Mintaro, South Australia

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South Australia
Martindale Hall.JPG
The iconic Martindale Hall
Population 223 (2006)[1] (2006 Census)
Established 1854
Postcode(s) 5415
Mayor Allan Aughey
  • 128 km (80 mi) north of Adelaide
  • 18 km (11 mi) south-east of Clare
LGA(s) District Council of Clare and Gilbert Valleys
Region Mid North
State electorate(s) Frome
Federal Division(s) Wakefield

Mintaro (33°55′S 138°43′E / 33.917°S 138.717°E / -33.917; 138.717, postcode 5415) is an historic town in the eastern Clare Valley, about 128 km north of Adelaide, South Australia. The town lies at the south-eastern corner of the Hundred of Clare, and is pronounced "min-TAIR-oh" by the locals.


Europeans explored the Mintaro district in 1839, firstly John Hill and then Edward John Eyre. The first European settler there was pastoralist James Stein who from 1841 held occupation licences for extensive sheep runs stretching from Mount Horrocks through Farrell Flat to the Burra district.

Stein established his homestead on a tributary of the Wakefield River, in a vale beneath Mount Horrocks, about three kilometres west of present Mintaro, naming it Kadlunga, Aboriginal for 'sweet hills' after the abundant honeysuckle there.[2] In following decades, with a succession of owners, Kadlunga Station became a famed sheep and horse stud. The historic stone buildings of the Kadlunga Estate are listed on the Register of the National Estate.

The town was founded in 1854 by Joseph and Henry Gilbert[3] on land purchased by Henry Gilbert in July 1849.

Originally, Mintaro was a watering stop for bullock teams travelling between the copper mining town of Burra and Port Wakefield transporting copper and coal for the Patent Copper Company.[4] The bullock teams were replaced with mule teams in the 1850s and up to a hundred mule teams were seen to pass though the town each day. The town’s economy collapsed when the teams where rerouted to the new railway at Gawler from 1857, but soon recovered with the growth of slate quarrying and agricultural production. The town now has tourism as its current primary industry.

Mintaro features many original Victorian buildings, including Martindale Hall which was used in the 1975 movie Picnic at Hanging Rock, Mintaro Slate Quarries and numerous vineyards and wineries. In 1984, Mintaro was the first entire town to be declared a State Heritage Area.


The district was called Mintara in some advertisements and the Township of Mintaro in an advertisement of 5 November 1849. Although it has been claimed that the name comes from a Spanish word meaning camp or resting place, based on the prevalence of Spanish mule teams passing through,[3] this is unlikely as the first mules did not arrive until 1853.[4] Some sources have claimed that the name is derived from either the Ngadjuri word mintadloo or Minta - Ngadlu meaning netted water.[3]

Slate and Flagstones[edit]

Mintaro’s Cambrian Period slate has a reputation for quality and has been used around the world for the manufacture of billiard tables, monuments, pavements, and many other items. Slate mining began in the 1856, helping to keep the town alive after rerouting of the mule trains. The slate received an honorable menton at the 1868 London International Exhibition and Walter Lindrum, Australian billiards champion, wrote to the quarry with congratulations on the slate’s quality.[3][4]


Mintaro today is an idyllic, sleepy village, popular as a tourist accommodation destination for visitors to the Clare Valley. It boasts a number of character Bed and Breakfast establishments, and the Magpie & Stump Hotel. There are 2 winery cellar doors in the town, galleries, charming eateries and a Maze.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Mintaro (State Suburb)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 2008-02-28. 
  2. ^ Manning Index of Place Names of South Australia, State Library of South Australia
  3. ^ a b c d "Mintaro". The Sydney Morning Herald. 8 February 2004. Retrieved 2006-08-28. 
  4. ^ a b c Noye, Robert J. (1980). CLARE – A District History. Hawthorndene, South Australia: Investigator Press. pp. 125–130.