Saturday, March 2, 2013

Day 18 in the Burrow

Government House, South Australia (I'm having breakfast there on Sunday as part of Writers' Week)
I have a thing about visiting old houses. The sensory detail you can pick up from walking in the footsteps of people from history is inspiring. I know it will inform my writing in the future as I breathe in the airs and graces of a bygone era and imagine myself suffering the hot summers of Australia dressed in layers of petticoats and cuffs.

On my girl's last day with me in Adelaide we visited Ayers House, which is opposite the Adelaide Botanical Gardens on North Terrace. Now in the hands of the National Trust the interior of Ayers House is of national significance. From the outside you don't expect a house that is actually three storeys high, all habitable. Designed by colonial architect, Sir George Strickland Kingston, the two imposing bay windows hide the grand ballroom (now unfortunately a restaurant) and the official dining room, where Sir Henry Ayers held state dinners while he was (seven times) Premier of South Australia.
Ayers House
It was 37 degrees Celcius on the day we visited, but the underground floor with its low ceilings was beautifully cool and fresh. And this is where Sir Henry had furnished and decorated a suite of rooms for his family to use during the very hot summer. Clever man.

Adelaide Railway Station

Few people may know of Mary Lee. But she was a staunch fighter for the rights of women in South Australia. In fact it is here that Australian women first gained the right to vote and also (and this is quite amazing) stand for parliament in the same amendment in 1894.
Mary Lee (details below)

Then through the searing heat we dashed into the Migration Museum. As the child and grandchild of Croatian immigrants to New Zealand (over 100 years ago) I am always fascinated by the stories behind their sacrifices. And it truly is a sacrifice to leave everything and everyone you know behind. I've only had to leave my family behind for a month while here in Adelaide. But just imagine knowing you'd never see them again. It would be beyond me.

The Migration Museum Memorial
The Migration Museum (formerly Adelaide's Destitute Asylum)
The Rings in Osmond Terrace, Norwood. Each one tells an anecdote by a family from Norwood's past.

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