Tuesday, 24 April 2018

The Devils Garden – Balaklava

The Devils Garden – Balaklava

Commemorative plaque placed on the Devil's Garden memorial cairn, located halfway between Balaklava and Halbury, in the lower Mid North of South Australia along the Balaklava to Auburn Road.
-Photo Source:  27 September 2009 Marionlad

 Balaklava is a small country town tin the Mid North, 93km’s north of Adelaide, South Australia. It is situated on the borders of Kaurna and Peramangk peoples and was first sighted by Europeans in 1840.
 The first European settlers were James and Mary Dunn in 1850, who opened a hotel to service the bullock drays carrying ore from Burra to Port Wakefield. The town proper wasn’t laid out until 1869, when Charles Fisher surveyed the land. The following year the first hotel opened, and from there the town continues to grow.
 7km’s east of the township, a small reserve, named The Devils’ Garden reserve, sits almost out of sight of passers-by on the highway. The reserve is a picnic spot, noted for its fine stands of river box gum trees

 Back in the days of the bullock drays carting copper ore, the area was a treacherous bog in winter, and a mountain of hard to navigate sand hills in summer. To address the problem of navigating the area, bullock drays would camp overnight and wait for other teams and try to get through the area together. This is thought to be how the Devils Garden became a “place”.

 It was during these camp nights that the ghost first began to be seen, described as an “unknown male spectre”. It would stand at the top of the sandy hill and scare any bullocks that tried to go over the hill top. It would also scare men on horses, with some claiming that the ghost would grab the horse’s reins, stopping the horse and rider in its tracks.

To this day it is not known who the spectral protector was, or why he chose that particular spot to haunt, but he is the reason that the bullock teams named the area "The Devils Garden".

Researched and written by Allen Tiller ©2018


Australia For Everyone, 2017, Balaklava, S.A., Pocket Oz Travel and Information Guide Mid North South Australia, viewed 30 Jan 2018, http://www.australiaforeveryone.com.au/sa-midnorth/balaklava.html

Sydney Morning Herald, 2004, Balaklava, The Sydney Morning Herald, Fairax Media, viewed 20 Jan 2018, http://www.smh.com.au/news/south-australia/balaklava/2005/02/17/1108500204142.html

1984 'THE PLAYERS Producer Est. 19[?] BALAKLAVA, B.A.', Victor Harbour Times (SA : 1932 - 1986), 4 April, p. 50. , viewed 30 Jan 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article185633892