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YDHS Friday talk March 2024

Margaret Morgan—Torrens Vale: families and farms

Yankalilla Library Meeting Room

Margaret Morgan (former President of YDHS, currently Committee Member and Archivist) spoke of 'Torrens Vale: Families and Farms' at our Friday talk. Starting with a section map, then delving into detail, Margaret took us on a virtual tour from Inman Valley Road, to the Torrens Vale Lookout and on through the Valley. The Lookout, perched above the valley, features a map of the district as a thriving community in the 1800s and a memorial bench dedicated to former YDHS member Bill Bradfield, an amateur astronomer who watched the night sky from the lookout (his telescope is in the Yankalilla District Historical Museum). The Lookout reveals the location of six churches, four cemeteries (one public), two schools, a store, post office, blacksmith and community sheep dip (State Heritage listed). Torrens Vale never became a township, probably because the main road to Victor Harbor ended up bypassing the Valley and farmers didn't subdivide their farms as did their counterparts in Normanville and Yankalilla. Another factor could be that no hotel was built, as the area was settled predominantly by Baptists, Wesleyans and Bible Christians. Margaret showed us many wonderful photos, past and present, of various cottages, farms and churches along Torrens Vale and Parawa Roads. Some of these buildings are still occupied and others in ruins. She recounted stories along the way of those who built these structures then lived, worked, worshipped and died there. Many of the same families are still farming and living in the district and their ancestors’ names can be found on the surviving headstones in the cemeteries. Following Margaret’s presentation, Nigel Pile (YDHS Vice President) showed slides of farming practices over the decades. It was a full house and there was much lively conversation over morning tea.

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