NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 2007
As some of the locals would know, Saturday 17th was a hot day in Newstead and for those of us on duty at Rotunda Park the conditions were less than ideal. Those pesky flies that seem to have been blown down from central New South Wales honed in the barbeque. Despite that, the results for the day have been pleasing. At time of going to print, it seems we will have a profit of about $900 that will be put to good use.
The response to our raffle for the Christmas Hamper was very pleasing with some very generous donations. The lucky winner was Dianne Dempster, sister of one of our members, Brian Dieckmann. The winner of the lucky stallholder was Mrs Stork.
Because of the hot weather, the sale of the hot food lagged a little but the cold drinks and baking soon sold out. Some of the profits are to go to a pedestal fan that will help to clear the flies from the cooking area and can be used at the courthouse on other occasions!
Again it was a hot day for our trip out to the Precipice and it was a relief to return to the cool of the courthouse to end the outing. There are always coincidences and on this occasion we had a visit from a researcher from Canberra that morning. When the file on the family concerned with his research, we noted that his family was one of those who had engraved their names in the rock face. So he was able to join us to see where his family had literally left their mark on Newstead! We will be planning more excursions next year and would be glad to hear of any suggestions.
Although our advertisements always say that the courthouse will not be open on public holidays, it seems that there is always a few members who are present. So if the Mondays over the Christmas-New Year period are a time that you might like to visit the courthouse, please come. The next meeting will be at 7.30 on February 18th 2008.
As there seems to be a small amount of news in this newsletter, I will include a copy of an article from the Echo” 23.9.1914. I am in the process of reading the “Echo” from this era and it is proving very interesting. There has been the build-up of world news and the declaration of the war with the district being overcome with patriotism and claims of an early victory, that with the benefit of viewing from 2007, fill the reader with sympathy. However this article seemed worth copying as it gives us an inkling of life in 1914 – when the ownership of a motor-car was restricted to just half a dozen people in the town.
A TRIP TO BROADMEADOWS
A party of local residents, believing that Sunday would be the last Sabbath that members of the Expeditionary Force would spend at Broadmeadows, motored down to extend the hand of good friendship and wish those whom we knew bon voyage prior to their departure. A start was made from the Newstead Hotel at 8 o’clock on Sunday morning. The wind was bitterly cold, but the occupants of the car were in good heart, and smiled cheerfully. Little of note occurred until Gisborne was reached, although it was noted that south of the Divide the country had benefited with good rains, and was looking much ahead of the land hereabouts. Especially around Kyneton are the prospects good – plenty of grass and crops a nice healthy color. Hereabouts the prospects were a good deal more encouraging than further south. However to get on to Gisborne. At this town we encountered a curiosity shop in the shape of a hotel, and curios of all descriptions were on view. The hotel is owned by Mr Hanns and the old gentleman would appear to have spent a lifetime in collecting the many articles he has on view. There were snakes of all species, lizards, antique pistols, guns, boomerangs and other relics used by the blacks, caricatures, battered motor lamps etc, etc and all with a history. It is a marvellous collection but “Rex” would not advise his friends to visit here after imbibing too freely. A couple of amusing incidents happened while we were there. Along the route we had ‘picked up’ a carload of Castlemaine boys, whose rendezvous was also Broadmeadows. Refreshments were needed, and of course all lined up at the hotel. At the entrance was a chair and ‘Darcy’ who no doubt was feeling tired, put his weight on it – in other words he sat or attempted to sit on it, when lo and behold he was on the floor, greatly to the amusement of the onlookers, some of whom were in the know. An electric bell also caused some amusement, one of the local boys falling in on this occasion. As he pressed it, a needle was inserted into his finger and needless to say, the dose was not repeated. A pleasant hour was spent here and Ern Schilling improved the shining hour by giving a history of the different articles. What he didn’t know would fill a book but what he did know would fill two.
From there on, a nice ride was enjoyed although some one was unkind enough to suggest that some of the party should remain in Sunbury. Broadmeadows was reached about 12 o’clock and now the fun started. “Rex” had hardly complained of the ‘rough sea’ when he had to remove his hat from the mud. Pat Harte, who enjoyed the incident, shared a similar fate and the laugh was turned while Lylie came within an ace of repeating the dose. Mud, nothing like it and the old saying that has its origin in the Mallee “Mud means Money” was never better demonstrated. Many of us in this district wish we had some of the Broadmeadows mud here at the present time.
To the uninitiated a military camp is inspiring. The countless white tents dotted over 3 paddocks formed a pretty sight. Pat and Jack had hardly got upon the encampment when they received a rude awakening, a sentry challenging them for being within the lines and speaking in such tones when they failed to understand what was meant, they beat a hasty retreat. The Seventh Battalion, F Company, was easily found owing to directions sent by one of the volunteers. Amongst the first tents noticed was “Kastlemaine Knuts”, with Darcy Johnson’s closely cropped “knut” sticking out of the tent. A handshake, a question or two and we were among our Newstead boys. Fit and happy they looked although expressing the hope that they would soon be sailing. Sunday was their day at home. Fortunately all had escaped guard and other duties and they were there to talk. After spending half an hour or more with them, we went on a sightseeing expedition. All this time hundreds were arriving and continued to arrive by train until after 5 o’clock. The main road was also black with vehicles and it was a sight such as will not be seen very often in a lifetime. The fruit and lolly stall was there as also was “All hot, Madam Melba eats”, besides hairdressers, photographers and many others plying their calling.
Every lassie loves a soldier and this was demonstrated in an unmistakeable degree and many was the civilian who played second fiddle while his best girl got away with a lad in khakee. Amusing sights were witnessed owing to the mud and it was a common experience to see a soldier, with a lump of cuddle thrown over his shoulder, or carrying her like a baby. One soldier had a disastrous experience. While carrying his girl, his foot slipped and the next moment a lovely form was in the mud with the poor soldier trying to extricate her. The white blouse she wore was a picture no artist could paint. After hunting around some time, “Monty” (Gunner Montgomery) was discovered and another pleasant half-hour spent. He also was anxious to sail.
At 6 o’clock most of the visitors began to depart and we followed suit. Just as we were leaving the grounds, another gunner in W Caton, well known locally, was met and wished to be remembered to his friends in Newstead. The journey home was interesting inasmuch as our party leaving late, had to travel in the dark and got off the track, travelling over roads that were not the smoothest before the mistake was discovered. Gisborne was again reached and a hot tea helped to put the occupants of the car in good spirits. Our Castlemaine friends were waiting for us and Ern Schilling and Darcy Rees with their songs (sacred) helped to make the time pass merrily. We motored through Kyneton with the town clock showing 11.45 and were home in Newstead shortly after 1 o’clock. If a long day’s outing, it was a decidedly pleasant one.
©2004 Newstead & District Historical Society
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