Report on the Event
Well what can we say, what a great day it turned out to be. Despite being in winter, the sun welcomed a lovely group of 27 vehicles and 51 people who gathered at the Tower Hotel at Magill for the short run up to Marble Hill Ruins. Nearly everyone had never been to the Marble Hill Ruins, whilst some can recall driving past and not really knowing much about it.
Marble Hill is a former Governor’s residence which was destroyed by fire in the Black Sunday bushfires back in 1955. After being neglected for some 20 years the National Trust took over the property and did a little bit of work but the costs and scope of the job was beyond their resources. Since 2009 the property has been privately owned by the Michell and Bishop families who have embarked on the massive job of restoration and conservation as their contribution back to the people of South Australia. The Stables and the Caretaker’s residence were the first projects completed and in the past couple of years the massive undertaking of rebuilding/restoring the Main residence has been progressing.
Since we first visited Marble Hill in February significant work has been done on the exterior walls and the roof areas are progressing rapidly. To the point that they hope to have this external work completed in the latter part of 2018. The whole process is at a significant cost and includes installation of steel frames inside the walls to support walls and the new roofing. Walling stone was photographed and removed back to areas where it was considered structurally sound, then rebuilt back to it’s original integrity. The missing stones have been cut from either local Basket Range Sandstone or stone sourced from New South Wales which matches the original. The new roof includes insulation and wiring and is covered with wonderful new slate shingles imported from Scotland.
We were very well looked after for a wonderful morning tea arranged by our event coordinator Maarea Sollart and we were given informative Tours by Greg and James of the property. Many of our Group took photos and enjoyed the views over Adelaide and the plains. To our minds we think the views are even better than Mount Lofty, perhaps we are biased. Needless to say we were running overtime and we probably needed more time at Marble Hill to enjoy the quality and workmanship of the Tradesmen doing the restoration.
Following our morning tea and tour, the Group ventured in our beloved MX5’s to enjoy the twists and turns of Lobethal Road all the way to Lobethal. It was indeed great to look back along the road to see our cars meandering through the hills. We then enjoyed the roads and countryside through Woodside, Inverbrackie, Brukunga, Dawseley and Nairne before arriving at our lunch destination at the Great Eastern Hotel at Littlehampton. Pleasant staff, good service with plenty of choices and reasonable prices, rounded out the day.
A great day with loads of favourable comments which might mean that next year we may venture back to Marble Hill and spend more time in a special place.
Margaret & David Hill