The town of Clare is located in South Australia in the Mid North region, 136 km north of Adelaide. It gives its name to the Clare Valley wine and tourist region.[citation needed]

At the 2016 census, Clare itself had a population of 3160[1] as part of an urban area with 3327 people.[3]


Clare Girls Band 1914

The first European to explore the district was John Hill, who in April 1839 discovered and named the Wakefield River and Hutt River. In early 1840 the first European settlers arrived in the district, led by John Horrocks. The town itself was established in 1842 by Edward Burton Gleeson, and named after his ancestral home of County Clare in Ireland,[4] although the town was first named Inchiquin after Gleeson's property. Lake Inchiquin is now the name of a reservoir located to the north of the town, near the golf club. The layout of the town's road system was apparently designed by a draughtsman in Adelaide, without any knowledge of the local geography.[citation needed] There are several roads in Clare that end abruptly at a cliff face, only to continue again at the top of the cliff.

The District Council of Clare was established in 1853 and was joined in 1868 by a corporate municipality, the Corporation of Clare. The corporate town seceded from the district council to provide dedicated local government to the township but re-amalgamated with the district council in 1969.

A railway line was built from Riverton to Clare in 1918 and on to Spalding in 1922. It closed in 1984 and the tracks were removed in the following years after damage caused by the Ash Wednesday fires of 1983. The alignment now carries the Riesling Trail walking and cycling trail from Auburn to Barinia.

In 1997 Clare and the surrounding district became a part of the much larger District Council of Clare and Gilbert Valleys for the purpose of local governance.

Clare is the original location of the Stanley Wine Company, founded in 1894 by Joseph Herman Knappstein;[5] the brand is now owned by Accolade Wines for cask wine packaged for the "drink now" market. Local winery "Mr. Mick” is named for Stanley Wine's Managing Director (1962-1976) Carl Knappstein, known as "Mick", the legendary Stanley Wine Maker.[6]

The town today

Bentley Hotel, Clare

As one of the larger towns in the region, Clare is an administrative and service centre for the surrounding area. It has two supermarkets, many other specialty stores, two public and two private schools, three hotels, two motels, a caravan park, race course and showground.

Clare has become recognised for its 'experiences', including the Riesling Trail walking and cycling route from 9 km north of Clare to Auburn (25 km), on the former railway alignment, so named as it weaves past vineyards and wineries, and continuing to Riverton as the Rattler Trail.

The Riesling Trail also makes up a small section of the popular, 900 km (560 mi) Mawson Trail which stretches up to the Flinders Ranges.[7]

Clare is the starting point of the Lavender Federation Trail which traverses the eastern side of the Mount Lofty Ranges past the Barossa Valley through to Murray Bridge.[8] The Clare Valley wine region continues within the same line of hills as the famous Barossa Valley, and also produces wine.

The Clare Valley Wine and Wilderness Trail is a 100km hiking and cycling trail designed to highlight the premium wine and food and landscapes of the Clare Valley, starting at the Clare Valley Information Centre, Horrocks Highway, 3 km south of Clare.


Chateau Clare wine barrels

The township of Clare is home to two wineries at opposite ends of the town:

  • The Knappstein Enterprise Winery, 2 Pioneer Ave, Clare SA
  • Mr. Mick Cellar Door and Restaurant, 7 Dominic St, Clare SA

and book-ended by Jim Barry winery in the north and Tim Adams winery to the south. A half-dozen restaurants are situated in and around Clare, counting Cellar Door Restaurants at surrounding wineries. A further dozen or more wineries surround the town: including Taylors, Kirrihill, Kilikanoon, and Shut The Gate Wines. The Clare Valley contains over forty cellar doors and wineries in all.[9]

