Clare, South Australia

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South Australia
Main street, Clare.JPG
Main North Road, looking north (Note the former town hall on the right side of main street)
Clare is located in South Australia
Coordinates33°50′0″S 138°36′0″E / 33.83333°S 138.60000°E / -33.83333; 138.60000Coordinates: 33°50′0″S 138°36′0″E / 33.83333°S 138.60000°E / -33.83333; 138.60000
Population3,160 (2016 census)[1]
Elevation392 m (1,286 ft)
LGA(s)District Council of Clare and Gilbert Valleys
RegionYorke and Mid North[2]
State electorate(s)Frome
Federal division(s)Grey
Localities around Clare:
Stanley Flat
Hill Town
Boconnoc Park
Clare Spring Farm
Hill River
Farrell Flat
Emu Flat
Spring Gully
Polish Hill River

The town of Clare is located in South Australia in the Mid North region, 136 km north of Adelaide. It gives its name to the Clare Valley wine and tourist region.[3]

At the 2016 census, Clare itself had a population of 3160[1] as part of an urban area with 3327 people.[4]


Clare Girls Band 1914

The first European to explore the district was John Hill, who in April 1839 discovered and named the Wakefield River and Hutt River. In early 1840 the first European settlers arrived in the district, led by John Horrocks. The town itself was established in 1842 by Edward Burton Gleeson, and named after his ancestral home of County Clare in Ireland,[5] although the town was first named Inchiquin after Gleeson's property. Lake Inchiquin is now the name of a reservoir located to the north of the town, near the golf club. The layout of the town's road system was apparently designed by a draughtsman in Adelaide, without any knowledge of the local geography.[citation needed] There are several roads in Clare that end abruptly at a cliff face, only to continue again at the top of the cliff, e.g. Wright Street to the top of Billy Goat Hill, and continued as Wright Lane below, running by Woolworths.

The District Council of Clare was established in 1853 and was joined in 1868 by a corporate municipality, the Corporation of Clare. The corporate town seceded from the district council to provide dedicated local government to the township but re-amalgamated with the district council in 1969.

A railway line was built from Riverton to Clare in 1918 and on to Spalding in 1922. It closed in 1984 and the tracks were removed in the following years after damage caused by the Ash Wednesday fires of 1983. The alignment now carries the Riesling Trail walking and cycling trail from Auburn to Barinia.

County of Stanley[edit]

The Hundred of Stanley, 1895, east of Clare

The County of Stanley, in which lies the town of Clare, is one of the 49 cadastral counties of South Australia. It was proclaimed by Governor George Grey and named for Edward Stanley, Secretary of State for the Colonies from 1841 to 1845. The Hundred of Clare is centred on the town of Clare. Within the Stanley County also lies the Hundred of Stanley which contains the eastern Clare Valley.

This area was also the location of the Electoral district of Stanley for which, from 1862, the chief polling place was listed as Clare, with subsidiary polling places at Auburn, Mudla Wirra (Gawler), and Baker's Springs (Rhynie). This electorate was only abolished in 1956. Townships served by the seat of Stanley from 1875 included Port Pirie, Crystal Brook, Clare, Snowtown and Port Broughton. In 1997 Clare and the surrounding district became a part of the much larger District Council of Clare and Gilbert Valleys for the purpose of local governance.

The "Big Wine Cask" at the Stanley Constellation winery in NSW

Stanley Wine Company[edit]

Clare is the original location of the Stanley Wine Company, founded in 1894 by Joseph Herman Knappstein;[6] the brand is now owned by Accolade Wines for cask wine packaged for the "drink now" market. Local winery "Mr. Mick" is named for Stanley Wine's Managing Director (1962–1976) Carl Knappstein, known as "Mick", the legendary Stanley Wine Maker.[7]

Wine grapes were grown around Clare from the early 1840’s with the early explorer, John Horrocks planting the first vines at Penwortham. Pioneer Edward Burton Gleeson (the founder of Clare, and its first mayor[8]) also planted approximately 800 vines at his Clare estate 'Inchiquin' in the 1840’s. Many small vineyards were then planted, the main ones being by winemaker J.H. Knappstein, settler John Hope and brewer John Christison.[9]

For example, in 1904 the Stanley Wine Company completed a large shipment of casks of wine for London totalling about 70,000 gallons.[10] Clare Valley wines exported (in casks) were mainly Stanley port, with "its unique and palatable flavor".[11] This port, with dry burgundy and brandy, formed the bulk of the production sold to Britain, for which the wines had to be preserved ("fortified") with extra distilled spirit, much as we now know our Muscats and Port wines.[12]

