Owen is a rural community in the heart of the Adelaide Plains. Owen is 150 feet above sea-level and receives a reliable 320 mm (about 12.5 inches) of rain annually and was first settled in about 1865. It is about 70 km north of Adelaide in South Australia and is approximately 30 minutes by road to the nearest main regional centre of Gawler. It is in the Wakefield Regional Council.
The small town of approximately 400 residents is well serviced for a small community and includes a post office, rural agent and petrol station, golf course, bowling club, Senior Citizen’s Club, a circuit Doctor, Country Fire Service (CFS) station, primary school, public swimming baths, a hotel, a grocery/deli, children’s playgrounds and a sports bar. In its heydays in the 1950s, Owen also had a bank, police station, drapery and a butcher.
The countryside surrounding Owen was once largely given over to sheep and cattle grazing. However, since the early 1990s the area has become better known for cropping (wheat, barley, canola, beans and, more recently, olives). The Adelaide-Balaklava broad-gauge railway line passes through Owen and the railway yard is marked by a series of massive concrete grain silos typical of this region. The town’s other main feature is a typical 1940s large concrete water tower of 98 feet in height.
The drift to country living and the expanding Adelaide city environs has seen a number of young families moving into the town. New homes are being established at the rate of 1-2 per year – a veritable building boom given the almost 40 years in which only a handful of homes were built in the town. In 1997, the primary school had only 35 pupils. By 2005, this number had risen to over 50, a sure sign of a stable future. Owen’s main claim to fame is the annual small-horse carriage driving championships which are held on the town’s oval around Easter time.