Millbrook School, Cudlee Creek, SA, Australia.

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please be patient, thanks, Peg & Bill.

All photos © Bill Chartres unless otherwise acknowledged.



Millbrook School students with their teacher Mr J.H. Risley
(Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection)

Prior to the establishment of the Millbrook School in 1879, the people of the Cudlee Creek District (Millbrook, Chain of Ponds and Cudlee Creek) had been campaigning for an official school in the area. There had been unofficial schools established at Millbrook, Chain of Ponds and Cudlee Creek, but these could not cater for the total needs of the district. There was some rivalry between the three townships as to where a new school should be built, as the Education Department did not support schools being located within four miles (6.5km) of each other.
A public meeting was held at the Millbrook Hotel in September 1876 to recommend to the Education Department a suitable central location for a school to serve the area.


A meeting was held on Saturday evening, September 2, at the Millbrook Hotel, Millbrook, to consider the advisability of urging on the Council of Education the necessity of erecting a schoolroom and master's residence in a central position, Torren's Hill, section No. 6133. [This is the site on Sunning Hill Road where the school was eventually built] There were between 40 and 50 persons present.
Mr. John Tippett was voted to the chair. The Chairman said twelve months ago the Council of Education had recommended, in a report to the House of Assembly that a school should be erected at Millbrook, but since then nothing had been done. About this time a meeting was held at the Morning Star, at which Mr. Hannaford, M.P., and Mr. Mooregreen, teacher of Cudlee Creek School, were present. The latter gentleman drew attention to the regulation of the council, which provided that, except in special cases, two schools should not be erected within four miles of each other. These gentlemen suggested that a plan of the district should be prepared showing the proposed site, and the residences of the children who would attend. A committee was then formed to do this; and all their efforts were concentrated on getting one central school, as it was thought that the regulation referred to would prevent two schools being built in the neighbourhood. A deputation waited on the Council of Education [12thJune 1876] and on the Minister of Education, and were told that an official party would visit Millbrook and view the sites mentioned, and that the deputation would receive timely notice of their coming. He (the chairman) was sorry to say that the Minister and the President of the Council of Education, did come, for not one single member of the deputation was aware of their visit until just before they left; and thus the deputation had had no opportunity of pointing out what they considered requisite. The committee then found that in the meantime active steps had been taken to secure the erection of school premises at Cudlee Creek. Hence this meeting had been called to express an opinion as to the best and most central site, for the committee felt sure that if a school were erected at Cudlee Creek there would never be one at Millbrook. He referred to the fact that Mrs. and Miss Adey had been teaching the school at Millbrook for the past 22 years, but they had accommodation for only 30 children, and there were between 50 and 60 children on the west side alone who should be attending school. Hence there was a great necessity for new premises. He read a letter from the Minister of Education, wishing to be excused on account of having only just then returned from his northern journey, and stating that full consideration would be given to the claims of Millbrook, though it must be remembered that there were many other places in need of school accommodation. Mr. Mooregreen also wrote, asking to be excused on account of having taken charge of the correspondence relating to getting a school built at Cudlee Creek.
Mr. Oliver Philp proposed the first resolution.
"ln consequence of there being a large number of children of a school-going age in the neighbourhood who could attend school on this proposed site (Torrens Hill), this meeting considers it absolutely necessary that a schoolroom and master's residence should be erected at once,"
