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Colin Thiele Drive

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by Steve Hudson (subscribe)
Inspired by Australia's natural, developing and fun environments. Join me. Get some inspiration.
Published July 19th 2015
Through the eyes of one of SA's greatest writers
Colin Thiele is renowned as one of Australia's best known and most loved educators and writers. He was born near Eudunda in 1920 and was educated at several local schools which often required long travel. Thiele used his time well by reading, observing and taking in the countryside. Indeed, it was these early years in the Eudunda area that made a life-long impression on Thiele, and is the basis of his first work "Sun on the Stubble" which recounts his boyhood in Eudunda and the surrounding areas.

Colin Thiele Drive, Eudunda, Eudunda Heritage Gallery, Julia School, Hampden Railway Station, Sun and the Stubble, Storm Boy, Blue Fin, Eudunda Centenary Gardens, Lavender Federation Trail
Sunrise over Eudunda - Steve Hudson

"Sun on the Stubble" was published in 1961 and since then Thiele wrote more than fifty wonderful award-winning books for children. His books are now read and loved around the world. In 1977 he was awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia for his services to literature and education.

Colin Thiele Drive, Eudunda, Eudunda Heritage Gallery, Julia School, Hampden Railway Station, Sun and the Stubble, Storm Boy, Blue Fin, Eudunda Centenary Gardens, Lavender Federation Trail
Colin Thiele - Steve Hudson


As testament to the high regard the people of Eudunda feel for this son of theirs, they have erected a bronze statue of him in the gardens of the town, and are currently proposing to undertake the restoration of his birthplace as a living museum to this great man. This restoration includes the dedication of a 25km self-guided tourist drive of the region highlighting spots of interest from the early life of Eudunda's favourite son. This tour takes in the scenic beauty the district has to offer whilst with the numerous points of interest fronted with plaques of 'Gustav and his Dog'.

Colin Thiele Drive, Eudunda, Eudunda Heritage Gallery, Julia School, Hampden Railway Station, Sun and the Stubble, Storm Boy, Blue Fin, Eudunda Centenary Gardens, Lavender Federation Trail
Colin Thiele Statue - Steve Hudson


Starting at the Family Heritage Gallery in the main street, the tour heads to the backstreets of Eudunda where Colin's two somewhat eccentric uncles, Fred and August lived and where Colin stayed when he received his upper primary education at Eudunda Primary School. It was here where Colin first heard the stories of "Uncle Gustav's Ghosts", stories that he used in later books.

Colin Thiele Drive, Eudunda, Eudunda Heritage Gallery, Julia School, Hampden Railway Station, Sun and the Stubble, Storm Boy, Blue Fin, Eudunda Centenary Gardens, Lavender Federation Trail
Fred and August - Steve Hudson


On the outskirts of town is the former Mutter Knabe's Nursing Home where Colin was born. Like many spots on this drive, it is now a well kept and maintained private residence. Further up the main road to Point Pass is the small settlement of Emmaus, which was founded in 1872 with a church, manse and later a school. Little remains of this settlement apart from the Cemetery.

Colin Thiele Drive, Eudunda, Eudunda Heritage Gallery, Julia School, Hampden Railway Station, Sun and the Stubble, Storm Boy, Blue Fin, Eudunda Centenary Gardens, Lavender Federation Trail
Former Mutter Knabe's Nursing Home - Steve Hudson


Rabbits were introduced in to Australia in the 19th Century during the time of Colin's parents. Initially pets, they soon became pests, and during one rabbit plague a rabbit cannery factory was built in the hills of Eudunda just around the corner from the Thiele House. Today the remains can be seen from the road alongside one of the largest dairy farms in the district.

Colin Thiele Drive, Eudunda, Eudunda Heritage Gallery, Julia School, Hampden Railway Station, Sun and the Stubble, Storm Boy, Blue Fin, Eudunda Centenary Gardens, Lavender Federation Trail
Rabbit Cannery Factory - Steve Hudson


Louann Park sits atop a hill providing views across the valleys. Unfortunately the Park has not been well maintained, and it takes some bush bashing to get oneself in to a position to see clearly some of the views visible from the Thiele House. However further down Scenic Road are some majestic views towards the Murray River before we reach the first home of Colin Thiele from 1920 until 1936.

Colin Thiele Drive, Eudunda, Eudunda Heritage Gallery, Julia School, Hampden Railway Station, Sun and the Stubble, Storm Boy, Blue Fin, Eudunda Centenary Gardens, Lavender Federation Trail
Colin Thiele's first home - Steve Hudson


Leaving Colin's home, we travel further along the ridge line with views of the golden spire at the Point Pass Lutheran Church, before veering towards the old and former township of Julia where the tiny Julia Primary School which Colin attended still stands. It was here that Colin learnt to speak English as German was the language spoken at home.

Colin Thiele Drive, Eudunda, Eudunda Heritage Gallery, Julia School, Hampden Railway Station, Sun and the Stubble, Storm Boy, Blue Fin, Eudunda Centenary Gardens, Lavender Federation Trail
Great vistas - Steve Hudson


The Julia Lutheran Church and cemetery where Colin's parents and grandparents are buried is on the right before we reach the township of Hampden. The extended Thiele family were one of the first German families to arrive in South Australia in 1839, with Colin's Grandfather arriving in 1855.

Colin Thiele Drive, Eudunda, Eudunda Heritage Gallery, Julia School, Hampden Railway Station, Sun and the Stubble, Storm Boy, Blue Fin, Eudunda Centenary Gardens, Lavender Federation Trail
Former Julia School - Steve Hudson


Hampden Railway Station was where Colin caught the train each day to head to Kapunda High School at 7am before returning at 8.30pm each night, and then had a 5km bicycle ride to home. The railway line was closed many years ago, but remnants of the platform and the former store of AG Obst remain.

Colin Thiele Drive, Eudunda, Eudunda Heritage Gallery, Julia School, Hampden Railway Station, Sun and the Stubble, Storm Boy, Blue Fin, Eudunda Centenary Gardens, Lavender Federation Trail
Hampden Railway Station - Steve Hudson


The Eudundacowie Springs are hidden in the hillside near the entrance to the town of Eudunda and behind the large entry statement of Colin. The tour ends at the Centenary Gardens in the main street, where a large statue of Colin and his dog overlook the well maintained gardens and facilities. Colin Thiele passed away in 2006 aged 85 years having received a Companionship of the Order of Australia some 30 years earlier.

Colin Thiele Drive, Eudunda, Eudunda Heritage Gallery, Julia School, Hampden Railway Station, Sun and the Stubble, Storm Boy, Blue Fin, Eudunda Centenary Gardens, Lavender Federation Trail
Centenary Gardens - Steve Hudson


Printed information on the tour is available from the Eudunda Heritage Gallery website. Alternatively an app has been created by daytrippa.com which provides an electronic description of the tour along with some colorful and recent photographs of each of the points along the way.
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Why? A great Australian writer
When: Any time
Where: Eudunda, South Australia
Cost: Free
Your Comment
A great story of a great man, thanks for sharing.
by Jenny Rossiter (score: 3|3748) 794 days ago
A truly fascinating story of a great South Australian, thank you so much Steve
by Paula McManus (score: 3|2620) 794 days ago
Loved his books during school. Good to see he has been remembered.
by Stefano (score: 2|145) 793 days ago
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