From rocket launches to the Australian Space Agency: South Australia’s long history of space activities

With the announcement in December 2018 that Adelaide will be home to the new Australian Space Agency, it is timely to reflect on South Australia’s more than 70 year involvement in space activities. Memories of Woomera In 1947, the Australian 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 …

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 …

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 …