Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Talking of Tarlee - The Institute

Tarlee Institute dated 1888


The power of a book club.

Three men wanted more books to read, others followed their lead.

In 1888 in Tarlee, in the mid-north of South Australia, an institute was established and subscribers paid for the privilege of reading. Money was raised to erect a building to house books, provide reading and other public space. The Public Library Board offered affiliation and supplied books to local institutes as well as purchases being made by the local community.

The Institute was used as a polling booth, a room was let to a bank, and a multitude of community functions were held. Each year the exhibits for the local show were housed in the building.
In 1905 the Tarlee institute incurred the displeasure of the Public Library Board by their disposal of 44 dilapidated volumes.(1)  After this incident, regulations were changed to allow for more local decision making.

Fundraising efforts towards completion of the building continued as exemplified by this short article where participants enjoyed several competitions. These included nail-driving and potato lifting for the women and potato peeling and bun-eating for the men.
Tarlee annual festival fund raising for Institute
1905 fund raising function


By 1906 further money had been raised to complete the building as originally planned. This account of the 1906 reopening appeared in the local paper, The Kapunda Herald. (2)

TARLEE INSTITUTE.
Thirty-five years ago three men - Messrs. P Hogan, Prescott, and G. Walker started a book-club in Tarlee. Others asked to be allowed to join, so an institute was formed. In 1888 portion of the commodious hall depicted in our illustration was built with the support of the Wooroora Agricultural Society, who gave a free grant of land. This year the building was completed, and a re-opening ceremony was performed by the Hon. J. J. Duncan. Great praise is due to the president (Mr. J. F. Godfrey). the vice-president (Mr. J. Mclnerney), the secretary (Mr. K. Noack), the treasurer (Mr. J, O. Taylor), and the committee (Messrs. J. Bond. I Jacobs, W. Pickering, M. McCarthv. E. Willis, R, H. Clarke, and F. Fleming) for the determined effort which was made first to reduce the debt on the old building, and then to raise money for the completion of the original design. The trustees are Messrs. McInerney (chairman), R. H. Clark,. J.G. Kelly, J. Bond, and J. F. Godfrey. The Institute Hall is used every year for the local show.
Two years later the same paper published an article on the Institutes of the Lower North in which they compared the buildings and services offered by the institutes in six towns of the region.
Tarlee Institute as completed in 1906
The text below the picture reads:
TARLEE INSTITUTE
This Institute grew out of a book-club started some 38 years ago. The building was completed to its present state in 1906. The agricultural show grounds adjoin the Institute land, and the building itself is used for the display of goods. (3)
Throughout the years this humble building became the centre of a wide variety of activities for its community. In more recent years extra rooms and facilities have been added to the side of the  building.

A 1954 article in Trove captures the opening of  the supper room built on to the side of the Institute.
Tarlee Celebrates
IT WAS a great event for the little hamlet of Tarlee, always busy with to-and-fro traffic; on Saturday when district residents congregated in numbers to see Mr. Quirke, MP, open the new supper room attached to the institute, and the Minister for Defence (Sir Philip McBride) unveil a World War II. honor roll. Mr. Melrose, MLC, came across from Kadlunga, Mintaro. They were Introduced by Mr. A. L. Molineux, chairman of the war memorial committee since its formation in 1946, and Councillor (now chairman) of Riverton District Council for 29 years and opposed only once. Mr Molineux explained that £1.000 had been raised promptly toward the extension. District people subscribed £300 for a bio-box for cinema shows. The CWA (Mrs. Clayton Dunn is president now) raised £437 toward the hall. (4)
Meetings for local committees, fetes, dances, farewell socials, concerts, debates,  family celebrations, CWA meetings, election campaigns, polling booth: these are just a few of the types of functions held in  the Institute which sprung from the humble beginnings of a book club.

1. 1905 'PUBLIC LIBRARY BOARD.', The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929), 19 August, p. 4. , viewed 03 Feb 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article55820856

2. 1906 'TARLEE INSTITUTE.', Kapunda Herald (SA : 1878 - 1951), 2 November, p. 1. (Kapunda Herald Illustrated Supplement), viewed 03 Feb 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article108379385

3. 1908 'Institutes of the Lower North.', Kapunda Herald (SA : 1878 - 1951), 13 November, p. 3. (Kapunda Herald Illustrated Supplement), viewed 03 Feb 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article132367197

4.  1954 'Out among the People', Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954), 20 May, p. 51. , viewed 03 Feb 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article93914430


Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Talking of Tarlee - Beach Picnic photos

Remember that seaside picnic, the one in 1918 of course. Here it is - Talking Tarlee - Beach Picnic

Further searching in Trove revealed this wonderful collage of photos from that day.(1) The very faint text underneath the picture reads:

MIDLAND RESIDENTS VISIT THE SEASIDE.
Last week special seaside trains were run from Midland towns to the seaside, carrying a large number of excursionists to Glenelg and the Semaphore, from Hamley Bridge, Stockport, Tarlee, Riverton, Saddleworth. Burra, and Freeling.
The six top pictures show groups of the excursionists at Glenelg, and the seven bottom ones scenes at the Semaphore.   Krischock, photos

Even though the grainy nature of the picture makes it difficult to distinguish individuals it does provide clues about life in 1918 and the day out. On Thursday February 21st the day of the trip the forecast was for cool and cloudy (2), and the temperature in the shade only reached 72.9 degrees Fahrenheit, 22.7 Celsius. (3). It was quite a cool day for a trip to the beach.

