Birdwood, South Australia
Origin of the name
Birdwood was originally named Blumberg, by Prussian settlers originating from the area around Zullichau. The original name’s origins are uncertain, but it is likely that it derives from Groß Blumberg, a village on the Oder River in the settler’s area of origin.
The German town name was anglicised to “Birdwood” during World War I, along with many others in the region in 1917. The new name honoured Sir William Birdwood, the Australian Imperial Force general who led the ANZACs at Gallipoli. Around the same time, the government closed the German-language school.
The first Europeans to explore the district were Dr. George Imlay and John Hill in January 1838. In 1839-40 the South Australian Company claimed several Special Surveys in the district which were later subdivided to allow for closer settlement. Migrants who had temporarily settled at Lobethal began looking for land of their own in 1848. Pastor Fritzsch recommended this spot beside the Torrens, where he camped on the way to Bethany. Birdwood grew with homes on land leased from George Fife Angas and a church some distance away. The town prospered by the 1850s, and the area was producing enough grain to justify the construction of the Blumberg Flour Mill (now the site of the motor museum). In 1865, during the local gold rush, the Blumberg Inn was built.
Birdwood sits on a crossroads between the Adelaide-Mannum Road, the road leading north towards Williamstown and the Barossa Valley, and the road leading south towards Lobethal, Hahndorf and the South Eastern Freeway.
Birdwood has a government-operated primary (opened 1878) and high school (opened 1909), small supermarket, a few delicatessens and antique shops and a petrol station. A number of churches have formed part of the history of the town, including the Roman Catholic Church near the sports grounds, the nearby Lutheran church and cemetery which is just beyond the town limits; the United Church in the centre of town, which united long before the Uniting Church formed, and the Seventh-day Adventist Church further along Shannon Street.
Birdwood is also home to the National Motor Museum (in what used to be the Old Mill), and is the endpoint of the annual Bay to Birdwood run , in which vintage motor vehicles are driven by their owners from Glenelg past the city and through the hills to finish at the museum where a festival is held. The museum was started by Jack Kaines and Len Vigar in 1964, and was purchased by the South Australian Government in 1976, holding a large and historically important collection of cars, motorcycles and commercial vehicles.
Just north of Birdwood is the Cromer Conservation Park, proclaimed in 1976, with an open-forest formation of long-leafed box with Pink Gum and an open woodland formation of Red Gum, which forms an important habitat for honeyeaters. Mining for yellow ochre occurred in the park during the 1800s. There are no formal walking trails or visitor facilities.
It is also home to Birdwood High School which has over 700 students and Birdwood Primary school with about 200 students.
Birdwood has a lot of through traffic, and a traffic calming device was installed at the Adelaide end of town to discourage speeding. A significant number of road accidents occur on the Adelaide-Mannum Road, and the sites of these are marked with red and black posts.
Birdwood once had a train station on the Mount Pleasant railway line at 44.13 miles (71 km) from Adelaide. The line came via Balhannah and was not a very direct route. The line was closed during one of the rail reformations as it was not a very profitable line, probably due to the more direct Adelaide–Mannum Road. The track is now long gone but the earthworks can still be seen along the edges of the Birdwood flat to Mount Torrens and towards Mount Pleasant. Also still standing is an old stone railway bridge near Mount Torrens. The line closed in 1953.
- “Search results for ‘Birdwood, LOCB’ with the following datasets selected – ‘Suburbs and localities’, ‘Counties’, ‘Local Government Areas’, ‘SA Government Regions’ and ‘Gazetteer‘“. Location SA Map Viewer. South Australian Government. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). “Birdwood (State Suburb)”. 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). “Birdwood (State Suburb)”. 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 1 June 2008.
- Adelaide Hills Council – Historical Town Information Accessed 29 November 2016.
- “CLOSING GERMAN SCHOOLS”. The Express And Telegraph. LIV, (16, 152). South Australia. 12 June 1917. p. 3 (SPECIAL WAR EDITION). Retrieved 22 July 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- Walkabout Birdwood Archived 25 February 2005 at the Wayback Machine
- Department of Environment and Heritage – Cromer Archived 1 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine
- Timetable Archived 26 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 2 January 2012
- See the National Rail Museum Archived 11 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine List of stations Archived 9 May 2005 at the Wayback Machine.
- Sallis, Roger (1998). Railways in the Adelaide Hills, 1st edition. Openbook Publishers, Adelaide. ISBN 0-646-35473-6.