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Eudunda, SA

Small town known as 'Valley of Hidden Treasures' and famous as the birthplace of author Colin Thiele

Eudunda, known locally as the "Valley of Hidden Treasures", is a quiet town with simple charm and historic appeal. It is distinguished by an attractive main street with interesting historic buildings and vine-covered verandas. Most notably it is an historic German settlement and it is still common to find residents with distinctively German surnames. Eudunda came into existence as an important watering hole for cattle and horses which were being overlanded to South Australia from western Queensland in the late 19th century. Their destination was Kapunda which, at the time, was a town effectively owned by Sir Sidney Kidman. Eudunda was the birthplace of the educationalist and novelist Colin Thiele who achieved fame with his hugely successful children's books, Storm Boy and Blue Fin. Thiele's presence is evidenced by the silhouette of one of his characters, 'Gustav' and his kelpie dog at the entrance to the town and the sculpture of Thiele in the centre of town. 


Eudunda is located 110 km north-east of Adelaide on the Thiele Highway via Gawler and Kapunda. It is 416 metres above sea level. It has an average annual rainfall of 460 mm. 


Origin of Name

The first Europeans in the area overlanded cattle to Adelaide and paused at Eudunda Cowie Springs, to the west of the town, to water their stock. The name is reputedly a Ngadjuri Aboriginal meaning 'water out of the ground'.


Things to See and Do

Hidden Treasures Tour - Top End Tour
There is two simple brochures which list 47 places of historic interest around the town. Known as the Hidden Treasures Tour, the walk is divided into two parts: The Top End Tour and the Bottom End Tour - both will take around 40 minutes and start and finish at the Colin Thiele Statue in the "Town Gardens" which were established in 1936 to commemorate the Centenary of South Australia. The buildings can easily be identified because they all have the distinctive Gustaf and Kelpie image at the front. The map and the descriptions can be downloaded (just click the green pamphlets) at https://eudundaheritage.com/top-end-tour-of-township-of-eudunda and https://eudundaheritage.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/eudunda-bottomend-back1174x800.jpg.

Centenary Gardens
The sign in the gardens explains: "The gardens were established in 1936 to commemorate the centenary of South Australia. The War Memorial honouring the fallen of both World Wars was unveiled in 1951. The memorial walkway leading to it lists Eudunda RSL members. Celebrated author and educator Colin Thiele unveiled his statue in November 1995. Tiled shelters and walls featuring children's artworks illustrate local history and were added in 2001 as a Centenary of Federation project."

Colin Thiele Statue
Eudunda's was the birthplace of novelist and educationalist Colin Thiele who achieved enduring fame with his hugely successful children's books, Storm Boy and Blue Fin. Both have been so successful they have made into movies - in the case of Storm Boy it has been twice been adapted. A statue of Colin Thiele is located in the Centenary Park. Thiele, who came from German stock, wrote affectionately of the local area: "It was basically rural - farm and township, fallow and stubble, week-day and Sunday. But in being that it was much more. It was yabby creek and red gum hillock, candlelight and oven bread, mealtime grace and family Bible, Christening font and graveside coffin. It was ice on puddles and the fluffing of summer dust through barefoot toes; it was frost to the horizon and frogs in the flooded cellar and, literally, possums in the kitchen." Thiele was born in 1920 and died in 2006. His ashes are interred at Dayboro Cemetery with the final line “With Mr Percival now”.

Laucke Mills
Previously known as the Davey Flour Mill, and located on the corner of Gunn Street and Kapunda Street, this flour mill was built in 1879. It burnt down in 1919 but was quickly rebuilt. In 1950 Laucke took over and operated the mill until it finally closed in the 1990s.

Doctor's Residence and Surgery
Located at 44 Gunn Street (note the Gustaf and Kelpie near the front steps), this handsome building was used as the doctor's surgery from 1879-1992. The surgery was on the right hand end of the veranda.

National Bank
Located at 34 Gunn Street and looking more like an elegant home than a bank, it was opened as a bank in 1885 and continued to operate until 1998. The bank was at the left hand side and the residence at the right hand side.

Police Station and Court House
Located at 32 Gunn Street, and now a private home, the police station and cells were built in 1879. The section at the right operated as a court house and was built in 1883.

Post Office
Built on the corner of Gunn Street and Worlds End Highway, the Post Office was completed in 1909 and included a new telephone exchange in 1911.

