Bishop Orchards - celebrating 150 years in 2021
The property at Bishops Adelaide Hills has been owned and operated by the Bishop family for over 150 years. The original holding of 162 acres (Section 257) was purchased from the Crown in 1871 by James Bishop - a free settler from Somerset, England - who migrated to South Australia in 1849 and took up land at Norton Summit in 1854.
James and Jane Bishop's youngest son - Charles Henry Bishop - was the first family member to live on the property (named Ferndale) and bought it from his father in 1882. The main homestead on Bishop Orchards, Tetratheca, was built by his son - William James Bishop OBE - in 1920. Tetratheca was later the home of Bill's son - the late Douglas Alan Bishop.
With a high winter rainfall (over 1000 mm), deep rich soil in the valleys and permanent springs feeding the creeks year round, the family prospered and the property now spans over 120 ha. Early last century, the well-drained slopes and fertile gullies grew a variety of labour-intensive crops, including apples, pears, cherries, vegetables, berries, nuts and flowers. Some steep hillsides were planted with pines but most were left as bushland.
Tetratheca (named after a wild flower native to the Adelaide Hills) was famous for its Cherry Blossom Festivals in the early 1950s and the collection of conifers and oaks in the homestead gardens with the conifer collection being noted in the Oxford Companion to Australian Gardens.
After the devastating Black Sunday Bushfire of 2 January 1955, apples and cherries became the main orchard crops and further bushland was cleared for pasture to run sheep for fat lamb production.
Today, the property is focussed on cherries and cattle, and the original cottages built in former times to house workers have now been restored to provide luxury guest accommodation. The rough roads, hewn out of the steep slopes with hand tools over a century ago to provide access to all arable parts of the property now serve as private walking trails for guests.
Basket Range lies in the catchment area of the River Torrens, making it unlikely that the region will ever be more closely settled.