Towns in Australia

Exploring Australia, town by town

Mintaro SA


Postcode: 5415

Mintaro is an historic town in the eastern Clare Valley, about 125km north of Adelaide, South Australia. The town was founded in 1854 by Joseph and Henry Gilbert on land purchased by Henry Gilbert in July 1849. The town lies at the south-eastern corner of the Hundred of Clare and was, in 1984, the first entire town to be declared a State Heritage Area.

Originally, Mintaro was a watering stop for bullock teams travelling between the copper mining town of Burra and Port Wakefield transporting copper and coal for the Patent Copper Company. The bullock teams were replaced with mule teams in the 1850s and up to a hundred mule teams were seen to pass though the town each day. The town’s economy collapsed when the teams where rerouted to the new railway at Gawler from 1857, but soon recovered with the growth of slate quarrying and agricultural production. The town now has tourism as its current primary industry.

Mintaro features many original Victorian buildings, including Martindale Hall which was used in the 1975 movie Picnic at Hanging Rock, Mintaro Slate Quarries and numerous vineyards and wineries.

The district was called Mintara in some advertisements and the Township of Mintaro in an advertisement of November 5, 1849. Although it has been claimed that the name comes from a Spanish word meaning camp or resting place, based on the prevalence of Spanish mule teams passing through, this is unlikely as the first mules did not arrive until 1853. Some sources have claimed that the name is derived from either the Ngadjuri word mintadloo or Minta – Ngadlu meaning netted water.