Cudlee Creek, South Australia, Australia

A little history of Cudlee Creek and the upper reaches of the Torrens Gorge in the Adelaide Hills.

This page contains many photographs and may take a while to load, please be patient,
thanks, Bill.

All photos © Bill Chartres unless otherwise acknowledged.

This site is dedicated to the family of Peg & Bill Chartres (Nick, Wayne, Graham, Jason and their families),
so as they have a better understanding of their heritage.

Peg's g-g-grandfather, George Banks, first settled in The Prairie, Cudlee Creek, in the early 1850's.
He purchased "Walnut Grove", Hollands Creek in 1857 when he married Mary Ann Farnham.
(Two of George's brothers, William and Edward, also acquired holdings in the Cudlee Creek District)

Her g-grandfather, Cain Thomas Banks (known as Thomas), purchased "Woodlands" (on what is now known as Banks Road, Cudlee Creek) in 1891.

"Woodlands" is the property that Peg grew up on.

Walnut Grove
"Walnut Grove"
George and Mary Banks, with their children,
Hollands Creek, Cudlee Creek, SA.
(Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1870)
Home of Thomas and Phoebe Banks,
Banks Road, Cudlee Creek, SA.
(Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa early 1900's)


Home of Bill & Olive Menz,
Banks Road, Cudlee Creek, SA.
This photo was taken from the home of Keith Menz (Peg's father),
which was located on the northern boundary of "Woodlands")

(Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1940's??)

Photo Cudlee Creek house

The home of Peg & Bill Chartres
Gorge Road, Cudlee Creek.

(Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1978)



Cudlee is derived from the Aboriginal Kaurna or Peramangk word "Coodla" meaning Wild Dog (Dingo), hence Cudlee Creek means "Wild Dog" Creek.
The township is located on Gorge Road, in the beautiful Torrens Gorge about 28 kilometres from Adelaide (via Athelstone and the Gorge Road).
The ABS 2016 census records 421 people living in Cudlee Creek. (a decrease of 52 since the 2011 census)

The District of Cudlee Creek is bounded by,
Paracombe in the north, Lobethal in the south, Gumeracha in the east and Castambul to the west;
it includes the local areas of Cudlee Creek, Fox’s Creek, Hollands Creek, Millbrook, The Prairie and Chain of Ponds.

The area was first settled by William Kelly, his wife and baby daughter, (Kelly is believed to have been the first white man to have visited the area),
they arrived in Adelaide in December 1838, and settled at Cudlee Creek a few months later (late 1839 early 1840).

The early pioneer families include the Kelly’s, Fox’s, Hannaford’s, Redden’s, Farnham’s, Bank’s, Wakefield’s, Dennis’, McNamara’s, Kennings’, Ludewigs’, Dickson’s, Schlein’s, Tippett’s, Pool’s, Barty’s, Minogue’s, Lambert’s, Crouch’s, Hoad’s, Curtis’ and Hatchard’s.

The following article describing the drive from Adelaide to Cudlee Creek via the Gorge Road, (which was opened in November 1921), appeared in an Adelaide newspaper in 1922.
A distance of about 28 kilometres it remains one of the most beautiful scenic drives in Australia.

"If an unlabelled moving picture of the Gorge road were town on the screen people would ask where it was. The route is an eye-opener in rugged beauty. For most of the 17 miles, from the time the gateway is entered at Athelstone, the track runs between massive, rock-ribbed, tree-spread cliffs which climb hundreds of feet, and seem to meet the blue sky. From the moment you get into contact with the great panorama, it is a wonderland of wild, decorative effects, carried out by Nature to big scale. The road has the appearance of a bold, tiny interloper, twisting in and out among the boulders with flimsy, and almost precarious, audacity. Looking up on one side you see the hills, mottled by shadows on a sunny afternoon, lean their grey bulk against a radiant back ground. On the other the jagged, broken rock offers, at times, a rather uncomfortable proximity, supplying a striking colour contrast with their red and dark blue and brown faces. Running along this 24-ft. thoroughfare, amid some of the most impressive open-air sculpture to be seen in Australia, you involuntarily duck now and then, in expectation of being hit by one of these giant fists. Then, right underneath, flows with placid grace, the little creek, framed in brilliant green rushes or tender fern. When the towering avenues disappear, as it were, into the wings of this magnificent stage, there come tough the scattered gums glimpses of fruit gardens, designed as symmetrically as a draught board, or arranged in marvellous rows of potato and tomato plants, suggesting the faultless elegance of the top lines in a copy book. So you get on this excursion up the Gorge road, the blend of dainty, man-made utilities and the moving grandeur of God-made scenery."

The Register (Adelaide, SA.) 20 January 1922


The early pioneers of the Cudlee Creek District endured much hardship, not only to establish their holdings, but also to get into and out of the district as there were no roads or bridges and the tracks had to cross the river bed.
Prior to the construction of the Gorge Road, Cudlee Creek was initially reached along the bed of the River Torrens (when it was not flowing), and later, after the North East Road was opened in the 1870's, via Tea Tree Gully or Anstey's Hill all of which were extremely difficult journeys.

