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The Quiet Life


The Adelaide Hills are alive with the sound of serenity, says Mandy Toczek McPeake FIML, executive manager of consumer services at Carer Support in Adelaide


I’ve always been a city girl but one day my husband and I went for a drive in the Adelaide Hills and stopped in Callington. We’d never been there before and we saw this lovely little house for sale – an 1850s miner’s cottage. We weren’t at retirement age but we thought, “This ain’t gonna be here for us when we do get to retirement age!” We bought it straight away. That was three years ago.

About 45 of these cottages are still lived in. Some of them need renovation, but fortunately ours had already been a labour of love, so we haven’t had to do anything to it. Callington is about a 45-minute drive from Adelaide, where I work as executive manager of consumer services at Carer Support, which provides services mainly to unpaid family members in a caring role.

Callington is an unusual little place of about 350 people. We’ve got a local store, a primary school, a footy oval and a pub that’s being renovated at the moment. It was in a pretty desperate state and it was bought by some people who already have some other pubs in the Adelaide Hills and they’ve got big plans for it, which is lovely. We look forward to it opening again.

We walk our dogs early in the morning and we go past the sheep and horses and cattle and everybody who drives past waves at us. It’s very friendly. After moving here, I joined groups such as the Callington and Kanmantoo Landcare Group and I discovered there was a local writers’ group, so I’ve been doing a bit of creative writing. I’m also turning my garden into a native garden with advice from the Landcare Group.

Callington was originally a copper mining town with Cornish miners and German landowners. The copper mine [in neighbouring Kanmantoo] is still quite a big local employer but now it’s overwhelmingly farming. A lot of the landowners also seem to breed dogs now, so we’ve got poodles and short-haired pointers and terriers down the road.

Callington is located between Murray Bridge and Mount Barker, which has lots of lovely cafes. Murray Bridge is also a place to do river cruises. I personally think Callington is a secret nobody knows about and that people would be fascinated to look at all the old houses. I think the town could do with promoting itself more in that way.



LOCATION: Located in South Australia’s Adelaide Hills, 60km east of Adelaide


LEADING INDUSTRIES: Callington was named after the copper mining town in Cornwall, UK. The town’s Bremer mine was established in the 1840s. While mining is still a major employer, cattle farming is now the major industry.


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