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Short history of Tea Tree Gully
The First Council Chambers
History of Snake Gully Bridge
Anstey Hill
The Gun Emplacement at Anstey Hill
Street Names


With some extracts from the book 'Settlement To City' by Ian Auhl

 In 1967 a Civic Centre comprising a Council Chamber and Civic Hall was opened.
On the 8th February 1968 the District of T.T.G. was proclaimed a city.
September 1970 - the Tea Tree Plaza shopping centre was opened 

February 1973 – Modbury Hospital was opened

A government Census taken in mid -1855 showed that the population of Tea Tree Gully area was 1440. 
A hundred years later in 1954/5 the population was 2,561

From 1954-55 to 1971, just 17years, the population started to dramatically climb to 36,708, and in 1975 it had reached approximately 55,000, as people settled in the area from all parts of the globe.  

By 2004 the population in the District has climbed to over 100,000. An awesome expansion of growth and development for what was once Old Tea Tree Gully- a district of orderly vineyards and orchards, of gullies thickly wooded with native trees, and scattered farms and villages.

The Kaurna tribe lived by the Little Para, where Snake Gully Bridge is located, on One Tree Hill road, where there were and still are permanent springs and waterholes.

 Little trace of the Kaurna people is left today, however some place names in the district serve to remind us:

The Little Para waterway and the suburbs of Para Hills and Para Vista are derived from the Kuarna word for water ‘Pari’ (‘water’), a word which is incorporated in the Aboriginal name ‘Karra-wirra-parri’ (River of the Red Gum forest) With some extracts from 'Settlement to City' by Ian Auhl), which we know today by the more mundane name of ‘TheTorrens’.

was the name applied by the Weira group of the Kaurnas to the north of the Torrens, extending from Port Adelaide to Tea Tree Gully.The particular section in our own district, was known to the Aborigines as Kirra-Ung-Dinga -'the place where the Red Gums grow by the creek’-referring it seems to what we call Dry Creek.

 Tea tree gully was originally just that – a gully.The road to Chain of Ponds and Gumeracha still enters the Adelaide foothills, through the original Tea tree gully.

 Although there was considerable squatting by stockholders on the streams in the district, there was no permanent settlement until 1839 despite the proximity of the area to Adelaide and it’s popularity with the ‘squatters’. These were people who leased ‘sheep walks’- as they were called - for a few pounds a year and hired shepherds to tend their flocks of sheep. The reason for this was, there could be no permanent settlement without survey, but Colonel Lights surveys’ did not go North of present day Grand Junction road, or East of Reservoir and Reids Road at Hope Valley.

 A township, called Steventon, grew up in the 1850s at the entrance to the gully, when an Adelaide miller, John Stevens acquired a large grant of land and subdivided it. By 1867 the compilers of Sth.Australian Directories were undecided as to whether to call the village, Steventon or Tea Tree Gully, but after 1900 the name Steventon gradually dropped out of official and common use.

  Native Tea trees, 10-12ft high once grew in the swampy gully in thickets. The white flowering tree – botanically of the genus Leptospermum – did not long survive the coming of settlement. Today there are very few wild Tea trees growing in the District. The main reason for this is, the damp gullies in the foothills were ideal for market gardening and so the Tea tree was cleared and settlers soon discovered that the tough wood had an in-built resistance to water and used it for fencing in the swampy areas. The Leptospermum family was given its’ popular name Tea tree, when Captain Cook on his first journey to New Zealand, recorded in his journal that his surgeon gathered leaves of the Leptospermum and “brewed a tea which he pronounced to have an agreeable flavour”.

 In 1862 Ebenezer Ward, a visitor to Anstey’s property at Highercombe, near Houghton, recorded: “we understand that Tea from the tree, which grows wild in these swamps was formally used by labourers in the vicinity and although not equal to Souchong tea, it was pronounced extremely palatable”. Today, the bi-product of the Tea Tree can be found in the market place and is used in many different ways, as an ingredient in shampoo and deodorants’, to antiseptics and rubbing oils, etc.

