Gawler History Team

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Fast Facts
Type of organisation: Community Service

Date established: 2011

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Thursday AUGUST 1

7.15 pm for 7.30 at the Zion Lutheran Hall (rear of 22b Cowan Street Gawler)

Guest Speaker

Gunther Frensch

Bird Photography in and around Gawler

You are invited to come along, a donation of $5 for cost of hall is appreciated

           GHT Guest Speaker program 2024 so far

June 6...History of Kaurna people, Cheryl Cairns and Mark Catanzariti of Taoundi college

July 4….... Milton Vadoulis on Vadoulis Garden Centre

August 1…Gunther Frensch.. Bird Photography in and around Gawler

September 5......Deb Russell to talk on renovatingthe roof of St Georges Church

October 3 ......Michael Hewitson a history of Trinty College thru the eyes of its first Principal

November 7th....Don Loffler...Dramas with the arrival of the first Holdens in South Australia


stay tuned as we update

The establishment of the Gawler History Team Inc.

Click here for Gawler History Team Inc. Rules and Constitution

We acknowledge Darren Peacock’s vision and expertise to create the Now and Then history websites from which we have evolved……

The Gawler History Team [GHT] Executive have asked me to record the evolution of GHT for posterity. In May 2011, I asked a guest speaker at the Gawler Institute, on the subject of embracing “communication”, for her thoughts relating to “history” and “youth” and she recommended using a medium that youth can easily relate to. My concerns that much of Gawler’s photographic history was not easily accessible, buried in people’s homes, and generally not being shared, prompted my realisation that (a) there were many in Gawler having similar concerns and (b) that the answer probably encompassed the use of one’s computer and the Internet.

Her advice inspired me to raise the issue with Gawler National Trust Chairman Dr David Tucker and his son-in-law Michael Hemphill [who has computer experience] and this meeting had the resolution to create a mailing list to 30 or so Gawler residents who might attend a convened meeting.

I then spoke with Ian McDonnell who suggested we contact Nicole Stomaci. It was evident that the combination of the passion and expertise of Ian, and Nicole’s past association with the Mallala website was essential for success and we are very fortunate that they quickly embraced the prospect of being involved. Invitations were sent out for attendance at a meeting in St Georges Hall. On the 10th August a number of us went to see the Mallala Museum [running the website of Mallala’s history] and this prompted discussions with Darren Peacock of Sweet Technology who created the NowandThen template. We adopted the stance that “If it is not broken then don’t fix it”, as it was evident that the Mallala wiki template would be ideal for Gawler History Team to use.

The first GHT meeting in St Georges Hall, Cowan Street, Gawler was held on 15th September 2011. Those in attendance were Brian Thom, Michael Hemphill, Darren Peacock, Bill Woods, Ian McDonnell, David Tucker, Anne Richards, Michael Denison, Joan Denison, Robin Richter, Adrian Shackley, Helen Wilmore, Helen Hennessy, Pat Fabian, Stan Roulston, John Clift, Glennys Carse, Graham Tucker, Bev Burke, Paul Barnet, Paul Koch, Robert Laidlaw, Jarred Sharp and Nicole Stomaci. I asked that we be called the Gawler History Team [rather than a Group or Society] as the word “Team” embraced the concept of “bringing people together to embrace Gawler’s heritage and to create a special ambience” and to work collaboratively together to build a special website. We resolved to engage Sweet Technology, to have a Constitution, to have appropriate Public Liability Insurance and to become an Incorporated Body.

The first Thursday in the month regular meeting took place on 3rd November 2011 and Gawler History Team became an incorporated body A41209 on 7th November 2011 with Adrian Shackley accepting the position of Public Officer. The initial Committee had Brian Thom as Chairman, Michael Hemphill as Deputy Chairman, Anne Richards as Secretary, Jarred Sharp as Treasurer, and Board members Nicole Stomaci, Ian McDonnell and Stan Roulston.

The website was officially launched on 27th May 2012 in the Gawler Institute by Dr Bruce Eastick.

Brian Thom

Chairperson Brian Thom's 2012 AGM Address

GHT Inc AGM 5th July 2012 Chairman’s address

Nine months ago, the contemplation of writing an AGM Chairman’s report was not on the horizon, yet it is done now with great pride and pleasure. What a great deal has been achieved in that time: Gawler History Team created, GHT being now an Incorporated body, many thousands of old pictures gathered, and a sufficient number of articles created to justify a launch of the Wiki on 27th May. We acknowledge the expertise and effort of Darren Peacock who has created the “nowandthen” programme which we have taken up. Thank you for your patience and support Darren.

The Launch date and format was very timely and to have 150 people in attendance was a real plus, with lovely positive vibes emanating from the event. The happiness continued over snacks and drinks at The Southern, where many of the Team gathered to celebrate our achievement.

It is always a bit dangerous to single out any particular member of any Team, but I would be remiss not to acknowledge the magnificent effort and contribution Nicole Stomaci has given to fast-track the creation of our Wiki. Nicole, you are a gem and I am confident that all Team members would echo the thanks and appreciation now given.

What I am proud of is the lovely mix of people we have, who are enjoying “doing their bit” to progress the project. Some will always do more than others, but that doesn’t matter, as every contribution is important.

The challenge we have for the next 12 months is to capitalize on what we have so-far accumulated, so that every week, our audience can see what new sets have been added so that they too can appreciate our discoveries and efforts. What we need to do now is to re-assess our priorities and focus on those sets of pictures that can now be outsourced to Wiki.

