Painting of Bungaree by colonial artists, ST Gill

Press release: Historic Bungaree Station celebrates 175th Anniversary

PRESS RELEASE: Historic Bungaree Station celebrates 175th Anniversary

Date of Issue: 27 July 2017

One of South Australia’s oldest family businesses and an icon of the Australian pastoral industry, Bungaree Station, will kick off its 175th anniversary celebrations with a unique event that identifies the role that wool and wine have made in the development of the Clare Valley region.

The South Australian colony was only 5 years old when George Hawker and his brothers ventured into the unchartered Mid North, in search of grazing land. In December 1841, the presence of tall trees, good soils and ground water led them to establish Bungaree Station, a property that became the headquarters of one of Australia’s most successful sheep flocks and still remains under the careful stewardship of the Hawker family today.

While sheep were the basis for the property’s fame and settlement of the region, the property also played a role in establishing the region’s fledgling wine industry in the 1850s, with cuttings from grape vines at Bungaree being taken by Brother Joannes Schreiner to establish a vineyard at Sevenhill, where the Clare Valley’s oldest vines now flourish.

On Saturday 26 August, families whose histories are entwined with that of Bungaree will re-enact the Jesuit Brother’s defining journey in reverse – walking vine cuttings from Sevenhill Cellars back to Bungaree to plant and mark the property’s 175 year anniversary.

It is clear that more than just Australia’s sheep flock and the Clare Valley wine industry have been influenced by this iconic property – at times there were over 50 staff and their families living on the village-like property, with shearing teams often doubling this number, so it is hardly surprising that many of their descendants will be joining the Hawker family in making this pilgrimage.

The day will be a celebration of both wine and wool, beginning with a presentation of the vine cuttings by Brother John May (AM) of Sevenhill Cellars and culminate with a cocktail function at Bungaree, in one of Australia’s oldest working woolsheds.

Bungaree’s historic woolshed will also be central to further celebrations later in the year, with the 175th annual shearing of this property’s famed sheep flock on 3 – 6 October being open to the public, with daily guided tours, demonstrations of artisan trades and special displays.

Notes to the Editor:

  • For media enquiries, further details about the events or high resolution images, please contact Victoria Stewart, Bungaree Station, on telephone 08 8842 2677 or email info@bungareestation.com.au
    – Established by George Hawker in 1841, Bungaree produced one of the country’s most successful sheep flocks at a time when Australia rode “on the sheep’s back”, and today remains the home of the 4th, 5th and 6th generations of the Hawker family.
  • As South Australia’s most northern settlement for some time, the property became like a small village, with its own Church, Station Store, Carpenter’s Shop, Blacksmith Forge, Council Chambers and Police Troopers Station, as well as the Homestead, Woolshed, Shearers Quarters and cottages accommodating staff and their families.
  • Today Bungaree remains the home of the 4th, 5th and 6th generations of the Hawker family, and is a mixed farming enterprise with sheep, cropping, cattle and tourism. Further information on Bungaree Station can be found on the website bungareestation.com.au .
  •  The work of the Hawker family in preserving a unique piece of Australia’s heritage at Bungaree Station has been recognised with State and National Tourism Awards as well as the RM William’s Outback Heritage Award and a UNESCO Award for Heritage and Culture.