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A Brief History of the Adelaide Hills


The Adelaide Hills are a special place. Not only are the rolling hills incredibly picturesque, but they are steeped with history – from the stories of the Peramangk people to the early beginnings of European settlement with the German and English farmers and pioneers, tales of bushrangers, gold miners, orchardists and wine-makers – these are the things that make this spectacular patchwork of land what it is today.

The Peramangk People

The Peramangk people are the traditional owners of the Adelaide Hills. They cared for this land and would undertake firestick farming to clear the old vegetation and promote new growth. They cared for the waterholes. They made huts, tools, shields, canoes and other artefacts. They would express their culture through many avenues, one being their ceremonies.

The Peramangk people would fraternise with the neighbouring Ngarrindjeri and Kaurna peoples – trading, living and performing ceremonies with them. They cared for the country for many thousands of years before European settlement, and their culture is still lived and relevant to this very day, continuing into the future.

Many places in the area are named after Peramangk words.

European Settlement

In 1836, not long after South Australia was established, the colonists began moving into the Adelaide Hills. Norton Summit was the first town settled; followed by Hahndorf, Crafers, Gumeracha, Meadows, Mount Barker and Oakbank. Many German settlers moved in to escape persecution, and English free settlers and ex-convicts migrated to the area as well.
With the settlers came the bushrangers, cattle thieves, grog merchants and other less savoury individuals, who would hide out in the forests of the Hills.

From the mid-1800s there was a short-lived gold rush, where many came to seek their fortune, with not all finding success.

After the Depression of the 1930s, many residents of Adelaide began building grand and beautiful summer homes here, giving the place a quaint charm.

Mount Lofty Ranges World Heritage Bid

The unique human tapestry as well as Aboriginal and rural history of the area has been recognised, with the passage placing a bid for a UNESCO World Heritage listing.

Experience the Rich Culture and History with Mount Lofty House

The Adelaide Hills have so much to offer, from history to culture, food and drink and everything in between. Experience it all with a stay at Mount Lofty House, the perfect base for exploring everything the area has to offer.

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