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A BRIEF HISTORY OF REYNELLA
The history of the district is closely linked to John Reynell, the acclaimed founder of South Australia's wine industry. John Reynell was born in Bristol, England, on February 9, 1809. After his father's death when he was only 14, Reynell left England and worked in Egypt, America, Europe and Russia. At 29 he immigrated to South Australia, arriving in 1838 on the 'Surry'. He had a shipboard romance and married fellow-passenger, Mary Lucas in 1839. In the same year he settled in what later became Reynella.
He planted vines on a rise known as Stony Hill on the North West corner of Panalatinga and Reynell Roads. The original vines were replaced in 1959 and now only a few vines remain on the northern end of what was previously the Stony Hill Vineyard, recognised as the oldest commercial vineyard in South Australia. The vineyard was sold in 2009 and was subdivided to become a new housing development called 'Peppercorn Grove'.
The site of John Reynell's original home is marked out by four huge pine trees and a memorial plaque on the northern side of Panalatinga Creek, opposite the area that was known as Stony Hill. He established Reynella Farm and grew crops as well as vines, and had sheep and cattle. His vines produced the first South Australian commercial wine in 1842, thereby starting our famed wine industry. In 1843 he transferred his residence to the other side of the creek on the southern side of Reynell Road. The historic homestead still remains and the rooms are now used as office space.
In 1853-54 John Reynell sold lots on a section of his land to establish the township of Reynella which was named after his renowned range of wines. Many houses were built, mainly for the winery workers. Over the years the township grew as more businesses started up with subsequent workers settling in the area. John Reynell died in 1873 and is buried in the Christ Church Cemetery on Main South Road O'Halloran Hill. His son Walter Reynell and grandson Carew Reynell took over the wine production and established the Reynella Winery.
In the early 1900s Carew Reynell built a distillery at the western end of Bridge Street, now part of the St. Francis Winery Resort. The Reynella Winery gradually passed out of the family and was eventually bought by Thomas Hardy & Sons Pty Ltd in 1982. Ironically, Thomas Hardy, the founder, worked for John Reynell at his farm in 1850 before moving on to establish his own wine business. Since 1992 there have been several name and ownership changes. The Reynella Winery site is now home to Accolade Wines, a major global wine business with some of the world's best known brands sold in over 80 countries.
In 1912 the Adelaide to Willunga Railway line passed through the township, ending the twice daily stagecoach. The line closed in 1969 and the rails were removed in 1972. The section that passes through Reynella is part of the Coast to Vines Rail Trail and is popular with walkers and cyclists.
In the 1950s and 1960s Reynella became engulfed in urban expansion and has become largely a residential area. What was the Reynella district is now 5 suburbs: Old Reynella, Reynella, Trott Park, Reynella East and part of Woodcroft. The Reynella area still retains its heritage and remnants of it agricultural past, and can be seen using the Historic Old Reynella Walking Guide. Copies of the guide are available from the Old Reynella Horse Changing Station.
Bulbeck, F. Paul - Some Plaques & Memorials of South Australia Vol. 2 Part 1 of Greater Adelaide (Adelaide, 2000)
Burden, Rosemary - Wines and Wineries of the Southern Vales (Adelaide 1976)
City of Onkaparinga Reynella Heritage Inventory (1998)
Reynell, Lenore and Margaret Hopton - John Reynell of Reynella: A South Australian Pioneer (Adelaide 1988)
AIMS & OBJECTIVES OF THE REYNELL BUSINESS & TOURISM ASSOCIATION INC.(Extract from the Rules of Reynell Business & Tourism Assoc. Inc.)
The purpose of the Association is to promote, subject to the restrictions of the Act, the following principal objectives:
1. To foster the development and sustain ability of businesses located in or near the area commonly known as Reynella which without limitation shall include the suburb of Old Reynella and all adjoining suburbs
2. To alleviate unemployment by extending practical assistance to small business and those persons who seek to establish small business
3. To encourage practical interest and involvement in industrial and commercial companies and firms in the wellbeing of the communities in which they have operational interests
4. To organise and participate in the preparation and implementation of projects between firms, local authorities and/or other local interests to facilitate employment creation, social and environmental development
5. To collect and disseminate information in relation to corporate social responsibility, community involvement and the practice of industrial commerce.
6. To promote, support (or oppose if appropriate) proposed legislation or other measures affecting the aforesaid interests.
7. To do all things as may be incidental to retain any of the objectives and any other appropriate activity pursuant to the Act.
JOHN REYNELL HERITAGE PARK
Location: Cnr. Bridge Street and Old South Road, Old Reynella.
This beautiful park is the result of a joint venture between the City of Onkaparinga and the Reynell Business and Tourism Association (RBTA), and is named for the town’s founder, John Reynell, who sold a portion of his farmland in 1854 to create the township of Reynella.
State of the art interpretive signage in the park provides information about the town’s past history including early settlers, heritage sites, early vineyard selections, and transport.
