Down the years: Fish kills linked to drought

Presented by Mildura and District Historical Society. Compiled by Ann Ziguras for Mildura Rural City Council Library Service.

100 years ago

A FIGHTING FAMILY: Mrs. S. B. Fowler, of Cherry Avenue, has recently received letters from each of her three soldier sons (Glen, Tom and Jim) and her sailor son Earl, all of whom are still safe. Tom wrote from Raffa on the first day of the year and said that as he hoped to be on the water by March he reserved his news until he reached home. Glen wrote on the 22nd December from Charleroi, Belgium. He was hoping to be allowed to start for home soon, having already filled in his demobilisation papers. The Belgians were treating the Australians like “long-lost sons” and every window displayed the sign “Welcome to our Deliverers” or “We will not forget our Friends”. Jim’s letter was addressed to his sister from France on Christmas Day. Snow had fallen the night before but the sun was shining as he wrote. Having received parcels from Australia the billet had a great “blow-out”, including puddings from “God’s own country”. (12.3.1919)

WAR: Latest details regarding the distribution of troops of the AIF are as follows: in France 80,182; in Egypt and Palestine 16,246; in India and Mesopotamia 356; in United Kingdom 49,483; at sea 25,571; total 171,838. Enlistments in the AIF numbered 416,809, while the actual number of men who embarked for active service was 329,716. Details of the enlistments in the several states are as follow: Victoria 112,399; New South Wales 164,030; Queensland 57,705; South Australia 34.959; Western Australia 32,231; Tasmania 15,555. Major-General March, chief of the United States general staff, announced that 7,354,000 men were killed in action or died of wounds in the war. (12.3.1919)

RAILWAYS: Still another example of how not to do things has been given by the Railway Department. On Wednesday morning a number of passengers arrived at the station breakfastless, expecting to have their morning meal on the train. But they found that there was no dining car attached. Not only would they have to go without breakfast, but without dinner as well. The stoppages on the fast train are only 15 minutes at Woomelang (12.15pm to 12.30pm), 10 minutes at Birchip and 10 minutes at Donald. The first refreshment station reached is at St Arnaud and the stay is 12 minutes. At Maryborough there is 25 minutes’ stay, but that is not until 5pm. The train is allegedly a fast train, but that is no reason why the passengers should be called on to fast. Warning should have been given that the dining-car was not attached. No private caterer would treat its customers in the way the Railway Department does. The local staff is not without blame in the matter, for it knew on Tuesday morning that no dining car would be attached and might have issued a warning. (15.3.1919)

 75 years ago

BOBBY PINS: Advanced styles of hairdressing are being effected by servicewomen in New Guinea owing to a distribution of bobby pins by the Australian Comforts Fund. Major 

E. H. Scott, honorary commissioner of the fund, who returned to Sydney this week, says that special efforts were made to obtain a supply of these pins because the girls said the equatorial conditions were playing havoc with their hair. News went ahead that several hundreds of packets had been secured, and when the commissioner arrived on a lorry at one station, all the servicewomen were awaiting him. (13.3.1944)

ST PATRICK’S NIGHT BALL: In aid of the Merbein Convent School, a grand St Patrick’s night ball is to be held in the Theatre Royal, Merbein, on Thursday evening next. The Old Mill Rhythm Kings have been ­secured to provide the music for the dancing and the buffet supper is to be served in the ANA Hall. (14.3.1944)

50 years ago

SUNDAY FOOTBALL: Mildura City Council last night agreed in principle to Sunday football on the casting vote of the Mayor (Cr. K. I. Wright). Voting on a motion to ­allow Sunday football on council recreational reserves stood at 4-4. Cr S. C. Mills put the motion to council, which discussed a South Mildura Football Club request asking its policy on Sunday football on No.3 Oval. Cr. Wright said many young people would be better off at Sunday football than “racing around Langtree Avenue”. He said Saturday sportsmen could be Sunday spectators and church attendances would not be lessened. (14.3.1969)

BOUND FOR SOUTH SEAS: The paradise of Hawaii and Honolulu have no connection with Mildura and Sunraysia – you’re wrong! Two brothers passed through Lock 11 yesterday en route for the tropic paradise in a $7000 trimaran. If they survive the Murray River and the eastern coastal waters of Australia they should arrive there in about three years’ time. In the short term they hope to be in Melbourne via Adelaide by Easter. The trimaran is fully equipped with gas stove, refrigerator, television, sleeping quarters, radar and depth sounding equipment. The brothers, Douglas Radovic, 26, and Ron, 21, are new Australians who emigrated to Australia with their parents from Belgrade, Yugoslavia, 12 years ago. Both spent several years building the craft. (15.3.1969)

25 years ago

DRY LAKES: Much of the recent discussion about the drying up of Lake Menindee and the associated fish kills was either misleading or simply not true, the NSW Department of Water Resources district manager at Dareton, Mr David Harriss, said yesterday. He said the department had never denied fish kills would occur as the Menindee Lakes dried out during droughts, and although unpleasant, the deaths could not be prevented without allocating large volumes of water at a time when water was extremely limited. The department had advised NSW Fisheries last August that fish kills were likely in Lake Menindee and Cawndilla if the drought continued. (10.3.1994)

ROSS RIVER FEVER: Reported cases of the Ross River fever disease are decreasing in Sunraysia, according to figures collated by the Victorian Arbovirus Taskforce. Sunraysia is included in region three of the taskforce and figures from 1991 indicated that 40 per cent of the total reported cases of the disease were reported from this region. During the summer of 1991 to 1992, 406 cases were reported and shire councillor and taskforce member Mr Ron Vine said this summer, 1993 to 1994, he expected the region to register between 10 to 20 per cent of last year’s cases. “We are hoping it has something to do with awareness because we are trying to educate people to remove mosquito breeding places around the home,” Cr Vine said. (12.3.1994)

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