Trip Report - Clayton Farm 8-11 March 2013
We left Adelaide at 4:30pm in peak hour traffic on a very
warm Friday afternoon to head to Clayton Farm situated just 3 km out of
Bordertown off the Naracoorte Road. It
was a good trip down stopping at Tailem Bend for a bite to eat and arriving at
Clayton Farm at about 8:45pm. We were
the last to arrive Friday as most had arrived earlier in the day and enjoyed a
get together and happy hour earlier in the evening. Those who arrived during Friday were given a
guided tour of the farm on Friday afternoon. Friday night there were 12 vehicles and 23
members and friends in camp.
We were woken at approximately 5:30 am on Saturday morning
by the resident rooster crowing but fortunately he did have a snooze and did
not crow consistently. A leisurely
morning was enjoyed chatting and wandering about the farm taking photos before
we headed into Bordertown mid morning.
We met at the Morning Loaf Bakery in Bordertown at 11:30am for lunch
before 12 vehicles took a tag along tour around Bordertown and District with a
very informative guide Wally Milne and members of the Bordertown & District Agricultural
Museum (Clayton Farm).
The first point of interest was the 4.5 hectare wildlife
park on the outskirts of town, famous for its colony of white kangaroos which
are not albino but a genetic strain of the Western Grey. We drove around the perimeter fence, however
due to the heat the kangaroos were not very active and were a little hard to
We continued on past the grain silos and then the old
Bordertown railway station which is no longer in regular use. The Adelaide/Melbourne daylight trains still
stop here but only if required to pick up or drop off passengers. It was then onto the Bordertown Recreation
Lake, an artificial lake
which rises and falls with the level of Tatiara Creek. This lake was created as a result of the
by-pass built in 1988 when large amounts of soil were dug from the site and
used in the erection of a bridge over the railway line. The lake is regularly stocked with yabbies,
redfin, perch and other breeds of fish providing a good spot for fishing as
well as other leisure activities such as canoeing.
We then drove back through Bordertown town centre,
established in 1850 when a route was planned to escort gold from the Victorian
goldfields in Ballarat back to Adelaide. The first school was established in
1874. It was then on past Blue Lake
Milling where they produce rolled oats, the wetlands which purifies the town
septic systems and returns clean water back into Tatiara Creek, and the
abattoirs where they can process 6000 lambs a day in full production. The lambs are chilled and sent to Tullamarine Airport for export all over the world.
Next we called into the Glenda Rowett Gallery and
Studio. Glenda’s husband is an onion
grower and he gave us a short talk on the 300 acres he has under crop. It was then into the gallery to admire the
magnificent artwork Glenda produces.
From here it was a short drive onto Poocher Swamp
which fills with water and floods in the winter but also drains the Tatiara
creek into the watertable through runaway holes.
Our tour continued onto Buckingham Methodist
Church and school which
was built in 1884 and has been very well preserved as it is still being used by
a congregation on alternate Sundays. It
was then onto Mundulla a small historic town 35 km from Bordertown.
We continued through vineyards and farming country stopping
at a historic horse dip built in 1931 using local timber. The dip was used for the control of a
parasitic itch in the working horses (Clydesdales). We then travelled through an area set aside
to establish the town of Custon, which was to have
been the railhead of a broad gauge line to the port of Kingston SE. The train line was built but never used and
the town failed to eventuate. We then
visited a property named “Wheelabarraback” where they breed Clydesdale
horses. From here it was back to
Bordertown and Clayton Farm via the main street of Wolseley and the World War
11 inland aircraft fuel depot. This was
an extremely interesting and informative afternoon exploring the district
Once back at camp there was just a short time before we
headed to the Mundulla Hotel for the evening meal. Another 2 vehicles and 3 members arrived
during the day today bringing the total attendance for the weekend to 14
vehicles and 26 members and friends.
It was a warm evening and we were seated at a long table in
the undercover outdoor area behind the hotel which was built in 1884. While
waiting for our meals to be served we were entertained by a group of ladies celebrating
a hen’s night who dressed each other up in toilet paper wedding dresses.