Clare's most prestigious winery is at Wendouree, two and a half miles south-east of Clare (but closed to the public), which is "a fine little cellar in a family tradition" that specialises in high-class organic wine production. Mr. A. P. Birks established this cellar "in a tiny way" in a shed in 1895 which now is renowned for limited volume production of exclusive Wendouree red wines.[11] Penfold's famous Grange also has sources in the Clare Valley.[13]

The town today[edit]

Bentley Hotel, Clare

As one of the larger towns in the region, Clare is an administrative and service centre for the surrounding area. It has two supermarkets, many other specialty stores, two public and two private schools, three hotels, two motels, a caravan park, race course and showground.

Clare has become recognised for its 'experiences', including the Riesling Trail walking and cycling route from 9 km north of Clare to Auburn (25 km), on the former railway alignment, so named as it weaves past vineyards and wineries, and continuing to Riverton as the Rattler Trail.

The Riesling Trail also makes up a small section of the popular, 900 km (560 mi) Mawson Trail which stretches up to the Flinders Ranges.[14]

Clare is the starting point of the Lavender Federation Trail which traverses the eastern side of the Mount Lofty Ranges past the Barossa Valley through to Murray Bridge.[15] The Clare Valley wine region continues within the same line of hills as the famous Barossa Valley, and also produces wine.

The Clare Valley Wine and Wilderness Trail[16] is a 100 km hiking and cycling trail designed to highlight the premium wine and food and landscapes of the Clare Valley, starting at the Clare Valley Information Centre, Horrocks Highway, 3 km south of Clare.


The township of Clare is home to two wineries at opposite ends of the town:

  • The Knappstein Enterprise Winery, 2 Pioneer Ave, Clare SA (the old Clare Brewery)[17]
  • Mr. Mick Cellar Door and Restaurant, 7 Dominic St, Clare SA (the old Stanley Winery)[18]

and book-ended by Jim Barry winery in the north and Tim Adams winery to the south. A half-dozen restaurants are situated in and around Clare, counting Cellar Door Restaurants at surrounding wineries. A further dozen or more wineries surround the town: including Taylors, Kirrihill, Kilikanoon, and Shut The Gate Wines. The Clare Valley contains over forty cellar doors and wineries in all.[19]

  • A third original Clare Winery was The Clarevale Cooperative Winery,[20] the buildings of which still survive in Lennon Street Clare across from the Clarevale Cottage, the Manager's home. This winery was founded in 1930, with a loan of 8,000 pounds from the State Government, but started crushing wine in 1929. It was later taken over by Kaiser Stuhl.
  • The Clare Valley Visitor Information Centre[21] is incorporated within the Clare Valley Wine, Food and Tourism Centre, located 3 km south of Clare on the Horrocks Highway, at 8 Spring Gully Rd, Clare SA.
Looking up the Main street (Horrocks Highway) of Clare, South Australia, in 2009, with the tower of the old Town Hall.
The same view of Main Street Clare over 100 years ago; from the women's dress and lack of motor vehicles, this is prior to 1910.
  • The Clare Museum of the National Trust of SA[22] is at the Corner, Neagles Rock Road and Victoria Road Clare 5453 SA, about 1 km South of Main Street. Open 1-3 PM Saturdays, and 10-3 PM Sundays and public holidays, except Christmas and Good Friday.
  • The popular Clare Regional History Group has a large collection of historical books, newspapers and memorabilia at the Clare Town Hall, open to the public on Friday afternoons 1-4 PM, and on monthly Saturday Market days.
  • The Monthly Clare Show Market is held on the second Saturday of the Month at Ennis Park, alongside the Clare Town Hall.
  • Clare Valley Market in the car park at The Clare Valley Info. Centre at the Clare Valley Wine, Food and Tourism Centre, south of Clare on Spring Gully Rd. is a licensed market held in March, September (24/9/22) and November (25/9/2022).
  • The Clare Mini-railway at the "Lakeside Railway": The Clare Valley Model Engineers have a railway with over one kilometre of track that features several bridges and a tunnel in a 10 hectare park. and the train operates every second and fourth weekend of each month at Melrose Park, Phoenix Ave, Clare SA.
The Riesling Trail
  • The Gleeson Wetlands, including Lake Inchiquin, has a flat easy walking path, with the opportunity to view many native birds in their natural habitat. There are two picnic shelters, and a bird hide. Further along there is a pathway through Melrose Park which links to the Riesling Trail.
  • Five Lookouts around Clare:

1. Billy Goat Hill, Wright Street, central Clare, is a good lookout on a Council Reserve upstairs and via a high footpath above an old quarry (behind Woolworths) which offers a great view of Clare. It is also accessible by car via Union Street from Mill Street.

