The property was originally owned and managed by Ross Roses, Australia’s oldest rose specialist, established around 1902. The land was earmarked to be acquired by the State Government for the MATS plan (Metropolitan Adelaide Transport System) which never progressed, but Ross Roses were mobilised and moved to Willunga nonetheless.
This provided the Rowett family with an opportunity to procure the site. Initially, the majority of the land was set up as a Tennis Complex, aptly named “Roselands”, comprising of four indoor and five outdoor courts. This development was a dream of the Rowett family’s sons Bill, Barry and Alan, who were supported by two financial partners.
There was some five acres remaining on the property, upon which the family agreed to build a Caravan Park. But who was going to build it, who was going to run it and who had the expertise?
The Rowett family who were fencing manufacturers and contractors had a “small building” license so they were happy to build and subcontract out the site. The other partner was an earthmoving company, so their skills were put to good use and the third were the previous owners of the land. It was a good, solid and compatible group. The only question that remained was determining who was going to manage the Park once built?
As it happened, Alan and his wife Gloria were moving back to Adelaide with their first child on the way, and jumped at the opportunity presented to them. Building and hands-on experience in this new industry appealed to them both and the Park presented them with the opportunity to establish the business and a livelihood for
themselves. They were also looking to establish a home for their family, though Alan and Gloria disagreed on this point.
Alan was a long time sailor. He met Gloria sailing in and around the United States and Alan thought they could live in the Park and buy a really nice boat with their hard earned money! However, Gloria put her foot down, saying, “No”, we’re going to spend that money on a house and live in a neighbourhood and commute to work.” And that’s what they did, working alongside Alan’s father, Clem, who loved the Park and worked in it until his death eleven years later, in 1992.
This proved to be a very good decision in retrospect as they have happily lived, worked and breathed life into the Park for 35 years. Over the years they have erected permanent accommodation, added pools, a water park and continued to update the park and its facilities.
Now their two sons Nick and Tim have taken over the business, growing and nurturing it into its future.