New "Closed Schools of Marion" DVD

A new DVD funded by a History SA SA175 grant entitled The Closed Schools of Marion commemorating Marion's nine public schools that were closed between 1987-2009 was launched by the Marion Historical Society last month.  

Using photographs, original footage and oral histories from former teachers, pupils and their parents, the DVD tells the story of the nine schools that were built in the Marion area to cater for the baby boomers of the 1950s and 60s and that were subsequently closed over the last 30 years.  

The film was made by award-winning local film maker Ashley Starkey, himself a former pupil of Glengowrie High, one of the now defunct schools.  

Film maker Ashley Starkey (r) and MHS's Bob Donley (l) with former Marion schoolAt the end of World War I, Marion only had two schools – Ascot Park Primary School and Sturt Primary School - but as it developed into a market garden area and soldiers returned home to have families, there was a great need for more schools.  The Marion Historical Society put together a very successful exhibition and reunion at the Marion Cultural Centre for History SA’s “About Time” History Festival in May of this year.  Hundreds of former students and staff from the closed schools – Dover Gardens Primary, Dover High, Glengowrie High, Marion High, Morphettville Park Primary, Oaklands Park Primary, Sturt Primary, Tonsley Primary and Vermont High – converged on the event, which included displays of 1960s desks, uniforms, photographs and an old school bell.  

Over two afternoons Ashley interviewed and filmed 17 participants, many of whom returned for the launch at the Marion Historical Society’s headquarters at Cooinda Neighbourhood Centre, Sturt Road, Marion.   A second edition of the DVD is available online for $22 plus postage and a 7 minute preview of the film can be viewed here or on YouTube here

Ashley is also the maker of Ute-opia, a 4 part film to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Holden ute, made in conjunction with Holden and the National Motor Museum. 


Average: 5 (4 votes)


It was an honour to be able to contribute to this production. I took my wife and kids along to see the exhibit and found that a few of my old school photos were actually used in it. Ash was there filming/interviewing people and got me in front of the camera to tell a few recollections of my school life at Marion High. Unfortunately I was unable to attend the preview of the DVD but have since purchased a copy which will take pride of place with my other school memorabilia. Seeing some of the old photos and uniforms brought back so many good memories. Thanks for taking me on this trip down memory lane.

I was thrilled to be part of the history film of The Closed Schools of Marion. Admittedly because I was not forewarned about being interview & filmed it was very nervy experience, but somehow the memories came flooding back to me enough to make a contribution. I was happy to be part of the film, & it was so nice to see the other interviews as well on the film preview night. For the most part our memories of that time were similar. I feel the past times in the education system were much better than today’s. I can say that since I have been a part-time adult high school student for a few years now & have sampled today’s education.

Thanks Allan for your contribution. Sorry you couldn't make it to the preview night - it became obvious to me after seeing the film and witnessing the camaraderie on the night, that people felt happy and proud to be part of the project. The film was a great way to capture not just facts but emotions too.

Thanks Christine - everyone seemed to be very relaxed on camera - a credit to the film maker. It was interesting that many of the school days memories were global - the whole issue of hats and rolling up skirts for example - just the same in the UK at the same time!

From what Ash told me after the preview night, it was probably best I wasn't there as i seem to have upset my old deputy principle, Erica Jolly. She began taking her wrath out on another guy before Ash told her she "had the wrong guy!!" hehehehehehehehehehe

Yes Erica was pretty feisty!

What a fascinating insight into school days from the 1950's onward!
I am delighted to have been a contributor and I really enjoyed hearing about the experiences of others as well.
What I found interesting was the genuine appreciation of participants for the type of education, mainly "chalk and talk", being offered back then. I would love to have experienced the many varied methods of presentation of subject matter that students have today particularly in the primary education sector not to mention the array of technology.
Well done Ashley on the many hours of work you've put in to produce such an interesting DVD and thank you to History SA and the Marion Historical Sociiety for your initiative in preserving local history for future generations.

It's great to see all these comments - keep them coming!

Thank you for the kind words and thank you even more for being a part of this film, for sharing your memories and memorabilia.
I can still hear Erica's voice reverberating 'Allan Thomas', I think she wants to see you down the front office mate.

HAHAHAHAHAHA I believe I spent enough time in the front office under the icy glare of Mrs Jolly to last me a few lifetimes. God bless her. :)

Tell us what you think or know by adding a comment