Do you mind the time
Life on the Range – Chapter 10
“But we had a Telephone”
Reminiscences by Elva Paltridge
It was in the September of 1932, in the middle of the depression, and after a very wet winter in the South East. My first trip through the Coorong and an introduction to the famous pipeclay strip where we did skim over it in our old
- Kingston at last, but no passable roads, so on to Robe with a leaking radiator, quickly filled with a tin pannikin from water on the road-side. Right round through Furner, Lucindale, Avenue and into Cairnbank. Now dark, we were taken into the big kitchen where I had never seen so much food nor so many men to eat it. Mrs. A.O. Copping, whose home it was, was to be my great friend and neighbour for many a year. Minniecrow at last, with Phil Paltridge to greet us with the “Boss” (my father-in-law) in the background. We made short work of the two baked ducks keeping warm in the wood stove.
What a different life1 Blowflies in millions blew our new blankets, cluttered up lhe windows, and made carving the men’s dinners a two-person job – one to keep them off1 Fleas were next, necessitating frequent trips to the bathroom, strip off, shake clothes over the bath into water, and also bed hunts before retiring. Mosquitoes on long mustering days tormented horses, riders, dogs and stock. Anyone walking had to keep a tree branch swishing in all directions.
Swarms of Rosellas, Blue Mountains and Parakeets screeched from the gums before descending onto the orchard. The old Rosella stuck to one apple to finish it, but all the others pecked here and there, knocked the fruit off until under every tree was a carpet of chewed apple. The magpies ate the figs and the galahs stripped the almonds.
Loneliness wasn’t helped by the dogs yowling and wailing as the men left in the cart for a day’s fencing or cleaning of waterholes.
The first lesson to learn was the value of rainwater. The big underground lank, with a hand pump, was the coolest place for milk, butter and cream to be lowered down in billy cans until wanted. Sweets and puddings were cooled in I he bath. My father-in-law was very deaf and while here for shearing went to wash his hands in the basin, latching the door. All my hammering wasn’t heard, but for once he saw the dishes in time before he threw the dirty water into the bath1! My husband built me a wash-house of bush timber and iron with room for “bath and shower for the switch to hard water for ablutions during the summer.
I was bathing when the door rattled and gave way to a hard shove. I stood up, wrapped the cotton shower curtain round me and waited. A great roar of “Why didn’t you bolt the door or yell out, Elva?” Nothing wrong with his eyesight and I had done both.
Horses were used for all work, the cart, wagon, buggy, trolley, dray, ploughs, harrows and super-spreader. The horse paddock was mustered each morning for the day’s work. A white pig attached himself to them and seemed to enjoy trotting along and accompanying them back to their paddock when work finished. My nursing came in handy to help with sick animals as the vet wasn’t as handy as he is today.
Shearing was in November when the men lived on the place and worked on Saturday mornings. One team of brothers had been coming for years and loved to go shooting. We cooked everything they brought home and had to be careful that the big black duck was served to the righful owner. We would listen at the window for any adverse remarks after a silent inspection. They had one failing – they dearly loved their plonk. Our precious milking cow was being chased by one in a nightshirt, fired at, but luckily missed. It was a sorry team that tried to keep going on the board next morning.
One daily task was to fill all kerosene lamps, trim wicks, wash lamp-glasses. How delicate was the mantle for the Aladdin Lamp and very dear to replace in those lean times. One touch and it crumbled. Candles were handy too. When you think of walking sheep to Avenue, trucking by train to Naracoorte for sixpence a head you can imagine that ten shillings was a fortune for a box of homemade butter sold to the store at Lucindale. It was all stirred by hand, too!I
No washing machine but the sheets were soaked in the copper overnight and boiled next day, hauled out with a copper-stick, into rinse water, through the wringer into the blue, back through the wringer and out onto a long line held up with a prop. My best copper-stick was broken when used to kill a tiger snake by lantern light. All white cottons, towels, tea towels were boiled and the rest done by hand. The washing board was good for working shirts and trousers. My husband helped if no-one was around but if he heard Mr. Kelly from Keilira coming he would rush to the vegetable garden to soil his hands. We knew it was Mr. Kelly as he was the only person who came from that direction nine miles away. We visited them once in the buggy and pair. Time to leave and pitch black, which meant straining our eyes to try to follow the bush track. It took hours feeling our way in the dark and once we stopped abruptly, I held the reins while Lou clambered down to find a horse each side of a tree. They backed quietly for him and were led to a clearer space and we went on again. It was the longest journey I ever remember and home was never so good.
