May is South Australia's History Festival and City of PAE Libraries is hosting a number of events for you to enjoy.
History Festival Events
The story behind the babies of West Terrace Cemetery
Between the 1900s and 1980s thousands of stillborns and babies who failed to thrive were buried in unmarked graves in the West Terrace Cemetery. This May, as part of South Australia’s History Festival, Port Adelaide and Greenacres Libraries will host two special free events, sharing the story of identifying these graves and bringing peace to the families.
David McGowan was an engineer at the old RAH with an interest in local history when he decided to apply for the position of Manager at West Terrace Cemetery. During his tenure from 1994-1996, David received a call from the then chief social worker for assistance to find the location of a baby’s grave.
“I wondered why there was no record so I looked into it further,” said David. “Once I had identified how the records were kept, I realised I could identify all the unmarked graves of the babies. A trickle of enquiries then became a flood – the phone did not stop ringing.”
David also initiated the construction of the Baby Memorial, bringing further recognition and peace.
He says “This project was so important for a generation of mothers. They carried a lifelong burden and it not only brought closure, it also gave them the opportunity to grieve.”
David’s talk will share in detail how the project came to be, the resolution it gave to families and the important role the Baby Memorial now plays in South Australia’s history. The sessions will be held at:
The Port Adelaide Workers' Memorial display
The Memorial honours those “who worked unceasingly in an everyday way, sacrificing much that their fellows might enjoy a little more of the better things in life.” But who were these workers?
As part of South Australia’s History Festival, during May the Port Adelaide Library will host a display featuring the names of the 133 workers and we are inviting members of the public to contribute their connection or story. We'd love to hear from you so visit us at 2 Church Street, Port Adelaide. For more information call 8405 6580.
The Port Adelaide Workers' Memorial is located outside the Visitor Information Centre at Port Adelaide and celebrates its 100th Anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone this November.