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)


Christine, you are a role model and i hope to mirror your family success. I, along with 2 brothers and a sister, were raised by a single mum who did an awesome job. I reckon we all turned out pretty well with decent manners and morals. My wife and I try to pass these on to our kids in a positive way............. although dad does seem to yell here and there............. :) kids of today.........

It really made me laugh when you mentioned being dobbed on for being at the Marion shopping centre Greg. I used to get into so much trouble for going there after school. I also remember when it was being built.
My sister left Dover Girls Tech. in 1979, I asked her if she knew you, but she said she didn't Christine, that made me think of how many students the school had,.I didn't know anyone outside of my class too. I live in the country now and quite a few years ago the circus came so i took my children, when i went to give the guy on the door our tickets and he said hello cynthia and I looked at him and he was a class mate in Tonsley Park Primary school, what a coincidence.
Another thing about life then and now is my daughter has commented many times of the content of what we watched on television as they have so many shows from our time on free to air now. She has said that they were so much better then, relaxing, no language, no violence and innocent. She doesn't like how shows now, she says they have a way of making you feel uncomfortable with their agendas and violence and swearing.
I know where Glengowrie High was now thanks, it is a shame, progress they say.

Cynthia I'm afraid that by 1979 I had already been married 10 years & had 3 kids, so it is no wonder your sister & I didn't cross paths. I think I am one of the senior members of this group here commenting, I am nearly 60 yeas old , & yes for those of you doing your sums, I was married at 16, unheard of now days, & even more remarkably that, I am still married to same man. Another bit of history that has changed but for the better is kids are not even allowed to marry that young. But it was the time of the Vietnam War, my fiancé was in the Army, so we married young. So times they certainly have changed from before, some changes are for better, but I think for the most part I would still rather be bought up in former times than now. I certainly am glad my own child rearing years are behind me, I do fear for what is ahead for my 6 grandchildren though.

Sorry Christine, i meant 1969, she is also your age and I am nearly 55 and my marriage and my sisters are still strong i wasn't as young as you I was in my early 20'.s. I do remember the vietnam war, one thing i remember was a boy asking for my sisters hand in marriage to get himself out of conscription, he asked my father first, of course it never happened. My sister married at 21 to the man she is still married to now. My other sister was a year behind my older sister as she is still also married to the same man, my father would not allow us to marry before 21 which we abided by.I think we all fear for what is ahead it seems everything that used to be right is wrong now, morals and attitudes have definately changed.We googled the address of Dover Gardens Girls Tech. a couple of days ago and noticed the oval was still there, right next to Patrittis Winery, it always made me laugh having a winery behind a school..

OK Cynthia, by the way my name when at school was "Broadstock" I went back & saw you previously said your surname had been Merritt, that does ring bells a bit, was your sister in the Commercial or General classes I did General with typing. So was in 1B 1st year starting at the Dover Girls Tech in its 2nd year in1966. I was in 2Gt second year & 3Gt the last year I was there which was 1968. Considering the school came down in the mid 1990s it didn't have a long life from 1965- 1993 I think. I know I couldn't go to the final get together at the school as it was the year my son have a Bone marrow transplant & so I was in isolation from the world to prevent risk of infection. I was so sad I missed that event. I would love it if someone out there had any photos of the main buildings at Dvr Gdns High school. I still have my school badge somewhere, but dont have my uniform, which in my time was the maroon pleated skirt, topped with white blouse, with jumper or blazer & brown socks & beret plus glove if walking outside the school grounds. I will write more at a later time, but should leave some things for others to recount as well.

Barbara is going to dig out her school photo's to see exactly what year she left, she thinks it was 69 .She was in 1A and did only commercial. I was in 1B and then did Commercial General and was in 2GT and so on, I really hated shorthand. That is so sad about your son and the final get together. I'm not sure what photo's we all have My other sisters name Is Frances she lives in W.A. The uniform didn't change I never wore a blazer that I remember and there were no berets or gloves. We were in Koonawarra Sports team.

Hello Ash, I have watched the Dvd and found it very interesting and amusing in parts. I think everybody did a great job, especially you in making the Dvd. Christine and I have had some interesting conversations and she knows a people we know. We are also friends on FB. now. We also have dug out some old school photos I'm surprised Dad kept them of Tonsley and DHT. I agree that all the memorabillia should be kept in one place so people can come back and see it. As I said I have been back and the whole area has changed and it kind of makes you feel empty, like it never happened. I would love to see more if it ever eventuates. Thank you for putting in your time and bringing it to us.

It would be nice if there could be another similar catchup of the old scholars of these schools maybe every 5 years or so, although how it would be organize & by whom or what organization I dont know.
I say 5 because some of us are getting up in years & 10 years we may not be around. Every second year would be ideal, but again it comes down to how & where etc..

Morphettville Park Primary School

Does anyone know of a re-union?
I attended there from 1976-1980.

Christine, I run a Facebook group for the old scholars of my year at Glenegowrie and it has been highly successful. The original idea was to use it to organise a Reunion Night, once a year. Well the 2 years we have been going we now have around 110 active members and we are up to our 14th get-together with pub nights, 70's Disco nights, lunches plus the big Reunion Night that was originally planned. A lot of groups have formed on FB for these sorts of things and I don't see any reason why a Closed Schools Of Marion Facebook group wouldn't be successful either. It allows people to share their thoughts and photo's instantly and to chat every day if they want to with people who have shared the experience. Just a thought......

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