The Village of Aldgate (named after an old gate in the London wall) is located in between Stirling, Heathfield, Bridgewater and Mylor in the Adelaide Hills. 15kms and 15 minutes from Adelaide, South Australia.
To an adult, especially in autumn, Aldgate is a place of natural beauty and Hills serenity. To a child, Aldgate is a kaleidoscope of the fascinating minutiae of life. There are trees to be climbed, trails to be explored on your bicycle, animals and insects to find, trains who bellow on their way past and best of all, the Aldgate Creek - a source of endless play and wonder. You are very likely to see a koala in the wild, as they act as self appointed guardians, watching over the Aldgate Creek and nearby stands of eucalypts.
The waters in summer are still and calm and full of fat tadpoles in ever diminishing billabongs. If you stare at the tadpoles long enough you can watch their legs grow and grow until they become croaking monsters. In autumn the water is simply there as a conveyor for the fallen Oak leaves, transporting their message from Lovers' Lane to places unknown. In winter and spring, the Aldgate Creek comes alive, yelling and shouting furiously as it forces it's way onward, compelled into forceful motion by the ever persistent seasonal rain.
As the years go by, you might be drawn to walk down beautiful Lovers' Lane. It is a peaceful, narrow, tree enshrouded path that meanders downwards from a narrow entrance on either Fenchurch or Euston Roads. At the bottom of Lovers' Lane is a newly restored wooden bridge over the Aldgate Creek. The Lane is shady in summer and there is sense of calm and presence here. It is one of the Hills' special places. Halfway down Lovers' Lane you won't help but notice being overshadowed by a single magnificent and ancient oak tree which reaches out from the grounds of nearby Stangate House.
Lovers' Lane and Oak Tree
The Oak is marked X with Lovers' Lane in Yellow
Stangate House, in the heart of the Village, is a wonderful heritage property, through which the Aldgate Creek also journeys. How did the mighty oak tree, now over one hundred years old, come to be planted here? As the story goes, a lonely Englishman walked the Adelaide Hills in the 19th century, reminiscing about his homeland. As he walked through the eucalypts he regularly stopped to rest (including on the hill where Stangate House now sits) and in each spot, he planted a precious acorn carefully brought from home. Today, there are many wonderful old oaks and other deciduous trees in the Adelaide Hills, some of which owe their existence to this lonely traveller and most of whom, like the huge Lovers' Lane Oak, have special stories to tell forever.
In settlement days, Aldgate was a watering hole. Water for your horses and a beer at the Pub for you as you made your way to the Jupiter Creek Gold Diggings at Echunga, in search of your fortune. For many years, a water pump was to be found in the middle of the main street, now re-characterised in the form of a replica pump and trough monument, by the side of the road.
Today Aldgate, with its Hotel and Cafes, still fulfills its time honoured role as a watering hole and as you sip your drink you might reflect on the thread that ties life here together - The Aldgate Creek.
Oh I must come back and visit. I lived in Aldgate as a child walking up the road over the creek , hang over the balustrade aka just a bar of wood, past the tennis courts up another incline which my sister on the journey down would fall over in her haste running. Then around the corner to Kent Road to a homestead type house my parents rented but now a beautiful place....next time I visit Adelaide I must linger again and walk the area with my husband.
Thanks for the memories and for a very descriptive piece...and yes the creek did sound like that in winter...memories of long ago around 1958 -64
Alexa from Sydney , Australia