The ghosts of Belconnen

Some places are more likely than others to elicit ghostly experiences.  The former Belconnen Naval Transmitting Station, or Bels, in Canberra was one such place. Bels was the most powerful radio transmitting station in the southern hemisphere.  It operated 24 Read More …

From the Monte-Carlo dance to the Veleta waltz: country dances and bands

Country dances have been a major source of entertainment for decades, as described in my previous post, but what types of dances were popular last century, and who provided the dance music? In an oral history interview, Harry Portlock talked Read More …

Going to the pictures

Before the introduction of television in Australia in 1956, going to the pictures was a popular entertainment. The first permanent cinema in Adelaide was established in 1908: West’s Olympia Theatre at 91 Hindley Street.*  A further fifteen cinemas opened in Read More …

From gum-studded paddock to superb sports oval

Describing the Meadows oval as a sports oval in the early- to mid-1900s is probably being overly generous. In common with ovals in other small towns, it had its shortcomings. Harry Portlock recalled that in the 1940s: The oval was Read More …

Big uncluttered skies: remembering a childhood pastime of looking at the stars

Sue Gibbs and Peter Zajicek spent their childhoods in Woomera, 450 km north of Adelaide, in the 1960s and 1970s.  The isolation of Woomera made it an ideal place to look at the stars, free from the light pollution of Read More …

A changeable landscape: recollections of Woomera

Woomera is a dry place – most of the time.  Sometimes however it is inundated with rain, and then the landscape changes dramatically.  Plants that have laid dormant come to life, and seeds from ephemeral plants germinate and grow. I Read More …

How to make an excellent oral history recording: top tips from an audio engineer

Audio engineers working in collecting institutions are in a superb position to provide valuable advice to oral historians, since they look after recordings, and ensure they are stored safely and made available to researchers.  They have extensive experience in sound Read More …

From wax cylinders to SD cards: the extraordinary range of audio technology encountered by an audio engineer

I recently went behind the scenes at the State Library of South Australia to interview audio engineer, Peter Kolomitsev, about his job.  It quickly became apparent that in helping to preserve the state’s audio heritage, he encounters a diverse range Read More …

Life in the Unemployment Relief Scheme settlement in Meadows: a social perspective

The Meadows poultry settlement was established in May 1934, as I described in a previous post.  Twenty-four families with a total of 130 children moved in.  At this time, the population of Meadows was about 290, so the settlement suddenly Read More …

Unemployment Relief Scheme settlers in Meadows in the 1930s: how did they fare financially?

During the Great Depression of the1930s, several Unemployment Relief Scheme settlements were established in the Adelaide Hills.  A contemporary newspaper report predicted that the settlement in Meadows would achieve “success and prosperity.”  Settlers were expected to earn 300 pounds per Read More …