grapes in the Adelaide Hills (pic: S.A.
Major service centre in the Adelaide Hills
Located only 35 km from Adelaide on the South
Eastern Freeway, Mount Barker is the major
service centre at the southern end of the
Adelaide Hills. Where most of the other towns in
the Hills have a decidedly 'village' feel, Mount
Barker is a substantial commercial centre.
The first European to map Mount Barker (and
consequently to name it) was Captain Charles
Sturt who saw it from Lake Alexandrina on 18
April 1831 and named it after Captain Collet
Barker of the 39th Regiment who had recently
been killed by Aborigines somewhere near the
mouth of the Murray River.
The area was surveyed in 1839 by the
pastoralist Duncan McFarlane with the
expectation that it would be opened up to wheat
and grain farming. Lots of 80 acres were to be
sold but there was a problem as few farmers were
willing to produce wheat unless their was a
flour mill nearby. When John Dunn arrived in the
area he was offered free land to establish a
flour mill and by 1844, when the mill was
completed, Dunn had established the first steam
flour mill outside of Adelaide. The mill
operated successfully for the next 50 years and
it was on the basis of its operations that the
The town's major buildings were completed
over the next three decades with the Post Office
being built in 1860 and the Police Station with
its stables being completed in 1878. The area's
future was ensured with the arrival of the
railway in 1883.
Things to see:
Walking Around Mount Barker
The local Tourist Information Office has a
number of brochures for people eager to explore
the area. There is a very good walking tour
which lists over 30 historic buildings in the
centre of the town.
Dunn's Flour Mill
Completed in 1844 this historic mill, which
closed down in 1894, still stands and is used as
a coffee shop and restaurant today.
Mount Barker Summit
Accessed by Springs Road from the centre of town
or the Mount Barker Summit road from Nairne,
this is one of the best views in the hills. On a
clear day it is possible to see Mount Lofty in
the north and Lake Alexandrina in the south-east
from its 517 metre elevation. There is a stone
cairn on the top which tells visitors that the
mountain was originally known as Wommu mu Kutra
to the local Aborigines and that it was an
ancient burial site.