Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Articles on Playfords history

Occassionally I come across articles that feature some aspect of Playford's history.  Here are two recent ones.

An article about cricket and growing up in Eliazabeth in the 1970's.

Bowled (Canna) Lily – Park Cricket in 1970s Elizabeth
November 18, 2014 by Mark Schwerdt

The saddest selfie: Touching self portrait taken by WW1 soldier reveals proud young man in his bedroom shortly before flying to his death at the age of just 21. THomas Charles Richmond Baker born in Smithfield.

Read more:


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Elizabeth Clubs and groups

Looking at the history of Elizabeth, one thing that has always amazed me is the number of clubs and groups that existed in the early years.    Here is a list from the 1960's.  Some I have no idea what they did.  Maybe you were a member of a club and have some informaition to share.  We would love to hear from you.

Apex Club of ElizabethCivilian Widows AssociationCountry Women’s AssociationElizabethan John Ball Association
Elizabeth Amateur Cine Society
Elizabeth Amateur Radio Club
Elizabeth Angling Club
Elizabeth Archery Club
Elizabeth Arts Society
Elizabeth Bowls Club
Elizabeth Caledonian Society
Elizabeth Camera Club
Elizabeth Centrals Darts Club
Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce
Elizabeth Chess Club
Elizabeth Creative Writers Club
Elizabeth Greyhound Racing Club
Elizabeth Sporting Club
Elizabeth Floral and Horticultural Society
Elizabeth Grove Darts Club
Elizabeth Harmony Choir
Elizabeth Judokai Club
Elizabeth Junior Chamber of Commerce
Elizabeth Lions Club
Elizabeth Lions Ladies
Elizabeth Model Aero and Boat Club
Elizabeth Model Road Racing Club
Elizabeth Moto Cycle Club
Elizabeth North Progress Assoc
Elizabeth Progress Council
Elizabeth Philatelic Society
Elizabeth Pistol Club
Elizabeth Racing Pigeons Club
Elizabeth Ratepayers Association
Elizabeth Repertory Company
Elizabeth Review Group
Elizabeth Riding Club
Elizabeth RSL Ladies Auxiliary
Elizabeth & Salisbury Old Tyme Dance Club
Elizabeth-Salisbury Air Force Association
Elizabeth-Salisbury Sub-Branch Thirty Niners
Elizabeth School of Dancing
Elizabeth Singers
Elizabeth Society of Yorkshiremen
Elizabeth Model Railway Club
Elizabeth-Salisbury Public Schools Choral Society
Elizabeth South Junior Red Cross
Elizabeth Sub-Branch ALP
Elizabeth Sub-Branch RSL
Elizabeth Variety Orchestra
Elizabeth West Workign Men’s Club
Ex-Naval Association of Aust (Sub branch)
Ex POW Sub Branch Ladeis Auxillary
Good Neighbour Council
League of Health
Northern Districts Underwater Club
North Downs Residents Association
Para District Obedience Dog Club
Penguin Club of Elizabeth
Royal Air Force Assoc
Salisbury and Elizabeth Brass Band
Elizabeth-Salisbury Bush Nursery Society
Elizabeth-Salisbury Old age and Invalid Pensioners Assoc
Toc H
Vale Sports and Social Club
YWCA Housewives Clubs
Munno Para Invitation Homing Pigeon Club
North Para Scouts and Cubs
Elizabeth Northern Division Girl Guides
Girls Life Brigade
British Empire Boys
Eighteen Plus Club
Elizabeth Girl Dancing and Physical Culture
Glen Elizabeth Club
North Elizabeth Youth Club
RSL Elizabeth Girls Marching Club
Teens Club

Monday, December 8, 2014

Local Business 1965

Here are some local business advertisments from the Messenger NEwspaper in 1965. 
Does it bring back any memories?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Christmas Memories

Family history is more than names and dates on a tree.  That’s always a great starting  point, but creating stories about your ancestors is what brings people to life and makes your family history remarkable.
For many, the time approaching Christmas evokes memories about this time of year.  Christmas traditions, Christmas trees, dinners, presents, family members, Father Christmas and who could forget food.  It takes time, practice and help to record your memories.  So often events get reduced to one sentence, such as, yes, we celebrated Christmas in our house.

Christmas is a great time to consider recording these memories for your family history.  Genebloggers has created an advent calendar of Christmas memories, 24 prompts to help you record your Christmas time memories.  Each day there is a topic with questions for you to ponder. Day one, what are your memories of your family putting up the Christmas tree? Day five, what songs were your favourites as a child and are they still your favourites or do you have new ones?  Once you get started you will realise there are many stories that are worth recording for future generations.  You can view the whole Advent calendar of Christmas Memories here http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com/   
If this inspires you to delve into your family history, you can access further assistance from our local history volunteers, the Elizabeth Library in the New Year.  Our volunteers are taking a well-earned break from 10th December and will return in the New Year on the 14th of January.  There is no need to book, come along, Wednesday, Thursday 9:00 – 1:00pm or Friday 9:00 – 12:00pm.  Until then have a Merry Christmas and make many more happy memories for the future.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sylvan Glade

Angle Vale rd, Angle Vale

The limestone house is believed to have been constructed in 1872, from stone sourced from the Gawler River. Extensions were built in 1994 also out of limestone.   The land on which the house stands was originally granted to Samuel White in 1852 (Section 3878, 4139, 4140). It was subsequently purchased by Benjamin Heaslip  a few weeks later on September 29th. 
Mr. Burford store owner, closed the business when he brought Mr. Benjamin Heaslip's farm on 30 April 1896 for £1050.5.8.  In 1914, Burford was recorded as owning Sections 3878 (63 acres), 4139 (80 acres) and part of 4140 (76 acres).

