Down the years: Diggers who gave all in nation’s cause

100 years ago

Australia issued bonds through the Common­wealth Bank to finance its World War I effort.

Australia issued bonds through the Common­wealth Bank to finance its World War I effort.

STRETCHER BEARER: Writing to Mr G. Nevill, from “somewhere in France”, Private W. Slater gives a graphic description of a not uncommon experience. “On Monday night our little party, which has consistently stuck together, was detailed to go over the trenches. My pal Vickery, who is a second-year medical student, and I were writing in our dugout after tea when word came for us to take a wounded man. We did, carrying him through the trenches to the first aid post. We hurried for we knew that a barrage was to open at 9.40, but we had barely entered the subsidiary lines when the guns burst forth. Fritz lost no time in replying, he commenced to storm the very subsidiary trenches we had to traverse in order to reach our dugout – we were trapped like rats in a hole.” (19.5.1917)

NOTICES: 1. In loving memory of John Spencer Rivera Hall (Master Mariner), foully done to death at sea, 18.2.1917, by the torpedoing of his ship, the “Valdes” without warning. A brave seaman of 46 years service, true to his ancestry, died “for the ashes of his fathers and the temple of his gods”. Inserted by his brother and one-time shipmate, S. Gifford Hall. 2. On

the 24th April, Sergeant R. H. Seggie, an only child, was united with his parents when he died in the 3rd Stationary Hospital of wounds he received in action. Poem with advert inserted by his sorrowing friend Nellie Treadwell. (16.5.1917)

GUNNER: Concerning a war loan investment the article read: “Not only has Gunner R. W. Betts, No 3604, of the 102nd

Howitzer Battery, 2nd Field Artillery Brigade, 1st Australian Division, given his service for the Empire’s cause, but he has also

invested all military due to him in the Commonwealth War Loan. He has been fighting for 2½ years, recently on leave in London. He wrote to his uncle, Mr Noyes, vice-chairman of the State Recruiting Committee stating: “I have practically got my heart and soul in it. I put 100 pounds – all my due from the Army – in the loan, feeling that I was doing the right thing for one must sacrifice something for a noble cause. (19.5.1917)

 75 years ago

LOCAL AND GENERAL: The record by a Camperdown knitter who turned in four sweaters to the Comforts fund has been eclipsed by Mr Turner, Rosebrook, this knight of needles handed in 14 pairs of socks most months, 10 was his lowest score of socks. As a wartime innovation, several telephonists of the Mildura Post Office will be working night shifts from 11pm to 7am under a departmental decision. Foresters working in the Grampians tell a strange story of weird and uncanny noises heard in the hills near their camp. The men are well known and not given to manufacturing “wild stories” saying the animal in the early hours the animal approached their camp, giving off loud roars, not unlike a lion. A ranger in the past also told of a similar event that made his horse break its tether and bolt with his dogs. (18.5.1942)

CHILDREN: During the school holidays hordes of children scrambled in Melbourne and suburbs as the first thought of mothers was to buy boots and shoes for youngsters, but most went home empty-handed. Some shops tried handing out tickets to overcome the congestion for the number of items available – quotas were exhausted and one store oversold its allotment. Two little girls (2½ and 4½) were killed when they ran to meet their dad as he returned home, he placed them in the tip dray but the saddle horse tied to the dray took fright, bucked and the dray overturned, dad suffered ­minor injuries. (19.5.1942)

WAR NEWS: The letters dropped by Japanese planes over Port Moresby from Australian soldiers and nurses in the hands of the enemy at New Guinea showed ­evidence of being heavily censored beforehand. Three thousand tanks are believed to be locked in battle on the muddy banks of the Dunetz River and around the blazing suburbs of Kharkov. During an attack on shipping in the Frisian islands the pilot of a Hudson plane, which was hit by A-A fire and burst into flame, crash landed his ship on the deck of the nearest ship, the plane exploded and the ship then sunk. In England over 45,000 women have answered the call for national service on the land, doing all types of work, volunteering to work for the duration of the war so the food industry in England will not flag or fail while the men are guarding their beloved land. (20.5.1942)

 50 years ago

ORANGES: Australian Paper Manufacturers Ltd announced that a contest, which will carry $175 in prizemoney, will be held in Renmark. Mrs Funchess, the world’s fastest orange packer, was brought to Australia in September from California and taught girls at the packing house along the river some of her secrets of rapid packing. Mrs Funchess constantly packs over 360 bushels a day. (15.5.1967)

AMBULANCE: In the not too distant future, travelling by North West Victorian Ambulance Service will be a pleasure as a trial of an air-conditioned ambulance over three weeks was held after a woman patient ­complained of her long distance trip in century heat had been stifling. (18.5.1967)

EAGLES: Several Werrimull properties have been the target for spot lamb attacks by ­eagles during the last few weeks. One farmer had killed 25 eagles by trapping them in rabbit traps put around carcasses of dead sheep or lambs. Others were killed by shotgun as they circled over lambs, one lamb was still alive after being torn to shreds by eagles. (18.5.1967)

25 years ago

STUDENTS: During the past 10 weeks students enrolled in the advanced Certificate of Art and Design at Sunraysia’s College of TAFE have been trying their hands at a number of mediums, painting, photo­graphy, sculpture, ceramics, print making and graphic design – before choosing just three electives to study for the rest of the year and tonight a display of their work will be on show. The new Ranfurly School will be included in the list of 19 schools that share in the annual income derived from local college lands rental agreement from the Chaffey endowment which dates back to 1990. (14.5.1992)

PLANTS: Thousands of Victorians will do their bit for the environment in Arbour Week. More than 100,000 trees and shrubs will be planted in the state, there will be a working bee in the Hattah-Kulkyne Park providing shade and beauty to the area. The Sunraysia Garden Club will be putting on a blooming good show at the Greek Hall as it has done for more than 30 years. The best bloom this year was won by Eric Sutton for a quill or spider chrysanthemum, the overall show was won by Shirley Sylvia and Agnes Gathercole for the floral art exhibit. (14/16.5.1992)

HOSPITAL: This year’s 3MA Easter Appeal was hailed as a great success, raising a tally of $95,187 by organisers especially as the economic recession has affected people’s ability to contribute. About 70 nursing staff from three states converged on Mildura for a unique health care conference as part of its centenary activities. (16.5.1992).

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