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 …

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 …

Vegetable gardening in the desert

Keen gardeners always seem to find a way to grow a garden, regardless of the environment. Attempting to grow a lush vegetable garden in the hot, dry environment at Woomera may seem ambitious, until you realise that there are many Read More …

Hearing the voice of a relative for the first time…

Have you ever thought of using oral history recordings in your family or local history research? Recording your own interviews with relatives is a valuable addition to your research.  However, previously recorded interviews can also provide family and local history 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 …