Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Angle Vale Primary school

Angle Vale school has moved about in its first years of existence. The first school in the area was at Carclew.  In 1850 a three roomed brick cottage with a school room attached was built there.  This was used for church services and later for school purposes.  John Tregenza was the first school master.  He arrived in South Australia on 14th January 1855.  It is presumed he opened the school in the same year.  Parents of students paid 1 s per week for each child attending school.  The Government of the day paid 6d per week for destitute students.  Mr Tregenza also held night classes for those unable to attend during the day.

In 1859, John Tregenza left Carclew to organise a school at Woodville at the request of Mr Hughes a member of the Education Board, the school at Carclew was closed.  Later he went to Port Gawler school, situated on the Buckland Park property at Virginia. 

The Ebenezer Chapel was opened in 1864 and soon afterwards a Mr Tupper conducted a school in the new building but did not stay long enough to get it firmly established.  Miss Swales took over and conducted the school until her marriage to Mr Quinn, Harbour Master at Port Adelaide. 
Then came Mrs Ann Crisp, who first taught in the chapel and later used her own residence next door.  In 1868, according to official records, the Board of Education report mentions the school and shows her as Head Teacher. 

Mrs. Crisp the school teacher, who lived near the church, was the first post mistress.  Mrs. Crisp before her marriage to Tom Crisp was a widow with a daughter, Annie Humphrey.  Annie Humphrey has been credited with suggesting the name ‘Angle Vale’.  Mrs Ann Crips was also Post Office mistress and when a new name was needed by the Post Office authorities as “Gawler Plains’ was too general and given to such a large area.  Mr John Patterson, chairman of the District Council called for suggestions and Annie’s suggestion was chose. 

Following Mrs Crisp came a bearded gentleman, Richard Symonds.  The school was located in Heaslip’s hut and later across the road in a hut known as ‘Bemjamin Barnett’s”.

The new school was built by public subscription, subsidised by the Government through the District Council.  Benjamin Heaslip gave the land and it was opened in March 25th 1874, by Mr J.S Underdown, Chairman of the District Council of Munno Para West.
The opening was a day of great rejoicing, typical of the period.

After the passing of the Education Act in 1875 the Government took full control of the school and compensation was paid to those residents who had contributed to its cost.

Former Angle Vale Post Office

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Elizabeth Roller Skating Rink

Skating has long been a popular pastime in Elizabeth. As early as 1959 it was realised that the need for further amenities became more urgent as the town grew rapidly. As a result of this the promoters of Youth Enterprises Ltd. Built what was at that time the most modern hall for skating in South Australia at a cost of approximately £16,000.

Opened on 3rd November 1959 as the Elizabeth Skating Rink, it was the largest hall of its type built in a single span being 140 ft. x 100 ft. Apart from the rink itself, it had cloakrooms, canteen ad a sitting out area for spectators. A maple timber was chosen for the floor and 300 pairs of “Ice-Flo” skates with boots attached were available for hire – the boots being fumigated after each session as a good hygiene measure. To avoid damage to the floor patrons who owned metal wheel skates could have them changed to wooden wheels at a moderate cost by the management.

The building was used for various purposes besides skating. Hundreds of young students sat their Intermediate and Leaving Certificate public examinations there and the Apex Club helped to construct the many desks needed. The Birthday Ball was held there for the first time in 1959 and continued to do so until the Octagon Theatre opened in 1965. On a wild winter’s night the hall was the venue of the first parish dinner of St. Theodore’s Church of England. A gale was blowing and the roof vibrated alarmingly. As Father Howell Witt went up the microphone at the top table, the end wall crashed down burying the table and everyone fled.

Extensive renovations were carried out in 1976 and the present building is very different from the early hall which nearly buried Father Witt. The wooden floor has been replaced by urethane-coated concrete, the wooden seats and walls by completely carpeted areas. The rink celebrated its 21st birthday in 1980. The World Roller Skating Championships were held there in 1977 when the Elizabeth roller hockey team won their event, and the State Championships were held there in 1980.

Local skaters have had many successes in world roller hockey championships and speed skating events, and the Elizabeth roller hockey team competed in world titles staged in Argentina and Spain in recent years.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Grenville Centre turns 30!

Built at a cost of ½ million dollars, as a focal point for the 50 plus age group.  Council received a grant from the Commonwealth Government towards the cost. 
The iinitiative for the centre came from the community.  The senior citizens have worked very hard to raise money to buy furniture and equipment.  The Lions club donated $10,000.

On the 30th of May 1983, the Grenville Centre was opened by Sir Donald Dunstan, Governor of South Australia. Local resident and author, Max Fatchen read his poem "Ode to Elizabeth" at the opening, the City of Elizabeth Brass band entertain guests and then Sir Donald turned the key to open the new facilities.

