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.
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.
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. Many other lesser varieties are also grown, including Chardonnay, Semillion, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Tempranillo and Grenache.
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).
John 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.