Many articles appeared in the local newspapers describing the difficulties and displeasure of the early pioneers

"Several parties have bitterly complained to us of the impassable state of the road between Adelaide and the Reedy Creek mine, by the Chain of Ponds. A gig was stuck in the centre of the road last Friday, and the driver, a Mr East, was unable to extricate it without the assistance of several passing travellers. This is the more felt as there is a mail just established on that route, and unless something is done for its improvement it will be utterly impossible for the carriers to accomplish their journeys within the prescribed period. Besides this consideration there is a largely increased traffic on that road now, and it is high time for the Government to adopt some measure to facilitate the communication between that populous part of the country and the metropolis.”

Adelaide Times, 16 October 1848

An early photo showing the track to Cudlee Creek
along the bed of the River Torrens.
(Photo Circa 1870 - slsa B 1885)

“...In 1853, he [Alfred Hardy, 18 March 1863, Supervising Surveyor for the North-Eastern district] said, there had been only tee miles of metalled road between Adelaide and the O.G. public house. The remainder of the track to Gumeracha was part swamp where drays could be bogged for the whole winter. A horseman, by using “the greatest exertion would take from morning to night to reach Gumeracha, and then he thought himself lucky if he arrived there without accident. With the improvements and a metalled road all the way, the same journey could be comfortably accomplished in four hours. When the road was completed to Blumberg in the following year, he said, there would only be 25 miles left to Mannum...”

(Bill Stacy, 1982, Highway South Australia, October, Highways Department, Adelaide)

“... setting forth the bad state of the above road. It stated that drays sent especially to Gumeracha some time since had been compelled to return empty, and that even horse teams had been unable to get further than Breakneck Hill.”

Adelaide Observer, 1 July 1854

“... If they wished to continue the increase of their exports of wheat and flour, they must devise some improvement in the present system of road-making. ... At nearly every meeting on the subject of roads, held during the last five or six years ... the Central Road Board had been universally held up to opprobrium. And he had only to refer to the vacillation and want of system displayed, by the Board in the management of their own North-Eastern-road to prove their utter incapacity. In the first instance they refused to recognise it as a main road. After they had declared it to be a main line, they resolved that it should go by way of the Teatree Gully. They subsequently agreed to reopen the question, received memorials and counter memorials, deputations, &c., and at last their united wisdom brought them to the conclusion that two main lines of road were required — one leaving Adelaide by Bailey’s Garden, Paradise, and Anstey’s Hill; and the other by the Company’s Mill, tough the Teatree Gully. Both of these roads were then united about 12 or 13 miles from the starting point. Thus the money voted for the North-Eastern-road had been so divided as to make two bad roads, instead of one good one. ...”

SA Register, 5 August 1857

Blyth's Cutting, Breakneck Hill, Inglewood

Photos - LHS slsa B 62350 - RHS Torrens Vally Historical Journals - Circa 1875

"The triple ceremony of opening the Breakneck Hill cutting, and the two new bridges at Inglewood and Chain of Ponds, was celebrated on Wednesday, 18th March. The occasion was looked forward to with intense interest by the residents along the North-Eastern-road, and it will not be soon forgotten by them, as on it they witnessed the full realization of all the hopes they had cherished for many years past. Breakneck Hill has long been a hill of difficulty to those settlers who were obliged to surmount it on their way to Adelaide. Double teams had to be brought into requisition to take a small load to the summit, but this was not the only inconvenience. The gradients were so steep, and a curve in the road so abrupt, that it was positively dangerous to descend the hill and not a few accidents have ended in making the attempt — hence the character name by which the mount is most generally known. It cannot, therefore, be wondered at that the people interested should watch with great anxiety the progress of a work which was to obviate all the difficulties they had to contend with, and should assemble with glad and grateful hearts to commemorate the accomplishment of that work. The morn dawned gloomily, portending rain, but before noon the threatening appearance had vanished, and although the sun only exhibited his smiling face at intervals, yet the day was pleasantly fine throughout.

South Australian Chronicle March 23rd 1863

In 1851 the government decided that two "main" roads should be constructed, (which would converge at Houghton), to service the upper reaches of the Torrens Valley, one via Anstey's Hill (Lower North East Road) , the other via tea Tree Gully (Main North East Road), to the Gumeracha Bridge, from where it would continue to Stony Creek (Torrens Valley Road). This route was approved by the Central Road Board in July 1853.

The Gumeracha Bridge was opened on 5th February 1858 by Miss Esther Kelly, (the first resident European female born in the district), after which (Not before!) it was subjected to a load test.