We hadn’t a wireless, but we read a lot, sometimes a week’s newspapers at once. We were never bored, healthily tired, and weekly letters from parents and friends kept us in touch with the outside world.
One day we drove in the cart to try to find Paddy Dempsey who was trapping out in the scrub and hadn’t been seen for a while. Finding tracks we called and whistled. Slowly a dilapidated figure appeared from the trees, peering round and wiping an ugly weeping cheek with a piece of hessian bag. It was a result of a kangaroo attack. His first words were, “Can you tell me what day it is?” I was horified but was assured that he would recover, he did. Later in life while •:II ting by a fire he fell in and didn’t.
Samuel Sutcliffe Williams came from retirement in Adelaide to work in the .,hearing shed and to trap. A little man, he had worked hard all his life, some of It at Keilira and some at Minniecrow. His great delight was to bring us small gifts. Once it was unbreakable cups (unheard of) which he demonstrated by hurling them down onto cement. They withstood the test to our relief and his smiles. ly this time he was an old age pensioner and ‘was so hurt when the shearers called him a bludger which he never was! One year old Same didn’t return from his shoot. The district joined in the search and his body was found on the side of .i hilly bush track with his gun and the largest bag ever – three kangaroos and many rabbits. As the plane carrying his body to Adelaide flew overhead the Paltridge brothers raised their hats to a grand old-timer who always wanted to fly in an aeroplane.
It was a good life for children, inventing games and interested in all nature had lo offer. Soon they were able to explore on their horses. The dogs killed a hare with young. They id a post mortem, raced home to empty pockets of leverets for me to save. Alas, they were bald with closed eyes and beyond any human aid.
Great excitement when people came to stay or called unexpectedly. Screams and yells from the wash-house where my sister was showering sent me pelting down the path imagining snakes – but no – blowflies and boys! My sister, not laking kindly to cold hard water and persistant flies, looked up from her ablutions to see four heads telling her they had something to show her. I whishked them away mid indignant protests, “She’s fussy, isn’t she? We only wanted to show her this beetle”.
The odd truck to come our way could be heard long before it came into view and all would rush to see who it could be. One day it wasn’t one but an earthquake. I rushed from the kitchen to see my husband on a ladder slowly moving away from the wall he was painting – frightening but no damage done.
There were winter roads and summer tracks with one short stretch of metal between here and Avenue. When under water the grass each side told us we were safe in the middle. The men chopped logs to make a corduroy road and
ven travelling slowly wasn’t safe for expectant mothers who had to walk that stretch. The children stayed in the car for the fun of a bumpy ride. It took five hours to drive to Naracoorte. Very rarely did we go anywhere without car trouble or getting bogged. In some cases it was off with your shoes, tuck up your skirts, and walk, with one child on your back, nursing another and Dad leading the way loaded likewise.
There were swaggies passing through – once a cart and horse with an aboriginal family aboard. They camped in the hut and were grateful for food, not causing us any trouble. One day a lone figure on a bike came down the road, slwoly, nearer and nearer. I had three small children and no men at home. He was from some religious order and talked at me in a mumble without listening to me or making a move to go. He had ugly crooked eyes so with children clinging to my skirts I closed the door. He rode off at length – it was chilling.
