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History of Tailem Town Pioneer Village

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The Largest Pioneer Village in Australia



It was after a visit to the Pioneer Village at Swanhill back in the 70's that Peter Squires was inspired to build his own Pioneer Village on his property at Tailem Bend. As money came available, he would buy more and more buildings from around the State and carefully transported them back to Tailem Bend where they would be erected once more. The Village soon grew to become the largest in Australia, with over 110 buildings set out on 13 streets.

Many of these buildings are over 100 years old and are filled with genuine artifacts that depict and give the feel of Australian life upto a century ago. The oldest building is the old ticketing office from the first exhibition grounds in Adelaide which dates from 1870 followed closely in age by the school that dates from 1881.

Although the cemetery does not contain any bodies, the headstones are still original and many of them were rescued from Paynham cemetry as the leases had expired. One headstone is of particular interest which is Samuel Sisson. It has become known as the travelling headstone as it was brought over from Tasmania to Australia, and moved around the country to finally be offered to Peter's Village. After deeper investigation, it was found that the person on the headstone was not originally from Tasmania, but had died here in South Australia in Bridgewater. How the headstone came to be in Tasmania remains a mystery but strangely it does seem to have finally found it's own way home to South Australia.

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