 The District of Tea Tree Gully encompasses nearly 50 square miles.

In 1855 the area was known as the District of Highercombe and contained the following:

 Houghton – deriving its name from ‘Houghton Le Spring’ in Durham and was part of a special survey granted to John Barton Hack in 1839. John Richardson acquired 400 acres of this survey in 1840 and named his home, located near present day Inglwood - Houghton Lodge. Here by 1843 there were 7 cottages for labourers and 120 acres enclosed “with posts and four rails”. By 1842 the village had its first inn ‘The Travellers Rest’, its first church in 1843, its first school in 1847 and the first post office in 1848. It was the earliest village in the present district and for a time, hard to believe now, the largest.

 Hope Valley – named in 1842 by William Holden, the story was told in his reminiscences: “I had gone to town and when I returned I found my premises (Butchers shop and store) had been reduced to ashes, but I could not somehow feel despondent. On the contrary, I felt inspired by hope”- hence the name.
.There are three variations of the story which vary in detail, as most stories will in the re-telling, but they all have in common the bush-fire and the expression by Mr Holden that all that was left for himself and those involved was ‘Hope’.
In 1849 Hope Valley became a postal town on the mail route to Mt Torrens. Mails were delivered, twice weekly by horse at a cost of four pence a letter.

 Modbury – Robert Symons Kelly, bought a section of land in 1847, where he built his home, at first a small cottage of rubble stone. His home he named ‘Trehele’ and his farm ‘Modbury Farm’, after his place of birth in Modbury, Devonshire in the U.K.Robert Kelly, as Councillor and member of the Country Road Board, played a large part in the development of Modbury and twice stood for parliament. In 1907 Modbury was described as “a quiet little village, with its store, blacksmith’s shop, chaff-mill, Methodist Church, schoolroom and of course Hotel. It remained a quiet village for the next 50 years.

 Golden Grove – Was named inadvertently by Captain Robertson, after the ship he last commanded.I say inadvertently because in mid-1859 a correspondent wrote to the ‘Register’ to complain, “at Golden Grove, we are without a post office and must trudge 3 or 4 miles for our epistles and be dependant on the butcher or on casual travellers”.The little agricultural village was given a post office, but when authorities took it upon themselves to name the new postal town Golden Grove, a local resident, Captain Adam Robertson, was incensed. He wrote to the Register to explain that Golden Grove was the name of his farm “and not of the country roundabout”.However and very politely, another correspondent reminded Captain Robertson that in 1853, the captain himself had conferred the name on the public school, “ therefore the settlers cannot be blamed for extending it to the village itself”.


    Map showing some of

the localities mentioned above

In 1967 a Civic Centre comprising a Council Chamber and Civic Hall was opened.
On the 8th February 1968 the District of T.T.G. was proclaimed a city.
September 1970 - the Tea Tree Plaza shopping centre was opened
February 1973 – Modbury Hospital was opened

A government Census taken in mid -1855 showed that the population of Tea Tree Gully area was 1440.
 A hundred years later in 1954/5 the population was 2,561 
From 1954-55 to 1971, just 17years, the population started to dramatically climb to 36,708, and in 1975 it had reached approximately 55,000, as people settled in the area from all parts of the globe. 2004 and the population in the District has climbed to over 100,000. An awesome expansion of growth and development for what was once Old Tea Tree Gully- a district of orderly vineyards and orchards, of gullies thickly wooded with native trees, and scattered farms and villages.
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Extract from 'Tea Tree Gully Sketchbook'  by Ian Auhl & Rex Milsteed

For 112 years a modest building in Haines Road, near the entrance to Tea Tree Gully, served as the headquarters of the district council. Built in 1855, the first council chambers incorporated two cells, as the building was intended for occa­sional use as a police court.

Efforts to form a local district council were made shortly after the Act to appoint District Councils in South Australia was passed in 1852. The initial meeting was held in the school­room at Houghton, where "it was the opinion of many that the interests of those living in the hills and those on the plains do not assimilate". Subsequent meetings were held at Montague (Dry Creek), at the Osmond Gilles Inn on the North East Road, and at the Bremen Hotel, Hope Valley.

