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Marion Historic Village Heritage Walk

Home > Adelaide > Free | Historic Houses | Places of Interest | Walks
Published June 19th 2022
Around the historic heart of Marion
Marion Historic Village Heritage Walk

Marion Historic Village Heritage Walk
Marion Historic Village Heritage Walk

Having visited the Red House, I was introduced to the Marion Historic Village and its two-kilometre heritage walk which had been brilliantly developed by the Marion Historic Village Project Group. The walk took us around the historic heart of Marion and included numerous sites of significance.

Nixon Street

Light Square marion
Light Square

Starting at Light Square, we learned that Marion village was surveyed and laid out by Colonel William Light's team Light, Finniss & Co in 1838. Four tiled benches tell stories about the Kaurna people as well as the 19th century people, settlement, industries and market gardens. Each bench sits on a corner of the square, so do be careful crossing the streets to get to them.

tiled benches light square
One of the tiled benches

We continued down Nixon Street to a small almond grove situated beside the river. Unfortunately, this is the only grove remaining in the village today. Back in the 1930s, bus tours would bring interstate visitors to see the spectacular blossoms during winter.

 almond grove marion
Almond grove beside river

Just a few steps away is Laurel Cottage & General Store. Built in 1858, the cottage was home to brickmaker Henry Shearing and his wife Anne as well as mother-in-law Mary James who operated the adjacent general store. This sure brought back memories of living with mum, dad and grandparents while growing up. In 1877, Marion's first post office was located here.

Laurel Cottage & General Store
Laurel Cottage & General Store

Finniss Street (northeast)

Marion Inn
Marion Inn

Turning left onto Finniss Street, we arrived at the 1851 Marion Inn at the corner of Jacob Street. This original village inn was built of stone and had eight rooms. Many people took advantage of it during their travels. They rested their horses here, but unfortunately, the inn's horse trough no longer exists.

Foresters Friendly Society
Site of Foresters Friendly Society

Across the street is the site of the Foresters Friendly Society which played an active role in providing financial and social benefits to those experiencing hardship back in the day.

water pump marion
Water pump

By the river, an old water pump stands to remind us of Marion's agricultural history. This impressive 1940s device was powered by electric motor and, believe it or not, the pump could move up to four million litres of water per day to orchards and vineyards.

site of Hersey's farmhouse
Site of Hersey's farmhouse

Walking over the bridge, we came to the site of Hersey's farmhouse which had recently been demolished. The Hersey family successfully tended market gardens with numerous glasshouses on both sides of the river.

George Street (east)

St Ann's Chapel marion
St Ann's Chapel

There was a need for a church as Marion's Irish Catholic community grew. In 1859, St Ann's Chapel was built on the corner of Finniss and George Streets. While walking around the chapel grounds, I was really surprised to find a bell in one of the gum trees. It was too large and hence could not be installed in the chapel. Apparently, this bell was intended for another church in Gawler but there was a mistake in its delivery. So, I presume the larger Gawler church ended up with St Ann's smaller bell then?

bell in gum tree
Bell in gum tree

Next to the chapel is a 1876 cottage built originally as a convent for the Sisters of St Joseph. The cottage's uncoursed stone, mortar facade, red brick quoins and multi-paned sashed windows gave it architectural value. Before Annie Doolan lived here, the cottage had a schoolroom where children of the Irish settlers were taught. Annie was caretaker and cleaner of the church in the early 20th century.

doolan cottage
Convent for Sisters of St Joseph

Finniss Street (southwest)

Walking back to Finniss Street, we passed some shops built by Albert and Ada Gosling in 1927 as well as Marion's former police station which operated from 1933 to the 1960s.

former police station marion
Former police station

Another cottage can also be seen further down the street. Owned by Robert Wade and later the Seccafien family, the cottage has solid 450mm-thick mud and straw walls.

mud and straw walls cottage
Cottage with mud and straw walls

Township Road

Wesleyan Chapel
Wesleyan Chapel

On the National Trust listing, the 1862 Wesleyan Chapel along Township Road is well-worth a visit. It was built in 1862, enlarged five years later and restored in the 1970s. Behind the chapel was its Sunday School building which has today become a museum. Members of the public are welcome to visit on Sundays (2pm - 4pm) and Tuesdays (10am - 12pm). The museum showcases various exhibits about the village, its people and their stories.

cottages Hersey workmen
Cottages for Hersey's workmen

Opposite the chapel were cottages built by William and Julia Hersey for their workmen. Unlike the family's farmhouse on Finniss Street, two of these cottages have not been demolished but remained as part of the current Resthaven Aged Care Facility.

Charlesworth Nuts
Charlesworth Nuts

As a fan of Charlesworth Nuts, I could not resist but walk straight into its factory shop for some beautifully roasted almonds and their classic dried fruit and nut mix. Chappy Charlesworth built the Township Road warehouse and manufacturing facility in 1977 to cater for an increase in the family's nut production business. If you're a South Australian reading this and haven't yet tried any of their products, I'd urge you to give them a go. They can be found in most major shopping centres around Adelaide. One benefit of visiting their factory shop though is that there are usually seconds on offer at much reduced prices.

Thredgold's Birthing House
Thredgold's Birthing House

Diagonally across the street is Thredgold's Birthing House which midwife May Thredgold used as a local maternity hospital to deliver babies. Doctors were quite far away in those days and so midwives played a vital role among the villagers.

George Street (west)

George Street reserve
Site of major pug hole

And, last but not least, it's back to George Street to learn more about Marion's brickmaking industry. The reserve on the western end of this street was the site of a major pug hole. Charles Boots started these brickworks which were subsequently bought by Robert Wade. The bricks produced were rich red in colour due to Marion's clay. I found it difficult to imagine all the hustle and bustle happening here before World War I now that this serene reserve has taken its place. The manager of the brickworks lived next door in the early 1900s cottage.

manager brickworks 1900 cottage
Cottage of brickworks manager

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Why? Around the historic heart of Marion
When: Anytime
Where: Marion, SA
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Looks like there is lots to discover on this walk
by Gillian Ching (score: 3|4831) 6 days ago
A great walk Audrey. You certainly see more and can appreciate what you see if you have guidance.
by Neil Follett (score: 3|4118) 4 days ago
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