The attractions of this village established in 1839 include Crystal Lake Sculpture Park, a heritage walk, extensive parklands, walking/cycling trails, market, organic produce, arts and crafts, vineyards, winery, two hotels, accommodation, B&Bs and function facilities.
It is still possible on a quiet walk in the surrounding Battunga countryside to enjoy the company of a kangaroo, wedge tail eagle or echidna.
In 1839, Oxford banker George Davenport paid £1,000 for a Special Survey which gave him 1,600 hectares from any unclaimed land in the colony. His sons, Francis, Robert and Samuel selected the site and developed Macclesfield on the English squire and tenant farmer model, renting land to German and Irish immigrants.
Macclesfield grew rapidly after 1850 because it was on the route used by diggers and the Royal Mail Coach to get to Victoria. During the years of the busy Murray River boat trade (1856-1878), bullockies carted farm produce, hardware, groceries, drapery and bottled beer between Milan and Port Adelaide via Macclesfield.
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By 1866 the population in the Macclesfield district had grown to 1,053 with 222 dwellings. In the town, saddlers, blacksmiths, a wheelwright, butcher, baker, carpenters, a general store, two hotels, a brewery and four churches flourished. Domestic cooking and heating relied on a steady supply of fuel from local woodcutters and charcoal burners, their activities complementing the land clearing pursuits of local farmers.
The system of Special Surveys that attracted Macclesfield also encouraged other people with capital. Wealthy colonists built country estates and summer houses in the hills, designed by some of Adelaide’s best architects.
F.W. Danker designed the Macclesfield and Stirling Institutes; Pine Hill on Birch Road, Stirling; Adare at Victor Harbor; Attunga and Queen Victoria Hospitals in Adelaide and St Paul’s, Hahndorf. Danker grew up in Macclesfield where his father owned the general store and drapery.
Macclesfield also became the centre of a thriving dairy industry and the cheese factory produced the award willing Macclesfield cheese which was exported to Japan.
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