Battunga is one of the Adelaide Hills' most significant early estates. After the 'Davenport' Special Survey 33 was completed in 1839, Samuel Davenport settled in and established the town of Macclesfield, and his older brother Robert Davenport established a property which he called Battunga.
The farm I purchased soon after I arrived in the colony, and which I occupied whilst there, is a portion of this survey ; 300 acres are now apportioned off, and enclosed, by three and four post and rail fences. I found it exceedingly productive of European grains and fruits, of almost every description . I have orchards and plantations of the apple, peach, almond, and some hundreds of trees. The olive
thrives, and the best varieties of the grape; though beautiful in growth, I doubt if the orange will ripen its fruit on the hills. My best trees I got from Mr McArthur's garden in New South Wales. I have encouraged a few mechanics and labourers to settle around me, whose employ I could at any time command, and who, by reason of their productive little homesteads placing them in so independent a position, I have never found to be any incumbrance. I have named the place 'Battunga', after the native appellation, which the natives interpret to mean 'the place of large trees.' The native names are not only significant, but generally, melodious, and I think there is some interest in adopting
them, wherever practicable, in place of any foreign names. They appear to have a designation which is expressive of some peculiarity, for every spot, or location.
Robert purchased the land from George Deane in April 1843, and lived in the existing timber cottage until his own homestead was completed in September 1847 and enlarged in 1850. The house was constructed of pinkish freestone quarried from the property. Not far from the house, he constructed a private chapel which was also used as a school building for many years. According to The South Australian Register Friday 4 September 1896, Robert Davenport passed away in the early hours of September 3 1896 after an operation at the Private Hospital, South Terrace on the previous Sunday. A private funeral was held at Battunga on the following Friday. There is a private cemetery at Battunga, and it is there that Robert, his wife Dorethea and many other family members including a daughter who died at age two are buried. Robert was survived by two daughters and five sons. In August 1913, Battunga was first to be connected to the Echunga manual telephone exchange which contained a single voice line.
The Battunga property remained in the Davenport family until 1914 when it was purchased by Professor William Lowrie, the South Australian Director of Agriculture. He was able to carry out much important research at Battunga, including work on the use of super-phosphate on South Australian farms, and specialised sheep-breeding of pure-bred Border Leicesters.
In December 1933, George Lindsay Webb Smith purchased Battunga for £12,000 and worked the farm for 25 years before selling a 72 acre section to Alywn Brice Kuchel and the remaining sections to the Lillecrapp brothers (Alfred, Gordon and Dean). The farm was purchased in the early 1960's by the Kebbell family and is currently being used for sheep and cattle grazing and in past years a small section was used for potato growing.
For more information about Flaxley and surrounding areas please visit the Battunga Country Website.
First weather station installed and website established. Website updates occurred three times daily.
Website updates extended to occur every 10 minutes from 7:00am until 11:00pm.
Dedicated computer configured to run website updates 24/7.
Weather station update: Oregon Scientific WMR928N and commenced publishing in the Flaxley Community Newsletter.
Commenced publishing in the Echunga Community Times.
Weather station and website temporarily closed due to equipment failure and data inconsistencies.
After an extended hiatus we returned with a new weather station (Davis Pro2), computer and website on 01/01/13.
Updated website released.
Exterior Weather Station
Weather Station Console and Computer