He thought that the older districts of the colony had as much claim for schoolhouses as the younger, and that as they had no school accommodation, a portion of the education grant should be spent in the neighbourhood. They advocated a central position for the new school. They did not want to favour any place, they did not care where it was so long as it would serve the interests of the people at Millbrook, Chain of Ponds, Prairie, Cudlee Creek, and Holland's, Creek. And they believed that this site on Torren's Hill would be convenient to all. Indeed, the Millbrook and Morning Star [Chain of Ponds] people were putting themselves to inconvenience that they might secure one good central school with a good master. He did not know why Mr. Hannaford was using his influence in favour of a Cudlee Creek school, for that gentleman knew that the Council would not build two schools, though he told them they would. Mr. Hannaford had bought an old road from the Government for five shillings, and now he proposed that this Cudlee Creek school should be built on this five shilling's worth of land. (Laughter.) It was reported that Mr. Hanna ford had premised £20, towards a school, if built there, and he supposed he would charge the Council £20 for the site the old road. (Renewed laughter.) The site they proposed was offered gratuitously by Mr. John Tippett, and was not an old road, but a fine property of two acres. (Cheers) These Cudlee Creek people, who had been so active in trying to get the school there, had money, but no children of a school-going age. (Hear, hear.) Mr. Ward said in his letter that the Government were short of funds, but he (the speaker) would tell them how £700 or £800 could be saved, and that was by building one good central school instead of two in the extremities of the district, (Cheers.) He wished to say that there were a great many more who had children to send who had not had an opportunity of signing the memorial. Mr. Flinn seconded.
Mr. Keleher proposed an amendment.
"That the council be asked to erect a school on the site of the present building.
He said the majority of children resided at Millbrook (Loud cries of "No.") Some would have to travel five miles to the site suggested in the proposition. ("No, no.") Mr. Sutherland would like to know how many children. Mr. Keleher had between the ages of 5 and 13 years. (Laughter.) Mr. Keleher said he had property in the district. Mr. Oliver Philp said if Mr. Keleher thought a schoolroom was to be erected to increase the value of his property he was very much mistaken. (Cheers.) The amendment not being seconded, the motion was carried, only one dissenting.
Mr. W. Scott, chairman of the district council, proposed.
" That this meeting pledge themselves to support the erection of a public school and master's residence on Torrens Hill"
He thought the site an admirable one, for it would suit all the neighbourhood, and would not clash with the schools at Houghton, Kersbrook, and Gumeracha. He was surprised that Mr. Hannaford should have done so much against them. (Cheers.) Mr. A. Bethune seconded. The site they proposed would suit Cudlee Creek as well as themselves. (Hear, hear.) He was sure two schools could not be supported, for they had had no less than eight teachers at Cudlee Creek in the last 18 years. Besides, the site proposed by Mr. Hannaford would not suit the Cudlee Creek people. (Hear, hear.) The motion was unanimously carried.
Mr. W. Caust proposed.
" That this meeting form themselves into a deputation to wait upon the Council of Education on Monday, September 4, to urge upon them the desirability of immediate action being taken to erect a school-room and a residence on the site advocated by this meeting."
The site they advocated was not the best for them, but as they believed only one school would be erected in that neighbourhood they were anxious to have it in a central position, so that all might participate in the benefits. The Cudlee Creek people had told him that they would rather support the site at Torrens Hill [actually the site where the school was built] than the one Mr. Hannaford proposed. There were not 10 children within a mile of the site at Cudlee Creek, hence they should oppose its adoption. (Cheers.) Mr. Houghlahan seconded. Carried unanimously.
The Chairman said he would take that opportunity of contradicting a rumour which, he believed, Mr. Hannaford had floated, that he had given the land so that the school might be close to his property. It was no such thing, for it would be a positive loss to him. (Hear, hear.) But he had done what he had rather than see the school put in a position which was not central. He had been round to the parents, and though he had not seen all, yet there were signatures promising the attendance of 97 children if the school were erected on Torrens Hill. (Cheers.)
Votes of thanks were passed to the committee, to the chairman, to Mr. Scott for his attendance, and to the proprietors of the, Advertiser for sending a reporter, and the meeting then closed.

(1876, September 4). The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 - 1889), p. 6.
Retrieved April 13, 2016,from

The Education Department finally agreed to the site suggested and the Millbrook Primary School and teachers residence was built in 1878 with the first students attending at the begining of the 1879 school year, with Mr. John H. Risley the Head Teacher.
(It is interesting to note that the school was built to accommodate 85 students but in its first year it had 105 students, and only one teacher!)

