Wasleys Primary School students were the first to take part in the Gawler National Trust Museum’s Migrant program in early August. This program is linked to the schools’ curriculum for history and is a new move for the NTSA. It is aimed specifically at teaching local history to children. Called 'Who were they – who are you?' the program consists of four specially designed lessons, with interactive and engaging activities including making a timeline and identifying objects and working out what they were used for.
For the Wasleys Primary School visit thirty students were divided into four groups and taught by Museum volunteers about the effect migration has had on Gawler.
National Trust member Jeff Turner spoke in particular about migration to Gawler in the 1940s and ‘50s. Mr Turner has completed a research project on the topic and is currently compiling it into a book.
‘One of the things that we emphasised was those who came to Gawler from Eastern Europe and were displaced by the second World War, never left Gawler’ Mr. Turner said. ‘For example, one family lives in Hill St and another down on Lyndoch Rd’.
The project was financed with a History SA grant and also covers the Kaurna people and the town's earliest pioneers.
‘We talk about things like McKinlay looking for Burke & Wills and exploring the Northern territory’ Mr Turner said.‘Then we move to the telegraph station and talk about that, and John McDouall Stuart, and what it did for Gawler, and then on to James Martin and the Eagle Foundries. All the people who built these entities were migrants.’
To date, two more schools have completed the program, Trinity College and Trinity Angle Vale Campus, with a fourth school due to attend shortly.
Story contributed by Gawler National Trust Museum