2. Neagle's Rock Lookout is a Clare favourite, and only 1 km south from the crossroad by the National Trust Clare Museum and Wolta Wolta heritage homestead. The peak is about a 20 minute steep walk, and has a long history of family picnics. In October 1935 it was announced that a public subscription had raised money toward public ownership of the site, which is now run by the local Council.[23] The lookout park contains many ecologically important flora species, including rare remnant of Peppermint Box eucalypt woodland. Listen for the birdsong of the White-plumed Honeyeater, Australian Magpie, Adelaide Rosella, the Grey Shrikethrush, and of the Rufous Whistler.[24]

3. Quarry Hill Lookout is the most romantic and beautiful lookout near Clare. Get there on Quarry Road, which runs east off Main North Rd, just south of the caravan park, about 4 km south of Clare township. At 276 Quarry Rd, Polish Hill River SA 5453. Check out the Clare Valley Rocks information[25] on the display sign at the lookout.

The panoramic view to the west from Brooks Lookout on the Old Blyth Road from Armagh

4. Brooks Lookout, on the steep Old Blyth Road west of Armagh, has panoramic views west over Blyth township and the Condowie Plain, with views to the Hummocks and a possible glimpse of Gulf St Vincent. It is closed in summer due to the danger of bushfire. Reach it from sign-posted turn-offs from the Blyth Road below Armagh.

South-western view from Spring Gully Park, Clare

5. Spring Gully Conservation Park: This park about 6 km south of Clare preserves the remnants of the only stand of red stringybark (Eucalyptus macrorhyncha) in South Australia. It is a relic population left behind from a wetter time so is mostly treed with Peppermint Gum (Eucalyptus odorata), Southern Cypress Pine (Callitris gracilis) and Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha). A great place for seeing Blackboy Trees (Xanthorrhoea species) and possibly Western grey kangaroos and euros at dawn or at dusk.

  • Clare Valley Art Gallery has an extensive range of contemporary Utopian Indigenous Art, with regular visiting artists, at 28 Horrocks Highway, Clare
  • The Clare Art House has exhibits, presentations, art and craft workshops and lessons, 8 Mill Street Clare
  • The Riesling Trail runs past the location of the old Clare Railway Station, and extends up the valley to Auburn.
  • The great Hill River Stone Wall, estimated to contain 7,040.000 stones, commences about 3 km South of the Farrell Flat road East of Clare, by Claremont Road.[26]
Hill River plaque

It continues Northwards to Gum Creek and Leighton, up big hills and down dales to Spalding and Booborowie on a level with Jamestown, finally ending at the top end of Canowie. It seems fairly certain the Hill River wall was built in the 1860s by tradesmen of the celebrated pioneering pastoralist, C. B. Fisher,[27] principally to keep sheep within bounds. Also known as "The "Camel Hump Wall", it is a drystone wall which runs over 30 kilometres (19 mi) from Booborowie to Farrell Flat, and another equal distance further south to the former farm of Mr. David Ashby, totalling 62 kilometres.[28] "Camel Hump Wall" is said to be the longest continuous dry stone wall in Australia, and should be heritage listed.[29]

  • Bungaree Station, 12 km north of Clare has a sandstone Woolshed (one of Australia's oldest working woolsheds, constructed from 1842), Shearers Quarters, Stable Yard, Station Store, Managers House, staff cottages and B&B accommodation, and even the old District Council Chambers and a Church. It is still a working farm, run by the 4th, 5th and 6th generations of the Hawker family. Bungaree was established like a small English village with the manor house, police station, St Michaels Anglican Church in the Gothic style (1864), and also has a thriving tourism business, created after the wool crash of 1985.
Commonwealth of Australia 50 Pounds Note (1918)
Commonwealth of Australia 1000 Pounds (1914-24)

These 1906 photographs shows a mob of 1,960 sheep which had just walked to Bungaree from Paralana Station in the Northern Flinders Ranges (also run by the Hawker Family). The particular interest of this photo of Bungaree is that it later became famous, when an engraving was made of it and it was used on both the £50 and £1000 Australian banknotes (The £1000 note was used for inter-bank transactions).

Old Kadlunga homestead near Mintaro, in 1901

"Australia was Riding on the Sheep's Back"[30] meaning that, for much of Australia's recent history wool has been the basis of the national economy and the country's major export. Those graziers who grew the wool had come to symbolise and epitomise what it was to be Australian.

