Historic Barossa Valley town known as the Travellers Rest
The tiny town of Truro lies on the eastern edge of the Barossa Valley. Historically it was a resting place for travellers on the track from Gawler to the Murray River which, by the 1850s, had evolved into the main route from Adelaide to Sydney. The town was originally part of a huge property owned by George Fife Angas. Today it is home to olive groves, vineyards, wheat and barley farming. The main attraction is a particularly impressive memorial park.
Truro is located 94 km north-east of Adelaide via Gawler and the National Highway.^ TOP
Origin of Name
George Fife Angas purchased 28,000 acres, including where Truro now stands, in May, 1842 and in 1847-1848 it is claimed that Angas's son, John Howard Angas, and the Deputy Surveyor-General, Thomas Burr, laid out the township of Truro. It is accepted that the town was named after Truro in Cornwall but no one is sure who gave the town that name. One school of thought argues that John Angas named the town after Truro but another school of thought argues that the name was given to the settlement by the Cornish miners who had moved into the area in 1842 to exploit copper at the Wheal Barton Mine.^ TOP
Things to See and Do
Truro has a number of historically significant buildings including the Uniting Church, the Primary School, the bank, post office and council chambers. The Truro Walk: Major Buildings and Sites of Interest brochure (which can be downloaded at https://truro.sa.au/assets/document/1307354411-truro_walk_doc_two.pdf) has 36 places of historic interest. For even more detailed information there is the excellent Heritage Survey. Check out https://data.environment.sa.gov.au/content/heritage-surveys/lower-north-regional-survey-dc-truro-(part)-1983.pdf. The places of particular interest include:
3. Police Station and Cells
Located at 37 Moorundie Street, the Old Police Station is listed as State Heritage. It became a police station and remained that way until 1971. On the right are the old prison cell and the exercise yard walls. The foundation stone was laid 22 July, 1867 and it was completed in February, 1868. The builder was Thomas White. The cost was £1150. The building is of bluestone with stucco reveals and quoins. It is in largely original condition.
5. Town Hall
Located on Moorundie Street, the hall was built as an Institute in 1875. In 1882 the front rooms were built to provide extra space for a library and reading room. The War Memorial out the front commemorates the Great War and includes the names of three local men who were killed in World War II. The Roll of Honour listing Great War local soldiers is in the front window of the hall.
Truro Soldiers Memorial
Located in front of the Town Hall on Moorundie Sreet and dedicated on 31 July 1921, as the Kapunda Herald wrote at the time: "The memorial stands about 14 ft. high, and is made of South Australian and New South Wales granite. The pedestal on which names are inscribed is of New South Wales granite, beautifully polished, and the figure of a soldier on top is of Angaston marble. The whole of the work was done by Mr. A.S. Tillett (S.A. Monumental Works, Adelaide), and does credit to him." For more information check out http://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/conflict/multiple/display/51812-truro-soldiers%60-memorial.
The War Memorial Park
Opposite the Truro Hall and the town's War Memorial is the unique War Memorial Park with five sculptures each designed by Sally Goers Fox and fabricated by Matt 'Blackhammerz' Slizankiewitcz. The art works, on poles, are elements of the Truro Logo which was designed by Reg Munchenberg and depict a sheaf of wheat, a pick and shovel for mining, a sheep, a windmill and vines. It was installed in 2015, the Anzac Centenary Year, and connects the statue in front of the Town Hall with the Heroes Park which is at the end of the memorial park. Surrounding the memorial are Red Cross roses and Gallipoli rosemary. The stone is Austral Juperana.
6. Old Fire Station
The Craneford cellar door occupies the site of the old Truro Country Fire Service station. For more information check out https://www.cranefordwines.com.
9. Angel's Rest B&B
Located at 30 Moorundie Street, Angel’s Rest was built in the 1850's and until 1880, housed shoemakers, a cabinetmaker, the Telegraph Office and Post Office. For the next 50 years, the house was a residence, known to locals as 'Angels Rest' as the owners would take in wandering travellers. In 2007, the cottage was converted into the Angel’s Rest accommodation.
