Author Archives: nessastories

Marion’s Intangible Heritage: Interview #4 with Jill

Intangible Heritage Workshop, 4th Conversation: Jill Burfield

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My final conversation for the day was with Jill Burfield. Although Jill had not lived in Marion Council, she recalled Marion and attitudes of earlier times.

Jill’s mother gave birth to her in a private hospital in Rose Park in 1934 at the age of 30, which was considered ‘old’ to have kids. In 1939, Jill’s younger sister was born. Her mother wasn’t feeling well and went into Memorial Hospital to give birth. At one point, she felt herself slipping and pressed the button for assistance. The nurse’s response? A drink of brandy.

Above: Jill gives a lively explanation of what community meant in the mid-20th century

As you couldn’t just go buy scones or cakes, Jill’s mother used to make them and have her friends around to fill time as a home mum. Exchange systems were common among members of the community- ‘if you had some almonds, you would give some to your friends and they might give you some plums’, Jill explained.

Women weren’t expected to work; it was all about when you were going have children. Jill was, and is, a strong feminist. She finished year 11 and went into the work force as a teacher, when ‘everyone was expected to get married and have children’. In those days, education for women was superfluous to their roles as home makers and mothers.

Above: Jill passionately discusses being a feminist in more gendered times

Jill painted a mental picture of a past with strictly gendered expectations. Women and men were born into specific social roles and were expected to maintain those roles throughout their lives. Despite this, it was also a time where people would share what they had with one another. Thanks, Jill.

Nessa Beasley

Marion’s Intangible Heritage: Interview #3 with Diana

Intangible Heritage Workshop, 3rd Conversation: Diana Catchlove

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My third interview for the Intangible Heritage Project was with Diana, who originally lived on the corner of Morphett and Sturt Roads. During our conversation together, she recalled many of the wonderful businesses and community members who defined Marion when she lived there.

Memories of Change in Marion

Today; rather than the market gardens, numerous vineyards and family businesses that she remembers, Diana feels that Marion is defined by the Westfield shopping mall and housing developments.

Above (Diana): ‘There were so many vineyards and groves from that area and it’s really sad now to see so few vines in the area…’

I asked Diana if she could trace the changes in Marion to a particular time. She felt that the 1950s was the era of change when more shops began operation and housing trust homes were built. Butchers, green grocers, even her father had a deli at Marion at one stage.

Post-War Poverty

Remembering post-war life, Diana spoke about the frugal lifestyles people had to endure. Diana’s household welcomed an electric fridge around 1949, which was a big event in her household. She recalls her mother using a copper, ringer and wash trough in earlier times. Reckitt’s blue was used to whiten the clothes back then. ‘Lots of kids these days don’t know what a copper stick is…or scrubbing board,’ Diana chuckled after my ignorance became evident.

My discussion with Diana provided a small window into a time which seemed much more concerned with community and relationships. People knew each other by name, and knew their neighbours well. Thank you Diana, it was a pleasure.

Nessa Beasley

Marion’s Intangible Heritage: Interview #2 with Margaret

Intangible Heritage Project Workshop, 2nd Conversation: Margaret Hayes

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Margaret Hayes was born in 1940 and lived in Marion until she was twelve years of age. For the City of Marion’s Intangible Heritage workshop, Margaret brought in a beautiful watercolour original that was passed down to her from her auntie.

Although the artist and origins of the piece are unknown, the name Leslie Rhile was written and partially etched in cursive on the reverse side of the painting.

Above: Margaret’s enigmatic heirloom (photographed by author with permission)

I asked Margaret what sort of connection she shared with this particular church (pictured) and she pointed to the property fence on the lower right hand corner of the image: she used to live there!

Margaret recalls living next door to the church and what that meant for her as a child. If someone was engaged in the community there would be a campfire and singing around the fire. Both Margaret’s grandmother and mother were very involved with the church, perhaps explaining how the picture ended up with her auntie. Margaret says a lot of community cohesiveness came from the church’s organisation.

Above: Margaret recalls fond memories of living next to the church

Even without the details on the artist and origins of the image, the artwork is richly symbolic and representative of Margaret’s family history with the local church. Thank you, Margaret.

Nessa Beasley

Marion’s Intangible Heritage: Interview #1 with Rodney

Results of the City of Marion’s Intangible Heritage Project Workshop

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As part of a practicum with the City of Marion, I conducted interviews during a workshop in April about the intangible heritage of the area. Intangible heritage includes the expressions of heritage that are invisible, including the memories and feelings of place linked with the participants’ past in Marion. The results of conversations with a number of community members are briefly recounted here. The interviews (four in total) were a wonderful mixture of stories about objects, places and people of earlier times in Marion.

Intangible Heritage Project Workshop, 1st Conversation: Rodney Coombs

The first participant interviewed, Rodney Coombs, was born in 1944 and lived on Unley Road in a single bedroom with five relatives until his family was moved to Springbank Camp. At the camp they lived in a tin warehouse where hessian was erected to create ‘rooms’. It was here that Rodney, only four years old, was diagnosed with poliomyelitis (‘polio’).

Above: Rodney (1949), coming home for a day from hospital (courtesy of Rodney Coombs)

The image above is of Rodney returning home for a brief Sunday visit from hospital, tied to an iron frame in 1949. He had been transported on Bill Smith’s open buckboard (in the background). His mother (pictured right, above) had been told he would not survive.

Rodney described the memory of his illness as…‘traumatic for everybody concerned’. When he was around eight years old he was able to start walking again. The second picture (below) is Rodney’s first day of attendance (1952) in an opportunity class where he was placed to catch up on his education.

Left: Rodney’s first day of attendance in the opportunity class (1952) (courtesy of Rodney Coombs)

His right arm was placed in a sling which was later found to be detrimental to his rehabilitation.  Now left-handed, Rodney has limited movement in his right arm despite operations to restructure his muscles and tendons.  Rodney’s photographs and stories were captivating for the half an hour we had together. Thanks, Rodney.

Nessa Beasley