When Yankalilla resident Violet Voit decided on a boat ride during a recent visit to Goolwa, she didn’t know that she would end up on a trip down memory lane.
A chance request of Michael and Christina Cordell, from the boat PS Oscar W, for photographs of the PS Bourke, has resulted in an artist being born.
Despite having no knowledge of the PS Bourke, the Cordells went out of their way to find something for Ms Voit.
“When I returned from my boat ride, the Cordells presented me with a laminated photo of the PS Bourke.
“That boat means a lot to my family so I was very grateful that Michael and Christina went out of their way to help me,” Ms Voit said.
Pictured is Ms Voir (centre), flanked by Michael and Christina Cordell who are taking in Ms Voit's painting.
Ms Voit's interest in the PS Bourke stemmed from her family history when, in 1890 her grandparents Peter and Emily Henry (along with their three daughters), were early pioneers in the Murray River area. They travelled on the PS Bourke with 65 other families.
“Some of my earliest memories are the stories my mother shared with me about how uncomfortable it was travelling on the barges loaded with bales of wool and grain plus items of furniture, which belonged to the pioneers as they forged a new start to their life,” Ms Voit said.
The pioneers lived a communal life near the waters until a committee was formed, a school was established and a town was born.
“The PS Bourke continued to travel the Murray, delivering supplies to the river towns, including Kingston, when I was a young girl in the 1920s,” she recalled.
With the photo rekindling early childhood memories, Ms Voit decided to paint the boat and present the completed painting to the Cordells.
“It only took me two classes to finish the painting. And to think that at 93 I could not even draw a straight line.”
Ms Voit started painting two years ago at ACH Group’s Yankalilla Centre and is very proud of what she has achieved so far.
“I look forward to my art classes and get my inspiration from photos. The only thing I am sorry about is that I didn’t start earlier.”
Violet said when she turns 100, instead of a letter from the Queen she would prefer to paint her portrait and have it hung at the South Australian Art Gallery. With her enthusiasm in the art classes, she might just have a whole exhibition in her honour.
For more information about ACH Group art groups, contact 1300 224 477.