Auburn - Culture and History

Southern gateway to the Clare Valley

By the late 1830s farmers were grazing sheep and cattle in the district after it had been explored by John Eyre. It was originally known as Tateham's Waterhole after a local settler, William 'Billy' Tateham. The land upon which the town grew was granted to Thomas Henry Williams in 1849.By 1856 he had cut it into land lots and called it Auburn after a town in Ireland. The timing was perfect. Copper had been discovered at Burra and the bullock drays bringing the copper to the coast all passed through Auburn. At its peak there were as many as 100 bullock drays a day passing through the town which meant it grew quickly although in 1857 the town's function as a stopover point ceased when the railway connected Burra to Gawler. Surprisingly this had little effect on the town which continued to grow through the 1860s and 1870s. It was around this time that Joseph Meller, a stonemason, moved into the area. His work characterises much of the historic charm of the town which today is regarded as a fine example of an historic town with well preserved stone buildings - both public and private.