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Published August 25th 2016
Bath like a star, under the stars
McLeod's Daughters was a popular Australian television drama series that ran from 2001 to 2009 featuring two half sisters in and around the Australian country town of Gungellan. But where exactly is Gungellan ? I took a short trip to find out.
Gungellan is a fictional town created for the series with filming of the key locations occurring in the South Australian country town of Freeling, which assumed the part. Memories of the filming of the production are scattered throughout the town and are detailed and discussed in the brochure Memoirs of McLeod's Daughters.
At the centre of many scenes in the TV show were the bathtub and the windmill both of which have been strategically placed in the gardens in the centre of town. Many a star from the show was filmed soaking in the bubbles in this bath, and this monument in the centre of town allows visitors to share in the same excitement with a photo opportunity for you in this TV prop.
Nearby the Gungellan Hotel sits proudly overlooking the reserve and the former rail yards, both of which have acquired a series of vintage farm and transport machinery from years gone by. Formerly the Railway Hotel, the hotel changed its name for the TV series, and has kept it ever since, and continues to offer a similar service and atmosphere to that which was seen during the series.
The Freeling Institute is a beautiful old stone building that became the perfect setting for the Gungellan Town Hall. The location was a popular spot for protests, town meetings, the Gungellan Ball and meetings of the Gungellan Farmers Council.
Meanwhile a little further along the road the Gungellan Truckstop stands proud, albeit a lot quieter than it was during filming of the TV series where it was a popular spot for gossip and a cuppa. It was also the spot where the extraordinary Moira Doyle performed magic with the mechanics on many a car.
Back along Hanson Street, and the small opportunity shop Someone Might Like It has many of the other film props on display including costumes, signage and artwork. The shop is run by a team of volunteers who seek to raise monies to assist the local community.
Freeling is located 60km north of Adelaide, just beyond Gawler. The short walking tour of the main film sights is free and can be done at anytime. The Gungellan Hotel is open during normal trading hours, while the Institute and the Opportunity Shop have restricted opening hours. Further details are available from the Gawler or Kapunda Visitor Information Centres, or from the Light Council website.
Watching from the US, on Amazon prime, we have enjoyed the series through season 3. Hated to see Clare killed in the car accident. That was an iconic TV moment much like when the character J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman), on the American series Dallas was shot to end one season. Hooked on it now so have to continue on just like everyone on Drovers.