5 Council Management Recommendations

2.5.1 Council Strategy

A formal Council policy relating to the corporate objectives for heritage conservation and management should be formulated. This policy should incorporate Council's approach to the important elements of the cultural landscape such as trees, fences, introduced planting, land use, residential 'allowances' on farming land.

2.5.2 Positive Action in the Public Envil"onment

Council is responsible for a considerable number of places of historic interest which the community values, including parks and public areas. Council should demonstrate care and good heritage practice which will be an example for the community.

Public works in conservation zones should involve the use of appropriate street furniture, paving surfaces, interpretive signs and other urban design issues. It is important that careful and considered decisions be made for a consistent approach to the public environment before any action is undertaken by Council officers, at all levels.

The Heritage Advisory Services which Council provides are also an important part of Council's management strategy for its heritage assets.

2.5.3 Training of Staff

Many enquiries are directed to Council counter staff who need to be able to provide preliminary information with regard to Council policies and strategies.

Counter Staff in Council Offices need full briefing and understanding of Heritage Management and development control processes so that any over the counter enquires can be handled effectively providing full and correct information.

A program of briefing sessions for Infrastructure staff to ensure full understanding of the important elements of conservation zones and the need for care and sensitivity in historic areas should also be considered .




3.1 Chronological Development of the District


The area which includes the District Council of Willunga was initially subdivided in 1839 by the surveying party of John McLaren (Government Surveyor) and the map of the Districts B, C and D south of Adelaide drawn up in 1840. The first settlers in the area were William Colton and Charles Hewitt who in 1840 took up sections in Survey C and within the current township of McLaren Vale. Willunga had also been established on the road through to Port Elliot and slate was quarried on Loud's land. The Adelaide Chronicle of 26 August 1840 described the district in these terms:

"Twelve settlers, who possess stock to the amount of upwards of 2,000 sheep and 200 head of cattle ... about 70 acres are ... under crop. The Willunga District is also beginning to be settled. A township is layed out, in which are an Inn, a Police Station and about a dozen other houses ... there is a slate quarry in the district worked by Mr Loud."

The area was considered to be perfectly suited to agricultural purposes and by the mid 1840s the South Australian Land Returns indicated almost 80 farmers in the Willunga!lvicLaren Vale district and listed the range of agricultural pursuits that they undertook, which included up to 50 acres of wheat on, for instance, William Colton's land. Agriculture, stock grazing and slate quarrying increased with excellent results. With the establishment of McLaren Vale as two villages of Bellevue and Gloucester, and the growth of Willunga township with hotels, schools, mills, houses, Government offices and other structures, the district flourished. The hinterland of Willunga, across the Aldinga Plains through to the coast, was also developed as an agricultural area. By 1850, a settlement at Aldinga had been established and Port Willunga was being planned with the jetty at Port Willunga considered a necessity. Aldinga Village was formally subdivided in January 1857. Four substantial flour mills in the area could be seen as evidence of successful agricultural activities. Generally the district prospered, and appeared to have limitless possibilities.

The Willunga district, along with the rest of South Australia, suffered during the Victorian Gold Rushes of the early 1850s, when large numbers of men were attracted to the gold diggings. However the diggings also proved a good market for Willunga' s agricultural products such as flour from Samuel White's mills, and many settlers returned to invest the money they had earned in Victoria in their farms and businesses, such as George Sara, a Willunga builder.


During the 1860s and 1870s the mood was one of expansion in the district and the need for better roads and sea transport was high in the settler's minds. By 1865 the residents of the Willunga/ Aldinga Area petitioned the Government, noting that the earlier jetty at Port Willunga was ineffective, and finally a new jetty was constructed in 1868. The road over Sellicks Hill was opened by March of 1859 after much agitation from Local residents. The road was a major achievement for the district and became a major communication link between Adelaide and the South Coast settlements.

During the 1870s the problem of over-working of the soil became serious in the Willunga District, and poor yields and prices were of great concern. There was a significant exodus of farmers from these early settled areas to the regions in the north which were opened up between 1870 and 1885. The analysis of the South Australian Census from 1861-1881 indicates a serious drop in population numbers, both in Aldinga and Willunga, and a steady






decrease in the number of acres under cultivation. However, many farming families remained and utilised progressive farming methods.