In 1979 Millbrook School celebrated its centenary years and we (Peg & Bill Chartres) prepared a "Historic Display", for the occasion which was housed in the main school room.

Much of the information on this page is a result of that work.

CPart of the Millbrook School Centenary Historic Display,
set up by Peg & Bill Chartres
Photo Peg & Bill's collection - Circa 1979

Mr B. Cullen (Centre), Head Teacher, (Mr. Caust standing behind him)
addressing the crowd prior to the unveiling of the Teachers Memorial Stone.
Millbrook School Centenary 1979.

Photo Peg & Bill's collection - Circa 1979 /tr>

Millbrook School, as we knew it, was opened in 1897, with John H. Risley as teacher and 105 pupils (despite having 105 enrolments the average attendance was much, much, lower as "...they [the students] were wanted for work at home".
The first day attendance was only 26 pupils, however the the first inspectors report, in September 1879, states 74 students in attendance.

However there had been other schools at Millbrook earlier;
The following was obtained from The Education Department records and forwarded to Peg and Bill by Mr W.J. Adey in 1979.

"A school at Millbrook seems to have been opened in 1868, with Eleanor Drake as teacher, and 26 children on the roll.
In 1867 a school had been opened at Chain of Ponds, with Eleanor Adey as teacher.
This school was not mentioned in the 1868 list; it seems possible that the Chain of Ponds School was transferred to Millbrook, and, perhaps,
Eleanor Drake was the married name of Eleanor Adey.

Millbrook School closed in 1869 and reopened in 1870 with Agnes Mary Adey as teacher, and 36 pupils attending during the year.
The school was conducted for some years in a “non-vested” building, but in 1878 an official building was erected to accommodate 80 children (althought the school was built to accomadate 80 students there were 105 pupils registered in the first year (1879), with a teacher’s residence at a cost of £977-10-0 (Erection of school £958 [$1916] , fencing £19-10-0 [$39]).

In 1879 John H. Risley was appointed teacher and the number of pupils instructed was 105.
Mr Risley was succeeded in 1894 by Mrs Mary Belcher, who conducted the school until 1912 when John F. Davis was appointed."

[An article in the Journal, Saturday August 24th 1918, about "The passing of the township of Millbrook" states:

"...Another place that has been demolished is the old private school of Mrs. Adey.
When Mrs. Adey gave up teaching her sister [-in-law], Miss Agnes Adey, conducted the establishment until
the new public school was opened with Mr. Risley as head master."

It is interesting to note that the school was built to accommodate 85 students but in its first year it had 105 students, and only one teacher!

There is also evidence that other non-vested buildings in the district were previously used as schools, including the houses of Mr Robinson and Mr Tippet (who donated the land on which Millbrook School was built),and another on Mr George Newman's land where John H. Risley is reputed to have taught before he was appointed to Millbrook.

During our research into the schools history we discovered many old records, that had been long forgotten, stored below the main school building, unfortunately these records were all destroyed when the school was burned down in the Ash Wednesday Bush Fire (16th February 1983).

These records gave an understanding of the school in its early years, and were of interest to those who attended the Centenary Celebrations.

After serving the local community for 131 years Millbrook Primary School closed in 2010, and a plaque to commemorate the school was erected in the grounds of the Cudlee Creek S. M. Hall, about 1km away.

The plaque reads;

Although the school was built in 1878 the first students attended in 1879


They Sowed the Seeds
Being a Historical Glimpse of Cudlee Creek and District 1840-1947

(page 50)


Near the banks of the River Torrens, on the property of Mr. F. W. Tippett, (This property later belonged to George Newman) stands an old chimney—all that remains of Cudlee Creek's earliest school.