  • A third Clare Winery was The Clarevale Cooperative Winery,[10] the buildings of which still survive in Lennon Street Clare across from the Clarevale Cottage, the Manager's home. This winery was founded in 1930, with a loan of 8,000 pounds from the State Government, but started crushing wine in 1929. It was later taken over by Kaiser Stuhl.
  • The Clare Valley Visitor Information Centre is incorporated within the Clare Valley Wine, Food and Tourism Centre, located 3 km south of Clare on the Horrocks Highway, at 8 Spring Gully Rd, Clare SA.
Looking up the Main street (Horrocks Highway) of Clare, South Australia, in 2009, with the tower of the old Town Hall.
The same view of Main Street Clare over 100 years ago; from the women's dress and lack of motor vehicles, this is prior to 1910.
  • The Clare Museum of the National Trust of SA is at the Corner, Neagles Rock Road and Victoria Road Clare 5453 SA, about 1 km South of Main Street
  • The popular Clare Regional History Group has a large collection of historical books, newspapers and memorabilia at the Clare Town Hall.
  • The Monthly Clare Market is held on the first Saturday of the Month at Ennis Park, alongside the Clare Town Hall.
  • The Clare Mini-railway at the "Lakeside Railway": The Clare Valley Model Engineers have a railway with over one kilometre of track that features several bridges and a tunnel in a 10 hectare park. and the train operates every second and fourth weekend of each month at Melrose Park, Phoenix Ave, Clare SA.
The Riesling Trail
  • The Gleeson Wetlands, including Lake Inchiquin, has a flat easy walking path, with the opportunity to view many native birds in their natural habitat. There are two picnic shelters, and a bird hide. Further along there is a pathway through Melrose Park which links to the Riesling Trail.
  • Clare Valley Art Gallery has an extensive range of contemporary Utopian Indigenous Art, with regular visiting artists, at 28 Horrocks Highway, Clare
Shearing Sheep at Bungaree
  • The Clare Art House has exhibits, presentations, art and craft workshops and lessons, 8 Mill Street Clare
  • The Riesling Trail runs past the location of the old Clare Railway Station, and extends up the valley to Auburn.
  • The great Hill River Stone Wall, estimated to contain 7,040.000 stones, commences about 3 km South of the Farrell Flat road East of Clare, by Claremont Road.[11]
Hill River plaque

It continues Northwards to Gum Creek and Leighton, up big hills and down dales to Spalding and Booborowie on a level with Jamestown, finally ending at the top end of Canowie. It seems fairly certain the Hill River wall was built in the 1860s by tradesmen of the celebrated pioneering pastoralist, C. B. Fisher,[12] principally to keep sheep within bounds. Also known as “The "Camel Hump Wall", it is a drystone wall which runs over 30 kilometres (19 mi) from Booborowie to Farrell Flat, and another equal distance further south to the former farm of Mr. David Ashby, totalling 62 kilometres.[13] “Camel Hump Wall” is said to be the longest continuous dry stone wall in Australia, and should be heritage listed.[14]

  • Bungaree Station, 12 km north of Clare has a sandstone Woolshed (one of Australia’s oldest working woolsheds, constructed from 1842), Shearers Quarters, Stable Yard, Station Store, Managers House, staff cottages and B&B accommodation, and even the old District Council Chambers and a Church. It is still a working farm, run by the 4th, 5th and 6th generations of the Hawker family. Bungaree was established like a small English village with the manor house, police station, St Michaels Anglican Church in the Gothic style (1864), and also has a thriving tourism business, created after the wool crash of 1985.

"Australia was Riding on the Sheep's Back"[15] meaning that, for much of Australia's recent history wool has been the basis of the national economy and the country's major export. Those graziers who grew the wool had come to symbolise and epitomise what it was to be Australian.

These 1906 photographs shows a mob of 1,960 sheep which had just walked to Bungaree from Paralana Station in the Northern Flinders Ranges (also run by the Hawker Family). The particular interest of this photo of Bungaree is that it later became famous, when an engraving was made of it and it was used on both the £50 and £1000 Australian banknotes (The £1000 note was used for inter-bank transactions).

Reverse of fifty pound note Australia c 1918 showing Bungaree with sheep
Commonwealth of Australia, 1000 Pounds (1914-24) (cancelled)


(Listed North to South)

  1. Jim Barry Wines (Cellar Door)
  2. Mad Bastard Wines (Cellar Door)
  3. Knappstein Wines (Cellar Door)
  4. Mr Mick (Cellar Door, Restaurant)
  5. Sussex Squire Wines (Cellar Door)
  6. Tim Adams Wines (Cellar Door)
  7. Shut the Gate Wines (Cellar Door, Cafe)
  8. Stone Bridge Wines (Cellar Door)
  9. Eldredge Wines (Cellar Door)
  10. Jaeschke's Hill River Clare Estate (Cellar Door)
  11. Sevenhill Cellars (Cellar Door)
  12. Good Catholic Girl Wines (Cellar Door)
  13. Pikes Wines and Brewery (Cellar Door, Restaurant)
  14. The Wilson Vineyard (Cellar Door)
  15. Paulett Wines (Cellar Door, Restaurant)
  16. Jeanneret Wines & Clare Valley Brewing (Cellar Door)
  17. Skillogalee Wines & Restaurant (Cellar Door, Restaurant)
  18. Reilly's Wines and Restaurant (Cellar Door, Restaurant)
  19. Mitchell Wines (Cellar Door)
  20. Mintaro Wines (Cellar Door)
  21. Killikanoon Wines (Cellar Door)
  22. Penna Lane Wines (Cellar Door)
  23. Tim McNeil Wines (Cellar Door)
  24. Crabtree Watervale Wines (Cellar Door)
  25. clos Clare (Cellar Door)
  26. Claymore Wines (Cellar Door)
  27. Tim Gramp Wines (Cellar Door)
  28. O'Leary Walker Wines (Cellar Door, Restaurant)
  29. Taylors Wine (Cellar Door, Restaurant)
  30. Velvet and Willow Wines (Cellar Door)
  31. Wines by KT (Cellar Door)
  32. Grosset Wines (Cellar Door)
  33. Mount Horrocks Wines (Cellar Door)
  34. Ulster Park Wines (Cellar Door)
  35. Koonowla Wines/Georges (Cellar Door)


