Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Smithfield Eclectic Society

The first meeting to inaugurate the Smithfield Eclectic Society took place in the Smithfield Institute Hall, in March 1885. The first President Mr Blake sen, thought that by holding meetings, and discussion, it would be the means of doing a great good. The society met fortnightly to debate topics and hear papers being read.  

Similar societies had been credited with forming young men for public positions. The society teaches one how to study, express their views and how to not take offence if an opposite view is presented.

The first topic for debate was “Is the Government justified in sending forces to Soudan.'

On the second anniversary in 1887, the society celebrated with a social, to which a number of guests were invited. About seventy assembled in the Institute, many of them coming from Gawler and other places. Tables were set out for draughts, &c, which were fully occupied, while the remainder of the guests separated into groups for conversation, or indulged in the much favoured parlour games.

The subject for debate, ' Rail v. Road, ‘Protection and free trade’, “The government experimental farm”, ”The advisability of amalgamating the East and West Munno Para District Councils”, “How to make institutes more attractive”, “Should women occupy public positions?”.

No record of the society was found after 1900.

President Joseph Blake
Vice President John Alexander

President John Alexander
Vice President John Roberts
Secretary Mr Williams and treasurer
Committee Smith, Gavin Scoular and Blake

President John Alexander

President Joseph Blake

President J Hogarth
Secretary and Treasurer W H Moss

President Joseph Blake
Vice President G. Beaumont
Secretary and Treasurer W. H Moss
Committee: G & M McGee, R. Ballard, F. Andrews
Editor Manuscript magazine G. McGee
Auditor A.J Moss, A. Hoole

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Smithfield Munitions Factory

During the early days of WWII, the Commonwealth Government embarked upon a major expansion to manufacture munitions. Four munitions facilities were constructed in and around Adelaide, small arms factory at Hendon, a foundry and rolling mill at Finsbury, and explosive and filling factory at Salisbury and a magazine area at Smithfield.

The Smithfield magazine was built early in 1941 on a 530 hectare site, about 5 km north of the Salisbury Explosive and Filling Factory. It functioned as the storage area for the Salisbury factory’s munitions project, including Cordite, TNT and Nitrocellulose. The site was located on the corner of Curtis and Andrew’s road, MacDonald Park.

Approximately 95 buildings were constructed, thirty 50 ton magazines and three 100 ton magazines, each well separated and equidistant from each other to minimise the devastation that an explosion would cause (600 feet). They were surrounded by huge earth mounds and blast protection walls made of sandbags filled with sand and cement. The intention was to drive any explosion that might occur upwards rather than outwards which would affect other buildings. There were also 3 examination houses, a guard house and office accommodation. The magazine buildings are constructed of red brick with corrugated asbestos cement roofs and have wide eaves supported by timber brackets. Around 20 families would be moved from their farms as the construction began

The 100-ton magazines (124 ft by 23 ft) were originally used to store finished munitions products and are surrounded by five metre high blast mounds. The 50-ton magazines (63 ft by 23 ft) were used to store bulk explosives.

The bulk explosives were sent from Salisbury in wooden cases and transported to Smithfield by road, initially by horse-drawn vehicle and later by truck or trailer. They were delivered to the unloading sheds and then moved by battery powered electric tramways to the magazine buildings.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Early Problems Faced by the Councils – road making and rate raising

The two new Councils that had been formed in 1853 and 1854 faced a difficult task in their role as road-making bodies for they found it hard to raise an adequate rate. The meeting place for the Munno Para East Council was the One Tree Hill Inn, and it was here on 16 January 1854 that the first meeting of the new council was held, with Philip Butler unanimously elected Chairman. At the meeting of 20 March 1854, the council resolved that a rate of 1 shilling in the pound be proposed to the meeting of ratepayers, held at the One Tree Hill Inn on 27 March. At this meeting and at that those held for the following two years, 1855 and 1856, the ratepayers voted to adopt the 1 shilling rate over proposals for a lower one, such as a farthing or sixpence.  However, once initial support died away the shilling rate was less popular. In 1857 a public meeting voted for only a farthing rate but this was overruled by a meeting of the district councillors the following month when they decided that there should be a 6d rate. From then on the 6d rate became the norm for many years.
A similar situation occurred in the Munno Para West council area. The first meeting of this council took place on 8 May 1854 at Salisbury when James Sparshott was elected Chairman by the councillors. After this initial meeting the venue for council meetings became the Plough and Harrow Hotel at Penfield until a building in the township intended to be used as a Wesleyan chapel was bought from William Penfold in 1862 for 168 pounds.

On 2 October 1854 a public meeting was held at Walpole’s public house (the General Bolivar on the Port Wakefield Road) in order to fix a rate. It was resolved by a large majority that a rate of one farthing in the pound be adopted. This was a very low rate indeed and reflected both the financial difficulties of the early settlers, most of whom were small famers with little in the way of cash or assets, and also a degree of misunderstanding of the needs of the council. The following year the rate went up to 3d and gradually, with a few lapses, it increased to 6d by the end of the decade. There is no doubt that in the cases of both councils the low rates hindered effective building and maintenance of roads and bridges.