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Published April 26th 2015
From Copper to Canola, Kadina has it all
The largest town on South Australia's Yorke Peninsula is Kadina - a town with a long history and almost 5,000 residents. The name Kadina stems from the Aboriginal 'kadiyinya', meaning lizard plain. It was during 1859 that many rich deposits of copper were discovered and a thriving mining industry soon developed around the town. The mines closed during the 1920's, and Kadina became an important agricultural centre, but this rich mining history has been retained with the introduction of the self guided tour known as Kadina Heritage Trail or Tourist Drive 40.
The tour starts alongside the historic railway station (1878), which like many of the buildings in the town, is now a private residence. Passing the Money Museum on the right, the drive heads along Lipson Avenue past some fine examples of Cornish accommodation before heading it to the suburb known as Wallaroo Mines.
It was near this suburb in 1860 that formal extraction of copper took place, prior to the copper being transported to Wallaroo for smelting and eventual export. The mines area is a shell of its former past, and remnants of mines, enginehouses and other mine related buildings remain in that large area.
Travelling around the back of the Wallaroo Mine area, the tour takes us past the former Police Residence, the Wallaroo Mines Institute, more traditional Cornish cottages and the various individual mine sites known as Devon Mine and Matta Mine.
Matta House was built in 1863 as the residence of the Manager of Matta Mine is an example of Cornish architecture that had been tempered following several hot South Australian summers, and some mild winters. Alongside Matta House is the Farm Shed Museum and the Copper Coast Visitor Information Centre where much information can be found in respect of things to do on the Copper Coast.
The tour now heads back in to town past many commercial, community, religious and residential buildings where many fine examples of the Cornish miners' architecture can be seen throughout the drive. Victoria Square is the centre piece of the town of Kadina, with lush green lawns, shady trees and facilities for those who want to stop and spend the afternoon in the Square. On the northwestern side of the Square is the War Memorial, sitting within the shadows of the mighty Town Hall.
The oldest cottage in the town is thought to be at 63 Taylor Street and is the only survivor of its type, with a Parapet built to prevent snow from building up on the skillion roof, something that new Cornish immigrants in the mid 19th Century believed occurred in all parts of the world. Meanwhile the Kadina Hotel, built originally in 1904, continues to operate today as a fine establishment serving excellent pub meals.
One building which piqued my interest was the former Druids Hall (1890) which at one stage in its interesting life was the home to the Kadina Left Hand Club Inc. The history of this club is hard to find, and hence lends itself to the creation of its own stories as to why left handed people were considered so different that they needed a club for themselves.
Beyond the centre of the town, the tour takes us past the Kadina Cemetery (1865) before finally ending near the start at the Salvation Army Hall (1912). The Kadina Heritage Trail 40 is around 12km in length, and can take 1-2 hours to complete depending upon how long one takes to explore the mines area. As an alternative, and for those fit ones amongst us, the tour could be completed as an easy walk either in whole or in parts over several days.
Steve, what a pity the Wallaroo Mines area is so run down.I remember that as you approached Kadina from Paskeville,you could see the the dump/slag heap,which was very high.A feature that has been removed due to safety reasons I believe.Why the council never invested some time,effort and money to substantially tidy up this historic area is beyond me.Maybe,you have some clues as to why?Kadina has some very nice architecture and many fine homes and is well worth taking the tourist drive,you have mentioned.I remember they use to say up that way,the drive between Kadina and Wallaroo was the shortest 6 miles in Aust.It certainly seems that way,even more so today,with the 2 towns almost touching one another.