Leditshcke and Jansen
This large red corrugated iron shed was built in 1920 and operated as the local Ford dealership and farm machinery agency.

Schultz and Wittorff Building
Located at 24 Worlds End Highway, this building, characterised by blue tiles was built in 1909 and used as a butcher's shop specialising in German smallgoods for the local German population.

Severin House
This house with its bull-nosed veranda was built in 1910 by Adolph Severin who, as a builder, built most of the houses in the town. Severin was the town's first undertaker.

Klaebe Building
Located at the end of World's End Highway, this building looks like a former hotel but was originally built as a single storey building in 1878 with the upper floor added in 1880. It was used as a nursing home in the 1920s and was the local drapery for many years.

Town Lookout
Across the road from the Klaebe Building are a set of steps leading up to the town's lookout. It offers good views over the town.

Eudunda Roadhouse
Located on Thiele Highway and originally known as Appelt's Store, this building was completed in 1874 to serve the passing traffic going to and from Adelaide and the Murray River. At various times it housed the local post office and the National Bank.

Eudunda Hotel
Located on the corner of World's End Highway and Thiele Highway, this hotel started life as a wine shop in 1870. It was designed to service passing drovers and stockmen and it became a hotel in 1873.

Hidden Treasures Tour - Bottom End Tour
Start at the Light Hotel and walk down one side of Bruce Street then when you reach the Bowling Club head back up the other side of the street. This is a window into the main street of the town. There is a map and details which can be downloaded at https://eudundaheritage.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/eudunda-bottomend-back1174x800.jpg.

Light Hotel
Located at 1 Bruce Street, the Light Hotel was built in 1879. It was known as the Royal Hotel until 1959. It was used to hold prisoners from 18801882. They were gaoled in the stables out the back.

Fire Station
Next door to the Light Hotel is the town's fire station which operated between 1931-1992. At the time the town had an REO Speed Wagon as its only fire engine.

Handke Bros Butchers
This building was opened in 1887 and has had the same facade since 1917.

Family Heritage Gallery
The Eudunda Family Heritage Gallery is located at 17-19 Bruce Street. It incorporates an old renovated cottage, displaying material relating to the history of the town and some of the townsfolk. Displays include old doctor's beds with inbuilt stirrups for delivering babies, furniture, clothing from the late 19th and early 20th century, farm equipment etc. The shop section includes books by Colin Thiele, local history books and family histories. The Gallery is open Friday and Saturday from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm and Sunday noon - 3.00 pm, tel: (08) 8581 1552 during opening hours. 

Eudunda District Hall
Although the original hall, called the Century Hall, was built in 1901 it was purchased by the local council in 1916 and underwent changes in 1925 - which is the date now on the facade.

Eudunda Club
The Eudunda Unterhaltungs Club was formed in 1888 and by 1891 it housed the town's first library. It was closed down during the Great War due to anti-German feeling but reopened in 1919.

Now cross over the road and notice the wonderfully Germanic bakery.

Eudunda Bakery
This simple building was completed in 1880 for the English, Scottish and Australian Bank but by 1882 it had been purchased and turned into a bakery. It has remained a bakery ever since and currently advertises such Teutonic exotica as German Yeast Cake.

Visitor Information Office
Now a real estate agency and visitor information, this shop was built in 1884. From 1878-1991 the Eudunda Courier was printed on the premises.

The building that now houses the Newsagency was built in 1878 and known as the Berkholtz Building. It has previously been a store and a hairdresser.

Commercial Bank
This handsome building was constructed in 1925 for the Commercial Bank. At the time it cost £2,934. It subsequently became the Bank of New South Wales and Westpac.


Other Attractions in the Area

Colin Thiele Drive
There is a pleasant and informative 25 km drive to the north and west of the town which includes 12 places associated with the writer Colin Thiele. Both the map and the detailed descriptions of all the places of interest can be downloaded at https://eudundaheritage.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Colin-Thiele-Drive-Map-Eudunda-Family-Heritage-Gallery.pdf and https://eudundaheritage.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Colin-Thiele-Drive-Story-Eudunda-Family-Heritage-Gallery.pdf. Each location is marked by "Gustaf and his Dog" signage.

