Home » Towns » South Australia » Classic Country » Roseworthy, SA

Roseworthy, SA

Village noted for Roseworthy Agricultural College now part of the University of Adelaide

Located only 8 km north of Gawler, Roseworthy is a tiny town with a single purpose: it is the home of Australia's first agricultural college, the Roseworthy Agricultural College. In recent times the college has become a campus of the University of Adelaide. It is open to the public and visitors can inspect the buildings - most notably the excellent college chapel and the original 1883 College Hall.


Roseworthy is located 60 km north-east of Adelaide and 8 km north of Gawler.


Origin of Name

In 1855 W. H. Gartrell purchased land in the district. His widow, Mrs Grace Gartrell, laid out a small township in 1867 and called the town Roseworthy after the village where she was born in Cornwall. The Cornish name is Roswartha meaning Meadow Heath.


Things to See and Do

University of Adelaide - Roseworthy Campus
Located only 10 km north of Gawler, Roseworthy College campus was created with a plan to develop a model farm. The idea was that the College would be an extension of the University of Adelaide and would be run by a Professor of Agriculture. In 1882 John Daniel Custance took up the professorship and in 1883 the college's Main Building was completed. The college's centenary publication in 1983 explained that: "The College encompasses approximately 1,200 ha of land, most of which is used as a teaching and demonstration farm. There are about 500 ha sown to wheat, barley, oats, oilseed and medic crops, with 10 ha of orchard, vineyard and vegetable garden. The farm also carries sheep, Poll Shorthorn beef cattle, Jersey and Friesian dairy cattle, pigs, poultry, and representative range of both light and heavy horses, and some Angora goats ... Roseworthy also has a teaching winery (which includes a distillery) of 150 tonnes production capacity ... The College produces a range of table wines, sherries, ports and brandies."
By 1905 there was a formal affiliation between the college and the University of Adelaide and in 1991 the college formally merged with the university and became known as the University of Adelaide Roseworthy Campus.

Roseworthy College Walking Tour
There is a downloadable 14 places College Walking Tour which can be accessed at https://www.adelaide.edu.au/uni-collections/tours/UC_Roseworthy_Campus_Walking_Tour_PRINT_2018.pdf. It includes a detailed map and clear instructions on how to reach the points of interest on the campus. Of particular interest are:

Roseworthy College Hall
Roseworthy College Hall is the most impressive building on campus. It was built between 1883-1884 to a design by Edward J Woods, Chief Architect from the Department of Public Works, and constructed of Tarlee stone and red brick with freestone mouldings and brick quoins and chimneys. It cost £7,625 and contained accommodation for residential students, a lecture room, dining hall, reading room, staff room and offices. A laboratory was added in 1891. The building includes a clock tower which lacked a clock mechanism for over 120 years. In 2003 a Swiss precision clock that adjusts automatically by a global positioning system connected to Greenwich Mean Time was added.

The Bust of John Ridley Bust
In front of the College Hall stands a bust of John Ridley (1806–1887), the man who invented the Ridley Stripper which was hugely important to the wheat industry. The bust was sculpted by Barsanti of Pisa, Italy.

Memorial Chapel
The College's Memorial Chapel was constructed in 1955 after a competition for the design of a non-denominational Memorial Chapel to commemorate students who served and died during the Boer War and the two World Wars. Dean, Berry and Gilbert were the winning architects. The walls are constructed of Mallee limestone, the roof is red terracotta. Above the Chapel entrance is a Waikerie limestone sculpture by John Dowie depicting a young warrior discarding his uniform in readiness to return to the land.



* Prior to the arrival of Europeans the area was inhabited by the Kaurna Aborigines.

* By December 1837 explorers, led by Colonel Light, had reached the area.

* In 1855 W. H. Gartrell purchased land in the district.

* W.H. Gartrell died in 1863.

* In 1867 Gartrell's widow, Mrs Grace Gartrell, laid out a small township.

* By 1869 a rail link connecting Morgan, Gladstone and Terowie was passing through the town.

* In 1881 the government purchased land to build a college.

* The Roseworthy Agricultural College which was established in 1883 as the first agricultural college in Australia.

* In 1905 the College established a formal relationship with the University of Adelaide.

* In 1976 the Roseworthy Agricultural College started a museum.

* In 1991 Roseworthy College formally merged with the University of Adelaide.

* In 1992 the Roseworth Museum was officially opened.


Visitor Information

The closest visitor centre is the Gawler Visitor Information Centre, 2 Lyndoch Street, tel: (08) 8522 9260. Open Monday - Friday 9.00 am - 5.00 pm, Saturday and Sunday 10.00 am - 4.00 pm.


Useful Websites

The official local website can be accessed at https://www.light.sa.gov.au/roseworthy.

Got something to add?

Have we missed something or got a top tip for this town? Have your say below.