• A Breath of Fresh Eyre: day 1

    November 28, 2011

Today I took the ‘red eye’ from Adelaide to Whyalla and headed south by hire car avoiding both emus and giant grain trucks that indicate it’s harvest time on the Eyre Peninsula.

Over the next three days, I’m visiting as many community museums as I can over here to photograph and help members write up their profiles for our SA Community History site as well as catch up with those who are currently working on History SA-funded projects.

It’s been a marathon run …

I’ve seen a lot of tractors including a fully restored 100 year old Ruston Proctor Traction engine in Cowell while the town also turned up some exquisite embroidered fundraising tea cloths of the same vintage; I’ve discovered cues or bullock ‘shoes’ and giant jam stirrers in Cleve; I’ve learnt about Tumby Bay’s famous Brattenising plough and the town’s connection with the Mortlock family; and I’ve walked in the footsteps (and driven in the tyre tracks) of some great pioneering women – author May Gibbs of Gumnuts fame who spent her early childhood outside Cowell where there is a memorial close to the location of the original homestead; and the amazing Sylvia Birdseye, intrepid female bus driver of the 1920s who is now immortalised in the Birdseye Highway running from Cowell to Elliston.

… but most of all I’ve enjoyed meeting all the passionate people who look after these community museums and diverse collections and hearing their stories …

Jo and Merle at the Franklin Harbour History Museum plus John and John down the road at the Agricultural Museum in Cowell; Else at the Cleve National Trust Museum; Pat and Jean at the Tumby Bay National Trust Museum; as well as Community Development officers Pam and Christine at Cleve and Tumby Bay respectively.

Wonder what treasures I’ll discover tomorrow?