The most important change in the land use during this period was the growth in the viticultural industry in the area. Vines had been planted by the very first settlers but had not developed into a major form of land use, despite the efforts of Alexander C Kelly and his Tintara Vineyard Company, during the 1870s. The efforts of Thomas Hardy were instrumental in developing McLaren Vale as an important winemaking area with his purchase of the Tintara Vineyards and the McLaren Vale Flour Mill for conversion to viticulture and winemaking The McLaren Vale region transferred much of its agricultural capacity from agriculture to viticulture and in 1887 Tatachilla was established by George Kelly. During the 1890s many vineyards and wineries some still in production were established. In 1892 the Pirramimma Vineyards were planted and the winery added.

This change from farming pursuits was noted at the time, in the description of the district in the Cyclopedia of South Australia (1909) ....

"Wheat growing was formerly the chief and almost the sole industry of the extensive region between the Onkaparinga and the Willunga Hills, and there is some witness to its importance to the flour mills that were established ... much of the greatest progress ... has been made in viticulture, in one direction McLaren Vale extends far up a ridge and luxuriant flats to the foot of the hills, and its share of both beauty and fertility is exceptionally large."

The District also became important for tourism and recreation, being as it was on the way to the ports of the Fleurieu Peninsular and the attractions of Port Willunga and the Aldinga beach area. To service this tourist boom the insistence on the need for a railway became quite strong and Willunga was connected to Adelaide by 1915.

Despite the successful completion of the railway the Willunga District had suffered a number of reverses in the proceeding years, the once thriving wheat industry was ruined in a season by the red rust and the opening up of the northern agricultural district. The slate industry had seen some of its long standing markets - roofing and pavement slates - taken by corrugated galvanised iron and the introduction of bituminous asphalt.

In 1899 a branch of the Central Agricultural Bureau, established in Adelaide in 1888, was created in Willunga and its aim was to obtain information on plants, animals and products likely to be useful to farmers, as well as to determine the finest methods of production and distribution of the products of agriculture. The Bureau helped to spread concepts of new forms of agriculture and ways of farming around the area.

Many of the important farming properties established by families of early settlers, and which still remain, were consolidated during this time. By 190 I Willunga was described as "the centre of one the principle agricultural districts of the State". The work of farmers, orchardists and viticulturists was highlighted at the Willunga Show, a significant annual event which reflected the activities of the district. The introduction of the railway was an important part of the distribution ofWillunga's products, including slate and agricultural products.


In the early years of the twentieth century, as well as the wine industry, there were additional forms of land use that added to the diversity of primary industry. Stone fruits, currants, almonds, barley and honey were beginning to be major sources of income for residents of the district. Almond growing became an important industry in the Willunga District by the 193 Os.



Page 10

During the 1920s and 1930s machines began to take over from horses as the major source of power for farming equipment and many of the established blackmiths and coach and harness suppliers changed the emphasis of their businesses accordingly, "moving with the times".

The communities of the District continued to grow, particularly during the post-War period, but many things changed with this progress. With the increase in motor cars and trucks, railway passenger services were curtailed, and by 1972 the Railway line which had been seen as an essential link with Adelaide when it was opened in 1915, was closed. The last Willunga Show, once the main way of keeping the district's farmers up to date with issues and developments in their industry, was held in 1968 because the stock market and agricultural activities had moved away from the area altogether, and the almond growers and viticulturists were the main producers.

The Present Day

The Willunga District today continues to undergo constant change, as viticulture replaces horticulture as the predominant agricultural activity. The existence of what were originally early farmhouses on land which is now used exclusively for vine growing is evidence of this latest permutation of the settlement pattern and land use of the district. The district towns have also increased in size and many residents no longer work in the local area.

Note: This historical information is derived from the 1985 Heritage Survey and the social history of the district written by Rob Linn, Cradle of Adversity, Adelaide, 1991.

3.2 Analysis of Cultural Significance

The Cultural Significance of the Willunga District resides in its distinctive regional qualities as well as in its individual early settlements and places.

Based broadly on the southern two-thirds of the 1840 Survey of District C, the pattern ofland division of the Willunga District into sections is still clearly discernible through both settlement location and road alignment. The district is an important example within the state of the theories and initial practice of establishing the Province of South Australia.

The importance of the district as an early agricultural region is evidenced by the large number of buildings remaining in the area which were constructed prior to 1860 as part of farming activities. These places include dwellings of both pise and stone, barns, sheds, wells, stables and other associated farm structures such as timber post and rail fences slate water tanks, stone culverts and bridges.

