Melrose, South Australia
|Population||347 (2016 census)|
|LGA(s)||District Council of Mount Remarkable|
The Adnyamathanha people lived in the northern Flinders Ranges area for many millennia.
Journalist Rodney Cockburn, in his popular book What's in a Name asserts that consensus has not yet been reached about the origins of Melrose's name. He gives the explanation that its surveyor named the town after George Melrose, of Rosebank, Mount Pleasant, who assisted him when he was ill. Another explanation suggests a land owner named Alexander Campbell settled in the area in 1844 with his family and named the region after his hometown, Melrose, in Scotland. Historian Geoff Manning found that the town was located on a property claimed by the Mount Remarkable Mining Company and in the 1850s subdivided it into 250 sections of 80 acres (32 ha). Townsites were surveyed at either end, Melrose to the north and Bangor at the southern end. This was in accord with Cockburn's findings, but Manning was convinced that A. L. Elder, a prominent director of the company and a proud Scotsman, named it for Melrose in Roxburghshire.
The first European explorer in the area was Edward John Eyre in 1840; pastoralists settled in the area about a decade later. Copper was discovered and mining started in 1846, but it was not economically viable, and ceased in 1851. The mine was opened again three more times, with the latest closure in 1917.
In 1893 at a time of high unemployment, Wilton Hack founded a communal settlement in the area. At its peak, some 130 settlers were working 1,000 acres (400 ha) of land. By the end of 1895 after a succession of poor seasons around half the settlers had left, and in 1896 the village was closed by the Government.
When it was opened in 1848, the police station in Melrose was not only the first permanent police station in the region, but the base of the largest police district in the world. A constable, two troopers and an Aboriginal tracker were responsible for an area extending to the Timor Sea.
The Wilmington railway line from Gladstone opened near Melrose in 1915 and closed in 1990. The station was almost 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) north of the town. Melrose is also on the Horrocks Highway, formerly known as Main North Road.
Melrose has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
- 3 Brewery Street: Keating Cottage
- Melrose to Orroroo Road: Mount Remarkable Woolshed
- Melrose to Orroroo Road: Mount Remarkable Station
- Mount Street: Jacka's Brewery and Yard Walls
- near Melrose: Rankine's Hut
- Lot 2 Spratt Street: Timber Slab Dwelling
- Stuart Street: Melrose Post Office
- Stuart Street: Melrose Courthouse and Police Station
- Stuart Street: Mount Remarkable Inn
- 22-24 Stuart Street: Blacksmith Shop and Dwelling
- 13 Whitby Street: Timber Slab Dwelling
Jacka's Brewery was a family business founded by Joseph Jacka in 1877 in Melrose. Several months prior, Joseph and his brother William had leased the land the brewery still resides upon from Joseph's father-in-law. At the time, the Jacka family also owned the North Star Hotel in Melrose, and were already experienced brewers as they had previously owned a brewery in Auburn.
In 1887 Joseph continued brewing in Melrose while his brother William relocated to Burra. Jacka's brewery was a great success and popular amongst the locals. Within the next decade or so, Joseph was able to buy more surrounding land and extend the breweries premises. At this point, Jacka's brewery was distributing beer to Port Pirie and Port Augusta using custom made wagons, wooden casks and teams of eight horses to traverse the Flinders Ranges. William returned to Jacka's Brewery in 1901 after his brother died, to assist his nephew William J.S. Jacka with running the business. The brewery ceased production in 1934 after World War I and the Great Depression rendered it economically inviable.
The brewery was formerly known as T.B. Marshall's Flour Mill.
Melrose Cemetery was established in the 1860s. According to the Virtual War Memorial for Australia, the opening of the cemetery is referenced by local newspapers. This includes the South Australian Register's account of a whooping cough epidemic creating several new graves mere months after the cemetery's opening in 1863. Almost a decade later, the South Australian Register again referred to Melrose Cemetery as being "new", as well as a "regular resort for pigs to go about rooting in", suggesting that the council take better care of the grounds.
Tourism and landmarks
Today, Melrose is the base for visitors to the Mount Remarkable National Park and a centre for the local farmers.
Melrose Tennis Club hosts a tennis tournament over the Easter weekend, with finals played on Monday morning. The tournament usually attracts around 200 participants across all the events.
In June, Melrose is home to the Fat Tyre Festival, an off-road bike celebration exploring local bike trails and crowding parades of freak bikes.
In August, Melrose is also home to the King of the Mount trail race. This is a race to the summit of Mt Remarkable, during which runners and walkers ascend over 600 metres (2,000 ft) along a 7.7 kilometres (4.8 mi) trail.
Melrose is home to a caravan park visited by 100,000 tourists every year.
The town also has several sites and associated activities that are popular tourist attractions throughout the year.
