November 14, 2017
I’m heading to one of my favorite parks in the Adelaide Hills this morning. To a beautiful little town called Clarendon which is steeped by local history and a welcomed relief from those curious eyes of Burnside Village.
Being in the hills for a good hunt is one of my favorite locations to metal detect in South Australia. Not only is it a welcoming break from the early summer heat of Adelaide’s flatland, but it’s also nice to get free of the city parks & beaches as well. Furthermore, the Adelaide Hills seem to deliver something more unique and different upon every visit. Not to mention, this particular location in Clarendon continues to spit out silver coins almost every time I’m there. And for those that follow me, you know how much I love my silver coins.
Today was a hot sweltering day, partly cloudy and no breeze at all. When the sun was covered it felt like a sauna and when she broke free the direct sun was blistering. Though I did bring my water this time! Not like my last hunt down in Austral Park. It only takes me three times before I finally learn. Yes, I’m a moron, I know this….hahaha
Arriving in Clarendon just after 7am the air was already warm so I jumped right into action without delay. I hunt this location 6x annually throughout all seasons and weather conditions. In most cases I will even follow my old routes as I still continue to dig up silver coins over these exact same locations. It goes to show that soil conditions, temperature and other variable factors change day to day. You may miss a Florin one day, however, in two weeks when the soil is drier or the ground temp is warmer those weak signals you missed before are now loud and clear. My point, don’t discard a location after one unsuccessful hunt. Particularly a location so pristine and quite such as today’s spot.
As I was balancing my Etrac I had a quick browse of the park and decided that I’d go down and hunt along the riverbed. A spot I never hunt and thought today would be a perfect opportunity to get in there and give it a go.
Probably not the smartest idea being the terrain was unforgiving and the native bushes all had a thorn to give. But I trooped through and had a few targets. Though mostly tin and iron bits that washed down stream during the last flood. However, I did come across a beauty Roo Penny in lodged in the washed out riverbank. She was practically a surface find as she was almost topside sun baking in the heat. So I thought I’d help out with my Etrac and bring this puppy back to life again.
Anyhow, I spent a good hour frolicking around about in the loose river rocks and sand before making my way back to familiar territory again. I was ready to find some silver coins, silver that wasn’t meant to be today. What can you do? You can’t win em all.
Spent the next 90 minutes pacing the green grass, looping my favorite trees and weaving in and out of the native reserve area. All in all, it was a wonderful day in Clarendon and in the end my pouch was semi-heavy with some tasty finds.
Enjoy the video…..
European History and Heritage
On 21 October 1840, Richard Blundell was granted the title to Section 801 Hundred of Noarlunga. In 1846, the land was conveyed to James Philcox who subdivided and sold a number of allotments and called it the township of Clarendon. In 1848, what remained of the section was sold to George Morphett who later surveyed more allotments, and other individuals also added adjacent blocks to the town.
By 1866, the town was described as a regional centre ‘in the midst of a fine agricultural district, where wheat, peas, and potatoes are largely grown’. By this time, a fine vineyard had been created and wine was being made in a magnificent two-storey complex to the south of the main street.
Clarendon is one of South Australia’s finest historic towns. The built heritage of Clarendon – in its winery complex, former police station, shops, institute, churches, hotel, school and houses – has been revitalised during the last twenty years.
Dating mainly from the late 1850s to the 1870s, these buildings are constructed of local stone that is mellow and warm in colour.
Vineyards and Police Station date unknown
Much of the town’s early trade was built around local vineyards and around proximity to the Onkaparinga River and a rich farming hinterland. This economy was enhanced when, between 1894 and 1896 the Clarendon Weir was constructed. Eventually, the weir was linked by pipeline to Happy Valley reservoir.
By the 1940s, though, despite the fine early planning, the town and its amenities were said to wear ‘an air of neglect and even decay’. Yet within another thirty-five years, some locals and developers had seen the potential of the town’s heritage and with local government began a restoration program.
The Clarendon vineyards were developed on land purchased by William Leigh, a well-known ship’s surgeon, in December 1846. A vineyard was developed for Leigh by 1849, probably by one or other of the Morphett brothers, John and George. Later, E.J. Peake took over the management of the place and, eventually, expanded the vineyard and assisted in the construction of the winery. By the 1890s, Joseph Gillard had assumed control and was running the winery with notable success.
The buildings themselves, restored in the 1970s and 1980s, retain much of their original character.