We’re up to G, and right from the beginning of the Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge, I knew I wanted to write about my home town ‘Gumeracha’.
G is for GUMERACHA
The tiny little country town of Gumeracha (pronounced Gum-e-rac-ka), is in South Australia’s Adelaide Hills was where I grew up. It was where I went to school, where I played sport, where I rode my bike to friends places, played in the creeks and the paddocks, and it was a town where everyone knew everyone.
Nowdays the world’s Biggest Rocking Horse is what brings people to the town, and while it is worth going to see if you get the chance, it is not what I want to talk about here. Rather, I want to go to write a little about the Randell’s, the history of the town and the connection between them.
It starts with William Beavis Randell, who is my great great grandpa. And just to be clear as there are several generations of William Beavis Randell’s, I’m talking about the one born in 1799 in Kenton, Devon, England. He together with his wife Mary Ann Bear, and their family emigrated from England to South Australia on the ‘Hartley’ arriving in 1837, and chose to settle in the picturesque hills of Gumeracha in 1839.
While there were some aborigines in the area, the Randell family were the first white people to settle there. Can you imagine what it would be like moving to an area the has no houses, no roads, no shops? That’s what it would have been like for the family. But obviously they loved the area, as the family stayed, and for that I’m very thankful.
W.B. Randell (as he was known) built his house “Kenton Park” (or should I say estate), which was in the Randell family until only a few years ago. In 1839 he donated land and money to build the Salem Baptist Church which is one of two churches in Gumeracha. And it is not only the oldest Baptist church that is still in use in South Australia, but also it was the church that my grandparents, parents and brother got married in.
You could say that W.B. Randell largely MADE the town of Gumeracha, and as a tribute to him and his family the many new streets that have been created due to subdivision, are named after the Randell’s: Ivan Drive, Ebenezer Place, Beavis Court, Salem Court, Kenton Terrace, Randell Terrace, Kenton Hill Road – there’s even a Kenton Creek that runs through the town.
So my connection to Gumeracha goes all the way back to it’s roots, and to my emigrating ancestors – which is why I’ll always feel a very strong bond to this tiny country town.
Here’s just a few wonderful old photos of the town from it’s history …
You can read more about the history of the town of Gumeracha on their Wikipedia page, or on the town’s own website, and you can follow the Historical Trail thanks to a wonderful map put by the Local History Centre. And if you are wanting to know ANYTHING about the history and people in not only this town, but the region, you must get in contact with the wonderful people at the Gumeracha & District History Centre.