As part of the Heysen Trail, the walking trail to the summit of Peters Hill travels through scrubland as it makes its way up a steep incline to the 518-metre peak. Located 25km from Kapunda, 7km west of the small town of Hamilton and 8 km east of Riverton, the trail can be walked as a long 8km loop trail from Oaklyn Road or a shorter 5km circuit from Murrays Road.
Start Here for the Short Walk. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
Peters Hill, formerly Peter's Hill until the apostrophe was removed in1940, is the highest peak in the Belvedere Ranges, north of the Mt Lofty Ranges. The origin of the name is subject to some debate, some sources indicate that it was named in 1842 after William Peter, a Scottish grazier who also owned Mr Peter's Head Station, both marked on a survey by the Secondary Towns Association in 1842. Others believe that Peter Inkster or Martin Petatz may be the source of the hill's name.
Peter's Hill School Children 1880. B16915 State Library of South Australia
The area has historical significance; from the early settlement, which saw the building of a school, church and cemetery in 1856, to the discovery of the Belvedere, a small copper mine at the northern end of the hill in the 1850s. Settled by German residents, many lived in dugouts along the hillside until more suitable accommodation could be built.
Walking along the ridge of the summit, scenic views of the land used for dry grain farming on the plains and slopes, and grazing land on the higher areas can be enjoyed. 360-degree views of surrounding land including the Gilbert Valley and Riverton can also be seen.
Descending from the summit, a short 400-metre spur trail will take you to Marschall's Hut. Originally built in the 1850s, the hut was once the 5-room home of Christian and Elise Marschall and their eight children. The hut, now used as an overnight shelter for Heysen Trail walkers, has been built with stones from the homestead ruins. Christian Marschall's grave is in the private cemetery, near the hut. Christian Marschall donated the land for the church and cemetery in 1856.
Marschalls Hut 1906. B16951 State Library of South Australia
After visiting the hut, follow the wide path on the Heysen Trail for a short time. Leave the Heysen Trail route when it departs from the wide path onto a narrow path near a dam. Take the right hand path back to the start of your walk.
After your walk, a 10km drive to the small town of Marrabel provides an interesting end to the day. Located near the Light River, the town was planned in 1859 by a local landowner John E. Marrabel. In the late 1840s and early 1850s, the route of the bullock teams from Kapunda to the Burra copper mine passed through the town of Marrabel.
Today, the town is the home of the Marrabel Hotel and the annual Marrabel Rodeo. An annual event since 1935, the proceeds from the Premier daytime rodeo in South Australia benefit the local community, clubs, charities and groups.
The Peters Hill walk can be started from Oaklyn Road, off the main Burra-Kapunda Road for the 8km walk or alternatively from the intersection of Murrays Road and Heysen Road, from Riverside Road, off the Burra- Kapunda Road for the shorter trail.
Scenic Views with the Wind Turbines in the Distance. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
Depending on your fitness level and the trail selected, the walk can take 2 to 4 hours. Hiking boots, sun protection and adequate water is essential. This trail is unsuitable for strollers, young children and pets.
I enjoyed reading the first part of the article about the scenery and bushwalks, however I was disturbed to see the statue of the horse and rider glorifying the cruelty of rodeos. Horses and other animals are put at great risk performing these unnatural and demeaning stunts for so-called entertainment.