Martindale Hall

Nestled in the picturesque Clare Valley region, Martindale Hall stands as a testament to South Australia’s rich history and architectural grandeur.

Established by the Bowman family as a sheep property, this Georgian-styled mansion was constructed in 1879 by Edmund Bowman. Despite its luxurious design, the hall’s initial splendour was marred by financial difficulties, leading to its sale to the Mortlock family in 1891. For decades, the Mortlocks maintained the property until it was bequeathed to the South Australian Government in 1950. Today, Martindale Hall invites visitors to step back in time and explore its 32 meticulously preserved rooms and 7-room cellar, offering a unique glimpse into the opulence of a bygone era.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, architecture lover, or simply seeking a charming day trip, Martindale Hall provides a captivating experience.

History of Martindale Hall

The Bowman Family Era

Martindale Hall’s storied past begins with the Bowman family, who established the property as a prosperous sheep station. In 1879, Edmund Bowman, a member of this influential family, undertook the ambitious project of constructing Martindale Hall. Inspired by the grandeur of Georgian architecture, he spared no expense, investing £30,000 into creating a magnificent mansion that would reflect the wealth and status of his family.

The hall’s design and construction were nothing short of extraordinary. Boasting 32 rooms and a 7-roomed cellar, Martindale Hall quickly became a symbol of opulence and sophistication in the region. However, the lavish lifestyle maintained by Edmund Bowman, combined with the economic downturn of the 1880s and a significant drop in wool prices, placed immense financial strain on the family. By 1891, these pressures proved insurmountable, forcing the Bowmans to sell their beloved property.

The Mortlock Family Legacy

The story of Martindale Hall took a new turn when it was acquired by William Mortlock. The Mortlock family, well-known for their contributions to agriculture and public service in South Australia, saw the potential in this magnificent estate. Under their stewardship, Martindale Hall continued to thrive, serving not only as a private residence but also as a venue for social gatherings and community events.

For nearly six decades, the Mortlock family maintained and enhanced the property, preserving its historical integrity and grandeur. In 1950, upon the death of John Andrew Tennant Mortlock, the hall and its surrounding land were bequeathed to the South Australian Government. This generous act ensured that Martindale Hall would be preserved for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.

Today, Martindale Hall stands as a cherished heritage site, open to the public for self-guided tours. Its rich history, architectural beauty, and the stories of the families who called it home make it a fascinating destination for visitors from near and far. As you walk through its grand halls and meticulously maintained rooms, you can almost hear the echoes of the past, offering a unique glimpse into South Australia’s colonial heritage.

Exploring Martindale Hall Today

Heritage Listing and Public Access

Martindale Hall, now a heritage-listed site, stands as a beacon of South Australian history and architectural beauty. This status not only protects the hall but also opens its doors to the public, allowing visitors to explore and appreciate its grandeur. With self-guided tours available, guests can wander through the hall at their own pace, absorbing the rich history embedded in its walls.

Architectural Highlights

The Georgian-style architecture of Martindale Hall is a sight to behold. Built with exquisite attention to detail, the mansion features 32 elegantly appointed rooms, each telling a unique story of its past inhabitants. The grand entrance hall, adorned with period furnishings and intricate woodwork, sets the tone for the rest of the tour.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Martindale Hall is its 7-roomed cellar. Originally used for storing wine and provisions, the cellar now offers a glimpse into the practical aspects of life in a grand estate. The spacious rooms, high ceilings, and large windows throughout the mansion provide a sense of the luxurious lifestyle enjoyed by its original occupants.

The Surrounding Grounds

Beyond the mansion itself, the surrounding grounds of Martindale Hall are equally captivating. The estate is set amidst beautifully landscaped gardens, offering a tranquil escape into nature. Visitors can stroll along the well-maintained paths, enjoy a picnic in designated areas, or simply relax and take in the serene environment.

Special Events and Activities

Martindale Hall is not just a static historical site; it is a vibrant venue for various events and activities. Throughout the year, the hall hosts a range of events, including historical reenactments, themed tours, and educational programs. These events provide visitors with an immersive experience, bringing the history of Martindale Hall to life in engaging and interactive ways.

For those looking to celebrate a special occasion, Martindale Hall is available for private functions. Whether it’s a wedding, birthday party, or corporate event, the hall offers a unique and elegant setting that will make any event memorable.

Visiting Information

To make the most of your visit to Martindale Hall, it’s important to know the essential details:

  • Opening Hours: Martindale Hall is open from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, Wednesday to Monday, and daily during school holidays. The hall is closed on Tuesdays, Good Friday, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Day.
  • Safety Precautions: The hall is closed on days of Catastrophic Fire Danger and may also be closed on days of Extreme Fire Danger. Always check the current fire danger rating on the CFS website before planning your visit.
  • Accessibility: Assistance dogs are welcome, but pets are not permitted in the park. Facilities include guided tours, picnic areas, walking trails, and restrooms.

Visitor Information

Opening Hours

Martindale Hall welcomes visitors from Wednesday to Monday, opening its doors from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm.

The hall is closed on Tuesdays. During school holidays, the hall is open every day, offering extended access to accommodate family visits. However, please note that Martindale Hall is closed on major holidays, including Good Friday, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Day.

It’s important to check for any updates on closures before planning your visit, especially during periods of high fire danger.

