Coromandel Valley Settlement Overview
Two Aboriginal Reserves, established following the survey of Coromandel Valley in 1838, remained intact and undeveloped for the next 50 or 60 years.
The Central area of the valley was the first settled. Samuel Gill took up Section 863 in 1840 and built his home. He was a Baptist minister, a post master, a school teacher who held classes in his kitchen and a casual primary producer.
About the same time, Thomas Matthews took up Section 860 which ran across the eastern side of the Valley. He built a paling house by the creek running through the northern part of the section and established a dairy there. In 1847 he purchased Section 1101 and later donated part of it for the Coromandel Valley Cemetery. In 1848-49 he had a home, Hurds Hill, built by John Weymouth* for his main residence.
Matthews spent considerable time living outside the Valley and hence only made a limited contribution to local community life.
In 1844, Alexander Murray purchased land from Samuel Gill and built a home, Craiglee, on it. In the mid-1850s, Murray's Jam and Biscuit Factory was also constructed there.
Thomas Matthews sold off some of the southern parts of Section 860 in the mid-1850s to William Wait and John Weymouth*, providing a site for Wait to build his house, store and slaughter house in about 1857.
This land division began development of the southern part of the Valley. Also in this area was John Chambers who was living at Cherry Gardens, but managing Section 858 (known as Chambers Run). Richard Winn, who had arrived from Somerset in 1853, took up land within Section 802. Winn grew vegetables and sold some of his products at the Adelaide market. He may also have grown some grapes.
The northern part of the valley remained largely undeveloped, with much of it being held by the South Australia Company. At the very top end of the valley adjacent to the Sturt, Thomas Turner took up land in 1848 and used it for primary production.
Enoch Shepley took up land near the (now) Winns Road ford and built a two storey house, store and post office in about 1860. In 1878 his son-in-law, Henry Langsford, built the bakehouse immediately opposite the Shepley house.
*There were a number of John Weymouths down the generations, this article refers to the first one to settle in Coromandel Valley.