Clare, S.A.

A major town and service centre in the heart of the Clare Valley, one of South Australia's premier wine growing districts.

Where is it?: 136 km north of Adelaide.

The Clare Valley Region today hosts a vibrant, diversified rural community and economy. The delightful rolling hills create beautiful landscapes, dotted with wonderful stone buildings. The Region attracts many discerning tourists, both domestic and international, who delight and relax in the friendly environment. Major attractions include the unique, boutique wineries and cellar doors, treed landscapes that can be easily accessed on The Riesling Trail (walk or cycle), the fine stone buildings and homes, and the excellent local cuisine. Regular markets create opportunities to mix with the locals and immerse yourself in unique activities.

Heritage features

Bungaree Station (12 km north, established 1841); Clare Court House; Old Clareville Museum; Old Police Station Museum (1850); Wolta Wolta homestead (1846); 'Bleak House (1870s); Electricity Trust Building (AMP Society Office, 1917); Mill Street/Old North Road cottage (c.1872); Clare Library (1871); Enterprise Winery (1878); 'Hope' Cottage (1850); Main House, Coach House and Stables, Hill River Station (1849); St Michael's Church of England (1864, 12 km north).

Clare Valley Model Engineers

What started as a small 450-metre train track for children to enjoy in the local park, has since grown to a popular tourism attraction in Clare. Located alongside Lake Inchiquin about two kilometres from the main street, the Clare Valley Model Engineers have constructed a railway over one-kilometre long that features several bridges, twists and turns, plus a delightful tunnel in a 10-hectare park. The trains have been operating for 16 years, by local enthusiasts who also maintain the parklands site. Trains run on the second and fourth weekend of the month. November - March, Saturday from 6pm and April - November on Sunday, as well as the Sunday of a long weekend, from 10.30pm to 4.30pm. Location: Melrose Reserve, Clare.
Surrounding Area

Clare Valley Wine Region

The region is one of Australia s oldest wine-producing areas, with a winemaking history dating back 150 years. The first vineyards were planted in the 1830s by European settlers, who built stone hewn structures and cottages alongside the vines. The Clare Valley is one of Australia's leading wine regions. The most important white variety is Riesling, with the Clare Valley regarded as its Australian home. Principal red varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. Many other lesser varieties are also grown, including Chardonnay, Semillion, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Tempranillo and Grenache.

The region's 40 wineries, most of which have cellar doors, make a range of styles of varietal wines, reflecting different approaches to winemaking as well as the influences of the various sub-regions and micro-climates in the valleys. Each season, the landscape of the region changes in colour and vista. From the golden red in autumn, the lush greenery in spring, and the morning mist in winter, the vineyards of the Clare Valley are a picturesque site. Grapegrowers claim the unique combination of geography, geology and climate, results in terroir that is perfect for producing world-class wine. Warm days, coupled with cool nights during the growing season provide favourable conditions for most wine varieties grown in the region.

The Riesling Trail

In 1918 the region's railway line was formally opened after many years of lobbying by locals. The line ultimately stretched from Riverton in the South to Spalding in the North  a distance of approximately 86 kilometres. Soon after the closure of the line in 1984 moves were made to save it as a tourist attraction, but to no avail. The track was dismantled in 1989 and 13,000 tonnes of the old steel lines went to Bundaberg and Cairns in Queensland to be used for extensions to sugarcane tracks. The old sleepers (120,000 of them) went to Melbourne, to be sold for use in landscaping. The path followed by the railway, is now The Rielsling Trail, a pathway used by walkers, cyclists and horse riders to pass from one part of the wine region to another. The region's reputation for Riesling which inspired the naming of the Trail.


Sevenhill was established by Austrian Jesuits who fled their country to escape political and religious oppression. Two Jesuit priests, Father Aloysius Kranewitter and Father Maximillian Klinkowstrom, travelled to Australia as chaplains to a group of 130 Catholics led by Franz Weikert, a Silesian farmer, whose vision was to establish a community in South Australia which could enjoy religious freedom. The immigrants settled near the township of Clare and the Jesuits, impressed by the fertility of the local soil, purchased 100 acres of land in 1851, naming it Sevenhill after the Seven Hill district of Rome.

Thomas Burr, former Deputy Surveyor General of South Australia, surveyed this land into allotments for leasing, which became the township of Sevenhill. The first lots became available from April 1851, all for 31 years' lease with easy right of purchase terms, and soon many Catholics, particularly Irish, Polish, and German, were moving there from Kapunda, Tanunda, Burra and other districts.

Sevenhill Winery

In 1851, at about the same time that Burr and Kranewitter established the township, the Jesuits established the current Saint Aloysius Church and Sevenhill Winery about one kilometre east, nearer the Hill River. The nearby town of Clare serves many of the commercial needs of the Sevenhill district, and is a centre of government administration. Sevenhill is at the 'heart' of the Clare Valley, and is a hub for the locals and tourists visiting the Region. It is a perfect place to gain access to the Riesling trail walking and cycling route, just east of the town, with off-road parking facilities available.

