The Little Town That Time Forgot
Mintaro is a small peaceful historic village about 11 kms from Sevenhill and with access roads from Leasingham and Burra. Rustic stone buildings and the olde world atmosphere remain from the early days. It’s a favourite place for visitors. Mintaro is also well known for its slate – the highest quality in Australia.
When the Burra Copper Mines opened in 1848, Mintaro became a busy staging point for numerous bullock teams transporting copper ore to Port Henry (present day Port Wakefield) and coal was carted to Burra on the return journey. Prosperity in Mintaro continued for several years with copper transported through the town.
When gold was discovered in Victoria and New South Wales in the 1850s. Miners, bullock teamsters and others left for the gold fields and Mintaro’s main street became eerily quiet.
It wasn’t long however, before the Burra Company imported mules and handlers from South America and business as usual continued for several years. After a new railway terminous in Gawler was built in 1857 the loads of copper ore were rerouted and it was the end of an era.
Martindale Hall, just out of Mintaro is a fine example of South Australia's pastural heritage. The Georgian mansion was built for Edmund Bowman Jr in 1879/80 with tradesmen brought from England.
Meantime Mintaro slate quarries had been established – the slate is of outstanding strength and durability and was used in buildings extensively providing continuous employment in the town.
As well, closer agricultural settlement had taken place by the 1860s with excellent wheat and wool prices during South Australia’s rural boom of the 1870s / 1880s. The railway reached Mintaro in 1870. Mintaro was well placed as a service centre when the Burra Mines closed in 1877.
Enjoy a stroll around town, you will notice the extensive use of slate giving a special character to Mintaro.