Monday, June 29, 2015

Evidence of local Indigenous community

This is not the skull referred to in the article. Used
for illustration only
On 28TH April, 1977, a party consisting of Mrs Pearson, Munno Para Public Library; Mr W.J. Richardson former owner of the orangery on the Little Para River; Mr Tom Power and Mr P. Fitzpatrick of the South Australian Museum, Aboriginal and Historical Relics Section, (Department of Environment); visited the Goulds Creek/Little Para River area to seek more evidence of Aboriginal camping grounds and burial sites.  In 1914, Mr W. Richardson and found a skeleton buried sitting up in the creek bank below a gully running into Goulds Creek.  The skull was protruding from the top of the soil which had been washed away by heavy rains.  The area was examined and some digging carried out but no bones were found.  Although many years had passed since the finding of the skeleton, it was felt that it was worth checking the area on the chance that a burial site may be located in view of the fact that the area will shortly be flooded by the reservoir and any evidence which may exist will be destroyed permanently.  Many pieces of quartz chips were found either on the surface or just below it having been disturbed by bulldozers.  These were considered as possible evidence of tool making in the area. One large round pitted stone possibly used as a mallet was collected and taken back to the Museum.

On 22nd July 1977, Mrs Pearson re-visited the orangery site. On the opposite (eastern) side of the Little Para River the alluvial deposits had been carted away. This left the clay beneath the loam exposed, approx. 7ft 3in below ground level.  The area was examined.   Random holes were dug around this at varying distances and ashes and charcoal were also found in them. At aprox. 3 metres from the first hole, a round pitted stone which fitted comfortably in the palm of the hand was found. Several pieces of ochre were also found in this hole.  The area was a known aboriginal camp site and the stone could have been used as a mallet.  The river was known to flood at intervals, resulting in heavy deposits of silt.  The stone and ochre could have been covered in the clay layer where holes were dug and none were visible on the surface.

Mrs G Pearson, Local History Researcher, Munno Para Public Library.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The first performance in the new Shedley theatre

The Irregular Verb to Love

The first performance by the Elizabeth Repertory Company in the new Shedley theatre at Elizabeth marked the beginning of a new chapter in the theatre in SA.

For its opening play the choice of “The Irregular Verb to Love: by Hugh and Margaret Williams. The production by Bill Watt, the setting a modern sitting room of elegant proportions in Regent Park, London.

Paula Carter showed considerable charm as a cranky mother and Leonard Ashby portrayed her vague animal curator husband with understanding. Also performing was Marion Hennessey, Michael Moody, John Willis and Christine Mitchell, Jeanne Roberts, Eileen Coe as an interviewer and Ken Grave as a Greek interpreter.

Paula Carter as she appeared in the first play

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Elizabeth Civic Centres - The People's theatre

The group of civic minded people rallied to establish a theatre complex for the City of Elizabeth. The Housing Trust of South Australia offered the Salisbury Council, free of cost to the Council a site for the theatres in the centre of Elizabeth.  The unique design of the theatre complex is the work of Mr Geoff Shedley, chief architect for the South Australian Housing Trust. 

The Elizabeth Civic Theatres feature twin theatres in one building comprising the Octagon and the Shedley Theatres.
The complex, completed in 1965, was opened by His Excellency the Governor, Sir Edric Bastyan on 21st August of that year. 

The small theatre from the start was known as the Shedley, named for Mr Geoff Shedley, who was the designer and architect of the theatres, and his influence as a designer, architect and sculptor has left its mark on the cultural development of the city.

Several local theatre groups have been formed in Elizabeth and surrounding areas, such as The Nimbus Productions, The Northern Light Opera Company, Mirrabooka, Masque Productions, and The Elizabeth Repertory Company.

These groups cater for drama, light opera, musicals and comedy and give many people the opportunity to be connected with an amateur theatre group whether it be in acting, singing or the technical side of a production.  Some groups such as The Nimbus Productions have now become semi-professional and provide excellent entertainment. Dancing Schools, Callisthenics Club Displays, Concerts, and the Boy Scouts Comedy Capers and held at the Shedley Theatre which makes the theatres a “Peoples theatre” in reality.
The Octagon, which derives its name from its shape, is the larger of the two theatres.  The Octagon is the venue for all the major balls in Elizabeth.  The Elizabeth Birthday Festival ball is the highlight of the social calendar of Elizabeth, where the entrants of the Miss Elizabeth Quest are presented to the Guest of Honour before the winners are announced and Miss Elizabeth is crowned.

From 1992 there were plans to revamp the heart of Elizabeth.  Part of these initial plans was to bulldoze the Shedley and Octagon theatres and expand the Elizabeth Shopping centre out to Main North Road.  The proposal sparked outrage amongst the local community who began protesting about the proposed plan.  Placard carrying demonstrators gathered outside the Elizabeth Council Chambers to show their disapproval.  The Shedley was saved, but the Octagon was demolished.
In 2004 the Playford Civic Centre opened as part of the ‘Revitalisation of the City”.  The new centre is designed to be a hub of inspiration, drawing together a range of community and cultural services into one central and dynamic facility.  The redevelopment cost $12.6 million.


THE SHEDLEY THEATRE is celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2015.

The Playford Civic Centre is calling on anyone who may have information or a connection to the Shedley Theatre.

We would also welcome any historical material relating to the theatre that you may be willing to share.

If this sounds like you or someone you know, the Playford Civic  Centre would love to hear from you.

Please contact Daina Pocius on 8256 0382 or email