Lenswood sits in the Adelaide Hills, some 30 km from the GPO in Adelaide. The region is very rural and relies predominately on farming as its industry. According to the 2016 Census there are 485 residents living in 143 family groups.
Lenswood was formerly part of the area settled as Forest Range. Prior to 1917 the children of the district walked to collect the mail from Forest Range, bringing the letters back to school where they were sorted and distributed. The community decided that a second post office was required in the eastern part of the district and in 1917 a post office was granted, and Forest Range was divided into two parts. A name was sought for the new section and several names were suggested. As this was around the time of a large battle at Lens in France, towards the end of the First World War, the name Lenswood was chosen.
The original industry was the use of stringybark trees for timber. As these forests were cleared, the land was planted with orchards. By the time Lenswood was named, the district was planted in orchards, predominantly supplying apples and pears. The region is the state’s largest supplier of apples and pears to local, interstate and overseas markets. Lenswood’s central position in the Adelaide Hills orchard districts led to a large cold storage facility being built there in 1933 called the Lenswood Coldstores Cooperative. The facility now has storage for 400,000 bushels of fruit, processing mostly apples, pears.
A large area of wine grapes has been established on former orchard land or in addition to and many well-known and boutique vineyards produce wine from this district.
Being so close to Adelaide a great number of people travel to Adelaide to work. There is no public transport available in the area.
The township settlement is spread through a narrow valley and surrounding ridges. The area is very decentralised with just a few buildings forming a ‘township’. Businesses, including the cold store operations, are to be found on the main road between Adelaide and Lobethal. See map.
After World War 2 land was purchased to establish an oval and sporting grounds to commemorate the soldiers. This is Lenswood Memorial Park, on Swamp Road. There is another oval at the school and the Lenswood Centennial Park on Lobethal Road at the base of the “School Hill”.
There are few services in Lenswood with families relying on nearby towns, such as Lobethal, Woodside, Oakbank and Balhannah.
How to get there
Adelaide to Lenswood via Greenhill Road.
Added note: Lenswood is named after the town of Lens, France, which was the scene of a battle during WWI (Battle of Hill 70). Contrary to local folklore there is no evidence that local soldiers were involved in the battle although some may have been in nearby supporting troops. [ref] There is a town with the same name in Canada who is the ‘sister-town’ of our Lenswood. Canadian soldiers were the primary force at Lens.