As a result of these efforts, five councillors Robert Milne of Modbury, John Gollop of Houghton, Joseph Ind of Para­dise, George McEwin of Glen Ewin and Henry Klopper of Hope Valley were elected first councillors. The District Council of Highercombe was gazetted on 14 July 1853 and held its first meeting in the Bremen Hotel.

Until council chambers could be built, the council met alternately at the Bremen Hotel, Hope Valley, and the Travel­lers' Rest, Houghton. With the opening of the Tea Tree Gully Inn and the Highercombe Hotel in 1854, some meetings were transferred to these hotels.

With the division of the district into two council areas in 1858, the new Tea Tree Gully Council retained use of the council chambers, while the Highercombe Council, until the Hope Valley Institute was built in 1921, met each month in the parlours of the Highbury Hotel, the Bremen, or the Travellers' Rest, Houghton.

With the compulsory amalgamation of the two councils in 1935 the council chambers became the headquarters for the new District Council of Tea Tree Gully.

Extracted from Ian Auld's book 'Settlement to City'
In 1855 against the wishes of Councillors from Houghton and Hope Valley, the Council Chambers were built in Steventon, close to the entrance to Tea Tree Gully. It seems certain that the Council Chamber was the first to be erected by any council in the colony and was used as such until 1967.

 Two cells were incorporated into the Council Chambers when it was first built, as it was intended that the building was to be used as a courthouse. 

The cost of the building was 400 pounds, one third of the entire year’s fund.

When protested against at a public meeting held at the Bremen Hotel, the siting of the new building at Steventon (Tea Tree Gully) was questioned, but the new chambers were in fact centrally placed. A further objection was that an extra threepence had been added to the rates!

In answering these objections it was pointed out that for 400 pounds, the District had gained a Council House, a Courthouse and a public meeting place. 

In April of 1856 Thomas Crews resigned as district clerk and Thomas Edward Cooke at 29yrs, was appointed to the position. Before the Council Chamber had been completed, Cooke had applied for use of the cottage attached to the council office. On the understanding that Cooke would ‘keep the rooms clean and take charge of documents and letters addressed to the Council’, use was granted at a weekly rent of 2/-. Cooke remained District Clerk and village storekeeper until his death in 1866. 

The Highercombe Council received, as all councils, its share of complaints, one being that all the rates were being spent on the northern side of the district, particularly in the immediate vicinity of Councillors homes! 

The balance sheet for 1856 reveals some interesting expenditure. Six cedar-stained chairs were purchased for the Council Chambers. (How did the Councillors sit for the previous three years)? A five-stalled stable for Councillors’ horses was erected and the Council Chamber was plastered.

The first Council equipment was also purchased in 1856 – ‘2 wooden wheelbarrows, 2 picks, 2 shovels and 1 crow bar.

Sketch of The First Council Chambers  By Rex Millsteed
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 In January 1873, the SA Government called for tenders to build a stone bridge over the Little Para River , also the making, metalling and fencing the approaches. The contract was let to a J Coad of Chain of Ponds on 11th March 1873.  He  was to receive 684 pounds 10 shillings and the job to be completed by 1st July 1873.  There was a penalty clause of 2 pounds per day if he failed to complete the work on time. Apparently the penalty clause was not enforced, because Coad was paid on 20th February 1874, the actual cost including extras being 724 pounds 5 shillings. The Foundation Stone was placed by a Miss McEwin on May 3rd 1873.

 The Tea Tree Gully correspondent to the “SA Register” writes on the 3rd February 1874: “One of the prettiest bridges in the colony is to be opened soon by Miss Gaylard, daughter of the Chairman of the Tea Tree Gully District Council.  The bridge is a connecting link between the electoral districts of Gumeracha and Yatala.”