Rifle practice was carried out at the butts erected at the north end of the road running towards the river from Mr. Benjamin Heaslip’s house (later J Buford’s) an even to this day the road has retained the name of Butt road. 
Burford died on 19 March 1917 and in May 1924 the property was transferred to John Bastow Burford.  John owned the property until 29 March 1956, when it was sold to Leslie George Stevens and his wife Inez Beryl, a farmer.

The property became known as Sylvan Glade around 1964, so named by Inez Stevens.  The name means wooded or groves of trees in a serene place.  Her mother and husbands mother had middle names Sylvia and Gladys, which contributed to the reason for the name.
The Stevens family has long been associated with the district, five generations of the Stevens family has resided in the area.  Brothers BE and JC Stevens purchased property around the turn of the century.

The property is up for sale http://www.domain.com.au/property/for-sale/house/sa/angle-vale/?adid=2010537474 

1852      Land granted to Samuel White1853      Purchased by Benjamin Heaslip1872      Constructed1896      Sold to Burford family1956      Sold by Burford’s to Leslie G Stevens 1964      Named Sylvan Glade
1994      Extensions to house

Monday, November 3, 2014

Snake Gully Bridge, 1873

Snake Gully Bridge 1873

There were diggings at the Barossa,
And the goldfields not far away.
Many settlers north of the River,
With wood to cart each day.

The road was narrow, rough and steep.
When floods came down, the stream was deep,
The crossing very unsafe to make
A bridge is needed, make no mistake.

They organised a picnic promptly,
Invited Parliamentary men,
So they could show them exactly
With what they had to contend.

The Bridge was granted an built of stone,
It was paid from the sale of a Treasury loan,
The contracts with pride and much endeavour,
Said he had built it to last for ever.

What many changes this Bridge has seen,
From horse and buggy and bullock team,
Trucks and transports, cars galore,
Pass on her more and more.

 Now as the Little Para flows slowly by,
Space ships are hurtling in the sky,
Many great men we honour today,
But let us remember our forefathers who paved the way.

Written by Jean Roberts in 1962. 
Jean's husbands grandmother, Cecilia Wilson McEwin laid the foundation stone (pictured above) in 1873.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Elizabeth Ladies Revue Group

In 1960 the Elizabeth Ladies Revue Club was born, the brain child of two enterprising mums in an effort to raise funds for the schools.

The first show has a cast of 15 ladies and was well received by parents.  Unfortunately, there were quite a few dead spots whilst scenes and costumes were changed between acts and it was then that a mere male was co-opted to act as compare between acts.

The shows were very popular and brought much needed funds and the group soon extended their activities to the scouts, Girl Guides, Migrant Hostels, Hospitals etc., and any other organisation in need of funds as all proceeds were donated directly to them, thus helping greatly in the establishment of Elizabeth.
From the outset it was decided to keep the shows simple and suitable for the whole family and not to try to be too ‘professional’.  Ladies joining the group were not auditioned, as long as they were prepared to have a go that was good enough.

The Elizabeth Ladies Revue group's aim was to bring a little joy into the lives of elderly people.

Vincent, Tansy.
Reeves, Norah.
Lyon, Phoebe Mrs.
Tatum, Joan.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Waterloo Cup

Greyhound racing was one of the biggest and most anticipated Australian sporting events.  The South Australian Coursing Club’s Waterloo Cup, named after the famous battle of Waterloo attracted spectators from across the country.

Most South Australian country towns had coursing clubs, they were easy to arrange and no infrastructure was required.  Hares would be released, to be chased by greyhounds with men on foot or horseback following the dogs.

First cup run in South Australia was in 1884 at Buckland Park. It was organised by the SA Coursing Clun.  It was for 24 dogs at £10 each and £2 2/ membership.  The winner receiving £80 and a trophy and a portrait in oils, painted by H J Woodhouse.  The runner up received £40, third, £20.   The event was won by T Pritchard’s Lady by Tumbler out of Alice, a bitch bread by J Lindsay of Smithfield.

The cup ran at Buckland Park for seven years until there was a lack of interest and scarce numbers of hares.  It then lapsed for two years and in 1893 ran again at Buckland Park.  It continued until 1897 when there was another break for two years.  Beginning again in 1900, continuing until 1905 when it moved to Hill River Estate at Clare. It has since moved to Burra, Angas Plains and Langhorne Creek.

