"KAPUNDA & SIR SIDNEY KIDMAN" Kapunda by balhannah

Kapunda Travel Guide: 15 reviews and 55 photos

AUSTRALIA'S OLDEST MINING TOWN, an nobody has written about it on VT!

The town of Kapunda is well know because of its Copper mining and as the home of the "Cattle King" - Sir Sidney Kidman.

Kapunda is located 79 km north of Adelaide, is quite a large town full of historical buildings, and is a prosperous pastoral area.

Before the arrival of the miners, the district was settled by two pastoralists, Captain Charles H. Bagot and Francis Dutton.
Both of these pastoralists were the founders of what are now considered 'prominent' South Australian families.

Copper was first discovered at Kapunda by Francis Dutton in 1842. The copper was 22.5% pure which was probably the richest ever found anywhere in the world.

The first mining, was done by digging the copper off the surface with picks and shovels.

In December 1844, the first Cornish miners arrived in the area and underground mining began.

The two ton loads of Copper Ore, were transported by bullock dray to Port Adelaide (a journey which probably took around 6 days), where it was loaded onto ships and transported to Swansea in Wales, where it was smelted by the Welsh smelter operators.

The Cornish came to Kapunda, they were the expert miners, then the Welsh, who were the smelters, and the Germans, who were already living in the area, began to cut down the trees and bushes which were sold to fuel the smelters. Irish who worked as labourers, later became the main bullock team drivers. The German women used to walk their farm produce (mainly fruit and vegetables) to the town in wheelbarrows and sell it to the miners.

It was a real multi-cultural business!

The importance of the Kapunda copper mine declined with the discovery of copper at Burra where the lode was four times the amount of Kapunda. In turn the mine at Moonta on the Yorke Peninsula was found to be four times the size of the Burra mine.

Near the end of Kapunda's mining industry, Sir Sidney Kidman, one of Australia's richest rural entrepreneurs and a man who once owned more land than the entire British Isles, regularly held horse sales behind the North Kapunda Hotel. From Mining to Horses, Kapunda survived.

We are now heading south to MOUNT BARKER, where we will stay a week, and visit Adelaide from there


Heading on passing through the towns of Saddleworth, Marrabel and to RIVERTON where we are staying 3 nights.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Plenty of historical interest
  • In a nutshell:I always enjoy coming to Kapunda!
  • Last visit to Kapunda: Jan 2016
  • Intro Updated Aug 22, 2016
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