  • The women are in long dresses with younger ones in light coloured dresses with dark stockings. 
  • Men are sporting coats and ties and almost everyone has a hat on. 
  • Wooden and canvas deck chairs are scattered across the sand. 
  • In the top right hand corner there is a horse and cart in the background, perhaps supplying refreshments or rides.
  • I can see at least one person reading a book.
  • The jetty on the far left, second photo down looks as if it was a popular spot for promenading and viewing the sights. 
  • In the centre and to the right there is a large tent, perhaps providing some entertainment on the day. 
  • A few lucky children are barefoot and digging in the sand. 
  • A picnic rug is spread out on the ground and I see a gent apparently cutting up some food.
There does not appear to be any rain or strong wind to spoil the day and given the low temperature all would have been comfortable enough in the clothes of the day. Lucky it was not a scorching hot day. I wonder if the gents would then have removed their coats.


1. 1918 'A SUMMER OUTING.', Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954), 2 March, p. 26. , viewed 24 Jan 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87548623

2. 1918 'THE WEATHER MAP', The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931), 21 February, p. 7. , viewed 24 Jan 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5599005

3. 1918 'THE WEATHER MAP', The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931), 22 February, p. 10. , viewed 24 Jan 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5599374


This post first appeared on https://librarycurrants.blogspot.com

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Talking Tarlee - Beach picnic



The weather was hot.

Harvest was over.

Time for some fun.

A visit to the beach.

In 1918 motorised transport was still a luxury, but train travel was available through the mid-north region of South Australia. The Midland District Committee met in Tarlee to plan such an outing for their local communities.
A meeting of the committee of the Midlands Beach Picnic was held at Tarlee —that town being geographically the nearest for all concerned. Representatives from Hamley Bridge, Stockport, Linwood, Giles Corner, Tarlee, Riverton, Rhynie, Marrabel, Saddleworth, Auburn, Steelton, and Waterloo were present. Dr. Glynn occupied the chair. The hon. secretary of the picnic committee (Mr. J. Oswald Tayler, Tarlee,) submitted information relating to the last outing, and said the feeling regarding a continuance of the picnics was unanimous and enthusiastic. In view of the fact that 1,200 persons availed themselves of the opportunity to have a trip to the seaside last March, it was felt that no risk would be run in arranging a similar day this year. It was decided to carry on the fixture, and the date chosen was Thursday, February 21, the rendezvous to be Glenelg. A movement has begun to proclaim that date a close holiday for banks, stores, and all business places possible throughout the towns and communities participating in the picnic, and it is hoped no obstacle will occur to prevent this being accomplished. (1)

Much excitement ensued as tickets were purchased for the day out and food and drinks prepared. A large crowd was expected and tickets on the trains sold out quickly.

Glenelg Guardian (2)

MONSTER BEACH PICNIC.
The Midland beach picnic at Glenelg to-day promises to be a great success. About 2,000 tickets have been sold. At Riverton every available ticket was sold, .and the railway-stationmaster has had to apply for more. Clare, Auburn, and Watervale are also booking for these excursion trains. A launch has been chartered for sea trips. On Saturday a similar excursion train is to be run from Burra. (3)
Reports of the train journey and number of passengers appeared in several papers. It was a long day out for those with small children, a 6.45 am departure from the train station meant a very early start by horse and buggy to reach the town. By the time the trains arrived home at about 11 pm that night, weary beach goers then faced the long trip back home.

Blyth Agriculturist (4)
Our trips to the beach are easy and uncomplicated compared to the effort required by our ancestors. We hope they enjoyed the train trip with their friends and neighbours.



  1. 1918 'RIVERTON.', Kapunda Herald (SA : 1878 - 1951), 25 January, p. 3. , viewed 23 Jan 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article108279615 
  2. 1918 'Advertising', Glenelg Guardian (SA : 1914 - 1936), 7 February, p. 1. , viewed 23 Jan 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article214714823
  3. 1918 'GENERAL NEWS.', The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931), 21 February, p. 4. , viewed 23 Jan 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5599018
  4. 1918 'Advertising', Blyth Agriculturist (SA : 1908 - 1954), 1 March, p. 3. , viewed 23 Jan 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article215156229