The early buildings of the Willunga District form an important collection of vernacular structures which represent the use of construction styles of the place of origin of the first land owners. These buildings display adaptations to the available local materials and conditions, such as the use of local stone or brick and timber. The community of Willunga was established by essentially British colonists (particularly from Devon and Cornwall, Scotland, Wales and also Ireland), and its character and built form was determined by their experience and knowledge overlaid on the physical reality of the area. Many of these early settlers have descendants still resident in the district.

The various agricultural activities of the district over time reflect the development of types of land use in South Australia as a whole, and the physical and economic forces which affect production. The change from early wheat growing and livestock activities to horticultural and viticultural emphasis in the Willunga district indicates the changing influence of the natural



capacity of the land, the availability of transportation and markets, the shift in the location of production, and the change in demand for products of the area.

The slate quarrying industry, which was an essential element in the development of the Willunga district, was equally important for the economic survival of the colony as a whole during the depression of the early 1840s. The supply of slate to Victoria during the building boom of the 1880s was also an important boost to South Australia export income. Slate has had a large part in shaping the physical characteristics ofWillunga.

3.3 Significant Historic Themes

In any district, there are specific themes which, after analysis, can be seen to be the determining factors in the history and development of the whole area and the places within it.

For the Willunga area, one of the overriding themes is that of its early date of settlement, and the remaining physical record of that historical fact.

Analysis of themes

• Sm-vey - the early land division of the Willunga District is an important historical theme as it determined the pattern of property and land ownership in the area and the grid of rectangular roads which resulted. The ability to locate early places of settlement is determined by the Section Number on John McLaren's Survey Map of District C. Some names which still remain in the Willunga District, such as McLaren Vale, are named after members of the 1839 survey party.

• Settlement- the settlement of the Willunga District is a pervading historical theme.

The development of the area occurred with individual land owners and the South Australian Company buying Sections throughout the district. The early pattern of development of towns, particularly at the junctions of major roads through the district at Willunga, Aldinga and Sellicks Hill, are retained in the current pattern of urban distribution. The disposition of streets in these early settlements reflect the irregular angles of the road junctions as none of the towns were initially planned as a grid.

Particular areas developed reflecting the topography of the district and the access to the coastline.

• Transport and Communications - the original road layout delineated on the 1840 map has changed little and is an important part of the visible cultural heritage of the district. The opening and closure of the railway left few relics in the Willunga area apart from those associated with the Willunga Railway Station itself. The remains of the Port Willunga Jetty are indicative of a once thriving coastal water -based transportation system. Old Sellicks Hill Road is itself a significant heritage place.

Communications with Adelaide and the rest of the State are reflected in the early post and telegraph office buildings, which remain, such as those at Aldinga and in Willunga itself.

• Economic P1·oduction - Extractive Industries The slate Quarries are a significant part of the historical development of the district and their relative importance to the State has been recognised by the inclusion of three of the earliest slate quarrying areas on the State Heritage Register. The associated workers residences and evidence of the multiple uses of slate are included in this survey as Local Heritage Places.

- Prima1-y Production Including Farming, Viticulture and Horticulture The cultural landscape was shaped by these various forms of primary production and evidence of these remain across the district. Those most particularly



Page 12

associated with farming include early Flour Mills (particularly the ruin of Butterworth's Mill on the Aldinga Plains), stone barns and outbuildings associated with farms, farmhouses themselves from all periods of the history of development of the district, and other agricultural structures. The viticultural industry has retained significant physical heritage including early sections of wineries and buildings associated with their functioning such as those at the Tatachilla Complex. The almond growing industry retains very little physical heritage as it developed during the 193 Os and utilised minimal amounts of built structure. The early almond groves themselves form part of the cultural landscape of the district.

• People, Social Life and Organisations - the most significant evidence of the way of local life in the district is the retention of significant farm complexes developed by early settles and augmented by later family members. These include farmhouses and outbuildings such as cellars, dairies, stables and barns, many of which remain, but are now surrounded by other agricultural uses such as vineyards. Examples of this are Grange Farm and Slate Creek Farm. Social life in the district revolved around towns and the various buildings and facilities which developed to serve the populations needs in this area. Organisations which constructed significant buildings which remain as evidence of the social activity of the district include Churches, Schools, Institutes, Libraries and Hotels.

• Work, Secondary and Service Industries - the development of retail services and other facilities within towns are evidence of the provision of work for residents in the area who were not farmers. Secondary and service industries developed throughout the district including such activities as Blacksmiths, General Stores, Banks, Insurance Offices and the like. Tourism became an important part of the attraction of the district for visitors and Port Willunga for example retains a Guest House and a Hotel which serviced this industry. Other Hotels and Guest Houses in the district were also involved in the tourist industry.