Thank you all for being a Team member wanting to “do their bit” and I trust that you will get much satisfaction out of seeing your efforts “up on the big Wiki screen” over the forthcoming 12 months.

It has been a great pleasure to be your inaugural Chairman.

Brian Thom

Chairperson Brian Thom's 2013 AGM Address

Gawler History Team’s first full year has been very fruitful; with increasing membership, great guest speakers and interest in our Wiki project ever increasing within our community. I would like to thank your Executive Team of Deputy Chair Nicole Stomaci, Secretary Anne Richards, and Ian McDonnell, Robert Laidlaw and Stan Roulston for their great support to me and their guidance toward our project development. I thank Raff Stomaci for his role as Treasurer.

Circumstances have sadly arisen which have forced Stan not to continue on the Executive and we wish him and Iris well for the future. Stan has intimated that he will continue to submit copy and photographs for the Bunyip to publish each week and we thank him for his past and future valuable PR contributions. Paul Barnet has taken nearly five hundred photos of Gawler’s heritage homes and his work ethic to enhance our Wiki has been inspiring. Many thanks Paul.
I also thank Editors Rob McLean (Bunyip) and Graham Fischer (Barossa Herald) for their willingness to advertise the details relating to each monthly guest speaker, as submitted each month.

We have been blessed with the co-operation from a great array of talented and interesting guest speakers:
August 2012 Helen Hennessy
September 2012 Robert Laidlaw, Helen Wilmore and John Clift,
October 2012 Michael Pilkington,
November 2012 Pauline Payne,
December 2012 Dr Bruce Eastick,
January 2013 Stan Roulston,
February 2013 Douglas Alexander,
April 2103 Bob Fielke and
June 2013 Aub Kaesler.
In February 2013 Nicole explained our Wiki and in May 2013 we hosted a very enjoyable 75 question quiz night compiled and conducted by Ian McDonnell.

Darren Peacock’s role as our technical guru is always valued and we thank him for his ongoing efforts to maximise the effectiveness of GHT’S Wiki and Flickr; albeit him being frustrated in recent months while expecting his service providers to respond more professionally. Darren has taken steps to greatly improve our Wiki’s effectiveness, and readability.

I have been constantly mindful that Nicole’s (almost daily) wonderful dedication to her role (of inputing all the material submitted) has been overwhelming at times. I am adamant that she needs support; by her having a reliable 2IC. Recruiting steps have been taken that, hopefully, will soon reduce her workload, as well as creating an effective back-up person for her.

We will continue to undertake all the Team’s business matters through monthly Executive meetings so that at our monthly Team meetings we can enjoy interesting guest speakers, blended with workshops.

As to the future, 2014 will be Gawler’s year 175, and I envisage that even greater interest will be experienced relative to our history. As such, I urge every member to make the most of the next 6 months to make the effort to ensure that our thousands of Flickr photographs have an appropriate article produced so that they may be properly attached to our Wiki. This 175-year of celebration for Gawler gives us the opportunity to further enhance our advertising of the Wiki’s existence.
I will be seeking greater business sponsorship for the site so that we have the money to effectively increase our communication to the public.

I thank my wife Bev for her great support in providing biscuits/cakes etc for our Executive and Monthly general meetings. Thank you all for making this year very special. Brian Thom, Chairman, Gawler History Team Inc

Chairperson Brian Thom’s 2014 AGM Address - Thursday 7th August

Gawler History Team’s second full year’s growth has been a joy to behold; with increasing membership and excellent guest speakers - having an average of about 48 at meetings (the record monthly attendance number was 60). Interest in our Gawler History website is ever-increasing within our community.

We appreciate our technical expert and guiding light, Darren Peacock (Sweet Technology), who has advised that in the 2013/14 financial year we got 16,000 visits to our website from 11,550 individuals, with over 1.2 million hits to our Flickr; up 93% from last financial year.

I would like to thank your Executive Team of Deputy Chair Nicole Stomaci, Secretary Anne Richards, and Ian McDonnell, Robert Laidlaw, Paul Barnet and Mike Denison for their great support to me and their guidance toward our project development. Sad to hear that Anne Richards is not standing for re-election as Secretary. Thank you for your input from the Team’s inception, Anne. Your counsel has been most valuable and you will be sorely missed. I thank Raff Stomaci and now Michael Denison for their role as Treasurer, and Lance Hatcher, our honorary Auditor. Nicole’s input to our website has continued to be invaluable and Helen Clark has thankfully volunteered to take on Nicole’s role following the Stomaci family decision to tour Australia for 6 months. We thank Helen for her enthusiasm, following her spending 3 months organising Willaston history; with a very commendable outcome.

Stan Roulston continues submitting copy and photographs for the Bunyip to publish and we thank him for his valuable PR contributions.

Paul Barnet has taken 760 photos of Gawler’s heritage homes and his work ethic to continually enhance our Wiki has been inspiring. Many thanks Paul. Paul was nominated for a SAHistory Council award.

Ian McDonnell has spent over 60 hours scanning our historic photographs by using our new A3 scanner; 150 or so photos are now displayed in many Gawler and Willaston business locations; being GHT’s contribution towards Gawler175 celebrations. Positive feedback has been received. Well done Ian.

