Letters & Stories
Extract from the Morning Star
Memories From Olive Miller – June/July 1995 Issue
My first memory of Sunday School was at St. Phillips Broadview. My parents house was next but one to the church and I was introduced to Sunday School Songs like “Hear the Pennies Dropping” and bible stories. The best memories concerned the an nual Christmas Tree with its hand outs which were welcome in Depression times.
Later we moved to Beulah Park. My parents werent church goers so I pleased myself and went to Sunday School at Clayton Church with my best friend Thea whose father was a light house keeper. When she left I left too and only went to church sporadically after that until I left home to work in Canberra.
Another friend took me to St. John the Baptist, the pioneer church on the hill at Reid and I later became confirmed there as an adult. This was a busy time in my life which was occupied with membership of church young people’s groups and Sunday School teaching which I really enjoyed. I met my husband in Canberra and we were married at St. John’s.
When we returned to South Australia I first attended St. Bede’s at Semaphore and then at St. Nicholas at Ethelton. There we had a big Sunday School which I ended up in charge of and I found this a real worth while experience. Christmas plays were a lot of work but a lot of fun and I was helped by Kath Grace who played the organ while children in colourful costumes sang and acted parts with their own interpretations.
By this time we had three children and the care of a foster boy who was with us for six years. My husband had a chance to go to Broome in Western Australia. This was a big step which I did not want to take but we went anyway for three years. Two of them were spent in Broome where the only church was used one Sunday by the Methodist minister and the next by the Anglican priest who was based in Derby. I was still teaching Sunday School but in very different surroundings. The town was much smaller then and the European population was outnumbered by those of aboriginal or mixed race descent.
Two years in Broome saw another shift at the end of the year to Darwin where we lived in one of the houses on stilts in an outer suburb. These homes were nearly all alike and the view made one think that we were living in a large barrack complex. The nearest church was St. Peter’s Nighcliff. I had given up Sunday School work by now and became interested in work with Guides and Scouts. We only had one year in this northern city and I was not sorry to leave it – it seemed a temporary stop for government servants and no-one’s permanent home.
We then spent three years in Whyalla where we had a house on a rise giving a wonderful view of the Gulf and the lights of Port Pirie on clear night. I was doing plenty of voluntary work with the scouting movement and at the school and I had a big gap from regular worship during this time. I don’t know why this happened as the children still went to youth groups and Sunday School. We left in 1971 and came back to Adelaide where I commenced full time study. Church going was still an on and off affair but finally I went back to St. Paul’s in preference to St. Nicholas where I found that God was still living and He hadn’t forgotten me.
Now I go to church regularly and really enjoy the fellowship. Another friend Freda and I polish the brass on a regular basis and look after the records in the office.
I am now what is called the Archivist; a fancy name which means I answer queries regarding the church’s history and queries regarding family tree. I have searched so many pioneer families that I feel that I know them as people. The number of families that stayed in the Port and are connected through marriage with local boys and girls is amazing. This suburb of Adelaide has something unique that makes its history an endless canvas full of changing scenes. I am not sorry to live in the Port District and also so near the beach at Semaphore Park.