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Published April 18th 2017
A town almost frozen in time
Kapunda Historical Society Museum in a Former Baptist Church
Kapunda is a South Australian town on the fringe of the Barossa Valley with a rich history of mining and agriculture. Its grand heritage buildings, abandoned mine workings, and heritage trails all contribute to the charm of Kapunda's attractions and provide lots of fun for kids and adults when you visit.
Tourists passing through the town are pleasantly surprised by the range of things to see and do in Kapunda, and staff at the Visitor Information Centre are quick to offer helpful recommendations to suit your interests. The Light Regional Council is keen to capture this interest, planning a new Town Square to create a focus for visitors to enjoy the Kapunda heritage attractions.
Kapunda Museum The Kapunda Historical Society Museum is the heart of Kapunda heritage attractions and is housed in a magnificent former Baptist church. As you enter the museum it's almost like time has stopped: the huge building is packed with a collection of objects from the past and nostalgic memorabilia. It can be a bit overwhelming - I found that I skipped through until I found a collection of interest, then stayed a long time browsing it.
There are too many things to list everything in the Kapunda Historical Society Museum collection, but here's a sample of what to expect:
I spent hours browsing the Kapunda Museum collection, but a family with young children may find them getting bored. The addition of a few interactive displays would help - kids would love to play with an old telephone, or a phonograph that no longer works. An area for children to play with a few vintage toys would make their visit much more memorable, and let parents focus on the museum displays.
Kapunda Heritage Attractions: Church History Display
Another way to improve the heritage tourism experience at Kapunda Museum is to partner with other local interest groups to offer activities for kids. The Tea Tree Gully Heritage Museum is very good at this, using working blacksmith displays and food to create fun for kids and adults.
The Kapunda Historical Society has done a magnificent job of developing their collection, and it's the most sought after attraction in the town. I hope that they can consider these suggestions to increase the potential of their tourist attractions.
You can ride a bike or drive your car to follow the Kapunda heritage trail, or just see the highlights on an easy walk. There are more than 40 heritage buildings and other places to visit on the Kapunda heritage trail - read a review of it or download the brochure here.
Kapunda Mine Trail The Kapunda Mine Trail is an easy walk of 1.5 kilometres and tells you the story how Kapunda mines helped save South Australia from financial ruin. Read about the mine trail here. See the Light Regional Council website for even more about Kapunda trails.
The North Kapunda Hotel Is the North Kapunda Hotel haunted? That decision is for you to make, but many visitors believe that it is true. There are also stories of a haunted Kapunda cemetery too, with pages of ghostly sightings and paranormal explorations on the internet. Why not take the Ghost Crime Tour to find out?
One of the first places to visit in Kapunda is the Kapunda Bakery, where you'll enjoy delicious country baked pastries. But before you buy lunch, take a quick detour to the free Kapunda Bakery Museum downstairs. It tells how baking has changed in the last hundred years, and gives lots of insights to Kapunda history.
Families with children are always on the lookout for free things to do, and Davidson Reserve has plenty of fun for kids. They love to feed the ducks in the historic railway dam and can climb aboard a real South Australian railways steam engine in the Kapunda playground nearby.
The Pines Reserve highlights an important part of Kapunda history - its original water supply. Take a guided tour with us to find out what's on offer.
Kapunda Railway Station 1907 (Image: State Library SA B11985)
Kapunda Railway Station
Railway enthusiasts will find lots of Kapunda railway history in the railway station precinct. The Kapunda Railway Station is described as "one of the finest station buildings in South Australia" in a heritage report. Today it has been re-purposed as Kapunda Station Bed & Breakfast, but unfortunately casual visitors are discouraged - like at the former Hamley Bridge railway station.
There are still railway lines and other old railway artefacts nearby, and the old Kapunda railway goods shed remains in the railway station precinct - for now. Part of the railway line has recently been removed to create a new Kapunda rail trail - the Swann Path.
Anlaby Homestead 1901 (Image: State Library SA B-58330-65)
Anlaby House and Gardens
Anlaby Station is the oldest merino stud in Australia and settled in 1839. It's home to Anlaby Homestead and several other State heritage buildings, and the 10 acre English style gardens are a tourist attraction in their own right. Anlaby Station and gardens are well worth visiting, and take part in the Spring Open Gardens. You can also take a tour during the Australian Heritage Festival this year.
South Australia's History Festival at Kapunda
During South Australia's History Festival in May, you're encouraged to come and enjoy the many Kapunda heritage attractions. The SA History Festival - Kapunda Facebook page offers many free special events in May - be quick to catch these this year.
Kidman Square Kapunda Celebrates the life of Cattle King Sir Sydney Kidman
Kapunda Heritage Attractions and the Future
One of the main Kapunda attractions is its heritage tourism, which the SA Tourism Commission does nothing to promote. Heritage tourism is extremely important to South Australia's future - especially for country towns, and the National Trust of South Australia work hard to publicise these attractions.
Unfortunately, the government has yet to recognise the benefits of our heritage buildings in country South Australia, and the need to invest in their tourism potential. It's great to see the Light Regional Council has seen the benefits of showcasing the Kapunda heritage attractions.
Kapunda residents also are rightly proud of their town, and promote things to do on the What's Happening Around Kapunda Facebook page. Please follow their page - we wish them the best of luck!
Was a volunteer at the wonderful Kapunda Museum. Like all other museums around the state it is very hard to find volunteers. This is why the museum is unable to include many suggestions-especially hands-on material. Part of the museum entry includes the Bagot mine display in the former newspaper building, and the creation of an army display nearby.
This is just a wonderful piece about our wonderful town, thank you to Dave! Can I just add that visitors to our town may like to browse the businesses and attractions in the area online via thehttps://www.facebook.com/destinationkapunda/ page !
Please don't write about the cemetery. It's slowly being destroyed by drunks and yobs who think they're ghost hunting. The whole ghost story is based on falsehoods. It's a beautiful, peaceful cemetery with generations of my ancestors buried there.