My holiday: Part 1

During my trip to South Australia my brothers and I visited Sevenhills in the Clare Valley, a wine growing district 130kms north of the city of Adelaide.   Sevenhill was established in 1851 when the Jesuits, who settled in the area, planted vines to produce sacramental wine. From these modest beginnings, the Jesuits' focus on wine has remained, with Sevenhill adding to its sacramental wine production with an extensive range of table wines. The last of the Jesuit winemakers had died and after much hunting, for the first time in 150 years a woman is now making the sacramental wine.
The Jesuits  no longer live at the estate, now it is used only as a retreat (building below) and to produce the wine.   The old buildings had so much character and I just loved the stonework.
On the estate is the St Aloysius' Church, quite an impressive church considering its location in a farming community.  It was completed in 1875 and has been used ever since.  The church was very cold inside so many layers of clothing would be needed to keep warm.
Underneath the church there is a crypt (below), unique for a parish church in Australia. The crypt is the final resting place for 41 Jesuits and, since 1901, only those who died at Sevenhill have been buried there.
Two Jesuit priests, Father Aloysius Kranewitter and Father Maximillian Klinkowstriom, traveled to Australia as chaplains to a group of 130 Catholics led by Franz Weikert, a Silesian farmer, whose vision was to establish a community in South Australia which could enjoy religious freedom.  They came to Australia for the same reason the German Lutherans came, to escape religious oppression.

The immigrants settled near the township of Clare and the Jesuits purchased 100 acres of land in 1851, naming it Sevenhill after the Seven Hill district of Rome.

They built the church and opened a college (1854), which became the first Catholic boys’ school in the colony and also served as a seminary for the training of priests.

This is one of the original slate water tanks.

(I didn't take this one!)

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  1. Absolutely fabulous pictures Jo - these are amazing and so full of history! You must have been just so excited to be in such a beautiful place for picture taking! Can hardly wait for Part 2!


  2. I love that estate house! It makes me think of Pride and Prejudice and other English estates! Beautiful! I love stone buildings - so much more character than modern houses.
    Very interesting and informative post, Jo! :)

  3. They just don't build them like that anymore do they!
    beautiful pictures, I'd love to go to SA one day!

  4. Oh I love the old stonework. My father had Italian stonemasones build his garden retaining walls in Sydney & later I saw how they work sone in Andorra. It is a real art! It would be a great place for a retreat I think.

  5. Nice pics... I particularly like the crypt one. I love the tunnel look, lighting etc.

  6. Very interesting. I love those buildings. They DO have such character about them.
    And it amazes me how many countries and settlements got started because people left another country because of religious oppression. I mean that's really how America got started as well.
    Thanks for the history lesson. It was very enjoyable.

  7. Gorgeous photos! It's such fun being on vacation, isn't it? It looks like you really had a great time.

  8. Thanks for posting the church photos! The massing of the building is a bit odd...the center tower is quite wide, in comparison to the actual building (sanctuary area) as it comes out to the sideds. I wonder if it was architect designed to be that way, or if it was just the work of a local who had slight issues with dimensions? Regardless, though, very interesting!

    By the way, you commented that crypts are unusual in Australia, as they are here in the states. Have most people throughout the years been buried in the ground, or do you have more mausoleums? Is cremation popular? You know me -always curious!

  9. Val - I couldn't find any information on who designed the church - but I wouldn't be surprised that it was modelled on a church somewhere in Europe – and perhaps the dimensions weren’t copied quite right!!

    Most people are buried (past and present) in the ground with only the rich buried in mausoleums - I hadn't been in a crypt before and this is the first I was aware of in a country church. Which again makes me think this church was a copy of a church elsewhere.

  10. The rarity of this crypt apparently is that it is actually built under the church. Many cemeteries have crypts, as specific buildings. Sadly, the first person buried in the Sevenhills crypt was one of the priests who was digging the tunnel.

  11. I was mistaken, just looking up the history - the priest was killed blasting rock for the church itself, and yes, the crypt under the church is rare in Australia, but looking through some google stuff especially in Europe there appears to be many and at times very elaborate ones.


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