On This Day

Elizabeth ap1

EB in 1986 or thereabouts…

Thirty years ago today was my first day as a social worker working in health (I’ve had it on my mind obviously as I wrote about it last year too! Hopefully this will be enough now!) I was employed by Noarlunga Health Services, which ran Community Health Centres at Noarlunga (the Village had opened in October 1985), Morphett Vale, McLaren Vale, Hallett Cove and Aberfoyle Park (where my job was). AP Community Health Centre didn’t actually exist at that time, so the small team of us, a nurse, Muriel, admin/clerical worker Marg and myself, were based at Morphett Vale to start with. My diary for that day records that I went on a tour of the area (AP and surrounds) with Roslyn Street in the afternoon of that first day.

Ros was the manager of the Health Village, and she was really lovely to work with – encouraging, smart, flexible and committed. It was a time of expansion, with new jobs and a sense of excitement everywhere, and Ros certainly helped create an atmosphere of openness and creativity where the energy and hope that we all had could flow and develop. She was a marvellous leader and manager. She worked at Noarlunga for quite a long time, before moving to Mental Health for Older People – she retired from there not so long ago.

1986 was another time altogether. AP was quite a new suburb – the development since that time has been amazing. There was no Woodcroft at all, so driving to Noarlunga meant driving through paddocks. There was no Seaford either, or Aldinga Beach, and Aldinga itself was just a little town down the coast.

It was also so different from an office point of view. There were no computers, certainly no PC’s, so clerical workers were really important as they typed up minutes, letters, memos even. Pigeon holes were really important and filled with envelopes containing all the organisational business. We had paper files for everything. Fliers were often hand made, with hand writing. Colour meant coloured paper, not colour printing. Photocopying was only black and white. Collecting data and recording our work meant filling in sheets of paper by hand that would then be sent to clerical officers and data folk to manually collate. How bizarre that seems now. I could go on and on…

Mainly though, I want to say again how wonderful it has been to work in the Southern community, what fantastic folk I have met and what fun I’ve had. It has meant a lot to do work that has felt useful and has (I think) made a difference. I am very very grateful to anyone and everyone who has played a part in these past 30 years. I have been fortunate indeed.


Day 1 recorded in my 1986 work diary. Today, according to my calculations would be day 10,957 since then…

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6 Responses to On This Day

  1. Nel Morrison says:

    Congratulation dear Elizabeth on 30 years of dedicated service to SA Health in the southern region. I am sure you have made a difference – you are a legend! Nel M

  2. romi789 says:

    Elizabeth and I met through our respective roles in Aberfoyle Park during that January in 1986. Throughout the thirty years- although our parallel professional paths have been in different parts of the world, but I’ve always been so impressed by Elizabeth’s integrity, endless energy and compassion. She really does make a difference.

    • Hi Romi,
      Thank you for that my dear. I loved working with you back then, and it has been wonderful to have thirty years of ongoing friendship, whether here or there. I clearly remember our first meetings – you had not long been here, and the kids were small. I had just come from working in a Neighbourhood House and you were at APNH, so there was a connection… and here we are all those years later.

  3. nickypage says:

    An anniversary well worth celebrating dear Elizabeth! What a stretch of time you have devoted to this area and this project. Your commitment is wonderful and of course you’ve made a huge difference. Never doubt it!

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