Martindale Hall the dream home

Martindale Hall the dream home

There’s excess­es of the mod­ern kind, self­ied, Insta­grammed, Pin­ter­est­ed and Facebooked.

And then there are the excess­es of the 1800s kind, where you might just cre­ate some­thing so extrav­a­gant, so oth­er world­ly, that social net­works can’t help but twitter.

Edmund Bow­man was a big fan of the lat­ter. A wealthy gen­tle­man with a gen­er­ous land­hold­ing, a pen­chant for polo and an inher­i­tance burn­ing in his pock­et, Bow­man spent up big in rur­al South Aus­tralia in the 1880s.

Bow­man was a wealthy bach­e­lor who com­mis­sioned a Lon­don archi­tect to cre­ate a plan for an impos­ing Geor­gian man­sion on a sheep prop­er­ty near what is now the renowned Clare wine region.

Build­ing the dream home

He import­ed 50 high­ly skilled Eng­lish trades­men to help build the man­sion on gen­tly ris­ing ground that com­mands wide views across the countryside.

The trades­men set to work, installing impos­ing black and white mar­ble floors, chis­elling the mansion’s stonework and hand carv­ing a mag­nif­i­cent Tas­man­ian black­wood and oak stair­case amid metre-thick walls and five-metre high ceilings.

Almost two years and £30,000 lat­er and Mar­tin­dale Hall was ready, com­plete with a pri­vate train­ing track and sta­ble, a pack of fox­hounds and a crick­et ground for enter­tain­ing Eng­lish cricketers.

The end brings a new beginning

Bow­man moved in, but alas, the par­ty was over in 1891 when drought and his extrav­a­gant ways con­spired against him and he was forced to sell Mar­tin­dale Hall to the Mort­lock family.

The Mort­locks lived in Mar­tin­dale Hall for 60 years, fill­ing it with trea­sures from around the world before John Ten­nant Mort­lock died in 1950.

The sting in the tail of the Mar­tin­dale Hall sto­ry came when Mortlock’s griev­ing wife Dorothy gath­ered her per­son­al pos­ses­sions, locked the mansion’s doors and nev­er returned. The prop­er­ty and its con­tents were left to the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ade­laide and were lat­er trans­ferred to the state government.

Today Mar­tin­dale Hall still stands con­spic­u­ous­ly on its gen­tle rise, still hold­ing the trea­sures of its pre­vi­ous own­ers, still wel­com­ing vis­i­tors from around the world.

It’s the per­fect start­ing point for a Clare Val­ley dri­ving tour and is open to the pub­lic from Wednes­day to Mon­day from 11 am to 4 pm, closed Tues­days for clean­ing. Dur­ing school hol­i­days Mar­tin­dale Hall is open 7 days from 11 am to 4 pm except Good Fri­day and Christ­mas Day.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living