Robert Stephenson first surveyed the area on which the township of Freeling stands in March 1860 and it was named Freeling after Major-General Sir Arthur Henry Freeling, Baronet, who was the Surveyor General of South Australia from 1849 to 1861.
The town of Freeling was developed early in the State's history because of the large agricultural region surrounding the town. The town itself was set on gently undulating land amidst eucalyptus woodland. When most of the woodland was cleared, farms became established in a region with a climate that is described as "mildly Mediterranean".
During its history, the area became a major wheat growing district and in the early 1900's the region was the largest hay-producing centre in South Australia, where haystacks were so large, they could be seen for miles.
Because of its location, Freeling became a focal point for the Barossa Valley and people travelling towards the River Murray. It was also a major link for travellers coming from Gawler to Kapunda and continuing on to northern regions.
Freeling was also established as an important manufacturing centre that produced thousands of implements used on farms and vineyards, not only throughout Australia, but throughout the world. The region became more renowned during the 1900's, when chaff cut from steamed hay arrived in good condition in India for the British Army horses.
The legacy of early pioneers who established Freeling, is a town with a strong sense of community and a pride in a region where large quantities of excellent wheat are still being grown in the area to this day.
Freeling also enjoys a status within the engineering industry with the largest supplier of precision ground engagement tools produced in Australia located in the centre of town.