Inspired by Australia's natural, developing and fun environments.
Get some inspiration.
Published June 23rd 2015
Take a tour of this Travellers Town
Truro, a small hamlet in the northeastern Barossa Valley, has a long and proud history of being a location where travellers would rest on route between the Murray River and Gawler. This history was discussed in great detail in the book "Truro – The Travellers Rest" by Reg Munchenberg, and has now been incorporated in to several walks and scenic tours of the area by the Truro and District Community Association.
There are two self-guided township tours available with a walk of the town being the most popular. The town drive includes a trip to the nearby (former) township of Barton, the site of the largest copper mine in the Barossa Valley.
Appropriately the 45 minute Truro Walk commences at the parking bay in the centre of town, and located between the two current most popular takeaways at the petrol station and the Sunrise Bakery. The Truro Walk heads west along the main road passing a number of buildings of significance including the former Police Station, the Post Office and the Town Hall.
Continuing along the road we pass the former shops of the blacksmith, grocer, butcher, saddler, shoemaker and hardware, all reflecting the types of businesses required to support the travellers that travelled through Truro in the 19th Century. The invention of the motor vehicle put paid to many of these business, but the Truro Hotel has managed to stand the test of time and remains largely unchanged from its original design.
Most buildings in the main street are now privately held and are attractive personal residences. Some others have converted themselves in to new businesses including Craneford Wines, Barossa Olives, bed and breakfast establishments and a number of antiques shops. The former Bank of Adelaide building stands out as a great advertisement for what can be done with former old buildings.
The walk now heads behind the main street and traverses a swing bridge to Heroes Park. This original water reserve was dedicated to World War One heroes in 1915 with numerous trees planted. A few years of disrepair were addressed in 1986, and the area has now become a popular picnic area complete with memorials, playground, an island, and a small creek.
Heroes Park is also a different stopping point for travellers, this time for walkers traversing the Lavender Federation Trail from Murray Bridge to Clare via the Eastern Mt Lofty Ranges. For bushwalkers looking for an extended trip, the walk south from Truro for about 5km takes walkers through a couple of pretty gorges, with plenty of running creeks during winter.
The old Truro School stands atop a hill overlooking the main street is a great spot to view the layout of the town. Aside from some updated window shades and some more modern facilities, the school has changed little with a large school bell in the front courtyard being a great symbol of everlasting attentive communications.
The walk then heads around the western end of town, and passes the former bakery, general store, doctor's surgery and Council office. The Weighbridge Restaurant and Motel is near the end of the walk, and is now the only place in the district that has multiple accommodation rooms and a restaurant.
Covering all parts of the walk, the Truro and Barton Drive takes visitors further around the town, and in to the neighbouring township of Barton. The total drive is 9km with an estimated time of 30 minutes, and can either be done in full in a car, or done by a combination of walk/drive as I did.
In 1846, Charles Barton discovered copper in the area, and a few years later the small township bearing his name was formed. Heading east along George Street the drive passes some empty paddocks before coming across the Wheal Barton Mine.
While the mine began in 1846, it had many stop/starts during the 19th Century due to inconsistent ore content and costs of transport, and was eventually closed in the late 1880's. The mine was subsequently revisited when the economics of transport reduced in the mid 20th Century, and operated for another 16 years before closing for good in 1972.
Elsewhere on the drive, the row of aloes that formed a fence line near the mine are almost 160 years old. Regular trimming ensures that they don't encroach too much on the road space, while combining to create a solid fence that keeps out everyone including the most desperate of intruders.
The short lifespan of the mine meant that it doesn't have the heritage of Moonta or Burra, but several former Miner's Cottages that have been converted to private residences indicate that the pioneer miners were willing to give it a try, and they invested in accommodation in the town.
On the northern side of town, the remnants of the former railway station, yards and line are visible. The former Station Master's house stands atop the hillside overlooking these former rail yards that operated from 1917 to 1978.
Steve,it seems like Truro has more to offer than I thought was the case.Did not know about the copper mines.My Great Grandfather was born in Truro,so perhaps I better get on my skates and wander around.As always,another very well presented article.If I find a hole in the ground there,I might find a cousin jack!
Wow, I would love to visit - so shall put it on my to do list. My cousin owned the pub back in the 70's, 80's - not sure of the time really and I never got to visit him/it, but my love for historical places will get me there one day.