• Government - the presence of the Colonial Government in the district was focused initially on Willunga, but the provision of government services including Local Government facilities is an important historical theme resulting in the construction of the Court House, Police Station and other important structures within Willunga and in more recent times the Willunga Council Chambers.

3.4 Analysis of Building Types

It is significant to note that there is little high Victorian architecture in the Willunga District.

Most of the structures which remain from the early period of Willunga settlement from 1840 up to 1870 display unembellished and undecorated forms of a vernacular nature. The ornate banks, shops and offices of other country towns which developed during the 1880s and 1890s are not a prominent feature of the Willunga District built form or townscape elements.

The most significant building type which is predominant across the whole of the district is the early farmhouse. There are no major dwellings which could be classified as mansions or station homesteads as such. The settlers of the district were a specific class of yeomen farmers, with no real landed gentry to develop such large residences as is typical of other agricultural and pastoral areas of the state.



Across the district, distinctive early housing forms usually associated with early farms can be recognised. The size, materials, arrangement of rooms, details, scale, chimney size and shape, and other elements are indicative of the place of origin of the particular settler and his family.

Variations to farmhouses noted in the course of this survey include:

• Underground cellars accessed from the verandah (front or rear)

• Separate kitchens and cellars

• Semi-excavated dairy/storeroom cellars

• Enclosed end rooms in verandahs (particularly McCrae house, Scottish)

It would seem at first analysis that the following distinctive characteristics can be associated with the various national or ethnic groups who settled within the Willunga district.

• Cornish cottages: gable ended roof, low roof height, door and window openings the same height, symmetrical front

• Irish cottages: low scale, gable ended, fat chimneys

• Scots cottages: incorporate end rooms in verandahs.

There are other distinctive types of cottages and farmhouses also identified in the Survey.

These include a particular style with the hipped roof, good ceiling height, window higher than doors, brick over lintels only, no quoining; often a semi excavated dairy coolroom goes with this particular type.

Formal classification of these variations into a typology of early dwellings would be a time consuming but possibly valuable exercise.



Page 14


4.1 Topographical

The Willunga District forms part of the Fleurieu Peninsular which extends south into the Gulf of St Vincent and the Southern Ocean. The physical character of the Willunga District divides clearly into three zones: the coastal littoral; the area known as Aldinga Plains; and the Willunga Scarp and Hills behind (an extension of the Mount Lofty Ranges).

The rich and fertile appearance of the area when first traversed and surveyed by early explorers is recorded in both their journals and on maps. Hence the expectation of the first settlers that this area would be an appropriate and prosperous future home for British settlers.

The area was originally populated by the Kaurna people and European settlement displaced these original occupants.

The Willunga coastline is highlighted by beaches, bays and cliffs, and areas such as Port Willunga have been utilised as landing places. The coastal cliff section between Maslin Bay and Aldinga Bay has been included on the State Heritage Register as a Geological Site, indicating the importance of the visible geological formation of this area.

Inland from the coastline the Aldinga Plains stretch to the base of the rising scarp. The most significant feature of the coastal plains is the area knows as White's Valley (Gully) which leads inland from Port Willunga and drains the plains area to the sea. The plains consist mainly of red-brown earth soil types and the original vegetation was classified as eucalyptus savannah woodland.

The Willunga Hills form part of the Mount Lofty Ranges and in the Willunga District form a background to the plains area which is traversed by most of the main roads south. The Willunga Hills provide views of the coastal plains and out into the Gulf of St Vincent. The Hills themselves are the site of early slate quarries, which provided the basis for the substantial slate industry of the district. The soils generally along the Willunga Hills are classified as yellow podzolic. The original vegetation along the hills was dense stringy-bark forest.

As noted in the 1985 Heritage Survey, natural change to the topographical appearance and structure of the Willunga area has been exaggerated over the last one hundred and fifty years since the arrival of European man. The changes have stemmed mainly from agricultural activities and clearing of the land resulting in erosion and the formation of gullies due to practices such as ploughing for early wheat production.

4.2 Urban Development

None of the Willunga District towns are based on clear grid pattern of the typical colonial town. Rather they sprang up at important points along the transportation routes between Adelaide, the Southern settlements and Encounter Bay. The road to Encounter Bay was clearly marked in the Survey of District C which established a grid pattern ofland sections and connecting roads. However, this was overlaid on the already existing tracks through the area.