In those days there were many swamps which attracted a variety of bird life. The ducks nested, hatched their young and swam about unmolested. The frogs croaked high and low sounds all night. As the water receeded cranes, egrets, ibis and spoonbills came in great flocks to feed. The drains have altered the countryside as it takes a very wet winter for water to appear and it drains away fast.
Clearing and new roads have taken most of our wildflowers, orchids, buttercups, red, pink and white heath and our happy families of birds no longer flutter from the trees with their soft whistles to each other. We cared for an injured bird once and his mates gave him a rare welcome back to the family – dancing round him and accepting him as they flew off together.
The children had correspondence lessons, posted fortnightly, sessions on the wireless (a treasured acquisition) and Mail Bag Sunday School. Their caravan called to see us each year.
The first tractor was a big twin cylinder Hart Parr with iron wheels. “Puffing Billy” we named it and we had entered the noise age.
In 1927 Lou and Romie Paltridge, using bush timber, put up a telephone line to Cairnbank where we were connected to Avenue Post Office on the party line with Mrs. Copping.
1942 was a very wet year when the four boys had whooping cough badly including a baby of six months. We had nightmare journeys to Naracoorte for injections which made them even worse. Hilda Thomas at the Post Office would keep the phone open whenever there was sickness – a veritable lifeline. Perhaps we lacked a lot BUT WE HAD THE TELEPHONE!
Until 1937 there was no made road from Avenue to Reedy Creek. In the summer time one could get to Kingston by following Jacky White’s drain down to what is now Thring’s and travelling north to Mt. Scott and across to Blackford and thence to Kingston. On several occasions my father judged the horses at the Kingston Show which has always been on the long weekend Monday in October, and we usually went via Blackford. However, one year was a very wet winter and spring and I remember Dad milked the cows in the early hours of the morning and we had breakfast in the dark. We got in the old Oakland tourer car about half-light and with Brian and me wrapped up in rugs in the back we drove to Kingston via Avenue, Lucindale, Conmurra, Woodleigh (now Greenways) across to Robe and up to Kingston – a distance of ninety miles.
At that stage the motorist was confronted with sandhills in the summer and up to three or four feet of water in the Reedy Creek in the winter. The original road to Bull Island went along the south side of the railway line and it was not until
1936 or 1937 that the road was pushed through from Avenue to Reedy Creek. Most of the hill near the school was removed for gravel for this road. On the western side of the hill were a number of large dome shaped boulders which had to be drilled and blasted, throwing rocks for several chains, one going through the rainwater tank of the railway cottage rented by Mr. Oz Rivett.
Roads in the Avenue district were almost non-existant in the early days. The 1 i1ilway line between Naracoorte and Kingston made an ideal hiking trail in the l.ite 1800’s for the James girls – Sarah and Liz – to walk to school from their l,ome at Bull Island (the site of which is still marked by a huge mulberry tree). Sarah often mentioned the fact that if it happened to rain and they got to school •,oaked they immediately had to walk back home. The school they attended was not the one on the hill, now the ‘By the Way Gallery’, but another one across on lhe south side of the railway line still marked by a blue bush hedge and a few fruit lrees. This later became the home of Mr. and Mrs. Dick Turnbull.
Edie Tavender, aged three years, was lost at Avenue Range about 1895. She was missing for two days and was found towards evening on the second day by Mrs. Thomas; the child was well but distressed.
In the early 1900’s Grandpa Natt was lost. It was February and very hot and his body was found a week later in very thick wattle scrub not far from his home. The body was swarming with ants.
In the early 1960’s Peter Barratt who was staying with his aunt and uncle, Judith and David Mugford, disappeared from their home. When he could not be found after an hour or so, they notified the police at Lucindale who then rang lhe fire siren. About one hundred men turned out to search and the child, who was about three years old, was not found till nearly midnight, asleep in a dense patch of bracken in the scrub with surrounded the Mugford’s house. He suffered no ill effects other than a severe case of mosquito bites.
I didn’t take long to learn that the Fellwood sheep brand was a stylised gluepot. At the time I couldn’t see the connection. However, in the following winter I very quickly discovered what gluepots were, and more importantly, how to avoid them.
