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The Big Rocking Horse & toy Factory Gumaracha


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Hi all,

We spent a lovely day on Saturday driving around the Adelaide Hills, planning to end up in Lobethal for the "Lights of Lobethal" Christmas spectacular: Lights of Lobethal Website

We were early though, so drove on through to have our picnic somewhere. We took a wrong turn and ended up at the Gumeracha Toy Factory: The Toy Factory website

What a great mistake to make! We were hugely impressed. There is a huge toy rocking horse - the biggest in the world, which you can climb for $2, after which you get a certificate. ;) The kids loved that. The toy factory was closed, because it was Sunday, but the shop is just fantastic! Great quality toys to suit all pockets - my mum stocked up on fluffy Aussie animals for the grandchildren. Just lovely. There is also a cafe which serves the only double thick shakes I have tasted since leaving SA 8 years ago which are comparable to the ones back "home".

To top it all, there is a small animal park where they have a few kangaroos, a wallaby and a couple of emus, together with a myriad of rescued pet cockatoos, galahs and corellas in cages dotted around. Quite a few speak, which hugely amused the children. There are also a variety of ducks and geese, plus loads of peacocks. The setting is lovely, among the trees, which are all labelled with their names. The animals are very tame and you can buy a bag of food to hand feed them. And what did this cost you ask? Nothing at all - totally free and gratis B) There's even a picnic area where you can have a picnic lunch - even though they have their own restaurant.

The owners are a South African family who relocated here from PE 7 years ago. Well worth a visit and it's just around the corner from the beautiful Chain of Ponds Winery. In fact, I would say anyone with young children who doesn't make a trip up there must have their head examined! :D

Go on - go there, see it! :P

Edited by Annette
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We found it interesting too. It is definitely worth the visit. There is lots to see around the ADL hills. Places like Hahndorf (German Village founded 1839) is worth a full days visits. There are lots of craft shops and not to mention pubs. The people are very freindly. My wife was looking to buy one of them aussie cork hats. We popped into one shop and asked the owner if he had any. He said no and gave us directions to another shop. As we were walking down the road he came running after us and pointed us to another shop that had them too. It just shows 2 things. 1) We had left the shop he had been on the phone to the another shop owner. and 2 he left his shop to tell us....there was nobody in the shop to keep a watch on anybody taking his stuff. This is what I call service.

We are looking forward to our continued sight seeing around the hills.

Edited by Tazz
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Service like that is common here in most areas of life, form banks to the corner cafe. We were and still is taken by it I have to say - brisk, friendly, efficient and helpfull service is common in most places. The principle of trust by default is what caused the chap to leave his shop unattended, also common in most instances of life here. All these little things stack up to make this place and Australia a great place to live.

Back to tte topic :wub: - I have been to the toy factory, indeed well worth a look i agree. :unsure: The hills is a good place to go and discover, we find new things there often.

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The South Australia Company wanted to people this colony with non-conformist Christian free settlers, unlike any other part of Australia. That was 1836, the same year as the "Groote Trek"

America had long been a favourite place for free thinking Christians from England and Scotland to migrate to in order to set up their "New World". After 1783, the Americans won their independence and Britain cast around for new parts of the world to settle.

At that time, Lutherans in some parts of eastern Germany were being given a hard time for their "non conformist" ways to the organised Lutheran Church of the state, and delegates were sent to the South Australia Company in England for help in taking new settlers from Germany to settle the new colony of South Australia.

At that time, in 1836, King William IV of Britain was also the "Elector" of Hannover, a German principality, as had been his father and grand-father. etc. so there was a fair bit of communication between some German provinces and Britain and the governments and peoples got on well together.

Two ships were sent to Hamburg where the first German settlers to South Australia embarked, and arrived at Port Adelaide several months later in their little sailing ships.

Captain Hahn, a Danish sea captain, was captain of one of the ships, and had a village named in his honour by the new settlers. . . . Hahndorf.

Another settlement, further to the north, began in a pretty valley. As soon as the new settlers saw it and its potential, they named it the "Valley of Praise" to honour God in seeing them all safely to the other side of the world . . . . "loben" = praise, "thal" = valley auf Deutsch.

The new settlers swore also to place lights out each Christmas to honour the birth of the Messiah and do so to this day, hence the Lobethal lights each year leading up to Christmas.

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Thanks Bob, your input about local history is very interesting and informarmative as always. Now I also know a little more abount this lovely area. Maybe the govt will ask me this in my citizenship exam :unsure: after my 4 year wait :wub:

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