West family

Barrie West

Barrie West and West family members in celery seed beds, Valetta Road, c1970

Barrie was born on 22 August 1937 and grew up in a market gardening family on Valetta Road, St James Park, now known as Kidman Park. His parents grew celery on a property of 11.5 acres allocated through the Soldier Settlement Scheme after World War 1. Barrie speaks about his family; his grandfather’s plant stall in the Central Market; his father’s experience during the War; the grant of land from the River Torrens to Valetta Road; his parent’s marriage; his mother’s profession as a dressmaker; memories of the River and levee banks to prevent flooding. He also speaks about the range of vegetables his father first grew including tomatoes in glasshouses; describes the local area and limited access across the Torrens; simple four-room house built for his parents; no bathroom or electricity; role of his mother assisting in the gardens and also doing dressmaking; electricity was connected in about 1947; two horses were used for ploughing; grew celery from 1930s was more lucrative than other vegetables and there was a good market in Victoria; at least 60 celery growers in South Australia up to the 1960s belonged to an Association. Barrie outlines the cycle of a six month celery growing season from sowing seed to harvesting and his involvement from when he was 14 years; ‘white’ or blanched celery; flood irrigation; pumping water from the River; washing, grading and packing celery for market.

Interview summaries and transcripts

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