Sunday morning we were again woken by the crowing rooster. Due to the heat expected today we gathered
at 9:00am to take a trip to Kingston SE instead of Ngarkat Conservation
Park. This trip was led by Dave from the Border
Country 4WD Club, and with several more of their club members 13 vehicles set
out on the 100km drive to Kingston. The morning was overcast with six spots of
rain as we crossed undulating farming country.
One section had been burnt about six weeks before and was now starting
to shoot new regrowth on the trees. The
fire apparently started by a faulty irrigation pump on a property which fronted
Following a stop at the Kingston bakery we gathered at the
caravan park to collect Dave’s wife and children before continuing on to
deflate the tyres at the Pinks Beach car park.
We then drove along firm sand to the Cape Jaffa
boat ramp admiring the calm blue ocean and even seeing two dolphins quite close
to shore. There were a number of
campers set up along the beach enjoying the long weekend with their families,
boats and fishing rods. From the Cape Jaffa
boat ramp it was a short distance on bitumen before travelling along the dunes
overlooking the sea on a dusty 4 x 4 track around the tip of Cape Jaffa. We then headed back onto the beach which we
followed for some distance, before Dave became stuck in soft sand due to the
high tide, so it was decided to drop the tyre pressure in the rest of the
vehicles to below 15psi. Unfortunately
after only one vehicle had made it through it was decided we should turn back. After retreating from the beach we continued
along a track in the Bernoulli Conservation Park but soon had a second tyre problem.
This proved to be the same as the first one, just a valve not screwed
back on properly. We all reinflated the
tyres to 20psi and continued along the dirt track to a junction where we made a
wrong turn and again all had to turn around.
We then took a track to the main road which we followed to Long Beach. Here we stopped on the beach to eat our
lunch. There were many people on the
beach and the water looked very inviting so a few ventured into the surf following
lunch. A few vehicles continued along
the beach into Robe before returning and collecting those who had stayed to swim
for the beach drive to Boatswain Point.
It was amazing to see so many families enjoying a Sunday afternoon in
perfect sunny conditions along the beach.
We stopped for a photo shoot against the backdrop of the dunes just
before exiting the beach. Once we had
inflated our tyres we all headed back to Clayton Farm via Kingston and Mundulla where we did not arrive
until after 6:30pm.
Upon our return to the farm we were spoilt by
The Friends of Clayton Farm who had organised a fantastic BBQ meal of three
delicious salads with a sausage, patty and bread followed by fruit salad and
ice cream. This was a wonderful evening
spent chatting with friends both old and new about the day’s adventures.
All too quickly Monday morning dawned and the rooster crowed. Michael offered another tour of the farm
property to those who had missed the one on Friday afternoon so we met at
8:30am and were taken on a very extensive tour. The tour covered the farm machinery housed
under cover in the large new purpose built sheds as well as many pieces about
the property. The original settlers of
the property were the Wiese family who came from Clayton on the lower Murray River, hence the naming of the property. In the historic homestead built in 1885 is
an extensive display of old furniture, clothing and household appliances. From the homestead we walked to The Woolshed
(the largest thatched roof woolshed in the southern hemisphere). Here we saw large feed troughs constructed
from hollowed trees sitting on the cobbled veranda. These were used to feed the cattle in the
winter. The amazing building was constructed
in about 1901 from massive whole red gum forked tree trunk posts with slab
walls from Bull Oak and a straw roof. The
property suffered a fire on 5 February 2004 which saw three straw thatched
buildings destroyed but fortunately the Woolshed survived. We looked at other buildings including the huge
stone chaff shed with conveyer belts, bundling pits and intriguing wood
floor. There were also the rethatched
and rebuilt silage sheds, buggy shed, stables and the pigsties which had been
damaged by the fire. After a look at
the blacksmiths shed we finished the tour.
By the time we finished the tour and returned to camp many
had left. It was very warm so after a
bite to eat it was time to pack up and head home as well after a very enjoyable
weekend. Many thanks go to John Smedley,
in conjunction with his cousin Neil, for the effort and organisation they put
in to ensure a fantastic weekend for all to enjoy.
Rod & Aileen (NPC 388)