Sometime that July, Noel Grieve had ridden into Avenue on George, his horse to take delivery of a bull which had been railed to Avenue. Noel got the bull started without a great deal of trouble but south of Avenue past George Rivett’s place the bull tried to escape by jumping the fence into Bull Island country and each time sank belly deep into a gluepot.
Actually the gluepots were instrumental in quietening down the bull as by the time Noel had reached the Fellwood boundary with him the bull was quite content to walk along the centre of the gravel formation at a very sedate pace.
Since those days the gluepots have, due to extensive pasture development, been covered with grasses and clover and are no longer the problem they once were.
The first wedding at the Avenue Range Methodist Church – and the only one for 60 years was held on February 8th, 1922 when Lillian Thomas and Percival Dow were3married. Lillian was married from her home, the Railway Cottage, and she drove there to the Church in a buggy with one horse, driven by her uncle Fred Natt. Her bridesmaid, Hilda Thomas (now Thomson) drove with her. The•tiritib3wore a white voile frock with fine lace insertion and a veil of white tulle hand embroidered by Alma Schapel, who also made the wedding frock. The bridesmaid wore beige voile trimmed with brown piping and a hat in the same colours. The best man was Arthur Williams of Conmurra, the officiating minister was Rev. L.G. Hunt and Alma Schapel was the organist. After the ceremony the bridal group and friends walked from the Church across the railway line to the bride’s home where the reception was held under the back verandah. The meal consisted of sandwiches, sausage rolls, scones, small cakes and tarts. The bride was up at 4 a.m. on her wedding morning to finish making puff pastry which was cooling off on the top of a tank as there were no refrigerators.
The brides flowers were three or four white hollyhocks and the maid carried
pink Erica which was also used in the church decorations. The wedding cake was made by the bride and her aunt Mabel Natt iced and decorated it with artificial flowersi. The young people decorated the gig with the usual boots and tins etc. ready for the take off, when, lo and behold! one of the first cars in Lucindale arrived and bore off the happy couple much to the disgust of the well wishers.
The gig was owned by the bridegroom and the car by Mr. Davies from the Lucindale Hotel. The couple did not have a honeymoon but went straight to their home “Tumbe Munda” in the Joyce district.
Percy Dow and Lillian Thomas on their wedding day, February 8th, 1922.
The only other wedding to be held in the Avenue Church was between local girl Patricia Jane Watson and Tony Barnes from New Zealand on September 1976, the officiating minister being Rev Brian Young of Lucindale.
Another Avenue wedding in 1910 between Lena Woods and Harry Howell w.is held in the railway goods shed where the reception and dance were also held. The music was provided by Harry Hocking with a button accordion. The guests children were put to sleep in the railway station office.
Getting the Job
During the war years and my time in the R.A.A.F. I was stationed in many parts of Australia. After the war I applied for Soldier Settlement in South Australia and in 1946 decided to move to the Lucindale District to get experience in farming in these high rainfall areas as against the Pastoral Zone where I had lived since discharge. My experiences during the war years had led me to believe that I he Lucindale District offered the greatest opportunities for settlement of all the farming districts I had seen. As a consequence I wrote to a friend, Mr. Knuckey, In an endeavour to find a job on a farm in the District. Mr. Knuckey had run the general Store in Lucindale for a good many years, and he was able to put me in touch with Mr A. Grieve of Fellwood.
As a consequence I set out from Hawker for Avenue Range in October ’46 to start work at Fellwood.
When I arrived at Naracoorte on the Wednesday day train I put my suitcases ell the entrance to the “Green Grass Hopper” and found a seat in the middle of his railcar.
A young lass advised me not to leave the suitcase there as it was bound to fall off the rail car before many miles had been travelled.
The young lass turned out to be Beth Rowe, the school teacher at Avenue Range, who boarded at Fellwood. The first job I had next day was to get in the horses and harness “Nosey” (I believe that was his name) into the gig so that Beth could drive the children into school at Avenue.
