Macclesfield Community History

History Group Reports to the MCA

2019 Report to the Macclesfield Community Association AGM

2018 December Report to the Macclesfield Community Association

2018 Report to the Macclesfield Community Association AGM

2018 June Report to the Macclesfield Community Association

2017 Report to the Macclesfield Community Association AGM

2016 Report to the Macclesfield Community Association AGM

2015 Report to the Macclesfield Community Association AGM

2014 Report to the Macclesfield Community Association AGM


2019 Report to the Macclesfield Community Association AGM

Events - This year to coincide with the Strawberry Fete, we held a pop-up Museum of Hats which was a real success. The community responded well by providing ‘hats with history’ for display. Hats from the Hills Victorian Ladies and The Stirling Community Theatre added to the Museum. People were keen to try on some of the hats and there was plenty of amusement.

Heritage Family Bake-Off - For the SA History Festival in May, the History Group organised the Heritage Family Bake-Off. Cookbook author Liz Harfull and show judge Vaughan Wilson shared their passion for cooking with the young contestants and families. This community event received fantastic coverage from the local press.

MaC Program – The MCA-History Group is now part of the Museums and Collections program run by the History Trust of SA. It is the standards and funding program for community museums and historical groups that manage collections. The History Trust will provide information and resources to care for the collection and help us to apply for funding of larger projects.

Donated Historical Journal - The Macclesfield Council Minute Book c.1880s is back in our care following conservation work completed by ArtLab. The journal was donated to the Community by Jan van Kaathoven (nee Edmonds) in Dec 2018. It was in poor condition, and on advice we engaged Artlab to stabilise the damaged pages and remove loose mould spores, dirt etc. to slow further deterioration. Digitising this book is an on-going project.

Heritage Walk Brochure - Following requests from local businesses, the Group has produced ‘The Macclesfield Heritage Walk – Venables Street’ brochure. Thanks go to local Mt Barker Council member Tess Minett for her ward donation towards printing costs.

On-going projects
Acknowledging the Peramangk People, and Aboriginal history in the area - ongoing.
Documenting the history of the Recreation Grounds.

The Group meets most Wednesday afternoons at the History Room and as time permits, continue to add information to the Macclesfield Community History website, work on the MOSAiC database, write articles for the Macclesfield Newsletter, discuss future and on-going projects and follow up enquires we get via email or in person.

Current members of the History Group – Betty White, Daryl Stevenson, Brenton Handke, Rod Foster, Susan Woenne-Green, Jan Lewis & Lesley Schack (Convenor).

2018 December History Group Report to the MCA

This is a short account to bring you up to date with some of the valuable work being done by members of the History Group.

Since our last report for the AGM the group has:-

Accepted a donated historical journal – a Macclesfield Council Minutes book from the 1880’s. It was donated by Jan van Kaathoven (née Edmonds). Six generations of the Edmonds family have lived in Macclesfield. Several of Jan’s ancestors, including grandfather Charles William Edmonds served on the Macclesfield Council and his name is noted in this journal.

The journal is in poor condition, front cover missing and first section heavily mould damaged and fragmented. Seeking advice from the History Trust of SA, they recommended Artlab Australia – conservators of historical material. After deliberation, we accepted their quote of $484.00 for treatment to stabilise damaged pages, remove loose mould spores, dirt etc. This should slow further deterioration. Artlab has a 3-month backlog of work and the Journal is still with them.

Around the same time the History Group received a generous cash donation of $500 from a local lady – Helen Thomas. She is happy for us to put the donation towards this conservation work.

Hosted a group - In August, we hosted 50 staff members from The Mary MacKillop College in Kensington who had chosen Macclesfield for their Staff Spirituality day because of the close connection with the Sisters of St Joseph. In 1868 the Sisters started a Catholic school in St James the Less Church. The History Group welcomed the visitors to the Church, provided them with information about the Church in the form of a booklet and organised a walking tour of the town while the MCA catered for morning tea. The College gave a donation of $250 to the History Group and paid $5 a head for the catering.

Hosted a HistorySA workgroup - In November the group welcomed the History Trust of SA and members of the Trust presented a workshop/ideas exchange at the Institute, in the lead up to the 2019 History Festival.

Provided a local Event - The pop-up Museum of Hats at the Strawberry Fete was a great success. The community responded well by providing ‘hats with history’ for display. Hats from the Hills Victorian Ladies and The Stirling Community Theatre added to the Museum. People were keen to try on some of the hats and there was plenty of amusement. With free entry we were happy to receive donations that covered our expenses of signage, hall hire, contributions, etc.

