Next to Mitcham Reserve is a small park called Sutton Gardens, the site of Reverend Thomas Playford's 1844 stone house. Jerusalem, as was the name given to the property, had an extensive garden, well, stables, coach house and winery. Reverend Playford built a church on the western end of his land and helped found the Union Chapel on the village green. He lived at Jerusalem until his death in 1873. Both his son and great-grandson went on to become the premier of South Australia.
The middle of the park
Sutton Gardens is also where you'll find the first two trees of the Mitcham Reserve Tree Trail. Just look out for those green tags on the tall Jacarandas in the middle of the park.
One of the Jacarandas
On the Albert Street side of Sutton Gardens, you'll notice a bus stop with an interpretive sign. The bus stop was constructed by Urrbrae Agricultural High School students as a replica of a heritage bus shelter. This area is approximately where the old tram terminus used to be. Trams were drawn by horses in the late 1800s until 1911 when electric ones came into play. About 50 years later, the tram line closed and buses took over.
A heritage bus shelter
Albert Street was the main street of the historic Mitcham Village when it was first laid out. Across the street from Sutton Gardens is the Old Mitcham Hotel which had been a popular resort for those visiting Brownhill Creek Park. Today, it's a private residence, so please don't go knocking on its door. There is a tourist park nearby if you're looking for somewhere to spend the night. On both sides of the High Street corner is a former greengrocery store and an old general store. Other historic houses can also be found down the street.
Sutton Gardens is located at the corner of Albert Street and Old Belair Road in Mitcham. If you're like me, you'd probably be wondering why the park was named 'Sutton' instead of 'Playford'. Who is this Mr or Ms Sutton? Well, all I could figure out is that Charles Sutton was a former mayor of Mitcham. Would love to hear from you if you have any further thoughts on this.