Changing places: from the garden of England to the Australian desert

What is it like to grow up in the rolling green hills of the Kent countryside in England, only to spend several years as an adult working in the Australian desert? It is hard to imagine two settings more different Read More …

Oral history of the Great Depression part 2

My previous post introduced the Unemployment Relief Scheme settlement in Meadows that was established during the Great Depression.  Oral history interviewees talked about what it was like to live there in cottages that had been described as ‘roomy tin bungalows’ Read More …

Oral history of the Great Depression

One of the most valuable aspects of oral history is being able to ask someone exactly what it was like to experience a certain event or era.  I was fortunate to record interviews with two people who had grown up Read More …

Memories of summer 2: keeping the milk cool

Continuing the theme of my previous post with memories of summer, I’ve selected this time some excerpts from oral history interviews focussing on milk in summer – keeping it cool (or not) and drinking it. Pat Connor was a dairy Read More …

Mournful crows, burning legs on metal slides, and other memories of summer

As those of us in Australia head into the hottest part of the year, it seems an ideal time to hear stories about the extreme heat in places such as Woomera, located in desert country in the north of South Read More …

Remembering the general store

General stores were a central feature of most country towns.  They provided a wide range of goods and services, and were run by local families. The general store in Meadows, in the Mount Lofty Ranges of South Australia, was built Read More …

The magic of an outdoor cinema

Watching films under the stars is a special experience.  Some people may remember watching films in one of the many drive-in cinemas that used to exist in city and country towns across Australia. The first drive-in cinema in Australia opened Read More …

Father Christmas always arrives in a helicopter

You may not be familiar with the tradition of Father Christmas arriving in a helicopter – unless you lived in Woomera. Woomera was established in 1947 as a rocket range in northern South Australia to test missiles and research rockets.  Read More …

Childhood summers spent scrambling up hills and swimming in waterholes

As the school year comes to a close and we approach the summer holidays, it is interesting to look back over some of the pastimes that children used to enjoy – many of which were outdoors. Barry Ellis grew up Read More …

Get me to the match on time!

Some of the funniest stories I’ve come across in oral history interviews have been about attempts to get to a sporting match on time.  Not all attempts have been smooth sailing! Allan Hartwell talked about how his Meadows B grade Read More …