In the days of colonial rule Buckland Park, as it became known, consisted of a huge land holding embracing some 20,000 acres. The property had been purchased by Capt. John Ellis and Capt. William Allan, two friends who had decided to jointly buy a property immediately upon their arrival in 1838. The new owners built a house on their property, and the bricks for this project were carried the 12,000 miles from England in one of John Ellis’ own ships, named the Buckinghamshire.
The bricks had been loaded deep in the hold as ballast, and today still remain as part of both the Windamere Homestead as well as the ‘Old Church’ structure, which in those days was used as the coach house and stables. As the colony grew in both wealth and population the Buckland Park Estate also grew in significance and established itself as ‘fundamental to the welfare of the colony’ thus described in the South Australian Archives by one of its first Governors.
Its importance to S.A. was illustrated when the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, later to become King George V of England, visited Buckland Park in 1901 – today the home of Windamere Park.
He hunted the local wildlife, ducks on the wetlands including peacocks, as well as deer. The Duchess wrote in her journal “Charming place. Enjoyed the pretty drive. Kangaroo would not jump.” The Royal party was presented with baskets of fruit. In those halcyon days only the best would do and the olive groves established on the estate, along with the many fruit trees, were imported from Europe’s best estates and have survived since 1839.
History of Windamere