Field Work, News

Join ArchSoc at Old Government House this Winter

Flinders ArchSoc is pleased to announce the upcoming field trip to Belair National Park to conduct a survey of Old Government House and the servants’ quarters. This is a great chance to experience recording a standing structure and practice those scale drawings, in a learning environment; especially good for those who have never recorded a standing structure. This event is free to ArchSoc members. If you are not a member and want to come, you can join by paying the $15 fee here.

The field trip will run from 10am Friday August the 9th until midday on Sunday August the 11th and will include recording the external standing structure of Old Government House, and the front façade of the servants’ quarters. The inside of the buildings will not be recorded. Afterwards there will be time to visit the inside of the house, when it is open to the public between 1 and 4pm Sunday.

A few members of the team will be staying nearby at the Belair National Park Caravan Park. It is literally next door to the park. Their website details information about their accommodation and the costs: The cheapest option is to camp on an unpowered site at $30 per night (plus $9.00 for an extra adult), or get together a group and share a cabin between a few people. Participants need to be aware that it is cold and often wet in the Adelaide Hills and therefore be prepared to bring warm and probably waterproof clothes. Drawing and measuring equipment will be supplied.

For members of the team staying at the caravan park, ArchSoc will be putting on dinner on Friday and Saturday night for those who would like to join in on the fun. Camping is not required, you are welcome to stay at your own house and commute every day.

Interested members will need to contact Jessica Lumb to register their interest for this trip. Details of the field trip will then be shared with those parties. Contact Jess by email at Please indicate whether you would require transport, accommodation and dinner!

In the meantime, for those who have not visited it before, Belair National Park is nestled in the Adelaide Hills. Proclaimed The National Park of South Australia in 1891, it was the first in South Australia, and only the eighth of its kind in the world (Tamblyn 2007:5).

The servants’ quarters date from 1848, first serving as a farm keeper’s residence when the area operated as ‘Government Farm’ from 1840. The Old Government House itself was not completed until 1860, having been commissioned as a summer residence by the colony’s sixth Governor, Sir Richard MacDonnell (Tamblyn 2007:13).

Old Government House was damaged by an earthquake in 1954 and was left run down by 1958. It was lovingly restored in the 1960’s and 1970’s in the style popular from 1860 – 1880, when it was used by South Australia’s Governors. This was just one of the uses of this prominent feature of the National Parks landscape. Stay tuned over the next few weeks for more information about Old Government House and its relationship with Belair National Park.