Millicent Local History Collection

Towers History Room

The Towers History Room within the library complex was built as a result of a bequest from the Late Bruce Towers. Bruce was a well-known and respected historian, who lived for his love of community and history, particularly the history of his beloved Millicent and area. Bruce dedicated much of his time to writing and speaking about the history of Millicent. Bruce’s bequest to the Millicent Library enabled the Towers History Room to be built and the Millicent Gallery extended.   The plans were officially unveiled in 2000 when Wattle Range Council Mayor Don Ferguson hosted a mayoral reception at the library and announced plans for Bruce Towers History Centre, which now houses an extensive collection of furniture and local history items owned by Mr Towers, which was bequeathed to the Library in 2002.

Bruce was born into a pioneering Millicent family in 1913, and lived in the area all his life and has been active in a range of community organizations. He wrote the booklet "Early Millicent" and it was published by the local branch of the national Trust in 1974. Other writings have been published in "Tales of Early Canunda Settlers" and in the Royal Geographical Society of South Australia. Over the Years, he has been in demand by community groups and schools for talks and tours regarding the district's history.

His long working life has been spent as a farmer, stone mason and builder. A number of homes and public buildings in the Millicent district have either been constructed by Mr Towers or had additions built by him. Examples of his talent as a stone mason can be seen at "Mayura" homestead, the Robert Agnew Memorial Bell Tower at St Michael and All Angels Anglican Church, and the Millicent National Trust Museum. He also built the stone entrance gates to "Mayura" and "Gum Park" homestead near Millicent and planted the trees along Towers Road at the rear of Millicent Hospital.

The Collection: Over 33,000 items have been indexed and this extensive collection of local history relating to many hundreds of events, people, places and organizations from the famous to the obscure. The aim is to encourage the retention & preservation of as many documents and photographs as possible. The files cover the Millicent and Beachport council area, but do not end there.

All Council areas in the South East are represented in some way. There are 44 towns and geographical areas under which material received can be assigned and within each of these titles 65 sub-headings, depending on what the material is. The diverse range includes Agriculture Biographies, Cemeteries, Drainage General Information, Local Government, Newspaper Cuttings, Maps & Plans, Railways, Sport, Town Planning & Wrecks to name a few.

An active group of volunteers have undertaken research, scanning of records and photographs, indexing, organisation of records and added to the comprehensive data base. There are a number of individual collections that have been developed:

Downs Collection: Bob Downs a local identity, awarded a SA Centenary Medal for service to the community 2003, and was an active naturalist, keen proponent of Lake McIntyre and Lake Bonney.

Towers Collection:

Photographic Collection
The Photographic Collection, indexed by town and sub-category and contains close to 5000 prints from the earliest days of Millicent and surrounding areas to present day. There are also three distinct collections:

The Colin Clyne Collection, is one of the most comprehensive social histories of the district spanning 30 years. Colin a chemist was a keen photographer and photographed most events and families over that period.

The Heather Carthew Collection, 1976-1983 is representative of the period that Heather worked for the South Eastern Times as a journalist and photographer. The collection covers the Millicent Hospital Carnival Parade its colour and characters from 1976- 1983.

The McRostie Collection: The McRostie family owned the South Eastern Times and this is a collection of photographs taken over this period, some featured in the newspaper.

Roland Campbell Collection: A collection of stories and bibliographies of local identities and families written by Roland Campbell. He was the first editor of the Millicent Times now the South East Times. An indexed collection pertaining to Millicent and Beachport.

Film Collection
The Ren DeGaris Collection, a film collection representative of the history and social history of the district spanning 30 years. They have been converted to DVD.

School Records: Nangula 1883 – 1958, Pompoon Swamp 1894 – 1935, Tantanoola 1947 – 1970, Rendelsham 1883 – 1971, Beachport 1883 – 1953, St Clair 1912 – 1956, Hatherleigh 1858 – 1963, Millicent 1883 – 1967, Mt Muirhead 1893 – 1920, Sebastopol 1883 – 1917, Furner 1883 - 1951

Micro Films Currently Available

Newspapers: South Eastern Star: 1877 – 1900, Mt Gambier Standard: 1873 – 1867, Millicent Times: 1891 – 1899. South Eastern Times: 1900 – 1970, Border Watch: 1866 – 1948, Register: 1844 - 1900

Roland Campbell Collection

This collection relates to the Millicent/Beachport district and in indexed. Roland Campbell was the first editor of the Millicent Times now the South East Times. This collection is being entered onto a data base and indexed.

Oral History

The Oral History Collection of tapes is a developing collection, with the aim of recording as many of Millicent's older residents as possible, to retain for the future, their memories and recollections of the past. The interviewing is carried out by a dedicated band of volunteers, who to date have amassed for us 55 of these interviews. This collection is indexed and available on DVD.

Micro Fiche Records Available

The Official Register of immigrant labour applying for free passage to South Australia, 1836 - 1841. The Official Passenger Lists of immigrants arriving in South Australia under U.K assisted passage schemes, 1847 - 1886.

South Australian Births: 1842 – 1906, Deaths: 1842 – 1970, Marriages: 1842 – 1906, County of Grey and County of Robe: Birth, Deaths and Marriages Indexes,  The Australian Historic Records Register 1988, Millicent Cemetery Burial Register, Biographies of convict Transports, Tasmania 1803 - 1820, The People & Families, First Fleet Families, Convicts & Exiles Transported from Ireland, Co of Grey Index & Records, Colonial Residents of SA 139 – 1848,  South Australian Almanacs and Directories

CD Rom

Birth, Death and Marriage records on CD ROM, NSW between the Wars 1788 - 1888; Pioneer Index 1889 – 1918, Victoria Pioneer Index 1837 – 1888, Tasmania Pioneer Index 1803 – 1888, Western Australia Pioneer Index 1841 – 1905, South Australia South Australian Births Registrations 1842 – 1906, South Australian Deaths Registrations 1842 – 1915, South Australian Births Registrations 1842 - 1906

Film Collection

The Ren DeGaris Collection of the history and the social history on films spanning 30 years which has been converted to DVD.

Other Resources:

Millicent and District Council Records, including; Assessment Books 1916 - 1961. Mayurra/Millicent, Drainage Board/District Council Minute Books. Mount Muirhead DB/DC Minute Books. Tantanoola DB/DC Minute Books, South Australian Parliamentary Papers 1857 – 1940, Selection of Maps and Plans of the area from 1870's.

Hours of Opening:

Monday - Closed; Tuesday 9.00am-5.30pm, 6.30pm-8.30pm; Wednesday 9.00am-5.30pm; Thursday 9.00am-5.30pm; Friday 9.00am-5.30pm, 6.30pm-8.30pm; Saturday 9.00am-12 Noon; Sunday - Closed.