 The bridge was duly opened on Wednesday 11th February 1874, amid due pomp and ceremony, and the “Register” on the following day reports at great length on the activities at Snake Gully on this great occasion:

Drawing by Rex Millsteed
Extract from Tea Tree Gully Sketchbook
Photos courtesy of Beryl Jolly


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For many years the want of a bridge over the Little Para, on the Golden Grove and Sampson Flat Main Road , has been felt by the residents of the Tea Tree Gully district whose farms are situated near the stream.  The road is one that was put upon the schedule of main lines after some severe fighting.  It leads from the Main North Eastern Road, near Modbury, to Smithfield and One Tree Hill, and is also the most direct road to the Barossa Diggings and the other gold fields in that vicinity, being, it is stated, 10 miles shorter than any other.  It is largely used by farmers and others living on the north side of the river, who prefer carting their wheat to the city to conveying it to one of the Railway Stations on the Northern line, where it has to be shifted into the trucks, and considerable traffic is caused by the carriage of firewood into Adelaide .  

The Snake Valley Crossing is the only one on  the Little Para between the Old Spot (near Salisbury) and Inglewood, and the said crossing being a rather bad one it was only natural that people interested should bring all the influence they could to bear upon the powers that be, in order to obtain a bridge that would enable them to get across the river with safety at all times.  

With the object of convincing the House of Assembly that a bridge was necessary, a number of the members of that body were invited to a sort of picnic at the Gully of Snakes about two years age, and the arguments then brought to bear at the excellent luncheon provided by Mr Gaylard appear to have been quite convincing; for when Mr Ward brought the matter before Parliament he was successful in obtaining a vote of a 1,000 pounds.  Snake Gully is no doubt a very nice place on a cool day, but the weather there was decidedly warm on Wednesday, February 11th, the day fixed for the opening of the bridge.  It is certainly a very beautiful if a rough spot.  It is surrounded by lofty hills, whose steep sides are covered with grass, and dotted with grand old rocks, seeming as if they needed but a touch to send them hurtling down among the trees below; while at the foot of the mountains the channel of the Little Para – a dry channel, alas! In many places-winds between masses of green vegetation, which is very refreshing to the eye where all else is withered.  The roads leading to this truly picturesque spot are none of the best.  The line from Modbury is made in some places, but in others it is both heavy and rough, and just before reaching the bridge you have to descend a hill which is, from its steepness and narrowness, and the absence of a fence, most dangerous to travel upon.  The approach on the other side is as bad, and money could be advantageously spent both north and south of the fine structure that now spans the stream.

 The bridge has a substantial and almost a handsome appearance.  It is made completely of stone and has a span of 24 feet, the width of the roadway between the parapets being 20 feet 4 inches.  It has Scotch coping, parapets and wings, and the arch, which is of freestone, is 21 feet above the stream.  There are embanked approaches on both sides.  The stone used in the work was obtained in the immediate neighbourhood, and the lime was made from Mount Torrens marble, obtained from the property of Mr Turner.  The bridge was erected out of a vote of 1,000 pounds, which was derived from the sale of Treasury bills.  Its construction was put into the hands of the Central Road Board and the work has been planned and carried out under the superintendence of Mr C F G Ashwin, one of their Surveyors.  

The contractor was Mr J Coad, and the cost has been 800 pounds.  The balance of the grant, however, can be very usefully applied in the immediate vicinity of the erection.  The foundation-stone was laid in May, 1873, by Miss McEwin, a daughter of Mr R McEwin, who is an old and much-respected settler in the neighborhood.  The contract should have been finished much earlier, but Mr Coad was delayed from various causes and it was only just last week that the finishing stroke was given.  

It was appropriately arranged that the opening ceremony should be performed by Miss Gaylard, the daughter of another gentleman who has during his long residence in the district won much respect and a large crowd of people assembled to celebrate the affair.  Indeed, it was a matter for wonder where everybody came from, for there must have been several hundred persons present.  At about a quarter to 2 o’clock a procession was formed at the southern end of the bridge.  Miss Gaylard was introduced to the assemblage by Mr Ward, MP and having broken a bottle of wine on the causeway, declared the bridge to be open for public traffic.  The people then passed over and the career of the Snake Gully Bridge was thus successfully inaugurated.