In 1886 the winner of the South Australian Coursing Club’s principal greyhound race was awarded a trophy donated by the club’s president, Robert Barr Smith, a prominent Adelaide businessman and philanthropist. A keen sportsman, Barr Smith’s own dog was defeated in the 1886 Waterloo Cup.
On 29 July 2014 the Cup was offered to the market by Sotheby’s Australia with an estimate of $15,000-20,000.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Gardens of Eden at Virginia

In 1894, between 70 and 8O acres of land north of Virginia was subdivided into nine working men's blocks. The area was originally an Aboriginal reserve, and the Government of the day yielded to a request to cut it up in accordance with a sentiment which was then popular—that of providing small areas for working men upon which they could occupy their time when not in regular employment.
One of the original blockers was Mr. W. G. King, and he and his family have, after much hard work, converted their two blocks of 171 acres into a little Garden of Eden. The principal production is now fruit. Oranges, lemons, peaches, pears, plums, apricots, nectarines, figs, grapes, and almonds.

The blockers built houses, sunk bores, and being close to the railway allowed easy transport to the market. Each allotment was given a milk cow.  As the blocks were small, some were able to purchase additional land.  Others who were not so fortunate sought employment in certain sessions on adjoining farms.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Daniel Garlick; a prominent architect

Moses Bendle Garlick features prominently in the history of One Tree Hill as a wealthy land owner and benefactor.  His son Daniel received considerable fame in his own area of expertise, as a prolific and prominent architect during the early years of the colony of South Australia. His legacy can still be seen in many places around Adelaide. 

Daniel was born in 1818 at Uley, Gloucestershire, England, son of Moses Garlick, plasterer and weaver, and his wife Rachel, née Smith. After his wife died Moses decided to migrate to South Australia with his sons Daniel, Thomas and William. They sailed in the Katherine Stewart Forbes and arrived in the new colony on 17 October 1837.
Daniel and his father ran a business as builders and timber merchants in Kermode Street, North Adelaide, until the early 1850s when Daniel's health declined imposing a life change. His father bought some 450 acres at One Tree Hill, and with his three sons grew wheat, planted a vineyard and made wine.  After their father died about 1860, Thomas and William remained on the farm but Daniel began business as an architect in Gawler. His projects included designing villas, cottages, country houses, shops, churches and chapels for the town and the countryside.  About 1862 he married Lucy King, but after only nine years she died leaving three young sons.

Garlick designed many churches and banks in townships north of Adelaide and in 1864 was described as an architect and land and estate agent with offices in Adelaide. Among the buildings which he designed in and around Adelaide in the 1860s and 1870s are the original buildings of Prince Alfred College, St Barnabas College, part of the Collegiate School of St Peter where the original buildings had been designed by others, and the south wing of Adelaide Town Hall. In 1891 Daniel's son Arthur joined the firm.
Daniel was active in local affairs and became chairman of the district council of Munno Para East in 1855-60 and represented Robe ward in the Adelaide City Council in 1868-70.  His business affairs however took up too much time and he was obliged to step down from these roles to work in his practice.

Garlick died aged 84 in North Adelaide on 28 September 1902. He was survived by his second wife Mary Rebecca (1832?-1912), a widow whom he had married on 29 September 1877, and by a son and a daughter. Daniel is buried in the North Road, cemetery.

Sullivan, Christine, 'Garlick, Daniel’, Architecture Museum, University of South Australia, 2008, Architects of South Australia

Australian Dictionary of Biography
Chronicle Saturday 1 November 1924, page 51


Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Bibaringa is largely a rural area on the eastern edge of the boundary of the City of Playford.  The suburb is named after the 100 acre ‘Bibaringa’ farming property which adjoined the South Para River.1  The name Bibaringa is an Aboriginal word meaning hilltop or mountain.2  Early Lands Title records show that the land was owned by Henry John Riggs, of Bentley, a sheep farmer.  Building work on the property is thought to date back prior to 1893.  ‘Bibaringa’ remained in the Riggs family until 1972.3

The suburb was developed by Monarch Constructions Pty Ltd on Sections 3330, 3314 and 3315, in the Hundred of Munno Para in 1966.  The naming of the suburb was suggested by A.J.V. Riggs.4  

1. ‘25 Years Ago’, Bunyip, 12 August, 1992, p. 21.
2.  Geoffrey H. Manning, Manning’s Place Names Of South Australia, Manning, 1990, p. 35.
3. Sarah Laurence and Taylor Weidenhofer (comp), City Of Munno Para Heritage Survey 1996, Department Of Environment And Natural Resources, South Australia, 1996, p. 104.
4. Geoffrey H. Manning, Manning’s Place Names Of South Australia, Manning, 1990, p. 35.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Evanston Park

Evanston Park is an extension of the Gawler suburb, Evanston, but falls within the City of Playford boundary. 