McLaren Vale grew up around the properties of the first settlers in the district, Charles Thomas Hewitt and William Colton. Section 157 was subdivided to form the village of Gloucester in 1851 and the eastern part of Section 13 5 close by was subdivided to form the village of Bellevue in 1854. (The history and development of McLaren Vale have been detailed in the report prepared for the Schedule of Local Heritage Places within the township



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Page 16 of McLaren Vale by Rob Linn, 1994.) McLaren Vale's physical character of a "ribbon"

development is a result of the linking of these two villages by building development along the main road through to Willunga, and later subdivision has oc;curred on Sections both south- west and north-east of this road.

Willunga itself was first surveyed on Sections 258 and 268 District C for the owner of that land, Englishman Edward Moore. In 1840 a Government Reserve was established in Willunga as a stopping place for Government parties travelling south, and the earliest settlement established around the Bush Inn. The small town of Willunga was extended to the south in 1857 on Sections 700 and 703 (owned by the South Australian Company) by the subdivision of the areas between St Matthews Street, St Johns Terrace and St Andrews Terrace. This section of the town is subdivided on a more formal grid pattern and the town developed and expanded during the late 1850s.

Aldinga was first formally subdivided in 1857 and the first settlement located on the cross roads of the main south road to Cape Jervis along the coastal plain, and the road between Willunga and the outlet to the sea, at what became Port Willunga. The initial focus of the settlement at Aldinga, as with Willunga and McLaren Vale was the provision of hotel facilities for travellers along the road. The Aldinga Hotel and the Temperance Hotel on either side of the main road were augmented with blacksmith's facilities, a post office and other typical village activities as the town developed. The town of Aldinga was much more extensive than the current built up area, and it stretched as far as Little and Adey Road to the east where the settlement associated with White's Valley had sprung up during the 1850s.

Port Willunga was the focus of settlement from 1850 onwards when the first survey was drawn up by Edward Giles. It was further subdivided in 1866 and initially focused on the provision of jetty facilities at the coast and later the provision oftourist facilities.

Characteristically urban development within the district occurred in village form with the provision of basic facilities required to encourage closer settlement. The extension of transportation links, particularly roads and the later railway services gave impetus to these villages. The towns of the Willunga District tended not to expand greatly during the period after 1860 and it was not until into the twentieth century that many new buildings became an important part of the physical character of the towns.


Rural Development

The agricultural pursuits of the various periods of the development of the Willunga District have affected the natural landscape. The development of rural settlement in the district is based entirely on the early Sections, many of which remain un-subdivided even today. The more intense rural land subdivision has occurred on the plains area with the larger sections along the hills being retained on the whole. The appearance of the cultural landscape of the Willunga District has changed over time, the pastoral activities being replaced by intensive vine and almond growing, particularly in the early twentieth century.

Many seemingly insignificant elements remain which reflect the early period of settlement of the Willunga District as a farming area, and these include timber fences, early roadside planting, hedges, the use of pise and stone as building materials. All of these elements should be considered both significant and fragile, and great care be taken in the retention of as much as possible of them.




5.1 Background

This Heritage Survey has been based on the brief prepared by the State Heritage Branch for regional surveys and has been adapted for use in the Willunga District. A full survey of the Fleurieu Peninsular was undertaken in 1985 and some items and areas were identified as a result of that survey. Many of the places which were considered of State Heritage value in that survey have been included on the State Heritage Register, although a number of them were not.

In a sense, this Heritage Survey of the Willunga District is in the nature of a review, as a large number of places were identified in the early survey as being of local heritage value and the purpose of this current survey is to identifY places which have significance to the local area. It is also important to reassess those places which were not included in the State Heritage Register although initially identified as having State Heritage Value. In most cases these places have been reassessed here as Local Heritage Places. The criteria for State and Local Heritage Places which are included in the Heritage Act 1993 and the Development Act 1993 have been carefully considered to determine the relative value of each place.

5.2 Format

The historic areas already included in the Willunga Development Plan (December 1996) have been reassessed in Section 6.

The historic places considered have been documented on a Heritage Assessment Sheet and these form Section 7. This sheet includes the name and address of the place, the allotment and Section number where possible, the Certificate of Title (to be determined by Council) and also a survey number by area with the number of the place in the 1985 survey included in brackets beside this current survey number where this is relevant. There are a number of places included in this survey which were not the subject of assessment in the 1985 survey. In this case the number in brackets after the current survey number is (00).

