Martindale Hall- Grand Heritage House, Mintaro South Australia

exiting martindale in our coach
Squeezing the caravan through the grand entrance gates
Martindale outside
Martindale Hall was built in 1879 for Edmund Bowman Jnr at a cost of 30,000 pounds. He inherited his money from Edmund Bowman Sr, a pastoralist, when Australia “lived off the sheep’s back”. Edmund Sr inherited from his father John who was a sheep farmer in the Lake’s district in England and who migrated to Tasmania. His home Barton Vale still stands today in a suburb of Adelaide.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Martindale hall has 32 rooms including the cellar of 7 rooms. Average cost of a house in 1879 was around 500 pounds.
martindale doorway
Beautiful stonework done by imported British Stonemasons. The house ended up costing much more than projected. I wonder why?


the bowmans of martindale
Edmund Bowman and Annie Cowes in 1884  on their wedding day. What a happy looking couple! They had 6 children but only 3 ever lived in the house before he had to sell up.

It was while studying law at Cambridge that young Edmund came to love the English lifestyle and after having come into his inheritance: Martindale station and a great deal of money, he engaged a London architect to design a home similar to the English manor houses. Sixty tradesman, most brought out from England, were contracted to build the house which took 23 months. Edmund surrounded the house with a polo ground, a racecourse, a boating lake and a cricket pitch in which the English X1 played at least once. He and his 2 brothers lived the high life entertaining Adelaide society, including the Adelaide hunt club. M

Edmund had to sell up in 1891 because of over expansion, drought and the depression of the mid 1880’s.  At the sale he would have made only 3000 pounds in the 11 years he owned it. Don’t think he would have been happy with this capital growth. Too much shooting animals, polo playing and spending money Edmund! M



The house was bought by William Mortlock  a South Australian grazier and politician who had inherited his father’s empire as a wedding present for his wife Rosye for only 33,000 pounds.( a steal!) Some wedding present Bill! William and Rosye also had 6 children, but only 2 survived into adulthood.

Of the 2 surviving boys one drowned leaving John (known as Jack) to inherit Martindale Station when his parents died. Jack was a very studious man who traveled all over the world, bringing back many artefacts which you can see all over the hall today. He married in 1948 and died 15 months later at ago 55.

William Mortlock and wife Rosye above for whom he bought the house as a wedding present.

Above is the story of Valentine’s room who of the 6 children who was locked in this room due to his “cretinism”. He died aged 8.


When son Jack Mortlock died he bequeathed the property to the University of Adelaide, appointing his wife as trustee. She handed Martindale Station over to the University in 1965 and died in 1979. In 1986 the University handed the Hall with 45 acres over to the South Aust. Govt. M

mortlock article 1984
An article on the family in a 1980’s paper


main hall
The grand staircase in the central hall complete with skylight
beautiful parquetry
Fllor detail. A lot of huon pine used on the floors.
huon pine wood floors
Looking toward the entrance hall
the parlour martindale
The drawing room
dining room martindale
The dining room
looking down on entrance from the gallery
Looking down from the upper gallery
The nanny's room ajoining the baby's room
The nanny’s room a joining the babies room
baby's room with original wallpaper
The babies room with original wallpaper covered with nursery thyme figures
light rose detail
Detailed paintwork is everywhere
guest room
The guest room. This room used as Mirandas room in the filming of “Picnic at hanging rock” movie
original hand blocked wall paper
All original hand blocked wall paper still in good shape
master bedroom or blue room
Master bedroom or the “Blue Room”
Ensuite to the blue room had a fancy bath, unusual for the time, but no flushing toilet.
comode and call bell to empty it in ensuite to blue room
Master bathroom had a toilet commode. They rang the bell behind it to have it emptied. Downstairs was a “crapper” brand flushing toilet. This was for the servants to use!
sitting area in blue room
Blue room sitting area and fireplace
sewing room
The sewing room
The gallery
Main gallery upstairs

stairwellwoodwork detail

dressing screen
Hand carved shell inlaid dressing screen


smoking room1
The smoking room. This was our favorite room full of stuff collected by Jack Mortlock from all over the world on his travels.
martindale smoking room roof
Cornice detail and travel collection, smoking room
billiard room
Billiard room/library. The table was put in the room before the north walls were completed and is the only surviving Bowman furniture left in the house.

Now have a look at how different the next rooms are. They are for the servants so no need for too much finery.

the kitchen and staff dining area
Kitchen and servants dining room with hole in the wall to pass through the serving trays
martindale intercom
Servants call bells. Each room had a “speaking tube” originally and then a call bell later. This was on the wall just outside the kitchen where the servants could hear it from their kitchen table.
led sink surround butlers pantry
Butlers pantry with lead lined sink surround
servants hall
Back hallway for the servants-dark and dreary
upstairs to the servant rooms
This led up to the servants rooms which we did not see.

The coach house and stables

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