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 …

Dancing the night away

Dances were popular entertainment in cities and country towns through much of the twentieth century. Often the dances served as fund-raisers for local community groups, or during World War II, for the Fighting Forces Comfort Fund and the Red Cross. 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 …

Outback barbecues and the hazard of recycling metal plates

Barbecues were some of the most frequent social events in Woomera.  Often they were held in backyards. Terry Clark, who lived in Woomera in the 1960s and 70s, recalled in an oral history interview one particular barbecue that had an 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 …

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 …

The delights of bird watching

When we take the time to stop and enjoy our surroundings, we can be richly rewarded with beautiful sights that leave lasting memories. In 2008 I was fortunate to interview Lyn Bartlett, a keen bird watcher.  She described for me 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 …