Evoking Christmas’ past

Bill Gransbury and Rebecca Bolton are encouraging the community to visit and contribute their stories to the Angaston History Centre.

Christmas might seem like a distant memory for most by now, but the festive spirit lingers on in Murray Street at the Angaston History Centre.

Historical Christmas books, carols, toys, recipes, decorations, greeting cards and photos are all part of a special local Christmas exhibition which opened at the centre late last year.

The exhibit is now in its final few weeks and organisers are keen for visitors to come and experience the unique collection, which includes activities such as decoration making, before it closes on February 26.

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“One of our members, Anne Batten came up with the idea of Christmas. We thought it was a nice, neat little topic,” said Angaston and Penrice Historical Society member, Rebecca Bolton.

“We’ve been looking back to the things that happened for our Christmas celebrations in years past and how that’s evolved as well, so it’s quite interesting.”

Visitors can learn about the types of gifts that were typically purchased for Christmas in the early twentieth century, such as cigarettes, cigarette cases, soaps, handkerchiefs and silk pyjamas.

“People didn’t have a lot of money, so they used to get one special thing and that was it,” said Rebecca.

Many of the unique Christmas gifts and items on display have been sourced from local people from their own personal collections.

The Angaston History Centre is always on the look out for Angaston and Penrice memorabilia, and encourage members of the public to get in touch, including if they would like assistance with piecing together their own family histories.

“We’ve got a network of people who have lived around the town a long time and know where to go for things, and we’re starting to build a database of what we know and where you go to get some of these answers,” said Rebecca.

“You don’t know what story or document might be really valuable to someone else. 

“I think part of our objective is to encourage dialogue with local residents so we can keep building on our collection.”

The next exhibition will be based around the Angaston Railway, with the opening planned to coincide with the Barossa History Fair on May 2 and 3.

Organisers are keen to have a visit from anyone in the community who may have photographs or memorabilia relating to the topic, particularly a photo of the opening of the railway in 1911.

The Angaston History Centre is open on Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m. and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. until February 26.