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The Pioneer Women's Memorial in the Garden of Remembrance is a tribute to the pioneer women of South Australia. Tucked behind Government House, and just off busy King William Street, it is a peaceful place that many enjoy visiting. It is also the much loved venue for Adelaide Writers Week when it comes alive with crowds gathering in the garden and the memorial taking centre stage with the attending writers. 

Planning

There was strong support for a memorial to early women settlers especially those who had endured so much in the outback area. It was decided that the memorial should not be a burden on future generations of women. Adelaide Miethke conceived of a ‘Book of Remembrance` to raise funds, each sponsor, for the cost of one shilling recording her name and those of her ancestors on the Leaves of Remembrance. The completed book contained more than 20 000 names and raised over £1000 pounds. However most of the funds came from fetes, competitions, bridge parties, sports carnivals and other events.  A total of £6250 was raised and this was dedicated in 1937 to establishing a Flying sister base at Alice Springs, and £1000 for a Pioneer Women’s Garden of Remembrance, to be given to the Adelaide City Council.

The Memorial Garden was paid for by the Women's Centenary Council of South Australia. The Women’s Centenary Council (WCC) comprised representatives of 72 women’s organizations and in March 1935 met to discuss projects for South Australia’s 1936 centenary.

Unveiling

Unveiled by Lady Muriel Barclay-Harvey on the 19 April 1941. Around 2 000 people were reported to have attended. The ceremony also officially declared open the base funded in Alice Springs, where the proceedings from Adelaide were broadcast via the national network. 

Design and features

The garden was designed by landscape designer Elsie Cornish and the statue created by Ola Cohn. A time recorder designed by Government Astronomer George Dodwell is located on the left side of the statue.

By Catherine Manning, History SA

Uploaded 30 June 2015

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