Safety Precautions

Martindale Hall and its surrounding conservation park are subject to closure on days of Catastrophic Fire Danger and may also close on days of Extreme Fire Danger. To ensure your safety and the safety of others, please check the current fire danger rating before your visit.

You can determine the current fire danger rating by checking the Fire Ban District map on the CFS website. For the latest information on fire bans and current fire conditions, visit the CFS website or call the CFS Bush-fire Information Hotline at 1800 362 361. Additionally, tune in to your local area radio station for real-time updates and information on fire safety.

Getting There

Martindale Hall Conservation Park is located approximately 130 kilometres north of Adelaide, nestled in the scenic Clare Valley region. To reach the hall, take Main North Road, which offers a direct and scenic route to the property. Ample parking is available on-site for visitors travelling by car.

Contact Information

For group bookings, private functions, or any specific inquiries, you can contact Martindale Hall directly. Here are the contact details:

  • Phone: 0417 838 897

Assistance and Pets Policies

Martindale Hall welcomes assistance dogs, which must be appropriately restrained on a lead and remain under effective control at all times while in the park. If your dog is not an accredited assistance dog, it must be trained to assist a person with a disability and meet standards of hygiene and behaviour appropriate for a public place.

It is advisable to contact the park in advance to ensure there are no potential hazards that may affect your dog.

While assistance dogs are permitted, other pets are not allowed within the park. For those who wish to enjoy the outdoors with their pets, there are several pet-friendly parks in South Australia.


Martindale Hall offers a range of facilities to enhance your visit:

  • Guided Tours: In addition to self-guided tours, guided tours are available to provide deeper insights into the hall’s history and architecture.
  • Picnic Areas: Designated picnic areas are available for visitors to relax and enjoy the serene surroundings.
  • Walking Trails: Explore the natural beauty of the conservation park through its well-maintained walking trails.
  • Restrooms: Restroom facilities are available on-site for visitor convenience.

Martindale Hall grounds can also be hired for private functions, making it an ideal venue for weddings, birthday celebrations, cocktail parties, and conferences.

Enhancing Your Visit

To make the most of your time at Martindale Hall, consider the following tips:

  • Plan Ahead: Check the hall’s event calendar for special activities and themed tours that might interest you.
  • Bring a Picnic: Take advantage of the designated picnic areas and enjoy a meal amidst the beautiful surroundings.
  • Wear Comfortable Shoes: With walking trails and expansive grounds to explore, comfortable footwear will enhance your experience.

Martindale Hall offers a perfect blend of historical exploration, natural beauty, and event hosting, making it a versatile destination for visitors of all interests.

Cultural and Environmental Significance

Aboriginal Heritage

Martindale Hall is not only a testament to colonial history but also holds deep cultural significance for the Aboriginal peoples of South Australia. For thousands of generations, Aboriginal peoples have lived in harmony with the land, and many places within the region have profound spiritual significance. The traditional owners of the land surrounding Martindale Hall have a rich cultural heritage that predates European settlement.

Visitors are encouraged to respect Aboriginal cultural protocols while exploring the area. This includes not touching or removing anything from culturally significant sites and ensuring that all rubbish is taken with you upon departure. Understanding and honouring these traditions help preserve the cultural integrity of the land.

Aboriginal peoples continue to play an active role in caring for their country, including within parks across South Australia. Their ongoing contributions are vital to the preservation and management of these natural and cultural landscapes.

Environmental Preservation

The conservation park surrounding Martindale Hall is a vital part of South Australia’s natural heritage. The park provides a sanctuary for native flora and fauna, contributing to biodiversity and ecological health. Efforts to preserve this environment ensure that future generations can enjoy the natural beauty and wildlife of the region.

Flora and Fauna: The park is home to a diverse range of plant and animal species. Visitors can download flora and fauna species lists from NatureMaps, an online resource that provides comprehensive information about the natural inhabitants of the area. This makes for an educational and enriching experience as you explore the grounds.

Sustainable Practices: Martindale Hall encourages sustainable practices to protect the environment. Collection of firewood within the national parks is prohibited, as dead wood plays a critical role in providing shelter for animals and enriching the soil with nutrients. Visitors are asked to adhere to all guidelines and to avoid disturbing the natural habitats.

Educational Opportunities

Martindale Hall offers a range of educational programs designed to increase awareness and appreciation of both cultural and environmental heritage. These programs are suitable for school groups, community organisations, and individual visitors interested in learning more about the historical, cultural, and environmental significance of the hall and its surroundings.

Interactive Learning: Educational workshops and interactive learning experiences provide insights into the historical uses of the hall, the traditional practices of Aboriginal peoples, and the importance of environmental conservation. These programs are designed to be engaging and informative, fostering a deeper connection with the heritage of the area.

Conservation Efforts: Martindale Hall actively participates in conservation efforts to maintain the ecological balance of the park. This includes habitat restoration projects, wildlife monitoring, and community engagement initiatives aimed at preserving the natural landscape.

Community Involvement

Martindale Hall thrives on community involvement and encourages visitors to participate in various conservation and cultural preservation activities. Volunteer programs offer a hands-on way to contribute to the upkeep and enhancement of the hall and its grounds. By engaging with the community, Martindale Hall fosters a sense of shared responsibility and stewardship.

Respecting the Land

Respecting the land and its heritage is paramount when visiting Martindale Hall. This involves not only adhering to the park’s guidelines but also recognising the cultural and environmental significance of the area. By doing so, visitors help ensure that Martindale Hall remains a treasured site for future generations.