Horseshoe Top-End is a scenic sheep property in the picturesque Horseshoe Range which geologists describe as a miniature Wilpena Pound. This beautiful part of the Flinders Ranges, east of Quorn and only 330kms north of Adelaide, has been home to five generations of the Connell family. Our connection to the Horseshoe started way back in the 1870’s when John Connell, an emigrant from Ireland and his wife Anne (Greer) first settled on one of the 640 acre blocks carved up from the large pastoral run, Coonatto Station.
The Horseshoe or ‘The Shoe’ as it is affectionately known was a thriving community in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, with a school established at the turn of the century. Social activities included Sunday cricket and tennis matches. The main service centre was the booming town of Hammond located on the Adelaide to Alice Springs rail link that ran through the nearby towns of Carrieton, Moockra and Hammond. This rail service was crucial for the survival of these communities to transport grain and other produce and the supply of goods for the people living in the region.
Life was tough though for the twelve families who settled in the Horseshoe, clearing land, growing crops, raising stock, dealing with droughts, all in a foreign land and climate. It was difficult to survive on these small blocks and many families left the area while the remaining landowners expanded their holdings. The school closed in 1920 and by 1963, Jim (Sr) and Sheila Connell (3rd generation) and their children were the only landholders still living here. The stone ruins and piles of rubble scattered throughout the Horseshoe are now the only evidence of that era. In 1977, we took over the running of the Connell property after Jim (Sr) and Sheila retired to Orroroo. In 2005, with the help of our son Tim, we diversified into tourism, naming the property Horseshoe Top-End. This venture has enabled us to pursue our commitment to protecting areas of remnant vegetation for future generations to enjoy by reducing sheep numbers and fencing off over 400 acres as conservation blocks.
Our family is proud of the rich history of the area and especially our link with the Horseshoe, which has remained unbroken since the 1870’s. We appreciate the opportunities tourism has provided us and enjoy sharing our beautiful part of the world with others.
We look forward to your stay.