Heritage Trail


to the McLaren Vale Heritage Trail

Take time out to enjoy this trail – but be aware there are many distractions along the way; restaurants and eateries to tempt your tastebuds with fine foods and local produce; wineries with products that will more than satisfy your palate and a number of craft shops, galleries and other points of interest to keep you occupied. Subject to your interests, the trail could take a few hours, half a day or even all day. Break it up into small pieces to suit yourself.


The survey of the McLaren Vale District in the Hundred of Willunga, was completed in 1839 by the Government Surveyor John Wingate McLaren after whom the district took it’s name. In the last few weeks of 1839 the first settlers, Charles Hewett and William Colton, farmers from Devonshire, took up land in the area.

The villages of Gloucester to the East, surveyed in 1850, and Bellevue to the West, surveyed in 1854 developed within the township of McLaren Vale.

Early life was founded on farming with an emphasis on cereal crops. Evidence of the prosperity in the district at the time could be seen by the number of flour mills in the region. The only remnants of a mill building of that era to be found in McLaren Vale today, formerly the Mortlock Mill, forms part of the Hardy Tintara Winery complex.

The 1850’s saw a dramatic exodus of labour from the area when settlers either left for the Victorian Goldfields or took up new land in other areas of the State.

Vineyards as an alternative crop began to appear.
A large dried fruit industry was established – currants, prunes and apricots. Almonds also became an important local industry.

A lot of these industries have since disappeared and have been replaced by ever expanding vineyard plantings. There are now over 70 wineries in the district that cater for cellar door sales and tastings. Many world class wines are produced in this area. 


Main Road, Mclaren Vale

For more than half a decade, the McLaren Vale wine community has celebrated the culmination of the McLaren Vale Wine Show through the Bushing tradition.

The tradition dates back to medieval times when tavern owners would place ivy bushes above their tavern doors to celebrate the arrival of the new vintage wine, or fresh mead. The hanging ivy represented the opportunity to savour wines at their best.

In the early 1970’s, McLaren Vale winemakers incorporated this tradition to welcome the release of new vintage wines, by hanging olive branches over their cellar doors. Nowadays, olive branches (and their olives) are much more valuable, but the tradition still continues with olive trees placed (or planted) outside cellar doors.

McLaren Vale’s first wine show committee was formed in 1973 with the first wine show held that year.

Whilst McLaren Vale is one of Australia’ oldest wine regions, it is devoid of pomp and ceremony – except for the crowning of the Bushing King or Queen.

The winemaker of the ‘Best Wine of Show’ is crowned as the Bushing King or Queen at the McLaren Vale Wine Show Bushing Lunch and this is cause for much celebration.

Trace the history of the Bushing Kings & Queens as you walk along Main Road, McLaren Vale (commencing at the corner of Valleyview Drive and heading east along Main Road). 


Produced by the McLaren Vale Business and Tourism Association www.McLarenValeBusiness.com.au 



A. Richard B. Aldersey built a cottage at the western- end of Bellevue in 1850 and planted a garden and a date palm. This tall thin tree is still growing and is a significant feature on the landscape. In 1851 he purchased land and built a large ironstone house and named it “Amery”. Now part of the Kays Amery Vineyard. B. Bellevue School Home, (Ellen Street) now Chalk Hill Road. The Bellevue school situated behind The Barn, functioned from 1850–1873. While the school building has long since gone, the headmasters residence still stands and is used as a private residence. C. Sylvan Park built in 1858, was the original home of Thomas Colton later owned by the Pridmore family. It is approached through a long avenue of original olive trees leading from Main Road to the house. A single sturdy original wooden gate post stands at the entrance to the olive grove. This is now a private residence. D. Moreton Bay Fig Tree. At the rear of the Hotel McLaren, but in the grounds of Hardy Tintara Winery, stands a magnificent specimen of a Moreton Bay Fig tree, classified on the National Trust Register of Significant Trees. E. Old Manse built in l864, at the rear of the hospital and adjacent to Tsong Gyiaou was the residence for Congregational Ministers. This building and Tsong Gyaiou can be approached from Aldersey Street by passing through the avenue of eucalyptus (gum) trees planted by Miss M A Aldersey when she built Tsong Gyiaou in 1862. The ‘manse building’ is now a private residence. 


F. The original village area for Gloucester is a worthwhile place to wander at leisure. First settled by Devonshire farmers, there are a number of fine examples of late 19th Century cottages nestled amongst more modern types of architecture.

G. Gidding’s Cottage at 19 Mudge Street is typical of such early cottages. 


H. Daringa, the native name for “swampy surroundings”, was the original home for William Colton, one of the Devonshire farmers who took up land in the area in December 1839. 


I. Oxenberry Farm owned by Charles T Hewett who also took up land in the area in December 1839 – a neighbour of William Colton. Next to the winery is the remains of “Blackfellow’s Well”.

