John Reid and his family were the first settlers in Gawler in 1839 and named their property Clonlea after a family property in Newry, County Armagh/Down. The town of Gawler was built on the small settlement they started. The Reids were lifelong friends in Australia of Captain Bagot. Another Irishman, William Oldham, tutored the Reid boys at Clonlea before moving on to Kapunda to become mine manager. The Reids arrived to a vibrant indigenous culture in South Australia. Ross Reid, a son, recalled a battle between Murray blacks and local natives opposite the Reid property at Clonlea. The Reids grew wheat, oats, barley and potatoes. The Irish Cluain Lao ‘meadow of the calves’ is the origin of Clonlea.


Mrs Mahony's Scrapbook, Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of Australasia, South Australian Branch, 1909,
A Book of South Australian Women in the First Hundred Years, Women's Centenary Council of South Australia, 1936,


Dymphna Lonergan

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“Clonlea,” Irish Place Names in Australia, accessed July 19, 2018,