In the early days, settlements were often named after governors and their relatives and South Australia was particularly punctilious in this practice; Gawler honoured George Gawler who led the colony from 1838–41. The town began in 1839 and is bounded by the South and North Para rivers and backed by hills. It was on the miners' route to the Yorke Peninsula, Burra and Kapunda, and bullock waggons and coaches rested there overnight.
|Former Bank of Adelaide (now ANZ) Bank Building (R Eime 2017)|
Graced by many fine Victorian buildings, plentiful park space and three town squares, Gawler was planned by Colonel William Light with his characteristic vision. Later Gawler came to be known as the 'colonial Athens'. When British Poet Laureate, Sir John Betjeman, visited in the 1970s, he said it was one of the most delightful country towns he had seen anywhere'.
The McKinley Memorial in Gawler honours 'Big John' McKinley who lived there after his marriage to Jeannie Pile in 1863. He led an expedition in 1861 to look for Burke and Wills and died in 1872 in Gawler.
|Gawler Flower Gallery and the National Trust Museum (R Eime 2017)|
The railway connection between Gawler and Adelaide was completed in 1857 and the present station, built to replace the original limestone building in 1879, retains its tracery of the best quality Staffordshire iron'.
|Adelaide Metro train approaching Gawler. (R Eime 2017)|
Gawler became a prosperous industrial centre and a collection point for wheat and wool going to Port Adelaide. There were hundreds of jobs in the flour mills, foundries, brickworks and breweries.
Present-day Gawler serves a rich agricultural district and has become something of a dormitory town for many daily commuters to Adelaide.
Primary produce includes fat lambs, wheat, wool, poultry and dairy products.
|Text source: Readers Digest Guide|
to Australian Places 1995