Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Rev Father Peter Kavanagh

First member of the Virginia Catholic Parish to become a Priest.

Son of Peter John Kavanagh and Mary O’Flaherty. Peter was a Boer war veteran. On his return he became Manager at Buckland Park Estate, where he worked for 36 years until he retired in 1946.

Monica Kathleen born on 5 September 1914 at Kensington Park and Peter John named after his father born on 29 March 1917 in North Adelaide. Monica was engaged to Edmund A Sheedy of Virginia in 1939, but married Kenneth Neylon in 1941.

He was a boarder at Rostrevor from 1931 -1935. Later teaching at Balaklava High School. Peter was ordained at St Columban’s Nebraska, USA on December 21, 1944. He was a student at St Columban’s Mission Society, Essendon Victoria for over three years before going to America. 

In 1954 he travelled to Ireland to take up temporary appointment at the Society’s headquarters, Dalgan Park, Navam for twelve months.

He died in 1993, 10 May interstate.

Southern Cross 9 march 1945

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Smithfield’s Blue Ribbon Army

In the 1880’s a new temperance movement moved rapidly through the country attracting many members.  The society originated in England by R T Booth (no relation to General Booth of the Salvation Army). One of the greatest evils on earth was alcohol and the only remedy was total abstinence.   The Blue Ribbon Army was formed as it was considered that there was a lack of Christianity among the existing temperance bodies.   A branch was founded in Adelaide on 17 July 1882.  Branches of this society were formed all over the state, many churches establishing divisions with their Sunday school. 
Rev Nelson the founder of the army in South Australia was present at the Gawler Institute in July 1883 as Mr J.M Howie explained the objectives of the movement.   A branch was subsequently formed in Gawler.   In 1884 a large number of the Gawler branch proceeded to Smithfield with the purpose of opening a branch there.  One opened on 31 May 1884 when 40 people donned the blue ribbon, amongst them several habitual drinkers. The Rev R. Jackson of Salisbury was chairman and Mr Swann, Marsh, Cross, Matthews and Kekwick delivered addresses. Miss Kekwick is credited with starting the movement in Smithfield.

Regular meetings with a musical or literary program and address were held at the Angle Vale Bible Christian Church or Smithfield Institute.  Former hard drinkers would give testimony to the misery of drink and the blessing of abstinence.  Attendees were encouraged to sign the pledge and ‘take up the blue’.
By 1886, 182 signed the Smithfield roll.  Nothing more is heard of the Army after this time.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Arthur Ward

Arthur Ward was killed in the field, 100 years ago to the day.

The Ward family resided at Virginia where twelve children were born to William and Mary Ann. Two sons enlisted to fight in WWI, Sidney George and Arthur. Sidney returned home, Arthur did not. 

Arthur was born on the 7 December 1885 at Virginia. In 1905 he moved to New Zealand working as a driver at Tokamaru district. He joined the New Zealand Maori Pioneer Battalion on 23 August 1915. Leaving Australia at the end of January 1916, he arrived in France in April. It was five months later that he was killed in the field on 9 September 1916. 

He is buried in Fricourt New Military cemetery in the Somme.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Henry Percy Smith: The man who designed Elizabeth

Henry Percy Smith

Site architect for the SA Housing Trust, puts on paper the main technical planning  for Elizabeth.
Born 8 April 1915 in Templestowe Victoria.  He always liked to draw and took naturally to working in an architect’s office.  Seeking adventure the 20 year old sailed for England in 1934, living there for 14 years.   In England he studied as an architect and in 1938 entered the Air Ministry drawing office.  He planned RAF airfields and bases.  When war came he served in the RAF on an airfield he had planned.  He served as a sergeant instructor teaching recruits to fly in Tiger Moths, before he returned to the Air Ministry.

Now married, he returned to Australia and won a post as an architect with the SA Housing Trust in 1948.  From 1951 he was the Trust’s site architect. When he started the concept of a six neighbourhood satellite town existed and it was his job to design it.  The design of Elizabeth was ahead of its time with open areas for community parks and ovals close to all the homes.  It was standard practice to have 12% as open space, but Elizabeth managed 25%.
Henry continued to work for SAHT until 1976 when he retired.  He passed away in 2010.

During his years at Elizabeth he took numerous photographs of the growing area. Here are a few.



Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Frank Leslie Riggs

100 years ago today, Frank Leslie RIGGS was killed in action.

The Riggs family was a well-known farming family in Gawler. Frank was born on the 23 June 1892 at Gawler West to James Parker Riggs and Emily Jane Congdon. He was a 23 years old blacksmith when he enlisted on 26 July 1915. He had previously served seven months as a volunteer in the Senior Cadets. 

He embarked on the Benalla on 27 October 1915 at Adelaide. He sailed to Egypt where he joined the 50th Battalion. Frank made corporal on 12 March 1916. He sailed from Alexandria to Marseilles, France. After arriving in France on 11 June 1916, the 50th Battalion fought in its first major battle at Mouquet Farm between 13 and 15 August and suffered heavily.

Frank was killed in action on 16 August 1916. He is buried at Moquet Farm, and remembered on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial.  

His personal effects of brush, kit bag and fountain pen were sent to his mother in Broken Hill in 1918. 

Frank and his brother Harold were well known in musical circles in Broken Hill and Gawler.

Lest we forget! 
Photograph from chronicle newspaper 30 September 1916 p.46