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Whichever road you take, Lobethal today is a quirky contrast of old and new. Most older South Australians would once have looked forward to going to bed with something from Lobethal - blankets from the Onkaparinga Woollen Mills kept us warm for around 120 years before the company sadly crumbled in the face of cheaper foreign imports.
The Onkaparinga factory closure must have hit Lobethal hard, in the same way that its sister town Nairne was devastated by the closure of the Chapman's Smallgoods Factory.
But today the town is still a thriving place, ironically continuing to benefit from the Mills. For the historic buildings that once housed the Onkaparinga Woollen Mills now house a new breed of industry, producing upmarket and specialty produce while providing employment to locals in the town.
The Adelaide Hills Council must be commended for enabling the growth of these (and more) small businesses, while preserving and maintaining this important part of the state's built heritage. It's an imaginative approach that other councils should learn from.
On a weekend it would be quite easy to while away an hour or more at the Onkaparinga Woollen Mill Museum, which is staffed by friendly and knowledgeable volunteers. Most are ex-workers at the Mill who can demonstrate machinery in action, making it a very real experience.
Rather appropriately for an area surrounded by farmland, Lobethal has a wide range of places to eat and shop.
On weekends a choice place to start is the Adelaide Hills Providore at the Lobethal Markets. They sell a selection of quality local products sourced less than 20 km away including smallgoods, smoked fish, cheese, olives and dried fruit.
There are plenty of other things to browse while you're at the Markets, including craft and bric-a-brac stalls and displays of equipment once used in the Mill.
The Amberlight Motorcycle Cafe clearly aims at a niche market, but not those naughty bikies around Adelaide that Mike Rann always used to bang on about. They seem to be open every day except Tuesday and Sunday.
We moved here just over a year ago(in2012) after building a house through a local family builder and have enjoyed every minute of it. We even got a runners up prize for our first Lights of Lobethal competition. We love Grieners,the bakery the pubs etc. it's a great lifestyle that we recommend to anyone. Come on up to where the air is clean and life is relaxed. Mark S.