Fifteen visits to the blog in a week, that must be a record! I hope all of you who visited are coming to the reunion in March. I’m going to be there and maybe will catch up with you all.

I have a week to myself next week and am looking forward to doing some more research and especially more writing. The book is getting closer to being finished. I would like more input from people who lived there in the late sixties and seventies but have not been successful in finding any of those children, now adults. If anyone who reads this blog knows of people who might be able to put me in touch with anyone who lived there during that time I’d be most grateful for the information. There are still some children who were at the orphanage in the fifties and sixties who I haven’t found yet either. I would love to get in touch with them too.

I am also interested in knowing how you all fared when you left the orphanage all those years ago. How did you leave? Were you fostered, did you go back to a member of your family, or did you leave some other way? Leave me a message here or email me if you would like to tell me the story.


New Year

Happy New Year to everyone who reads this blog.

I do hope that everyone had a very enjoyable Christmas with family and friends. We did and it was quiet and peaceful too. So the first two weeks of January are already fading away and life is getting back to normal for most people.

I have been talking to a few people who I have been hoping to talk with for awhile. One helped me think seriously about how to print and sell this writing when it is finished and offered to help with the editing. I’ll be sending the story off to her in the next day or so even though it isn’t nearly finished yet.

Today I had a lovely afternoon with one of the Good Sams still living in Adelaide. It was very helpful and helped me sort out what I still need to do in order to finish the book.

I don’t know if everyone knows that each year there is a Crystal Brook Reunion for all past and present residents of Crystal Brook. This has been happening for nearly 60 years. Last year it was at Crystal Brook, so this year and next year it will be in the city. The advertisement for this was in the ‘Can You Help’ column of the December 27th Sunday Mail.

When:   March 7th                                                                                                                                   Where: Flinders St Baptist Church Hall 65 Flinders St. City                 Registration from 1pm. Meeting from 2pm – 4pm Afternoon tea included.       RSVP by 26/2/2016 to Kevin Kirk   0407 604 108,  Marj Crouch  8636 2197  or Kevin Goulter  8265 5848

So if anyone wants to go to this reunion please ring one of the above numbers to reserve your spot. There may be a cost at the door but it wasn’t part of the ad.

Vale Fr. Don Victory

Yesterday I was in Port Pirie for the funeral of Fr. Don Victory. He was in his 80’s and was living in St Francis Home in Port Pirie. This is a retirement home run by the catholic church in Pirie.

You will all remember Fr. Victory. He used to come to the Orphanage on Sunday afternoons and plat in the playground with the children. He also used to take us to the swimming pool and teach us to swim. I remember he made me jump off the high diving board once. It was terrifying!!!

But he was one of the good guys as attested to by the large number of people (Sr. Helen Hunter came all the way from Sydney) who attended the funeral yesterday even in the 44+ heat at Pirie.  Must have been even hotter than that at the cemetary, we all nearly melted especially the bishop in his vestments.

Will be posting more in the coming weeks when I will much more time.

Life Changes

It has been so long since I wrote on this blog you must all have thought I’d given up. This term my eldest grand daughter changed schools. She is now going to the local school within walking distance from our house, so we have been nominated to take her to school each day and pick her up in the afternoon. I had forgotten how much this shortens the day! Also we have taken on looking after the younger grand daughter for two days a week. This gives the parents a bit of a break and the chance to get home from work a little earlier. So my research and writing have come to a virtual standstill.

BUT this Thursday after going to the school for drop off, I will be free till Monday!! So I’ll be off to town on Thursday to do some more research. Have made an appointment at the Catholic Archives to read some articles on the early Bishops of Port Augusta Diocese and some more of ‘The Witness’.  Also I will be visiting the State Library to see if they have some files about the early buildings in Crystal Brook.

I have written a list of things I need to find out about but don’t really know where to find the information so I’m hoping the State Library staff can help.

I will be contacting the Good Samaritan Sisters again soon too to get some information on St. Catherine’s Girls College.

Last month we went to Peterborough for a weekend with the Humber Club that my husband belongs to. We had a really enjoyable time but most importantly I was able to get a possible lead about another family who lived at the Orphange. I will be writing to them this week to check out if they are the right people. They might even have some memories that they can share with me too.