 Luncheon was provided in a marquee on the ground and was catered for by Mr J Butler of the Modbury Hotel.  The tent was decorated with the inscriptions – “Welcome to Snake Gully” and “Advance Australia.”  Mr Percival Gaylard (Chairman of the Tea Tree Gully District Council) occupied the chair and Mr Joseph Daw (a member of the same body) acted as Vice-Chairman.

The loyal toasts were proposed by the Chairman and duly honoured.

 Mr R S Kelly, JP proposed “The Parliament of South Australia” – a body of men who were often blamed and often praised; but he thought they did the best they could and they were exactly the kind of men whom the electors put in to do their business.  He could not enumerate all the good things they had done; but they had done one good thing in granting the money for this bridge.  (Cheers)  The members for Yatala and Gumeracha had struggled hard to bring it about, especially those who were present that day.(Hear, hear).  Mr Ward was the principal hand in bringing the matter forward and Mr Cavenagh; who was then Commissioner of Public Works, put it down as a special grant and that was how they got the bridge.  (Hear, hear)  If there had not been a special grant he did not think they would have had that gathering that day, because the Central Road Board would not have taken the trouble to make it.

 Mr Wentworth Cavenagh, MP had very great pleasure in returning thanks for the Parliament.  Of course it was a great pleasure to members who gave a large amount of time and attention to public affairs to find that in social gatherings like this the Parliament was generally proposed and the toast was received with acclamation.  The Parliament was a reflex of the people and if the Parliament was to blame, they were to blame for electing them.  Many things were due to the Parliament of South Australia – the Real Property Act, roads, railways and last but not least the Land Act.  He dare say there might be a difference of opinion as to the liberality of the Land Act, but under it anybody could take up land and it had been the means of settling a large extent of country.  (A voice – “Thanks to Mr Ward”)  Considering that he (Mr Cavenagh) was one of the members who brought in the original Act – perhaps before Mr Ward had a seat in the House – he did not know that that was the case; but he did not wish to go into politics.  In a short time there would be a new Parliament and if they had anything to complain of with regard to the present members the matter was in their own hands.  No doubt in every Parliament there were geese who considered themselves swans - (laughter) – but it was for the electors to rectify that.  (Hear, hear).

 Mr Ebenezer Ward, MP also responded. When he told them that for some time past he had been looking forward to this day with considerable anxiety they would believe that he attended with considerable pleasure.  When they met under the leaves of a gum tree some two years ago and ate the pleasant lunch provided by Mr Gaylard, he even then looked forward and hoped he might be spared to have the pleasure of meeting with them when they celebrated the opening of the bridge.  That day had arrived and he thought they were all well pleased to think that the social gathering he had mentioned was not altogether thrown away.  Mr Gaylard, wanting the bridge as much as he did – (laughter) – and finding it of much value would rejoice as much as any single person there at the accomplishment of the object, and he was glad that a daughter of his was present to perform so well, the duty of opening the structure.  He believed that Mr Gaylard would be considered, not only the father of the young lady but the father of the bridge. (Laughter).  

