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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Poetry by the blacksmith

In an earlier post I introduced Sam Smith, the blacksmith who wrote poetry. Sam was born in 1870, and worked as a blacksmith in Meadows, in the Adelaide Hills, for at least 50 years until about 1953.   He died in Read More …

Defying stereotypes: the blacksmith who wrote poetry

Blacksmiths used to be very important members of local towns, making tools, shoeing horses and repairing farm equipment. Anthony Brookman was 94 when I interviewed him in 2008.  He could remember travelling as a boy from his family’s property, Burbrook, Read More …