District Council of
Karoonda East Murray

17 May 2018

16 May, 2018                                                      Media release



History Festival first for Karoonda’s quaint Hood Homestead


A rare opportunity to take a peek into a fascinating part of Mallee family life more than a century ago is on offer at Karoonda’s Pioneer Park this weekend, as the town welcomes its first History Festival visitors.


Built in 1913 by early pioneer DJ Hood for his family at the settlement of Sandalwood, at the time, Hood Homestead was deemed the epitome of a “modern Mallee farmhouse”.


The tiny hardwood home, with just two rooms, was occupied by remaining members of the Hood family until the 1960s, after which it remained unoccupied for two decades.


In the mid-1980s, a dedicated group of local volunteers painstakingly dismantled and rebuilt the home in the park to the smallest detail, including the original family crockery, linen, cellar and the old wood stove in the kitchen.


Today, the original abode is one of the stand-out features of Karoonda’s Pioneer Park, which is participating in South Australia’s History Festival for the first time in 2018.


Chairperson of the Karoonda and District Historical Society, Denis Roberts says this weekend’s tour is a golden opportunity to visit Hood Homestead and hear about its past from keen local historians.


“Walking in there is like walking back into the early 1900s. It might seem pretty quaint to people now but it's a picture of how life was lived back then,” he says.


“It was a bit unusual for the Mallee, this house, as most were built of limestone, not wood. We want people to see it and enjoy it and imagine life back then.”


With support from Karoonda East Murray Council, Pioneer Park was established in the 1980s to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the colony of South Australia.


The park is home to the old Wynarka Church, which was relocated there in its entirety, and also hosts the smallest telephone exchange building in South Australia – the Kunlara Post and Telephone Office.


The park also features a rebuilt railway siding, archives and artefacts from defunct town societies, plus a vast collection of old farm and harvesting equipment dating back to the early 1900s.



Karoonda East Murray Council Chief Executive Officer Matthew Morgan commended the historical society for jumping on the opportunity to bring the state’s popular History Festival to Karoonda.


“The History Festival event is a great way to bring a new audience to Karoonda and also showcase our Pioneer Park, which is a great example of the community working together to retain the region’s history,” he said.


“Thanks to a group of hardworking volunteers, the park began and has continued throughout the years and many of the features and items in the park were donated from local families. It’s a place that has thrived thanks to the help of the community.”


Mr Morgan encouraged both visitors and local residents to book in for Sunday’s tour, saying it was a good opportunity to revisit the region’s bygone days.


“It’s like a time capsule of our region’s history and I find it absolutely fascinating to take a wander through the park and get lost in the history of the Mallee,” he says.


“If you haven’t visited Pioneer Park before, now’s the time. It’s one of the hidden gems of the region.”


Karoonda’s Pioneer Park is open this Sunday, 20 May from 11am-3pm as part of the 2018 History Festival. Bookings can be by contacting Tammy O'Malley on 8578 1004 or by emailing





Media contact:

Karoonda East Murray Council CEO Matthew Morgan | P: (08) 8578 1004 | E: matthew.m@dckem.sa.gov.au

Hoods outside        Hoods bedroom       Hoods kitchen

11 Railway Terrace

PO Box 58

Karoonda SA 5307

Tel: 08 8578 1004

Fax: 08 8578 1246

Email: council@dckem.sa.gov.au

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