The Group is taking a well-earned summer break until the 16th Jan 2019. Current members are Betty White, Daryl Stevenson, Brenton Handke, Jan Lewis, Rod Foster, Susan Woenne Green, and our Convenor, Lesley Schack

2018 History Group Report to MCA AGM

The History Group meet Wednesday afternoons to discuss on-going projects, plan new projects and events, or to work together on articles for the Newsletter, the website or to follow up any enquires received regarding local family history. We also have occasional visitors interested in researching particular aspects of Macclesfield history. Another important and on-going part of our work is the maintenance and conservation of the History Collection, including appropriate storage and documentation of any new material received.

This year, to coincide with the Strawberry Fete, we held an exhibition in the Anglican Church Hall. On display was History SA’s travelling exhibition ‘Good &Useful Work’ about the Red Cross in South Australia. The Macclesfield branch of the Red Cross was among many local groups set up at the start of World War I. To add local flavour to the exhibition we included photos, certificates, long service awards and other mementos from the History Collection or on loan from family members. The RSL also provided various items.

During the year members of the group attended workshops run by the History Trust of SA, including a Multimedia and Oral History workshop to learn the basics of creating a visual presentation using audio clips from the group’s oral history interviews and photographs. Another was preparing reminiscing or memory boxes. A memory box can include items from a particular era or subject such as ‘in the shed’, ‘recipes for remembering’ or ‘childhood games and pastimes’, all designed to stimulate memories and could be used at various history events.

For the SA History Festival we organised a very successful historical fashion parade – ‘Bustles & Bows’ as presented by The Victorian Ladies from Mt Barker. It was co-hosted by Young at Heart who provided the lovely afternoon tea.

Other on-going projects:
• St. John’s Anglican Church Cemetery – we continue to work with Clyde Slack, who is the caretaker of the cemetery, and encourage community involvement. A Working Bee was held on Saturday 7th October 2017 to maintain the grounds.
• The MOSAiC database – Rod Foster and Daryl Stevenson continue to enter information from our historical archives. This year the group purchased an updated Version 11 of this data base which is now installed on a new dedicated lap-top.
Macclesfield Community History website – This year a useful addition to the website has been a web search engine developed by Google that is free, and without advertising, for community groups and the ‘not for profit sector’. With 68 pages and 370 images with more to come, there was a need to make it easier for visitors to to navigate around the site. The on-line store on the website proved invaluable leading up to the fashion parade in May. About half of all tickets sold came via PayPal and the on-line store.
• The Peramangk People – We are working together with Susan Woenne-Green, anthropologist (retired), to acknowledge with respect the Aboriginal people who lived in this area prior to British & European settlement.
• Recreation Grounds – Brenton Handke has been actively researching the history of the Macclesfield Recreation Grounds. He has unearthed stories from the 19th century to more recent times. Stories about the development of sports facilities, discussions around activities on the oval including greyhound racing, harness racing, go-carts and at one time, turf was purchased for lawn bowls. A great addition to Macclesfield history.

Current members of the History Group are Betty White, Daryl Stevenson, Brenton Handke, Rod Foster, Susan Woenne-Green, Jan Lewis and Convenor Lesley Schack.

2018 June History Group Report to the MCA

A few interesting things that we have been involved in recently:-

Macclesfield History website — This year a useful addition to the website has been a web search engine developed by Google that is free, and without advertising, for community groups and the ‘not for profit’ sector. With 68 pages and 370 images with more to come, it was becoming increasingly difficult for visitors to navigate around the site. The Search button makes it so much easier. Daryl Stevenson continues to add data & photographs to the website and we have had great feedback from people researching their Macclesfield family connections.

Family history enquiries - In the past month we have had a couple from WA visiting us, the Ward family. Great, great grandfather Richard Ward settled here in the 1850’s. He is known to have built the Wesleyan Methodist Church and the house on Searle Street next to the old cheese factory. Richard and his wife Margaret are buried in the Penna Road Cemetery. The WA couple spent time in the history room browsing through the files and photocopying relevant documents and looking around our historic town.

Website hosting - In January we renewed our 3-year contract with Digital Pacific for standard web hosting at cost of $278.46.

MOSAiC database — In the future we want this database to become a useful resource of local historical information so we have spent time developing the best procedures for entering our records and collections. Instead of browsing through assorted original files and photographs, one day visitors will be able to access this database either in the history room or on-line.

Artifacts Collection - We are now working on our artifacts collection – items currently stored in the glass display cabinets, with back stories and photographs so that this info can also be entered into the database. Daryl Stevenson & Rod Foster work together on this project.

