Technically autumn is over, but as is often the way, the trees and colours are still fantastic. I have been particularly struck by the orange, not of leaves so much as flowers and fruit – and not even oranges (it’s a bit early for the navels), but persimmons, in the case of the tree I saw, with its fruit guzzled and wrecked by birds.

Here are a few pictures…



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Hands across the Sand

This week, for the first time in ages, the blog has a guest contributor! It’s a real treat to hear from Nicky (a long time and much appreciated supporter of this blog), who has written about a wonderful event that happened a couple of weeks ago at Port Willunga. Thanks so much for writing it up Nicky – and for caring and acting in support of good things all over the place…


Elizabeth asked me if I’d write about this really lovely event at Pt Willunga, so here goes.

Hands Across the Sand is an annual event that started in the US after the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The idea is to gather and pledge to care for the marine environment and then hold hands in a line along your particular bit of shoreline, remembering how we are linked  by the oceans which connect us all around the world. You can find a link to their website here.

I’d been along a couple of times, once at Glenelg and once at Henley Beach, and when I moved to Pt Willunga I’d dreamed that we could do it here. How wonderful to find that a local group had arranged to do it here AND at Middleton on May 19th. Six other beachside communities in SA were also planning to gather, with a focus on stopping oil exploration and drilling in the Great Australian Bight. I found out more about the local group, The Wild South, and met up with them. They are a great group of younger women, connected with The Wilderness Society. You could find them on Facebook, like I did!

My previous involvement with Hands Across the Sand had been singing there with Rise Up Singing Adelaide. That group is such a positive force, mentioned here before.

Some of us have made some steps towards getting a similar group going down south, and this looked like just the opportunity. The Wild South group were keen and emails started flying. I’m involved in 2 singing groups now, including the Hot Gospel Groove who meet in McLarenVale. Friends  from there and from the lesbian network said they’d come. The wonderful Mace Jess offered to lead us with guitar and she and I met to make a plan.

The week was WET and we were prepared to be cold, but the Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny, with raindrops sparkling on the freshly washed leaves. What a great start! About 25 of us gathered in the shelter shed to warm up together and then we moved down to the old jetty where people were gathering.

We sang, Peter Davey read a couple of great poems, Thasly from The Wild South and Robyn Holtham, Deputy Mayor of Onkaparinga (who has also appeared here before) spoke, and shared the good news that Onkaparinga Council had voted to join with the EIGHT local councils in SA that are now calling for protection of the Great Australian Bight. Then we sang some more. If you follow Facebook this is a short video of the singing. Then we all joined hands along the shore, maybe 200 people, and had our picture taken.  It felt powerful and heartfelt and connected to the place we love.


(EB here. I have included a these smaller repeats of the photos above as you can click on them to enlarge, and then when you get to the enlarged photos, you can enlarge again by clicking on the size of the photos in the accompanying picture info. That may be clear as mud, but hopefully you will get it if you do it, and get a better sense of the great day that it obviously was!)

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21 Elizabeth Street(s)

When I first went to uni – studying social work all those years ago, I lived for a couple of years with my aunt and uncle, at 21 Elizabeth Street Blair Athol. Auntie Joan (dad’s sister), and Uncle Leo lived there for many years after moving to Adelaide from Peterborough. Uncle Leo worked for the railways all his working life.

I have been thinking about how much social class is expressed by where we live, our streets and suburbs perhaps more so than country towns, and today I went hunting for other 21 Elizabeth Streets around Adelaide. There are lots of roads with that name, so it’s quite a good one to choose. I didn’t go everywhere of course, and I may do another swing around in the future for another post, but here are three 21’s, another E Street which was very short, and one street in the city which was long enough but didn’t have the number courtesy of most of it’s buildings facing other roads or being large blocks with businesses on them.

The first I went to was in Torrensville – it’s a street with quite a few older houses, many of which haven’t been kept up particularly well. No 21 was on a corner block and had one end of it subdivided (as 21a). I think it was may have been built in the 1940’s.

Then I went back to Blair Athol. The place looks pretty much the same as it always has. It has a small front yard and a very large (and invisible from the photo) back yard. Long before social work studies (in the ’70’s), when we were children, we (my sister Jane and I) stayed with Auntie Joan and Uncle Leo for holidays. I remembered the neighbours and their children whom we played with, and the big willow tree next door and Aunt and Uncle’s massive walnut tree. Jane would dress up in A Joan’s stilettos and at night, in bed, we could hear traffic from the Main North Road – I still have a sense of that different night-time atmosphere and being homesick for mum and dad!

The house is in a plain and unadorned street – not much in the way of beautification and a sort of view at the end of the street looking down over other houses and factories to the west – it is an unassuming house in an unassuming suburb.


After I left Blair Athol I went across to Norwood, in the leafy east. Elizabeth St there is across The Parade from Norwood Oval, and is a very different story to the first two E Streets today. Beautiful trees all coming into their autumn colours, some quite imposing houses and some little quaint cottages. It has a much more salubrious feel to the other E streets today. Number 21 is a tiny cottage on a large block.

