Friday, March 28, 2014

Hostel Reunions




Were you a resident or worker at a migrant hostel or a work camp between 1947 and the mid 1990s?
The Migration Museum is inviting you to share a cup of tea and your stories with other hostel residents. It’s a chance to bring your memories, photos and other items from those days, and see if you can find any familiar faces in the crowd.

These reunions are part of an ongoing research partnership between The University of Adelaide and the Migration Museum on the little-known stories of the hostels and those who called them home.
The Hostel Stories team have been interviewing people and researching archival material in order to create a better record for future generations.

There will be eight reunions – each one covering different hostels or work camps. Researchers from the University of Adelaide Hostel Stories project will be on hand to scan photos and documents.

11 April 10:30am Gepps Cross, Rosewater & Smithfield 11 April 2pm Glenelg 12 April 10:30am Finsbury/Pennington before 1975 12 April 2pm Pennington 1975 onwards 09 May 10:30am Elder Park & Woodville 09 May 2pm Woodside 10 May 10:30am Willaston, Mallala, Milpara, migrant work camps & any other SA hostels 10 May 2pm Interstate hostels including Bonegilla, Bathurst & Graylands
You can also visit the exhibition Hostel Stories: migrant lives at the Migration Museum and see some of the photos, mementoes and stories that have been gathered as part of the research to date.
What: Migrant hostel reunions
Where: Migration Museum, 82 Kintore Avenue, Adelaide
When: April 11-12 and May 9-10 (as above)

Bookings are essential: or phone 8207 7570
More information on the migrant hostels can be found at:

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Virginia's market gardens

From the mid 1950’s onwards European migrants came to the district to establish a new market gardening centre to serve Adelaide.  Prior to the Second World War, the city’s fresh vegetable needs were supplied by the areas around Campbelltown and Marion, but the sudden growth of Adelaide, particularly during the 1950s meant that much of the land was claimed for housing development.  In the search for a new area free from the threat of suburban encroachment and suitable for year round cultivation, many market gardening families came to Virginia where some horticulture already occurred on the banks of the Gawler River. 
The district offered a number of advantages including flat land, permitting easy cultivation and the erection of glasshouses, light sandy topsoil that could be readily worked, a mild climate with limited frost, and a plentiful supply of underground water.  Such was the attraction to the area that it not only drew experienced market gardeners but also a large number of new migrants form Central and Southern Europe who entered into the business in the 1950s and 1960s.  In addition, work was available in the nearby factories at Elizabeth and Salisbury thus enabling new settlers to earn a wage while establishing their market gardens.
The development of the Virginia area as Adelaide’s leading market gardening centre occurred rapidly. By 1961 over 450 acres in the council were being cultivated for horticultural produce, approximately half of which were potatoes. Development continued during the next decade, and by the mid-1970s over 2500 acres were devoted to the production of vegetables in the Munno Para council area – the vast majority of this land being located in the Virginia-Angle Vale district.
A wide range of crops is grown, including potatoes, onions, carrots, lettuces, cauliflowers, cabbages and celery. The main glasshouse crop until recent years has been tomatoes which were sent to interstate markets in Melbourne and Sydney.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Memories of the Royal visit to Elizabeth

Memories of the Royal visit to Elizabeth article in last weeks Messenger.
Do you have a memory of the Queens visit to Elizabeth in either 1963 or 1977.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Bolivar Sewerage Works

Bolivar 1978
Bolivar Sewerage Treatment Works was established at Bolivar in 1966 to service a large part of the Adelaide metropolitan area and there was an early hope that treated water from the plant could be used to irrigate the gardens at Virginia. The plan to utilize the effluent for agricultural purposes was objected to by the government on the grounds of the future possibility of problems with soil salinity and the health aspects of growing vegetables with this water. The growers found that the treated effluent was to be pumped into the sea and a group of them formed a committee in early 1968 in order to demonstrate the viability of using water from the plant.

The previous year a petition from residents in the Virginia area to the Munno Para Council let it to investigate the possibility of using water from the Bolivar Works for irrigation and, as a result, the council recommended that a pilot scheme be instituted.  Following this, the owners of a local property offered 14 acres of land as site for the proposed experimental garden and with the help of number of business houses and assistance from the government, an initial crop of potatoes and onions were planted and raised using water from the plant.  For two years (1968-70) the Munno Para Experimental Garden produces a series of successful harvesting and with the active support of the council, particularly Robert Sanders, hope for a successful resolution of the issue was again high. However, reports from the Department of Agriculture did not dispel all doubts concerned with the scheme and growers were advised that water would not be available until the mid-1970s.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Underground water supply in Playford

Though the Virginia-Angle Vale region is highly productive, a serious problem exists with the water supply form the underground bores, which threatens the economic future of the area. When the first market gardeners came to Virginia they found they had ready access to subterranean water by putting down bores into the deep limestone acquifers and simply pumping up what they needed for irrigation. However, as early as 1956 a brochure issued by the S.A. Department of Mines pointed out the dangers of overpumping and that the limits of safe development of the groundwaters had been virtually reached. Two years later the continued heavy pumping led to the main part of the water table falling below sea level for the first time, a condition which steadily worsened during the 1960s until there was a widespread fear that the decline of the water table would lead to the swamping of the underground acquifers with salt water from the sea.  Another side effect of the lowering of the water table meant that bores had to be drilled to ever increasing depths and by 1966 the average bore was between 300 and 400 feet deep.

The water crisis led to the stage government imposing restrictions on the quantity of water pumped by growers in the Virginia area and also to the time at which they could use their equipment. This led to a considerable amount of inconvenience and discontent and also to the search of an alternative source of water – the most immediate candidate being the nearby Bolivar Sewerage Treatment Works.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Craigmore Estate

Craigmore pre development
Although originally intended to be reserved exclusively for private building, one of the early stages of the project was given to the Housing Trust to construct due to heavy demand for housing in the area and the fact that the Trust’s Munno Pars subdivision was not yet ready for release. This stage was completed by the middle of 1978, at which point the (Craigmore South) primary school and shopping centre were already under construction, and private builders had commenced on another stage of the subdivision.  Also in 1978, the Munno Para Council successfully applied to the Nomenclature Committee for the entire subdivision, which had been split between Craigmore and Blair Park (named after Thomas Hogarth’s old home and property which was demolished by the Land Commission in 1977), to be known as the Craigmore Estate.

Besides assisting the development of the subdivision, the Land Commission, like the Housing Trust in Elizabeth, was involved in the provision of community facilities, a recreation and leisure centre, supermarket and specialty shops.  Private tenders built the recreation and shopping centres in 1980 (extended 1984) and the finished “Craigmore Village” was opened by David Wotton, Minister of Environment and Planning, on 3 March 1981. By June 1981 the Commission had produced some 1359 allotments at Craigmore, 408 of which had been sold. In October, 1979, 21 residents of the area had formed the very active “Craigmore Progress Association”.  The Association continued achieving many of its aims for the improvement of the neighbourhood until August, 1983 when it was dissolved, although it still had a membership of 116.