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YDHS Friday talk October 2023

Members of the Yankalilla Museum— A Few of my Favourite Things

Yankalilla District Historical Museum

Over 30 attendees were enthralled with the stories of six museum volunteers, who described various areas of interest in the Museum. Rob Ryan, President of the Yankalilla District Historical Museum, spoke about the evolution of the museum, which began following the Jubilee 150 grain re-enactment festivities in 1986. He was followed by Mary Bates who spoke about the nursery room and drapery shop, an important shop to the early women settlers, as they had to make everything they wore, so needed the necessary components.
Ann Ryan spoke about the transition of St Thomas’s Church building that used to be at Inman Valley and part of Rev. Charles Morse’s widespread Yankalilla parish which extended as far as Kangaroo Island. Nigel Pile provided an insight into the early dairying industry. He had grown up on a dairy farm in the district where they employed a ‘MDK’ milking system – Mum, Dad, and the Kids! It certainly helped to have a large family.
Ken Bates talked about the early transport, from bullock and horse teams having to negotiate ‘Mount Terrible’ (Sellicks Hill), using a log brake to prevent horses or bullocks catapulting down the hill, to bus services such as Langs which used to operate regular services between Adelaide and Yankalilla. Finally, Ross Trigg spoke about the wheat industry, which began with the wheat belt of South Australia that extended from Gawler in the north to Yankalilla in the south. By the late 1880s, production began to decline due to lack of super phosphate fertiliser. One enterprising settler, Daniel Leak, identified rust-affected wheat and managed to produce a strain of rust-free wheat, which won him accolades in the Adelaide Show at the time.
If the Museum volunteers are willing, we are hoping to repeat this highly successful event, and with over 2800 exhibits, have plenty of material!

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