In 1850 James Philcox named the subdivision of sections 3220 and 3221, in the Hundred of Munno Para, Evanston.  Philcox was a land speculator, but unfortunately there is limited biographical information available.1

In 1853 a plan of the Evanston township was lodged at the Lands Titles Office, when it was transferred to Sir John Morphett.2  In relation to the transfer Manning notes that in Glamorgan, Wales, there is an Evanstown. On the 14   November 1855 the Register Newspaper referred to Evanston as ‘Evans Town’.3

Another possibility is that Evanston may have been named after Henry Evans, a chemist in the Gawler district. 

1.  Geoffrey H. Manning, Manning’s Place Names of South Australia, Manning, Adelaide, 1990, p.110.

2.   Rodney, Cockburn, South Australia what’s in a name?, Axiom, unknown, 1908 (1990),p.71.

3.   Geoffrey H. Manning, Manning’s Place Names of South Australia, Manning, Adelaide, 1990, p.110.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Grove of nations

Planting in front of Spruance Road shops, 1958

In 1959 migrants from 37 different nations each planted a tree in an area at the corner of Midway and Spruance Roads, Elizabeth east.  Adelaide Jaycees, in conjunction with the Good Neighbour Council, organized this planting on April 19th, 1959, as part of the Jaycee campaign “Bring out a Briton”.
A plaque commemorating the event was unveiled on site opposite the shopping area in Spruance Road.

Elizabeth Jaycees and member s of the Elizabeth Apex Club developed and installed the equipment for the Children’s playground on the site.  A senior triple swing, a double see saw and two junior swings were all designed and manufactured by Jaycees.  Funds were raised by holding cabarets and running book stalls.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Playford Gardens

Sir Thomas Playford & the Mayor of
Elizabeth, Mrs Joyce Eastland at the

official opening of the park.
On the 16th November, 1955, a huge marquee, a microphone and outdoor seating for invited guests was set up in a paddock off Goodman Road. Here, in front of a large crowd of several hundred people, Sir Thomas Playford named the new town which was being built north of Salisbury, “Elizabeth”. The choice of name for Elizabeth had been a well-kept secret and the subject of much speculation up to inauguration day.

Playford Gardens, a .5 hectare park, designed by Adelaide landscape architect Mr. Ian D. Barwick, was built on the site of the inauguration ceremony. It contains brick paved paths, seats and Australian native shrubs and trees. A monument in the centre bears a plaque commemorating the naming of Elizabeth and it was unveiled on the 16th November 1975, Sir Thomas Playford on Elizabeth’s 20th Birthday.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Windsor Green

Windsor Green at the time of the Queens visit in 1963
The Royal and English theme first used in the naming of Elizabeth after Her Majesty the Queen, was continued in names in the Town Centre including Windsor Green. This park of three acres, was designed and prepared by the South Australian Housing Trust as the setting or two commemorative pieces of sculpture, the fountain and the dancing figures.

It was completed in time for the first Royal visit to Elizabeth on 21st February 1963. Here the Chairman of the Housing Trust Mr. J.P. Cartledge welcomed Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh and presented the Chairman of Salisbury District Council Cr. J.L. Lindblom. Several hundred invited guests listened to the Queen making her speech in which she said, “I am delighted to find that Elizabeth has grown into such an attractive and thriving community….” So that the Queen would not be troubled by flies during her visit to Windsor Green, the whole town centre and surrounding areas was sprayed with insecticide.
The lawns and trees grew to be one of Elisabeth’s most attractive features.

The Green was again the venue of a Royal visit in her second visit in 1977 when she was greeted enthusiastically by hundreds of residents and the Green decked out in bunting, flags and banners.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Smithfield Primary school Part III

The following list of head teachers was culled from the records at the Education Centre (Flinders Street) and Admission Registers at Smithfield School.

1877-78               August Wittber                              1919-20             John A. Shepherd

1879-80               Henry G. Allert                              1920-28              Keith V. Day

1881-84               James Kekwick                              1928                  Clyde H. Pearce

1885-93               Timothy O’Connell                         1928-31             Paul H.F. Brus

1894-95               Henry J. Armitage                          1931-43            Carl H. Nietschke

1896-98               Charles R. Tucker                           1943-45             Peter L. McCarthy

1898-1912           Herbert J. Deeble                           1946-67            Kevin P.J. O’Brien

1912-18               Arthur J. Moulds                             1968-75           Ormonde B. Kermode

1976-date (26/11/77)  Ian R. Weston

Smithfield has always been a small school with an enrolment fluctuating between 37 and 70 during the years 1877 to 1947.  There were three upsurges in the past 30 years, as shown by the following figures; 1951(90), 1954 (60), 1959 (180), 1974 (33), 1977 (113).

The peaks of 1951 and 1959 were caused by the influx of migrant children from the hostel at Smithfield.  The closing of the hostel and the development of Elizabeth and Smithfield Plains, which swallowed up the farms from which many of the pupils at this school came, caused the decline in numbers.

