Historical Towns Directory

By clicking on a state or territory on the map, you can access a regional guide to Australia's historic towns, including a wealth of information about organizations, museums and locations.

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Find Clare

Settlement at Clare began when Edward Burton Gleeson took up the Inchiquin run in 1840.

The Bungaree station was established in the region by George Hawker and his brothers a year after Gleeson arrived in the area. The Hawker's station became an independent community of its own, including the homestead, the Gothic-style St Michael's Church (dedicated in 1864) and a school. Sections of the stone buildings on the property, around 12 kilometres north of Clare, today date back to 1842 and the sandstone buildings were all constructed by the conclusion of the 1860s.

Gleeson laid out and founded a township in 1842. The village was known variously as 'The Twins' (after a pair of gum trees by the creek), Inchiquin and Gleeson's Village early in its development before Gleeson named it Clare, after his native county in Ireland, in 1846.

Clare's development was aided by the discovery of copper at Burra in 1845 and the district began to supply its produce to the increasing Burra mining population.

Clare's first town hall (still standing) was built in the 1840s.

Clare Library and Courthouse

The original Wolta Wolta homestead was constructed by pastoralist John Hope in 1846. Additions were made to the original single room dwelling in 1869-70, reflecting the increase in the fortunes of Wolta Wolta at this time. The Ash Wednesday bushfires in 1983 badly damaged the building but it was subsequently restored.

Clare's first hotel was opened by Irishman David Kenny in 1848.

The first St Michael's Catholic Church in Clare was completed in 1849 and was only the third Catholic church in the South Australian colony. The simple, Gothic Revival-style St Barnabas Anglican Church was constructed in 1851.

A police station and courthouse was constructed in 1850. The building was also used as the seat of local government after the Clare District Council was formed in 1853. The building, however, was too far from the town's main street to maintain law and order and operated as a casualty hospital from 1888 to 1922. The building is now home to a museum.

Clare was an important coaching and telegraph communications centre in the 1860s. In the 1870s the town benefited from the opening up of land for wheat growing in the north. By the 1880s, however, the soils in the Clare Valley were exhausted due to intensive farming, the railway bypassed the town and there was a general downturn in the South Australian economy, all of which halted Clare's growth.

Vineyards and orchards were planted by the end of the 1800s and by the early 1900s the foundations had been laid for Clare's modern wine industry.

Knappstein Wines

Clare, 136 kilometres from Adelaide, is the today main service centre for the Clare Valley, which is now recognised as one of Australia's premier wine regions.

Clare Regional History Group
Information: The Group was founded in 1984 in response to a need to a Collection to house written and photographic material relating to Clare and district. The Collection is today housed in the former Institure building, above the Clare Library. It contains Clare's 'Northern Argus' newspaper from 1869 to the present, 'The South Australian Register (1836-74), church, school, council and cemetery records, mircofiche Births, Deaths and Marriage from the mid-1850s and the Patullo Land History of Clare. Collection opening hours are 1pm to 4pm every Thursday and 6.30pm to 8.pm on the 2nd Thursday of the month. Closed all January. The Group can also perform research for a fee of $15 per hour and $3 per Births, Deaths & Marriages entry searched.
Publications: The Group has a number of publications for sale, including a Federation CD Rom of the history of the Clare and Gilbert Valley District, and also publishes a newsletter.
Phone: 08 8842 3817 (Clare Public Library)

PO Box 6
Clare SA 5453

Email: history@chariot.net.au
Website: http://www.chariot.net.au/~history
Clare & District Branch National Trust of SA
Information: The Clare & District Branch National Trust of SA was founded in 1970 and aims to collect and preserve photographs, clothing, artefacts, machinery etc. for the education and enjoyment of future and present generations.
Publications: A book called 'A Backward Glance' compiled by the (late) Jean Schaal with sketches by John Haynes.
President Phone: 08 8842 2376
Secretary Phone: 08 8842 2374
Contact: Mrs Val Tilbrook (President); Mr John Haynes (Secretary)

P.O. Box 251
Clare SA 5453

Email: valtil@chariot.net.au
Website: http://users.chariot.net.au/~valtil/
Old Police Station Museum & Courthouse, Clare
Information: The Museum run by the Clare & District Branch National Trust of SA contains artefacts, clothing, photographs, machinery and horse-drawn vehicles. Opening hours are Saturdays, Sundays, public holidays and school holidays from 10am to 12pm and 2pm to 4pm or by request.

Corner Victoria Road and Neagles Rock Road
Clare SA 5453

Clare Visitor Information Centre
Information: Open 9am to 5pm seven days. Closed Christmas Day.
Phone: 1800 242 131
Fax: 08 8842 1117

Cnr Main and Spring Gully roads
Clare SA 5453

Postal Address:

PO Box 518
Clare SA 5453

Email: ask@clarevalley.com.au
Website: http://www.clarevalley.com.au



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