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Sunday, 13 August 2017

Moonta, South Australia

A Copper Coast Town



Moonta is one of the Copper Coast towns, and the one to me at least, most known as the town that serviced the local copper industry. Copper was found in the area in 1861 and the government town of Moonta was surveyed two years later. It was a commercial and business town, rather than a mining town, the miners lived on or near their mine leases at the township of Moonta Mines. 

Moonta has a number of rather grand buildings that were built at the height of the mining era in the late 1800s. There's a little heritage walk that you can do and I set off after having some lunch. A Cornish pasty! It is the Cornish triangle in Australia, so had to have something traditional!

The walk begins at the Town Hall, it was built in 1885 and the clock tower was added in 1907. 

As Moonta was a commercial centre, the main street contained various banks. (Generally in small Australian towns, they're the most grandiose buildings in the main street!) This had been the Union Bank and was built in 1873.

The second most grandiose buildings in a country town are the pubs!

The Cornwall Hotel

The Royal Hotel

As well as the banks and pubs, churches and buildings to do with beliefs were important, and all could be found in Moonta.

This large gothic style church is now the Uniting Church, it had been built as the Methodist Church in 1873. The Moonta Mines township also has a large Methodist Church, it seems that was the faith of most of the miners.

All Saints Anglican Church, also built in 1873.

This building just across the road from the Methodist Church, had been the Bible Christian Church, another Moonta church built in 1873. It must have been a big year for church building! Or as the stonemasons were on site, everyone got their church built. It was later sold to the Church of Christ in 1913 and closed in 1976, it looks well cared for, just not in use.

The Salvation Army Barracks, as the sign says from 1901. According to the Heritage Walk pamphlet, the Salvation Army establish a corp in Moonta in 1883 and the hall was built later.

The Freemason's Hall, it's called the Duke of Edinburgh Lodge. I was a little confused as to me the 'Duke of Edinburgh' is the current one (Prince Philip). I did some research, in 1868 a group of Freemasons met in the Royal Hotel and agreed to set up a Lodge and call it the Duke of Edinburgh Lodge. (So nothing to do with the current holder of the dukedom) It seems that it was named after the previous duke, Queen Victoria's son Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh who was the first British royal to visit Australia in 1867. So fresh from this royal visit, the patriotic Moonta freemasons decided to name their Lodge after him. It took a while to raise the necessary money for the actual building and it was finally opened in 1875. (The stonemasons were still very busy in Moonta!)


This is now a private residence, an Anglican Church was built at the rear of this parcel of land, and this building followed in 1866 and it was the church school room. It was sold to the Druids in 1902 and was used by them as a meeting hall until 1988. That's a Cornish flag on the flagpole.

The Moonta Post Office, had been the Telegraph Office as well and was established in 1866.

The School of Mines
The Moonta School of Mines was opened in 1891 to provide training in mining, it was an adult education centre well into the 20th century. It's now a Family History Resource Centre, for those people wishing to research their connection to the local area.

Inside there's an exhibition space, and as I visited soon after the Cornish Festival of Kernewek Lowender, there were displays set up for people to see.

A 19th century chemist's store, all the items come from an old chemist shop in Moonta.

Loved the old sewing machines! All hand powered ones.

Walked past the Moonta Area School and saw their old buildings, I like old school buildings and it's nice to see them preserved. The Area School is quite big so there are more modern buildings on the campus as well.


The rotunda in Queen's Square, back to where I started, the park is next to the Townhall. The park (as with anything named for a royal in late 19th century Australia, is named for Queen Victoria. It commemorates the 25th anniversary of the incorporation of the town of Moonta in 1897. Adelaide and Kadina have a Victoria Square, Moonta has a Queens Square!)

Moonta has an interesting history, going on the Heritage Walk is good way to see the town and work up an appetite for lunch, there are some nice cafes in the main street. Or eat first like I did and exercise it off!




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