The Mid North region of South Australia takes in the Clare and Barossa Valleys, the central wheatbelt, the eastern section of South Australia's Copper Belt and the Southern Flinders Ranges. With the exception of Burra's copper mining heritage and the region's two major wine regions - the Barossa and Clare Valleys - the points of interest in this area are not well known and in the main are less obvious. But for those willing to take to the intricate network of back roads that criss-cross the region, there are some wonderful villages, ruins and abandoned settlements in the region's semi-srid east with long-forgotten stories to tell, just waiting to be discovered and enjoyed.
The Mid North is a region of South Australia, north of the Adelaide Plains and south of the Far North and the outback. It is generally accepted to extend from Spencer Gulf east to the Barrier Highway, including the coastal plain, the southern part of the Flinders Ranges, and the northern part of the Mount Lofty Ranges. The Temperate Grassland of South Australia cover most of the area.
The main Indigenous group in the area are the Ngadjuri people. During the early colonial era, particularly in the 1850s and 1860s, disputes and conflicts occurred between settlers and the Aboriginal people. The Ngadjuri people now hold native title rights over the area. The extreme south west of the Mid North region is a part of the traditional lands of the Kaurna people.
The area was settled as early as 1840 (South Australia's white settlement began in 1836) and provided early farming and mining outputs for the fledgling colony. Farming is still significant in the area, particularly wheat, sheep and grapevines. Grapes are grown in the Clare Valley and Southern Flinders Ranges wine regions. Copper was formerly mined at Kapunda and Burra. Weather districts
For the purposes of weather districts, the Mid North region is divided horizontally into "Flinders" for the northern portion and "Mid North" for the southern portion by the Bureau of Meteorology. In the northern portion forecasts are published for: Hawker, Port Augusta and Ororroo. Towns for which forecasts are published in the southern region are: Port Pirie, Jamestown, Crystal Brook, Clare, Roseworthy and Snowtown.
Autumn to spring is the best time to visit when the weather is mild and vegetation and wildlife thriving. Summer visits can be rewarding, too, provided your activities are tailored to hot weather conditions.
The climate is typically Mediterranean with cool winters May to August ranging through 10-18 degrees, and warm to hot dry summers November to March ranging through 24-35 degrees. Coastal areas tend to have minimum winter temperatures that are several degrees warmer than those recorded by the inland regions, whereas in summer the opposite occurs.
When Colonel William Light was appointed Surveyor-General to the Colony of South Australia, his orders were to divide the land within the Colony into townships and counties. The first 9 of these were not proclaimed until 1842. Prior to this the land had been sold under a system of preliminary districts and special surveys—eg. The Mt Barker Special Survey of 1842 and the Three Brothers Survey of 1843. But by 1846, it was clear that a better system was needed, and that the divisions needed to be smaller in order that they be manageable.
A system of hundreds, similar to that used in parts of England was adopted, but with some modifications to suit the vast size of South Australia in comparison to the “Mother Country”. Where the English system delineated a hundred by drawing a line around what amounted to roughly 100 homes, the South Australian model used an area of roughly 100 square miles. It should be noted that not all hundreds in SA are universally this size, nor are they technically square.
In the 1850’s a hierarchical system of Counties, Hundreds, Sections, and Lots was adopted. In 1858, the Premier of SA, Sir Robert Richard Torrens came up with the system of land title registration which is still used today—Torrens Title, which became law following the passing of the Real Property Act in 1861. After 1861, no land in SA could be sold without it being located within a County and a Hundred. An individual needed to register his purchase of land with the Lands Titles Office. Once a person’s name was registered against a piece of land, that person became the exclusive owner of that property by right of title registration.
Before 1865, the Government did little to promote the creation of country towns, save for those that were important as river or sea ports, such as Goolwa and Pt Augusta. In the 1870’s this changed and the wheat boom caused the Central and Northern regions to be surveyed. Between 1895 and 1930 the areas known as the Murray Mallee and Eyre Peninsula were opened up and surveyed into counties & hundreds.
After 1865 it became commonplace for the Government to survey at least one town in each hundred. Before this, however, there had been a number of towns that sprang up within hundreds that had been privately surveyed.
[Introduction of the Real Property Act in South Australia, D.Pike 1961]