Down the years: Fine show at home and Ruby gets sinking feeling

100  years ago

Two Royal Garrison Artillery men look out from their dug-out under a ruined building near Essigny in 1918.

Two Royal Garrison Artillery men look out from their dug-out under a ruined building near Essigny in 1918.

LOCAL: Folk of the Mildura district, the show today is your Show. Roll up strong, and see for yourselves what Mildura can do, in the way of an Agricultural Show today.  Let us have some real ginger in the “horses in action” events and there isn’t a doubt but folk will declare the show tip-top. In the school-work section at the Royal Show, the Merbein State School took first prize for its collection of dried fruits, with the Iryrnple School second. A splendid treat is in store for Mildura musical people when Gilbert and Sullivan’s sparkling comic opera Iolanthe will be produced for three nights at the Shire Hall under the direction of Madame Nellie Summerville.  Entirely new scenery is being painted, the dresses are being made by a leading city costumiere, and the opera will be staged on as generous a scale as when produced in the metropolis. Great credit is due to Madame Summerville for giving the Mildura public the opportunity of hearing this most tuneful of Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic operas. That enthusiastic equestrienne, Mrs Theodore Pelloe, so well known to Mildurians, has been making another long horseback trip with a girlfriend, this time in West Australia. She tells all about it in another of her breezy personally illustrated type-written books. Five Hundred Miles with Matilda is her latest little record of travel and her description of the ride out from Perth, visits to the beautiful West Australian caves, etc, etc, is good reading. Ratepayers who have applied for palms for street planting may obtain same from Mr. Crosmann during the last week in October.  Electricity Deputation:  Ten businessmen attended Shire Council’s meeting requesting better and longer service. Difficulty for doctors and nurses having to work by candle light and lamp-light. (9.10.1918)

WAR: The British and Americans have advanced to a depth of four miles, capturing Essigny le Grand, east of Remaucourt.  President Wilson has notified Berlin that no peace can be made with Teutons on the Allies’ soil. He asks for a guarantee of good faith. A report received here states that the Turkish Cabinet has fallen. President Wilson has asked Chancellor Maximillian whether he represented the German people or the authorities who are conducting the war. President Wilson also asks whether Germany accepts the terms issued by the President on 8th January.  The Spanish government has resigned. Cambrai was entered. Yesterday’s prisoners exceed 8000, with many guns. “The enemy has been thrust back into open country beyond continuous defensive  works”,  60 sq miles of territory gained, important tactical results were achieved, said a British comunique. Paris reports the capture of Beirut. The arrival of President Wilson’s reply is expected in Berlin in a few days, it is being awaited with great excitement.  The Reichstag is ready for immediate discussion. A French Eastern communique says: Austrian forces from the Italian front are falling back in disorder towards Nish, having abandoned 1500 prisoners. Stockholm Oct 9. 

75 years ago

WAR:  In a card to his wife and children of 12th St, Mildura, Gunner Don Scott, a member of the Mildura Pipe Band, states that he is a prisoner of war in Japanese hands, and is earning 10 cents a day.  He also mentions that gunners Stan Newton, Bob Powis, Jim Oliver and Colin McDonald, all members of the pipe band, are with him.  An Australian airman, one of two airmen who survived the crash of a transport plane in Japanese territory in New Guinea, was beheaded.  The story of the barbarous method of his death at the hands of the Japanese was revealed in a diary of a Japanese soldier recovered during a recent battle in New Guinea.  One of the soldiers returning to Heidelberg military hospital today was Sgt William R Skinner, a Red Cliffs citrus grower before he joined up in July 1940.  He was one of the initial landing party at Lae.  Another returning soldier who had fought at Gona and Kokoda said many Japanese still preferred death to being taken prisoner.  Approaching Lae, one of his men wounded a Japanese major and as the Australians closed in to take him prisoner they saw him swallow a phial of poison.  He was dead when they reached him.  (8.10.1943 – 12.10.1943)

LOCAL:  As a result of rains in the past three days, many dry areas of the southern Mallee and northern wheat belt  where the crops appeared to be a failure may now yield moderate harvests. In the southern Mallee falls were from 75 points to an inch.  Heavier falls were needed to consolidate the improvement but the rain had come at a critical time and would permit the crops to carry on for some time. The Minister for Agriculture (Mr Scully) today declared that there was more meat in Australia than we knew what to do with.  The only shortage was manpower to process the meat and he had been assured that the co-operation of the manpower authorities was being received to overcome that problem.  Sheep flocks were 10 million greater than before the war and beef herds showed no sign of shortage.   Compared with an average of 40 there have been more than 60 women prisoners at Coburg jail in the past six months and for a time the number was 97, a record for 20 years.  Thirty five of the 87 women were under 21 and 40 percent of the total had venereal disease.  Women and girls in slacks are now such common sights in Melbourne that hardly any notice is taken of them, except in the cases of those daring gaudily garbed damsels who over-indulge.  (8.10.1943 – 13.10.1943)