I also acknowledge the tremendous contribution made by Audrey Clark and Chris Hanley who scanned all of the Gawler High School Year-books since 1933. Their volunteering to do that was much appreciated and the preservation of this Gawler history is a great achievement.

I also thank Editors Rob McLean [Bunyip], Graham Fischer [Barossa Herald] and The Leader editors for their willingness to advertise the details relating to each monthly guest speaker.

We have been blessed with the co-operation from a great array of talented and interesting guest speakers:
July 2013 - John Barnet (Bunyip),
August - Brian Samuels (Gawler Institute),
September - Ray Hicks (Postal services),
October - Mike Johnson (Supermarkets),
November - Martin Walker (Postcards),
December - Robert Laidlaw (Christmas),
February 2014 - Mark and Gizelle Forgie (Undertakers),
March - Chris Hummell (Wintulichs),
April - Trevor Bellchambers (historic vehicles),
May - Glen Woodward (Col. William Light),
June - Matthew Binns (Old Spot - Golden Fleece) and
July, John Clift [Gawler’s first settler John Reid and the first 25 years of Gawler]. I have secured some Guest Speakers already for 2015 and would welcome your suggestions at any time.

2014 is Gawler’s 175th year, and I am thankful for the Town of Gawler’s co-operation by creating on its Website’s front page a “Historic photos” link to our Wiki. We will continue to undertake all the Team’s business matters through monthly Executive meetings so that at our monthly Team meetings we can concentrate on enjoying our interesting speakers.

We acknowledge the strong and valuable financial support given by our 18 Official Sponsors and we trust that they will continue with us during 2015.

Thank you all for making this last year very special, Brian Thom, Chairman, Gawler History Team Inc.


We have experienced a busy 12 months and have now reached the milestone of having nearly 16,000 photographs etc loaded onto our website to display Gawler’s rich heritage. Recent collaboration with the Town of Gawler has resulted in approximately 1250 of their old photos being added to our website and we applaud Council’s agreement and intention that further such collaboration should regularly occur.

Our Monthly meetings have been very well attended with between 40 to 72 members and interested members of the public in attendance. We thank our Guest Speakers, and, when possible, we are now videoing the address and putting up on our Wiki. August 2014 – Humphrey GeorgePharmacy in Gawler and the 5000 years of the Apothecary

September – Barry O’Brien – Advertiser career and photography

October – Tony Jackson – Dentistry in Gawler

November – Martin Walker - #3 address on Gawler Postcards – mainly WW1

December – Ralph HatcherSong of Australia

February 2015 – Peter Jones - Horses in Gawler

March – Margaret Howse and Graham Tucker – the effective use of Trove

April – Robin RichterThe first 10 years in Gawler

May – David WestHairdressing in Gawler

June – Peter Donovan – Leadlight and Stained Glass Windows

July – Michael Pilkington – Murray Street 1886

August – Dr Darren Peacock – National Trust CEO – history displayed using new technology

September – Tom MannRoseworthy College and its influence on Gawler

Thanks to those members who volunteered to explain our mission to display Gawler’s heritage at our stand at the Gawler Show and Rotary Village Fair.

We are proud to have such a great number of Gawler businesses showing such willingness to be a Sponsor of Gawler History Team, and from our Sponsors advertising on Wiki, we have been able to purchase a new computer, new projector, a new hard drive, and a new negative film scanner; all of which has increased our efficiency when addressing the various Groups and Clubs around Gawler.

Special mention is appropriate to record the magnificent assistance Keven Evans from Roseworthy has given us over the last three years. Keven has provided us with probably 60% of our collection of Gawler photographs and articles. Keven displays remarkable and noteworthy passion towards the proper preservation of Gawler history.

Ian McDonnell deserves special thanks for the time he has taken to produce the many historic A3 photos that have now been put up in Gawler shop windows. Many favourable comments have been received from those taking the time to view and enjoy them. Further, Ian has put hundreds of Gawler photographs onto USB sticks and these have been given to all of the Aged Care and Nursing Homes in the area. [This initiative has been warmly received by the proprietors of these facilities soas to further improve the quality of life of the guests under their care.] The countless hours that Ian McDonnell has constantly spent over the year to further improve our website has been unbelievable. We thank Ian for his dedication.

Paul Barnet has basically completed his quest to photograph every heritage place listed in Town of Gawler’s Development Plan. Nearly 900 photographs taken over the last 3 years by Paul is a testament to Paul’s dedication to this complete this very important task. Very well done Paul. Thank you.

Plastic folders containing our Gawler History Team explanatory leaflets have been placed in 25 locations in and around Gawler and are replenished when needed.

Our thanks go to Mr Lance Hatcher for being our Auditor and his willingness to continue with this role in the years ahead. Michael Denison is to be applauded for his diligence as Treasurer.

With Nicole being absent for 9 months, thanks to Helen Clark for her assistance in loading onto Wiki. Nicole and her family safely returned and we thank Nicole for her ongoing dedication to further the improvement of our website showcasing Gawler’s rich heritage.

To our Executive Team, Deputy Chairperson Nicole Stomaci, Secretary Ray Hicks, Treasurer Mike Denison, and Committee members Robert Laidlaw, Paul Barnet and Ian McDonnell, thank you for your attendance at monthly Executive meetings and for your valuable input towards future planning.

It has been a very productive year and I have been proud to be your Chairman.

Brian Thom.

At the October 2015 AGM, Paul Webb was elected to the Executive committee. Welcome Paul.

