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Live as a Pioneer

Imagine living life without the technology we have today. There were very few of the handy gadgets we use now to make our life easier. Clothing was washed by hand, horses were a common form of transport and if you wanted a message to get somewhere quickly, you sent a telegram.

At Old Tailem Town, you can see many of the tools and equipment that were commonly used from when South Australia was first settled through to the mid 20th century.

Imagine having to cut wood for the stove each day.

Imagine getting hot water out of a kettle and putting it in a dish to do the washing up, having bar soap in a jam tin with holes in it to swish around in the dish in order to make suds for the washing up. Then imagine boiling water in the copper outside and carrying it inside to a tin bath every time you wished to wash yourself.

Imagine trying to read chronicles and newspapers by lamplight.

Imagine walking into a kitchen where you heard the kettle on the hob singing and smelt the smoke in the room from the wood stove. Imagine opening up the oven of the wood stove on a cold night and warming your bare feet on the oven lid.

Imagine walking into the room and being hushed by your grandmother because Pappa has his ear next to the speaker of the old six volt radio, listening to the news and only being allowed to talk once the news had finished.

Imagine going to the cool safe and eating half-melted, home made butter and eating meat that was slightly on the turn and drinking fresh milk that was bought back from the dairy that day in a clean wine bottle with a cork on the top of it.


As a child, our entertainment was roaming paddocks, making forts, drinking milk straight from the teats of the two quiet cows in the herd when we were thirsty, catching rabbits and cooking them in the coals, pincing turnips from Grandpa's garden and smoking dried mallee roots that poked out of the ground in the dry sand, making out they were cigars, giving us sore tongues. We could collect birds eggs from nests on the end of thin branches, ten metres up a tree, walk around the river swamps, catching yabbies and getting covered with leeches and making rafts.

Riding three miles to school into headwinds, wrapping rags around our hands to stop chilblains, calling into the railway gangers tents when they were there, bludging sausages between two pieces of bread and sheltering from the rain if it was a wet day, ending up being late for school. That was the life of the owner on the site of Tailem Town as a child in the 1940s and 1950s, where he lived with his grandparents.