50 years ago

RUBY:  The paddle steamer Ruby, which was being restored by the Wentworth Rotary Club, sank at its moorings beside the Wentworth pier on Saturday night.  She is resting on her keel in about five feet of water, she will remain there until next week when Rotarians will pump the water out and dry dock her.  A public appeal launched in July closed recently with a total of $1400.  A target of $3000 was set.  A new top deck was being erected on the Ruby before she sank.  The framework and part of the wall has been completed.  The Ruby was built in Morgan in 1907.  (7.10.1968)

CARDROSS MOTHERS’ CLUB:  One of the oldest mothers’ clubs in Sunraysia celebrated its 43rd birthday with a mannequin paradette and items by the members.  The president of the club (Mrs Maynard) welcomed a large attendance of women, and presented Mrs Hewitt, representing the Shire Council, Mrs Bannister of the Sunraysia District Council Mothers’ Clubs and Mrs Geer with sprays.  The beautiful birthday cake, flanked with 43 candles, was made by Mrs. J. Ziguras, and iced by Mrs Bock.  Mrs M. Knott compered a paradette by courtesy of Mais and Jenny-Lee.  The parade opened with the tiny tots parading swim and sleep wear, little summer frocks and sports and play clothes.  Models were Jan Bartels, Jill Lambert, Kay Tulloch.  The only man in the place little Peter Roper.  The adult models were: Melva Bartels, Cheryl Maynard, Dorothy Vale, Carolyn Vale.  Mrs K. Sylvester and Mrs L. Jenkins entertained on the saxophone and piano.  An apron parade brought the program to a close.  (8.10.1968)

LANGTREE AVE DOUBLE-DECKER:  Fourteen young people from five countries passed through Mildura yesterday on their way from Sydney to London in “Albert”, a 21-year-old Albion from the Sydney Tramways fleet.  The three-month long trip is costing the eight girls and six young men $625 each.  They are heading for the Nullarbor Plain and Perth  where the bus will be loaded onto a boat at Fremantle for the sea voyage to Bombay, India.   From there the party will travel overland through Asia and Europe to Calais, France, before going on the ferry to England.  The overland trip is the brainchild of 26-year-Old Englishman Andrew Stewart, who came to Australia 18 months ago by land rover.  (10.10.1968)O

25 years ago

ROTARY HOUSE:  The Rotary Club of Red Cliffs has embarked on an ambitious program to build a house in Nicholls Estate at 35 Nardoo Street, Red Cliffs.  Profits from the venture will be donated to the Sunraysia Hostel for the Elderly in Red Cliffs to help pay for further extensions.  The house is a 12-square Ashlar brick veneer construction and is expected to sell in the price range of fewere than $100,000.  The club is being well supported by the Shire of Mildura’s building department, and club members, under the watchful eye of tradesmen within the club.  Sunraysia builder Mr John Burrows is hopeful of having the house ready for sale in early November.  (7.10.1993)

“PADDLE POP”:  Sunraysia raised $1600 for the Fred Hollows Canoe Marathon from Bathurst, which finished in Mildura last Saturday after completing 2800 kilometres.  Mr John Neilson and three other heroic canoeists, Mike Hennessy, 35, Peter Chapple, 34, and the sole female in the team, Tracy Hoare, 26, and two boat crew had to survive for two days at one stage on a loaf of bread, a tub of margarine and a jar of jam after last Sunday night’s storms washed out roads and prevented support vehicles reaching the team between Menindee and Pooncarie!  The team also told of sudden course changes to avoid swimming kangaroos and one time Tracy had to paddle furiously away from an inquisitive brown snake! (9.10.1993)

LANGTREE HALL:  Was last week officially reopened as a tourist attraction in Walnut Avenue.  The 104-year-old hall was built in Langtree Ave as an assembly hall for roller skating, and went on to host public meetings, court sittings, dances, exhibitions and concerts until its conversion to a billiard hall in the early 1920s. Mrs Cornell said it had been the site of a Royal Commission and the home of both the Irrigationist and Telegraph newspapers in its early years. It was later moved back 17 metres to enable construction of two shops at the front of the property. The Cornell family decided to restore the hall which was relocated to the rear of 79 Walnut Avenue, Mildura. Mrs Cornell said the house at the front of the Walnut Avenue property was originally half of the Dunolly Hotel, and was brought to Mildura by horse and dray in five separate sections and re-assembled in 1917.  (13.10.1993)

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