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Brief History of Smithfield Primary School Part II

This is almost enough to suggest that Smithfield and Gawler Plains were one and the same place, but they couldn’t have been, for there were, at times, three teachers (Letitia McClelland, Ann Crisp, and Margaret Myers) presumably keeping separate schools at Gawler Plains while James Catts and Ellen McClelland were each maintaining a school at Smithfield.

On 16 December, 1871, Ellen Grace Beer McClelland was married in Adelaide to Archibald Campbell and returned to her school at Smithfield where she remained until the new school was opened in 1877.

Attendance at school was not compulsory until the passage in 1875 of a Bill which made it compulsory for children between the ages of 7 and 13 to attend 78 days a year.

It appears that the pioneers placed a fairly high premium on education.  The Government of the State provided no school buildings.  If the people living in any district decided that a school was required, the District Council of the area sent a plan, specifications, and a guarantee relating to the intended school, to the Central Board of Education (set up in 1851).  A grant in aid of construction of the schoolhouse was then given to the Council provided the Central Board of Education was satisfied with their plans, specifications, and guarantee.

Not all Councils were progressive.  On 1 August, 1855 the Board received a letter from the District Council of Munno Para West saying that they were unable to avail themselves of the Board’s offer to assist in the erection of a school.

Because attendance was voluntary, it is no wonder we find enrolments and attendances fluctuating widely.  At James Catts’ school, the attendances varied from as low as 26 in 1867 to as many as 59 in 1869.  In 1860 (24 boys, 26 girls on the roll) he taught writing to 45, arithmetic to 39, grammar to 10, geometry and history to 7, and had an average attendance of 38.

Ellen Campbell, in 1876, had her school open on 245 days, was visited twice by an inspector, had one assistant (male), presented 46 pupils for examination.  Of these, 53 percent passed.  An amount of £30-4-7 was collected in fees.

From 1876 onwards, records of school, head teachers, and statistics of attendances etc. are good, but details of the schools’ activities are almost non-existent.

Minute 854 of the meeting of the Council of Education, held 10 July, 1876, records “It was resolved to accept Mr John Smith’s offer of block 163 for a school site in Smithfield”, although later records show that they paid £8-5-0 for it.

On 14 September (Minute 1105) it was reported that the following tenders for the erection of a schoolhouse and residence at Smithfield had been received.  Taylor and Forgie £1200-12-6 (accepted), Caleb Virgo £1251, Joseph Blake £1270.  The Council affixed its seal to Taylor and Forgie’s tender agreement on 25 November, 1876.

Taylor and Forgie, who are still in business in Gawler, wasted no time in getting on with the job and progress payments were made 2 January, 1877 (£200), 12 January (£250), 12 March (£205), 16 Aril (£200), 14 May (£300-12-6: final payment).

The Council of Education met on 7 May, 1877 and appointed Mr August Wittber to open the school on 1 June, 1877.  We can imagine the excitement and pride with which he moved into his new home and prepared to open his new school on 1 June, 1877.  His wife, Sarah, was appointed teacher of sewing.

Apparently there were unruly children in those days and Mr Wittber had to deal severely with one of them, so severely that the parents complained but Mr Wittber survived the complaint and went on to complete two years of service at Smithfield and eight years at Salisbury.

That he was a good teacher cannot be doubted.  Of the 108 children on the roll in 1977, 80 had attended some other school; the school was kept open on 138 days, 76 pupils were presented for examination by the inspector, who judged that 65 (86 percent) were worthy of promotion – a record which no one surpassed between 1877 and 1900.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A brief history of the Smithfield Primary school Part I


The early history of education in Smithfield is shrouded in conjecture and only a few facts emerge, while quite a few questions remain unanswered.

In 1852, John Smith, from whom Smithfield takes its name, kept a ledger and one day he took the time and trouble to draw in it a map of “SMITH’S CREEK” the town’s early name, as 1200 acres of it belonged to him and much of his holding was let to tenant farmers.

In the southeast corner of Section 1719, on the west side of the Main North Road, directly opposite Purdie Road, he shaded a small oblong and clearly marked it “SCHOOL”.  The site is in front of the house now used as a hostel by Barkuma and most of it is buried beneath the sound barrier raised to shield the new homes form the noise of traffic.

The obscurity which surrounds the history of education in Smithfield is due to the lack of private and official records, and the loss by neglect or dishonesty of vital school journals, roll books, inspectors’ examination registers, and the original school admission register.  The last-named covered the years 1877 to 1896 and contained the names of the first pupils enrolled at the school, while the first three would have been the source of interesting historical data.

The Gawler Bunyip contains few references to SMITH’S CREEK or SMITHFIELD in the period up to 1877 and none that I could find about schools in this area.

Even records of the Central Board of Education contain no references to Smithfield until 1857 but the Education Reports and Government Gazettes are more helpful, though occasionally confusing as in the case of James Catts.

The educational system was to blame for much of the confusion as the earliest schools were held in chapels and private dwellings as well as in “vested” schools erected by Boards of Trustees on land already bought by the trustees, aided by grants from the Central Board of Education.