Gawler History Team Inc. Annual General Meeting - Chairman’s Address - 6th October 2016

Our 5th year as a Team has experienced great activity and productivity. A further 1600 photographs and articles have been scanned; to reach a new total of 17,600. These include historical Gawler Town Band, Baptist Church, Roseworthy College and Gawler Gumnuts Netball photos and we were fortunate to be given many Marchant’s Studio negatives relating to Gawler in the 1930’s. It is important that such gems have a safe place to be stored and be searchable by anyone in the world.

We acknowledge the splendid 18 months of effort achieved by past Gawler resident and GHT member Dr John Stephenson, who, while living near Sydney, has typed up 500 pages of information relating to interments in our Willaston Cemetery since 1861, together with extensive research of the family history relating to each interment. His excellent achievement has resulted in this mammoth output now being able to be displayed on our website, for anyone around the world to research. Such dedication to Gawler is to be applauded. With this and other additions this year, we now have excellent easy access to records relating to Willaston Cemetery [since 1866], Pioneer Park [1839 to 1870 Town of Gawler interments], and St Georges Anglican Cemetery interments [since 1861].

Ian McDonnell has produced Gawler History Team business cards for members to have in their wallet to pass on; encouraging people to explore our website. Ian has diligently produced a collection of 1000 Gawler photos that are stored on a USB as a slide-show. Many such USB’s have now been given freely to all of the Gawler and District Aged Care facilities, some hairdressers, Dentists etc, so that the photos are shown on their TV sets for their patrons to enjoy. Aged Care nurses are experiencing positive reactions from the people they care for.

Assisted by Robert Laidlaw, Paul Barnet has collected many historic photographs relating to the Gawler Show for presentation to the Show Committee, while they celebrate their Show’s 160th year. Gawler History Team has continued to support both the Gawler Show and the Rotary Village Fair by having a stand to explain the existence of our website.

Several GHT members have commenced scanning of the massive collection of Gawler’s historic material compiled by GHT member Bev Burke over many years. This is a massive project which will result in the ability for all to see many articles and photos that may have become lost to Gawler.

We appreciate teenager Pria Rusby’s ongoing effort to type out the details of all of the Gawler Dentists over our 176 years; extensively researched by GHT member Dr. Tony Jackson and excellently presented to us by him at a meeting last year. This project is nearly completed and the many pages of information will be eventually placed on our website.

Lorraine Waters has been very active to place Gawler’s history on Facebook and we thank Lorraine for her ongoing commitment.

We acknowledge that over the last 5 years, Nicole Stomaci has been stoic in her passion to create our website. Without the many hundreds of hours of commitment by Nicole, we would never have achieved such a magnificent end result. With circumstances changing, we have been conscious of the need to recruit a 2IC for Nicole, so that many hundreds of our photographs etc presently visible on “gawler history flickr” can be transferred to our Wiki, “"

We welcomed Paul Webb to the Executive Committee. He has selected the project to record why Gawler street names are named as they are. Your Executive have decided to give practical support to a newly-formed “Gawler Oral History Group”. We see this step as being good collaboration, so that together we can expand Gawler historic material for the world to enjoy.

We have appreciated the financial support from our 14 Corporate Sponsors and are delighted that every one of the 14 has chosen to continue their support for the next 18 months, and to also have Garner Memorials on board, following their request to support us financially. Our new projector is working well, as is our new microphone that is placed within a headband for the Guest Speaker to use. We have been blessed by the contributions made by our monthly Guest Speakers who have been so positively receptive to pass on their great stories. Special thanks go to …

  • October 2015 Roger Sims “140 years of Gawler’s bottles”
  • November 2015 Martin Walker “Postcards of Gawler”
  • February 2016 Paul Westermann “Para Para Mansion”
  • March 2016 Warren Barrington “Gambling in Gawler”
  • April 2016 Rick Drewer “Letters to the Editor”
  • April 2016 [special meet] Andrew May “May Bros”
  • May 2016 Steve Garner “Monumentation in Gawler cemeteries”
  • June 2016 Linda Bertram “The history of CWA in Gawler”
  • July 2016 Pam Edwards “How life has changed for women in Gawler over the last 70 years”.
  • August 2016 Robert Laidlaw “The history of Sport in Gawler”
  • September 2016 Ray Oermann “The history of Trinity College”

We are experiencing an average of well over 50 being present to hear our Guest Speaker, peaking at 106 at our February meeting. We thank the Zion Lutheran Church for the use of their excellent Hall for our meetings and “She’s Apples” for creating the lovely baskets which we present to our Guest Speakers. Our Auditor Lance Hatcher has been impressed with the excellent GHT book-keeping done by Treasurer Michael Denison. Your attention to detail and professionalism is much appreciated Michael. I thank the Executive team for their support. We have had many monthly meetings at my home which have produced positive input and vision so that we constantly strive for improvement.

“History is made by the people who turn up” is an appropriate statement in relation to our Team of well over 100 financial members.

It gives me great pleasure to present this report to you on our achievements and activities over the last 12 months.
Brian Thom – Chairman – Gawler History Team Inc.

At the 2016 AGM, following the retirement of Nicole Stomaci, Paul Webb was elected as Deputy Chairman, and Margaret Howse was elected to the GHT Executive.