In the early days of the colony the site of the ruin was the home of a Mr. Hutchinson (Mrs. Alfred Hoad was a daughter), who used portion of it as a school.
In those days the building was in the centre of an area which was being intensively searched for copper. Two old copper mine shafts may still be seen on the hillsides from the site.


Millbrook School was attended by many of Cudlee Creek's pioneers. Built in 1879, its first teacher was Mr. J. H. Risely, and its scholars gained distinction in many walks of life. One of the best known of these is Mr. W. J. Adey, who was Director of Education for many years. Mr. H. B. Tippett, who was head auctioneer for Dalgety & Co. for half a century, was also educated there. Scores of others passed through its doors; their achievements have been recorded in another part of this book. Among the teachers who followed J. H. Risely were Mary Belcher, 1895-1917; John F.Davis, 1912-1917; G. W. Bradley, 1917-1918; and H. J. Wilton Chick, 1918.

Early photos of Millbrook School

Millbrook School students
with Mr J.H. Risley

(Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1879-1894)

Mr John H. Risley Head Teacher
Millbrook Public School 1879-1894

Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1880's

Millbrook School students
with Mrs Mary Belcher (Centre of photo in black hat)
Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1895-1912

Millbrook School Students 1914
Class of Mr John F Davis
Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1914

Mrs Mary Belcher's
Form of Appointment as Millbrook Head Teacher 1894
Source Peg & Bill Chartres' collection

Millbrook School Students 1922
with Mr Herbert Clapton
Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1922

In later years the parents were much more involved in the running of the school.

The Millbrook School Centenary 1879-1979 booklet stated;

"Through the war years to 1946 Leslie E.Ashenden was at the helm...
It seems that Millbrook had a dedicated teacher in Ashenden who realised there was much to be learnt outside the classroom.
It was during his period that first mention is made of excursions, physical education programs parent involvement, picnics and concerts as well as the patriotic fervor in working for funds to help the war effort.
Ashenden's work pleased the inspectors as borne out by the inspector's note in 1946 that "Millbrook is a diligent and happy school.""

Millbrook School students
(Teacher Mr L E Ashenden)

Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1940-1946

Teacher L E Ashenden
with students on an excursion to exposed Sunning Hill Bridge 19-4-1945

Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1945

Millbrook School students
(Teacher Mr L E Ashenden)

Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1940-1946

Back to Millbrook 1958

Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1958

Parents involved in the construction of the Tennis Courts
Left is Bill Menz, Peg Chartres' Grandfather(others unkown)

Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1942

Millbrook School showing stone to be used for the construction
of the retaining walls for the new tennis courts.

Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1942


4th October 1958

A "Back to Millbrook" fete was held on 4th October 1958
It was estimated that about 600 people attended, including old scholars, teachers and friends.

Back to Millbrook 1958
Peggy Menz on the steps (RHS)

Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1979

School friends, 1958...

Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1979 play.

Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1979

Back to Millbrook 1958

Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1958


"100 years on the hill"

Millbrook School – The past 100 years

(page 3)

“Millbrook and Chain of Ponds may be described as hamlets through which a constant stream of traffic is passing up and down.
They are halting places on the great north eastern highway of trade between Mannum and Adelaide.
They are convenient places for hotels, stores, post offices churches and schools and, in certain cases, are the headquarters of social organisations”.

So said the 1909 second volume of the Cyclopaedia of South Australia in its look at the townships and villages of the Adelaide Hills.

It was to small towns such as these that people came as South Australia's population ventured beyond the villages of Millbrook and Chain of Ponds.
As Adelaide grew this capital city of the driest state in the world's driest country needed water. The valley where Millbrook nestled was an ideal catchment so the decision was made - a reservoir would be built and Millbrook would be drowned. But its name would live on as Millbrook Reservoir. For Chain of Ponds the end would come more than 50 years later when, in the 1970s, the township would be dismantled to stop pollution of the reservoir. As Millbrook died for a key word of the early 20th century - progress -Chain of Ponds died for another key word of the mid-20th century - pollution. It's a lesson man has learned this century. That progress and pollution walk hand in hand.
But high on a hill above this reservoir is a seat of all learning where knowledge has been passed on generation by generation for another century. It’s the Millbrook School, 1879 - 1979. When the village drowned the school lived on. From an uncertain beginning, through big classes and small, wars and peace, apathy and enthusiasm and continuous stern, stern remarks of Education inspectors to hardworking and conscientious teachers the gift of education was passed down the years.

