In the early days Crafers was known as the Tiers and later the Old Tiers. Much of its early activity was centred around the Sawyer's Arms Hotel on the road to Mount Barker. It was at this hotel that David Crafer and his wife looked after travellers and Tiersmen alike. In 1845 Richard Dixon Hawkins was the publican. By the mid-1870s William Patrick Logan was running the Crafers Inn.
The South Australian gazetteer wrote in 1866 that Crafers was near the sources of the Sturt, Brownhill, First, Second and Cox creeks and had fertile gullies which were entirely devoted to the growth of garden produce. It had a post office, opened in 1851 by Henry James, who also ran the Mount Lofty Hotel which was destroyed by fire in 1858. A Primary School was first established in the area in 1865 on Atkinson Road by Mr Edward Smith. The school was later moved to its present location in Piccadilly Road in 1928.
On 4 July 1859 Mr Bradley and Mr Drummond were elected to the local Council. The then District Council of Crafers, with Chairman David Johns, charged a council rate of five per cent on property. Total Population in 1865 was 804 persons in 169 houses.
In 1880 several rate payers objected to the new council rates. After a small confrontation they were reduced by a significant amount. During the 1883 council elections John Brodie, Reuben Golding and Morris Johnson were elected.
The Church of Epiphany dates back to 1878. It was enlarged in 1892 and six years later the foundation stone for even larger extensions was laid by Mrs Gavin Young on 1 October. The service was conducted by Bishop Dr Harmer. On 7 December 1912 the Chronicle reported that 'the picturesquely-situated and pretty church of the Epiphany was well filled when the Lord Bishop of Adelaide, Rev Dr Thomas, administered the rite of confirmation to 20 catechumens. The Crafers Young Men's Society was formed in 1894.