Tuesday, June 25, 2013

TROVE Tuesday

Nov. 9.

One Tree Hill is losing one of its oldest and most respected residents in Mr, James Purdie, who is leaving to reside in Gawler. Mr. Purdie, who was born in the district, and with the exception of a few years in the north has lived in the One Tree Hill district all his life, has for many years been conducting a cream carrying round for Taylor Bros, Limited, of Gawler, and has never missed a trip during the term of his contract. He has always been courteous and obliging, and his place will he hard to fill.  A farewell evening was tendered him in the One Tree Hill hall on Saturday evening, when the attendance was a tribute of the goodwill in which he is held.  Speeches were made by Messrs. F.L Ifould, W. Groth, F. Dawson, Cundy, - and the chairman (Mr. H. H. Blackham), who on behalf of the residents presented Mr. Purdie with a purse of money as a token of recognition and esteem.  Mr. O. Cundy also presented the guest with a gold watch on behalf of Taylor Bros. Limited, of Gawler (for whom he has carried cream for 17 years) and a silver mounted pipe and tobacco pouch from their employees, The watch bore the initials J.P., and was suitably inscribed inside. The programme for the evening consisted of pianoforte selections and songs by the following: — Mesdames French and Toby, Miss Fiebig and Mr. Toby. An other feature of the evening was community singing, led by. Mrs. H. W. Kelly. A supper and dance followed.

The Bunyip 13 November 1925

Thursday, June 20, 2013

First football club at Elizabeth

Extracted from an oral history interview with Bren Gillen in 1996.

The first club was the football club, which the main chairman and organiser was a chap called Tom Croxton, and Charlie Pyatt, our local league footballer he was the coach and they got a team going. I became a player and also the second secretary – Jim McCulloch was the first secretary, and Bob Downie was the Treasurer – we recruited a number of players from the RAAF boys that came over when Edinburgh Airport had stared. They came over and played in Elizabeth and played competition against Salisbury, Salisbury North and Virginia, and Gawler Central and Gawler South. There was great rivalry in those days.  
Our first oval was down here on Ridley Road Oval, and it was just vacant paddock and we had a lot of assistance from the Housing Trust from Vic Barrell and Alec Ramsey, who helped out with the materials and equipment to develop the oval. We also raised funds to build our own club rooms. During those days there was lack of entertainment in the town, and the committee of the Elizabeth Football Club got together and we hired the hall, which was the Methodist Hall, which is now the Uniting Church Hall, and we ran movie nights there. We hired 16 mm film and an operator and normally packed the place in with probably a shilling a head. That went on for a number of years and we raised funds to build our club rooms down at Elizabeth on Ridley Road, which is still standing now but is used by the hockey club and the Elizabeth South Soccer Club.
First premiership we beat Virginia if I recall, and we had a party down in the hall with no roof on, no flooring, just the walls up and tarpaulins across the place.  We had the fortune of having the voluntary labour and donated materials from various organisations, like the builders around the place, Kennet Brothers and Coombe and Cramer are two that come to mind. Mr Alec Harrison spent a lot of time in helping, Rick Bolton, who was general foreman for one of the building companies used to come and help us with the building of the club rooms. One night we’d gone home, we had all the walls up, ready to put the trussed on the roof, and the east wind came along and blew the eastern side wall down. So that was a set back at which a few words were said. Then we eventually got going with our own club rooms there. And we went on to have social functions here and all the rest of it.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Smithfield Speedway

In early 1926 The Motor cycle club of SA had ambitious plans to build promote and run their own Speedway track in SA.
Speedway was up and running at showground’s and other venues around Australia but local riders had no tracks to race or practice on in Adelaide.

Reports indicate that some country unofficial speedway had been run in SA but to according to the News Reports at this time (1925-6) this was to be the first club run and promoted track in the world!
In June 1926, plans were drawn up by a club member and land was leased at Smithfield.

