The following information is a copy of JK Stokes data on Mount Barker as contained in her Rootsweb ( Genealogy Website  and has been included here with permission.  No alterations or additions may be made to her information without further permission, although relevant comments and/or additions are welcome to be added at the bottom of each page.  (copied July 2014)

Auchendarroch Cro' Nest (Our Lady of Mercy Convent)
The Laurels Fairfield Farm
E.A. Hallack's 1892 Drive around Mt Barker Dumas House


Robert Barr-Smith at Auchendarroch 1908Auchendarroch c 1938The summer residence of the Barr-Smith Family stands at the corner of Gawler Street and Adelaide and Wellington Road, and faces down Gawler Street.  Once one of the most stately and gracious homes in the entire colony, it has seen many uses over the years, but started life as the Oakfield Hotel, owned by Lachlan MacFarlane.

As a Convalescent Home in 1948During the war years it was used as a convalescent home for returning servicemen and women.  Then, during the 1960's and 70's it was used as a rest home for older people.

In the 1980's it was turned into a block of communal type units.

Now it is being preserved, and is having a theatre complex built at the rear with the main building to be used as function rooms and a restaurant.



Cro' Nest (Our Lady of Mercy Convent)

Our Lady of Mercy Convent (Cro' Nest) c. 1938Cro' Nest was built by John Hill, who worked for Dunn & Co. 

Later it was sold and eventually became the property of the Catholic Church.  It was renamed Our Lady of Mercy Convent and housed the Nuns who taught at St Scholastica's School which is situated just down the hill from the Convent.

Today, it is again a private home.

The Laurels

The Laurels c 1980The Laurels c 1890The former home of John Dunn, of flour milling fame, was built in 1844 . Mr Dunn was still living in the house in 1892 when Mr E.A. Hallack made his tour of the towns of Mt Barker and described them.  The house still stands in Mt Barker today and was owned by Mr Jack Walsh for a number of years.

Of recent times, the Laurels has become the centre piece in a new lifestyle retirement village.


Fairfield Farm

Fairfield Farm c. 1885Joseph May, who arrived in the colony in 1839 built this home for his family soon after moving to the Mt Barker area.  The property consisted of a large area of grazing land, several acres of fruit trees of all varieties and an apiary.

The May family lived on in the home for many years, and it eventually passed into the hands of Mrs Coleman, who was one of Joseph May's daughters.


Dumas House

Dumas HomeVictor Dumas, one of the first school teachers in the town, lived in this modest house and began teaching his students from the front room of the home.

Mr. Dumas was of French Huguenot extraction, and is believed to have been descended from Alexandre Dumas, the famous French novelist. He married and migrated to South Australia where several children were born.

His children enjoyed considerable fame and fortune in their own lives. One son, Charles Morris Dumas, was the original proprietor of the Mount Barker Courier.

Charles Morris Dumas, married Amalie Paltridge, daughter of the tannery owners. They had several children including John Russell Dumas, who became a prominent engineer in Western Australia; and Frederick Lloyd Dumas, later Sir F.L. Dumas of Adelaide.


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