Tag Archives: Tea Tree Gully

Rippin’ Report

Hey guys, for the next couple of weeks I’ll be writing blog posts about a research report for my University degree, but before I go into too much detail I better introduce myself for those who don’t known me. Hi, my name is Nicole Monk and I’m currently undertaking a Directed Studies topic in my Graduate Diploma of Archaeology at Flinders University (this topic gives students the chance to complete research to better prepare themselves for the workforce and to work with industry partners). After looking through a list of potential areas to study, provided by the department, I decided on researching Highbury’s Torrens Linear Park, a location that I had never been to or heard about.

A few days after confirming my choice I received an email providing me with contact details of my industry partner and a template for my research, which would involve an archival study of Highbury’s Torrens Linear Park to determine the significance of the local area and the rockshelters located within the park.

After a few more days I eagerly drove the 40 minutes to meet my industry partner, Lea Crosby, at the Florey Reconciliation Task Force to find out what was expected from the research and to seek out any information that was held in the office. The information that I was given at the office was minimal, as many would know in the archaeological field, information regarding Indigenous people is often limited, and having too much information would have made the study pointless. At the conclusion of the meeting Lea and I organised to go on a tour of the Park so that I could have an understanding of the overall shape and scope of the study, which will be in my next post.

Following this meeting I was rushed out the door because it was a Friday, and let’s face it who doesn’t want to leave early on a Friday?

The Basement Bedroom – Boord House and the Truth

I had an interesting conversation with a friend today. It was on different perspectives and values; how one person might perceive an object – well … let’s say “site” because we were talking about archaeological sites – as one thing, and how another might perceive it as something else and value it in a different way. I had just come from a lecture that touched on the issue of differing values and value systems, specifically scientific values versus, say, social values. One may seek truth by means of rational and logical explanations and investigations into the what, how, and when of a site; however, another might believe a site to be an important factor to their identity regardless of the scientific facts. They are different values, but ultimately both truths and realities.

Now as stimulating a debate as it may be, I won’t be covering it on this post. It just got me thinking …

It got me thinking about Boord house, and the issue I had when I looked at the house for the first time. I was shown the holes in a wall that were the purported gun slits that were made to protect the Boord family from threats (so a plaque on a wall tells me). I took down notes about the site, now a storage depot for the Tea Tree Gully council, from the caretaker who was interested in the local history, and who took much of what he knew from what locals had told him throughout the years. There was an obvious sense of pride in the little cottage, and its connection to local history; the narratives that made it so interesting for such a quaint little place; the gunslits encapsulating the romantic notion of the frontier and its hardy pioneers.

It makes it difficult to share my views, which contradict some of these stories, based on observations some friends and I had made about some of the house’s features. One of these was in regards to the basement. I was told that this was where the family would have slept, having my attention drawn to a squared alcove in the northern wall that seemed to resemble a fireplace. And why not? It was quite cool, and would probably be cosy in the winter as well. How intriguing!

But it was probably just a cellar. Indeed, it was used as a storage place in later years, indicated by an end of a shaft on southern wall, directly to the left of the doorway.

There were no windows, or proper means of ventilation to support a family, let alone with a fire burning. And the “fireplace” did not seem to be a fireplace at all – it didn’t even have a chimney – and was probably just an alcove to store something in. Had it a chimney, we approximated that it would have come up at the entrance-way of the room above, and would have probably left some people disgruntled at the sootiness of their feet.

What was my point to this?

Stories often play an entertaining and educational role in our lives, and they often give something meaning. I believe there is a kind of pride in the unconventional; the unique; the idea that “you’ve probably never heard of it”. The story about the basement bedroom is one that seemed to make the house unconventional in its structure, and interesting. That’s not to say it could be wrong. It could have been a room, much like a panic room, especially if the stories about the gunslits were true: in the face of an attack, the family runs to the basement and takes shelter as Alexander Boord takes his gun and fires at the encroaching enemy through the gunslits he so wisely built …

… but is there any truth to this? Is it important if there is, or isn’t? Will it make the cottage any less significant to the community than it is now?

Just some things I thought to consider.

-Antoinette Hennessy, blog post 2

Keeping up with the Boords

Blog post 1

As part of my directed study, I am assisting the Florey Reconciliation Task Force in drafting a heritage nomination for a little house in Highgate (Tea Tree Gully) that is affectionately called, “Boord House”. The name doesn’t imply magnificence, but I think it is one of the most fascinating historic places in Adelaide – and only a 15 minute drive from the CBD! It left an impression from the beginning when Associate Prof. Heather Burke told me about the house and its odd accoutrements. One of its defining features is a wall with what are believed to be gun slits and which is still very much intact. Much of the cottage, in fact, is still intact, and under the sturdy cover of a shed which was obviously built much more recently.

When I went to the Florey Electorate building for the first time to meet with Lea Crosby, she was kind enough to provide me a variety of resources, all referring to the Boord family, their history, and a little about the house itself. The more I found out, the more I wondered why such a place wasn’t listed yet, and I was genuinely worried. She was also kind enough to show me the house – easy enough to get to down a scenic route off Lower Northeast Road.

The surrounding area is part of the Linear Park project of Campbelltown, with a creek running through, and is speckled with a mix of native and non-native trees. Most, if not all of the latter are old fruit trees which I believe are part of the Boord’s orchard. Lea led me down the trail through the trees and to the house nearby. Little did I know that my first problem would be waiting in the form of a big black metal fence surrounding the house, and a conspicuous sign stating, “PRIVATE PROPERTY”, and with that went my initial plans to visit the house regularly – apparently, they were recent additions. Despite the barrier, the tall black bars reassured me that there were precautions being taken in preserving such a beautiful historic building, despite not being heritage listed. While the property may no longer (or for the moment) be available for public visitation, a memorial plaque is available for passers-by to read about the house and a brief history of the Boord family in South Australia.

Antoinette Hennessy