Literacy and History Training Project for Unemployed Youth


In response to interest aroused among members of the Club, who attended the 1993 Rotary International World Convention in Melbourne, Morialta decided to become involved in a Youth Literacy Project in 1993.


It was a new avenue of service to youth for Rotarians to explore and by providing $1200 sponsorship, management, planning and hands-on participation Morialta attracted a $44,000 Government grant to run a six month Literacy Training Project for a group of 12 unemployed and literacy impaired youth.


The project was based around the idea of the group completing four historical and heritage research programs in Campbelltown and Enfield Council areas. Tasks in the projects were used as the basis for developing useful work-related manual skills and knowledge, as well as teaching literacy skills to the people participating. The four projects were:

  • An Oral History of elderly and early Campbelltown Residents. Polly Markwick, Bill Horsnell, May Neale and Dennis Morrissey were all interviewed and gave their impressions of life in Campbelltown. The interviews were all transcribed from tapes into written copy and the exercise improved the literacy skills of the young people involved. The tapes and written copy were presented to the Campbelltown City Library and became the start of the library’s oral history collection.
  • Historical Walk along Torrens Linear Park. An area along the River Torrens between OG Road and Lower Athelstone Road was researched and points of interest photographed. A colourful brochure was then produced by the group to guide people along an interesting walk. Copies of the brochure were presented to Campbelltown and Enfield City Libraries.
  • Heritage Bus Tour. To help celebrate Campbelltown’s 125th Anniversary, the Campbelltown Historical Society set dates for two Heritage Bus Tours in September. The student group produced a pamphlet, to be given to people taking the tours as a commemorative gesture. The students surveyed the proposed route, photographed some of the relevant buildings, researched the histories and wrote brief articles for inclusion on the pamphlets. Copies of the pamphlets were presented to the libraries and Campbelltown Historical Society.
  • Heritage Buildings. The group researched and photographed heritage buildings of interest around the Enfield area. A booklet was then produced and presented to the libraries and Enfield Historical Society.


Community groups and organisations who assisted with the project included Torrens Valley Institute of TAFE, which provided most of the training through literacy teachers Jill Paul and Ken West, the South Australian Youth Conservation Core which provided a $44,000 grant, Campbelltown and Enfield City Libraries and Historical Societies which provided support through staff and volunteers Di Cranwell, Pam Low and Andrew Nightingale.


Of the 12 students who completed the course, 5 progressed to further study, 1 enrolled in a desktop publishing course, 2 received apprenticeships and 2 found part time work.


Several Rotarians were involved with the project including Alan Eagle, John Grivell, Ross Hodges, Judith Hummerston, Janine Lusher, Neil Lange, Norm O’Flaherty, Wayne Osler, Ian Richards, David Riggall, Kevin Roberts, Barry Rossiter and Chris Thomas. The project was displayed at the District Conference in Irymple and won the District Award for the best Vocational Service Project in District 9520 for 1993-94.