Friday, September 27, 2013


Smithfield is located in an area that was once known as the Gawler Plains.  It lies on the north bank of Smith’s Creek between the Gawler River in the north and Little Para River in the south.  Well into the twentieth century Smithfield was an agricultural district noted for its cereal crops, particularly wheat and hay, and livestock.   Rapid expansion of the metropolitan area since the 1970s has seen the old township of Smithfield closed in by housing developments.
The Smithfield Township was an early settlement to South Australia originally named Smith’s Creek after John Smith, a Scottish migrant and one of the first settlers in the area.  Smith a wheat farmer and hotel keeper had arrived in South Australia in 1838. 
His land was situated near the Main North Road known at that time as the Great North Road which linked Adelaide to Gawler.  The first home Smith built was on the very edge of the Main North Road.  Smith had seen potential in positioning his homestead close to the road travelling north and set up part of the Homestead as the first inn at Smithfield.  With the establishment of a mail service and the discovery of copper further north Smith’s inn soon became a popular staging point by those making long journeys between towns.  A trip from Adelaide to Gawler would take twelve hours by bullock and dray.    
Within six years Smith became the largest land owner in the area.  By 1852 ideas of a township were beginning to form.  Smith had sketched out plans in his ledger that year which included a site for his new inn, shops, and school all fronting the Main North Road.  Smith’s Creek had been sketched and it was noted as having running water, an important asset for early settlers.   By 1853 section 3165 was surveyed and subdivided into town allotments for Smith’s new township.  Smith came under close inspection as private ownership of a town was not considered appropriate and the government ordered that an auction be held to sell the allotments to the public.  The allotments went up for sale on 18 April, 1854 and the auction was commenced with the firing of a gun.  Only nine allotments were sold and the balance remained in John Smith’s ownership for some time. 
The township had streets in a grid pattern which surrounded a central square.  Smith named the central square in his plan, Augusta Square.  Smithfield was a mainly Scottish settlement and here in the centre of town Smith wanted the site of a Presbyterian Church for the local Scottish Community.  Land was donated by Smith to build the church in 1855, one of the first buildings in the area.   Within two years Smithfield had a store, post office, telegraph station, granary, a coach building business, undertaker, railway station, cattle yards, institute building, a new inn and a blacksmith. 
By the 1860’s Smithfield was an industrious and thriving rural centre with the railway line and the Main North Road its main routes of communication.
You can explore the town of Smithfield with Google maps. Places of historic interest have been marked on this map.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Joseph Blake and Blakeview

Joseph Blake
The suburb of Blakeview was originally known as Smithfield until the residents of the Springvale Estates petitioned the Geographical Names Advisory Committee for a name change. The committee suggested to council the use of the name Blakeview after Joseph Blake, the first blacksmith in the area.

Blake was born in 1863 in Smithfield. He had a shop next to the Smithfield Hotel from which he ran his coach¬building business, manufactured farm trolleys and wagons. Later he became Smithfield's undertaker and blacksmith.

His father, also named Joseph, migrated to Australia from Hawick, Scotland, on board the ship 'Albatross' arriving in Melbourne in 1851.  Joseph senior established a business as a wheelwright at Smithfield, and worked there until his death in 1886.  Joseph junior undertook a wheelwright apprenticeship through his father and eventually took control of the business. The wagons and trolleys lie manufactured were often on exhibition at agricultural shows, both in Adelaide and in the country areas, where he won many prizes for them.

Joseph Junior held official positions in the district as the auditor for the District Council of Munno Para East and West, the Registrar of Births, and Deaths, for the Port Gawler District as well as Trustee of the Institute and Presbyterian Church (his father having been a founder of both the Institute and the Church).  He married Martha Coker in 1890, and they had three sons and three daughters.
A local ghost story tells of the ghost of Joseph Blake, still driving his hearse, dressed in undertaker black, drawn by two white headless horses. On certain nights, he can be seen galloping past the junction of Uley and One Tree Hill Roads.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Olive Grove

The Olive grove was a large part of the Judd families farming operations.  What is left of the Olive grove today is only a small portion of the original grove.  It is estimated that the grove was planted in the early 1900’s by the Judd brothers, Richard and Edward. Further up towards Whyte bank are a few scattered olive trees.  At one time the grove extended along the breaks of Breakneck creek towards Whyte Bank and probably covered most of the area right up towards the foothills.

An Adelaide firm would come out every year to pick the olive crop.
The Olive grove was purchased by the SA Housing Trust in the 1950’s.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

TROVE Tuesday


The high wind last Friday morning resulted in a vortex about a mile the other side of Smithleld, and much damage was done. The 'blow' took place about 9.30 a.m., when the wind came from the direction of Parafield, where a large pine and several almond trees were uprooted. The telegraph line along the bitumen road, carrying 56 wires, offered, resistance, but had to give way before the blast five iron posts being bent over until the cross arms touched the road.  The home of Mr. W. E. Penfold received the full fury.  A chimney was blown down and the house roof twisted badly out of position. The occupants were at breakfast at the time, and were considerably alarmed to see the ceiling rise in a most peculiar manner.  A galvanized iron and timber shed was completely wrecked and scattered about the farm.  A four-wheeled trailer used in connection with the farm tractor, and weighing 15 cwt, was blown out of a paddock right across the road, and a one-ton dray, which, had been standing in the paddock, was afterwards found with its wheels on either side of a strainer-post upon which it had fallen.  It had been carried over a fence four feet high.  Several large gum trees were also up rooted.  In one instance, a patch of twelve trees, each about 50 feet high, was levelled.  From others huge branches were torn and trees of 2 ft in circumference were snapped off at the bases.  Fortunately the storm, which was accompanied, by hailstones of large size; and jagged edges was confined to a narrow area, only about quarter mile in width.  One tree Hill was in the track of the visitant, but with the exception of a shed going down the property of Mr, Ayling, the damage done was not great. Despite the telegraph line being down, conmunication was not interfered with, and repair gangs had the interruption, repaired during the afternoon.

The Bunyip 28 May 1926