The stories in this collection have been recorded from the recollections of family members, past and present. Care has been taken to accurately record those oral stories passed down. Some have been transcribed from hand written notes, diaries and previously typed records. The story teller's photograph is included for each group of stories. Where possible to illustrate the stories actual family photographs of the events or places have been incuded, some graphics of actual items may also be used to illustrate stories. Digital copies of each photograph or item displayed is in the collection of Harry and Jill Sweeney. Where the ownership is otherwise then credit of ownership is acknowledged.
Beatrix E. McConnell, born in Godiva Cottage, Ford Street, Gawler, 10th October, 1901.
Trix as she was known lived all her life in Gawler, leading an active life well into her nineties. Trix was raised by her grandmother and later lived with her auntie Carrie in a brick and stone house at 9 Twelfth Street, Gawler, South Australia. She never married. The one constant thread in her life was the church community of the Transfiguration Church in Gawler where she attended all her life. In her early years she was a keen photographer, taking many photos of Gawler and the surounding district. Some of her photos are used to illustrate her stories. She was an active stamp collector for many years, corresponding with and swapping stamps with collectors in other countries. Trix finding that the girls of the town needed something to do took up the challenge of creating a Brownie and Girl Guide group at Gawler, being involved with the group and presenting awards to the girls well past her eightieth year. In 1961 Trix, as she called it "the call of god" took her to Borneo to work as a missionary teacher for one year in a mission school at Jesselton. The stories reproduced here provide information on the early days of Gawler, the arrival of her mothers family from Manchester, her growing up, education, working life as a law clerk in a solicitors office, floods, ghosts and wars. Her last two stories told here are Murray River cruises, many years apart. Trix spent her last few years in the James Martin Retirement Village at Willaston just north of Gawler and died aged 100 years on 3rd December 2001.
Samuel James Sweeney, born 27th February 1883 at Gawler South, South Australia,
Beatrice Olive Sweeney nee Brown, born 28th November 1888 at Kapunda, South Australia.
Sam and Olive lived their last years at Dalton Avenue, Aldgate in the Adelaide Hills. The little picture shows them on the worn front steps in the sun, making a show for me as a young camera-man. The occasion was the traditional Christmas party gathering of the family. Olive lived with her family at Kapunda until she and Sam married. The background image on this page and on the Home Page are of Olive when she was about 19 years of age. Sam trained as a Blacksmith with James Martin & Company at Gawler. At the time their factory manufactured steam engines, rolling stock and other heavy equipment. Sam took his apprenticeship seriously and on leaving the company years later was highly thought of, qualified and respected tradesman. The stories told here by him were recorded after he had retired from the South Australian Railways where he worked most of his life as a Blacksmith, manufacturing steam engines and rolling stock. The first story takes him and Olive his wife to Tasmania where they take in the sights of Launceston, visit Cora Lynn, Scottsdale and walk along the Tamar River. Then train to Hobart where they go to Mount Wellington, the National Park, visit Cadburys Chocolate factory, go to Port Arthur and visit Cascade Brewery. In the next story they take the train to Western Australia and visit Kalgoorlie, Perth and Albany where the two of them use local transport and walk to points of interest. Finally in the last story they use their car to travel around the Gulf of St Vincent to Port Lincoln in South Australia. It is during this story that Sam stops recording their adventures, finshing with their mileages and fuel consumption for the trip.