The journey to Avenue was a new experience in train travel and my suitcase would certainly have been lost overboard had I left it at the end of the Green Grass Hopper, even before we reached the first stop at Stewarts Range.
In the years prior to this day, I had travelled on many trains throughout Australia including the Siver City Comet, the East-West, the Ghan, the Blue Bird and many others, but never before had I been in such a midget that seemed determined at anytime to leap off the rails and plough into a nearby swamp or even just take to the air and fly across endless miles of scrub. After what seemed 011 eternity, at least an hour and a half, with stops at Stewarts, the Gums, and Lucindale, we eventually arrived safe and sound at Avenue, due entirely, I believe to the skill and dedication of the driver Mr. Shurdington (Shurdy).
The Boss was at the Station to meet me in his Plymouth and after what seemed forever, we reached Fellwood where a hot meal was waiting and I began a new chapter of experience.
Classing the Clip
During the 1947 shearing the Boss had to take a day off to attend a Lucinda le Council meeting, of which he was chairman.
Just before he left I was given a lecture on woolclassing and then appointed head classer during the boss’ absence.
I reckoned that when the Boss arrived back about knock off time I would face a certain amount of criticism. As a consequence I had a look through the AAA line the Boss had already classed and found two yellow fleeces I didn’t like the look of, which I stored temporarily in an unused corner of the shed.
I then continued on with the shed-had work and classing for the two shearers working the shed.
Just before knock off time I saw the Boss return from Lucindale and come walking down to the shed, so I quickly collected the two yellow fleeces and displayed them prominently in the AAA Bin, one at the top and one halfway down and both along side other very white bright fleeces.
Well, the Boss took one look at the AAA Bin, raced over and grabbed the offending yellow fleeces and throwing them into BB said “You don’t put yellow fleeces into the top line”. He checked the bin over pretty carefully too, but couldn’t find any other mistakes!’ I thought it was a great joke but wasn’t game to tell the Boss the full story – not for some years anyway.
On one occasion I was sent to muster a Fellwood paddock adjoining Drain K. On the way back I found a chap by the name of Beaglehole bogged to the eyeballs in the middle of the road, about half a mile or so south of the Fellwood homestead. Beaglehole and his wife were sitting in the vehicle like the Micawbers waiting for “something to turn up”.
Although the road was pretty well cut up it was well grassed and still pretty firm. I suggested to Mr. Beaglehole that he put his car in reverse and back up the road for about three chain or so, and then make a run along the side of the tracks on the grass to avoid the boggy path. I also told him that if he was still there by the time I got the sheep in the shed I would come back for him on the tractor and pull his car through the boggy patch.
I got back to Beaglehole about two hours later and pulled him through. Just before he drove off towards Avenue I asked him why he had sat there for so long instead of following my suggestion. He said to me in all seriousness – “I couldn’t do that as I only have just enough petrol to get to Lucindale!” Well, I knew petrol was rationed in those days but I never knew they could cut it that fine.
Building the Tennis Court
The Saturday following my arrival at Fellwood was Show Day at Lucindale, so l decided to ride into Lucindale on George a 16 hands bay gelding, and compete. Unfortunately nominations for horse events had closed earlier in the week I before I had even arrived in the District. This I discovered after I had George measured by Beau Stott the measuring steward.
However, all was not lost, I met Keith and Max Smith and Ted and Bill Rivett i1nc.l Noel and Darcy Rivett at the Show Grounds Bar – a little galvanised iron shed with Sandy Concannon Mine Host.
In the course of the conversation Keith happened to mention that what we needed at Avenue was a tennis court so that those not in the cricket team could play tennis instead of having a boring afternoon watching cricket.
