Coonawarra? In Rosemary speak, that’s Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon! After leaving the Solos Rally in Penola we toured the famous South Australian wine areas of Coonawarra, the Barossa Valley and the Clare Valley.
Penola is in the heart of the Coonawarra wine growing region, famous for its Terra Rossa soil and the amazing full-bodied red wines it produces.But Penola is famous for more than wine. It is also the home of Australia’s first saint, Mary McKillop and Marion and I visited the Mary McKillop Centre for a very informative hour or so delving into the life and times of this remarkable woman and also Father Julian Tenison Woods, who inspired Mary as they shared a common vision for the children of this area.
when Mary MacKillop and Julian Tenison Woods made their dream a reality
‘Little did either of us then dream of what was to spring from so small a beginning.’ Mary MacKillop 1891
I found the information about Father Woods fascinating – what an amazing man! Not only was he a priest and an educational visionary at the time, but he was also a botanist, a scientist, a fossil collector and more. He deservedly shares an equal space in the Interpretive Centre with Mary McKillop.
Neither Marion or I are particularly religious but I have to say we were both quite moved by our visit to this centre and the insight into the amazing lives of these two people.
The schoolhouse is on the corner of Petticoat Lane – now doesn’t that invite you to wander down the street, which is what we did to admire some of the old cottages.
Driving away from Penola you could see the changing seasons reflected in the colour of the vines along the side of the road. It was just a taste of what was to come! In the meantime, we’re off to find a camp for Easter on the Murray River on our way to the Barossa and Clare Valleys. Cheers!