In the pioneering days the quickest method of getting to Adelaide from the Barossa was by horseback.
People wanting to do business in Adelaide usually travelled as far as the Old Spot Hotel on the first day, from there they went into Adelaide, did their business and returned to the Old Spot from where they returned home on the third day.
Once the railway opened to Gawler in 1857, and to Freeling in 1859, it made travel and the cartage of goods so much easier. Passengers and goods from the southern Barossa went to Gawler while those from the northern Barossa went to Freeling.
A regular coach service which carried the mail ran between Tanunda and Gawler. For many years the contractor for this service was John Henry Walden, he had to contend with poor roads and a lack of bridges over streams on one occasion at the time of floods in Jacob’s Creek the passengers managed to cross on a foot bridge.
Sometime later the coach driver attempted to cross the raging stream but the coach and horses were washed away with the horses drowned.
Soon after the opening of the Gawler line there were discussions regarding extending the line to the Barossa various routes were suggested but it took until 1911 before the line was constructed and opened at Angaston. The construction of the line was a major undertaking. The earthworks were carried out by horse teams and manual labour.
With the opening of the railway it was possible for Barossa residents to travel to Adelaide and return the same day. It was now possible to load outgoing wine at the local stations instead of it being carted to Gawler by horse drawn wagons.
By the 1920s there were many motor cars and motorcycles on the road which also had to contend with poor roads until the mid-1920s when the bitumen highway was constructed.
The increasing use of motor vehicles eventually caused the Barossa to Gawler line to close because of a lack of patronage.
The change from horse drawn transport to motor transport meant the blacksmiths and saddlers who serviced the horses went out of business as did most of the chaff mills which provided fodder for the working horses.
In earlier times when many people walked to wherever they wanted to go there was a need for numerous bootmakers.
Tanunda also had tanneries to provide the leather for the bootmakers and saddlers.
Bicycles were also widely used and Tanunda had a bicycle manufacturer.