National Trust bids for Martindale Hall
The National Trust of South Australia has made a formal bid to take over the running of historic Martindale Hall and create a world class tourism destination.
A proposal just lodged with the State Government seeks to transform the Martindale Hall Conservation Park into an integrated heritage based tourist attraction inspired by similar National Trust estates in the UK and, an Australian example, Sovereign Hill in Victoria.
The Hall itself, which is famous for its starring role in the classic film Picnic at Hanging Rock, is one of the best examples of Georgian architecture in Australia and has an international reputation.
“The State Government has been trying to decide what to do with Martindale Hall and now we have given it the perfect solution,” said National Trust President Professor Norman Etherington.
“We will establish a world-class tourism destination that will give one of the State’s jewels the prominence it deserves and attract more than 100,000 visitors a year, creating a significant boost to the economy and creating a range of new jobs and training opportunities,” he said.
“We will invest in the site to develop amenities, attractions and events and will preserve the buildings in accordance with the terms of the original bequest to the people of South Australia.
“Most importantly, it will remain in public hands and be accessible to all.”
To be delivered in stages over seven years, the proposal will involve partnerships with the private sector, in particular local tourism operators and food and wine producers.
ProfessorEtherington said there had been a huge public outcry over proposals to sell off the property and turn it into a private health retreat.
“We had previously indicated our willingness to take over responsibility for the property and with this submission we have put forward a very exciting vision for the future,” he said. “We can’t wait to get started.”
The proposal includes plans to establish:
• an exhibition and events space showcasing national and international heritage collections
• parks and gardens, including a 19th century pleasure garden, olive grove, heritage orchard and community garden
• a restored coach house hosting displays and demonstrations of horse-drawn vehicles
• a farm shop and licensed café, retail outlet, cellar door, marquee facility for functions and amenities for outdoor events and school camps
• an extensive special events program, including concerts, music, food and wine festivals, garden shows, car rallies, antique road shows and equestrian
• farming, sporting and other outdoor recreation activities including horse riding, animal handling, clay pigeon shooting, croquet, polo and cricket.
Prof Etherington said the proposal had already created international attention.
“Just a couple of weeks ago in England, the new head of the International National Trusts Organisation, Dame Fiona Reynolds, highlighted Martindale Hall as an example both of the threat being faced by heritage sites across the globe and of what can be done when communities get together to support what is important to them,” he said.
Built in 1879/80 by Edmund Bowman Jr. for the then princely sum of £30,000, Martindale Hall has 32 rooms and a large cellar with a further seven. Fifty craftsmen were brought out from England to carry out the work.
The estate was purchased in 1891 by the Mortlock Family, who subsequently bequeathed it to the University of Adelaide. In 1986, the University passed it to the State Government, for use by the people of South Australia in perpetuity.
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