(page 10)

How it all began

It's certain that the present Millbrook school was opened in January 1879 with the first day attendance of 26 pupils. By the time of the first inspector's visit in September the number had risen to 74.
What's not known are the full details of how and when and where the children were taught before this school opened. And part of this mystery is the identity of a teacher who taught in the area in 1875 The only clue to his existence is a broken headstone in the Chain of Ponds cemetery which reads:

...... Hutchings
Schoolmaster of this village
died suddenly December 6th, 1875

His Christian name and age have been weather worn away. All that is known about him is that which appears on his tombstone. Not even the Education Department knows because their records note "the name of the teacher for the Millbrook School in 1875 is unknown", Before this Millbrook School was opened there had been other schools in the district but none had the official title of "Millbrook." According to local identities there was no Chain of Ponds school, but the Education Department records show that there was a Chain of Ponds school in 1867 with Eleanor Adey as teacher. The school had an average attendance of 22 children. In 1868, the Millbrook School appears in the records, also with an average attendance of 22 under the leadership of Eleanor Drake. It seems likely that the Chain of Ponds School was transferred to Millbrook, and perhaps Eleanor Drake was the married name of Eleanor Adey. The school was closed in 1869 and re-opened in 1870 with Agnes Mary Adey in charge. She retained this position until the end of 1878. The Adey family conducted schools in the Chain of Ponds -Millbrook district for twelve years before the opening of the present school.

(page 22)

Millbrook boys head the way

From a pupil at a small hills school to Head Master of Adelaide High School.
That's been the achievement of two former Millbrook boys.
They are Mr. William James Adey who became the first Head Master at Adelaide High in 1908 and Mr. Wybert M.C. Symonds who had the position during the 1950s and early 60s. Adelaide High has had only six Head Masters and for two of them to have come from Millbrook is a proud record.

WILLIAM JAMES ADEY attended the Millbrook School from 1884 until 1886 having transferred from Redhill. He became the first Head Master of Adelaide High School in 1908 having spent 1907 attending Melbourne Training College studying post primary education. He filled the dual role of Head Master of Adelaide High School and Inspector of Secondary Schools from 1916.
In 1920 he became Superintendent of Secondary Education and in 1929 was made Director of Education, a position he held until his retirement in 1939.

WYBERT M.C. SYMONDS attended the Millbrook School from 1904 until 1911.
During 1913 he was a monitor here when Mr. John F. Davis was Head Teacher.
He began his secondary studies at Adelaide Boys’ High School in 1914.
Later he returned there as an assistant teacher and finally became Head Master from 1954until his retirement in I962.

Mr. Symonds, because of family interests in Chain of Ponds, has maintained an active interest in the Millbrook School.
The Symonds-Caust families are responsible for the erection of a memorial stone, in memory of Millbrook's early teachers, unveiled during the centenary celebrations.

[Mr. Symonds was the Head Master of Adelaide Boys High in 1958 when I did my Leaving Honours (Year 12).]

Sixth generation Millbrook School students Nick (Left) & Wayne (Right) Chartres
with Baden Cullen (Head Master)

Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1979

Caption of the photo
from The Courier Wednesday, 17th October 1979

Tuning in to the old days! Former pupils Les Redden (80), left, of Cudlee Creek and Tom lambert (76) of Tea Tree Gully remembered the old days when they first listened to instruments like this old Edison. Current pupils Graham Chartres (6) at right, and Shirley Scott (11) didn't know the first thing about the old Edison, but Fred Lambert (82) of Gumeracha was at hand to give them a little advice. Tom and Fred are brothers and their father, William Henry Lambert, was one of the first day pupils in 1879. Young Shirley is the fourth generation of reddens to attend the school and Graham the fifth generation of the Banks Family. His great, great grandfather [Cain Thomas Banks] was another was another first day pupil.

