Sunday History Photo / SA

Submitted: Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 08:23
ThreadID: 119175 Views:5586 Replies:3 FollowUps:2
This Thread has been Archived
SHP Revisit , from Sunday, Aug 24, 2008
This new SHP about Chain of Ponds has more photo's and Info

The ‘Chain of Ponds’ initially described a creek which ran all the way from beyond Kersbrook to its confluence with the River Torrens near Prairie in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia. The area was dotted at regular intervals with small ponds, having no visible connection above the ground but never drying up even in the driest, hottest summers. Much of the chain of water holes known as the Chain of Ponds vanished under the waters of the Millbrook Reservoir in 1918.

Philptown was the location and original name of the Chain of Ponds site and was named after the founding publican, Oliver Philp of the Morningstar Hotel. It was established around 1850. The township later changed its name to Chain of Ponds in 1864. It was initially a postal village, and played a stopover role in the difficult trek across the ranges. Of significant importance in the early days were its location and the fact that it was used as a resting place.

The roads were very poor indeed and travel through the area was extremely difficult, due to the hilly terrain and thick dense scrub. The Adelaide to Mannum coach service from the mid 1850’s used the Hamlet as one of four changing stations through the Adelaide hills on their trek to Mannum.
In 1866 the Local South Australian Gazetteer described the Chain of Ponds as “having a fine spring flowing through it. The stream being imbedded in water cresses, which grow all year round!”

The Willow Roadhouse was built by my Father, so it was home for me during the 1950's until we moved to Eden Valley

The neighbourhood was said to be celebrated for its vineyards and fruit trees.
Wine grapes were first planted in the Adelaide hills in the early 1840’s. Situated east of Adelaide, the long and narrow Adelaide Hills region runs through the southern Mt. Lofty ranges.
One of the earliest wineries and vineyards in the area is mentioned in the Adelaide papers for sale as follows: 1865 — Swithen Farmer— Section 6131 "Chain of Ponds". Winemakers plant complete with several thousand gallons of wine, wine presses, fermenting vats, casks, large boilers. Wine vintages 1863-1865. 16 acres of vineyard.
The Morning Star Hotel was originally established by Oliver Philp in 1847 at Timnath, 2km from Chain of Ponds. The road through the area was however diverted in 1852 and Oliver Philp then relocated the hotel to the new Chain of Ponds site around 1851, where the road passed.

A local correspondent for the Adelaide Register paper wrote on 7 April 1919. “In recent years great changes have taken place in this vicinity, but when the hand of the destroyer trampled the Old Morning Star hotel to the ground it removed one of the oldest landmarks outside the metropolitan area. This hotel was erected in the early days and has been to many weary travellers a real haven of rest. Later on the building was enlarged, and stone, brick, and a considerable amount of clay were used in its reconstruction. The Morning Star of the busiest places of call between Adelaide and the River Murray”.

Sadly the Hotel was eventually demolished for the last time in 1976.

The shop was burnt down about 1960/61, the girl is my younger Sister

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Reply By: MUZBRY- Life member(Vic) - Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 09:25

Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 09:25
Very interesting , thanks Doug.
Great place to be Mt Blue Rag 27/12/2012

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Reply By: Member - Bigred13 - Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 09:27

Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 09:27
Hi Doug, A great story on Chain of Ponds ,I have lived near there most of my life and I believe that the whole town was purchased or redeemed by SA Water so as to stop effluent from reaching the Milbrook Resevoir ,as the town was above the Resevoir.
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Follow Up By: Fab72 - Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 10:23

Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 10:23
G'day Big Red,
Happy to be corrected but I believe the town was acquired by E&WS (predecessor to SA Water) in order to dam off the valley subsequently linking the chain of ponds together to form a semi-natural dam.
It is said that when the water levels are extremely low, parts of the town's original buildings can still be seen.
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Follow Up By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 11:14

Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 11:14
Yes the old buildings have been visible many years ago, I myself have not seen them , I believe it happened a few years after we left during a very dry year , but the Old Sunnyhill bridge often was visible each summer when Adelaide got bigger and started to use more water, here is a photo of the bridge taken by my Dad about 1957, Cobb & Co coaches used the bridge.

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Reply By: Bob R4 - Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 13:42

Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 13:42
Hi Doug,
Interesting history, and a good story. I often think of the personalities who lived there each time we drive through and see fruit trees growing seemingly in the middle of no-where and try to imagine the homes that existed.
I reckon that in this day and age the escorting motorcycles would have more tyres between them than the heavy truck.
Thanks, Bob
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