silos at Bordertown
Substantial service town famous as birthplace
of Australian Prime Minister, Bob Hawke.
Located 275 km east of Adelaide and 82 metres
above sea level on the border between South
Australia and Victoria, Bordertown has become a
kind of symbolic point of difference between the
two states. When Victorians fear an invasion
(usually during the football season) they refer
to South Australians massing at Bordertown.
The area was first settled in the 1840s when
grazing leases were taken out by Loudon McLeod (Nalang
Station), John and Charles Scott (Cannawigara
Station) and John Binnie (Wirrega Station).
Around this time the area was known as 'tatiara'
which was supposedly a local Aboriginal name for
Like its name (which is unambiguously
descriptive although the town is 19 km from the
border) Bordertown was a very conscious
creation. In July, 1852 120 allotments were sold
(the cost was 50 shillings for a quarter acre
block) 'near Scott's wool shed and on the
overland route from Adelaide to Mount Alexander'
as part of a plan to establish a town/depot
where the gold escorts could rest on their
journey from the west Victorian goldfields to
the port of Adelaide. The problem was that the
only route at the time from Adelaide to Victoria
was around the coast. Captain Alexander Tolmer
surveyed a route through the 90 Mile Desert and
it was on the basis of this survey that he
suggested that a depot be established on the
border. He was apparently very upset when, even
though the town was not on the border, the
authorities still decided to call it Bordertown.
He thought it should be called Tolmer.
After the goldrushes the town continued to
prosper as a major service centre. The
surrounding area is ideal wool and wheat country
which is sufficiently rich to extend its produce
to vineyards, cattle and a variety of seeds and
cereals. The town's future as a transport centre
was assured when the railway arrived in 1886.
Today Bordertown is a substantial and
prosperous service centre.
Things to see:
the birthplace of RJL Hawke
Bob Hawke's Family Home and other
This quite pleasant sandstone house was once the
home of Australia's longest serving Labor Prime
Minister. RJL (Bob) Hawke was born here on 9
December, 1929. It has been renovated and while
it is used by the Tatiara Employment Support
Service it does contain a number of photographs
of the Bordertown's most famous resident.
Located on Farquhar Street (it is just half a
block away from the Westpac Bank in the main
street) it is open Mon - Fri. For details
contact (08) 8752 2569.
There is a bronze bust of RJL Hawke outside
the Council Chambers. Unfortunately it is really
a travesty. It doesn't even vaguely look like
Bordertown Railway Station
A particularly impressive building indicating
the importance of the town. It was completed in
1914. The railway arrived in the town in 1886.
Bordertown Wildlife Park
Located on Western (Dukes) Highway this unusual
wildlife park allows people to view the animals
from outside the fences. There seems to be no
access point although it is easy to see the
kangaroos in the shade and the interesting
collection of native birds. For details contact
(08) 8754 2074.
|The pig sty
and silage pits at Clayton Farm
Clayton Farm Historic Site and
Located only 3km south of Bordertown on the
Naracoorte Road this is one of the most
interesting historic farms in the country. The
farm was owned and operated by the family of Mr
August Gottfried Wiese (who took up the land in
1872) from 1872-1985. Today it has an
extraordinary collection of historic farm
buildings (all built either by the owners or by
local tradesmen) made from traditional materials
- limestone, grasses and a variety of gums - and
some outstanding and very significant historic
farm machinery. There is a Vintage Field Day on
the October long weekend. There is an excellent
brochure which outlines the history of each of
the buildings on the site. For details of
opening times contact (08) 8752 2548.