Other historic sheep stations in the Clare Valley are:

  • Hill River Estate (east of Clare), founded by C.B. Fisher[31]) and
  • Hughes Park estate[32][33] (south-west of Clare).[11]
  • Boconnoc Park estate lies west of Armagh around the Blyth Road.[34]
  • The Kadlunga Estate, with the best rainfall in the area, was historically famed for its breeding of Shropshire sheep[35] and is situated south-east of Clare, towards Mintaro and its historic Martindale Hall.[36]


(Listed North to South)

Chateau Clare wine barrels
Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Photo taken at Skillogalee Winery in the Clare Valley in 2006
  1. Jim Barry Wines (Cellar Door)
  2. Mad Bastard Wines (Cellar Door)
  3. Knappstein Wines (Cellar Door)
  4. Mr Mick (Cellar Door, Restaurant)
  5. Sussex Squire Wines (Cellar Door)
  6. Tim Adams Wines (Cellar Door)
  7. Shut the Gate Wines (Cellar Door, Cafe)
    Clare Valley, Sevenhill Cellars - panoramio
  8. Stone Bridge Wines (Cellar Door)
  9. Eldredge Wines (Cellar Door)
  10. Jaeschke's Hill River Clare Estate (Cellar Door)
  11. Sevenhill Cellars (Cellar Door)
  12. Good Catholic Girl Wines (Cellar Door)
  13. Pikes Wines and Brewery (Cellar Door, Restaurant)
  14. The Wilson Vineyard (Cellar Door)
  15. Paulett Wines (Cellar Door, Restaurant)
  16. Jeanneret Wines & Clare Valley Brewing (Cellar Door)
  17. Skillogalee Wines & Restaurant (Cellar Door, Restaurant)
  18. Reilly's Wines and Restaurant (Cellar Door, Restaurant)
  19. Mitchell Wines (Cellar Door)
  20. Mintaro Wines (Cellar Door)
  21. Killikanoon Wines (Cellar Door)
  22. Penna Lane Wines (Cellar Door)
  23. Tim McNeil Wines (Cellar Door)
  24. Crabtree Watervale Wines (Cellar Door)
  25. clos Clare (Cellar Door)
  26. Claymore Wines (Cellar Door)
  27. Tim Gramp Wines (Cellar Door)
  28. O'Leary Walker Wines (Cellar Door, Restaurant)
  29. Taylors Wine (Cellar Door, Restaurant)
  30. Velvet and Willow Wines (Cellar Door)
  31. Wines by KT (Cellar Door)
  32. Grosset Wines (Cellar Door)
  33. Mount Horrocks Wines (Cellar Door)
  34. Ulster Park Wines (Cellar Door)
  35. Koonowla Wines/Georges (Cellar Door)


Clare is governed at the local level by the District Council of Clare and Gilbert Valleys. Clare lies in the state electoral district of Frome and the federal electoral Division of Grey.

Geography and Climate[edit]

Clare is situated on the eponymous Clare Valley along the path of the Hutt River, about 10 km (6.2 mi) west of the Camels Hump Range and 3.5 km (2.2 mi) west of Stony Range. The Skilly Hills rise to the south-west and the Bungaree Hills rise to the north-west. Clare experiences a hot-summer mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification: Csa), Trewartha: Csak); with warm, dry summers; mild to warm, relatively dry springs and autumns; and cool to mild winters with moderate precipitation.

Climate data for Clare High School, South Australia, Australia (1993–present normals and extremes); 395 m AMSL
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 44.9
Mean maximum °C (°F) 38.2
Average high °C (°F) 30.3
Daily mean °C (°F) 22.6
Average low °C (°F) 14.9
Mean minimum °C (°F) 9.7
Record low °C (°F) 5.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 22.9
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 3.1 2.7 3.0 4.4 7.3 9.5 10.5 10.4 7.7 5.7 5.2 4.1 73.6
Average relative humidity (%) 40.0 41.5 48.0 53.0 67.0 77.0 78.5 72.5 67.0 55.0 47.5 42.5 57.5
Average dew point °C (°F) 7.4
Source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology (1993–present normals and extremes)[37]

Notable people[edit]