For almost 50 years most of the water for the village was carried from here by the women and children. The most common method was a yolk over the shoulder, carrying a bucket on each end. The well dried up about the time the concrete drains were built.

Because Blackfellow’s Well was a frequent meeting place for the settlers, early church services were conducted nearby. A bullock wagon beneath a large gum tree was used as a pulpit. In November 1844 the small congregation moved to the thatched pug chapel known as “The House of The Lord”. 


Selected Reference Material:

The Rich Valley by Adele Pridmore
The Third Bridge Tsong Gyiaou by Ira Nesdale
Hope Farm Chronicles by Geoffrey H Manning
Cradle of Adversity by Rob Lim
Wines & Wineries of the Southern Vales by Rosemary Burden A History of McLaren Vale and the Martin Family-
a manuscript by Alfred I Martin
A Family Tradition In Fine Wine Making – 125 Years’ Thomas Hardy & Sons
by Rosemary Burden.
Mortlock Library, National Trust S.A., Willunga Branch. 



1. Uniting Church. Site of the Wesleyan Methodist Church opened 14th April 1858.

2. The Barn. Formerly a coach stop used as an overnight stage for drivers and passengers on horse drawn coaches and teamsters with their bullock teams travelling the Adelaide to Victor Harbor Road.

3. Marieberg Limeburners Centre. The original cottage was built in 1854 taking it’s name from the occupation of one of it‘s later inhabitants,a brick layer who burnt lime behind the cottage to make mortar used by local builders.

4. Hotel McLaren. From 1857 – 1901 was known as The Clifton Hotel and was purchased by Thomas Hardy in 1901. He added a gable wing to each end and called it The Bellevue Hotel. The current name has been in use since 1939.

5. McLaren Vale Fruit Packers. The current structure was built in 1936, replacing a tin packing shed erected in 1928. It was the site for processing dried fruit and almonds. Fruit and almond processing ceased around the mid 1970‘s.

6. Hardy Tintara Winery. Originally established in 1852 as the McLaren Vale Union Flour Mill. Renamed the Mortlock Mill in 1855 and changed to the Mill Cellars when purchased by Thomas Hardy in 1878. Finally named Tintara Cellars when he transferred his operations from the old Tintara Vineyard.

7. Almond Train. Heritage carriages once used on the Adelaide to Willunga line 1915 – 1969. The carriages are situated on the old railway embankment. 


8. The halfway tree. Situated halfway between the villages of Gloucester and Bellevue, the tree became an unofficial boundary between the villages.

9. Institute Building. The original hall opened in1894 and became the centre of the town`s social life for 40 years. The foundation stone for the new building was laid in 1933.

l0. Tatachilla Winery. Built in 1901 by Cyril Pridmore and called “The Wattles”.

ll. McLaren Vale Galleries. Former Devonshire Arms Hotel/Tavern. The first hotel in the area built in 1849 by William Colton.

12. Ellis Park. Former location of William Ingram’s butcher shop and residence in the 1850s.

13. Congregational Church. Built in 1850. Closed in 1977 when the congregation amalgamated with the Uniting Church.

14. Main Road Streetscape 1910. Looking northwards from the corner of Aldersey Street and Main Road.

15. Nichol’s Store. A new general store and post office with house attached, built by Robert J Nichol in 1890. Now a car park for a shopping centre.

16. The Chapel. Commonly referred to as the “House of the Lord”. The first church in the town built in 1844 was used by several denominations.

17. The Public School. The original rear section was built in 1865. The school is now used as clubrooms for the R.S.L. 


18. Tsong Gyiaou (Third Bridge). The former home of Mary Ann Aldersey, a missionary who had spent considerable time in China. After her death (1868) her nieces enlarged the premises and established a boarding school for girls(1868 – 1903).

19. Morgan’s Blacksmith. Established in the mid-l800’s, John Morgan set up a smithy, wheelwright, and carpenters shop on the corner of Tatachilla Road and Main South Road.

20. Ferris Saddlery. After setting up his initial business in the home of Mrs Jarrad in Mudge Street, John Ferris built this stone premises in 1880.

21. St. Margaret’s Anglican Church. ln 1905 Thomas Hardy donated the land for this church.
The foundation stone was laid in 1911.

22. Salopian Inn. Formerly Gumprs Hostelry (1851–1853), Salopian Hotel (1854 – 1859). The Volunteers Inn l860. Since then, reverting and remaining The Salopian.

23. Mrs Jarrad’s Store. In the late l800’s, Mrs Jarrad established a haberdashery and millinery shop which later became Chillingworth’s Store.

24. McLaren Vale Railway Station site. The Adelaide to Willunga railway line operated from 1915–1969. The old railway line through to Willunga, with a sealed surface, now forms a linear park for cyclists and walkers. The Station Master’s house, now a private residence, can be seen further along the linear park.

25. Site of Pavy’s Brewery. Operating from circa 1850 to 1863. Benjamin Pavy with his sons established
a brewery, making use of the abundance of barley being grown in the area at the time. 

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