Sevenhill supports a hotel, Regional Cellar Door (showcasing wines from more than a dozen boutique producers), gourmet bakery, homewares shop, several bed and breakfast cottages, a CFS station and an antique shop. The community hall is also used as a weekend market stall, and Friday night bingo is a tradition! Several of the Region's famous wineries and cellar doors are located east and west of Sevenhill. Pikes Winery adjoins the former St. Aloysius' college.


John Horrocks cottage, built c1839, Penwortham

The village of Penwortham, to the immediate south of Clare (10 km), is surrounded by natural eucalyptus bushland and a section of the Skilly Hills, which in turn forms part of the Mount Lofty Ranges. The village of Penwortham was founded by settler, pioneer and explorer, John Horrocks (22 March 1818  23 September 1846). Horrocks arrived in the colony of South Australia on his 21st birthday, 22 March 1839, less than three years after its proclamation by Governor John Hindmarsh.

After meeting Edward John Eyre, who told him of potentially good farmland to the north of Adelaide, John Horrocks and a servant, John Green, set off to find the area Eyre had described to him. Horrocks settled in a region that he believed to be along the Hutt River and named his establishment Hope Farm. Later in 1839, the first stone cottage of the settlement was commenced and, in 1840, Horrocks and his servants built stone stables for horses, which were then very rare and valuable in the new colony. For a short time, this was the only inland European settlement north of Adelaide and Gawler.

Penwortham today is a sleepy, pretty village. Pearson Wines are located on the Main Road, a beautiful old stone building creating a delightful cellar door. St. Marks Church is a treasure, with explorer John Horrocks buried in the adjacent cemetery. Greens Cottage, built in 1839 and owned and operated by the local historical society, opens to visitors on the first Sunday of each month. The Riesling Trail, on the eastern side links the village to Auburn and Clare for walkers and cyclists looking to take in the ambience of the local countryside. The scenic drive to the Skillogalee Valley, west of the Main North Road, can be accessed from Penwortham. This beautiful scenic drive will take you to several well-known cellar doors, Mitchell Wines, Penna Lane Wines, Kilikanoon Wines and Skillogalee Wines and Restaurant.


Although the surrounding country is elevated, the township is located in lower country at the intersection of Main North Road and the connecting roads to Mintaro (to the East) and Hoyleton (to the West) some 17 km south of Clare. Leasingham is bisected by the Eyre Creek as it makes its way to the Wakefield River. The Riesling Trail is on the western fringe of the township, following the former railway route between Auburn and Clare.

Leasingham is an agricultural district in which dry grain farming predominates. Additionally, being centrally located in quite a picturesque district, it caters for tourism and has a restaurant, caravan park, bed and breakfast accommodation and a number of tasting/cellar door sales operations of local wineries.

Polish Hill River

Pikes Polish Hill River Estate

Polish Hill River is at the centre of the Clare Valley wine-growing district. Several well-known wineries exist in the area, including Pikes, Pauletts, Wilson Vineyard and Little Brampton Wines. Grossett Wines also source grapes from this area. A circuit from the renowned Riesling Trail, the Father Rogoski Loop, provides a beautiful walking/ cycling entry to the Polish Hill River. Many of the early European settlers in the area were Irish Catholics, followed by Polish migrants, hence the locality's current name. The Polish Hill River Church Museum has been established by the South Australian Polish community in order to document and commemorate the contribution of Polish migrants to the development of the State.
Brief History

For thousands of years this region was home to the Ngadjuri, the peppermint gum people . Their lands extend from Gawler in the south to beyond Carrieton and across to Bimbowrie in the north, to the low saltbush country to the east and the ridges of hills from Clare through Gladstone and Orroroo to the west. The eucalyptus forest area they inhabited was well known for its plentiful supply of animal and plant foods. The Ngadjuri lived in complete harmony with nature, adopting a sustainable approach to the natural resources vital to their survival.

More recent history started when Edward John Eyre passed through the valley in May 1839. He was highly impressed by the surrounding country. His report inspired a young John Ainsworth Horrocks to settle in the area. Horrocks arrived in Adelaide in March 1839 and, on the advice of explorer Edward John Eyre, established a sheep station in the Hutt Valley near the present-day town of Clare. Horrocks became an explorer and was the first man to use camels for exploration.

Settler Edward 'Paddy' Burton purchased 500 acres on what was to be the Clare townsite, planted crops and became the first person to reap a grain harvest in South Australia. The first vineyard in the Clare Valley was established by Jesuits in 1851. The place where they settled would become the town of Sevenhill.

Settlers from England and Ireland, as well as more diverse places such as Poland and Silesia continued to progress into the region during the 1840s, producing a rich heritage of architecture and villages, which remain largely intact. Vineyards were planted alongside those first villages and winemaking has continued ever since.

Origin of name: the area was variously known as The Twins (after the two gum trees where pioneer settler Edward 'Paddy' Burton Gleeson first pitched his tent), Inchiquin (the name of his property), Gleeson's Village and eventually Gleeson. To remove confusion, when the township was surveyed, it was named after County Clare, Gleeson's birth place in Ireland.

Riesling Trail

Schobers Estate Vineyard, Leasingham

Australia For Everyone | Email us | Ph 0412 879 698

Content © 2017 Australia For Everyone