Where the Hell is Cradock!




Cradock is a small but delightful cluster of buildings on the Orrorro to Hawker road. In a stunning part of the truly magical Flinders Ranges. The settlement grew around timber clearing in the 1870's, which subsequently gave way to sheep, wheat and later beef grazing as more land was cleared. Pastrolism still plays a big role around the tiny settlement, which is home to a show piece historic pub.

The radiant old sandstone pub stands with a church-like structure and has identical gables on either end, each with a striking corrugated-iron facade. Letters cut from galvanised tin, placed on a wrought iron frame, spell out the words Cradock Hotel across a corrugated iron awning.

Inside the pub, which dates back to 1881, the theme of charm continues. The walls are simply painted white and the floors are made of exposed, original Baltic pine boards. There's a 44 gallon drum, converted into a rustic but effective wood burning stove and a shelf displayed a collection of primitive tools. The bar is constructed from modest timber sheets, which slope inwardly towards the floor. It's topped with red laminex, classically trimmed with a chrome strip. Its the result of a 1950's renovation, but appears perfectly at home in this delightful nineteenth century public house.

The pub has managed to cleverly maintain a subtle balance between a simple country pub which retains its locals and a venue that attracts Adelaide's urbanites on weekends. Maybe the fact that it does feel very much like a simple country pub, where visitors can rub shoulders with local residents, is what attracts the urban set.

A tastefully renovated passageway leads to a dining room which hosts an odd assortment of bucolic timber furniture, in all shapes and colors. Timber floorboards, high ceiling bring an ambience to the room.

The Cradock Hotel has a reputation for its fine food. The philosophy centres upon straightforward meals. Dishes are crafted from fresh quality produce, much of it from the region.

Accommodation is available in stylishly appointed rooms, which have timber floorboards, quality linen and comfortable beds. Facilities are shared and guests have use of very pleasant, private courtyard and if they step out the back, there are views to Wilpena Pound.

The pub is allegedly haunted by Lawrence, a former publican, who oversees the establishment in the form of a ghostly custodian. The unfortunate gentlemen in question died in his room at the pub in 1909 of a strange virus after returning from the spring racing carnival in Melbourne. Due to the nature of his disease, the local undertaker refused to move the body. He lay in his room, in the November heat, for a week before a group of locals decided that enough was enough and carted him up to the local cemetery.

Unknown Authors..

Cradock School