So yes things are still on the boil and I hope to have more information next week.

10,000 Words and Still Writing

It’s been over a month since my last post, due to being busy. We had the Grandies for some of the school holidays and since with sickness, which keeps one on one’s toes.

But I’ve reached the magical 10,000 words so I have been doing some writing. I have come to a bit of a standstill as I need to do some more research. I’ve been reading about Bishop O’Reilly who brought the Good Sams to Port Pirie and Bishop Killian who bought the original house in Crystal Brook to open a girls school. He also asked the Provincial of the Good Sams to send more Sisters to Crystal Brook. One of the priests here in Adelaide has researched both these bishops and written about them in a publication available at the Catholic Archives. So another trip to the city for me in the next couple of weeks to check out the bishops. Also Liz Smart from the CB History Group contacted me because she had lost an early photo of the orphanage. I didn’t think she had given me a copy, but looking at my photo file the other day I came across the photo she was looking for. I’ve emailed it to her and hope it is the correct one. Looking at this photo it has some similarities to the orphanage, but some differences to ie the roofline. This has ‘Convent 1930’s’ printed on it in ink and may have been how the house looked in 1930’s. Somewhere I read that there were extensive renovations made to the house especially the roof but I think it was in 1925 before St Catherine’s Girls College opened. So that doesn’t fit. However maybe there were other renovations after 1925 and maybe that was when to roof was changed. So there is plenty more research to be done.

I’m heading off to Peterborough in a couple of weeks for a Humber Club event. While we are there I’ll be asking the locals if they know a couple of the boys who came from there. I hope I find them.


More Research

Last week I was in the city visiting the Adelaide Archdiocesan Archives. There was a file of letters that I could read but need to be very discreet about as the file is still closed. It wasn’t very interesting anyway, but in amongst all the letters was the architect plans for the New Orphanage. What a find! And I was able to get a photocopy of it. I have put the pages together and taken a photo so we can all see the layout of the new building. Like me some of you will be saying ‘Oh there’s where I used to sleep’ or ‘Oh there we used to have our meals’ or ‘there’s where the TV used to be and we used to all sit in a semi circle around it to watch’. I also found the study room where I spent hours doing homework when I was in high school.

I’m not sure how big this will be when I upload it but you might be able to copy it to you computer and make it bigger if you need to. Enjoy!New Orphanage Plans (2)

Still On The Trail

I’ve been doing quite a bit of writing over the last few weeks and the project is coming together rather well. I am pleased with the content so far and the way the stories are helping to show the lifestyle and contrasts with today.

The one thing that alludes me at this stage is the actual date that the old building was built. I have found the Certificates of Title to the two sections of land that the church and original orphanage was built on but they don’t give any information about the buildings.

The assessment books were interesting reading and showed that Dr. Parkinson, the owner of section 703, also owned a number of other sections of land as well. But the earliest assessment book was dated 1886, some 8 years after the doctor first purchased section 703.

So my questions at this time are:

Where did Dr. Parkinson live when he first came to Crystal Brook? When did he build the house that became the orphanage? Did he continue to live in this house even after he began using it as a hospital or did he build the house next door to use as his home? Did he build another building to use as a hospital?

The earliest mention I can find in the Recorder archives is in 1879 when Dr. Parkinson attended a man who had collapsed from heat exhaustion ‘and was taken to Dr. Parkinson’s cottage hospital’. Is this the building that became the orphanage or was there another building being used?

If it was the orphanage building then it means that it was built in 1878 soon after the doctor bought the land. The time frame seems a little tight for such a large building to be built in barely a year in the late 1800’s, when materials would have had to be carted from Adelaide. Or is it possible that the doctor was using another building in the town as a cottage hospital?

I’m not sure how to find the answers to these questions but another visit to the State Library followed by a visit to Port Pirie Council may be in the near future.

Next week I’ll be visiting the Catholic Diocesan Archives in Adelaide and reading some documents they have there. Also the archives of the Port Pirie Catholic newspaper, ‘The Witness’ is housed in this archive. Should be lots of interesting articles and photos there if I can find them.