There was one matter at which he must express his extreme regret, for he found that he must lose Messrs. Gaylard and McEwin, who had hitherto voted in Gumeracha owing to a misapprehension as to the boundary and that Mr Cavenagh gained them.  He thought it was really too bad and that Mr Cavenagh got the best of it. (Laughter). A great many people thought that because he was living up in the North he was going voluntarily to sever his connection with the district, but he never had the least idea of such a thing. He believed that he could serve the district as effectually living at Kapunda as at Adelaide and at the next election if the voters did not choose to return him that was their own affair, but at any rate he would give them the opportunity.  He never did dream of leaving the old district.  They returned him when others would not have done so and although some other constituencies might be willing to return him now he was not going to run away because of that.  He thought that representatives and constituents who knew each other were better able to work together than others.  He thought it was better for a man to stick to the one district that knew him rather than run about to others and if they who knew him did not choose to return him it would be in his opinion an expression of opinion – and a very strong expression that he should not be in Parliament – and he would be content to abide by the result.  They had a good land or rather water-mark in this bridge and he trusted that he might be spared to see many monuments of the kind erected in the district of Gumeracha.  
It was not generally known that as the result of a conversation with Mr R S Kelly he had obtained a vote of 3,000 pounds for the construction of a direct road from Ardtornish to Port Adelaide.In the absence of recognition of a thing of this kind a public man was likely to feel discouraged and they should let their members know that they were not forgetful. There were some members of Parliament who assumed a high moral ground – he thought there was a great deal of humbug about it – (laughter) – and said they would not have any log-rolling – they would put a thing to the House on its merits and have it carried on its merits, or they would stand aside. As a matter of principle, nothing approaching log-rolling should be tolerated; but if under the present Constitution they could not get on without log-rolling, it was better to have that than no roads, and as long as he represented that or any other district he would endeavour to get what was required even if he had to do a little log-rolling.  It was this – one member put a motion on the paper and if he did not give any information about it to members they thought it was a good opportunity of appearing to be economical and voted against it.  

The case was not decided upon its merits because it was passed over without being understood; but if they did as Mr Gaylard and others did – invited the members out and showed them with their own eyes the necessity of the work and got them into a good humour with the lunch afterwards – if they called that log-rolling he did not care; but it was a very good way to get what they wanted.  (Laughter).  He could assure them that he worked behind the scenes for this bridge and it was a fortunate thing for both districts that Mr Cavenagh was Commissioner of Public Works at the time.  If the present Commissioner had been in office he did not believe they would have got the vote – because a man in office who chose to befriend a district could do so much better than those who had no Ministerial power.  The line was placed in the schedule of a Bill that was brought in; and he thought there was this amount of log-rolling with members who were interested in other lines that they thought, “If we knock off this bridge Ward and those fellows will knock something off our works.”  (Laughter).  Mr Playford, when in the Road Board, had said the bridge would be a waste of money, but they had got it and he had no doubt it would be useful.  As to the Land Bill he would say that it was not done with yet – he would have another fight when Parliament again met.

 The Vice-Chairman proposed “Success to Miss Gaylard and the Snake Gully Bridge .”  The work, which would be an everlasting boon to the district had been initiated by Mr Gaylard, and Mr Ward, with Mr Cavenagh, had been the great means of getting it carried out.  If any member deserved their thanks it was Mr Ward who had done great things for the district.

 Mr P Gaylard, in responding, said he had done nothing more than his duty in working for the district in which he had the honour to reside.  He should have liked to have seen there that day Mr Playford, who in his last dying speech and confession at the Road Board – for he did not believe he would be returned again – said the bridge was a waste of money and was being built for two men only.  He would like him to be present to see if that was the case.  He hoped they, as men of influence in the country, would take note of  Mr Playford’s statement and place on the Road Board men w2ho were able to represent the country and were not non-sided individuals.

 Mr W Haines, the Secretary, here announced that he had received letters of excuse from the Hons A B Murray, MLC, L Glyde, MP (Treasurer), H E Bright, MP (Commissioner of Public Works), Messrs A Hallett (Chairman of the Central Road Board), H T Morris and R J Andrews (Secretary to the Central Road Board).

 Mr Trestrail gave the toast “The Members of the Central Road Board and may the Government find them plenty of funds to maintain the roads.”  He believed that the members of the Board, which had been established by the instrumentality of Sir R D Hanson, had been the means of a vast amount of good to the country districts.  He was sorry that Mr R S Kelly, who was one of the best members and Mr McEwin were not on the Board.

 Mr J Morris responded on behalf of the Central Road Board.

 Mr John Robertson, JP, proposed “Mr C F G Ashwin, and may he be long spared to be the Surveyor of the North-Eastern District.”  He thought the roads of this country would bear favourable comparison with those of Britain .  The first thing that struck a new-comer was the extent of good roads.  This was owing to the Central Road Board and those who acted under them.  He had felt great pleasure in meeting Mr Ashwin that day and he thought that by his conversation with him he had been the means of rectifying some grievances which were felt in the neighbourhood.

