In the early 1840's, the pioneer and explorer John Horrocks settled at Penworththam, named after his home town in England. From here, he explored further north in the Flinders ranges, using Afghan camels and looking for land suitable for settlement. On one such expedition, Horrocks' party was beset by illness, injuries and bad weather. Having run short of provisions, they survived only by making a "skillogalee" or "skilly" - a sort of thin porridge or gruel, probably from grass seeds and water. The word "skillogalee" comes from Celtic origins and the dish was commonly fed to prisoners in Ireland around this time. When Horrcocks finally made it back to Penwortham, he gave the creek nearby the name Skillogalee in memory of this event. The vineyard takes its name from the creek which runs through the eastern, lower end.
Skillogalee operates a wine tasting and sales area and a restaurant from an old stone cottage built in 1851 by a Cornish miner, John Trestrail, who settled here and operated the property, then called Trevarrick Farm, as a mixed home farm. He and his wife had 17 children of whom 13 survived - he was a religious man who, it is said, did not approve of drinking!
The property remained in the Trestrail family until the early 1900's. It was then planted to stone fruit and vines for dried fruit, currants and sultanas. In the 1950's and 60's it became a grazing property until it was bought by Spencer and Margaret George in 1969. It was planted to wine grapes over the next 2 or 3 years - early varieties were Riesling, Shiraz, Grenache and Crouchen (formerly know as Clare Riesling) In the early 1980's, most of the Grenache and all the Crouchen were grafted to Traminer and Cabernet Sauvignon and additional small areas were planted with new Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Malbec.
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