The exact location remains a mystery.  Newspaper reports say it is on the right-hand side of the Gawler Rd a little before Smithfield. This area now is called Elizabeth Downs.
Working bees were held over the next few months ploughing then rolling out the track.  The track measured one mile in length and 1½ chain wide with large run off areas.  Spectators could park their cars all the way around the track.
The Opening meeting was scheduled for October 13th a Wednesday (Public Holiday). Unfortunately due to bad weather the club made the last minute decision to postpone the opening meeting until Sat 16th October.  Despite this, the first meeting was a success with a crowd of 4-5000 people attending.

Planning commenced for the second meeting. Improvements such as stands a closed off pit area and refreshment booths were due to be finished before the second meeting.

It was planned to have an official practice session once a week unofficial practice was not allowed because before any practice or racing the cows that grazed in the paddock had to be moved!
In 1926 where the Smithfield Speedway was located it would have been a hot windy dry dusty plain,  although now it is a modern housing estate.
Dust became an issue as early as the second meeting and some ingenious methods were used to combat this, as the club president urged all members and garage owners to collect the old oil from working on motors and place it in a tanker at the Speedway. This tanker was then towed around the track depositing the oil followed by a roller.

This method although time consuming, worked well and had to be repeated before each meeting and they soon ran out of oil! On some particular race meetings with a northerly blowing and high, temperatures the conditions would have been almost unbearable.

Despite these consistent crowds of 4000 to 5000 were reported at each meeting.

Information taken from

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Marching Girls

Elizabeth RSL Marching Girls 1960's

They take their sport seriously. Every weekend thousands of girls in every State don jaunty caps, short skirts, and high white boots, and march.

They march through the streets, a parks, in playing fields. They march at football matches, carnivals, Mardi Gras, and fetes. A festive occasion in Australia isn't complete without a team of marching girls these days.

The marching idea was brought to Australia from New Zealand in the late 1930s. Although it became established in some smaller country towns, it didn't really catch on until the early '50s.

About that time the Australian Girls' Marching Association was formed, with a chief judge responsible for compiling a marching plan - a set of rules for all teams competing in Australian championships.

Briefly, the general rules state that marching girls should swing their arms waist-high, back and front, and, while the fingers are cupped, they should extended with knuckles parallel to the ground. Head is held high, while the team always heel-marches 120 beats to the minute, following a plan based on military precision marching.

Originally the main aim of the marching movement was to give girls something to do with their spare time. But with so many competitions and the necessary two to three nights a week training, it has become a full-time hobby. Teams compete against each other in local and interstate competitions for medals and trophies, as well as the right to contest the Australian championships held every Easter.

In Australia, girls can start marching from the age of seven. They join the Midget section for girls from seven to 12 years, later move to the Juniors (12 to 15) and Seniors (15 to 99!).

While some teams are supported by big sporting clubs, most raise money from barbecues and fetes to pay then fares to the Australian championships and often to help pay for their uniforms.

Each team designs its own uniform. The only real regulation a very strict one is that the minimum length of skirt in a kneeling position should be 8|in. from the ground. And, of course, no lace or frills are allowed.

The girls have a very strict code of honor. As well as being chaperoned at all times, the teams have special travelling uniforms and, except on parade, are never seen in public in their short skirts.

The Australian Women's Weekly Wednesday 15 June 1966

This area had the following Clubs. There may be more.

  • Elizabeth Fields Marching Girls
  • Commodore Marching Girls Club
  • Davoren Marching Girls Club
  • Karawirra Marching Girls Club
  • Majorettes Marching Girls Club
  • Munno Para Marching Girls Club
  • Paramount Marching Girls Club
  • Royal Grenadiers Marching Girls Club
  • Smithfield Marching Girls Club
  • Spartan Marching Girls Club
  • Westfield Marching Girls Club
  • Tandanya Marching Girls Club
  • RSL Elizabethan Girls Marching Company