Our collection

The Mount Lofty Local and Garden History Centre houses an extensive collection of photographs and documents which record the places, people and events that have occurred in the region since first European settlement. Uniquely, it provides a focus on both garden history and local towns and people.

Here are a few examples of what can be found in our current collection:

  • Stories of the activities and experiences of the earliest European settlers, from the Tiersmen who felled the stringy bark forests to the first hotel and grog shanty proprietors and the immigrants moving through the ranges to land around Mount Barker, have also emerged in the written records of pioneers. Small settlements grew at resting points and crossroads – Crafers, Stirling, Aldgate, Bridgewater, Mylor – and small businesses grew within these settlements.
  • As part of Australia’s Federation celebrations, the Society developed a comprehensive record of the political development of the region, including participation in the drafting of Australia’s constitution and legislation for justice for women and the long-standing engagement in political life by several local families – Downer, Hawker, Evans and Playford.
  • As part of the “Sharing their Legacy” project funded by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the Society has established a significant collection of war records of local men and women who served the country from the Boer War, the First and Second World Wars, Korea and contemporary conflict.
  • Diaries and letters of early settlers recording the activities of  the Kaurna and Peramanjk Peoples who used the highest points of the Mt Lofty ranges for ceremonial, meeting and trading purposes.

The quality and significance of our collection has been recognised by the Australian National Library with two recent grants to enable our archive team to establish best practice systems to preserve and enhance the collection.

But as you can imagine there are many gaps. We welcome people willing to assist us in developing the collection, and we are always keen to hear from both former and present residents who can provide us with information and more material for our collection.  Contribute to the collection  Our collection also includes tape recordings, maps, books and journals.

A popular feature for visitors to the History Centre is a series of topic-based folders which is expanding as new interests emerge and information is discovered. These folders are first ‘port of call’ for both serious and casual researchers.

Our Archive includes:

  • Written Notes and Documents from Individuals, Researchers, Businesses and Clubs
  • Photographs, Slides and Videos
  • Oral History Interviews
  • Newspaper Clippings
  • Books, Maps and Artefacts
  • Our own Flinders Column magazines
  • Publications and Books for purchase
  • Special Collections including;- the Morley Collection, Lothian Collection, Chardon Collection, War Documents & Memorabilia