Clare is governed at the local level by the District Council of Clare and Gilbert Valleys. Clare lies in the state electoral district of Frome and the federal electoral Division of Grey.


Clare is situated on the eponymous Clare Valley along the path of the Hutt River, about 10 km (6.2 mi) west of the Camels Hump Range and 3.5 km (2.2 mi) west of Stony Range. The Skilly Hills rise to the south-west and the Bungaree Hills rise to the north-west.

Climate data for Clare
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 44.9
Average high °C (°F) 30.4
Average low °C (°F) 15.0
Record low °C (°F) 5.0
Average rainfall mm (inches) 22.8
Average precipitation days 4.8 4.3 5.3 7.4 11.9 14.4 17.2 16.1 12.2 8.8 7.7 6.8 116.9
Average afternoon relative humidity (%) 28 29 34 42 56 68 69 63 58 45 36 31 47
Source: Bureau of Meteorology[16]

Notable people

Notable people from or who have lived in Clare include:

See also


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Clare (SA)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 19 April 2019. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ "Yorke and Mid North SA Government region" (PDF). The Government of South Australia. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
  3. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Clare". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 19 April 2019. Edit this at Wikidata
  4. ^ Rodney Cockburn (1984) [1908]. What's in a name? Nomenclature of South Australia. Fergusson Publications.
  5. ^ Joseph Knappstein - The founder of Clare's Stanley Wine Company Clare Museum. Retrieved 12 June 2021.
  6. ^ - The Boom in Clare Winemaking Clare Museum. Retrieved 13 June 2021.
  7. ^ "Mawson Trail – Full Trail – Trails SA". Retrieved 23 August 2019.
  8. ^ "Lavender Federation Trail". Lavender Federation Trail. Retrieved 23 August 2019.
  9. ^ - Clare Valley Top Tourism Town. Retrieved 13 June 2021
  10. ^ Clare Wine between the Wars - Clare Museum. Retrieved 13 June 2021
  11. ^ Ruwolt, Jon (12 March 2020). "Heard about the great Hill River Stone Wall?". Clare Museum of the National Trust.
  12. ^ Ruwolt, Jon (2020). "C. B. Fisher". Clare Museum of the National Trust. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  13. ^ Miller, Andrew (March 2015). "Dry stone walls on Landline" (PDF). The Flagstone : Dry Stone Wall Association of Australia Inc. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  14. ^ Adams, Prue (17 May 2015). "Dry stone walls should be heritage listed". ABC Landline. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  15. ^ National Film and Sound Archive of Australia
  16. ^ "Clare High School". Climate statistics for Australian locations. Bureau of Meteorology. 19 December 2019. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  17. ^ Condon, Brian. Adey, William James (1874–1956). Canberra: National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  18. ^ Tamblyn, M. Bell, Peter Albany (1871–1957). Canberra: National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  19. ^ Brewster Jones, Hooper. "Hooper Josse Brewster-Jones (1887-1949)". Rare Books & Manuscripts. University of Adelaide Library. Retrieved 31 October 2021.
  20. ^ Gleeson, Paddy. "Founder Paddy Gleeson: "King of Clare"". Clare Museum. Clare National Trust. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  21. ^ Hawker, George Charles. "Hawker, George Charles (1818–1895)". Obituaries Australia. Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  22. ^ Dissel, Dirk Van. Hawker, Charles Allan (1894–1938). Canberra: National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  23. ^ Ruwolt, Jon (2018). "H H Tilbrook". Clare Museum of the National Trust. Retrieved 28 October 2021.

External links