Oakland Wetland & Reserve

Oaklands Wetland & Reserve




Tuesday November 7, 2017

Off to an early start today as I wanted to get as much dirt time in as possible. With an aching back, I had a few parks in mind that I wanted to revisit, however, after last night’s research I decided that Oaklands Wetland Reserve had some potential. So off we go on another day of dinging, digging and coins, but first, let’s learn a little about the reserve.

Oakland Wetland & Reserve


The wetland is located in Oaklands Wetland and Reserve at 237-265 Oaklands Road in Oaklands Park; adjacent to the Warradale Army Barracks and across the road from the Marion Outdoor Swimming Centre.

It is a cherished open space still in the early years of development, where our community directly connects with nature. It is home to a diversity of wildlife including birds, aquatic life and protected species including the Grey-headed Flying-fox.

Importantly, the key purpose of the wetland itself is to clean and supply precious water to many of our parks. It is a ‘water farm’ and once fully operational it will help provide the community with green open spaces.


I started my hunt with that gut feeling on the southern edge of the reserve, the landscape had a aura of wisdom and I could see by the look of the trees they had a nice vintage about them.

I found myself hunting under the shelter of a large native tree that must of been hundreds of years old. With the hopes of digging up a collection of modern coin and some tasty oldies as my mind started to think.

My imagination wandered as I thought of the thousands of people that could of sat back under this massive shelter to escape the summer heat of South Australia. And when people sit to relax, they lose things, they lose pocket things. Those silvery beauties that gets gobbled up by mama earth only to be discovered again at a later time in history.

Nope not the case even though my headset was buzzy away and targets everywhere. Just nothing of value could be found. Unfortunately it was one piece of rubbish after another with the occasional unique find. Finally I struck a small honey hole at the base of that sheltering tree which yielded me a whopping .75 cents in various modern coins. Damn it!! I only wish that could of been my silver cache for the day.

Anyhow, not all was lost. I had a nice conversation with an older bloke that lived nearby. He seemed interested in my detecting so we chatted a little about the hobby and my past discoveries. After a few minutes, he gave me some local knowledge that got my heart pumping. This mystery man was telling me there once was an old mansion that dated back 150 years and had been demolished in the 60s after the previous land owner sold the property to the council to make way for the current reserve. He pointed in the direction where he thought the old house once stood. Now I had an objective and quickly packed up and relocated to this section of the park.


First mansion site

Under way in my new spot the targets were fast and furious but again nothing of great significance or value to my ever growing coin collection. There was a few pockets of goldies about but I’m a history dude and I’m always seeking the silver and oldies over modern goldies. That’s just me being greedy, don’t get me wrong, I’m always happy to receive what the MD gods offer.

Spent the next few hours swinging away over this mansion site without much to show for it. In that time I had a few more conversations with local residences as

Mansion site #2

they continued to drop by for a visit. After telling them I was on the hunt for old coins and relics from a historical mansion. The elders of the neighborhood recollected that this mansion was not where I was hunting, but further beyond. But none of them could exactly pinpoint the location after nearly 60 years, they just knew it was somewhere nearby.

As the clock was ticking and my back continuing to give me grief, I was officially on a wild goose chase for this particular piece of salty land. As I trekked towards this new location I finally dug up a 1950 Roo Penny!! The targets where getting fewer but the finds were getting older, this seems like the right path.

At this stage in the day my pooch was filling up with random bits of metal and a small collection of modern coins plus my roo penny. I just wasn’t able to muster up the energy to start another detailed and thorough hunt. I knew this area would require my attention and I didn’t want to be rushed through it. So I packed it up and decided I’d save this historical mansion site for a full-day hunt when the time is right and the back is feeling strong again.

A beautiful location and very friendly residences. This is a huge location and I know I’ll be back here many more times in the future as my quest to unearth relics from this historical mansion weighs heavy on my mind. When’s my next day off work? Hehe






The Kaurna people are the original inhabitants of Marion

The original inhabitants of Marion, the Kaurna people of the Adelaide Plains, were supported by the Sturt River and surrounding bushland which provided food and shelter.

The Kaurna people’s name for the Sturt River is Warripari. It means a windy place by the river. Warripari was an important travel route for the Kaurna people.

Visit the Living Kaurna Cultural Centre and the Stories of the Sturt River to learn more about the Kaurna people’s strong connection to Warriparinga.


The early settlement of Marion

Early Land GrantEuropean settlers also found the banks of this river inviting and in 1838, just two years after the colony was founded, Colonel William Light laid out the Village of Marion.

The rich soil in the area produced vegetables, almonds, stonefruits and grapes.

The first grapevines were planted in the winter of 1838 on the banks of the river by Richard Hamilton, forebear of the Hamilton family who were to become major wine producers in the district.

Note 5 Market

Marion was a rural community

A primarily rural community, Marion nevertheless had a sprinkling of local industries including mining and brickmaking.

The manufacture of cement at the Brighton Cement Works in Seacliff Park in 1882 was the beginning of a major Australian industry.

However progress was slow, the population at the turn of the century still being less than 350 people.

Market gardens flourished

Market gardeners 1945The market gardens flourished, earning Marion the title of ‘the Garden of Adelaide’ with almond blossom tours being a highlight of winter.

Grape production also increased until as well as producing a wide variety of wines, Marion at one stage was supplying 85-90% of Adelaide’s table grapes.

However, the Depression of the late 20s and early 30s caused much hardship in the small community of less than 6,000.

Read more about the Garden of Adelaide and the Almond Blossom Fairyland
on the Stories of the Sturt River virtual tour.


Development continued slowly over the next few decades.

Road and rail links gradually improved, easing transportation difficulties between the plains of the north and the hills areas of the south.

The First World War had little impact on this small farming community. Glenthorne, a former horse stud farm at O’Halloran Hill, did its duty for King and Country training horses for the Australian Army.

Local industries thrived

After the war, new suburbs such as Clovelly Park were opened and the bitumenising of roads began.

Local industries now included Pengelley’s huge furniture factory, Furness Ltd (piano, caravan and door manufacturers) and Wunderlich’s, makers of terracotta roof tiles.


Post war population boom

Whilst the Second World War had few immediate effects other than causing labour and materials shortages, the period after the war was to change the face of Marion forever.

With the post war population boom, Australian cities expanded, increasing the demand for both housing and consumer goods.


SA Housing Trust kitchen 1950

There was a huge demand for houses

In the early to mid 1950s the South Australian Housing Trust began buying up large tracts of land for industrial development and the provision of low-cost rental housing.Large companies such as Hills began to establish in Marion while existing companies expanded.

By 1954, the population had risen to over 31,000 from less that 11,000 only seven years before.

The following year Chrysler purchased 71 hectares of land in Clovelly Park and established a car assembly plant, one of the largest such operations under one roof in the southern hemisphere.

Read more about the rapid growth of Marion on the Stories of the Sturt River virtual tour.