Strathalbyn quite reasonably claims to be one of the prettiest towns in the country and it is a classified Heritage Town. The centre of the town runs along the River Angas and is characterised by a large area of parkland, known as the Soldiers Memorial Gardens. A feature of the park is the delightful Children’s Bridge which was completed in 1919 and the elegant rotunda which becomes the centre point for celebrations. The park is edged by historic buildings and provides the town with a unique and tranquil centre.
Strath Albyn comes from two Gaelic words – ‘strath’ mean-ing “broad valley” or “a valley with a river running through it” and “Albion” meaning hilly land.
Prior to European settlement the area around Strathalbyn was inhabited by people from the Ngarrindjeri and Peramangk Aboriginal language groups.
The River Angas was named after George Fife Angas, Chairman of the South Australian Company, by the Cock and Finlayson expedition in December, 1837.
The Angas River district, at the southern end of the Mount Lofty Ranges, was settled in 1839 when Dr John Rankine from Ayrshire, one of a 105 Scottish immigrants who had arrived at Holdfast Bay near Adelaide on the ship Fairfield, took up land along with eight other beneficiaries.
In 1841 William Rankine (Dr Rankine’s brother) and Colonel James Dawson took up land in the district. This land would eventually become the site of the township.
The town’s founders decided, once the town site had been chosen, that the banks of the river remain parkland thus creating the town’s delightful centre.
By 1842 Glenbarr, a substantial stone house, had been built by Dr Rankine.
In 1844 the foundation stone for St Andrews Church was laid.
The town’s first Police Station was opened in 1858.
The Corporation of Strathalbyn was founded in 1868. This same year Cobb & Co reached the village and established a regular service to Adelaide.
In 1869 a broad gauge tramway was constructed between Goolwa and Strathalbyn. At the tramway terminus the Terminus Hotel was built to provide refreshments for passengers.
The railway from Adelaide reached the town in 1884.
Today Strathalbyn, apart from enjoying the benefits of tourism, is a rural service centre in an area dominated by mixed farming, vineyards, cereal crops, cattle, sheep, orchards and alpacas.
Jess Keenan is an authentic leadership and self-empowerment advocate for rural women and teenage girls based at Strathalbyn.
Jess is mother to two daughters, Meg (8) and Bonnie (2). Aside from her business, “Leading Change Experiences” where she facilitates life skills, personal and professional development guided by horses, her other passions include mindset mastery, holistic healing, energetic modalities, entrepreneurship & regenerative agriculture principles. She is a Law Of Attraction practitioner and has studied an eclectic range of healing techniques.
Jess is a true “Trailblazer” when it comes to living authentically and consciously creating a life led by purposeful experiences. She feels very passionate about women developing and evolving themselves to lead their lives with “grit and grace” and to tap into their personal power.
She is the visionary at the Rural Women’s Circle on Facebook and the author of her eBook “Think Your Way To Freedom”.
I was born in Adelaide, went on to Torrens C.A.E. and then taught at Koonibba Aboriginal School, Ceduna Area School, Pt Broughton Area School, Minlaton Primary School and Strathalbyn Primary School.
In 1983 I worked as a governess/housekeeper on Commonwealth Hill Station, north-west of Tarcoola.
I am married with a 23 year-old daughter, 3 adult step-children, 4grand-daughters and 2 grandsons. I work 2 days a week in the Resource Centre at Eastern Fleurieu School, teaching creative writing and doing literature studies with classes.
Carol left the SA Health Commission in late 1996 after 10 years in various senior executive positions and 30 years in the public health system.
She has worked as a nurse clinician with the Aborigines in a remote area in Western Australia; as a volunteer in the APY Lands, Bangladesh and Sabah, Malaysia. She has also worked as a clinician, educator, researcher and manager in the Victorian, Western Australian and South Australian health systems.
Carol has been self-employed for the last 22 years and acted as an advisor to human service industries public, private and not-for-profit organisations predominantly in South Australia and the Northern Territory. Carol was contracted by the Minister of the day to project manage the General Health Review of South Australia’s health system. She has also acted as a health consultant on health workforce planning and development for the World Health Organisation in the Asian, Pacific and African regions.
Carol was Chair of the Cancer Council (SA) and member of Cancer Council Australia, and a Governor of the Adelaide Bank Charitable Foundation. She established the Goolwa & District Community Bank and remains a Director. Carol also established the Goolwa Community Health Centre. Recently Carol was appointed by the Minister of Health to the Board of the Barossa, Hills, Fleurieu Local Health Network.
In 2008 Carol was appointed a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia for services in health services planning and management, nursing education and for humanitarian work in Australia and overseas
Winemaker Rebecca Willson has given her family’s Langhorne Creek winery a foothold in the highly competitive boutique wine market since taking on her first sole vintage at the age of 25.
Her first label – the 1997 Cabernet Sauvignon, won the trophy of the Best Boutique Cabernet Sauvignon in Australia and was rated third best Cabernet in Australia by Winestate magazine.
Upon her return from a vintage in Sonoma Valley in time for the 1997 vintage, Rebecca took full control of making Bremerton’s wines at Bleasdale winery whilst undertaking part time study toward her Oenology degree which she completed in 2000.
Rebecca is passionate about working with Langhorne Creek fruit, which has an excellent reputation for consistently producing high quality red wines. She is committed to promoting the Langhorne Creek wine region, hoping to elevate its global recognition.
After school, Lucy studied B.AppSc in Recreation Planning and Management at the University of South Australia. Upon finishing her degree she travelled over-seas before returning to Bremerton and taking on the role of Administration Manager.
In 2000 she completed a post-graduate course in Inter-national Wine Business at the University of Adelaide to expand her knowledge of the wine industry, marketing and wine tourism.
Lucy is now co-general Manager of Bremerton (along with her sister Rebecca) and is heavily involved in the Marketing, Sales and Administration side of the business. Lucy regularly supports markets both interstate and overseas by sharing the Bremerton wines and story.
Karyn has lived her life in Milang and has a busy and varied career including mother of 3, school services officer, primary producer, business owner/artist, community services administration and manager of Milang Old School House Community Centre. She has recently opened a new business at Milang “Artisans at Heart” which showcases her skills in lampworking and pottery as well as the talents of local artists and producers.
Last November Karyn was elected to Alexandrina Council representing the large rural ward of Angas Bremer and hopes to bring her passions of community and environmental care to local government.