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Volunteer Steve helps keep our history alive

Volunteer Steve helps keep our history alive

Volunteer Steve helps keep our history alive

Tuesday 12 March 2024

When the Glenelg Air-Raid Shelter opens this weekend, volunteer Steve Markovitch will be there with bells on.

As one of the regular volunteers at the shelter, his job is to make visitors welcome and provide a brief history of the underground space which is now a museum.

It is full of cabinets displaying war time photos, diaries and personal effects including helmets and a gas mask, along with tributes to fallen heroes such as Australian nurse Millie Dorsch and William Kibby VC.

“I love military history – I didn’t know a lot about it – but volunteering here has been really enjoyable and a real eye opener,” Steve said.

He, like many other Holdfast Bay locals, had grown up walking past the old grey building, which is situated on the northern side of Glenelg Oval – but had never been inside until he started volunteering two years ago.

“What’s more embarrassing is that I lived about 500 metres down the road and I was one of those people who walked past it every day and had no idea what was inside,” he said.

Steve joined Council’s cohort of volunteers in 2022 and is honoured to be part of Holdfast Bay’s history at the Air-Raid Shelter.

“It’s an honour to be involved in coming here, opening up every three weeks and welcoming people in,” he said.

“We make sure people are comfortable and understand what's going on and the best part is that you’re educating people about something they didn’t have a clue about.

“When they come down, they go, ‘wow, this is fantastic’.

“We’ve seen a lot of kids come through in the last 12-18 months which is what we want - we want the kids to understand what those veterans did for us and this is a great way of doing that – and they seem to enjoy it.”

Built during World War II, the Glenelg Air-Raid Shelter was one of seven constructed in Adelaide’s most populous suburbs and formed part of a communication network.

It was converted into a museum in the 1990s and will be open on Sunday 17 March 2024 and Sunday 21 April 2024.

It will also be open on Anzac Day, 25 April 2024, between 11am – 1pm and is located at Rugless Terrace, Glenelg East.

Steve said if people have the time to volunteer, they should consider giving it a go.

“What I’d say to people is don’t let your inhibitions hold you back – as a volunteer, you get to do some great work, get to meet some great people, get to help the council out and get to help the community out too,” Steve said.

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