An historic rural village, Eudunda was the birthplace of highly-regarded educationalist Colin Thiele who achieved a degree of fame with his hugely successful children's books, 'Storm Boy' and 'Blue Fin', both of which were adapted to film. Thiele's presence is subtly suggested by the silhouette of one of his characters, 'Gustav', over each entrance to the town. Accompanying 'Gustav' is a kelpie dog, evoking the town's rural heritage. A statue of Thiele can also be found in Centenary Gardens.
Where is it?: 115 km from Adelaide; 416 metres above sea level
Family Heritage Gallery: The Family Heritage Gallery is a large complex, which incorporates an old renovated cottage, displaying material relating to the history of the town and some of the townsfolk. A considerable amount of effort has gone into providing particular information on the exhibits, such as what the items were used for and by whom. Displays include old doctor's beds with inbuilt stirrups for delivering babies, furniture, clothing from the late 19th and early 20th century, farm equipment etc. The shop section includes books by Colin Thiele, local history books and family histories. The Gallery is located at 19 Bruce St and is open Friday to Sunday from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. and at other times by prior arrangement, tel: (08) 8581 1218 or (08) 8581 1359. The entry fee is a gold coin donation.
The Eudunda Toy Soldier Museum: Eudunda also boasts a privately-owned toy soldier collection, dating from the period 1950-1970. As the owners work during the week the collection is best viewed by prior arrangement, although it is open periodically on Fridays and Saturdays. It is located at 2 Bruce St, tel: (08) 8581 1820. If calling during the week ring after 6.00 p.m. Entry is $2.50 for adults and $1.00 for pensioners and those aged under 12.
Old Immanuel College and Manse: Old Immanuel college, manse and church are located to the north of Eudunda at Point Pass. They are all fine Edwardian buildings which were originally part of the first Lutheran tertiary institution in Australia. Today they offer 'home-style' accommodation and it is possible to book for the night by contacting (08) 8581 1552.
A statue of Colin Thiele is located in the park on Kapunda Street which is just south of the town's main street, Bruce Street. Thiele, who came from German stock, wrote of the local area: 'It was basically rural - farm and township, fallow and stubble, week-day and Sunday. But in being that it was much more. It was yabby creek and red gum hillock, candlelight and oven bread, mealtime grace and family Bible, Christening font and graveside coffin. It was ice on puddles and the fluffing of summer dust through barefoot toes; it was frost to the horizon and frogs in the flooded cellar and, literally, possums in the kitchen.' Thiele was born in 1920, unveiled his own statue in 1995, and died in 2006. His ashes are interred at Dayboro Cemetery with the final line "With Mr. Percival now".
Natural features: Eudundacowie Springs; Tothill Ranges (10 km west); Tothill Gap
The town came into being in 1870 when founder and pioneer European settle John Henry Hannan had his land surveyed and subdivided for a town. Eudunda township was established in 1870 after settlers began moving into the area throughout the 1860s. The founder of Eudunda was John Henry Hannan who owned the land which was surveyed and divided for sale. At this time cattle and horses were being moved to South Australia from western Queensland and the town became a popular watering hole for the herds and the drovers who had travelled down Cooper Creek. Their ultimate destination was Kapunda which, at the time, was a township effectively owned by Sir Sidney Kidman. At one point 3000 horses were sold in Kapunda in an auction which lasted for a week. All of the horses were the property of Kidman and many of them had been brought to the town from his property holdings in western NSW, South Australia and western Queensland.
For many South Australians the town is known as the home of the state's first farming co-operative. At its height the Eudunda Farmers Co-operative Society Ltd had 62 branches. It is now part of the IGA group of supermarkets. The co-op started in the 1890s when a group of German farmers met at Manns Hotel and decided that they should work together. The idea was that the co-operative could transport and sell timber and could collectively buy goods with the profits. Thus the local storekeepers, who were prone to charging large interest rates, could be by-passed.
Origin of name: derived from Eudundacowie Springs, west of the town, which provided water for the men travelling through the area from the Murray River flats to the Adelaide markets and for drovers shifting cattle and horses between Kapunda in South Australia and Coopers Creek in western Queensland. The name, of Aboriginal origin, is said to mean 'water out of the ground'.