Gawler History Team Inc. Annual General Meeting 5th October 2017 Chairman's Address

I am proud to say that our 6th year as a Team has produced many good outcomes. Firstly, thanks go to your Executive: Vice-Chairman Paul Webb, Secretary Ray Hicks, Treasurer Michael Denison, and Executive members Paul Barnet, Ian McDonnell, Robert Laidlaw and Margaret Howse (elected at last AGM) who have met each month to express their vision towards positive development of the GHT. When Nicole Stomaci retired at last AGM, her husband Raff Stomaci has taken over to perform the technical duties needed for our website, and we thank Raff for his input.

We were delighted that every one of our Sponsors chose to continue their 18 month Sponsorship and we were appreciative of Garner Memorials wishing to be included as a Sponsor.

Over the last 12 months we have scanned and loaded many newspaper clippings from Bev Burke’s extensive collection. We thank Bev for sharing these articles and Stan Roulston and Paul Webb for scanning them. These images and many photographs have totalled approximately 2,500 additions for the year; to bring our current total to over 20,250 Gawler images on our website content.

We thank Lance Hatcher for his past services as our Auditor and thank Pauline Murray for taking over as our Auditor. We were saddened to learn of the passing of GHT member Philip Tow and we pass onto Margaret our thanks for Philip’s past contributions and our sincere sympathy. Mrs Frisby was a regular attendee at our meetings and her passing was a sad event. Our commiserations go to Roger and Pauline and family.

Members enjoyed attending our stand at the Rotary Village Fair which generated much community interest.

Our site has been substantially improved by the scanning and loading of the St. Georges Anglican Cemetery Gawler interment details from the 134 pages covering all of the interments between 1861 and 2016. We were then delighted that Trinity College students enthusiastically supported us by their taking of over 600 photographs of each Head-stone/Memorial there. These actions have meant that, together with our extensive details encompassing the old Town of Gawler cemetery in Pioneer Park and last year’s 500 pages of Willaston Cemetery interments [having a head-stone], our site can now provide great help to anyone in the world who wants to investigate their family history in Gawler. We have been delighted that the Town of Gawler website relating to Gawler’s Cemeteries has been substantially improved and we applaud the excellent collaboration given to us and our website by Henry Inat, the CEO of the Town of Gawler and Town of Gawler's IT Manager Slava Grigoriev.

We thank Ian McDonnell for spending a great deal of time over the last 12 to 18 months in the pre-production of our new “Welcome to historic Gawler” publication, and thanks also to Adrian Shackley for his substantial positive input. Mayor Karen Redman launched the book on 21st September and we have successfully negotiated for it to be available for sale at the Gawler Visitor Information Centre at 2 Lyndoch Road, as well as it being available from the excellent publisher - Bunyip Print.

We have started to have a positive relationship with the Gawler Oral History Group which has prospects for a mutually beneficial outcome.

Our December meeting/social evening has been changed to a “Show and Tell” with the invitation for each member to display an interesting item from their home or personal collection. Much interest was generated from these presentations; this becoming the theme for each future December meeting.

Our very efficient Treasurer Michael Denison has reluctantly chosen not to continue in this position and we thank Mike for his positive contribution to GHT as Treasurer.

We have now scanned every available “Year Book from Gawler High” and this site is now in the top 3 sites for popularity on our website.

Through the year we have had excellent cooperation from many to give their address to us on a vast variety of subjects:

  • October 2016 - Paul Westermann - Tortola House
  • November 2016 - Martin Walker - Historic Gawler Postcards
  • December 2016 - “Show and Tell” evening
  • February 2017 - Martin Kennedy - History of Gawler Police
  • March 2017 - Dr Bruce Eastick AM - History of the Rotary Club of Gawler
  • April 2017 - Tony Harnett - Kingsford Hotel
  • May 2017 - Denise Schumann OAM - Gawler’s Heritage Collection
  • June 2017 - Peter Russell - Gawler’s Stone Wall restoration
  • July 2017 - Mark Forgie - History of Cremations
  • August 2017 - Pauline Murray - History of Accounting and Auditing
  • September 2017 - Robin Richter - History of Gawler Fire Services

We continue to have very good attendance to hear our Guest Speakers and all addresses are now visible on the Gawler History Team YouTube for you to access.

A big thank you to all who have contributed to make this last 12 months the success that it has been.

Brian Thom

Chairman – Gawler History Team Inc.

At the 2017 AGM, following the retirement of Treasurer Michael Denison, Cody Davies was elected Treasurer and all other current Executive members were re-elected. ____________________________________


I am proud to say that our 7th year as a Team has continued to produce many good outcomes. Firstly, thanks go to your Executive: Vice-Chairman Paul Webb, Secretary Ray Hicks, Treasurer Cody Davies, and Executive members Paul Barnet, Ian McDonnell, Margaret Howse and Robert Laidlaw, who have met each month to express their vision towards positive development of the GHT. Raff Stomaci has performed the technical duties needed for our website, and we thank Raff for his input. We were delighted that our Sponsors chose to continue their Sponsorship and we were appreciative of Bunyip Print wishing to be included as a Sponsor. We have now loaded over 21,100 Gawler images onto our website content. Steps are currently being taken to improve the accessibility of our historic material by the creation of a new website to encompass all the current material seen on and to overcome current control difficulties. Appropriate publicity of this initiative will be undertaken over the next 12 months. We thank Pauline Murray for her services as our Auditor. Our new “Welcome to historic Gawler” publication has been well received and is available for sale at the Gawler Visitor Information Centre at 2 Lyndoch Road and Trinity College Starplex, as well as it being available from the excellent publisher - Bunyip Print. We were very saddened by the passing of our GHT members Graham Hein, Dr Tony Jackson, Max Duldig and Ross Cook. Their input and enthusiasm will be sadly missed. Through the year we have had excellent cooperation from many to give their address to us on a vast variety of subjects:

  • October 2017 – John Thorpe – History of Cinema in Gawler
  • November 2017 - Martin Walker - Historic Gawler Postcards
  • December 2017 - “Show and Tell” evening – many members showing their precious historical items
  • February 2018 – Leon Budden – History of Gawler Apex Club
  • March 2018 – Hon John Dawkins – History of Gawler’s Members of the Legislative Council
  • April 2018 – Judy Gillett-Ferguson – History of Art in Gawler
  • May 2018 – Carolyn Spooner – Gawler’s contribution to the State Library
  • June 2018 – Tony Atyeo – History of Vets in Gawler
  • July 2018 – Damian McGee – History of the Exchange Hotel
  • August 2018 – Dean Noll – History of the Gawler Lions Club
  • September 2018 - Daryl Trigg – History of Immanuel Lutheran School

We continue to have very good attendance to hear our Guest Speakers and all addresses are visible on the Gawler History Team YouTube for you to access. Over the last 7 years our Flickr has had 5,746,000 views; with our Wiki viewed from 67,624 users. A big thank you to all who have contributed to make these last 12 months the success that they has been. Brian Thom - Chairman


Gawler History Team Inc. Chairman’s address to 2019 AGM by Brian Thom

I am proud to record that Gawler History Team Inc. has enjoyed another very productive year.

I thank your Executive members; Vice-Chairman Paul Webb, Secretary Ray Hicks, Treasurer Lorraine Waters, together with Paul Barnet, Ian McDonnell and Margaret Howse, who have all demonstrated real passion towards furthering the quality of material being placed on our website. Well done!

Perhaps this year’s highlight has been the decision of your Executive to completely rejuvenate our website. Accordingly, we decided to cease input into - with its 10 year old template and technology and to create – having up-to-date technology. We engaged the services of David Ward for the creation of a front page, and then Tim Kipling and Raff Stomaci progressed to transfer all of our 21,000+ photographs and articles over to .

We are delighted with the outcome and were pleased that Darren Peacock [who created the NowandThen template] agreed that we made the right decision to shift and rejuvenate. On 4th May, Mayor Karen Redman launched the new website at our History Month meeting. We thank David, Tim and Raff for their professionalism in achieving a great outcome, and for keeping the cost to GHT down. I am sure that our Sponsors would be pleased to see that their money was very well spent.

With the transformation of the Gawler Institute and the Gawler Town Hall into the magnificent new Gawler Civic Centre, we were alerted to the opportunity to purchase 2 historic maps. GHT doesn’t usually spend our Sponsor’s money on such, but we felt that it was entirely appropriate to purchase them and then lend them to the Town of Gawler for display; totally in keeping with the material displayed in the Gawler Institute in the mid to late 1800’s. They are mounted on the wall of the Civic Centre Reading room and they complement what is relevant to our history.

As a consequence of the new website, we got new window stickers produced and new GHT leaflets for distribution among the community. We purchased a new video camera to record the Guest Speaker addresses onto our website for the world to see. [We now have over 50 videos forming a valuable research tool for future historians to access over the years ahead.]

Our Sponsors were asked to support us again after we paid for the new website creation, the purchase of the historic maps and the new video camera, and it was great to see the positive response by the vast majority of our generous Sponsors. We have presented to our Sponsors a framed parchment which expresses our thanks for their support and sponsorship. Thanks to Paul Barnet and Ian McDonnell for creating each gift.

The main challenge we now have is to create articles for the 300 or so photograph collections in our Flickr that are not yet within our website. Team members can assess their ability to take up this challenge. Appropriate training is available to get them to get started, with confidence.

We look forward to positive steps being taken to highlight Gawler’s history; linking our website to Gawler Oral History and the newly assembled Town of Gawler historic material from within their archives. We have requested the support of Town of Gawler Council to enable us to place QR codes on the front window of many Gawler historic buildings which, when activated, would link to that building’s history on our website. This issue is still work in progress, and we thank Ian McDonnell for the countless hours he has spent to create well over 200 QR code stickers, all appropriately named.

Ian McDonnell has also spent well in excess of 100 hours going through the 1000 or so photographs that are available on a USB to display in any public place and Aged Care Facility; changing the titles to reflect the new website of We thank Ian for his dedication to GHT. I am getting lovely positive responses from people who have seen Ian’s Gawler History slideshow on the wall of the Gawler Civic Centre Café.

We have been fortunate to have had Guest Speakers presenting quality addresses each month:

October 2018 - Hon Tony Piccolo MP – The history of the Labor Party and Trade Unions in Gawler

November 2018 - Martin Walker – Historic Postcards of Gawler

December 2018 - Show and Tell evening – a popular event including pizzas and a wine tasting.

