My round trip jaunt to 1860, Pioneer Town at Tailem Bend.
Old Tailem Town, Australia’s largest pioneer village is the most authentic replication of life for settlers of South Australia from 1860- 1960. Set in the natural backdrop of South Australia with its gum trees and red soil, it is anything but ordinary.
Many of the hundred and ten buildings, which you are free to roam and inspect, were transported as is from their original location while others were reconstructed plank by plank. Little has been done to alter their appearance to ensure that the buildings, many of which are over a hundred years old, are exactly how they were when first built.
Even the furnishings are antiques to give visitors an authentic glimpse of how life was back in 1860. As you amble into a pioneer cottage you can almost see the wife rocking her baby while the kettle boils water on the wood stove. The metal cups and plates that are laid out on the kitchen table, gives you a true sense of humble beginnings. The metal buckets strategically placed to collect water from the leaking tin roof, the pile of roughly chopped wood next to the fireplace that doubles as the hob, the oil lamps that sway in the strong breeze, in fact every cup, saucer, and creaking wooden board makes you forget reality and transports you back to pioneer times.
An authentic washing machine, with it’s metal pressers and manual handles looked more like a modified pasta machine but gave me a sense of absolute gratitude at being able to chuck my clothes and press a few buttons!
A printing press, machine exchanges, weighing machines, fire engines, speedboats dating back to 1905, and rusty old vehicles amazes the most investigative visitor.
There is even an old pioneer town classroom furbished with antique desks and blackboards. With thirty shops, including a one hundred year old picture theatre that shows old Australian b/w documentaries using its sixty-five year old projector, a telephone exchange, an emporium, and even a hotel replete with a horse trough, there is nothing else that is need to compete this authentic restoration of life in 1860-1960.
This trip back in time filled me with a sense of gratitude and admiration for the spirit of ingenuity. Just a few hours before I had be cribbing about how long the drive was and how unprepared I was as a mother of three. My husband, ever the explorer decided on a spontaneous Internet researched trip to Tailem Bend.
“Come on it’ll be fun, the kids will love it!” was his candid reply as I grumbled about packing the travel bag with spare clothes, Sippy cups, snacks, diapers, wipes and changing mats. With two of our office colleagues for company we headed off for a two-hour drive to one of the most amazing trips of my life.
This trip reminded me not to sweat the small stuff and to appreciate the loss of control, for it is often the unexpected that brings out the best life has to offer. After all isn’t a miracle one of the greatest experiences one can possibly have and seldom is it scheduled in one’s diary!