…The members and officers of the Board proceeded then to test the deflection. The bridge was subjected to a pressure of between 30 and 40 tons, being covered with dray-loads of sand, and every vacant space covered up with horsemen or bullock teams. The result was its yielding only one-sixteenth part of an inch. We believe this to be a most unusual instance of strength and solidity. …

The South Australian Register - Monday February 8th 1858)

More than 50 years after the first settlement the residents of the Cudlee Creek District were still seeking easier access to the area

The people of the Upper Torrens Valley, disheartened by their isolation, began a campaign to enlist the governments support to provide access to their area.
In 1912 they lobbied for a railway line to be constructed along the banks of the River Torrens.

“The residents are now fully alive to the fact that a railway must come direct from the city to part of the Torrens Valley, and at a not far distant date. The main road to the city is in some places almost impassable for vehicles with heavy loads. Nearly 100,000 cases of export apples will be sent away from the district this season, and many more would be forwarded if only they could be landed at Port Adelaide by a cheaper and more modern means of transit.”

“Torrens Valley Railway”, Mount Barker Courier, 22 March 1912.

The request, however, was unsuccessful, but, at about the same time, the people of Castambul succeeded in their request to have a road [Gorge Road] built along the banks of the River Torrens from the Torrens Weir at Athelstone to Castambul, which including a bridge over Sixth Creek, was completed by January 1914.
This led to a campaign to have the Gorge Road extended to connect with the Main North East Road at the Gumeracha Bridge Cudlee Creek. This campaign was helped by the government’s decision to build a reservoir at Millbrook.
The road between Castambul and Gumeracha was begun in 1915, but was suspended in 1916 due to the war effort. Construction was resumed in 1919 and the road opened in November 1921. However the Metalling (The Latin for a mine or quarry is metallum; so the material from a quarry used for road building is called “metal”) was not completed until 1924 .

'Mann' steam wagon and tar sprayer used during the construction of the Torrens Gorge Road

'Mann' steam wagon and tar sprayer used during the construction of the Torrens Gorge Road.

(Photo slsa B-62352 c1922 )

Construction Crew working on the Gorge Road -  1920

Construction Crew working on the Gorge Road.
(Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection - Circa 1923 )

a steam engine and compressor used during the construction 
of the Gorge Road. -  1920
A steam engine and compressor used during the construction of the Gorge Road.
(Photo Photo The State Library of South Australia Circa 1920 - slsa )

Crusher Tea Tree Gully
Crusher at Tea Tree Gully,
similar to those used on the Gorge Road.
(Photo Circa 1915 Source
4th S.A. Engineering Heritage Conference - 15th May 2015)

Gorge Road 1924
Gorge Road 1924.

(Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection - Circa 1924)

Men at work, Gorge Road -  1920

Construction workers drilling 'shot holes' by hand
with sledge hammers during the construction
of the Torrens Gorge Road

(Photo Photo The State Library of South Australia Circa 1923 - slsa B62350)

“The construction of this highway was authorised about eight years ago in order to alleviate the position of producers in the Gumeracha districts en route, who are not served by a railway, and, as far as can be seen at present, must depend upon road carriage. The old Gumeracha-road climbs 1,400 ft. with grades of 1 in 8 and 1 in 10. Produce carried on it must be hauled over tee high hills, of which Anstey’s Hill is perhaps the best known. This must have for many years been a severe handicap to gardeners and others who had to market what their land produced. The new road is such a vastly different proposition, however, that although it is still practically little better than when the track was hewn out of the hillside — for the metalling has only just begun — it is already preferred by the market gardeners to the old road. When it is finished it will be a boon. ...

Chronicle (Adelaide) 28th January 1922

"...Eventually there will be a stretch of 17 miles from Athelstone to the Gumeracha Bridge with a gradient of no more than 1 in 25 — a gentle rise of a thousand feet compared with tee bad hills rising 1,400 ft. … The roadway is 24 ft. wide, and for a long distance the main pipe line from Millbrook Reservoir is laid in a channel at one side. There are five concrete bridges in the total length, for the road crosses the river five times — it follows the course of the stream for 14 miles. These bridges have excited the admiration of engineers all over the Commonwealth and are a triumph for Mr. Fleming. They are all concrete arch structures, on the cantilever principle, the longest span being 102 ft. They are beautiful bridges and practically everlasting. One of the features is the concrete parapet on each side, which is of graceful design. The successive bridges from west to east are named Bachelor’s, Crouch’s, Hoad’s, Union, and Monfries’, four of them being named after old settlers on nearby holdings. In one place, in order to avoid cutting away a cliff, a concrete overhang, 200 ft. long, was constructed. In this way the ingenuity of the engineer saved an expenditure of about £3,000. …”

Conicle (Adelaide), 28 January 1922

Bridges of the Torrens Valley - Castambul to Blumberg (Birdwood)

Map of North East Roads and Torren Valley.
The lobbying of the residents of the upper reaches of the Torrens Valley, combined with the government’s decision to build reservoirs at Millbrook and Mount Crawford, plus the fact that motor vehicles were experiencing difficulties in negotiating the steep grades of the Main North East Road forced the government to agree to construct the Gorge Road from Athelstone to the Gumeracha Bridge.
This was the largest undertaking ever attempted in South Australia.
The first section, of about ten miles (nearly 5 kilometres), from the weir at Athelstone to Castambul, included a simple bridge across Sixth Creek (The Corkscrew) was completed in December 1913.