13. Bank of Adelaide
Located at 21 Moorundie Street and built in 1897, the Bank of Adelaide has changed use over the years. It was the ANZ Bank from 1911-1982 and the Truro District Council Office from 1983-2003. It has been a private residence and is currently an Antiques Shop.
15. Truro Hotel
Located in Moorundie Street, the Truru Hotel was first licensed in 1863 by J . Bennett. It was known as the Truro Inn. It was one of the two early inns in Truro. They serviced the eastern overland route through Blanchetown and Nor'West Bend.
21. Sturt Memorial Cairn
Located in the main street, the Sturt Memorial Cairn was erected in 1944 on the centenary of Captain Charles Sturt's expedition to Central Australia which passed through the Truro area. Monument Australia records that "In 1843 Charles Sturt offered to lead an expedition into Central Australia and eventually permission was granted for an expedition that should 'ascertain the existence and character of that range running from the north-east to the south-west, to examine the rivers rising in it, and to observe the general appearance of the country towards the north-west'. Sturt decided to use a route that followed the Murray and Darling River, thereby avoiding the barrier of Lake Torrens which appeared to arc in a great horseshoe barring the way north." For more details check http://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/landscape/exploration/display/51811-sturt-memorial-cairn.
23. Heroes Park
Located behind the War Memorial Park, the Heroes Park was the original water reserve for the town before the residents dug wells. In 1915 it was dedicated as a World War I Heroes Park with trees being planted by school children. In 1986 the creek was cleaned, an island, picnic area, bridge and memorial plaques created. This was the town’s project for the the celebrations which coincided with the 150th Anniversary of South Australia.
25. Uniting Church
Located on The Esplanade and originally a Congregational Church which was opened by Reverend T. Q. Stow on 25 October 1860, it is now the local Uniting Church. The first Congregational congregation in the area had been formed in 1850 at Wheal Barton and comprised Cornish miners. It closed with the mine and the first Congregational church in Truro opened in 1854 with a congregation of 9 people. It cost £600. It was enlarged in 1879 by adding rooms. Extensive renovations were undertaken in 1923, 1932 and 1941. There are five memorial stained-glass windows. The building's decorative arched brickwork is a distinctive feature. The porch on the front was added in 1876 and the larger back stone portion of the church in 1879. The large Moreton Bay Fig tree is over 100 years old. The Church manse was built 1867 and served as the Minister’s residence until 1955.
33. 60 Moorundie Street
This building was constructed in 1875 and leased to the National Bank until 1894. From 1909-1911 it was a doctor’s surgery and residence. It was then the SA Farmers’ Union Agency and became the District Council Office from 1966-1983.
Other Attractions in the Area
Wheal Barton Mine
Located out of town on George Street, which runs off Barton Road, is the Wheal Barton Mine. The mine started in 1846 but all that can be seen now dates from the 1950s. It was inconsistent and tended to open and close until it finally closed in the late 1880s. It then opened again in the 1950s and kept operating until it closed finally in 1972. The Heritage Survey notes: "Copper was discovered by Charles Barton on George Fife Angas' land in 1846. Mining started in late 1849 and a company was formed in 1850. A small township of Cornish miners was established at Wheal Barton, which included hotel, smith, school as well as structures at the mine itself (including a stone chimney, which survived at least until 1925). However, the mine was flooded and abandoned in 1852, when the miners went to Victoria, and the population moved to nearby Truro. Now only the shafts survive, and a cottage, possibly of a later date. Check out https://truro.sa.au/assets/document/1307354437-truro_barton_drive.pdf for information and a useful map.
The Truro Murders
In 1976-1977 Christopher Robin Worrell and James William Miller killed seven women and subsequently buried them - five at Truro, one at Wingfield and one at Port Gawler - and this serial murdering "spree" became known as the Truro Murders.
The first indication of the scale of the crimes occurred on 25 April, 1978 when Bill and Valda Thomas found a bone, with a shoe attached, while picking mushrooms outside Truro. The remains were identified as those of Veronica Knight, an 18 year old who had disappeared from Adelaide on 23 December, 1976. She had been killed in the Adelaide Hills and dumped at Truro.
