Port Lincoln and Tumby Bay events a part of History Festival

TOUR: Peter Knife is inviting people to tour of the former Genesee and Wyoming Australia administration offices, above the Port Lincoln Railway Museum.
TOUR: Peter Knife is inviting people to tour of the former Genesee and Wyoming Australia administration offices, above the Port Lincoln Railway Museum.

A tour of the upper floor of an old railway administration building, readings from the diaries of Eyre Peninsula's pioneer families and the launch of a photo kiosk are some of the events planned for this year's South Australia's History Festival.

The 17th annual festival returns after having a year off due to COVID with more than 600 registered events taking place across the state.

This year's theme is 'Change', which explores a range of historical topics including physical, political and social change, as well as changes for better or for worse over time.

The Eyre Peninsula Rail Preservation Society has been involved in at least 10 previous festivals and will hold a couple of events at the Port Lincoln Railway Museum throughout May.

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The first is 'Open Doors' which will involve half hour guided tours of the former Genesee and Wyoming Australia (now One Rail Australia) administration offices above the museum on May 23 between 1pm and 4pm.

The tours, taking place every half hour, will go through each room looking at what took place and how it related to railway activities on Eyre Peninsula, with photos and displays on show.

The other event 'Changes: Grain Handling' will take every Wednesday between 1pm and 4pm and will involve a video display that explores changes in grain handling over the years to get grain from farms to the port.

Society president Peter Knife said the society was happy to once again be involved in the festival and followed the festival's themes with this year's events.

"This would be our 11th year taking part in it and the two key themes we're following this year are universal themes across the state," he said.

"First 'open doors', seeing what you don't normally see in historical buildings and 'change' in a historical aspect, so we've organised events to fit those themes."

The Port Lincoln History Group will use the festival to officially launch its photo kiosk at its 'Moving Forward' event at the Mill Cottage Museum on Sunday, May 16 at 3pm, which will include an afternoon tea.

The kiosk contains a searchable collection of historical photographs, which includes images from the Eric O'Connor Collection and other photos provided by community members.

Group treasurer and museum coordinator Jackie Johnston said Port Lincoln City Council supported the project with a grant to buy the computer and while the kiosk would be housed at the museum it was portable.

She said group president Chris Mantle and fellow member Ash Cowley had worked hard to scan and categorize photos to go onto the kiosk and the program it was using was created by Mr Knife.

The kiosk was originally going to be launched last year but was put on hold due to COVID-19, however there were some benefits from the long break.

"While it would've been good to do it last year, the fact we waited a year meant we got more photos and more information to put with the photos," she said.

Finally at Tumby Bay the local National Trust branch will provide a look at the lives of some of the Eyre Peninsula's pioneer families every Wednesday from 2pm with its event 'Historical Diaries on Eyre Peninsula'.

The Tumby Bay Branch of the National Trust of SA will live stream readings from diaries of families who have had a long connection to the Eyre Peninsula on the museum's Facebook page.

Branch member Robert Randall said there were also plans to hold the last reading of the month with a class of students at the Tumby Bay Area School, which would involve questions from students.

He said this was an opportunity to display Eyre Peninsula history on a platform to make it available to people across Australia and the world.

People can find out more about these and other events across South Australia online at festival.history.sa.gov.au.

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