The town of Crafers is located in the Adelaide Hills to the southeast of Adelaide, South Australia. Although technically considered to be an outer suburb of Adelaide, with many residents commuting to the city to work, locals consider Crafers to be more a suburb of the nearby township of Stirling.
Crafers was named after David Crafer, who moved to the area and established an inn with his wife in 1839 — just three years after South Australia was first settled. Crafer, arrived from Norwich, England and first purchased land in Brighton, ran several smaller premises before establishing Crafer’s Inn. At the time the area at the foot of nearby Mount Lofty was known as the Tiers, infamous for being the haunt of numerous Tiersmen and woodcutters on the run from authorities in Adelaide.
The historic Crafers Primary School was first established in the area in 1866 by Mr Edward Smith. The school was initially located in small premises in Atkinson Road, and then moved to its present location in Piccadilly Road in 1928. The historic stone and brick building was opened on August 31 of that year. The late 1970s saw extensive upgrading of the school facilities under Principal Allan Stanley-Smith, including construction of the Ruth Beare Hall in 1976 named after Ruth Beare who taught at the school from 1937 to 1944 and 1947 to 1975.
For many years Crafers was well known for being the start point of the South Eastern Freeway linking Adelaide with the town of Murray Bridge, and to the Princes Highway leading to Melbourne. It wasn’t until 2000 that the Heysen Tunnels was completed to extend the freeway to Glen Osmond on the outskirts of Adelaide. Prior to the tunnel opening, the windy road from Adelaide to Glen Osmond via Eagle on the Hill was frequently the scene of horrific vehicle accidents, often involving semi-trailers. The Mount Lofty Botanic Garden is nestled in the hills behind Crafers. The gardens, opened in 1977, include an extensive mix of European and Australian native plants and are at their finest in the spring months.
On February 16, 1983, Crafers was hard hit by the Ash Wednesday bushfires. Many homes adjacent to bushland on the western side of the suburb were destroyed as the fire came roaring out of Cleland Conservation Park, and the devastation would have been much worse if a change in weather had not occurred right when the township of Crafers itself was being threatened. A memorial on Mount Lofty Summit is dedicated to those in the Adelaide Hills who lost their lives that day. Crafers is under the administration of the Adelaide Hills Council, and is in the state electoral district of Heysen and the federal electorate of Mayo.