“What will certainly become one of the “show” routes in the ranges is the new road tough the Torrens Gorge ... recently completed by the Government ... a pleasing drive of tee miles along the southern bank of the Torrens brings one to the junction of two district roads. Already the gardeners and others in the neighbourhood of Montacute and Castambul, and beyond, have taken advantage of the regular and easy gradients the Gorge-road offers. The Corkscrew leading to the Sixth Creek-road has been abandoned by all who could make use of the new track.

Advertiser, 17 January 1914

The final section, between Castambul and the Gumeracha Bridge, was begun in 1915 to relieve unemployment and was finally completed in 1924.

The Government are anxious to put in hand as quickly as possible work to relieve unemployment. The Commissioner of Crown Lands (Hon. G. Goode), who has control of the Roads Department, stated on Monday that during the next week or two work would be started on the new Torrens Gorge Road, absorbing from 650 to 700 men.

Advertiser, 11 May 1915


The first road bridge built in the district was a timber bridge at Inglewood in 1851; this was replaced with a masonry arch bridge in 1863.
The first bridge across the upper reaches of the River Torrens was the Gumeracha Bridge in 1858, this was a laminated timber arch bridge which was upgraded to a steel arch on the same abutments in 1887.
In 1861 a laminated timber arch bridge was constructed at Blumberg (Birdwood) which was replaced with a concrete encased steel arch bridge in 1915.
The Sunning Hill Bridge (now submerged below the Millbrook Reservoir) was built across the Chain of Ponds Creek in 1863.
The original Chain of Ponds Bridge, on the North East Road, was a reinforced concrete construction built in 1917 and was replaced by the current bridge when the North East Road was realigned in 1999.

Prior to the construction of bridges the River Torrens could only be crossed by fording the dried up or slow flowing river, which became a very dangerous and difficult exercise as the flow of the river increased. Before road bridges were built some foot bridges had been constructed, but they also were subject to the flow of the river, and were often impassable, and sometimes even washed away by the flooded river.
The wooden construction Union Bridge, built in 1871, was the first bridge built on what is now known as the Gorge Road. This was replaced during the construction of the Gorge Road by a steel arched, concrete encased bridge (also called the Union Bridge) in 1917.
The Prairie Bridge, a timber deck on riveted steel girders, was built across the River Torrens (1909) at the bottom of Prairie Road to provide access to Paracombe via Torrens Hill Road (known locally as “Billy Goat Hill” because of its steep winding nature), this was prior to Torrens Hill Road being realigned to remove some very sharp and dangerous bends which had caused vehicles to plunge into the River Torrens below resulting in injury and even death.

During the construction of the original Gorge Road (1912-1925) six bridges were built across the River Torrens and a concrete deck on concrete piers, called The Cantilever (although it was not actually a cantilever) was cut into the side of the steep wall of the Torrens Gorge.

Sunning Hill Bridge, Millbrook.

Sunning Hill Bridge, Millbrook
A laminated timber arch bridge built in 1863. Now submerged under the Millbrook Reservoir..

Photo slsa B9146 Circa 1880

The Inglewood Bridge
The Inglewood Bridge - North East Road
The first road bridge to be built in the area in 1851 was a wooden structure.
This was replaced by the current bridge (above) in 1863 which is a masonry arch bridge, and is still in use.

According to Bill Stacy, this is probably the oldest structure in South Australia still carrying main road traffic.
Photo Highway Magazine Circa 1982

Photo Original Chain of Ponds Bridge

The original Chain of Ponds Bridge (North east Road), built in 1917, of reinforced concrete .
This bridge was replaced in 1999.

Photo slsa PRG 280/1/9/295 Circa 1916

Original Gumeracha Bridge
The original Gumeracha Bridge (North East Road), (laminated timber arch), was opened on 8/02/1858.
Photo shows the original timber arches (which were replaced with steel 1872) propped up with timber!
Photo slsa B72166/43 Circa 1870

Photo Chain of Ponds Bridge
Chain of Ponds Bridge,
a reinforced concrete girder bridge built in 1917 as the Millbrook Reservoir fills for the first time.
(Replaced with a new bridge of concrete slab on steel girders construction in 1999)
Photo slsa B4400 Circa 1918

New Gumeracha Bridge"New" Gumeracha Bridge, with new iron frame work (1887) (on the original Abutments)and a new concrete deck (1987), is still in use.
Photo Gumeracha District History Centre Circa 1987

Photo Original Union Bridge
Original Union Bridge, of wooden construction was built in 1871 (this was the first bridge to be built across the upper reaches of the River Torrens along the course of the Gorge Rad), Cudlee Creek, SA
Replaced with a new bridge in 1916.
Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1872