The Heritage Assessment Sheet includes a written history and description of the structure or place, the determination of the relevant criteria under the Development Act, a description of the extent of listing of the place and the sources of information. The purpose of the building assessment sheet is to provide sufficient data with which to include the place in a Schedule of Local Heritage Places in a Heritage Plan Amendment Report which will be undertaken for the Council Area. The Heritage Assessment Sheet does not include the name of the current owner and this will need to be determined by Council for contact prior to the place being entered in the Schedule of Places for the Heritage Plan Amendment Report.

All accessible places were visited and where practicable all owners consulted. Further consultation will be required once a final schedule will be determined.




6.1 Historic Character (Port Willunga/Aldinga) Zone

This Zone is divided into four Policy Areas as follows:

6.1.1 Policy Area One- Port Willunga Beach/Foreshore Description of the Policy Area

Page 18

This area comprises the beach, Jetty remains, dug-out cliff access to the former Jetty and the cliff top area. The beach and foreshore area is of significance incorporating natural, historic and scenic features. The dug-outs and remains of the second Jetty built in 1868 (but destroyed in 1915), the remains of the cobblestone ramp (which was once the access road to the Jetty), the Cliff-top Lookout at the Kiosk (which gives views of the site of the "Star of Greece"

shipwreck), Cliffs and beach area provide evidence of historic themes of shipping, fishing and beach holidays.

Recommendations for the Policy Area

• Retention of current character is recommended and no construction of dominant new buildings should be allowed. The undeveloped nature of the foreshore is an essential part of its character.

• Stabilisation of Dug-outs may be necessary.

6.1.2 Policy Area Two- Port Willunga Core Character of the Policy Area

The character of this Policy Area derives from:

• The distinctive subdivisional layout radiating from the north-easterly point where Mindarie Street meets the original termination of William Street.

• The intense and established landscaped character, particularly the planting of pines over what was originally sand dunes, establishing a significant cultural landscape.

• The large number of unsurfaced dirt streets edged with pine trees establishing a rural and informal character.

• The collection of early buildings, particularly at the intersection of Star of Greece Road and Water Streets. These buildings range from early 1850s stone and render cottages through to 1920s holiday shacks.

• The informal landscaped character is also established through the use of artemisia hedge planting (for example at the Williams Street/Jetty Road intersection) and along Williams Street near the Esplanade. In addition the collection of Norfolk Pines at the end of Jetty Road are important landscape elements.



Contributory Places within the Policy Area

The following places contribute to the character of this Policy Area:

House, East Street e>.'tension (stone now rendered) (PWO 1) Former Dairy, East Street extension (PW02)

Fonner Butterworth Store, Esplanade (comer Jetty Road) (PW04) Former Guest House, Esplanade (comer Port Road) (PW03) Timber Cottage, Port Road (comer of Water Street) (Contributory) Former Temperance Hotel, Port Road (State Heritage Registered) Stone House, 17 Port Road (PW! 0)

House and Stone Wall, 19 Port Road (PW11)

1850s Rosa's Cottage and established pine tree, 15 Star of Greece Road (PW13) 1920s Cottage, 9


of Greece Road (Contributory)

Note: most of these places scheduled above have been assessed in Section 7 as individual Local Heritage Places.

Recommendations for the Policy Area:

• It is recommended that the historic core of Port Willunga within Policy Area Two be declared an Historic (Conservation) Zone or special Historic Conservation Policy Area to allow for careful control over the historic and cultural heritage character of this small core area.

• Planning Provisions should provide for the retention of established trees, notably the mature Aleppo Pines, Norfolk Island Pines, established Casuarinas and hedging elements. Any tree removal should require approval from Council and should only be undertaken where trees are in a dangerous condition and a threat to public safety.

• The practice of road closure should be retained. This has successfully cut off any heavy traffic through this important area and removes the pressure to seal the side streets off Port Road.

• Unsealed roads should be retained in their current state within the proposed Historic Conservation Zone to maintain the rural, informal character of this zone which provides an appropriate visual framework for the collection of important early buildings.

• Design Guidelines for new development, particularly within this proposed Historic Conservation Zone should be prepared to ensure the retention of the Zone's character.

Specific guidelines should be developed for the former Butterworth Store, the former Guest House and the House on East Street extension, all of which could be reinstated to close to original appearance to the front elevation, based where possible on early photographic evidence.



Page 20






View down Water Street showing unswfaced road and remnant fence posts

· View of Holtham House (former Temperance Hotel)

View along Port Road showing unformed edging of swfaced road and stone ·walling


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