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Welcome to Moonta

The name Moonta is derived from the aboriginal word Moonta- Monterra meaning impenetrable scrub.

Walter Watson Hughes occupied the area as part of his Wallaroo sheep run.

It was one of his shepherds, Paddy Ryan, who discovered copper in the mouth of  wombat burrow in 1861. Paddy was paid a reward of £6 ($560) per week for discovering the copper, but was dead within 9 months from alcoholic poisoning. 

The discovery of Copper signaled the start of a mining boom in the area. It attracted skilled workers from many parts of Britain. Many came from Cornwall bringing with them all their customs and traditions which eventually lead to the place often being referred to as ‘Australia’s Little Cornwall’.  

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The National Trust of South Australia - Moonta Branch


The National Trust of South Australia

The National Trust of Australia is responsible for the protection and conservation of places of heritage significance for South Australia and Australia.


National Trust Moonta

Our aim is to preserve the local mining history, buildings and artefacts, with an aim to conserve the Moonta area. We are making it accessible for all generations to come, allowing everyone to participate in, and appreciate the remarkable ingenuity of our Cornish ancestors.


Cornish Mining Heritage

Fortunately for us, two shepherds stumbled across some wombat holes that had greenish rocks, turning out to be copper. This signaled the start of the mining boom on the Yorke Peninsula.

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Copper Coast