Our October meeting was a most enjoyable and friendly occasion. We welcomed Alice from our own congregation, and Betty, Thelma and Dot from Trinity UC at Alberton. After a chat over lunch, we welcomed Dr Don Hopgood who gave us a fascinating talk about “Adelaide in the 1920s” - after the First World War and before the Depression.
First of all he told us about the geography then, and showed a map in the late 1920’s of the City of Adelaide and built-up areas - vastly different today. Parafield Airport, started in 1926, was soon found to be not big enough, and an airport was planned nearer the city.
(Adelaide in the early 1920s, photograph from Adelaide City Council Archives, see more at The ABC
Then he spoke about many notable events including the 1919 Peace Conference; Ross Smith’s non-stop Melbourne to Adelaide flight and the Prince of Wales visit in 1920; the population passing 500,000 in 1921. He also mentioned such events as the First Federal Election using compulsory voting, the building of the Railway Station in Adelaide, the Duke and Duchess of York’s visit, and the Depression. He compared the Census in 1921 with 2011, showing changes in the way people lived, including schooling and religion. And so we were most interested in everything he told us - new ideas put forward by Charles Read, Town Planner. The Railways - Islington Workshops needed to be modernized, different gauges were a problem, steam locomotives too small. Powerful steam locomotives were built in the late 1920’s. He spoke about sport with familiar names in Cricket: Warwick Armstrong, Arthur Mailey, Woodful and Bradman and Vic Richardson; mentioning also horse-racing, golf, boxing, swimming, tennis, lacrosse and basketball.
Don said generally speaking we do learn from history, and we did learn from life in the twenties. We all agreed how fortunate we are to have such a gifted speaker come along and tell us this fascinating interesting story. Mary Thomas
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