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Top 5 Things to Do in Kapunda

Home > Adelaide > Mines | Historic Houses | Art | Places of Interest | Walks | Lists
Published March 2nd 2023
Exploring the oldest mining town in South Australia
kapunda mine
Historic mine site

Kapunda is South Australia's oldest mining town. Copper was discovered by Captain Charles Harvey Bagot in 1842 and miners began to extract this valuable ore from the earth soon after. Mining continued for 35 years until the price of copper fell worldwide.

kapunda mine site
Historic mine site

The historic mine site is open to the public and can be accessed via Perry Road. Back in the day, this mine had the richest ore grade when compared to other mines in the state. I could still see a little 'green' in the water. Along the trail, you'll walk past mine shafts, the boilerhouse chimney, a replica of the horse whim and more.

map the miner
Map the Miner

The opening of the mine resulted in a wave of Cornish miners emigrating to Kapunda. Map the Miner, built by sculptor Ben Van Zetten, recognises the contributions of these miners. As for food, they introduced Australia to the Cornish pasty which was a lunchtime staple while working in the mines. We couldn't resist trying one from 'Litl Mo's Bakery & Cafe after being recommended by a local. And, I was glad we did as the pastry had been beautifully baked until golden and its filling was well-seasoned perfect for my tastebuds.

Cornish pasty
Cornish pasty from 'Litl Mo's Bakery & Cafe

Besides miners, Australia's cattle king also came to this part of the Barossa. Sir Sidney Kidman lived in Kapunda and his huge business empire auctioned thousands of horses at the famous annual sales. He donated horses to the Beersheba conflict during World War I too. His former home is now the local high school. All places connected with this significant man can be found by following the self-guided Kidman Connection tour.

Sir Sidney Kidman
'The mural and bust of Sir Sidney Kidman

The mural and bust of Sir Sidney Kidman are located on the main street, and so is an array of other artwork. These thirteen pieces of art form the attractive mural trail which depicts the town's history, people, events and individuality. My favourite would have to be the hand-painted Lucas Street mural featuring the copper mine. I was also surprised to discover a mural of Saint Mary MacKillop. The Josephite nun has been honoured for her role in setting up a school in town.

Lucas Street mural
Lucas Street mural

Approximately seven kilometres from the town centre is The Pines, a conservation reserve incorporating Taylor's Run Reservoir. Walking along the designated trail will lead you to a small building where the reservoir's large wheel-operated tap had been housed. You'll be able to see the reservoir and its water tower nearby too.

kapunda cornish pisky trail
One of the Cornish piskies

Lastly, for something a little different, why not go on a pisky hunt around Kapunda! The Cornish miners brought not only their skills and pasties but also their folklore stories. These mythical characters mainly attach themselves to trees. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to search out their hiding spots. You may ask for a free trail pack from the visitor information centre. You have all the time in the world to accomplish the mission, and unlike in the movie, this article will not self-destruct.
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Why? Exploring the oldest mining town in South Australia
Where: Kapunda, SA
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