Blackwood was so named due to the dark limbs of the native sheoak and grey box gums prolific in the area.
The suburb started out with land sub-division during the 1840's - 1850's and soon became a fashionable place to live away from the warmer Adelaide Plains, however until a railway was opened in the 1880's, Blackwood was evidently isolated from the city of Adelaide.
Hence a separate community flourished with its own activities and events.
Despite its isolation and difficulty in farming and shepherding stock due to steep gullies and lack of surface water, Blackwood still managed to develop and thrive.
Coromandel Valley was established similarly to Blackwood and residents soon discovered the difficulty of farming and particularly how hard it was to utilise the new inventions of farm machinery due to the steep terrain.
Hence horses were used for a longer period in these areas to achieve limited success.
Coromandel Valley however had fertile soil and an agreeable climate and was able to produce products for the export market including almonds, olives, apricots and figs.
The gradual improvement of roads and transport facilities led to rapid expansion in population and infrastructure.
Pubs were always an early addition to communities and two in the area had a great influence on the development and growth of both Blackwood and Coromandel Valley.
The Belair Hotel started out as the Blackwood Inn in 1869 and today is a much visited watering hole on Main Road at Blackwood.
Having been renovated, the hotel boasts a bistro, dining room, main bar, cellars and function rooms.
The Bistro and the Main Bar, which is open daily until 9 pm has a wide selection of meals ranging from pizzas to pub classics and selections of Curries, Roast Lamb, Atlantic Salmon and Beef Wellington Eye Fillet.
The large use of glass allows you to gaze out at the rural views in a modern setting.
Another rustic pub nestled in Coromandel Valley is the Duck Inn, which boasts a picturesque verandah again in a rural setting and the menu offers a selection of traditional pub classics as well as tapas and restaurant quality meals.
Main course prices vary between $22 and $35 which is quite reasonable these days for pub fare.
The Duck Inn also offers happy hours between 5 pm and 6 pm Monday to Friday and between 3 pm and 6 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
If you are into live music, there are regular performances by blues, jazz and rock/pop artists at the popular venue.
Further info can be sourced on their website Duck Inn
The area around Blackwood and Coromandel Valley is renowned for its historic dwellings including a local heritage two storey Italianate mansion on Coromandel Parade in Blackwood dating from 1881. The mansion was originally built for a Member of Parliament, William Townsend and is well preserved today.
Coromandel Valley also lays claim to some historic buildings such as the Old Post Office and the Biscuit Factory which have interpretive signage marking the spot where these businesses operated from.
The Coromandel Valley and District Branch of National Trust plan to open up an historic building on the main road which will grant access by the community to historic records of the area.
The main hub of Blackwood today is thriving and a visit to the area reveals how busy it has become with several major shopping centres, boutiques, craft shops and other specialised stores.
It is always a challenge to negotiate the main roundabout in the heart of Blackwood with the large influx of traffic attracted to the area.
It is also great to see some of the heritage buildings being utilised for businesses such as The Big Dog Studio housed in the Coromandel Valley Institute Building which specialises in glass, whether it be splashbacks, tabletops, windows, giftware and screens.
Blackwood,Coromandel Vally and Hawthorndene..linked together,make quite an interesting and picturesque area,if one can have the time and patience to search around.I think a brochure should be created illustrating and telling people what's on offer.The area has the potential to be more vibrant than it is.It is still a little bit country off the beaten track and with at least 3 Railway Stations servicing the area,the city folk can walk from these to some nice places.Personally,I like the area for walking,except in the summer months.