After I left Norwood I went through the city to Elizabeth St there. It is a street I walk through often – it’s not far from my favourite bookshop! The whole of the block which would contain no 21 contains businesses, large car parking areas, and big fences. There is the side fence of a childcare centre, a plumbing business, and this big fence (behind which who knows) in the spot that I imagine no 21 to be.


Fence, behind which who knows what, 21-ish Elizabeth St Adelaide

Then my final street, in Glenelg, not far from home. It was dark by this time, and not much to see – more car parks, the back of shops on Jetty Road, a French patisserie which I didn’t know was there, and up ahead the back door of The Grand Hotel, which is on the beachfront. Definitely not long enough to have a 21, but it’s an Elizabeth, so it’s got a photo!

(Another Elizabeth, Road this time rather than Street) is close to work and very familiar too. I will take a picture of no 21 if I can this coming week and add it in later… watch this space.

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Women (hold up half the sky)

As mentioned last week, I went to Katrine Hildyard’s International Women’s Day dinner a couple of weeks ago. It’s an annual event held away from IWD in March (which is a pretty hectic time of year in Adelaide), celebrating local women’s contributions to community life here. It has featured in this blog before. As usual it was a really enjoyable evening – lots of fun, music (from some young women attending Christies Beach High), and the presentations and acknowledgements of older and younger women doing really good things to keep local community life going – taking kids to footy, in the surf lifesaving club, Probus members, young women supporting family members who struggle with ill health, some being really good neighbours and more, more, more.

I went with a lovely woman, Margaret, whom I met many years ago. She has lived in the south for over 30 years, arriving here after leaving a bad marriage and isolation in a small country town, where she landed with her family from the UK prior to that. She has been a participant in community activities of all kinds for years, and in particular was a regular at Southern Women’s Health Service for a long time. In recent years she has been a volunteer with the Royal Society for the Blind and goes with the groups on outings and helps things run smoothly.

My most memorable connection with Margaret was the day she came into the Health Village where I worked with a neighbour of hers. This woman was in an abusive relationship of many many years standing – nearly 40. Margaret supported her to get help, and that help led to her leaving the relationship, getting a new place to live (with the help of the Housing Trust), and having 15 happy years living independently before she died. This quiet, unsung support was so important to this woman and is often crucial to people working through troubles and moving on to better lives.

These hidden and mostly unacknowledged contributions to the well-being of those around us are vital to a good life, and women are central to doing those deeds. It was terrific to be there celebrating with such fantastic folk.

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Punk Fun

It’s been a big week for community events and activities. I attended Katrine Hildyard’s International Women’s Day dinner at the O’Sullivan Beach Panthers Football Club (the soccer club, not AFL), about which more anon, on Thursday night. Then last night, there was a fund raiser for Food for Freedom at the Christies Beach Football Club (the AFL footy club, not soccer this time). It was fantastic – four local live bands playing, a bus done out as a diner for food (delicious jaffles), a raffle (prizes for which included the traditional meat trays!), people and fun. The music was punky thrash and full on, and my personal highlight of the night was someone (looking pretty glamorous) telling me that they didn’t expect to see ‘someone like me’ (by which I presume she meant older middle aged social worker type still in her work clobber) (funny that I actually feel about 25 most of the time) out on the dance floor! So, you never know do you – someone whose blog commonly features autumn leaves and her old dad and various bits of worthiness can also summon her inner punk when the occasion calls for it!

But more seriously, it was a great night and marvellous to experience support from an unexpected quarter in a way. Danielle, who organised the night has been hooked into CHO for years, firstly as a TAFE student on placement I think, then running Italian classes, and as a volunteer for FFF too. She has been so supportive of the program in lots of ways over time – generous donations at various times and always talking up the program wherever she can. She is the singer in Chaos Swing, one of the bands, and screamed her heart out appropriately when they opened the night.

The bands were terrific too. I particularly liked The Mid-Riffs, who Richard tells me have been together about 20 years and who played such a tight and powerful set (imho!). Apparently one of the band members there, Jag, is a member of the CBFC too, and had to get up at dawn this morning as the coach of the under 13 side. So, you never know do you – a punk who coaches junior footy and an old social worker who’s a punk (well, sort of anyway).

Many thanks to everyone who came along and organised in any way. It was such fun. Here are some mostly pretty bad photos of the night, to give you a flavour.


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Sunset and moonrise

Coming back from the grove of trees today I saw the full moon rising. Beautiful.

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I was in Auburn again today – beautiful autumn weather and a good time with dad once more. I have been thinking for some time of doing a post on a stand of trees that was a regular meeting point for our family and our cousins when I was a kid and we were car-pooling somewhere. They would come in from the farm, and we would drive out from our place in the little town to “meet at the grove of trees”, which to me sounded like “The Grover Trees”, and I would always imagine this as someone after whom the trees were named, or perhaps a dog (a la Rover). Anyway, the quirks of nomenclature notwithstanding, the trees are lovely. For all the many times I have been past them, and stopped near them to meet the rellies, I had never walked in among the trees till today. It is private property and there is a fence, but it had come down in a spot, so I walked through. It was late afternoon, and the light was lovely – long shadows and the particular glow that comes at that time of day. Here are some pics.

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