Monday, March 26, 2012

Elizabeth Drive-In


The Elizabeth Drive In originally opened as a Shandon Drive In cinema on 16th May 1958. It was designed to accommodate 600 cars and at the time of opening it was planned to provide stage seating for 200 people at a later date. The main building of the theatre is 100 feet long and includes a cafeteria 80 feet in length. It was built on land purchased from CJ Hayes. The screen was set up so that patrons would look west, taking advantage of the natural slope of the land. One session each night was planned with two main films. On family nights, Mondays to Fridays admission was 10/- a carload; on Saturday nights and holidays 5/- adults, 1/- children.

Some films first shown were; Bring your smile along, Texas rangers, A bullet is waiting, Jubal, Woman’s world, Lure of the wilderness. For the October holiday weekend in 1958 the drive in offered the following films; Titanic, Don’t bother to knock, staring Marilyn Monroe and Richard Widmark, River of no return again staring Marilyn Monroe and My Pal Gus. The opening of the drive in gave Elizabeth cinema patrons more choice of films. At that time the Elizabeth Football Club on Ridley Road also held regular Friday night screenings with a double feature. Patrons were enticed with advertisements for My Sister Eileen, The Glass Wall, The ship that died of shame, Simon and Laura, You know What sailors are, half past midnight and the Benny Goodman Story.

The Apex Club showed educational films for children at the Elizabeth North and South schools on regular evenings. The first of these at the Elizabeth South school stretched the accommodation to the limit as 450 children turned up.

The Salisbury pictures held at the Salisbury Institute advertised regularly during these early years. The choice of programs concentrated on westerns, horror movies and comedies. Films such as the killing, Gorilla at large, The girls in the red velvet swing, Picnic, Chief Crazy horse, Pony Express, the Sharkfighters, Johnny Concho and the Good die young were offered in 1958. After the opening of the Elizabeth Drive In the Salisbury Pictures in order to continue getting patronage from Elizabeth residents, offered a bus service from Elizabeth North and Elizabeth South in time for the evening showings.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Playford's Past history journal



During the Library Services launch of the National Year of Reading last month, Mayor Glenn Docherty launched the inaugural history journal about the City of Playford. This journal features articles on the Symes family, Bartlett family of Peachey Belt, Ivett brothers of Gawler Plains, Elizabeth recollections, teachers from Uleybury school and the Krudop family of Angle Vale.

It is open to any researches who wishes to publish a story about some aspect of the former Munno Para and Elizabeth Council's.

You can read the journal here, or purchase a copy for only $2 from the City of Playford's Library Service. Contribuitions are sought for this years journal by September.

Monday, March 19, 2012

History events in SA



This year there will be a host of events for the history lover in SA. It kicks off at the end of the month with the 13th Australian Congress on Genealogy & Heraldry, 28-31 March at the Convention Centre, followed by Heritage Week 14-22 April, then the merry month of May is all dedicated to history with 'About time' History month.


Two other conferences will be happening in Adelaide, July will host the Australian Historical Association Conference and in September there will be the Museums Australia Conference in Adelaide. then of course there is a host of activities initiated by historical societies and libraries. A great place to see what else is on in regards to history is the Community History site.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Peachey Belt

A newspaper article in 1851 described Peachey Belt;

Crossing the river from the inn,w e entered the hundred of Munno Para on he road to Gawler Town. From this place, at some distance across the plain to the west and in line with the Gulf, stretches what is called the Peachey Belt - a forest tract consisting chiefly of peppermint gum timber, extending 10 miles in length from south to north, by an average breadth of three miles. The importance of this vast range of material for fencing and firewood, particularly the latter, at no very great distance from Adelaide is almost incalculable. It would seem from its yet dense appearance, to be almost inexhaustible; but at any rate will afford an abundant supply for many years. Much of this belt remains vested in the Crown, but parts of it are said to have been recently sold. Its name as Peachey Belt ceases at Galwer Town,, but the range continues under the name of the Pinery - the character of the timber being of course altered as the latter name indicated.

South Australian Register, Tuesday 3 June 1851

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Who killed Bertha Schippan?












Who killed Bertha Schippan? Was it her sister, a dishonest lover, the tyrannical father? Bertha Schippan was murdered on New Years Day in 1902 in the small town of Towitta, north of Sedan in the Barossa region. Mary, Bertha’s sister was charged with her sisters murder. There was speculation at the time of the trial that Bertha was murdered by her father, but with no evidence and a lack of motive, the case remains one of South Australia’s unsolved crimes.

This story has enthralled South Australians for over 100 years. Three books have recently been written dealing with the subject.

The trial of Mary Schippan written by Peter Donavan (2004) is an account of the trial based on newspaper cuttings of the day. This is a short book, it deals with the factual evidence presented at the trial.

The second novel is The Noon Lady of Towitta by Patricia Summerling published last year. Patricia an Adelaide historian, has written a non fiction novel based heavily on the events from the perspective of Mary. It tells the story of her early life living on the farm and her relationship with her family. It is engrossing read.

The third book, A Girl Like Me by Penny Matthews, is a blend of fact and fiction; told from the perspective of Bertha. It is written for young adults, tells a vividly imagined story of Bertha, particularly in the year leading up to her death.

Maybe from reading the three stories you may be able to solve the mystery.


New items



  • Souvenir photo compilation produced for the Elizabeth West High school Reunion, February 25th 2012.


  • Anticipating Tomorrow's Defence Needs; A Century of Australian Defence Science 1907-2007


  • My Home in Onkaparinga
    Published by the City of Onkaparinga to celebrate the States 175th anniversary in 2011. It features stories of people and the houses they lived in and or built.


  • Australian Army Campaigns Series
    Wau 1942-1943

  • Malaya




  • Australia Cruise Ships by Peter Plowman


Unlock the past books



  • Cracking the code of old handwriting


  • Irish family history resources online


  • Solving riddles in 19th century photo albums


  • Its not all online; a guide to genealogy sources offline


  • An index of London hospitals and their records by Cliff Webb


  • Past Imperfect; How tracing your family medical history can save your life by Carol Daus


  • Soldiers of the Queen; Women in the Australian Army by Janette Bomford


  • Where did that regiment go? The lineage of British infantry and Cavalry Regiments at a glance by Gerry Murphy


  • How we played; Games from Childhood past by Caroline Goodfellow


  • A guide to Mormon Family history sources by Kip Sperry


  • The Irish Family and Local History Handbook


  • Illness in Colonial Australia by F B Smith.