MOSAiC Database - We have recently purchased an updated Version 11 of MOSAiC for $448.80.

Historic Walk — In February the History Group were invited by The Shy Poets to participate in Banjo Paterson’s Birthday celebrations in the RSL grounds. A gazebo was provided and we set up our historical photographs and information and offered guided walks around town. Jan Lewis led two walks that included the historic St James The Less Church, where Betty White talked about Mary MacKillop’s Josephite Sisters who established a school in the church. She was one of their pupils.

Recreation Grounds — Over the past 12 months Brenton Handke has been actively researching the history of the Macclesfield Recreation grounds. He has unearthed stories from the 19th century to more recent times. Stories about the development of sports facilities, discussions around activities on the oval including greyhound racing, harness racing, go karts and at one time, turf was purchased for lawn bowls. This research looks like being a little treasure trove! A small book in the making for sure.

Bustles & Bows historical fashion parade — This was a great success thanks to everyone involved. It was lovely to see the fashions of the past return to our lovely old Institute. Cheers to Cathy Megson and Young at Heart who contributed both the music interlude and afternoon tea.

2017 Report to the Macclesfield Community Association AGM

During the past year the group held an Exhibition, added ‘Google Search’ and an ‘On-line Store’ to the History website, continued entering info onto the MOSAIC database, organised 2 Working Bees, contributed articles to the Newsletter, worked on some small research projects, followed up family and local history enquires and launched our book based on the local cheese factory.

July 2016: Members of the Group worked at the St John’s Anglican Church Cemetery and created a large pile of branches and leaf litter which Steve Gardner later mulched and removed.

November 2016: We organised a History SA exhibition to coincide with the annual Strawberry Fete. To History SA’s travelling display ‘Once Upon a Time’ about growing up in SA, we added some local flavour with a slide-show of childhood photographs, displays of old books, toys and even a vintage caravan! It proved popular and we received positive feed-back from locals, a school group and visitors alike.

January 2017: A working bee was held at the Cemetery to clear some of the fallen branches and debris from gravesites and generally tidy up of the area. Previously, Trevor CALABY had repaired the fence, while a neighbour had cleared some creepers from the back fence and offered to remove some of the leaf litter.

March 2017: Rod FOSTER attended a 3 Day MOSAIC database training workshop in Adelaide organised by History SA, but run by ISTechnology, the software supplier.

April 2017: Members of the Group attended the Annual Combined History Group meeting held in Basket Range. The meeting was a chance to network with other Adelaide Hills groups and hear what they were doing to preserve their local history.

On going projects

St John’s Anglican Church Cemetery – We continue to work in consultation with Clyde SLACK – Caretaker of the Cemetery - and encourage community involvement with working bees to maintain the grounds. With the fence now repaired, it is time to look at funding / grants for signage at this historically significant site.

The Peramangk People - At the time of European settlement the Macclesfield area was already the country of people known as the Peramangk. The History group would like to find a way to acknowledge this prior occupation and ownership. At the Group’s request, Susan WOENNE-GREEN is continuing to research historical and contemporary resources and contacts.

The MOSAIC database – Rod FOSTER & Daryl STEVENSON continue to enter information from our historical archives into the database. This is both time consuming and exacting work but is one way of retaining/storing information that in paper form may be lost. It will also provide an important resource for the community and future researchers.

Macclesfield History website – With an ever-increasing number of pages we have added ‘Google Search’ to help people find particular topics / family histories etc. The link to this can be found at the top right of each web page. Thanks to Freeman SCHACK for providing the technical knowhow to be able to do this.

Online Book Store - People can now purchase ‘Reflections along the Angas’ and our new book (see below) from the On-line Store.

However, this year a major focus was in completing and publishing the new book - At Work- The Macclesfield Cheese Factory 1937-1975, the author our own Lesley SCHACK. The book has been a great success and the Launch was enjoyed by many past employees, milk truck drivers, suppliers and others with links to the factory.

The Book Launch also provided an opportunity for people to catch up with old friends and workmates many of whom hadn’t seen each other for years. We originally had 150 books printed, but due to popular demand have since had a second print run of 60 books. Janeane THOMAS from the Post Office remains very helpful and we also sell them on-line via our website (

Grants received this financial year - $3000.00 from History SA and $1,250.00 from The Mt Barker Council to assist in publishing the new book. This Association was also most supportive.

Current Members: Betty WHITE / Daryl STEVENSON / Rod FOSTER / Brenton HANDKE / Sue WRIGHT / Phil DAVIS / Lesley SCHACK / Susan WOENNE-GREEN.