 Mr C F C Ashwin, in response, expressed his pleasure at the satisfaction he felt in the district on the completion of the bridge, which would be standing when all in that tent were gone.  As to special grants, he did not think that the Surveyors had ever been consulted as to the probable cost of the work.  They found a certain amount of cloth and had to cut their coats accordingly, whereas if a few hundreds more had been voted, they could have given very different designs.

 Mr J Gollop proposed “Long life to the contractor Mr Coad and may he have many such works to carry out in the country and be better paid for them.”

 Mr J Coad responded, stating that he done his best to make the bridge a strong one and expressing the hope that it would last for ever.

 Mr W Haines gave the sentiment, “The sone of toil, and may they never want work or bread.”

 Mr John Lithgow responded.

 The toasts of the Committee, the Ladies, (proposed by Mr R McEwin and responded to by Mr W J Lithgow), the Press (proposed by Mr Cavenagh, MP), the Chairman (given by Mr Wilson), the Vice-Chairman, the Host and Hostess, and the Secretary having been honoured, the company separated.

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ANSTEY HILL        By Kevin Gallasch
Anstey Hill is located some 18 kilometres north-east of Adelaide on the western edge of the south Mount Lofty Ranges near the southern boundary of the Anstey Hill Recreation Park—the Lower North East Road.  It commands magnificent views across the Adelaide Plains to the city of Adelaide and the head of Gulf St Vincent. It stands at a height of 371.1 metres above sea level, some 50 metres below a nearby un-named peak.  Why was this lower peak chosen to be named as a significant topographical feature called Anstey?

 George Anstey (1841-1895) was an early South Australian pastoral and horticultural pioneer.  He was born in London.  His parents emigrated to Tasmania in 1823.  George, after helping on his father’s property, married at 24 years of age and left the island to establish himself on the mainland.  He arrived in the recently founded colony with some sheep early in 1838.  By the end of 1841 he was one of South Australia’s leading pastoralists.

 In 1840 he purchased two sections of land and began to establish his Highercombe Estate which he named after his father’s birthplace in Somerset, England.  This name remains in district use today in the titles of the Highercombe Golf Club and the Old Highercombe Hotel Folk Museum.  Anstey’s property was in the vicinity of the Golf Club which is located just over the crest of the range east of Anstey Hill Recreation Park.  Highercombe Estate, with its vineyards, orchards and extensive botanical gardens became a horticultural show-piece. 

 Between 1842 and 1846 Anstey constructed what was initially a private road from Grand Junction Road to his newly established estate.  This road, in reality little more than a bullock wagon and horse dray track, became known as “Anstey Hill Road”, that is the road  up the hill leading to “Anstey’s “ place.  It was used for 20 years, but was never gravelled.  It crossed the crest of the then called Tea Tree Range in a saddle just north of Anstey Hill.  It was later extended to Houghton and became a rival to the route up Tea Tree Gully, creating much controversy.   In 1873 a new road passing across the south-eastern slopes of the hill was built and eventually named Lower North East Road.  Its gravel surface was bituminised in 1930.  

Most of the original earth and stone works of the original “Anstey’s Hill Road” are still clearly visible on the hill sides.  
There is little doubt that the naming of the hill can be attributed to the linking of the name of a prominent early settler with the prominent topographical feature alongside of the “road: leading to his   property.

“Squire” Anstey was never a  popular public figure, probably because of his tendency to behave as a typical English squire or country gentleman.  

When his father died in 1851 he returned to Tasmania with his family.  They returned to England in 1854.  
Except for brief visits, the last in 1868, Anstey never returned to live in South Australia.

