Stop the ute, I want to get offJuly 01, 2014

Gawler is as important as Sydney.

Located 40 miles north of Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, some of her notable structures would remind visitors of England. Black-and-white images of Victorian houses and churches come to mind, looking glorious at a split second, until they realised that this wasn't Great Britain at the turn of the twentieth century. Gawler is the gateway to some of South Australia's top tourist attractions. There's Gawler Ranges, basalt rocks that have a spellbinding effect on tourists. Adventurers would remember Giant's Causeway, its structure not so different from Gawler, until it dawned on them that this wasn't northern Ireland. Further north was Barossa Valley, a wine-producing area with a strong German Lutheran history. But this wasn't the continent.

One must do a little research in able to know the extent of Gawler's importance.

The first settlers in South Australia weren't ex-convincts. The state wasn't facing the Pacific Ocean, and it was only when the exploration of Australia's interior began when this part of Down Under was discovered. William Light, Surveyor-General of South Australia, founded the town after Adelaide. It was an ideal setting, lying on the confluence of two tributaries coming from a range of small hills. The former British military officer wanted a Victorian look for this community, with wide streets and ample park lands. It was similar to Adelaide's, the only difference was Light didn't envision a metropolis in the distant future. As a matter of fact, this plan was followed by other communities in South Australia, after Light's death, but none of them came to fruition.

Then the discovery of copper in Kapunda and Burra followed, resulting to an increase in Gawler's population. What happened next can be compared to Periclean Athens, as the community experienced a cultural flowering of sort. It was four decades before the Federalism of Australia when there was a competition to compose an anthem for Australia. The result was "Song Of Australia" by Caroline J. Carleton and Carl Linger, both South Australians. As for the eye-catching streetcapes, time and the elements didn't affect them that much. In fact, this is the main reason why tourists stop by Gawler - after Adelaide. One would realise Light's vision was a stroke of genius and how the first settlers succeeded in turning this part of Australia into New England.

One must venture further to discover the natural wonders lying near the town. Mount Lofty Ranges, where the Barossa Valley lies, enjoys a Mediterranean climate. Some would be reminded of the verdant slopes in the continent, until they noticed the wind turbines north of Burra. There was a discovery of gold in this area, but there was no mad scramble for the metal, as it became apparent that this was a home away from home for the settlers. Then the Murray River, its discovery prompting many to explore the inner parts.

A time warp Gawler offers, probably the only one of its kind.

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