2016 Report to the Macclesfield Community Association AGM

This year the History Group has been involved in some interesting projects including setting up the new MOSAIC database - although lots of data entry work is now required, in the future it will provide people with easy access to the local history collection, perhaps on-line or in some other way.

We are trying to become more financially independent and attempting to raise funds by the sale of historic photographs, running raffles and events and applying for relevant grants.

November 2015: The History Group sold 2 large canvas prints of historical interest during the Gala Dinner’s Silent Auction. The $360.00 raised was used by the Group for on-going expenses including archival material, printing and stationery. An historical slide-show was also prepared and shown at the dinner.

At the Strawberry Fete the group set up historical displays including a slide-show in the St John’s Anglican Church Hall. Money raised on the day from the sale of raffle tickets and greeting cards was $88.00.

Grants Received this financial year:
• From SA History Fund for a standalone edition of Collections MOSAIC software - $1296.
• From SA History a training grant towards the cost of Daryl Stevenson attending MOSAIC database training  for 2 days - $264. October 2015: Daryl Stevenson attended the 3 day course and Rod Foster attended Day 1.
• From the Mt Barker District Council Community Grants Program for the purchase of a 4 panel display system - $1000.

In the past 12 months we have welcomed three enthusiastic new members to the group. The current members of the group are:
Lesley Schack / Betty White / Daryl Stevenson / Rod Foster / Brenton Handke / Phil Davis


1. May 2016: A working bee was held at the St John’s Anglican Church Cemetery to clean up the site, rake leaves, remove small saplings, piles of fallen branches and in particular, to remove a large bush growing from a bricked family plot. This work was done in consultation with Mr Clyde Slack, Caretaker of the cemetery, and Mrs Donna Jones, Registrar and Secretary of the Diocese of the Murray, The Anglican Church of Australia. Eleven willing workers came to help and later Steve Gardner mulched and removed the large pile of debris from the roadside.

This project is on-going. We aim to repair or replace the fence and pathways and add signage to this historical cemetery including names, where known, on the individual graves. We hope to obtain funding/grants as applicable and encourage community involvement with working bees to maintain the grounds.

2. Compiling an Inventory of the complete History Collection including folders of photographs, printed documents and other memorabilia. We will then be in a position to consult with History SA about the preservation needs and conservation of the collection. While the collection is significant at a local community level it may also require a more systematic National Significance Assessment being carried out in the future.

3. Discovering the story behind the establishment of the Recreation Grounds and Oval and the move to form their own Committee, with research into the old MCA Reports dating back to the 1940s and newspaper articles etc.  An interesting report will soon be available to read on the history website and in the Newsletter.

4. Publishing the Macclesfield Cheese Factory book which is based on oral histories recorded in 2013. The manuscript is currently being edited by Mr Bernard O’Neil and it is hopefully to be published in March 2017. We have applied for a grant from the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) to cover the cost of editing and proof reading and also a grant to cover further costs of printing and publishing from History SA. Fingers crossed!

5. Organising an History SA event – a travelling exhibition "Once Upon A Time" to be held in the Anglican Hall in November 2016 and inviting the community to participate with photos and old toys from their childhood.

6. The MOSAIC database - is a comprehensive software application for storing and interconnecting historical information about places, people, events, organisations, artefacts, photographs, old records,  and just about everything else you can think about. We are currently working on entering two major sources of people’s names;

• Burial Records
St John’s Anglican Church Cemetery, Macclesfield General Cemetery and other smaller cemeteries. (Shirley and Ray Risely along with Betty White were the main collectors of this information).

• "Macclesfield Jubilee 1849-1990 - Families Old and New"
(Published by the Macclesfield Community Newsletter Committee)
This is being done in two stages:
Firstly, just the names of people and the connections between them are being manually entered. Secondly, each source contains extensive “back” stories. These stories will be transferred digitally into the data base and connected to the names already entered in first stage.

We expect this database entry work to take us well into 2017. There are several other sources of names in the History Group’s archives, as well as other types of historical archives, including photographs, so we are not likely to run out of work anytime soon.

It is important that we find a way to make this information accessible, for public researchers, as the database grows, because it is likely to be a work in progress for a long time. This is a technical issue we need to address in the future.

7. Macclesfield History website
The website is regularly updated and there are now 49 pages and 226 images on the site. Data from Google Analytics tells us that in the past 12 months there have been 4203 users and 11,033 page views.

We have added a store to the site to sell Jim Faull’s book ‘Reflections along the Angas’. Soon, other offerings will be available.

