L-R Peter (aka “Goose”), Bridgette, Billie-Jo and Sandra Kies
The Kies family came to South Australia leaving all they knew in Germany. Arriving in the Barossa Valley in the mid 1800′s and found their utopia in the Hoffnungsthal Valley (Valley of Hope) situated on the southern end of the world-renowned Barossa Valley. The Kies family dreamed of growing grapes and farming the beautiful Barossa Valley.
In 1847 the Kies family land, then known as Section 568 was sectioned off by the South Australian Company and farmed by a group of German settlers just arriving in Australia and choosing Hoffnungsthal as their destination over Klemzig, Bethany or Lobethal.
The Hoffnungsthal village had been in existence for six years growing to a recorded 37 cottages, including a church and school, cottages were made of wood, clay, thatch and some stone.
In October 1853 unseasonable weather struck Hoffnungsthal with 60 acres of section 568 and 118 acres of Section of 567 under water. The people living in the low lying areas had no choice but to leave this area and move to other districts as the Government at the time would not provide financial assistance. Some homes were dismantled and then transported to new locations. Those who had already established themselves on higher ground stayed and continued to lease the land from the South Australian Company.
Reinhold Kies purchased Section 568 in the late 1880’s, this area of land was originally known as Giles Vale, the name was changed to Hoffnungsthal or Hope Valley several months after the first German settlers arrived.
Once settling in the Hoffnungsthal Valley the Kies family began planting vegetables and selling to the community, they had planted the first of their Shiraz vines.
Early into the turn of the century saw them diversify and plant citrus fruit while still continuing to expand the property with vines and eventually building Kee Lyn Winery, which then went on to be known as Karrawirra Winery (an aboriginal name for Forest of Redgums), the Kies family sold the winery in 1986 while retaining the three hundred acre property, the winery is now known as Falcons Nest Winery.
Two homes were originally built on the property in the early 1900′s. One home built by Norman Victor Kies, fondly referred to as Norm’s Farm and was renovated in 1999. It is now a self contained and comfortable bed and breakfast surrounded by acres of vineyards in a tranquil setting. Norm’s Farm is rated by ‘The National Tourism Body of Australian Motoring Organisation’ with 4 1/2 stars.
One mile up the road is the second home. This home was originally built by Reinhold Friedrich Kies junior and is located at the end of a picturesque palm studded driveway, this home became Peter and Sandra’s home until 1999 when it was demolished and replaced by a home using architecture of both Mediterranean and Australian Colonial styles.
Bridgette and Billie-Jo are fifth generation descendants of the Kies family on the section of land known as Hoffnungsthal.
Peter, Sandra and their two daughters Bridgette and Billie-Jo, not only produce some of the best grapes in the Barossa Valley but also love to fly helicopters with a passion.
The late 1980′s saw them branch out into the world of aviation and establish Barossa Helicopters.
In May 1989 Peter and Sandra decided to purchase their own helicopter after years of cross hiring helicopters from various companies around Australia.
The first helicopter was a Bell 47J2A a 3 passenger helicopter. This proved to be a huge success for them.
In 1997, 8 years later they decided it was time to upgrade to a larger helicopter to move into the corporate sector. This helicopter was a Bell 206 Jet Ranger.
Not long after the purchase of the second helicopter Bridgette was near the end of high school and decided she wanted to learn how to fly helicopters. During this time the Bell 47J2A was sold and a second Bell 206 Jet Ranger was purchased. At the end of 1999 Bridgette was certified as Australia’s youngest female commercial helicopter pilot and still holds the record today.
In 2003 we purchased a Bell 206 Long Ranger (seating capacity of 7) and it went straight to work on the fires in Victoria as the air attack supervisor for the Erikson Air crane ‘Elvis’. It flew this role for 2 years before coming home, then heading to Darwin, where it is currently working in the mining industry.
In 2005 Billie-Jo thought it was time she learned to fly choppers too. Apparently her reason was – if Bridgette can do it, so can I.
In 05/06 we decided to expand within the tourism industry, the idea of purchasing 2 brand new Robinson R44 helicopters is to satisfy our clients with the highest level of safety at very competitive prices.