I am a freelance writer, photographer & fitness instructor. I enjoy hiking and kayaking and writing walking. Facebook https://www.facebook.com/greataussiewalks
Published August 10th 2016
Escape the City in Jamestown
From the moment you arrive in the wide multi lane main street, with car parking down the centre of the road and a large mosaic sign depicting friendly sheep, you know that Jamestown is going to be an interesting place.
The friendly sheep sign greets you when you get to Jamestown. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
Situated on the banks of the Belalie Creek, Jamestown is named after Sir James Ferguson; the Governor of South Australia during the time the town was surveyed in 1871. Originally inhabited by the Ngadjuri people, the area was first explored by Edward John Eyre in 1839 and soon became populated by European pastoralists who ran sheep on large stations. With growth in agricultural activities and the development of the Bundaleer Forest, prospects for adventurous settlers were promising, resulting a rapid expansion in the population. More than 100 stonemasons were employed to meet the demands of the rapidly growing town, many of these building still stand in the streets of Jamestown today, including the heritage listed Eudunda Farmers Store, Jamestown Post Office and the National Australia Bank, built in 1885.
The mural of the Butcher's Shop in Jamestown. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
Jamestown has played an important part in the history of South Australia, which is portrayed in the murals on the walls of the Jamestown buildings. Telling the story of pioneers and early settlers, the murals depict the earlier days in the town through to today. Among the heritage artworks are paintings of Ayr Street, the town's main street, as it was in 1878 and the first butcher's shop, which has been continuously operating longer than any other in Australia. Painted by Ian Walker, the mural of the wall of Glasgow House was painted in 1971 to celebrate the town's centenary, it was repainted in 2013. Other murals were originally painted by former Jamestown art teacher John Whitney, assisted by local school students. Jamestown is so dedicated to maintaining the murals that local sign writers retouch the murals to keep them looking vibrant.
The mural of the early days in Jamestown, painted by Ian Walker. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
The town has been called home by several celebrities including the bush outfitter Reginald Murray (RM) Williams, whose interpretive display located in Memorial Park, includes a wooden bust of RM Williams and information panels retelling the success story of Australia's most famous rural clothing manufacturer.
Former state Premier Sir John Cockburn, who was also the town's first mayor and doctor, was responsible for planting the trees which still line the town's main street and laying the foundation stones for the Anglican Church in 1880. His well-preserved home, located on the corner of Cockburn and Clifton Streets is now a function and accommodation venue.
Actor Paul Cronin, star of the TV series The Sullivans and Matlock, was born in Jamestown. As the son of a farmer, he carried on the family tradition by becoming a farmer himself before moving his family to Melbourne to work for an engineering company and ultimately one of Australia's iconic actors.
Jamestown Railway Station in 1890. Today the building is a museum on Irvine Street. Photo: B61414 State Library of South Australia "
Irvine Street, which intersects with Ayr Street in the town centre, is home to the Jamestown Railway Station Museum situated on the site of the old Railway Station built in 1878. A National Trust building, the museum contains local memorabilia, a collection of agricultural equipment and a railway carriage. Open Monday to Saturday 10.00 am to 4.00 pm
For something a little different, The Depot on Irvine, near the Belalie Creek, is a family business selling locally crafted jewelry, art, clothing and homewares. Located in the old depot building, formerly the power generation building and the CFS headquarters, the Irvine Street shop is also a welcoming place for coffee and cake on weekends and public holidays.
Jamestown has a selection of eateries to suit any taste. The Jamestown Bakery has been baking delicious pastries since it opened in 1880 and good pub food can be found at the Jamestown Hotel and the Commercial Hotel. A cozy bistro style café, Table 4T7 serves healthy food options, as well as coffee and cake, as well as catering for gluten free dietary requirements.
If markets are your passion, Bindlestick The Store is a unique store located on Ayr Street, selling a range of local produce including fruit, vegetables, small goods, cheeses and breads is a great place to stock up on food for a picnic or barbecue near the Belalie Creek, which meanders through Jamestown.
The interesting veranda at the Commercial Hotel. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
Walking and cycling trails in and around Jamestown provide the opportunity to get out to explore the countryside and the nearby Bundaleer forest. Situated 9km south of Jamestown, Bundaleer, meaning stony place, was the first plantation forest established in Australia. A popular location with families and groups, the forest facilities include picnic and sporting facilities, as well as an Arboretum Seasonal camping facilities such as Curnow's Hut, home of the first nurseryman in the area are available for hire through ForestrySA.
Forest walking trails, accessed from the picnic grounds, include the easy, 800m return Sculpture Trail, the 1.5km return Maple Trail and the Scenic and Conservators Trails, both 4.6km moderate level walks through forest paths. The Heysen and Mawson Trails also pass through the forest, although some sections are closed due to bush fire damage.
Curnow's Hut is available for camping from April to November. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
Cycling enthusiasts can enjoy the longer 33km Jamestown-Bundaleer loop trail, which travels south from Jamestown to the Bundaleer Forest, returning via a Sugar Gum plantation located in the north of the forest. If you prefer to cycle north, try one of the two loops on the Mannanarie Cycle Trail. Suitable for advanced cyclists, the 55 and 54km loops travel across the plains of the Southern Flinders Ranges, through Mannanarie to Mount Lock. If you didn't bring your bike, you can hire one from the Country Retreat Caravan Park.
Jamestown is a three hour drive from Adellaide, it might take a bit longer in this wagon from Ayr Street in Jamestown. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
Jamestown is a 3-hour drive along sealed roads from Adelaide, along Main North Road, Horrocks Highway and RM Williams Way. Alternatively, buses run regularly between Adelaide and Jamestown on the Mid North Passenger Service. Whatever you like to do with your day, a visit to Jamestown can provide the setting for a great day out in rural South Australia.
A very nice town...lots of well kept old buildings...Paul Cronin was a very fast schoolboy runner over 100 and 200 metres...perhaps the fastest over these distances in 1955.I have only spent a short time in the forest....would like to explore more..music festivals have been held here in the past.
The local aerodrome is (or was) named for Sir Hubert Wilkins, polymathic adventurer and aviation pioneer of a century ago, Wilkins was born in the Upper North, where Jamestown is located (not mentioned by reviewer), was a hero to Dick Smith and others, but remains largely unknown to the SA public.