The discovery of copper at KAPUNDA and Burra in the 1840s put the region at the vanguard of Australia’s mining boom, and until 1860 the Burra “Monster Mine” was the largest in Australia, creating fabulous wealth and attracting huge numbers of Cornish miners. However, the boom ended as suddenly as it began, as resources were exhausted – mining finished at Burra in 1877 and Kapunda in 1878.
Heading to Kapunda from the Barossa, the landscape changes as vineyards are replaced by crops and grazing sheep. As you come into town, you’re greeted by a colossal sculpture of a Cornish miner entitled Map Kernow – “Son of Cornwall”. A place that once had its own daily newspaper, eleven hotels and a busy train station is now a rural service town, pleasantly undeveloped and with many old buildings decorated with locally designed and manufactured iron lacework.
If you have your own transport, you can follow a 10km heritage trail that takes in the ruins of the Kapunda mine, with panoramic views from the mine chimney lookout. The best time to visit Kapunda is during the Celtic festival (usually held in mid-Oct), when Celtic music, bush and folk bands feature at the four pubs.