Adelaide — Bushwalkers are rapidly approaching the South Australian German Association (SAGA) on their 800th walk — not counting the numerous group outings and multi-day camps. The 1200-kilometer Heysen Trail has been practiced by the hiking group formed in 1991 between 1999 and 2010. After their in-depth week-long April trip to Moonta, Bushwalkers are certain that in future they will be increasingly organizing „educational hikes“ in South Australia.
Moonta forms on the Yorke Peninsula together with Kadina and Wallaroo the trio „Little Cornwall“. The touristically interesting Moonta 163 kilometers northwest of Adelaide is a popular seaside resort with beautiful beaches and good fishing. With the discovery of rich copper ore deposits in 1861, thousands of miners arrived in the area, many of them from Cornwall. For 5 shillings they worked daily for up to ten hours. Only in the 1920s, the mines were abandoned because of the collapse of copper prices and rising labor costs. From its heyday as a mining town, Moonta has preserved many solid stone buildings, the All Saints Church, the charming town square, a picturesque town hall, the historic train station, the pump house, various manholes and mining offices.
Since 2017, the Moonta Mines belong to the National Heritage and are thus of outstanding importance for the national heritage of Australia — and on the „Walk the York Trail“ according to hiking guide Hermann Schmidt „an excellent hiking destination“. With late summer temperatures and clear skies, the Bushwalkers of the SAGA made extensive hikes between Moonta and Wallaroo in the area and on the beach for three days.
The instructive tours planned by Dietmar Henning were particularly well received — in the center: the approximately one-hour drive of the Moonta Mines Tourist Railway through the historic Moonta Mines. The approximately 16-kilometer track begins and ends at the Town Hall, built in 1885, and passes many historic sites, including several churches: the Methodist Church, the Bible Christian Church and the All Saints Anglican Church (all built in 1873), the St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church (1869), the Moonta Mines Methodist Church, the Site of Primitive Methodist Church and the Site of Bible Christian Church (all 1865) as well as the East Moonta Methodist Church (1872), the Cross Roads Methodist Church and the Cross Roads Primitive Methodist Church (both 1873). „Australia’s Little Cornwall“ also enchanted the Bushwalkers through the Moonta Mines Museum, Blacksmith’s Shop, Miner’s Cottage and Garden, Sweet Shop and the Family Resource Center. With this fascinating „Cornish copper mining history and heritage“ the Bushwalkers want to organize their camps in the future usually as educational migrations, says Schmidt.
Moonta’s „historic tour“ saw them embark on a landscape conservation program known to the Bushwalkers for maintaining their Heysen Trail sections in Myponga and Inman Valley: Ruth Hamann and Doris Muench collected around 50 kilograms of foreign plastic waste and water from the Moonta beach disposed of it professionally. „Plastic harms the environment,“ explains Schmidt, and nature is not a garbage dump. ✻
Print: Trailwalker Magazine, Issue 149, Spring 2018, p. 30 [85/3/2/ – ].
On-line: www.heysentrail.asn.au, Monday, 10 September 2018.