Tiers of Timber

April 20th, 2017
Tiers of Timber
Before the Adelaide Hills became known as one of the best cool-climate wine regions in the world there was another industry that stood alone at the top of the region’s economic landscape.

Timber cutting and gathering was one of the most prominent industries throughout the Hills, with the impact felt right across South Australia during the colony’s early settlement and the development of the inner Adelaide region.

This industry was particularly popular in the immediate areas surrounding the foot of Mt Lofty – known in those days as the Tiers – including the townships of Stirling, Crafers and Bridgewater.

During this time, timber was used across almost all facets of construction as well as being utilised as the primary source of fuel for wood heaters and steam boilers.

Charcoal burners in the Lenswood and Forest Range region used timber to produce charcoal, which would later be transported to Adelaide for commercial use.

It’s because of this rich history of widespread timber use that Marble Hill estate manager Greg Cramond has opened the property’s doors for the public so they can “learn a bit about timber in the area.”

“The early settlers recognised the high soil quality and large mature trees in the area and moved up from Adelaide into the Tiers pretty much exclusively for the timber,” Mr Cramond said.

“It’s this sort of early settlement history that we want to display as part of our open days.”

The Marble Hill history open days are set to be held on April 29-30 and May 6-7 from 2pm to 5pm and will include guest speakers from Timber Frames Australia and Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA).

The event will be held in association with the month long SA History Festival that takes place from May 1-31.

Mr Cramond said that due to the historical significance of Marble Hill’s estate and its location in the northern Tiers region it provides the perfect historical backdrop for the festival.

“We won’t just be talking about timber, but also giving our guests guided tours of the property,” he said.

“The tours will allow the guests to understand the significance of the property and will be run all in view of the Governor’s former summer residence from back in the 19th century.”

Afternoon tea will be provided on the day as well as a free tasting of some of Marble Hill’s very own wine, grown and produced locally at its nearby Basket Range vineyard.

Director of the SA History Festival Allison Russell said the festival seeks to share some of the lesser known historical stories from across SA and that many groups across the Hills are getting involved.

“We have about 600 events listed on the program that have been created by around 350 event organisers from various groups and organisations throughout South Australia,” she said.

“The whole idea of the festival is to allow people to share these little known stories, no matter how big or small, and just celebrate all parts of our history.”

The township of Lobethal will be celebrating their 175th year of settlement with an event to be held on May 7 as part of the festival, while the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence will be holding a talk about the history of bushfires in the Hills at the Mount Barker CFS.

“Bushfires can have such a massive impact right across SA but especially in the Adelaide Hills, so to hear the stories of how they were dealt with over 100 years ago is particularly interesting,” Ms Russell said.

For more information on the SA History Festival or any other events in the Hills region call 8203 9888 or visit the festival’s website.

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