February 2019 - Graham Bookman – The history of The Food Forest

March 2019 - Geoff Watson – The history of the historic Gawler East house “Yenda”

April 2019 - Craig Brown – The history of Trevu House and Trevu Nursing Home

May 2019 - Denise Schumann – The Gawler Civic Centre and the “Into the Light” exhibition

June 2019 - Milton Vadoulis – The history of Vadoulis Nursery

July 2019 - Barry Neylon – The importance of recording Gawler’s Oral History

August 2019 – Peter Ryan and Nick Pullman – The history of Rudall and Rudall and the legal fraternity in Gawler

September 2019 – Adrian Shackley – The Flora and Fauna in Gawler - pre 1839

We have also recently challenged Town of Gawler Council to set aside sufficient funds over the years ahead to engage a professional researcher to thoroughly compile the history of James Martin and his siblings, with the ultimate goal of producing a book outlining that remarkable Gawler history. That request is being assessed by Council and we are hopeful that a positive outcome can be announced.

Mayor Karen Redman has kindly agreed to give GHT her permission for us to show the video she commissioned Neil Jacobs to create of the installation of “The Hand” sculpture in Pioneer Park on Remembrance Day 2018. This special Gawler event is now available for the world to see within our Video section in .

Due to impending travel commitments over the next year, Paul Barnet has indicated his intention not to stand for an Executive position at this AGM. From inception of the GHT, Paul has given a massive contribution; not just his photographing Gawler’s unique heritage; the 888 buildings in Gawler’s Development Plan. Many have seen and enjoyed Paul’s photos. His passion within the Executive meetings will be sorely missed. Thank you Paul for all that you have contributed.

Finally, I would like to thank my wife Bev for providing the supper for our meetings. It is great to be Chairman of a Team which is busy, positive and productive. It is also a joy to see new members meeting new friends and happily interacting with them at our monthly meetings.

Brian Thom – Chairman

At the 2019 AGM, Allen Tiller was approved to replace Paul Barnet on the GHT Executive Committee. Welcome Allen.


Gawler History Team Inc. 2020 AGM Chairman’s address – Brian Thom

Having to deal with COVID-19 restrictions has meant fewer gatherings of our Team, but productivity to enhance our website has shifted up many gears.

After experiencing the great input and enthusiasm given by Paul Barnet to Gawler History Team over many years, it was fortuitous that Allen Tiller was available to fill Paul’s place on your Executive. Allen has been very productive in the loading of much new material and has been a real asset.

There have been Heritage concerns which caused Gawler Council to go through the 600 or so “Gawler Contributory Heritage” houses and to select 100 houses to be considered for elevation to the “Gawler Local Heritage” status. With the much-appreciated cooperation of Gawler Council, this gave us the opportunity to load considerable Gawler Thematic history and the very interesting history of each of the 100 houses. This involved much additional work, but the end result was well worth it. Thank you Allen for the passion you displayed to get this task done effectively. Paul Webb intends to do a letter-box drop to each house asking for more information re the house plus requesting further old photographs.

The 2 volumes of Gawler Rotary’s “Glimpses of Gawler” have been researched and additional historic matter has been copied to our website. Thank you to Stan Roulston for allowing that to be done. Further, all of our original Flikr photos have now been shifted over to

Ian McDonnell took up the challenge to create QR codes which can be attached to the windows of all of Gawler’s heritage buildings [excluding those owned by Town of Gawler]. Ian is progressing this initiative.

We have determined that sometime in the future there should be a book created on the life of James Martin. This suggestion has been put to Town of Gawler but not taken up. Gawler National Trust is now considering creating a working party to progress this matter.

What was fortuitous was the invitation given to us to have all of our material and photographs placed within the National Library of Australia’s “Pandora” archive and “Trove” database in Canberra; done now and then upgraded every 6 months or so. [This action safeguards us should the Flikr site we use ever get wiped out]. By using “Pandora” and also “Trove” this duplication of material and photographs is a comfortable “insurance” stance which we were more than happy to agree to. This initiative will make Gawler History Team’s Flickr and websites visible to a broader audience by making photos available through the National Library of Australia, and ‘backlinking’ to the website, increasing internet traffic ‘clicks’ to both the website and Flickr, and increasing the Gawler History Team’s digital presence. Hopefully, this will mean a much broader audience will see, and interact with the collection.

It is wonderful to get a phone-call to be asked whether we would like old Gawler material. The relations of Dr. Dawes passed over to us many photographs, photograph albums and written material relating to Dr Dawes. Thank you so much the Robertson family in Adelaide. This created a great amount of work for Allen, who has processed it very effectively over many weeks. Such material is a real gem to acquire and it is now all there for the world to see. We were also pleased that Jacinta from the Town of Gawler was happy to secure all the hard copy material after we scanned it. Jacinta has also been very supportive in allowing GHT to have links to Gawler’s Heritage Collection.

We then got a phone-call that dear old Willaston historian Fred Brooks had relocated to Eldercare and had much material to relocate. Fred’s generous offer was very welcome and we are happy to ensure that much of Willaston’s history on our website has now been substantially enhanced, as well as us now being able to display the photos of every Gawler person who served in WW2 and other wars. To celebrate the many lovely homes in Gawler, we decided to select 76 of them for the creation of a Video called “Gawler Ornamental Verandas” in which each home is shown for 10 seconds or so within a “slideshow” that any person around the world can select and enjoy.

Allen and Karen Tiller have hash-tagged the Gawler History Team Flickr Catalogue, making the photo collection searchable to a broader audience. They have also begun the process of adding the digital photograph collection to the National Library of Australia’s ‘Trove’ database. Another great project completed was to include within our “People” the names of every person who was a Councillor for the Town of Gawler since 1857. It “needed to be done”.

