Welcome to the blog of the Pioneers Association of South Australia Incorporated.

The Pioneers Association of South Australia Incorporated was founded in 1935 and has the following principal objectives:

  • To perpetuate the memory of the pioneers of early settlement in South Australia.
  • To establish and maintain a faithful record of the pioneers for the benefit of present and future generations.
  • To encourage the preservation of records, portraits, relics and historical materials associated with pioneer settlement.
  • To promote awareness and knowledge of South Australian history.
  • To affiliate with any other organisation with objectives similar to those of  the Association.
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Pioneer e-Xpress Newsletter – April 2015

2015 April Newsletter_Page_12015 April Newsletter_Page_2

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Pioneer e-Xpress Newsletter – March 2015

2015 March Newsletter_Page_12015 March Newsletter_Page_2

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Pioneer e-Xpress Newsletter – February 2015

2015 February Pioneer e-Xpress v2_Page_12015 February Pioneer e-Xpress v2_Page_2

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Giles Abbott & Sarah Bews: from North Adelaide hoteliers to Middleton land owners

This is one of the posters created for the 2014 SA History Month display presented by the Pioneers Association of SA.

02 Abbott & Bews APPROVED

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Junior Pioneers ‘do time’ at the Adelaide Gaol

On Saturday 26 October our Junior Pioneers visited the historic Adelaide Gaol. There were fifty of us altogether including Junior Pioneers, their family and friends, grandparents and Pioneer members. On our arrival, finger prints and mug shots were taken and then we divided into two groups for intensive guided tours of the Gaol. Our time at the Gaol finished with afternoon tea and a range of learning activities. It was with a sense of relief that we all managed to escape.


The following two reports from Riley and Tessa (Pioneer member Jill Davy’s grand daughters) describe their thoughts on our Junior Pioneers ‘doing time’ at the Adelaide Gaol.

from Riley Pahl….

The tour of the Old Adelaide Gaol gave me an insight to the lives of the prisoners, that I would have never known. During the tour, I was surprised at the information the guide told us. I learnt all about the conditions the prisoners put up with, and just how little you had to do, to be but in the gaol. A theft of only two pieces of fruit, and a six week sentence would set you straight.

Discovering about the food that was served at the goal, may have put you slightly off your appetite, yet learning about the horrible circumstances, was engaging.

If the prisoners were too fed up with the little amount of water, disgusting food and small cells, it was almost impossible to escape. I never knew about the loose bricks on top of the walls, that were there to make the prisoners fall, if somehow they reached the top. They were called honeycomb bricks, as the wall would hold their weight, yet not be secured down, so they would easily fall and crumble.

To end the tour, we had our own afternoon tea (luckily not what the prisoners ate!). I was intrigued by the day, and left knowing more than I thought I would find out. On the whole, I am pleased that I was able to come to this day at the goal.


from Tessa Pahl….

I thoroughly enjoyed our fascinating tour through the old Adelaide Gaol. It was an aspect of Adelaide`s history I had never considered. I found that the gaol itself and its history reflected important parts of South Australia`s settlement. We were toured right around the gaol and saw the many buildings added as the gaol became bigger and more modern. It was amazing to see the elaborate hanging towers which almost sent the state broke so close to a plain fibreglass meeting chamber which looked almost out of place! I loved the many tales our guide told us, which I would never had learnt on a self-guided tour.

The guides were fantastic and really knew the gaol inside out. Quirky facts such as the ease at which contraband items could pass into the gaol and the beautiful rose garden in the centre, were very interesting and really contrasted with the rules of today`s prison structures. I was also able to appreciate just how horrific the conditions would have been, particularly in summer with poor water systems and absolutely no airconditioning! Overall an intriguing tour which I was glad to have been a part of.

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Bus Trip to Historical Strathalbyn


Strath Group

Parking our cars at the Torrens Parade Ground we boarded the bus on a sunny but windy day and headed for Strathalbyn via the Freeway and Mount Barker. Pam Stace stood in for husband Bob who was indisposed at the last minute and she and others pointed out aspects of historical interest along the way.

We pulled up at the Strathalbyn Heritage Centre where after an initial welcome and introduction to proceedings, we enjoyed a lovely morning tea outside in a sunny courtyard besides the old police station cells. The centre had originally been the local Courthouse and Police Station which dated back to the 1850s.
Some of our members then viewed a collection of historical costumes and others joined a local volunteer to look at the outdoor displays. Later there was a demonstration of the extensive array of farming equipment. Some of us were a bit taken aback when we glanced into the prisoners’ toilet to find it “occupied”!

Lunch followed at the nearby historic Victoria Hotel. It was a very nice lunch in a pleasant dining area and the proprietor gave us an interesting talk on the early days of the Hotel and some news of some unconfirmed ghost sightings. We boarded the bus again and headed for the old High Street where some of us had a stroll while others, with the help of Ken Jacobs, checked out some of the many nearby antique shops.

A short drive took us the historic Glenbarr Homestead which had been the home of the pioneering Rankin family from the early 1840s. We broke into three groups and volunteers led us around the property pointing out its historical features. As we strolled from room to room and up and down stairs we shuddered at the very basic old bathrooms and admired the quaint old furniture. After a quick look at the extensive grounds we returned to Adelaide via Macclesfield, Echunga and Hahndorf.

It had been a very pleasant day’s outing.

Report by Dympthia Bailey

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2013 PASA Special General Meeting and Annual General Meeting

Two important meetings were held by the Pioneers Association of South Australia at the Burnside Community Centre on the evening of Monday 30 September 2013.

Special General Meeting??????????????????????
This meeting of members, which preceded the AGM, considered and then approved amendments to our Association’s constitution which will allow for the use of postal and proxy voting at future general meetings. As a result of the vote taken, members who cannot be present at future general meetings, will now be able to use postal voting to elect Council members and proxy voting to contribute to the general decision making at these meetings. Copies of the amended constitution can be obtained from the PASA Office.

Annual General Meeting
The Annual General Meeting attended to the usual annual reports including the audited Financial Statement and the 2013 Presidents Report.

The following members had been nominated for membership of the Council and were duly elected: Sue Coppin, Jill Davy, Peter Dunn, Judith Francis, Ken Jacobs, Warren Lewis, Rose Miller, Jenny Neill, Di Skull, Pam Skurray, and Bob Stace. [Peter Brinkworth has since been co-opted as an additional member]

Guest Speaker Kay Whitehead with Treasurer  Di Skull

Guest Speaker Kay Whitehead with Treasurer Di Skull

Our guest speaker for the evening was Professor Kay Whitehead of the Flinders University who spoke on the topic of, “Mrs Hillier begs to inform the Public of Adelaide that she has opened a school”. Kay’s illustrated and well researched presentation focussed on education and schooling in the early years of colonial settlement in South Australia and highlighted the role played by Jane Hillier who opened a school for young ladies in Currie St in 1838 and was a pioneer educator. We learnt of the Hillier family history, the social history of the time and the changes which took place in private and public education which led to the Education Act of 1851 and culminated in the formal commencement of State Education in the 1870s. It was a most enjoyable and informative presentation. An abbreviated version of Kay’s talk will be published in a future edition of the Pioneer Journal.

An enjoyable supper and convivial chat ended a productive and interesting evening.


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