Photo Sixth Creek Bridge
Sixth Creek Bridge (Junction of The Corkscrew and Gorge Road.) A concrete deck on steel beams constructed in 1913, still in use.
(This photo was taken after the Torrens was in flood)
Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1916

Photo Original Blumberg [Birdwood] Bridge

New Blumberg [Birdwood] Bridge, a steel arch, concrete encased bridge with a span of 50' (15.24m) (built in 1915), is still in use. This replaced the original laminated timber arch bridge which was built in 1861.
Photo slsa B19220 Circa 1915

Photo New Union Bridge under construction New Union Bridge, span 90' (27.44m) Under construction, Gorge Road, Cudlee Creek, is still in use (Near the CFS Station). The original bridge is on the left. Hollands Creek Road can be seen winding up the hill in the background.
Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1916

Photo old Prairie Bridge
The old Prairie Bridge,
Torrens Hill Road, Cudlee Creek, SA
Replaced by the new Prairie Bridge (1969), a few hundred metres further east.
Photo slsa B 70224/​1 Circa 1963

Photo Batchelors Bridge

Batchelor's Bridge,span 94' (28.8m), old Gorge Road
Now submerged behind the wall of the Kangaroo Creek Reservoir.
Photo Gumeracha District History Centre

Photo The Cantilever

The Cantilever, old Gorge Road,
about 200' (61m) long,is nearly 34m above the river bed.

Photo Gumeracha District History Centre

Photo Hoads Bridge

Hoad's Bridge, span 91'3" (27.75m), Gorge Road, Cudlee Creek is still in use (Near the Gorge Kiosk).

Photo slsa

Photo Crouchs Bridge
Crouch's Bridge, span 102'10" (31.4m) old Gorge Road.
Now often submerged, is only visible at times of low water levels in Kangaroo Creek Dam..
Photo slsa B23800 Circa 1937

Photo Batchelor's Bridge, during the construction of the Kangaroo Creek Dam

Batchelor's Bridge during the construction of the Kangaroo Creek Dam, showing the dam wall.
Now submerged behind the dam wall.

Photo Gumeracha District History Centre Circa 1968

Photo new Priarie Bridge

The new Prairie Bridge replaced the original bridge to Torrens Hill Road during the construction of the Gorge Road deviation for the Kangaroo Creek Dam (1969).
This is the point where the Gorge Road deviation rejoins the original Gorge Road..

Photo Gumeracha District History Centre.

Photo Crouches Bridge, under construction
Crouch's Bridge under construction, with the Construction Camp in the background.
Crouch's Bridge was built near the existing "Crouch's Ford" crossing the River Torrens, and is now often submerged when Kangaroo Creek Dam is full.
Photo Transport Services Division, File PN1124 Circa 1921

Old Prairie Bridge
Old Prairie Bridge, Torrens Hill Road, Cudlee Creek, SA Replaced by the new Prairie Bridge (1969), a few hundred metres further east.
Circa 1964

Batchelors Bridge exposed

Batchelor's Bridge exposed,
during upgrade of Kangaroo Creek Dam 2018.

Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 2018

Old Prairie Bridge
Old Prairie Bridge, Cudlee Creek, SA was destroyed during floods in August 1992.

(Photo Dave Scylla Circa 2016)

Cudlee Creek's Attractions

Over the years Cudlee Creek has had several important centres for the local community, (and later for tourists) .
They include The Old Creamery, The Gorge Kiosk, Cudlee Creek Co-operative Cold Store, and The Cudlee Creek Soldiers Memorial Hall.

In later years the The Gorge Wild Life Park (founded in 1965) also become an attraction of the district.

This section is in the very early stage of development, much information is still to be added, Bill.

The Old Creamery

Built in about 1882 as a branch of the Gumeracha Butter Factory, this historic building has had a variety of uses over the years.
When first built it served as a creamery for the many dairies in the area (hence the name), but after a few years the business declined and the building was vacated.
It was then left unused for some time, until Allen Noble converted it into a cheese factory. However this venture was also unsuccessful as the Cudlee Creek District had become primarily a fruit growing district , and, as the demand for fruit increased, people left the dairy industry in favour of fruit growing.
It again lay idle until Arthur Rhodes converted it to the districts first General Store.
For many years it served as the General Store, Post Office (circa 1911)and Telephone Exchange(circa 1915), it was the centre of the community, and was known as "The Old Creamery" by the locals.

In later years, after the the telephone exchange became automatic, and the Post Office was relocated to the Gorge Kiosk, it became "The Cudlee Cafe".
Today (2017) "The Cudlee Cafe" is a favourite with locals and tourists for meals and coffee, with a breakfast menu until 12pm, and a variety of choices all day.

Old Creamery
The Creamery, Gorge Road, Cudlee Creek, SA.
Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1885

Cudlee Creek General Store
Cudlee Creek General Store.
(Formally The Creamery)
Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection - Early 1900's (Date unknown).

