The Heysen Tunnels

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Text Ann Herraman. Image courtesy of Luigi Rossi, Project Manager

Both tunnels were completed with time to spare for a community celebration with wine, food and entertainment inside the enormous spaces which had been drilled through the hillside. ‘There would never be another occasion anything like this” said local resident Gwen Hewett as she prepared for the big night inside the tunnels. Several hundred people attended and many will still remember such a unique occasion. We would love to hear from you!

A community competition was held to find an appropriate name – “Heysen” was the winner. The Mt Lofty Districts Historical Society had suggested the names of the local bus companies – Rounsevell (stage coaches) and Choat (motor buses) – who deserved recognition for the daily services provided to local passengers travelling to work and back along the Mt Barker Road through all weathers and conditions. Bus driver’s stories are related in the publication “Highway through the Hills, the story of Mount Barker Road” edited by Marcia Ruff Hewitt on behalf of Transport SA. (There is a copy in the MLDHS archive if you would like to read it)

Do you have memories/photos of the construction of the tunnels, the opening event or what they have meant to your life in the hills? Contact us at or drop into the History Centre at the Coventry Library, 63 Mount Barker Road, Stirling.