However the name Anstey was to appear once more in the annals of South Australian history.  Mortlock Library military records contain an entry that in the 22nd January 1879, a Lieutenant Edgar Oliphant Anstey was killed in action in Isandlwana, South Africa and than in doing so became the first South Australian born soldier to die in battle.  Further searches of other records revealed that he was the third son of George Alexander and had been born at Highercombe on 18th March 1851.  He was serving with the 1st Battalion, 24th Regiment of Foot in the Bristish Army in its greatest colonial defeat when 25,000 Zulu warriors slaughtered 1,357 of Queen Victoria’s men, mainly from the 24th Regiment and the Natal Native Contingent.  The trail down which this heroic force fought its withdrawal is now called Fugitives Trail.  It’s a long way from “Anstey’s Hill Road” which he travelled down as a babe in arms in the first and only year of his life in South Australia.

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Research undertaken by Kevin Gallasch
Because of its community position on high ground overlooking much of the Adelaide Plains and with a superb view of the city and the Gulf of St Vincent, the name given to this feature initially conjures up images of a huge gun mounted on a man made platform or set in a bunker -like structure with its barrel aimed westwards towards the sea.  Its most likely origin, while still based on an image, has a reasonably factual derivation. The Macquarie Dictionary provides one definition of a “gun” as a long barrelled cannon, having a flat trajectory and one of “emplacement” as being “the space, platform or the like for a gun or battery and its accessories”. The near horizontal and tree-less (because of the thick impenetrable ironstone capping) ground on the natural land platform would have comfortably accommodated six, two pounder guns and their ammunition timbers.

 The plateau was first recorded in a series of topographic maps of South Australia compiled by a Major W.H. Edmunds and published in 1926.The Mortlock Library records show that a William Herbert Edmunds served as a Lieutenant cartographer with the 5th South Australian Imperial Bushmen during the Boer War.  There can be little doubt that the Major recognized this unique land surface as a naturally occurring emplacement for th positioning of a Battery of field guns of that earlier era and theatre of war.

 The common use name “The Gun Emplacement” was declared as a geographical name in the South Australian Government Gazette of 22 May 1997.

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HIGHERCOMBE    Extract from "The Klopper Family" by Clair Barker

      When the new District Council of Highercombe was proclaimed on July 4th 1853, Henry became the first councillor for the District of Hope Valley. The first meeting was held on August 2 nd in the Assembly Room of the Bremen Arms Hotel. On October 7 th 1858 with Charles Knowles, he was re-elected as councillor for the reproclaimed District of Highercombe when the area was reduced in size form 47.5 miles to 17 miles square, as proclaimed in the Government Gazette. Local Government was South Australia's earliest form of self government. South Australia was in fact, the first of the colonies toinstitute the principle of an elected government. 

      On November 25'h 1852 an Act was passed by Government to appoint District Councils and define their powers. The Act gave the district the power to tax land owners in the district for the making and maintaining of roads, bridges and public buildings. To grant publican, depasturing and slaughtering licences and to built pounds for the impounding of stray cattle, sheep etc. Fines for stray horses and cattle 1 shilling and 3 pence, 6 pence for pigs and 2 pence for sheep and goats. The land  owners were taxed at the rate of 1 shilling in the pound. The Council remained divided for 77 years and were united again in 1935 as the District Council of Tea Tree Gully.

      Council workers supplied their own tools and for their wage of 5 shillings per day,  they were expected to crack 3 yards of metal per day. In the 1860's stone cracking hammers and picks and shovels were supplied to the regular road workers, but it was not until 1922 that Council could afford tools for the day workers. Also the Council had no "Road Plant" and cartage was hired at the rate £ per day for two horses and cart with man, 6 bullocks and dray with  man 15/. In 1856 the Council purchased its first equipment - 2 wooden wheel­ barrows, two picks, two shovels and one crowbar.1935 

     Plant Statement" for the Highercombe Council was as follows-
1 Road Roller                 Value     £20                                                              
1 Water Cart                               £20                                                               
4 wheelbarrows @5 /-                 £1                                                               
Picks and shovels                         £2               Total  £33 
      The areas around Adelaide were in the year 1842 divided into Hundreds, and the Hope Valley and Tea Tree Gully settlements were in the Hundred of  Yatala, and the boundaries are the same today.

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