The volunteers at Tea Tree Gully Heritage Museum devised an entertaining afternoon ‘full of drama’ with the help of 891 ABC Radio’s presenter Peter Goers and the SA Police Historical Society on Sunday 21 August, as part of their regular Heritage on Sunday program.
Created to celebrate the relocation and restoration of their latest acquisition – an original 1920s police holding cell from the local police station, the event was innovative as it was entertaining and succeeded to draw crowds.
In his own inimitable way, Peter Goers ‘caused a disturbance’ on the lawns opposite the museum before a crowd of onlookers ‘requiring police assistance’. Courtesy of the SA Police Historical Society, a 1950s Chrysler police car came to the rescue complete with authentic wailing siren and Peter was duly escorted to the vehicle by heritage uniformed members of the SAPHS. Watched by the crowd, the vehicle sped off with their prisoner to the holding cell in the grounds of the museum where the crowd reassembled and Peter was formally ‘thrown in jail’.
With museum committee secretary Mark Taylor as MC elegantly attired in top hat and tails, speeches now ensued before the enthusiastic captive audience, to describe the work of the restored cell as well as thank those involved. We heard from the City of Tea Tree Gully Deputy Mayor Bernie Keane, Tea Tree Gully Lions Geoff Francis who had worked tirelessly to see the relocation take place and National Trust president Norman Etherington who finally officially released Peter Goers from the cell. Everyone then had an opportunity to enjoy the afternoon’s entertainment: SAPOL brass band, the museum displays, the working blacksmith, a sausage sizzle and Devonshire tea plus the opportunity to view historic vehicles courtesy of the SA Police Historical Society and a local Ford car club.
The small corrugated iron cell, which was restored by Geoff and volunteers from the Friends of the Museum, was built by Mr HE Ede for £160 for use by the Tea Tree Gully Police Station which had opened on 11 February 1929. Designed as a holding cell only to keep prisoners for 10 hours, it has no windows or a toilet – only two wooden bunks and a blanket. It was moved to the museum site with help from Golden Grove Supplies and a low loader, guided by a police and council escort. It is the latest addition to buildings and displays in the museum grounds.
Formerly known as the Old Highercombe Hotel Museum, this National Trust property is run by a dedicated and enthusiastic team of volunteers showcasing the history of the Tea Tree Gully area. It is also one of the nine accredited museums in History SA’s Community Museums Program.
You can see more photos of the event here