The Grenville Community Connections Hub as it now called is a vibrant and welcoming centre bringing people together in the spirit of friendship and shared interests.

The Hub is provides services that promote healthy ageing and support community connections.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

TROVE Tuesday


—Death of Mr. J. N. Smith.—

Mr J. N Smith, a colonial-born pioneer of 1839 died on Wednesday, at his residence Fords, near Kapunda.  At the time of his death he was the oldest-born male in the State.  Some months ago the old gentleman met with an accident, being thrown from his masher dray when crossing the ford over the River Light, and since then had not enjoyed good health.  Prior to the accident he carried his 85 years remarkably well, and was a well known landmark mounted on his old grey horse as he rode around his property.

Mr. Smith also took keen in terest in coursing, and a couple of seasons ago regularly rode across to the Freeling Plumpton meetings.  He could read without the aid of spectacles, and his memory was wonderfully preserved. 

Mr. Smith's parents came to South Australia in 1838, and he was born the following year in Hindley Street, Adelaide, close to where the West End Brewery now stands.  When he was a few weeks old his parents removed to New Zealand, where, they, stayed five or six years, and then returned to South Australia.  Mr. Smith's father settled at the Bay of Islands in New Zealand, and carried on the vocation of a provision merchant and baker, but during the first  Maori War in 1846, he was completely burnt out by the natives, in spite of the fact that he was highly respected by them. After having had his property destroyed, he and his family were taken on board a man-of-war, but he was forced to return and help in the fighting that was going on.  The family then went to Hobart, where Mr. Smith, sen., bought horses, and brought them and his family to South Australia.  The deceased often used to tell what a sickly child he had been, for, from an accident in New Zealand, he did not seem to rally, and on migration back to this State was carried on board in a blanket.  Little hopes were held for his recovery. 

Mr, Smith's father took over the hotel at Dry Creek for a year, and then, acting on the advice of the late Capt. Bagot, he moved further North and settled at Smithfield being the founder, of that township. That was in the year 1848; and the old homestead is still in the hands of the family. Mr J. N.Smith utilised his spare strength in the herding of cattle and horses on the plains between Gawler and Salisbury, his experience of the country being a mass of virgin timber, when the stock had to be belled to give warning of their location.  He stayed at Smithfield until he was 25 years, of age, and his health having changed to robust state, in 1865 he went to Fords, and until his death, resided there.  He bought his original farm of 400 acres from the late Mr. John Ford.  When he started there, ploughing was done with horses in a single-furrow plough, of , if a double-furrow plough was used, then it was necessary to use a team of six bullocks.

When the Northern areas were opened up, Mr. Smith inspected land there, but was not tempted to leave Fords.  He was a believer in mixed farming, and gained a reputation for a fine strain of merino sheep, securing several championships with them.  Until recently, Mr, Smith had never been out of the State, except as a child to New Zealand.  Some time ago he visited his sons in Western Australia, covering the journey by the East West express. 

A family of four sons and three daughters survive. They are— Messrs. Neilson (Jabbuk), William and Howard (Western Australia), Gordon M. (Fords), Mrs. H. C. Afford (Port Pirie), Mrs. F. F. Weaver (Bagot's Well), Mrs. A. S. Lewis (Kapunda). His brother, William, remained at Smithfield, and carried on the family place, and it is his sons who are continuing on the property.  Mr. J.N. Smith's sons used to travel from Fords to Gawler to receive their education at Mr. L. S. Burton's school.

The Bunyip 15 May 1925

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Little Para River Flood, 1963

The Little Para River, notorious for its flooding in earlier years, came down in a flash flood shortly after 5pm on the evening of April 25th, 1963 and cut Elizabeth off form Adelaide and suburbs south of the town.

Heavy deluges of rain falling on the catchment area brought the river down to overflow its banks and the bridges on the Main North Road, Commercial Road, Gawler Street, Happy Home and Port Wakefield Road, in what was reputed to be the biggest and shortest flood within living memory.
Citrus growers along the valley were accustomed to the river’s floods, which, although causing much damage also left behind a valuable legacy of silt for the citrus orchards. This time a tree trunk swept down the river and became lodged under the bridge on the Main North Road, causing the water to bank up rapidly and fill the dip in the road up to the Old Spot Hotel. Traffic to and from the city was stranded and commuters from Adelaide had to wait for their tea on one side of the newly formed lake over the bridge, while anxious wives waved to them from the Elizabeth side.

An hour or two later, the river fell rapidly and the traffic continued on its way.
No floods have occurred in the lower reaches of the Little Para since the construction of the Little Para Dam in 1977.

Little Para River in flood, 1960