There was no college for training teachers but so long as they could provide suitable premises and furniture, and had a modicum of learning the Central Board of Education would grant them a license to teach.

Between the years 1850 and 1875 there were at least ten licensed teachers in the area between Salisbury and Gawler with schools at Precolumb (1856), Uley Bury (1856), Smithfield, Peachey Belt, Virginia, Gawler Plains, Angle Vale, Bassett Town, Burton, and Elim.

Precolumb, Uley Bury (restored by the District Council of Munno Para, 1977), and Smithfield are, as far as I can ascertain, the only century or older rural school buildings still standing in this area.

The first licensed teacher hereabouts was J. William Buchanan who, from 1851 to 1854, conducted a school at Gawler Plains.  In 1854, he resigned his license.

He was followed by James Catts, who served the district until 1869 (25 years) when he vanished from the educational scene without trace.  He must have been a good teacher for the Central Board
of Education received a “memorial from several inhabitants of Gawler Plains in favour of Mr Catts who is desirous of removing from that place”.
If the records are correct, there was a period when James must have felt like a cat on hot bricks for he is shown as being at Gawler Plains (1854-57), Smithfield (1857-58), Gawler Plains (Aug 1858), Smithfield (Dec 1859).

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Railway stations in Elizabeth

Elizabeth South Railway station, 1958

The railway line between Adelaide and Gawler was officially opened as far as Salisbury at the end of 1856. By October 1857 it had reached Gawler with Smithfield Station in between. For almost one hundred years there were no other stations along that stretch of the line, until the building of Elizabeth brought a new demand for increased railway services. As Elizabeth South was the first suburb to be constructed in Elizabeth, the first station, Elizabeth South Station went into operation on November 21st 1955, just five days after the inauguration ceremony in the new town. At first the station consisted of plank platforms with hurricane lamps hung on the name boards.

The permanent building was erected three or four years later. In those early days of Elizabeth the roads were unmade and commuters to the City had to tramp through mud and slush to reach the station in the winter months. A common sight every day as the collection of Wellington boots and old shoes left in tidy rows under the platform by their owners who boarded the train in their good city shoes and collected the old ones for the muddy walk home on their return. By September 30th the following year, 1957, there were sufficient people living in Elizabeth North to justify the opening of a second railway station which was named Womma Station. In anticipation for the opening of the Town Centre shops later in 1960, the Elizabeth Railway Station was opened on June 27th and on the same day, Elizabeth’s fourth Station,  Broadmeadows (named Elizabeth North at first) was also opened.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Right Rev Howell Witt

Wednesday, 12 August 1998
HOWELL WITT, Bishop of North West Australia from 1965 to 1981, was not one for standing on ceremony.

Moving from a dockworker's home in Newport, South Wales, to Bishopries in Australia was not a journey he had ever imagined in his youth. It was always his dearest wish to enter the priesthood, and he brought to the role an astonishing enthusiasm for life, a clownish talent and a classless ability to mix with everyone, young and old, which leavened a central, simple religious faith.

He was born in 1920 into a Methodist family and, after gaining an arts degree at Leeds University, he moved to Mirfield College in Yorkshire to prepare for holy orders. He was ordained in 1944 and went to his first curacy in Uk, in Monmouthshire. Here he gained an insight into working beyond normal parish bounds, which stayed with him for the rest of his ministry.

His vicar spotted his talent for playing the fool and instructed him to put on a play at the local Borstal and at the vicarage fetes. Young people adored his playfulness, including those who were once allowed to tie him up on a Saturday morning in the vicarage and then forgot him for several hours whilst he tried to struggle free. On that occasion he was not entirely amused.

From Uk he moved to Camberwell in London, but in 1948, when the Bishop of Willochra, South Australia, was in Britain recruiting clergy, Howell's old vicar suggested him. Precise information about the proposed job, except that it was at the Woomera Rocket Range, was difficult to come by and one of the many items Willochra neglected to mention was that Howell would have to join the Australian army on arrival. Under protest, Howell signed up, but wreaked revenge when Willochra, who visited much of his diocese on horseback, wandered into Woomera and was picked up by an army captain who came to Witt for
confirmation of the Bishop's identity. Howell said that he had never met the man.

 Woomera was a time of improvisation. A barber's shop served as a church and church vessels were cobbled from anything to hand - a bottle of wine, a cheese dish and a beer mug forming the essentials of the Eucharist. This scenario was often repeated "outback". Even the Duke of Edinburgh visiting the North West Diocese found that the service was being held in a local police court.

In 1957 Howell volunteered to be Priest-in-Charge of Elizabeth, a new town outside Adelaide set in a treeless, dusty plain with "one telephone box and no cemetery". It was full of unhappy immigrant families from Britain. Once again he was operating in a place which demanded improvisation and an outgoing social role. Schools and sheds hosted Sunday Schools and church services. When the first of two churches was built it doubled as a dance hall, with dances being passed off as church service by Witt in order to circumvent the law. This work produced two ulcers, but it also produced grateful congregations who benefited from their priest's leadership.

