|Hagen Arms -
'By Appointment to His Royal Highness
the Duke of Edinburgh - 1867'
Quiet village near historic goldmine ruins.
Located 34 km south-east of Adelaide, Echunga is
a quiet, sleepy little place servicing the
surrounding area. It is only 8 km from Hahndorf
and perhaps the only building of significance in
the town is the pub, the Hagen Arms, named after
the first European settler in the district, John
Hagen. The town takes its name, reputedly, from
an Aboriginal word 'eechungga' which may mean
either 'a short distance' or 'close by'.
In 1839 John Hagen, a wealthy English Quaker,
decided that Echunga would be an ideal location
for a Quaker settlement. He purchased land off
another Quaker J. Barton Hack (his name is still
recalled in the Hack Ranges), built the hotel
and tried to create a model village with wheat
fields, dairy herds and a vineyard. By 1843 he
Although Hagen was bankrupt the vineyard he
had planted continued to yield good quality
grapes and it is possible that the first South
Australian wine to be exported was an Echunga
hock which was served to Queen Victoria in 1845.
The gold rushes of the 1850s led to miners
pouring into the valley, particularly to Jupiter
Creek. The discovery of gold at Jupiter Creek in
1852 was the first in South Australia and caused
considerable excitement. For a brief time the
town prospered and it has been estimated that at
its peak it had grown to a population in excess
Today Echunga has been overwhelmed by
Hahndorf. It is a sleepy town with a lot of
disused buildings in the main street.
Things to see:
The Hagen Arms are very proud to declare that it
was 'By Appointment to His Royal Highness the
Duke of Edinburgh - 1867'. Today they are very
much the centre of the town.
Jupiter Gold Diggings
Located 5 km out of Echunga on the
less-than-lovely Rubbish Dump Road are the old
Jupiter gold diggings. Gold was discovered here
in 1852. The diggings themselves are a healthy
walk from the car park but they are still an
interesting insight into goldmining in the area.
It is possible to fossick on the diggings. There
is also a guided walking tour.