Chris Worrall, a 22 year old who had met Miller while they were both in gaol, was the killer and over the next three months he went on a deadly rampage.
Tania Kenny, aged 15, was killed on 2 January, 1977 - she was buried at Wingfield; Juliet Mykyta, aged 16, was killed on 21 January, 1977 - she was buried at Truro; Sylvia Pittman, aged 16, was killed on 6 February, 1977 - she was buried at Truro; Vickie Howell, aged 26, was killed on 7 February, 1977 and buried at Truro; Connie Ioranidies (Jordan), aged 16, was killed on 9 February, 1977 and buried at Truro; Deborah Lamb, aged 20, was killed on 12 February, and buried at Port Gawler and then, on 19 February, 1977 Miller and Worrell drove to Mount Gambier but when they were returning to Adelaide their car blew a tyre, crashed and Worrell and his girlfriend, Deborah Skuse, were killed.
The killing spree, which had been instigated by Worrell, stopped and it was only solved because Miller, who had been Worrell's homosexual lover, told a former girlfriend about the thrill killing and she subsequently told the police and received the $30,000 reward.
The result was an unusual trial. Miller, who had not killed any of the girls, stood trial for the murders and was found guilty of six of the seven murders (he was exonerated of the first murder, Veronica Knight) on 12 March, 1980. He was sentenced to six life sentences.
At the trial it was revealed that there had been a pattern where Miller and Worrell cruised the streets of Adelaide in a Chrysler Valiant looking for women to pick up who Worrell could have sex with. They would drive to quiet places where Worrell would have sex in the car while Miller waited outside. This quickly evolved into rape of unwilling victims and then murder. The women were not murdered every time and Miller claimed that, because he was out of the car, he never knew when the women would be murdered. Worrell always murdered them by strangling.
At the trial Miller insisted, "They can give me life for knowing about the murders and not reporting them. But they charged me with murder ... It's a load of bullshit".
Without Worrell in the court it was decided that Miller, because he was involved in a "joint criminal enterprise", should be treated as the murderer. After the trial it was agreed that Miller should be retried because the judge had instructed the jury to find Miller guilty of murder but the State Attorney-General, Chris Sumner, refused to grant a retrial. It was argued that he had been present at each of the murders and that he had assisted with the disposal of the bodies. Miller would have been eligible for parole in 2014 but on 21 October, 2008, at the age of 68, he died from liver failure, as a complication of hepatitis C. He also was suffering from prostate cancer and lung cancer.
* Prior to the arrival of Europeans the area was inhabited by the Kaurna Aborigines. They lived on a diet of grass seeds (made into a kind of damper), kangaroos, wallabies, possums, lizards and fish and protected themselves against the winter cold with possum skin rugs.
* First European colonists arrived in South Australia in July, 1836.
* By December 1837 explorers, led by Colonel Light, had reached the area.
* By 1838 other explorers had reached the Murray River passing through the Barossa Valley and passing modern day Truro.
* In 1839 Colonel Light, the Surveyor General of South Australia, sold off large tracts of land in the Barossa Valley.
* In 1842 Cornish miners moved into the area to exploit copper at the Wheal Barton Mine.
* Charles Flaxman, the agent for George Fife Angas, purchased 28,000 acres in May, 1842.
* By the 1840s there was a track from Gawler to the Murray River which passed through the district.
* In 1847-48 Angas's son, John Howard Angas and the Deputy Surveyor-General, Thomas Burr, laid out the township of Truro.
* By the late 1840s distinctive stone walls were being built by shepherds in the district.
* The Wheal Barton mine was established in 1849 and prospered until 1889.
* A church was erected in the settlement in 1850.
* By 1856 the track through Truro was on the main route from Adelaide to Sydney.
* The District Council of Truro was established in 1876.
* The railway line to Truro was opened in 1917.
* In 1956 the Wheal Barton mine was opened again.
* Copper continued to be mined in the area until 1972.
* The railway was closed in the 1980s.^ TOP
There is no visitor information in the town.^ TOP
There is a good overview of the town at https://www.weekendnotes.com/truro-the-travellers-rest.^ TOP