Project brings Eden Valley’s past to life

Eden Valley’s past comes alive


Life & Style
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Eden Valley’s rich social history has been brought to life, with five steel sculptures depicting what everyday life looked like during the 1860’s lining the main street.

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IT HAS taken a team of dedicated volunteers more than 18 months of planning but one of Eden Valley’s largest community projects was finally launched last month. 

The Eden Valley Celebrations Committee, including members Lynne Jones and Virginia Arnold, decided to use funds raised from the town’s 150th year anniversary celebrations in 2016 to liven up local streets with steel sculptures depicting the town’s social history. 

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After Lynne saw a similar project in the Goldfields-Esperance region of WA, the group enlisted Tas-based project facilitator Jesse Brampton to help bring the project to fruition. 

“I had never seen anything like it before so I thought why not try something like that in our town,” Lynne said. 

The five rustic life-size sculptures, located at iconic establishments in the town, highlight the social interactions of the community.

The buildings chosen were the Buttery, Eden Valley Hotel, Saint Petri Lutheran Church, the Blacksmith Shop and Eden Valley Institute. 

“We wanted to show a scene that would have happened between the 1860s and the 1880s,” Lynne said. 

Virginia was raised on a sheep farm at Moculta, before marrying and settling on a dairy farm at Springton.

She moved to Eden Valley 35 years ago, where dairyfarming was a main source of income in the region. 

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“It was important the Buttery was home to one of the sculptures because agriculture was the main way to survive out here,” she said.

“It was important agriculture was well represented because these days some children believe milk comes from a supermarket. It is important to see what a town’s history is built on and in our case, it was farming.”

Farmers separated milk on their properties and sent the cream to the Buttery, while others sold whole milk and the factory churned it to be sold locally and in Adelaide. 

We hope other towns follow our lead and start a project similar because the feedback has been brilliant. - VIRGINIA ARNOLD

Dairying continued to be a significant part of agricultural life in Eden Valley until the middle of last century. By 2018, only one dairy farm remained in the district.

Virginia said the Eden Valley Hotel sculpture was a play on words.

“Saturday School was a play on Sunday School,” she said. “All the elderly farmers would come into town, drink port and swap stories, which the sculpture depicts.”

Lynne hoped tourists would stop and take in the town’s history.

“We also want to stir an interest in the history of the town locally and open up new conversations within the community,” she said.

Virginia said because regional town populations had decreased, smaller towns needed a talking point. 

“We hope other towns follow our lead and start a project similar because the feedback has been brilliant,” she said.

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