Photo "The Courier" Circa 1979

Nick and Wayne Chartres presented baskets of fruit, donated by Bill & Peg Chartres, to Mr Symons and Mr Caust.

Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1979

Photos of the School Centenary 1979

WC Newman's truck for the Centenary parade.

Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1979

Nick, Wayne, Graham and Jason Chartres dressed up
as a teacher and students ready for the Centenary parade.

Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1979

Chartres & Eitzen Pty Ltd truck set up as a school room for the Centenary parade.
Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1979

Millbrook School Centenary 1979
Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1979

Millbrook Centenary year students with Mr. Cullen
Source Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1979

Millbrook School Centenary 1979
Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1979

Millbrook School Centenary - Historic Display - 1979.

Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1979

Historic Display - Mr. JH Risley.
Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1979

Millbrook School Centenary - Historic Display - 1979

Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1979

Bill Chartres, Keith Menz and

Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1979

Bill Chartres (left) and Bruce Newman (right) (School Chairman)(on steps)

Source Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1979

Jason Chartres sitting on the same school steps as his mother (Peggy Menz)
had done so many years before,
(after being sent outside for talking!)

Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1979

Millbrook School Centenary - Former students at play!.

Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1979

Millbrook School Centenary 1979

collection Circa 1979

Millbrook School Centenary 1979

Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1979

Baden (Centre) & Helen (Left>) Cullen with

Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1979

Bruce Newman (School Chairman) and Mr. Caust placing the time capsule

Source Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1979

The Symonds-Caust Families Memorial Stone
erected in memory of Millbrook Schools early teachers.

Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1979

Peg Chartres with son, Jason

Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1979

Wayne Chartres, Peg Chartres, Keith Menz (no head)and Jason Chartres
with the Teachers Memorial Stone.

Source Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1979

Nick Chartres (Centre Right), Wayne Chartres (sitting), Graham Chartres (Front Right).

Photo Peg & Bill Chartres' collection Circa 1979

The Millbrook District and surrounding towns has always been considered a beautiful area for both tourists and locals; after the Millbrook Reservoir was constructed this aricle appeared in The Mount Barker Courier and Onkaparinga and Gumeracha Advertiser.