In 1965 he was elected Bishop of North West Australia, a diocese quarter the size of Australia and the largest in the Anglican Communion. He accepted with reservations and an unusual humility.

The Bishop's Palace was a boarding house in Geraldton, far north of Perth, but the Bishop was rarely at home. Doreen, his wife, held the fort while the Bishop visited outback sheep stations whose residents rarely saw a "sky pilot". He tried his hand at sheep-dipping, goat-hunting and when visiting the seaboard handled the bait for the lobster and crayfish catchers. For seven months of the year he travelled but found time to write a column for one of Rupert Murdoch's newspapers, was filmed for the Australian Broadcasting Company and in 1980 published an autobiography entitled Bush Bishop - a fulfilling if gruelling life.

In 1984 he was offered and accepted a move to the more conventional Diocese of Bathhurst in New South Wales, delighted to find a "three-loo modern house" and the comforts of a medium-sized town.

In 1985 Howell was badly hurt in a car crash but he soldiered on to 1989, when he retired to Perth.

Howell Arthur John Witt, priest: born Newport, Monmouthshire 12 July 1920; ordained priest 1945; Chaplain, Woomera, South Australia 1949-54; Rector, St Mary Magdalene's, Adelaide 1954-57; Missioner of St Peter's College Mission 1954-65; Priest in charge, Elizabeth 1957-65; Bishop of North West Australia 1965-81; married 1949 Doreen Edwards (died 1983; three sons, two daughters); died Perth, Western Australia 14 July 1998.

OBituary written by Christine Davies

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

McWaters remembers

David McWaters and is wife Clare, left London on the Otranto bound for Australia, arriving in Adelaide on April Fools Day, 1/4/1954. Full of expectation, and doubts due to the floods in N.S.W. we were the first contingent of British Migrants to arrive for some time. Over 400 of us including children arrived at an ex Prisoner of War camp at Rosewater, near Port Adelaide.

At once stage, the McWaters purchased a Deli at Salisbury and was involved in the early days of Elizabeth being constructed. Here are some of his memories at that time.

"I was working in the drive in at Hotel Elizabeth, met a few chaps from the Water Board. It was a very cold morning, I offered them a cup of tea and we were discussing the rise on the land where they intended to level it off. One gentleman said ‘Where are we going to dump all this soil?’ It was then I got interested and phoned the soccer committee to get permission to dump the soil around the perimeter of the ground. It was a lucky break, after nine months the embankment was completed. We then purchased sleepers from Islington Railways. Lo and behold the soccer ground was panelled off, and was named Ramsey Park.

It was there I met Howell Witt, Anglican Clergyman. He is now a retired bishop. He used to get very annoyed, as the Rugby Team ground was near Ramsey Park.

While I was coaching the boys soccer, most of his boys would join us. After they showered, the Ladies Committee would serve scones and cakes.

On a Sunday evening Howell asked me to round up a lot of the boys for a talk, as Sunday night was a dull night for young people. He then commenced a dance after the evening service, the police raided the church. Apparently dancing was not permitted on Sunday evening".


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Guerin homestead

9/29 Spruance road, Elizabeth East

Single storey symmetrical cottage with stone façade, brick dressings and brick side walls and chimneys. 
The building has been ised by the Elizabeth community, especially by the Arts Society who called it ‘The Studio’.

The property was rented to painting company which used it as a paint school.  Under their use the building became run down.  In 2006 the SAHT sought to demolish the building as it was in a state of disrepair.  The house is registered in the Local Heritage Register.  The integrity of the property has been diminished as the original garden has been used to built 8 flats owned by the SAHT, built in 1972, this was before local heritage listing. The Housing Trust undertook a detailed assessment of the property and the steps that would be required to restore the property into a Habitable state. The cost of these works is estimated to be between $70,000 and $110,000. As a result of these costs the Housing Trust is proposing that the house be demolished, the site cleared and thenlandscaped for the use of the residents who live in the flats surrounding the original house.
The building was subsequently redeveloped by the Housing Trust and is currently rented to Disability SA. 

The Housing Trust undertook a detailed assessment of the property and the steps that would be required to restore the property into a Habitable state. The cost of these works is estimated to be between $70,000 and $110,000. As a result of these costs the Housing Trust is proposing that the house be demolished, the site cleared and thenlandscaped for the use of the residents who live in the flats surrounding the original house.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Queen's speech

The Housing Trust of SA produced a film on the Queen's visit to Elizabeth in 1963.  Her Majesty gave a short public speech at Windsor Green to those gathered.  Here is what she said.

The Queen arrives at Windsor Green
"I am delighted to find that Elizabeth has grown into such an attractive and thriving community.

No one could fail to be impressed by the design of the houses, each with its carefully attended gardens, with the green open spaces, the avenues of trees and the general air of well being.

I have visited several of the 'new towns' built in Britain since the war, including Hemel Hempstead, which I am glad to hear has such close ties with Elizabeth.

The test of any community is its ability and willingness to govern itself for the benefit of all its members.