Notable people from or who have lived in Clare include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Clare (SA)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 19 April 2019. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ "Yorke and Mid North SA Government region" (PDF). The Government of South Australia. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
  3. ^ Clare Regional History Group (2001). Clare District Centenary of Federation (CD-ROM ed.). Clare Town Hall: Clare Regional History Group. p. The Name is Clare Valley.
  4. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Clare". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 19 April 2019. Edit this at Wikidata
  5. ^ Rodney Cockburn (1984) [1908]. What's in a name? Nomenclature of South Australia. Fergusson Publications.
  6. ^ Joseph Knappstein – The founder of Clare's Stanley Wine Company Clare Museum. Retrieved 12 June 2021.
  7. ^ – The Boom in Clare Winemaking Clare Museum Retrieved 13 June 2021.
  8. ^ "Founder Paddy Gleeson: "King of Clare"". 3 April 2020.
  9. ^ "Our Story | Mr. Mick | Clare Valley, South Australia". 19 September 2018.
  10. ^ "Export of Wine". Adelaide Observer. 22 October 1904.
  11. ^ a b c "Steps in Clare's Great Progress". Advertiser. 26 June 1935.
  12. ^ "2. The Boom in Wine". Clare Museum. Retrieved 22 July 2022.
  13. ^ "Vintage Cellars Australia's Fine Wine Specialist | Buy Wine Online". 22 July 2022.
  14. ^ "Mawson Trail – Full Trail – Trails SA". Retrieved 23 August 2019.
  15. ^ "Lavender Federation Trail". Lavender Federation Trail. Retrieved 23 August 2019.
  16. ^ "Clare Valley Wine and Wilderness Trail". Explore the Clare Valley. Retrieved 6 August 2022.
  17. ^ "4. Wine's post-war Boom".
  18. ^ "Joseph Knappstein".
  19. ^ – Clare Valley Top Tourism Town. Retrieved 13 June 2021
  20. ^ Clare Wine between the Wars – Clare Museum. Retrieved 13 June 2021
  21. ^ "Clare Valley Information Centre". Clare Valley Wine, Food and Tourism Centre. Retrieved 7 August 2022.
  22. ^ "Clare Museum". Clare Museum, S.A. National Trust. Clare Museum of the National Trust. Retrieved 7 August 2022.
  23. ^ "Open Column". Northern Argus. 18 October 1935.
  24. ^ "Neagles Rock Reserve, Clare". Birds SA. Retrieved 18 July 2022.
  25. ^ "Clare Valley Rocks". Clare Valley Wine and Grape Association, Clare Rocks. Retrieved 12 August 2022.
  26. ^ Ruwolt, Jon (12 March 2020). "Heard about the great Hill River Stone Wall?". Clare Museum of the National Trust. Archived from the original on 2 March 2021.
  27. ^ Ruwolt, Jon (2020). "C. B. Fisher". Clare Museum of the National Trust. Archived from the original on 12 June 2021. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  28. ^ Miller, Andrew (March 2015). "Dry stone walls on Landline" (PDF). The Flagstone : Dry Stone Wall Association of Australia Inc. Archived (PDF) from the original on 1 March 2016. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  29. ^ Adams, Prue (17 May 2015). "Dry stone walls should be heritage listed". ABC Landline. Archived from the original on 31 October 2015. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  30. ^ National Film and Sound Archive of Australia
  31. ^ "C.B. Fisher". Clare Museum.
  32. ^ "Our story".
  33. ^ Duncan Legacy: Hughes Park Estate, Watervale
  34. ^ "Boconnoc Park, Clare, S.a". Australasian. 22 March 1924.
  35. ^ "The Kadlunga Estate". South Australian Chronicle. 17 September 1892.
  36. ^ Ruwolt, Jon (21 September 2021). "Neglected Jewels of Clare Valley". Clare Museum.
  37. ^ "Clare High School, SA Climate (1993–present normals and extremes)". Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 2 June 2022.
  38. ^ Condon, Brian. Adey, William James (1874–1956). Canberra: National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  39. ^ Tamblyn, M. Bell, Peter Albany (1871–1957). Canberra: National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  40. ^ Brewster Jones, Hooper. "Hooper Josse Brewster-Jones (1887–1949)". Rare Books & Manuscripts. University of Adelaide Library. Retrieved 31 October 2021.
  41. ^ Gleeson, Paddy. "Founder Paddy Gleeson: "King of Clare"". Clare Museum. Clare National Trust. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  42. ^ Hawker, George Charles. "Hawker, George Charles (1818–1895)". Obituaries Australia. Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  43. ^ Dissel, Dirk Van. Hawker, Charles Allan (1894–1938). Canberra: National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  44. ^ Ruwolt, Jon (2018). "H H Tilbrook". Clare Museum of the National Trust. Retrieved 28 October 2021.

External links[edit]