Videos from 1982 relating to Gawler have now been added to our content and the great history behind the Gawler Christmas Tree lighting; thanks to John and Joy Thorpe for sharing their photos etc. We are negotiating with the Town of Gawler to have a big screen erected at Gawler Civic Café to better display the 1000 or so Gawler Historic photos that Ian McDonnell has gathered which are currently being shown on the dark coloured wall. A white screen will provide a much more spectacular display.

We have now gathered together over 23,000 photographs for display on and has now had over 9 million hits.

Through these last 12 months we have had the pleasure of hearing excellent Guest Speakers:

October 2019 - David Taplin – The 150 years history of Tod Street Methodist Church.

November 2019 - Helen Hennessy – The history of Willaston Cemetery.

December 2019, we had another excellent “Show and Tell” where members have the opportunity to participate in their showing of an interesting object they own and then explaining its history.

February 2020 - Paul Little - The history of Gawler’s RSL.

March 2020 - Robin Richter – The history of Gawler and Mallala Airfield.

[The Covid-19 Virus then caused us to suspend our monthly meetings and to also suspend the publication of the Gawler Bunyip newspaper for 2 weeks.]

July 2020 – Dr Rupert Thorne – The history of Hutchinson Hospital.

August 2020 – GPS Headmaster David Pitt – The history of Gawler Primary School.

September 2020 – Ed Manning – The history of Ames Hardware.

I take this opportunity to thank our many Sponsors for their willing support – please support them.

Helen Wilmore’s ongoing positive contributions toward improving has been outstanding. Thank-you Helen.

I thank your Executive members Paul Webb, Ian McDonnell, Allen Tiller, Ray Hicks, Margaret Howse and Lorraine Waters for their valuable contributions over the past years, and certainly in this 2019/2020 year. Happily, all on your Executive have asked to be re-elected.

I thank Paul Webb for becoming Gawler History Team’s Covid Marshall. We have sent our COVID-19 Management Plan to the Gawler Lutheran Church [as a subset to their overarching COVID-19 Management Plan].

We have experienced in 2020 this exceptional COVID-19 experience. I am proud that we have achieved a vast amount in the upgrading of our website, despite that COVID-19 problem existing.

We look forward to continuing the development of in a positive manner.

Brian Thom – Chairman – Gawler History Team Inc.

Gawler History Team was awarded the Town of Gawler 2014 Community Group of the Year at the Australia Day breakfast.

Please <click here> to read a Bunyip article (dated 18 Dec 2019) in which Gawler History Team Inc. Chairman, Mr Brian Thom, is interviewed regarding progress, interest and updates of the website.

Please <click here> to view The Bunyip story, " Working together to preserve history' featuring Brian Thom. Published 14 October 2020.

Please click here to view the Gawler History Team Incorporated Rules

Please click here to see photos of the Gawler History Team.

Please click here to read of Brian Thom's retirement as Chairman of the Gawler History Team, his succession plan, and Paul Webb's nomination for Chairperson going forward. As printed in the Bunyip newspaper on 8 September 2021.

Meeting on the FIRST THURSDAY of each Month [except in January] in Zion Lutheran Hall, 7.15pm, rear of 22b Cowan Street, Gawler. All welcome.


2nd September 2021 - Arthur Davies - The University of the third age [U3A] in Gawler

7th October 2021 - Major Darren Cox - History of Salvation Army in Gawler

4th November 2021 - Helen Wilmore - Gawler Historical Rates Assessment Database

2nd December 2021 - Show and Tell Christmas social night

2022 Guest Speakers

February 2022 - David H. Tucker - The history of Gawler National Trust

March 2022 - Steve Kaesler OAM - the history of Gawlers pipe organs and their organists

April 2022 - Sharon Lewis - the history of Gawler Community House

May 2022 - History Month - Helen Hennessy - The history of St Georges Anglican Church

June 2022 - Larry Cavallaro - How immigration changed Gawler in the 1950's

July 2022 - John Batten - The history of Dry-Cleaning in Gawler

August 2022 - Greg Sambell - The history of Gawler Bodyworks

September 2022 - Paul Bennett - The history of St Brigids Catholic School

October 2022 - David Clarke - The history of Wilo's Mens Shed

November 2022 - Brad Slate - The history of Gawler retail

December 2022 - "Show" and "Tell" Christmas Social night


February 2023 - Prue O'Donovan - Quickest Warmth

March 2023 - John Brereton - The history of The Gawler Club - to coincide with a special celebration for The Gawler Club

April 2023 - John Lyons - Gawler's Heroes and Larrikins

May 2023 - History Month - Helen Hennessy - The history of E.H. Coombe

June 2023 - Sandra Winder [Lowery] - The history of Gawler High School

July 2023 - Michael Steinborner - The history of Steinborner Motors

External Links

Please click here to view the Gawler History Team Incorporated Rules]]

Gawler History Team Bunyip 22Jan2014 001
Gawler History Team Bunyip 22Jan2014 001
Gawler Histroy Team Community Group of the Year Australia Day 2014
Gawler Histroy Team Community Group of the Year Australia Day 2014
Gawler History Team
Gawler History Team
Gawler  History Team
Gawler History Team
GHT Flyer 2 2019
GHT Flyer 2 2019
GHT Flyer 1 2019
GHT Flyer 1 2019



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