E10 - A Liverpudlian Makes His Mark

Ian McDonnell

Ian’s been a sewing machine repairman, an actor, a clown, a stuntman, a radio host, a carer, a husband and father, and a life-long amateur historian. In the first of a two-part interview Rod McKenzie talks to Ian about growing up in Liverpool and his journey to a new life in Australia.

Ian always been an active member of the community, he’s one of the founding members of the Gawler History Team, and he’s volunteered all over Gawler with all sorts of projects, and even won the Volunteer of the Year award for his work teaching computer classes at Community House.

There are a series of stories under all of which highlight his love of life, his sense of adventure, his cheeky humour, and his commitment to service and community.

In this 30 minute interview Ian discusses growing up in Liverpool in the same neighborhood as George Harrison and Paul McCartney. He then relates in vivid detail and humour the family’s voyage to Australia on the SS Orontes which left Tilbury Dock on 25th October 1960. Then … arriving at the Finsbury Hostel in Jan 1961 … just imagine! Finally he talks of his involvement in the “Rag Trade” in the Elizabeth area and its sad demise.

Download Interview Transcript here

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Click through the gallery below while you're listening, and you can click here to find out more info about each photo. All images courtesy of Ian.


I saw and add from a guy who was running a stunt school. I thought, ‘that might be fun’”.It wasn’t all fun. In this 4 minute chat Ian discusses his love of stunt work and the harmful consequences.

On the 2nd June 1953 Queen Elizabeth 2nd was crowned. There were street parties in Liverpool everywhere. Ian was 5 yrs old and talks of his memories of that time. ( 2 minutes)


Want to find out more about Ian McDonnell? Head over to the Gawler History Team and check out their collection of stories and photos of Gawler throughout the years.


Editor: Barry Neylon

Producer: Barry Neylon

Transcript: Barry neylon

Title: Ian McDonnell

Guest: Ian McDonnell

Host: Rod McKenzie

Music: "Lounge Lizard", composed by Chris Martin and Geoff Harvey, purple-planet.com