Cudlee Creek General Store

Cudlee Creek General Store
(Formally The Creamery)

Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection - Early 1900's (Date unknown).

Cudlee Creek Cold Store

(Cudlee Creek Fruit Growers Co-operative Society Ltd.)

At a meeting held in the old church at Cudlee Creek on 28th August 1922 it was decided to build a co-operative cool store for storage of locally grown fruit. On October 12th a committee of management was elected consisting of Messrs E. Hannaford (Chairman), E. Pool, F. Tippett, G. Newman, and F. Schultz.
A wooden building consisting of three chambers with a capacity of 15,000 cases and equipped with a 16 ton ammonia compressor driven by a 47 hp suction gas engine was completed in time for the 1923 apple crop.
In 1925 a packing and grading shed was added and a 32 volt electric generator was installed for lighting replacing the old kerosene lamps previously used for night work.
In 1938 a mechanical grader, driven by electricity generated by the suction gas engine, was installed. Previously all the apples were hand graded and sized. In 1940 the capacity of the store was increased to 30,000 cases.
Electric power from Osborne was connected to the store in 1946 enabling the old suction gas engine to be replaced with electric motors.
The Cudlee Creek Cold Store was the first Co-operative cold store in South Australia.

Cold Store
Cudlee Creek Cold Store, Gorge Road, Cudlee Creek, SA.
Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1922

Cold Store

Cudlee Creek Cold Store, Gorge Road, Cudlee Creek, SA.
Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1940

The Gorge Kiosk and Picnic Grounds

(In later years the Picnic Grounds were made into a Caravan Park)

The Gorge Kiosk and Picnic Grounds have been popular with tourists and locals since established in 1924.
Lewis Fisher, opened the kiosk in 1924 and the following article appeared in the The News (Adelaide, SA), Friday 28 November 1924, page 11.

Recreation Reserve Popular
One of the ambitions of Mr. L. Fisher, owner of the Gorge Road Kiosk and recreation reserve, is to make the place one of the finest picnic grounds in the State. He has already done much toward that end, and his efforts are being recognised by the motoring public.
Mr. Fisher has performed an excellent service to the community by preserving, for the benefit of the people, the whole of the 10 acres of land which he owns at the Gorge road, near the Cudlee Creek bridge, about 16 miles from Adelaide. The task he has set himself will be expensive, but he is determined to see it tough.
The Gorge road, which was recently, completed by the Government, has already achieved fame in all parts of the Commonwealth for its scenic beauty hundreds of interstate visitors have expressed the opinion that the beauty of the drive along that road is equal to any motor drive in any part of the Commonwealth. Varied mountainous scenery, overhanging moss-covered rocks, and wooded slopes provide a glorious picture for the whole of the drive.
The property owned by Mr. Fisher is the only place available for picnics and recreation, and it is the owner's intention to develop it in the best possible manner. Already he has done much. A fine kiosk measuring 42 ft. by 24 ft. with verandah all round has been erected, and is becoming a popular meeting place for motoring parties. Mr. Fisher intends to build other shade tables on the reserve, and to lay down tennis courts and a cricket pitch for the benefit of visitors. Special parking space will be set aside to accommodate more than 500 cars.
The picnic ground is situated in a beautiful spot. On tee sides the Torrens flows with the hills for a back ground and the Gorge Road provides the frontage.
Mr. Fisher says that he has received so many requests from city business people to convert the place into a residential resort that he intends to build small bungalows for people who desire to spend the week-end there."

Gorge Kiosk
Gorge Kiosk and Picnic Grounds, Gorge Road, Cudlee Creek, SA.
Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1935

Gorge Kiosk

Gorge Kiosk and Picnic Grounds, Gorge Road, Cudlee Creek, SA.
Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1940

Gorge Kiosk
Gorge Kiosk, Gorge Road, Cudlee Creek, SA (1937).
Photo slsa B 23802 Circa 1937

Gorge Swimming Pool

Gorge Kiosk, Swimming Pool

The Swimming Pool was opened by the Premier (T. Playford) December 1939.
The photo on the left is the approximate location of where the pool was built..
Photo Doug Tilley Circa Late 1950's
(The swimming pool was destroyed by floods in 1992 and was not rebuilt.)

Kangaroo Creek Dam

The Kangaroo Creek Dam was first proposed in 1916

(Advertiser, Friday 21 July 1916, page 6)
This morning the Commissioner of Public Works (Hon. H. Jackson) will make an inspection of the route of the new road from the Torrens Gorge to Chain of Ponds, in view of a diversion proposed by Mr. Stevens, the Engineer for Roads and Bridges, to provide for a water conservation scheme being carried out without involving a deviation of the costly road.
Since the road was put in hand, about a year ago, it has been proposed to construct a dam across the Torrens, about four miles above the Gorge Weir, to regulate the flow of water thence to the place where it empties itself on the flat country and finally enters the Port River.
It is claimed by the authorities that if a large weir were built at the spot indicated, known as Kangaroo Creek Junction, it would hold back a great deal of flood waters which could in the summer be released into the watercourse as desired, so that the gardeners and orchardists between the hills and the city would have supplies to pump from the river. At comparatively little expense the work could be carried out, and in addition to acting as a reserve reservoir for drawing on in times of scarcity the engineers say it would have the effect of preventing the flooding of land near the mouth of the river, which is gradually becoming thickly populated.

