Australia · Travel

South Australia Trip: Day 8-9 – Hahndorf and the Footy

Our main activity for the day was to head to the German-Australian town of Hahndorf. We headed out at around midday, after having spent some time at home throughout the morning. However, before we got to Hahndorf, there was one key errand that I had to run. Instead of heading to Hahndorf directly, instead we drove to the next town over: Mount Barker. I had inadvertently timed my trip back to Australia to coincide with a by-election being held in my Federal Electoral Division. My local MP had been found ineligible to sit in the parliament as she had been a dual Australian-UK citizen at the time of her nomination, even though her renouncement had been submitted before the nomination and confirmed by the British Home Office before the election date. Though the by-election wouldn’t itself be held for another few weeks, it was within the early voting period, and the closest pre-poll booth was in Mount Barker. We showed up at the polling booth to find no line, and I was in and out within a few minutes.

After Mount Barker, we headed over to Hahndorf. We parked on the main street and spent the afternoon walking up and down the main street. Unlike many of the towns in the UK, Hahndorf is full of unique shops and small business that you can’t find anywhere else in the country. We spent a couple of hours going into the shops and investigating what was there. There is a vast selection of stores, including leathermakers, butchers, bakers, two different candlestick makers, cheese shops, fudge stops, pubs, art galleries and alpaca wool clothing stores. Jacqueline was keen to buy a big packet of Fruchocs to take home to Cambridge and eat over the next few weeks.

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Around five o’clock, the stores began to close, and so we headed back to the car. We had two hours to spare before meeting up with Nana for dinner. We decided to head out to the supermarket in Bridgewater to pick up supplies for our upcoming trip to the Flinders Ranges. But first, we decided to head up to the summit of Mount Lofty, a quarter hour drive away, to watch the sun set over the city. We parked near the car park and revelled in the view of the sun disappearing behind the St Vincent’s Gulf. As it was darkening, we returned to the supermarket, and picked up all of the supplies we needed.

We parked near the Hahndorf Mill, and waited for Nana and, separately, Uncle Fred and Auntie Barbara. On most nights, the Mill puts on a buffet dinner, but tonight was schnitzel night. There were several choices of toppings and salads to go with the schnitzels. It was nice to catch up with them both, and we chatted about life in South Australia and Cambridge. Afterwards, we each went our separate ways and drove back home again.

I had two uniquely Australian experiences to show Jacqueline over the course of the following day. The first was not until mid afternoon, so the morning was spent taking things easy before we headed out after lunch.

We headed east towards Mount Pleasant. The small town is the hub of the farming communities in the northern Hills, southeastern Barossa and western Murraylands. Once a month, the town hosts a stock auction for the local farming communities. People bring in sheep and cattle in the mornings and muster them into allocated pens, before being auctioned by the pen in the afternoon. We arrived just as the auction was starting and wandered over to watch. First up was the sheep, which were put in rows of pens of around a dozen sheep each. There were a couple of rather enthusiastic bidders, and most of the sheep were going for around $100 a head. However, some were quite lame or had failed disease tests and went for as low as $10. However, all of the sheep and cattle had kicked up a lot of dust and hay, kicking of Jacqueline’s hay fever. She retreated to the car to recover, but couldn’t stay to watch much of the roundhouse sales of the cattle. We watched a couple from the outside, but then went back home to recover.

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After a few hours at home, Jacqueline and I headed out again and drove down to the bus station. We were heading to the footy: the Adelaide Crows vs the Geelong Cats. Our bus took us all the way in to the stadium, where we went and picked up our tickets from the box office on the south gate. Our seats were in the second tier of the Riverbank Stand, the large southern stand that had recently been redeveloped. We were sitting at the very bottom right corner, with the balcony in front of us and a glass panel to our right. This afforded us an excellent view over the entire ground. Before the match started, I went and got some chips and a footy pie, the most traditional of footy snacks.

The match was certainly entertaining. Over the first quarter, I was giving a commentary to Jacqueline of everything that was going on. The ground is significantly bigger than any other sport she was used to, and we took delight in watching the atmosphere both on and off the field. The match went back and forth, only a late goal putting Adelaide up at half time, and Geelong only a goal behind at the half time break. At half time, we watched the young kids running around and playing on the field, something that you only really get at footy matches. Adelaide had a bumper third quarter, and held on to a 112-97 win by the final siren. It was great that the match that we got to see was not a blow-out, but it was a good win to the home team. Our egress from the stadium was delayed by an incident on the road outside, and the direct footy buses were jam packed, so we took one of the other city buses to head home.

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