Don’t let this extraordinary house, modelled on Dalemain and built in South Australia be lost. It can never be retrieved once sold, this important heritage will be gone forever.

Martindale Hall is now at risk of being sold and lost for the ‘Good of the South Australian people’.


Martindale Hall was gifted to the nation by the Mortlocks who gave the House and Estate to the Government for the ‘Good of the South Australian people’.  This philanthropy is enshrined in the documentation and letters passing between the family, the state and the University and is confirmed on the memorial stone outside the front door.  Since giving this gift it has been a place of interest and great cultural heritage to visitors from all over Australia and the wider international market.

The Bowman family built Martindale Hall in 1880; a Georgian style house north of Adelaide which could boast its own polo pitch, lake and cricket pitch and a well stocked garden.  Its extraordinary provenance dates back to 1400 through its direct association with Dalemain Historic House in Cumbria where Edmund Bowman Senior in the 1700’s was a highly trusted Steward.


Edmund Bowman’s grandson who built the Hall took the name from a much loved valley on the English Estate. He built it for the love of his life, Frances Hasell of Dalemain, Cumbria, copying her home in much of its detail to tempt her to marry him. However when she refused he returned to Australia and fell in love with a local girl and they lived very happily in the house with its English roots.

The Mortlocks bought Martindale Hall from Edmund Bowman after he lost all his money and they gifted it to the nation in the early 20thcentury.  They gave the house and land with a vision for education and preservation of the heritage that belongs to Australia. But this extraordinary generosity could be lost forever if it is sold as a hotel and would not fulfil the wishes of the Mortlock family.


The South Australian National Trust wish to lease Martindale Hall and have suggested  a markedly different proposal to that of a local consortium who have proposed the creation of a ‘Wellness centre’ making it a sanctuary for the rich with its exclusivity and isolation from the surrounding community. As we experience in Cumbria, hotels with spas and leisure facilities such as these keep people on site enjoying all that they have to offer with very little through flow or benefit to the community. By its very nature they could not provide public tours with any great meaning or authenticity because of refurbishment as a luxury hotel and although access is promised it would be surprising if any guest would want to relinquish their privacy to public view.

The house and surrounding land should remain in the public domain and has the potential to be a sustainable historic property that fulfils educational goals and could generate events attracting tourists 7 days of the week, 12 months of the year. It is perfectly placed in the heart of its community in the Clare Valley with many service providers for places to stay and places of interest to visit.  There is a strength for Martindale Hall in its close association with Dalemain in Cumbria which is also open to the public and has attracted thousands of visitors over the last 40 years. The partnership in the heritage of these two properties would be a unique offering creating  a new and exciting future with a provenance from Dalemain going back to the 12th century.
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