(Advertiser, Thursday 3 February 1916, page 6)
... Now, however, there is a proposal to construct another weir in the Torrens Gorge, for the benefit of gardeners on the high and low levels of the river. This weir would raise the surface of the water about 100 ft., and if it is built the road will have to be regraded and taken up another 100 ft. in that part. ...

However this weir was never constructed despite the Gorge Road plan being realigned to allow for it. The Gorge Road construction began in 1912 - 1914 when the section from the Gorge Weir (near Athelstone) to Castambul was completed, however the section Castambul to the Gumeracha Bridge was not completed until 1924.

In 1962 a submission was made to the Public Works Committee for a much larger dam (Capacity: 24,400 megalitres) to be built at Kangaroo Creek which required a deviation of the Gorge Road to be built and the construction of two new bridges (Playford Bridge near Castambul and the New Prairie Bridge near Torrens Hill).
Construction of the Kangaroo Creek dam began in 1966 and was completed in 1969. The Reservoir is a 24,400 megalitre artificial water storage facility in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia. It was built by damming the River Torrens west of Cudlee Creek, near its junction with Kangaroo Creek (hence its name) .
The dam consists of a 131m long, 65m high concrete clad, rock filled dam wall and the stored water is used to maintain the Hope Valley Reservoir's level by discharging water into the River Torrens, which then flows into Hope Valley Reservoir via a pipeline beginning at the Gorge weir, Athelstone.
The water level of Kangaroo Creek Dam can be topped up by water from the River Murray which is discharged from the Millbrook Reservoir into the River Torrens at Cudlee Creek.
The Kangaroo Creek reservoir was opened by The Hon. R. Steel Hall, M.P., Premier of South Australia, on Friday 5th December 1969.

In 1982, following the River Torrens Flood Mitigation Study (EWS, 1980) report the dam wall and spillway were modified to pass a flood with a return period of 50,000 years. The modifications involved raising the height of the dam and the top of the spillway by 2.75 metres and inserting into the wall of the spillway two outlet ducts each 4 metres wide by 3 metres high.
Although the height of the dam and spillway were raised, the ducts give a lower overflow level, and storage of the reservoir was reduced from 24,400 Ml to 19,160 Ml and the overflow frequency increased.

The purpose of Kangaroo Creek reservoir was to increase the storage capacity for River Torrens from 4,500 million gallons to approx. 10,500 million gallons. The reservoir area controls 112 sq miles of the River Torrens catchment (which also feeds the Millbrook Reservoir) and the area of water spread equals 103 hectares.

The Kangaroo Creek Dam submerged 3 Bridges on the old Gorge Road,:-
Batchelor's Bridge (located just behind the dam wall),
Crouch's Bridge (located further east, between the dam wall and Torrens Hill),
and Prairie Bridge (located still further east, just below Torrens Hill).

Batchelor's Bridge exposed 1994.
(Photo The Mount Barker Courier c. 1994)

Crouch's Bridge is occasionally exposed
during low water levels in the Kangaroo Creek Dam.
(Photo Dave TTG c. 2016)

Batchelor's Bridge exposed.

(Photo Wardy 17/03/2018)

The Old Prairie Bridge was seldom submerged,
but was destroyed by floods during the 1990's.
(Photo Dave Scylla Circa 2016)

Batchelors Bridge and the Kangaroo Creek Dam wall,
exposed during the dam upgrade, June 2018.
(Photo SA Water Circa 2018)

The following article is an extract from the TORRENS VALLEY HISTORICAL JOURNAL
No. 37 December 1990

"Gumeracha District—A Vital Link in the Metropolitan Adelaide Water Supply"

Kangaroo Creek Dam

The most recent development in the scheme was the construction of Kangaroo Creek Dam. Following a series of floods which resulted in considerable property damage, public demands for remedial action became ever stronger. In 1925 [This proposal was actually made in 1916], the then Engineer-in-Chief proposed flood mitigation works on the River Torrens which included a regulating dam to be located either two miles below Birdwood or at Kangaroo Creekl. The former site proved to be too far upstream to command a large enough catchment and so the Kangaroo Creek site became the final choice, although matters did not proceed at that time.
With a growing demand for water in the mid 1950's, the proposal was again put forward and in 1962 a submission was made to the Public Works Committee to construct the dam. Initially a concrete arch dam was proposed for the site but after further study of the abutment geology, this was abandoned in favour of a rock-fill dam2.
Work on the diversion tunnel was started in August 1966. Work on the dam proper commenced in January 1968 and was completed in October, 1969. The reservoir began to fill in September 1969 and the dam was officially opened on the 5th December, 1969 by the Premier of South Australia, the Honourable R. Steele Hall3. Originally, the dam was designed to withstand floods with a return period of 10,000 years. Further analysis of flood frequency, carried out as part of the River Torrens Flood Mitigation Study (EWS, 1980) revealed that the dam would only withstand a flood with a return period of 500 years. The study recommended that the dam and spillway be modified to pass a flood with a return period of 50,000 years4. The modifications involved raising the crest of the dam and the top of the spillway by 2.75 metres and inserting into the wall of the spillway two outlet ducts, 4 metres wide by 3 metres high. Although the height of the dam and spillway was raised, the ducts give a lower overflow level than previously. Full supply storage of the reservoir will thus be reduced from 24,400 Ml to 19,160 Ml r I overflow frequency will be increased slightly from the previous 2.5 years5.