The official opening of the park on 10 October 2004 formed part of the 150th Birthday Celebrations for the heritage township of Old Reynella. The RBTA received the City of Onkaparinga Australia Day Community Event Award on 26 January 2005 for this event. In addition, the RBTA, City of Onkaparinga and Malcolm Harrington received an Edmund Wright Heritage Awards Commendation in 2005 for the project in the Heritage Stories: Promotion, Education & Interpretation category. Interpretative signage in the park was designed and produced for the City of Onkaparinga by M & H Harrington Enterprises and Armsign Pty Ltd.
REYNELLA HORSE CHANGING STATIONLocation: Old Reynella Shopping Centre
225 Old South Road, Old Reynella
Open: Most Saturdays from 10am to 4pm
Entry fee: No fee is charged to inspect the building and items on display. However, a gold coin donation to help continue the restoration of this site would be appreciated.
The first stage of the restoration of the former Reynella Changing Station by dedicated volunteers was officially opened on 16 October 2005. An interesting collection of historical artefacts, heritage information and photographs are now on display in the restored building. Mementos are also available for purchase at reasonable prices.
Built in the 1850s, the stables were used as a half way horse changing station on the coach run from Adelaide to Willunga. The changing station was placed close to the inn (Crown Hotel) for the convenience of passengers. It is believed to be the only known changing station in South Australia which was not attached to a hotel.
Volunteers are now restoring the adjacent building, officially named Alexander Cottage on 25 May 2008 in recognition of the Alexander family who were the last family to live there.
Interpretative signage on the site was designed and produced by the City of Onkaparinga in conjunction with consultation and recommendations made by members of the RBTA.
RECREATION TRAILS AND RESERVES
FIELD RIVER TRAIL
Location: Field River Catchment Area
Start Point: Panalatinga Creek, Old South Road, Old Reynella.
End Point: Balee Road Reserve, Happy Valley.
Distance: 3 - 4 km
Most of the trail is well paved; however, some sections in Reynella East and Happy Valley are still being developed. The Field River Trail is a pretty walk and passes through three reserve areas with playground equipment, seating and grassed picnic areas. The path follows the route of the watercourse, lined in places with giant gums. Ducks, piping shrikes, magpies, ibis and pigeons are just some of the plentiful birdlife to be seen. An open space area between Byards Road and Braeside Avenue Reynella East has recently been developed into a Wetlands area by the City of Onkaparinga. Unsealed walking/cycling paths through the wetlands area can be accessed from the Field River Trail or the car park area on the western side of Byards Road.
COAST TO VINES RAIL TRAIL
Today the historic abandoned railway corridor between Marino and Willunga forms the basis of the unique Coast to Vines Rail Trail. The 37 kilometre sealed trail is fully open and is managed by the City of Onkaparinga and the City of Marion.
The Coast to Vines Rail Trail is a great day or weekend destination on the Fleurieu Peninsula. Enjoy a walk, jog, bike or horse ride along the Coast to Vines Rail Trail to absorb the region’s natural beauty. Rich is history, the scenic Rail Trail is located close to a number of cultural, recreational and historical attractions including John Reynell Heritage Park and Reynella Horse Changing Station in Old Reynella. The landscape has magnificent sea views, the renowned wineries of Reynella and the McLaren Vale are nearby and there are plenty of good places to stay and eat.
Information about the trail and a map can be found on the RailTrails Australia web site:
TOM ROBERTS HORSE TRAIL
The Tom Roberts Horse Trail was conceived and named by the Adelaide Trail Horse Riders Club as a state-wide trail for the recreational enjoyment of all riders. The trail extends from Belair National Park in the north to Kuipto Forest in the south. The trail is marked by standard trail markers and allows riders safer riding opportunities.
Tom Roberts (with Miss Dorothy Mansom), founded the Adelaide Dressage Club in 1959 and instructed at the club for many years. In 1982 he was awarded the OAM for his services to equestrian sport. He died in 1989 and the trail which bears his name is tribute to the respect and affection in which his memory is held.
A brochure about the trail in can be downloaded from the City of Onkaparinga website:
TANGARI REGIONAL PARK
Location: Corner of Reynell Road and Pine Road, Woodcroft.
Car Park: Pine Road, Woodcroft.
Tangari Regional Park is one of the most significant open space areas in the City of Onkaparinga. The 123 hectare park contains important areas of bushland and has been identified as a home to one of the best remnants of Grey Box (Eucalyptus macrocarpa) grassy woodland in the Adelaide Region. The park is used by the local community for a range of recreational activities including horse riding, bike riding and bush walking.
Over 50 species of native animals, more than 140 species of native plants and over 86 species of birds have been recorded in the vicinity of the park including the endangered Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo. Lorikeets, Sulphur Crested Cockatoos, Rosellas, Galahs and Kookaburras are common throughout the park especially along the creek and around the two dams.
Where access is provided to natural areas, visitors are encouraged to keep to the designated trail network and refrain from using rehabilitation areas and unauthorised tracks.
Maps and additional information about Tangari Regional Park, the various trails, restrictions, vegetation and inhabitants can be found on information boards placed within the park.