Mount Crawford (S.A.)
Mount Crawford is a hill in South Australia approximately 15 km north of Birdwood, in the Mount Lofty Ranges. It also refers to the Mount Crawford Forest which is a grouping of several government forest lands in the area, the largest encompassing the area around Mount Crawford – others are to the west at Mount Gawler and south around Cudlee Creek and Kangaroo Creek Dam.
The Barossa Valley is directly to the north.
The forest headquarters and an information centre are located near Mount Crawford. Most of the timber grown are pine trees, though there are some native eucalypt plantations. The Heysen Trail passes through the forests.
An alluvial goldrush occurred in the area in the late nineteenth century, and fossicking still goes on in the area today. The forests are also popularly used for recreational purposes, with school fairs and camps being held there, along with a rally car race.
Fossicking for gold, diamonds, opal, garnet and other gems is one of the more unusual recreational opportunities offered by Mount Crawford Forest.
Mount Crawford Forest is in an historic mining area of the Adelaide Hills.
You’ll find a network of roads and trails within the forest is used extensively by bushwalkers, cyclists and horse riders, and picnicking and camping facilities are provided.
The Indigenous name for Mount Crawford is unknown. The mount was named in 1839 by Charles Sturt after James Coutts Crawford (1817–1889). Crawford had a Royal Navy background. He and his drovers arrived overland from NSW in April 1839 with 700 cattle, setting up a hut and cattle run at the base of the mount. Crawford soon moved on to be a pioneer of Wellington, New Zealand.
In February 1840 Crawford’s hutkeeper, an old soldier, was bailed up by bushrangers Curran, Hughes, and Fox, who robbed his arms and rations. Curran and Hughes were executed by hanging at Adelaide on 16 March 1840 for an armed robbery committed earlier near Gawler.
The pioneer families during the first decades of closer settlement included surnames such as Coleman, Hammat, Rankine, Polden, Murray, Warren, and Whyte. The subsequent history was one of mining and pastoralism, until being largely replaced by forestry and recreation activities.