1 Smith, C.L. and Twidale, C.R., An Historical Account of Flooding and Related Events in the Torrens River System, Vol.3.
2 EWS, Kangaroo Creek Dam—Historical Account of Construction and Operations.
3 Ibid.
4 EWS 1981, River Torrens Flood Mitigation Study Technical Report No. 4—Probable Maximum Torrens Valley Historical Journal - Number 36 21
5 Department of Environment and Planning 1981, Assessment of the Environmental Impact of the River Torrens Flood Mitigation Study Proposed by the S.A. Engineering and Water Supply Department.

Kangaroo Creek Dam Upgrade

SA Water is currently (2015/2018) upgrading Kangaroo Creek Dam further.
The latest upgrade will ensure the dam complies with ANCOLD (Australian National Committee on Large Dams) standards.
Artist's impression of Kangaroo Creek Upgrade
Construction began in late 2015, and completion is expected by September 2018.
The work will widen the spillway raise the wall and strengthen the wall and the upgrades will help manage major floods and increase the dam's ability to withstand earthquakes but will not increase the dam’s capacity, as the spillway height will be unchanged.
The dam's existing flood management will be operational throughout the project.

For more details visit -
SA Water Web Site - 2016

Contractor Bardavcol Pty Ltd
Contract Value $78,513,994
Completion Date September 2018
Project Description
Major safety upgrade to the existing concrete lined rock fill dam to meet ANCOLD requirements
Excavation of 300,000m3 of rock to widen the spillway by up to 40m
Extension of the outlet tunnel and pipe work by approximately 50m
Buttressing of the existing rock fill embankment (200,000m3)
Raising of the embankment crest including extension of the concrete face slab using slip form techniques
Significant concrete works (32,000m3) to line the spillway including temperature sensitive mass pours and ogee crest construction
Construction of post tensioned anchors to the existing ogee crest
Electrical, SCADA and security works

On March 15th 2018 SA Water posted on FaceBook

"As part of a major safety upgrade at the Kangaroo Creek Dam in the Adelaide Hills, we've gradually been lowering the dam's water level.
It's currently at around two per cent of capacity and you can just start to see the top of the usually underwater Batchelor's Bridge. The bridge was built in the 1920s before the dam was constructed.
We expect to completely empty the dam by the end of this month, so our contractor can begin work on a 10,500 square metre concrete slab on the upstream face of the embankment.
Work on this overall project began in early 2016 and is expected to be complete in late 2019."

Batchelor's Bridge Partly exposed
(Photo - SA Water - March 2018)

Photos of the progress.

Kangaroo Creek Dam 2016

Kangaroo Creek Dam - 2nd September 2016
The hillside west of the dam wall being cut way to widen the spillway.

(Photo (©) - Peg & Bill Chartres' collection - circa 2016)

Kangaroo Creek Dam - September 2016
Excavation under way to remove 300,000m3 of rock
to widen the spillway by up to 40m
(Photo (©) - Peg & Bill Chartres' collection - circa 2016)

Kangaroo Creek Dam - 20th March 2018
Working on the widening of the spillway.
(Photo (©) - Peg & Bill Chartres' collection - circa 2018)

Kangaroo Creek Dam - 20th May 2018

Working on the widening of the spillway.

(Photo (©) - Peg & Bill Chartres' collection - circa 2018)

Kangaroo Creek Dam - 20th May 2018, Batchelor's Bridge exposed.
(Photo (©) - Peg & Bill Chartres' collection - circa 2018)

The Gorge Road Today

On July 11th 2017 Weekend Notes published an article on the Gorge Road as it is today (2017)
by Michael Genrich.
View his article Here. Gorge Road article Then click back in your browser to return to this page.

Photo - Cudlee Creek scene
A Cudlee Creek Scene 2016
This is the Hannaford property, the last of the original settler's properties that is still actively managed by the original settlers descendant’s.
It is located on the Lobethal Road just up from the junction with the Gorge Road.

(Photo (©) - Peg & Bill Chartres' collection - circa 2016)

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Our original site was created in March 1988, and we moved to our own Domain in November 2014
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Last updated 17th February 2019 11:00 AM
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