Amongst the many beautiful and enjoyable drives in the hills there are few, if any, that can compare with the trip from Tweedvale through Cudlee Creek, round the Millbrook Reservoir, and back again via Gumeracha and Birdwood. The "beautiful" is provided by the magnificent scenery of hill and valley through which one passes, and the enjoyable aspects of the outing, of course, depends largely upon the temperament and good fellowship of those making the trip. A few days ago a small party of "jolly good sports" at Tweedvale invited the writer to join them in a motor car trip to the Millbrook Reservoir, and, like they do everything at the happy, pull-together little township of Tweedvale, the outing in question was carried out in an admirable manner, in fact, in the language of the times, it can be described as "some trip" -genial companionship, a good car, good roads, and the other "necessaries" conducive to a pleasant tour of this description. The party comprised the popular landlord of the Alma Hotel, Tweedvale (Mr. J. M McKay), his genial predecessor at the Alma (Mr. H. Thiele). Messrs. Otto H. Kleinschmidt, L. Minogue, Chas. Meyer, and the writer – verily a gathering of scribes and Pharisees, and publicans, and - no, not a sinner amongst them, not even the thirsty young man who was heard to call for a corkscrew at the first stop! Ah! Larry, thou art truly an ideal campaigner on occasions like this, well versed in the ethics of hospitality, and a wonderful judge of human nature, for one of thy tender years.
Friend Thiele's fine car was at the door at. 10 a.m. - on time, as usual with himself at the wheel, a sure guarantee that neither corkscrews nor any "instrument of evil" would tempt us from the broad highway of safe and successful motor travelling to the narrow, winding path that so oft leads to destruction -of motor cars, at any rate. When the 43 stone odd of the three "heavyweights" had been wedged in the back seat, and the more, genteel figures of the other two accommodated alongside our "chauffeur,"' a course was steered for the reservoir, the journey being along the Cudlee Creek road, with its boundary on either side of picturesque hills, and its miles of orchards, the beautiful tints of the autumn leaves lending an enchantment to the scene. The gullies and hill sides all denoted, the thrift and foresight of those who had settled in this fertile district in the early days, and had "made good".
A halt was called on arrival at the road leading down to the Millbrook Reservoir, South Australia's greatest achievement in the matter of water storage, and after the bag containing the "lubricating oil" had been produced, and the party had duly "lubricated," they set off to walk to the weir. From the top of the latter a splendid view of the vast expanse of water is obtained, and the weir itself is well worth visiting, the quantity of material used and the labour involved in its construction being an eye-opener to the visitors. The immense tower of reinforced concrete is another of the big and expensive works in connection with this important water storage scheme. The water stretches back for three miles from the weir to the Adelaide road, two tunnels through the hills carrying a great volume of water into the inlet, in addition to that obtained from a natural catchment area. At the time of our visit the gauge at the tower showed a depth of 67 1/2 ft. of water, the reservoir having been lowered somewhat owing to supplying the Hope Valley storage reservoir recently. Returning to our car a pleasant run was made on the fine piece of road round the reservoir to its extreme end on the Adelaide road, and an ample opportunity was given of seeing the magnitude of the work and the cost involved in this great water supply scheme.
Turning for home we travelled through Chain of Ponds township and on through Gumeracha and Birdwood. A halt was called at the Torrens River weir- for water?- well, not exactly, the solicitude for the contents of the aforesaid bag on the part of the hospitable Larry and mine host of the Alma being primarily responsible for these casual stoppages by the wayside. A glance at our watches told it’s that we would need to hurry on now if we were going to be in time for the good dinner awaiting us at Mr. McKay's hotel, and no time was lost in reaching Tweedvale, one and all voting the outing a most pleasant and instructive one in every way. It has just struck the writer that if the people of Mount Barker who are fortunate enough to own motor cars were to organize motorists' picnic to the Millbrook Reservoir in the spring time, they would have a delightful time, and doubtless be induced to make it an annual outing.

('TRIP TO MILIBROOK RESERVOIR.', The Mount Barker Courier and Onkaparinga and Gumeracha Advertiser, 30 April, 1920, p. 2. ,

About Millbrook Township and Millbrook Reservoir Cudlee Creek, South Australia.

Millbrook Township, Millbrook Reservoir, Cudlee Creek, SA, Australia.

The District of Millbrook is located in the Adelaide Hills approximately 23kms from Adelaide, the capital of South Australia. Covering an area of about 12 square kilometres, it is bounded by, Inglewood in the west, Cudlee Creek in the south, Gumeracha in the east and Kersbrook to the north.
The Millbrook was settled in the early 1800's (it was originally known as Jollytown) and was home to a private primary school and hotel.
The township was later demolished to make way for the Millbrook Reservoir.
Buildings at this location included a small private school and the Millbrook Hotel which was a popular stopover for travelers.

Millbrook is now most renowned as the location of the Millbrook Reservoir, operated by the South Australian government as part of Adelaide's water supply, and today remains as a pumping station for the Kangaroo Creek reservoir.

The Millbrook Primary School (which was built on a hill above the township in 1878), was the only building not demolished to make way for the reservoir, but was destroyed during the Ash Wednesday fires in 1983.
New classrooms were subsequently built, but the school was closed in 2010.
The shell of the original building was later restored and is now a private residence.

