Don’t you love taking a step back in time in a vintage Pioneer Village? I recently had the pleasure to visit the largest pioneer village in the Southern Hemisphere, Old Tailem Town. Located in Tailem Bend in South Australia. This preserving our past is so valuable. It allows us to glimpse what life was like in times gone by. We get to see how our forefathers (or Mothers) lived. Learning where we have been, can help guide our future. Plus it’s just enjoyable to check out all the old stuff!

Old Tailem Town

Take a self-guided tour around the largest Pioneer Village in the Southern Hemisphere, and explore more than 110 buildings, including a genuine church (from 1900) — with a graveyard, a school (1885) and a village hall (1883). What better way to learn our history, than to visually see it, and it’s far more powerful. Come back at night you can even do a Ghost Tour.

A little history

Peter Squires inherited the property that Old Tailem Town now stands on, from his Grandfather. He was already familiar with the property and its history, having visited and played there while growing up. Having just visited another pioneer village at Swan Hill, he decided that is what he wanted to build for Tailem Bend. Wanting to keep it authentic, he purchased old buildings, some over 100 years old, and transported them back to his property to recreate an olden-day Australian town. He was passionate that our history should be preserved for the public to enjoy and that our children should step out of their modern world for a short time and experience the lives our grandparents once lived. Peter’s passion never wanes and the village continues to grow, now standing at nearly 115 buildings on 15 streets

“In life, we all end up with what we think about, and so South Australia now has a culture center that reminds people of their own life’s road. It also shows young people how the world has come to where it is now.” 

~ Peter Squires, Owner of Tailem Town

Some of the best bits

The church with its extensive graveyard is really interesting to wander through. The houses are totally done up for the era. Everything from 1860 to the 1960s. There are hotels, barbershops and emporiums.

The cars, so many cars and trucks and farming equipment. There are even trains and carriages. They are all set up in different scenarios. There is a Police station and police car. I think someone had a sense of humor too. There was even a ‘body’ in the morgue. It must have taken years to accumulate so much of our past.

The details

Open almost every day (except Christmas Day) from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Old Tailem Town Pioneer Village is located at 8552 Princes Highway, Tailem Bend, 5260. South Australia. Entry costs AUD$28.00 per adult. You can even take your dog along, as long as it stays on its leash. Allow several hours to wander in and out of all the buildings, there is sure to be something of interest to everyone. Make sure you wear sturdy walking shoes and take a water bottle and don’t forget the sunscreen.

My best piece of advice is to shoot with a wide-angle lens to capture the details. Shoot with an aperture to best capture everything — f/9 -f/11. I used the Sony 16-35mm lens on my Sony A7RIII. I shot on aperture priority mode with auto ISO and a minimum shutter speed of 1/125 seconds. Sure it bumped the ISO up when inside some of the really dark buildings, but a little bit of grain is fine, in my opinion.