The Founding of Cherry Gardens

This is an extract from an oral history by Margaret Jacobs

Cherry Gardens is an area bordered by Coromandel Valley, Coromandel East, Ironbank, Scott Creek, Dorsett Vale, Clarendon, Happy Valley and Aberfoyle Park area. 

I will start my story with my great great grandparents Isaac and Elizabeth Jacobs who arrived in South Australia in 1837. They came from the Isle of Wight on the “John Renwick”.  Firstly settling on the banks of River Torrens about where the old Adelaide Jail was built.  Henry, the first of nine children was born there, he was my Great grandfather.  Later Isaac, Elizabeth and Henry moved to Happy Valley where two more children were born, Isaac and William. 

So the story goes in 1838, 3 men Edward Burgess, Henry Field and Isaac Jacobs journeyed east from Happy Valley in search of fodder for stock. The route that they took was probably up the ridge of the hill which is now known as Oakridge Road.

After a long climb they saw a locality which promised to provide the pastures they were looking for. They came across the herbage known as kangaroo grass. Unfortunately it was looking a bit dry at that time of year because it comes fresh in the spring time.  After cutting a quantity of this they rested under the shade of a tree to have their lunch. One of the trio noticed the unusual type of tree under which they were seated had small fruit on it but the stone was attached to the outside of the fruit. Looking around the timber laden hills they could see a number of the same type of trees.  Perceiving the similarity to the cherry in colour this man explained, we will call this place Cherry Gardens. If you have a look at a branch you will see a red berry on each of the branches. They come ripe at Christmas time, so there is a little tiny cherry on each so that’s the nature of the native cherry tree that they sat under to have their lunch.

Edward Burgess did not reside in Cherry Gardens but later lived at Clarendon. 

Henry Field settled on what is known as Chapel Paddock next to the now Uniting Church, Hicks Hill Road, Cherry Gardens.  

Isaac and Elizabeth Jacobs and family settled on a property joining that of Mr Field. Six more children were born to Isaac and Elizabeth Jacobs at Cherry Gardens; Jane, Fanny, Edward, James, Thomas and Mary.

Closely following these early arrivals were Luke and Harriet Broadbent, Joseph and Elizabeth Middleton, Mr and Mrs John White and Mr and Mrs John Chambers.  The area where the Church, former Rechabite Hall and former school are situated was the first part of the district to be settled. To get there you continue on Hicks Hill Road from the Church, which goes over the hill and on the left is the Rechabite Hall.  Continue on and on the right is where the old school was.

Other families gradually settled in this lovely locality, such as the Lewis, Brumby, Hicks, Thompson, Lloyd, Ricks, Strange, Stone, Mildwater, Donnell, Chapman, Tyrell, Hobbs, Fairweather, Stanway etc.

The full oral history is held in the records of Coromandel Valley & Districts Branch, National Trust SA

Transcribed by Maxine Conlon

Edited by Trevor Conlon OAM and Claire Phillips