Millbrook Hotel

The Parliamentary Party from the
Pastoral Lands Commission are in
the stagecoaches during a visit
to inspect the proposed site
for the Millbrook Reservoir.
The hotel was built by Richard
Jolly c 1856. Oliver Philp
(who married his neice Eleanor Jolly)
Took it over in 1856
The Hotel was later demolished
(along with the rest of the town)
to make way for the Millbrook
(Photo © Peg & Bill Chartres collection, slsa c1886)

school 1958
Millbrook School 1958

The Millbrook Primary School
and teachers residence was
built in 1878 with the first
students attending at the
beginning of the 1879 school
year, with Mr. John H. Risley
the Head Teacher.
Our sons (Peg & Bill Chartres),
Nick, Wayne and Graham,
were the fifth generation
of the Banks Family to attend
Millbrook School, their great,
great grandfather [Cain Thomas
, was a first day pupil
in 1878.
(Photo © Peg & Bill Chartres collection, C1958)

Millbrook Township

Millbrook Township (originally Jollytown)

The Millbrook Township was
completely demolished and the
landscape cleared for the
construction of the Millbrook
Reservoir Cudlee Creek, South
Australia, Australia.

(Photo © Peg & Bill Chartres collection, C1815)

Millbrook Reservoir

Millbrook Reservoir

Water flowing down the Chain of
Ponds Creek as the Millbrook
Reservoir begins to fill.
The reservoir embankment is
seen in the foreground.
(Photo © Peg & Bill Chartres collection, C1918)

Sunning Hill Bridge
Sunning Hill Bridge

Exposed during a drought 1934.
The bridge was formerly on the
main road to Millbrook before
the town site was submerged by
the Reservoir, and was only
seen during droughts.

(Photo © Peg & Bill Chartres collection, c1934)


The Advertiser, Thursday 13 July 1911, page 8
The members of the Royal Commission enquiring into the best means of supplying the Adelaide higher levels, with water, visited Millbrook on Wednesday morning to inspect the site of a reservoir from which it is suggested the Adelaide higher levels might be supplied. The members were accompanied by the Hydraulic Engineer. Mr. C. A. Bayer, who has recommended the adoption of the scheme at a cost of £3,000, £200.000 being for head works and £100 000 for steel and cast-iron mains. The proposal is to put a concrete dam across the Torrens north of the bridge near Chain of Ponds, and to take the water through a tunnel a mile long into a reservoir which would be formed on the Chain of Ponds and Millbrook Creeks, which in themselves drain 11 square miles of country as compared with 77 square miles which is the catchment area of the Torrens above Chain of Ponds. It is estimated that a dam 90 ft. high at a very suitable spot on the Millbrook Creek would impound 2.550.000,000 gallons, or nearly as much as the Happy Valley reservoir, which holds 2,949.500,000 gallons. From this reservoir it is proposed to have a main varying from 30 in to 18 in. in diameter following the valley of the Torrens to the weir and running past Athelstone. Magill, Burnside, and Mitcham, from which all the high level districts, except Belair and Blackwood, could be served, if necessary, water could be pumped to Belair from the end of-the 18in. main at Mitcham, but in this connection the Commission have under consideration a gravitation scheme which may suit the requirements of Belair and Blackwood The Commission propose at an early date to examine the Hydraulic Engineer and residents of the higher levels, and then to present reports to his excellency the Governor, dealing not only with the higher levels scheme, but with the question of supplying Eudunda and the Murray Flats.

The Millbrook Reservoir was constructed between January 1914 and 1918 and, when completed, doubled Adelaide's water storage.
The reservoir controlled the flows of the upper reaches of the River Torrens between Gumeracha and Kersbrook.
Central to the construction was a tunnel between the Gumeracha Weir in the River Torrens, and the Chain of Ponds Creek at Kersbrook, which was drilled through solid rock.
The reservoir was completed in July 1918.

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