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Sunday, 30 October 2016

Martindale Hall, Mintaro South Australia

An English stately home in the Australian countryside

Martindale Hall fascinates me as it's such a 'fish out of water' a stately home sitting in the middle of the Australian landscape. 

It was built by a wealthy pastoralist, what makes it stand out is the 'Englishness' of home he built. Other large houses were built to suit the Australian climate with wide verandahs, not Martindale Hall. The original owner Edmund Bowman imported 20 English craftsmen to build the hall, during the 2 year construction period they lived in tents in the grounds. Very hot in summer and freezing during the winter!

Edmund Bowman lived a grand life, there was a polo field in the grounds, a cricket pitch where the English XI played during a trip to Australia.

It's been beautifully preserved, Edmund Bowman had to sell the Hall as his fortunes suffered badly during the 1891 Depression after a long period of drought. The family that bought it, also lived a grand life, but slowly died out, with the last male dying in 1950 and his widow donated the Hall to Adelaide University. The university handed it over to the State government and it was open to the public.


Each room has an explanation of what can be seen, this is the Drawing room and the fireplace is made of Corrara marble.

From the drawing room you enter into the dining room.

Just next to the dining room is the butler's pantry, I loved the wine bottle arrangement. This room gave me major Downton Abbey flashbacks to the scenes where Hudson decants the wine for the meals.

The 'smoking room' where the male guests would retire to after dinner (the ladies went to the drawing room). Really this house could not be more English! John Mortlock who owned the house in the early 20th century was quite the collector and this room houses much of his collection. Unlike the other rooms in the house, this one is roped off, you can't just walk around looking at the individual items.

One of the items he collected was this 16th century samurai armour.

The billiards room with a full size billiards table. The Mortlocks ran a sheep station and the pictures on the walls are some of their prize rams.

The master bedroom with William Morris wallpaper, all imported from England.

The ensuite bathroom.




The upstairs gallery, more Downton Abbey flashes. It seems as though, the architecture style of the stately English home of the late 19th century was basically the same, grand staircase, leading up to gallery, curved arches and bedrooms off the gallery and corridors beyond leading to more bedrooms. But this stately home is in the middle of an Australian paddock!

Martindale Hall had livein staff and this was the staff sitting room.

This room is another link with my fascination with Martindale Hall. As a teenager I read the book by Joan Lindsay Picnic at Hanging Rock. It was made into a movie and Martingale Hall was used as the school. According to the sign on the bed, this room was used as Miranda's (the main character's) room in the movie. I loved the book and the movie was just so etherial and spookier than the book! 

The coach-house, by the 1930s it was converted to a very ornate garage! Martindale Hall is very isolated even now, it's about 2 hours from Adelaide, it's just near the small town (village) of Mintaro which isn't on a main highway. It's amazing to think of the horses and carriages arriving there.

An avenue of trees on the driveway from the road to the houses.

I love visiting Martindale Hall and would put it on the must see list for anyone visiting the Clare Valley.

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