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Published February 4th 2016
Stroll around Strathalbyn
Strathalbyn - Beginnings & Growth
A visit to Strathalbyn in country South Australia reveals a rich history and heritage dating right back to 1839 when a handful of Scottish immigrants led by Dr John Rankine chose the town and area as their preferred settlement.
It was reported during the surveying of the area that it was ideal for pastoral purposes and this was to become a major industry for the thriving community.
The town prospered and the settlement grew up around the main street of Strathalbyn - High Street with space also allowed for a substantial park.
The first buildings erected in the town were a small log cabin used as an inn (today known as the Terminus Hotel) and a small thatched Presbyterian chapel sited on the hill above the river, overlooking the central park.
One of the must-do things in Strathalbyn is to wander around the historic streets perusing the many antique and collectables stores that sell anything from furniture to home wares and crafts.
I discovered some really interesting ones as I walked through the town including Argus House which not only houses some interesting products from around the world including clothing, jewellery, textiles, books and toys but also has as part of the complex a great patisserie cafe specialising in gourmet pies as well as hearty breakfasts and lunches.
A National Trust property, it dates from 1866, originally used for the first printing press in Strathalbyn for South Australia's first regional newspaper, the Southern Argus.
By far the largest antique market in Strathalbyn is the Antique Bazaar which boasts 11 stallholders and showcases a wide range of antiques and collectables.
Operating since 2004 and located in High Street, they offer free delivery to locals, their way of supporting the local community and businesses.
With all that walking around the great display of antiques and collectables is enough to work up an appetite and thirst and there are numerous options for recharging your batteries.
Two of the historic pubs in Strathalbyn are the Victoria Hotel as well as the Commercial Hotel.
The Victoria Hotel located in a beautiful bluestone building dating from 1865 overlooks the Soldiers' Memorial Gardens and prides itself on offering bistro casual country dining - in fact have won an award for this style of dining last year.
Open 7 days for lunch and dinner, the Victoria offers a good blend of traditional Aussie pub fare combined with modern bistro meals. Mains vary between $15 and $30.
The Commercial Hotel, dating from 1865 is located right in the heart of the main High Street and has the traditional pub fare including a special night for schnitzels (as recent as before Christmas being only $14).
One of their signature dishes is known as the "Commy Burger" consisting of home made patty, special sauce, relish, bacon, egg, lettuce, tomato, cheese and chips.
With Strathalbyn only 60 kms south-east from Adelaide (just under one hour's drive), it is easily within reach for a half day or even full day experience which will give you a great blend of history, culture, food, refreshments and antiques as well as collectables.
Who knows - you might come home with a collectable or two which is a great way of supporting the local Strathalbyn business community.
The photo of the gardens is excellent...beautifully situated by the River Angas(not Angus).I also might mention that I do not think the bakery/cafe at Argus House is open anymore.
The dining area in the Victoria Hotel in the old stables is particularly attractive,offering good lunchtime meals at a reasonable price,Monday to Friday.
I also might mention,that most of the Antique Shops located in the High St. area are closed on Mondays.
This town is a top spot for a picnic on the banks of the river.There is an electric free BBQ near the swimming pool/toilets,with the tower of St Andrew's Church on the other side of the river above you.
This town is possibly the prettiest small inland town in South Aust. and is ideal for a family outing,with a playground next to the swimming pool.