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Published September 11th 2017
A story of faith and temperance
It was 1835 in London when George Fife Angas set up the South Australian Company, a company that would ultimately develop a new settlement in South Australia. George elected not to migrate early to South Australia but rather would travel throughout England and Europe to promote the new colony in order to encourage migration. In 1843 George sent his son (John Howard) and older daughter (Sarah Lindsay) to Australia, and his son went on to manage the family's extensive property interests throughout the Barossa Valley and to develop the town of Angaston. But whatever happened to his big sister? A short walk on the Keyneton Heritage Trail and all is revealed.
Sarah arrived at Port Adelaide with her husband Henry Evans, and their young son Henry Angas Evans. Following on from their younger brother, the Evans also sought property near the Barossa Valley in an area known as North Rhine where Henry Evans established Evandale, which became a winery, a horticultural nursery and several orchards to provide fresh fruit for the newly establishing colony.
A little bit further down the road Johann Henschke arrived in the area, acquired some land, and also planted some vines. A few years later, Evans exhibited their wines in London and Paris, and a young Henschke sought out Evans to assist with him his first vintage. Unfortunately though, it was during that vintage that Henry passed away, and the Evandale business would be inherited by Sarah and son, Henry Angas.
Wine sales were slow while fresh and dried fruit sales were flourishing so Sarah and young Henry pulled up all the vines, planted more orchards and converted the winery buildings into more dried fruit facilities and thus created a very successful fruit business known as Evandale which ran until the Great Depression in 1929.
Back down the road, while all of this was going on, the township of North Rhine was proclaimed alongside an overlapping part of a pastoral run which was leased by John and William Keynes. By 1860 the town had changed its name to Keyneton, although the river running nearby remained known as the North Rhine with the old wooden bridge used for access to the Murraylands still standing today.
The township of Keyneton was initially small, and early buildings included the General Store and the Blacksmiths Shop while a bit further down the road the North Rhine St Peter's Lutheran Church was built to provide for the growing community.
Sarah Evans was a devout Christian who was dedicated to Independent worship, and she and Henry donated land near their property to build a chapel known as the Independent Chapel. A few years later the North Rhine Band of Hope and Total Abstinence erected a new building for temperance meetings and public hire, so long as no alcohol was served. The building was renamed the Soldiers Memorial Hall in 1920.
Soon after Henry had passed away Sarah acquired some of the new allotments that had been released in the township of Keyneton and set about ensuring that no property of hers would be erected for the sale of intoxicants. The first building she built was the Temperance Hotel, an establishment that operated for some 65 years before closure.
Sarah Evans passed away in 1898 leaving behind a legacy of temperance, independence, benevolence and strong beliefs. She was survived by her son and his wife, and their 12 children, a number of whom remained benevolent in the community with Arthur Evans' field becoming the Keyneton Cricket Oval and the recreation park being known as Corporal Lindsay Evans Memorial Park.
The Keyneton Heritage Trail is around 9km and takes walkers past nineteen of the significant items of interest in the region. The Trail overlaps with parts of the Kidman Trail and the Lavender Federation Trail, both of which pass Rams Head Corner and the old Council Chambers Building which is available for shelter.