Mount Gambier is located in the south east of South Australia, 445 km. South
East of Adelaide and 550km. west of Melbourne. It is on the Princes Highway
(1) between Adelaide and Melbourne.
There are many things to do in the city of Mount Gambier.
The South-east of South Australia is noted for the limestone caves and
sink-holes which form the sub-structure. In Mount Gambier there are several,
easily accessible examples of caves. The easiest to find is Cave Gardens, right
in the centre of town in the park opposite the Post Office. This scenic area
has been landscaped around the main cave which was the site of early development
in the town after the Henty brothers arrived in 1841. It was at one time the
water supply for the town and windlasses were used to draw water from the base.
In the 1890's a beautification scheme saw the beginnings of the gardens, and
in 1909 the rose-gardens were planted. The fountain in the park was constructed
Umpherston Cave, just east of the city on the Princes Highway, is named
after James Umpherston, who arrived in 1860, and was a foundation member of
the Show Society and lived on a property nearby. An interesting display on the
steps leading into the cave explains its colourful history, and a Mack logging
truck and an old bull-dozer are among logging displays in the beautiful gardens
Engelbrecht cave on Jubilee Highway West, is open to the public. It is
actually a sink-hole used by divers. Guided tours operate and tour times can
be obtained from the Lady Nelson Information Centre. Phone: 08 87241730.
In Mount Gambier a visit to the Old Courthouse is well worthwhile. The
building is now a museum and group enactments of trials can sometimes be seen.
Opened in January 1865, and used until 1975. it became an acquisition of the
National Trust. There are old photographs of Mount Gambier, police and court
records, and other historic displays. The museum is in Bay Rd, on the way to
the Blue Lake.
The Blue Lake is one of the world's phenomenum. It inexplicably changes
colour from a drab grey to a brilliant torquoise each September to March. Tours
of the lake and the pumping station can be arranged through motels or the Information
Mount Gambier is also famous for its dairy produce. Rich and generous pastoral
land around the town is perfect for the production of high quality cheeses and
other produce, These can be sampled and purchased at several outlets in the
city and provide a pleasant reminder of your visit. The main one is Yoey's in
Commercial St. East. and off the Penola Rd. North of town, is the Mil Lel factory.
Opening times can be obtained from the Lady Nelson Information Centre.
Attamurra Cottage, on Attamurra Rd. leading to the golf course, has a display
of characters made by Louise and Kelmyn, and a shop packed with locally made
souvenirs and crafts. There is also a glass-house of cacti and succulents to
visit., The cottage was a tourism award winner in 1991.
Other places to visit include the Lewis Museum in Pick Ave. which houses
extensive displays of memorabilia, the Vansittart Park Gardens at the corner
of Commercial St. West and Wehl St and the Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre and Civic
Centre behind the Cave Gardens.
To get the most out of your visit to Mount Gambier call in to the Lady
Nelson Information Centre on Jubilee Highway East where you will receive a warm
There are lots of things to see and do in and around Mount Gambier. A list
of these and accommodation will be found below.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF MOUNT GAMBIER
Mount Gambier was named after James Gambier, Lieutenant Governor at
New Province in the Bahamas. He joined the R.N. aged 11, reached Post-Captain
at 22 and Rear Admiral at 39. In 1802 he became Governor of Newfoundland and
in 1807, Lord Gambier. He died in 1833 aged 76.
In June 1839 Stephen Henty, a pioneer of Portland, Vic saw Mt Gambier and
the lake, climbed it, and described it as "..a sight I can never forget.".
Around 1840 he returned with a small party and built 2 huts on a 'squat',
one at Valley Lake and one near Cave Gardens. soon others arrived and one, the
brother of explorer Charles Sturt, Evelyn, took a lease over property which
included Henty's 'squat', thus forcing him of his pioneer claim.
Over the next decade a steady stream of settlers arrived, mostly from Tasmania,
Victoria and Adelaide. By 1860 there were some 2,000 people and the first Government
land sale was held.
Mount Gambier |
PLACES OF INTEREST
ATTRACTIONS IN MOUNT GAMBIER
Blue Lake and Pumping Station
Civic Centre and Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre
Lady Nelson Interpretive Centre
Lake Terrace Historic Cemetery
Old Courthouse Museum
PLACES TO VISIT
ATTRACTIONS AROUND MOUNT GAMBIER
Adam Lindsay Gordon's Cottage: Port MacDonnell - 30km.
Coonawarra Wineries: Coonawarra - 55km.
Discovery Bay Coastal Park between Nelson and Portland 50km.
Little Blue Lake near Port MacDonnell -20 km.
Lower Glenelg National Park: near Nelson - 40km.
Mother Mary McKillop's workplace: Penola -50km.
Mount Schank near Port MacDonnell - 20 km.
Naracoorte Limestone Caves National Park: near Naracoorte- 100km.
Piccaninnie Ponds Sink hole: near Nelson - 30 km.
Robe: Historic Town - 125km.
Shell Museum: Millicent - 50 km.
Tantanoola Limestone Caves: Tantanoola - 25 km.
Tantanoola Tiger: Tantanoola - 30 km.
Woakwine Cutting near Beachport - 90km.
Tour 1. Penola, Millicent and Tantanoola
Tour 2 Port MacDonnell and Nelson |
The Lady Nelson Interpretive and Information Centre
Jubilee Highway East
Ph: 08 8724 1730
Toll Free: 1800 087 187
Motel Mount Gambier Ph: 08 8725 5800
Quality accommodation on Penola Road. Fully Licensed Restaurant. Reasonable Tariff.
HOW TO GET THERE:
PLANE: Mount Gambier has a domestic airport located just north of the town and regular flights are operated from Adelaide and Melbourne.
COACH: Coaches operate to and from Mount Gambier on a daily basis.
RAIL: The rail service to the South East was abandoned many years ago.
CAR: Via the Princes Highway between Adelaide and Melbourne, the Hamilton and Glenelg Highways from Ballarat or Geelong, the Wimmera Highway
from Horsham to near Penola, or the alternative and popular route from Keith, via Naracoorte and Penola.
© Copyright Peter W. Wilkins 2012