Learn about the South Australian cottage that inspired renowned poet Adam Lindsay Gordon

Learn about the South Australian cottage that inspired renowned poet Adam Lindsay Gordon

Take a step back in time and learn how Din­g­ley Dell in the state’s south east inspired this famous poet’s work.

If you’ve got an appre­ci­a­tion for Aus­tralian poet­ry, there’s a fair chance you’ve come across the name Adam Lind­say Gor­don.

Adam Lind­say Gor­don was an Aus­tralian poet, horse­man, jock­ey, police offi­cer and politi­cian who left a sig­nif­i­cant lega­cy on Aus­tralian lit­er­a­ture. He passed away in Vic­to­ria in 1870, how­ev­er his pub­lished works con­tin­ue to be used and ref­er­enced to this day.

What you may not know is that much of his writ­ing was inspired by the land­scapes and expe­ri­ences he had dur­ing the years he spent liv­ing in South Australia’s south east.

This year marks 150 years since the pass­ing of Adam Lind­say Gor­don, who took inspi­ra­tion for one of his first poems dur­ing a stay at her­itage-list­ed Din­g­ley Dell Cot­tage.

Din­g­ley Dell

Gor­don owned Din­g­ley Dell – a small prop­er­ty near Port Mac­Don­nell in the Lime­stone Coast – for 3 years.

It all came about when Gor­don was out horse-rid­ing one day and became enam­ored with a piece of land beside the coast, with a stone cot­tage, set amongst the Aus­tralian bush.

When the prop­er­ty came up for sale in 1864, he bought it for £150 as a hol­i­day home and named the cot­tage Din­g­ley Dell’ – after the nos­tal­gic manor farm of Charles Dick­ens’ Pick­wick Papers.

He and his wife Mag­gie spent many hap­py times horse-rid­ing and roam­ing about their prop­er­ty until they left the prop­er­ty in 1866.

After his first poem was pub­lished dur­ing his three-year stay at Din­g­ley Dell, Gordon’s suc­cess con­tin­ued with the num­ber of his pub­lished works increas­ing between 1865 and 1867.

The cot­tage grounds, high ener­gy coast­line and sur­round­ing bush pro­vid­ed Gor­don with the inspi­ra­tion to write many of his poems as well as main­tain­ing his inter­est in horses. 

Learn about the South Australian cottage that inspired renowned poet Adam Lindsay Gordon

Vis­it­ing the site

Today, Din­g­ley Dell cot­tage remains pre­served as a reminder of its for­mer res­i­dent. Dis­plays around the grounds depict Adam Lind­say Gor­don’s life and works, as well as the his­to­ry of the cottage.

Din­g­ley Dell was one of the first places to be pro­tect­ed for its his­tor­i­cal impor­tance to South Aus­tralians under what was the Nation­al Plea­sure Resorts Act 1914, which was man­aged by the then South Aus­tralian Tourist Bureau.

In April 1972, it was renamed as the Din­g­ley Dell Con­ser­va­tion Park and in 1980 Din­g­ley Dell was in the first group of places to be list­ed on the South Aus­tralian Her­itage Register.

You’re wel­come to explore the grounds of Din­g­ley Dell cot­tage, but due to COVID-19 social dis­tanc­ing restric­tions, access to the cot­tage is cur­rent­ly limited.

Vis­it the Nation­al Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice web­site for more infor­ma­tion about visiting.

Can’t get enough of South Australia’s rich her­itage? Check out these blogs on7 her­itage places in SA you might not know aboutandYour guide to under­stand­ing South Australia’s State Her­itage Places.

Main image: Din­g­ley Dell Cot­tage, cour­tesy of Sharon Bruhn

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living