My husband and I have been delighted to be able to come and see Elizabeth and so many of its people and we are most grateful for your very kind and loyal welcome.

May this town and its people prosper and develop in the years to come".

Her Majesty unveiling the fountain in Windsor Green


Her Majesty leaves the Holden's factory

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Moss Road added to Phillip Highway

Moss Road at Elizabeth Vale was changed to become part of Philip Highway in 1966.  Householders requested the change, which has become an extension of Philip Highway.

Moss road was named to commemorate the name of the late Edwin Moss, and early Salisbury benefactor who raised his family on land through which the road ran.
Edwin Moss was one of the oldest residents of Salisbury when he passed away in 1939. He was born in I860 and lived in the vicinity of Salisbury all his life. He was a councillor for North ward in the old District Council of Yatala North and a Justice of the Peace. For more than 40 years he was secretary and senior deacon of the Congregational Church, and at one time was superintendent of the Sunday school.   Edwin started out as a mill boy at the local flour mill. At the age of 22 he was managing the mill, and after 11 years he left and started citrus growing. He was a prominent member of the local Citrus Growers' Association and was the secretary up to his death.

There had been previous requests by the Salisbury Council to change the name, but they were all rejected.  It wasn’t until the area of Moss road moved from Salisbury Council to Elizabeth Council that the change of name was effected.

News Review Jan 5th, 1966

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Elizabeth Potters group


The decision by the Department of Further Education to limit attendance at their Pottery classes to a term of two years, was a bitter blow to a number of very keen ‘would-be’ potters who had completed the two years of instruction.

How to continue their hobby seemed an insurmountable problem as the equipment needed was extensive and very expensive.  The answer, of course, was to pool resources and form a club to provide equipment which could be shared by members.  A meeting to discuss this idea was held on February 26th, 1975 at the then, Elizabeth Technical College.  Fifteen people attended, all were eager to form a pottery club, and the search was on to find suitable premises.  This proved to be a difficult task indeed and in order to improve their chances, a ‘Steering Committee’ was elected, the first President being Mrs. Rosemary Miller.

On July 1st 1975, the Elizabeth Potters were able to rent a garage at the rear of the Y.W.C.A. House in Judd Road, Elizabeth.  A humble enough beginning!  It is interesting to note that it is on record of July 8th 1975, club equipment consisted of an electric pottery wheel (well past its prime!), an electric jug, and a kero heater.

The most immediate need was of course a kiln.  All pots were being fired by Rosemary Miller, the only member to have her own gas fired kiln.  A valiant effort which really gave the club a chance to succeed.

A fundraising Open Day and Pottery Market was held on October 18th 1975 in the YWCA House rented for the special occasion, proved to be a great success and was well received by the public.  Since then the Elizabeth Potters have held two sales each year, usually in May and November, events which happily continue to grow in popularity.

The first Annual General Meeting, held on February 24th, 1976, showed clearly that much progress had been made and the club soundly established.

In 1977, the Elizabeth Potters received a grant from the Arts Grant Advisory Council of S.A., which was used to help finance a gas kiln.  Later, a grant from the Crafts Board Australia Council was used to buy much needed general equipment.  It is a source of great pride however, that the Elizabeth Potters themselves financed the large new workshop sited also in grounds of YWCA House, that was opened on May 3rd 1980 by Mr. Peter Duncan, M.P.

The activities of the Club are not confined to their own premises however, for their efforts to be involved in community affairs have led to members giving freely of their time to take part in demonstrations of pottery making in order to raise funds for various charities.  Stalls have been set up at numerous events such as Gala Days, Spring Fairs, Come-outs, Elizabeth Birthday Celebrations, to name but a few.  Lots of hard work involved of course, but also lots of fun, often in spite of weather that has been less than charitable!

Friday night each week is ‘Club Night’ when members meet and enjoy the visits of invited guests who, are usually, though not always, well known potters who specialise in one certain field of the craft.  Much is learnt in this way, though putting the knowledge into practice is not always a sinecure!  The Elizabeth Potters can be proud of the fact that many of its members, who through their successes in Open Competitions run by Local Councils, are rapidly becoming well known as exert potters in their own right.  We have Patricia Low, Pat Cherry, Joan Avery and Charlie Romeo, who have won awards for their work, and there are many other members who turn out work of professional standards.

On May 17th 1983, the Elizabeth Potters held the first Public Exhibition of their work in the Cartledge Auditorium.  This culmination of years of effort and determination was aptly entitled ‘Fired with Enthusiasm’.  Mr. Robin Trebilcock, Community Arts Officer of Elizabeth, opened the Exhibition in the presence of Mr. Martyn Evans, Mayor of Elizabeth.  Public reaction to the display was most encouraging and appreciative.

Club membership at the end of 1983 stands at 32, which means that our present accommodation is literally bursting at the seams. If we are to continue to progress, we must find more expansive premises in order to accommodate the ever increasing amount of applications to join the Elizabeth Potters.  This then, is the next challenge to be met, and of course overcome, as were all the rest.

Eileen Coe

27th January, 1984