Book recalls growing up in Medina in the 1950s

Sound Telegraph
Steve Bartlett and John Crouch launched the Medina in the 50s book at the Kwinana Senior Citizens Centre last week.
Camera IconSteve Bartlett and John Crouch launched the Medina in the 50s book at the Kwinana Senior Citizens Centre last week. Credit: Picture: Chloe Fraser

A unique era in the City of Kwinana’s early history has been brought to life with residents sharing an insight into the life of Medina’s first pioneer families as part of a community-produced book.

About a year in the making, the historical book Medina in the 50s — Through the Eyes of Children — was officially launched at the Kwinana Senior Citizen Centre last week.

Long-time Kwinana residents John Crouch and Steve Bartlett are the brains behind the book, which features the stories and memories of 85 of Medina’s pioneering families.

Medina was the first suburb of Kwinana and was carefully planned by renowned State Planner Margaret Fielman.

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It was initially built to house employees who migrated to Kwinana to work at the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company — now known as BP Kwinana.

At the time there was only one general store and a post office located on Peake Way, with the Pace Road shops opening in 1954.

For many of the book’s contributors, a common thread that ran through the community was the Medina Primary School, also built in 1954 and still standing today.

Kwinana Mayor Carol Adams said the book provided an insight and appreciation of what life was like for the pioneer families who made Kwinana their home in the 1950s. “As the stories will reflect, life was very tough for many families who had arrived in Kwinana from post-war Europe,” she said.

“Many of the early workers and their families did not speak English.

“I can only imagine what it would have been like attending Medina Primary School for your first day of school, with the weather pushing above 100F (in the old measure) and not being able to speak a word of English.

“Similarly, I can only imagine what it would be like being a mother with 10 children, limited English, no vehicle and relying on public transport because your husband had to drive the family car to his place of work at the refinery.”

The initial production of the book started in March last year and was made possible through a grant from the City of Kwinana as well as sponsors Bendigo Bank Kwinana Community Branch, Member for Kwinana Roger Cook, City of Kwinana, Kwinana Community Chest, The Kwinana Local and BP Kwinana.

Copies of the book will be presented free to all Kwinana schools, Kwinana Library, local heritage groups, City of Kwinana administration building, Kwinana Bendigo Bank, Kwinana BP Refinery, the State museum, the National museum and Kwinana MLA Roger Cook’s office.

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