Marble Hill Cherries is set in one of the highest parts of the Mt Lofty Ranges.   More than half the property is steep, shaded   and rocky; which has helped preserve rare native plants, including ferns and orchids.

European settlement of the Adelaide plains started in 1836, and quickly spread from Glenelg, to what is now the CBD.  Throughout the hills, local stringy bark forest was cut down both to clear land for farming, and to be sold for building timber to raise cash for the farms.  This site was settled by the Watkins family early in Adelaide’s history, and over the last 150 years it has been a market garden, a dahlia farm, a quarry and an orchard.   Many of the local roads were built from our quarry, as were some houses.

The original farmhouse had three bedrooms and housed up to 11 children as well as parents.   Early hills families had to be responsible for their own lighting, heating, water supply and sewerage.  Lights, heaters and fridges were run on kerosene.     Electricity only came to much of the Adelaide Hills in the early 1950’s. We still have to manage our own water supply and sewerage.  The original kitchen was built away from the rest of the house so that if the kitchen caught fire, the whole house would not burn down.  There were two fire places – one for cooking, and one for muddy workers to stand by to try and warm up after a cold and wet day in the fields.

Bush fires (wild fires) have always been a part of Hills life.  The quarry and apple orchard were burnt out in the 1957 bush fire.  Although the orchard was re-planted, it fell into neglect after the damaging and deadly Ash Wednesday fire of 1983.

Paul Shanks and  Helen Lindon bought the derelict property in 1985, made three rooms habitable and planted 1500 native trees.   In 1993, they were able to start planting the cherry orchard, and now have 1800 cherry trees.  At the start of the orchard, you can see the new native trees (and possibly a koala in them,) and some of the old Jonathan apple trees.  They  also grow enough apricots, apples, plums, quinces and lemons for Marble Hill jams and food.  The blackberries just grow themselves, but are delicious.