Monday, August 29, 2016

Henry Percy Smith: The man who designed Elizabeth

Henry Percy Smith

Site architect for the SA Housing Trust, puts on paper the main technical planning  for Elizabeth.
Born 8 April 1915 in Templestowe Victoria.  He always liked to draw and took naturally to working in an architect’s office.  Seeking adventure the 20 year old sailed for England in 1934, living there for 14 years.   In England he studied as an architect and in 1938 entered the Air Ministry drawing office.  He planned RAF airfields and bases.  When war came he served in the RAF on an airfield he had planned.  He served as a sergeant instructor teaching recruits to fly in Tiger Moths, before he returned to the Air Ministry.

Now married, he returned to Australia and won a post as an architect with the SA Housing Trust in 1948.  From 1951 he was the Trust’s site architect. When he started the concept of a six neighbourhood satellite town existed and it was his job to design it.  The design of Elizabeth was ahead of its time with open areas for community parks and ovals close to all the homes.  It was standard practice to have 12% as open space, but Elizabeth managed 25%.
Henry continued to work for SAHT until 1976 when he retired.  He passed away in 2010.

During his years at Elizabeth he took numerous photographs of the growing area. Here are a few.



Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Frank Leslie Riggs

100 years ago today, Frank Leslie RIGGS was killed in action.

The Riggs family was a well-known farming family in Gawler. Frank was born on the 23 June 1892 at Gawler West to James Parker Riggs and Emily Jane Congdon. He was a 23 years old blacksmith when he enlisted on 26 July 1915. He had previously served seven months as a volunteer in the Senior Cadets. 

He embarked on the Benalla on 27 October 1915 at Adelaide. He sailed to Egypt where he joined the 50th Battalion. Frank made corporal on 12 March 1916. He sailed from Alexandria to Marseilles, France. After arriving in France on 11 June 1916, the 50th Battalion fought in its first major battle at Mouquet Farm between 13 and 15 August and suffered heavily.

Frank was killed in action on 16 August 1916. He is buried at Moquet Farm, and remembered on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial.  

His personal effects of brush, kit bag and fountain pen were sent to his mother in Broken Hill in 1918. 

Frank and his brother Harold were well known in musical circles in Broken Hill and Gawler.

Lest we forget! 
Photograph from chronicle newspaper 30 September 1916 p.46

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The name of my town is Virginia


The name of my home town is Virginia.  It is a small township on the Adelaide Plains.  It is composed mostly of small cottages. There are two shops, one garage and service station, a hotel, post office, railway station, school and institute, where we celebrate Arbor Day each year. We have recently acquired a recreation ground. The bitumen road runs through the centre of the town.  Numbers of cars ran through in each direction from Adelaide to Port Wakefield and other places. About two miles from the township lies the Gawler River. It is shaded with large red gum trees, opossums live in the trunks of the trees, buds build their nests in the branches and others high up in holes of the trunks. Along its banks the land is cut into blocks for gardens, where they grow vegetables and fruit. In dry weather water is obtained by electric pumps from the river. Sand is also carted for building purposes. Hay is mostly grown here, and after it is cut it is stooked, put on wagons and taken to the haystack. It's a pretty sight to watch the men and horses at work; the smell of the hay is very sweet.

The Observer Thursday 29 January 1931 page 18