8. Family History responses to public enquiries
On average we have 2 or 3 email enquiries a month, or through our website, from people researching their family history. This could mean a search through the history archives and an exchange of emails. These enquires are documented with any new information being added to the family notes.


2015 Report to the Macclesfield Community Association AGM

NOVEMBER 2014:  Members of the group attended a History SA workshop at Torrens Parade Ground in Adelaide to prepare for the ‘About Time 2015’ history festival in May.

DECEMBER 2014: Public presentation and afternoon tea at the Institute to celebrate the return of an historic medallion. The National Trust- Mt Barker Branch presented the medal inscribed ‘PG Boyle 1906 at the Macclesfield Sports’ to the Macclesfield Community. Historic records indicate that it may have been awarded at the annual Catholic Picnic and Sports Day event held on New Year’s Day 1906.

FEBRUARY 2015: Launch of the Macclesfield Community History website at The group continues to add further historic data to the site. We receive many interstate enquires via the website, from people researching their family history.

MARCH 2015: The History Group Members attended the Opening of the ANZAC Memorial Garden at the invitation of the RSL. The group set up a history display and lots of people stopped for a chat about the past and their family connections to Macclesfield. This RSL event was recorded on the website.

MAY 2015: For the 2015 HistorySA 'History Month' a successful ‘Poets in the Pub’ event was held at the Three Brother’s Arms Hotel. Publicans Kylie and Paul Vischjager were the hosts.  Fifty people were entertained by the ‘Shy Poets’ and the ‘Bogaduck’ bush band in the historic building.

A group of Year 2/3/4 children from the Macclesfield Primary School visited the history group at the Institute building. They were accompanied by teacher Natalie Jones.  She plans to bring them each term to learn more about local history.

JUNE 2015:  As a fund-raising venture, we have produced cards for sale using images from the history collection. They are sold at the Sunday market and will be on sale at the Strawberry Fete.

Betty White/Daryl Stevenson/Lesley Schack



2014 Report to the Macclesfield Community Association AGM

Throughout 2013 we interviewed and recorded fifteen Oral Histories for the project, ‘The Macclesfield Butter and Cheese factory 1937-1975.’ The History Group also provided the State Library with transcriptions of these interviews.

SEPTEMBER 2013:   A grant from the MCA allowed  Carol Prey and Lesley Schack to attend one day of the ‘Biennial National Conference of the Oral History Association of Australia & State History Conference’.  Margaret Jackson and Lesley Schack also went to a half day workshop- ‘Using Oral Histories in Exhibitions and Public Programs.’

Final acquittal of grant from History SA with purchase of lap-top and work continued on safely storing the records and photos in the collection. Work commenced in preparation for digitising these resources.

FEBRUARY 2014:   We celebrated the launch of the Oral History Project with Participants/Interviewees at the Institute. Special guests and members of the MCA were also invited. Trophies and Awards kindly donated by the Gallasch family to the MCA, were on display. These trophies/awards are now in the Trophy Cabinet and donation forms have been completed by the Gallasch family.  A photographic display and a short compilation of the recordings added to the proceedings. A lovely afternoon tea was enjoyed by all. MCA reimbursed project expenses of $353.

MARCH 2014:   At the invitation of the National Trust- Mt Barker branch, the History Group gave a talk on our local area. It was well received.

APRIL 2014: 1) Daly family reunion- Betty White liaised with them in regards to their family history. This included the old family home, school they had attended and where grand- father Jim Daly had been killed in a tragic accident.  A walking route was planned to take in these sites and the Catholic Church /old school was opened for viewing. 2) In the history room, shelving donated by Margaret Jackson was installed and the carpet cleaned.

MAY 2014: Walking/Driving tour of old Macclesfield. A group of ten locals enjoyed the chance to see inside some of our historic buildings. This was also an opportunity for Gordon Thurmer to practise his video skills.

JUNE 2014: Betty White, Margaret Jackson and Lesley Schack attended a digitisation workshop held by History SA at the Institute building, North Terrace, Adelaide. The knowledge gained will assist us to load historical photos/ documents onto a data base for easy access and preservation.  
We also recently interviewed two local people who talked about their earlier lives.  The Interviewees were Jim Smith and Betty White. These recordings are now with the State Library.    
We continue to contribute items of historical interest to the Newsletter and follow up many enquiries regarding family history and photos.

JULY 2014: Oral History Group awarded $250 Lizzie Russell Grant to cover some of the expenses incurred during the project.  

Betty White/Lesley Schack/Geraldine Jones


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- "At Work, The Macclesfield Cheese Factory 1937-1975 (New Release)" and
- "Macclesfield - Reflections along the Angas" edited by Jim Faull.

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