Paradise Square was the first cemetery in Melrose, situated by the Melrose Heritage Centre. According to the Virtual War Memorial for Australia, almost 128 burials took place in Paradise Square until its closure in the 1850s and prior to the establishment of Melrose Cemetery. Several Paradise Square burials were eventually relocated to the new Melrose Cemetery.
In 1890 on Arbor Day, 70 trees were planted on the grounds previously occupied by Paradise Square. The trees were replaced by tennis courts in 1925, which were later removed. Today, gardens provide a tribute to the remaining residents of Paradise Square.
Bartagunyah Winery and Estate
Bartagunyah Estate and Winery is located approximately 5 km from Melrose. Its close proximity to the town means the winery is considered one of Melrose's tourist attractions. The land the estate sits upon was originally named by the Nukunu people, an Indigenous Australian community native to the Melrose region. The name translates to 'home of the Bardy Grubs'. The property itself was originally used for livestock in the 1930s, but in 1997 it was converted to a vineyard and winery. Tourists can participate in wine tasting and several ecotourism activities, including but not limited to mountain biking across ridge top trials, camping with a view of the Willochra Plain, and 4WD tours.
Old Emu Foot
Old Emu Foot has been identified by arborists at the National Register of Big Trees as the largest tree in South Australia, more so for its width than its height. It has also been identified as the largest River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) in Australia. Its size was compared with several contenders throughout NSW, Victoria and Western Australia using the American Forests formula.
The tree was nominated as the largest River Red Gum in Australia and largest tree in South Australia by the director of Arbortech, Kym Knight. Knight has estimated the tree's age to be around 400 years.
Old Emu Foot is not considered a tourist attraction as it resides on private property and isn't easily accessible for the general public. It sits roughly 1.2 km from the Melrose Showgrounds in a sheep paddock owned by farmer David McCallum.
It is 35 metres tall, its circumference is 14.82 metres, and its crown is 29 metres. These dimensions afford Old Emu Foot a score of 722 points according to the American Forests formula.
On the West side of the Melrose Township, flows the Wilochra Creek heading Northwards. The creek is freshwater and is home to freshwater leeches, ducks, frogs and water insects. In some parts of the creek, depths can reach a maximum of two meters. Bike trails cross the creek several times and follow the creek adjacent to its course.
Melrose has several educational institutions, including but not limited to:
- Melrose primary school
- Melrose kindergarten
- Terka township
- Wilmington Primary School
- Wilmington Kindergarten
- Booleroo Centre District School
Notes and references
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Melrose (SA) (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
- "Search result for "Melrose(Locality Bounded)" (Record no SASA0002178) with the following layers selected - "Suburbs and Localities" and "Place names (gazetteer)"". Property Location Browser. Government of South Australia. Archived from the original on 12 October 2016. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
- "A Man's Duty is to Serve His Country". The Mail. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 13 September 1913. p. 2 Section: Second Section. Retrieved 14 September 2012.
- Cockburn, Rodney (1990). South Australia: What's in a Name. Axiom. ISBN 095925191X.
- "Aussie Towns". Elder, B. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
- Manning, Geoffrey. "Place Names of South Australia - M: Melrose". Retrieved 15 November 2020.
- "MOUNT REMARKABLE VILLAGE SETTLEMENT". The Advertiser. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 20 August 1896. p. 4. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
- "Dwelling ('Keating Cottage')". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 11 February 2016.[permanent dead link]
- "Mount Remarkable Woolshed". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 11 February 2016.[permanent dead link]
- "Gumville Station (former Mount Remarkable [originally Willowie] Homestead) Complex, which includes Mount Remarkable Training Farm structures". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 11 February 2016.[permanent dead link]
- "Former Jacka's Brewery & Yard Walls (former Marshall's Flour Mill)". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 11 February 2016.[permanent dead link]
- "Rankine's Hut". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Archived from the original on 15 February 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
- "Timber Slab Dwelling". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 11 February 2016.[permanent dead link]
- "Melrose Post Office (former Post and Telegraph Office)". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Archived from the original on 15 February 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
- "Former Melrose Courthouse & Police Station". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Archived from the original on 15 February 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
- "Mount Remarkable Inn". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 11 February 2016.[permanent dead link]
- "Former Blacksmith Shop & Dwelling". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Archived from the original on 15 February 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
- "Timber Slab Dwelling". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Archived from the original on 15 February 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
- "Aussie Towns, Melrose (SA)". Elder, B. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
- "3 January 1877 Jacka's Brewery, Melrose (Celebrating South Australia)". SA Historians. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
- "Melrose Cemetery South Australia". Virtual War Memorial Australia. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
- King of the Mount
- "Bartagunyah Estate". Bartagunyah Estate. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
- "A Giant Hidden". Adelaide Now. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
- "Arbortech Tree Services - FAQ". treecare. Retrieved 18 November 2020.