70 years of soldier settlement celebrated at Parndana

The Parndana Soldier Settlement Museum 70-year reunion was hailed a great success, attracting original soldier settlers and their descendants from around Australia.

The reunion activities on Kangaroo Island kicked off with a huge crowd of about 700 attending the ANZAC Day ceremony last Wednesday.

The school tours of the Parndana KICE campus on Friday proved popular, while many agreed the highlight of the weekend was the moving concert production on Friday night, with performers directed by settlers' daughter Suzanne Bourke.

Saturday morning saw another big crowd attend the official opening of the Ken McWhinnie Dozer Shed at the museum, as well as the launch of the Dudley Writers’ new book, which features several stories based on the settlers. 

A number of speakers spoke at the opening of the shed, about their experiences with the scheme, while a number of new items for the museum were also announced, along with plans to improve the town centre and museum precinct. 

The Friday’s concert, dance on Saturday night and then the long lunch on Sunday, attended by 210 people, all sold out.

Key organiser Pat Brooksby, who worked tirelessly along with members of the museum and Parndana Progress Association, was very pleased with how the reunion went.

“We has 265 pre-registrations but many locals came for one or two events as well, so all very hard to judge,” Mrs Brooksby said.

“We think about 110 families out of the original 174 were represented, which is a more useful figure than the rest. This included about 16 settlers and wives, plus Mr Ted Carter from original research centre at Parndana.”

More on the reunion, including photos of attendees and some interesting profiles, will feature in upcoming editions of The Islander.