Thousands of motorists pass along Main South Road and Majors road at O'Halloran Hill every day. Many are doing their daily commute, with their minds focused on their destination. Will it be a good day at work? What will they do for lunch? And why is the traffic so bad?
Few of these commuters would know about the large green space at O'Halloran Hill near the Majors Road intersection. Even fewer would know anything about what has happened in those green fields over the last 160 years.
An Aerial Photo of Glenthorne Farm Today. Could it Become Glenthorne National Park?
This part of O'Halloran Hill has had a long and eventful history. In the early days of the colony Thomas Shuldham O'Halloran settled here, building his home Lizard Lodge. O'Halloran farmed the land successfully and became South Australia's first police commissioner.
After O'Halloran's death, the farm was bought by Thomas Porter who built a far grander three storey residence (Glenthorne Lodge) and renamed the property to Glenthorne.
Glenthorne Remount Branch Lancers Escort the Governor to Parliament in 1937 (Image: State Library SA B-9936)
Just prior to World War 1 the property was acquired by the Commonwealth government to become the No. 9 depot for the Remount Branch of the Army. As many as 17,000 horses were trained here for use in both world wars, with some used domestically at Keswick Barracks and Fort Largs.
The eventful history of Glenthorne continued post-war, when it was operated by the CSIRO as an experimental station for some years. Many of the buildings from this era still stand.
Friends of Glenthorne Revegetation Area & Wartime Munitions Huts
In 2001 Glenthorne Farm was acquired by the South Australian government for the University of Adelaide and has since been used for growing genetically modified crops, and as a sheep farm. The University have made a number of attempts to profit from this huge area of open space and to develop it for housing contrary to their deed of ownership.
The Friends of Glenthorne have been fighting since 1998 to conserve this magnificent green space, its heritage buildings, and protect the remnant ancient Grey Box trees that are still here. The Friends have worked hard to protect and promote the heritage of Glenthorne Farm, where some heritage buildings date back to the 1850's.
Discover Glenthorne's History in This 1850's Coach House
As part of South Australia's History Festival the Friends of Glenthorne invite you to discover Lizard Lodge and Glenthorne Farm at their Open Day on Sunday May 28 (donation appreciated at entry).
Three experts in their field will talk about different phases of the history of Glenthorne: Dr Keryn Walshe will start with a short presentation about Major Thomas O'Halloran and Lizard Lodge, in the historic 1850's coach house once used by the former police commissioner.
13th Field Artillery at O'Halloran Hill 1938 (Image: State Library SA B-10168)
Next up is Dr Pam Smith, Senior Research Fellow from Flinders University Department of Archaeology. Pam has done extensive research into the No.9 Remount Depot at Glenthorne, which was owned by the Australian Army for over 30 years. She will present for the first time the fascinating story of the men and horses who trained at O'Halloran Hill, illustrated with original and unseen photos from the period.
After refreshments, the final part of the Open Day is a tour of the Glenthorne Farm's Heritage Precinct containing State heritage buildings dating from the 1840's and 1850's. Unfortunately, it won't be possible to see inside the wartime munitions magazines because the University of Adelaide forbid entry to these, but the earlier buildings are fascinating to see.
Thomas O'Halloran in 1856 - First Police Commissioner of South Australia (Image: State Library SA B447)
The Friends of Glenthorne invite visitors to join them in a walking tour of the property as the last activity of the day. See how their hard work of revegetation is improving the land. Your experienced tour guide will be able to identify the native plants and animals, and you may be lucky to see kangaroos or koalas on your walking tour. There are also many native birds to look out for as you walk this beautiful green space.
For more information about the Open Day at Glenthorne Farm see the History Festival event listing.
Friends of Glenthorne Work to Conserve Ancient Trees at Glenthorne
The Liberal Party have promised to create a Glenthorne National Park if elected in South Australia. This would safeguard this wonderful green space from unnecessary development while encouraging recreational use. To date, the Labor Party have made no promise to match Glenthorne National Park, and Glenthorne's future remains uncertain at present.
Refreshments will be available at the Open Day. Parking is available off Major's Road in the IQRA primary school grounds (opposite the gate to Glenthorne). Disabled parking is available within Glenthorne grounds – ask the volunteer at the gate. A donation is requested to cover our expenses.