I replied “Why don’t we build one” and proceeded to calculate the amount of gravel required for a court foundation 4 inches deep, by doing my sums with a slick on a bare patch of ground nearby. Somehow or other I got my sums wrong and calculated ten truck loads which was a lot less than we actually carted. I Iowever, this miscalculation made the job seem well within our capabilities so we immediately made arrangements to gather at Avenue next day to start on the Project.
After lunch on Sunday I decided it would be a good idea to ride a bike into /\venue for the Busy Bee. It seemed as though I would never get there and I w<1s, on eventual arrival, almost too exhausted to work. The next time I made •,11re to ride a horse in.
At that time Noel Rivett had a tip truck which he used carting gravel for the 1 ouncil, Darcy also had a truck and with all the Smiths, all the Rivetts and Lou l’homas, Stan Hocking and myself we proceeded to the 17 mile crossing to load lie trucks with pipe clay gravel dug from near the road.
It was a slow and tedious job and after carting the first 10 loads we could see lliat we still had a long way to go, but keep going we did, and eventually •.ometime in January ’47 we decided that the foundations were sufficiently (‘()mplete.
More work then on the site to level and roll the foundations, and watering lliem down with water pumped from a well on Tavender’s block (now the Fire Slation Site).
Then the big day – the day we had all been waiting for, the day we openend the drums of Colas and spread it with buckets and brooms across the surface and on top spread sand.
By now we were getting more people on Sunday afternoons and the work of l,•ncing was soon completed. The netting was all donated and mostly second 11,md from local landowners, and the net too was donated.
Opening day was late January, a very hot day, when more sand needed to be spread where the court surface lifted a little. However it was a beginning, a court lutilt more with enthusiasm than with knowledge. A beginning too, of the /\venue Range Sporting Association which was formed on that opening day.
When I returned to Avenue after 18 months in Somerton Crippled Childrens’ Home, Miss Beth Rowe who was teacher at that time, made me warmly welcome. She was not at all impressed with the singing ability of the school and anticipated greater talent from me because she knew I’d sung on the radio, in the Somerton choir, on three occasions. She was disappointed to find I was not one bit better than the others. What she had not realized was that the Somerton Choir was chosen from those who could walk, not those who could sing, because 5KA really couldn’t take wheelchairs in their lift.
Mrs. Os. Rivett was very good to all the school kids, she frequently fed one of us along with her own if we forgot our dinner or if the ants got into it. There was one day when I was riding the pony to school I fell off into a puddle just before reaching the school. I really expected to get sent home and so a day off, but Mrs. Rivett found me some clothes to wear while she dried mine out beside the fire.
Miss Rowe always made quite something of our birthdays when she was teaching. I can remember feeling rather disappointed on my tenth birthday when there was no big “Happy Birthday” in the morning.
At recess time Miss Rowe sent me down to the post office with a note for Mrs. Thomson – a great honour. Usually Mrs. Thomson sent us back to school very promptly but on this occasion she seemed to be in the mood for a chat, then Mr. Lou suggested I wait while he get me some pears to take back to school. Mrs. Thomson then gave me the note to take back. As I walked up the hill to school I remember thinking I might be in trouble because the kids had all gone back into school.
As I opened the door rather apprehensively and probably with an excuse ready – they all called out “Happy Birthday”. Then I had a guard-of-honour to the stage and they all sang Happy Birthday.
The pears even provided a ready made party.
There is a little sequel to this story…
On the Friday it was my turn for the real big sweep up and clear up and as I emptied Miss Rowe’s waste paper basket into the bin I spilt some and among the rubbish I noticed that familiar little note the one I’d carried to Mrs. Thomson and back. My curiousity got the better of me and I must confess to taking a peep.
Miss Rowe had written to Mrs. Thomson that she was planning a surprise for me and to keep me talking for a while.
Mrs. Thomson’s reply was short – “That should not be too difficult” she’d written.