1. Family Heritage Gallery - an obvious starting point as it has Thiele memorabilia.
2. Thiele's Uncles Home - located at 26 Barwell Street - this is where two of Thiele's bachelor uncles lived. They told him the stories of Uncle Gustaf's Ghosts which he subsequently used in his novels.
3. Mutter Knabe's Nursing Home - located in Pine Avenue (it is the first house), this nursing home was where Thiele was born.
4. Emmaus Cemetery
5. Rabbit Cannery
6. Louann Park
7. Colin Thiele's Home - located on Scenic Road this was his home from 1920-1936.
8. Julia Primary School where Thiele attended from 1926-1932.
9. Julia Lutheran Church were Colin Thiele's parents are buried.
10. Hampden Railway Station - where Thiele caught the train to Kapunda when he was attending High School
11. Eudunda-Cowie Springs which gave the town its name.
12. Colin Thiele sculpture in the Centenary Gardens

Old Immanuel College and Manse
Located 10 km north of Eudunda, the Old Immanuel college, manse and church are attractive Edwardian buildings which were originally part of the first Lutheran tertiary institution in Australia. The Immanuel College website explains its origins: "On 5 September 1894, it was announced that Pastor Leidig of Point Pass (near Eudunda), a young man only 24 years of age, intended to found a training institution to provide children of his far-flung parish with adequate confirmation instruction, to train teachers for Lutheran day schools, to uphold the language and culture, and to give a general education. Within six months Immanuel College was established in 1895." 



* Prior to the arrival of Europeans the area was home to the Ngadjuri Aboriginal people.

* The first Europeans in the area were stockmen in the mid-1840s travelling to the Adelaide markets from western New South Wales via the Murray flats. The Eudunda Cowie Springs, to the west of the town, were used to water the stock. 

* In the 1860s settlers began moving into the district.

* Eudunda township was established in 1870. 

* By the early 1870s the Eudunda Hotel had been built.

* The founder of Eudunda was John Henry Hannan who owned the land which was surveyed and divided for sale. 

* By the mid-1870s Appelt's Store and Klaebe's Building were servicing passing stockmen.

* By 1878 Eudunda had become a station on the Morgan Railway line.

* The Royal Hotel was opened in 1879.

* For many South Australians the town is known as the home of the state's first farming co-operative. At its height the Eudunda Farmers Co-operative Society Ltd had 62 branches. It is now part of  the IGA group of supermarkets. The co-op started in the 1890s when a group of German farmers met at Manns Hotel and decided that they should work together. The idea was that the co-operative could transport and sell timber and could collectively buy goods with the profits. Thus the local storekeepers, who were prone to charging large interest rates, could be by-passed.

* In 1936 Colin Thiele arrived in the town as a small boy. That year saw the building of the Town Gardens.

* In 1994 the railway was closed down.

* In 1995 the statue of Colin Thiele was established in the Centenary Gardens.


Visitor Information

Eudunda Visitor Information Centre, 12 Bruce Street, tel: No phone. Open 9.00 am - 5.00 pm Monday to Thursday, 10.00 am - 4.00 pm Friday and Saturday, 11.00 - 4.00 pm Sunday.


Useful Websites

The local Burra website has an entry on Eudunda. Check out http://www.visitburra.com/see-do/our-towns/eudunda and there is a Eudunda community page at https://eudunda.net/portal.

Got something to add?

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6 suggestions
  • Do you have any Op (Thrift) shops, please?
    When are they open or are they closed due to COVID restrictions?

    Trish Johnstone
    • Trish, one opened in town just last week- next to Goyder Electrical. Not a lot of stock as yet, but what there is is of good quality and very reasonably priced

  • Do you have any antique, bricabrac stores in town

    Sharon manning
  • Visited today. Most impressed with the Gallery and enjoyed chatting with the couple in attendance . My question is..who is Bruce Street named after? And why ?
    My mother was a Thiele so l need to research the relationship with Colin or any other German families.

    Pam Warner
  • Maybe I missed it on the page, I’ll have to read over it again, but do you have any info you are able to share about number 2 Gunn St? I’d be interested to learn whatever you can tell me about the buildings history. Thanks!

  • The displacement of the traditional Ngadjuri owners of the land needs far more recognition/documentation. They used the springs well before being displaced by European s. Black Emma needs a mention as the last known native resident in the area as does the ration depot in the Julia locality(?) Conveniently ‘whitewashed’ summary of ‘development imo

    Dennis Marshall