New book on life of William Cade, founding conductor of ASO

A biography of William Cade (1883-1957), the founding conductor of Adelaide Symphony Orchestra was launched last week at the Grainger Studio in Hindley Street, the home of the ASO. The new book, called The Flying Conductor was written by his granddaughter Avril Dalby, and part-funded by a History SA 2011-12 South Australian History Fund.

As well as the founding conductor of the ASO in 1936, William Cade played a significant role in expanding the musical life of 20th century Adelaide and was instrumental in setting up a 75 member Students’ Orchestra, the first in Australia.

Paul Blackman, ASO’s Human Resource Manager who also looks after ASO Heritage, introduced the event which featured a wonderful duet written for Cade in 1933 which had been only recently discovered in the University of Adelaide library. It was performed by ASO orchestra members Minas Berberyan (violinist) and Imants Larsens (violist and Associate Principal), while Minas later performed another exquisite piece with ASO member Suzanne Handel (harpist and Associate Principal).

Jo Peoples, Curator for the Performing Arts Collection in South Australia officially launched the book.

The launch party was well attended by family, friends and members of Adelaide’s performing arts community. Avril was kept busy signing books, while light refreshments were served courtesy of Adelaide Hills U3A Family History group who had played an important part in encouraging Avril with her writing project, her first published book.

The Flying Conductor is printed by Hyde Park Press and costs $50 and available via the author through her website

Memories in stitches

Today I went along to support volunteers Di and Marg from the Embroiderers’ Guild of SA Museum who were taking part in the Open Day at Resthaven Aged Facility in Malvern. Their newly created ‘Memory Box’ was having its first public airing.

Their box contained a variety of embroidered items mainly from the first half of the 20th century that were not part of their accessioned collection but had been sourced particularly for this purpose.  There was a beautiful silk nightdress, made in China as part of a trousseau in about 1910 with exquisitely embroidered blue birds and the owner’s Christian name on the bodice.  A baby’s layette set; various doilies; a hot water bottle cover and an embroidered table cloth celebrating the coronation of George VI in 1937.  There were also some quaint needle cases dating from the 1920s and 30s.

There was a great deal of interest in the items as they were being laid out ready for the Open Day, prompting memories of childhood, and making instant connections between people.

Memory Boxes, containing items to stimulate memories and encourage conversation and engagement are increasingly being used as part of reminiscence therapy amongst the elderly and those suffering from dementia.   Museums, particularly in the UK, are establishing memory boxes as part of their outreach programs, using objects in their collection that are surplus to requirement.

Prompted by talks Allison Russell and I have given outlining reminiscence projects we had worked on together as well as research we had done overseas, the Mile End-based Embroiderers Guild Museum decided to create their own Memory Box program.  Their next visit will be to the Helping Hand Residential care home in North Adelaide when they will be presenting their Memory Box to a small group of residents. 

It would good to perhaps see more collaboration between community museums and aged care facilities.  It gives museums an opportunity to repurpose their surplus items so that they may be used to improve wellbeing amongst the aging.  While at the same time the conversation generated during such a program might reveal useful information about an item’s history and use, and establish valuable networks.

Please call Embroiderers’ Guild of SA Museum Curator, Di Fisher on (08) 8234-1104 if you would like to know more about their Memory Box program.

St John Ambulance Museum has a new home!

The St John Ambulance Museum has moved from its old building, a 1969 ambulance depot when St John ran the ambulance service in South Australia, to a new address.  Located in a charming cottage quite close to the St John State Office headquarters, the museum is now at 72 Edmund Avenue, Unley. The interior of the cottage has been re-painted and the floors either polished or carpeted. The cottage will provide space for displays, storage, office and workspace.

The museum is not yet ready for visitors as yet but is expected to open in the first quarter of 2013.

Moving a museum is no small undertaking. Some idea of the task confronting members of the St John Historical Society can be gained from the photo of the interior of the cottage. There are scores of boxes to be unpacked that contain the hundreds of items in the collection. It will therefore be several months before the museum will be ready to open. An announcement will be made in “Open Airways”, the St John newsletter when it is open for visitors again.

Members of the St John Historical Society wish to thank members of the St John Board and Sharyn Mitten, CEO and her staff for providing such excellent accommodation for the museum.

You can read more about the history of St John in South Australia here







BOB is now in Two Wells

History SA/Veterans SA’s travelling exhibition Bravest of the Brave, which tells the moving stories of the 8 South Australians awarded the Victoria Cross in the First World War, has now arrived at its third venue.  State Member for Schubert, Ivan Venning kindly transported the touring display to Two Wells RSL this week from Crystal Brook RSL where it has been displayed since early September.  Community History Officer and curator of the exhibition, Pauline Cockrill helped set up the exhibition with Two Wells RSL secretary John Allen.   

Affectionately known as BOB, the exhibition consists of 7 doubled sided pop up banners and 4 wooden crates which double up as plinths to display the framed citations and replica medals belonging to the 8 men.

The RSL Club rooms are on the Main Street of Two Wells.  The display is there until 7 November and can be viewed on Wednesdays from 10 – 2 pm or by arrangement (call John on 0411 894 245).  The club rooms are also open for meals on Fridays from noon until late when the information panel on the son of Two Wells, James Park Woods will be available to view. 

James Park Woods was born in Two Wells in 1886, the son of a local blacksmith and grandson of Irish migrants who came to Australia and settled in Two Wells from Armagh in 1838. When a small boy, his mother died in childbirth aged just 40.  She is buried in Two Wells Cemetery.   ‘Jimmy’ Woods tried to enlist when WWI broke out but was rejected by the army because he was too short.  He was accepted later as height restrictions were dropped.  He was awarded his Victoria Cross for conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty near Le Verguier, north west of St Quentin on the Western Front on 18 September 1918. Unfortunately his father never knew of his son’s award for he had died the previous year.

The first of many projects that are being prepared worldwide to commemorate the centenary of the First World War in 2014, Bravest of the Brave is available from History SA free of charge to travel to schools, RSL clubs, museums, libraries, aged care facilities, community centres etc. There is also a schools resources kit.  In the first instance it is being offered to locations from where the 8 men were local heroes. 

The display will be going to Coventry Library in Stirling in November and after that is booked up to travel to a variety of venues in South Australia throughout most of 2013 and even 2014. Enquiries regarding the exhibition’s availability should be made on 08 8203 9888.

More photographs of the exhibition at Two Wells and at other venues including its launch by the Hon Jack Snelling MP in April 2012 can be seen here

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