On the day the war ended Mum drove us to school in the horse and cart. I’m not sure if she went in to find out the news – we were frequently without a wireless battery – or if she knew and wanted to share in the excitement. I really feel w1• didn’t know till we got there. There were several other parents at the school, and Mum said we couldn’t have an ordinary school day that day, we just had to celebrate! So a holiday was declared and we all met at the open section at “Walteela” for a “chop picnic” dinner. I remember playing hide and seek among the yaccas. At dark.most folk congregated at “Walteela” for a sing song around the piano.
In the years while Rosemary Smith and June Rivett were in grade six and seven the great game was Prisoners’ base. A unique variation of the game that I’ve never met since. It involved bases and ‘blocks of gold’ and intensely fought out. I introduced the children at Cannawigra to the game but they did not take to it with the same enthusiasm while the games at Avenue were real test matches, and could last all the week. Like test matches too the “toss” was all important for when the captain had first pick to choose her team. Rosemary and June were always leaders being about equally matched for speed and leadership, next to be chosen were usually Edna and Helen Rivett who were great team members being not only fast,runners but great dodgers – a most valuable skill, then Mary and Jennepher and then the dregs – the little ones and me. One of the aspects of the game was that if you made it to the enemy base you had the choice of rescuing a captured team mate or taking a block of gold. I often had the humiliation of being passed over for an old stone. I frequently spent whole recess times in prison. The golden years of Prisoners’ base came to an end when Rosemary and June left school and the Rivett family moved to Sherlock.
When I was a small child my father, Aitchison Grieve, drove his horse and gig the five miles from Crower to Fellwood each day. I went with him most days. On one occasion a thunderstorm came up in the very late evening as we started on our return journey. The night became so dark that even the horse could not find his way. Dad had to walk along feeling the fence and leading the horse for most of the five miles. I was lucky as I was wrapped up in the ‘kangaroo rug’ and made comfortable on the seat of the gig, but he was walking through pouring rain. During the night we caught up with Wacka and Harry Copping whose horses had taken fright in the storm and bolted. They were sheltering in a clump of broombush and sheoaks.
We reached home about 10.00 p.m. very cold, tired and hungry. On inspection next day it was found that a shaft of the gig had been broken when it had accidentally bumped the fence.
In 1943 the Smith family moved from their property ‘The Valley” to manage “Walteela” for Mr. Ted Tavender. When they were starting a garden at “Walteela” they were given by Mr. Lou Thomas, a dahlia called Miss Audrey, a lovely orange-flame decorative type. With every move the members of the family have made they have all taken and grown this beautiful flower.
Over the years, Avenue has become recognised for the masses of freezias which cover the hill, each spring scenting the air. There are also a lot of seedling fruit trees growing round the old school. These are probably a result of children dropping the seeds from their school lunches.
While attending the school at Avenue, Kathleen White (nee Smith) recalls that there had been a big windstorm during the night and the top of a young pine tree was bent over. As part of an impromptu nature study lesson, their teacher, Miss McLean took the children out to put a splint and bandage on the tree. This tree is still growing in the grounds.
An underground tank with a ground-level opening was the only water supply at the School for many years. One buxom lass while reaching for a cup of water, slipped and fell in and Lou Thomas, himself a student had great trouble hauling her out as her voluminous bloomer legs held quite a deal of water.
At one time my father, Aitchison Grieve, leased an area of peat country near Powell’s Swamp. On this he grew rape and mustard for summer feed. This necessitated the movement of a large mob of wethers to the Creek after shearing each year and bringing them back before the winter. I often accompanied him on these droving trips. We always carried a packed lunch, quart pots and a waterbag and lit a campfire while we gave the sheep and horses a spell at lunchtime. After we delivered the sheep and checked the windmill we would often ride on to visit Mr. and Mrs. Ted Beggs and their family who lived a short distance away. Mrs. Beggs invariably gave us a cup of tea and fruit scones with sugar on top – I think she called them ‘shearers buns’.
In the 1920’s many of the young local lads made a living from trapping rabbits. Edgar and Wally Schrope/ were uery proud of their catch as shown by this photo. Lou Thomas is using his pushbike to carry his catch.
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