Down the years: Bowlers roll up for Easter tournament

100 years ago

A  photograph of the co-operative packing shed in Merbein a century ago.

A photograph of the co-operative packing shed in Merbein a century ago.

ACTIVITIES: A large number of visiting bowlers arrived by Friday morning’s train to take part in the Easter Tournament, ­Warracknabeal, as usual, and smaller contingents from Birchip and Beulah. The Western District also had a team. The Champion Pairs were contested on Friday. The Champion Singles were keenly contested on Saturday, the final being between Pyman, of Warracknabeal, and Colin Campbell, Mildura, with the former winning the championship by a narrow margin. On Sunday afternoon the visitors motored to Merbein, the soldier settlements and the residence of Mr A. Lever, at which latter place they were entertained at afternoon tea. On behalf of the Mildura Club, Mr Pugsley thanked the host and hostess and he acknowledged the goodness of car-owners – particularly the non-bowlers (Messrs Kain, Plummer, Martin and Stevenson). The last named kindly showed the visitors over the Merbein Packing Shed of the Co-operative Fruit Company, explaining the stemming and grading and packing operations. The people of Mildura had a big choice of amusement on Easter Monday. Hundreds went picnicking, boating or fishing; a fair proportion ­attended the Sports at the Recreation Reserve and several watched the bowling matches. In the evening there was an even distribution of patronage between the Hospital Fair and Wonderland Pictures though dancing music sounding upon the still air indicated that someone was celebrating a wedding. (23.4.1919) 

IRRIGATION: Nothing succeeds like success, and so realisation of the immense advantages to be gained from irrigation is being slowly forced upon the minds of reluctant farmers, who in certain districts for a long time made violent protest against being required to pay for water which would be no use to them, so they said, and which therefore they did not want. The Water Commission attributes the enhanced profits gained from dairying districts to the highly successful cultivation of lucerne as fodder during the last two or three years. Encouraged by the improved returns, many of the settlers are now selecting their cows more carefully and are introducing a much higher milk-producing strain. The fruit growing districts, too, are showing vastly improved results. From the reports to the Water Commission high returns are promised from Nyah and Merbein, where the raisin and currant harvest is now practically garnered. (26.4.1919)

PEACE: Peace terms are to be handed to the German delegation next Monday and will be simultaneously published world-wide. Count Brockdorff-Rantzau, six other high personages and a staff of 75 attend at Versailles. As the War Council failed to agree concerning the Adriatic, Signor Orlando and Sonnino left for Italy. Well-informed persons in Tokyo say that Japan will join the League of Nations. There is anarchy in Munich, civil war in Bavaria, Bolshevism in Ufa and rioting in Lahore. The Australia and Brisbane have sailed from Portsmouth. The terms of the Peace Proclamation will be read simultaneously in every portion of the Commonwealth at 3.30pm on the day set apart for the purpose. At the same hour the National Anthem will be sung by every congregation attending a thanksgiving service. The hymns selected for the service include the Old Hundredth and Kipling’s ­Recessional. We are afraid that the great dream of the League of Nations, with its bringing of permanent peace, is a matter of utopian extremism rather than a solving of the problem that arises through brutal fact. That peace will be signed at Versailles in a few days’ time we do not doubt. The Germans will be compelled to sign a peace treaty. But that peace treaty, in the German mind and heart, will be nothing more than a scrap of paper to be torn across the moment Germany might find opportunity to break it. We know Germany too well. (26.4.1919)

75 years ago

TB: The city health officer said that it would be a good idea to install X-ray plants. Fifty per cent of the deaths in the community were caused by TB, patients were mostly of the working class and in the Mildura district were generally imported from elsewhere. A good few dated from the last war. Out on the deserts on cold nights overheated men had their resistance to disease lowered. Proper isolation of all tubercular patients should be effected, but we haven’t got the accommodation. For proper treatment, bungalows were needed that can rotate to get the sun all day. The bactericidal effect of sunlight was beyond question. The main thing was fresh air, isolation to avoid infecting others and a good diet. (25.4.1944)

ANZAC DAY: The Anzac Day march and commemoration service in Mildura yesterday was the most impressive ceremony that this city has witnessed for some years. The march through city streets was indeed spectacular, comprising, besides returned men of the 1st AIF, serving members of the 2nd AIF, Royal Air Force, and large detachments of the RAAF and WAAAF. An RSL official had pointed out the correct procedure in flying flags on Anzac Day. The flag should be at half-mast until noon, and then at full mast until sunset. “I can recall how, in previous years, I stood in Mildura streets and watched the Anzac Day march. And I think that on each occasion I said to myself, “What do they want to march for: why do they want to keep this thing up year after year? Came the present war, and I was one of the first to enlist from this district. Yesterday, after service in many lands during which I saw many of my cobbers fall, I took my place in the Anzac Day march. You see, I know now why they march and why they keep it up.” – A present war Digger to a Sunraysia Daily representative. (26.4.1944) 

MILDURA IN 1888: Yonder is a newcomer putting up his home – a nice looking one too – of mud bricks, just taken off his ground, moulded in four boards he has nailed together, put in their place and drying in the sun as the walls go up. Close by, an Aboriginal lubra is washing for the family; another looks on, squatting on her haunches and surrounded by dogs. Such is one aspect of the scene which greeted the Bishop of Ballarat (Dr Thornton) when he arrived at Mildura – the native name for red rocks – to conduct the first service held by the Anglican Church in this settlement – the date, Palm Sunday, 1888. The service, which was held in Chaffey Bros’ workshops, attracted a congregation of 85 of the colony’s 250 residents. (27.4.1944)

 50 years ago

FIFTY FORDS: Mr Len Swaeney (63) of Keera Station, is a man who obviously likes Ford cars. Yesterday afternoon he took delivery of a Ford utility – the 50th vehicle he has purchased new from the Mildura Ford ­Motor Company agents, Washington Motors. It is estimated that, since 1937, Mr Swaeney has spent about $100,000 on new Fords. It is believed that yesterday’s handover set a record for the number of new cars sold to any one individual in Victoria, and possibly Australia. Mr Swaeney has an arrangement with Ford at Mildura that he takes delivery of the first utility in any new range as soon as it arrives here. (24.4.1968)

MORE ANZACS: In some cities and towns the ranks of original Anzacs may be dwindling, but in Mildura they seem to be as strong as ever! President of the Mildura sub-branch of the RSL (Mr Alex Thomson) said after yesterday’s parade that more First AIF veterans took part in it than in last year’s celebration. Mr Thomson said about 12 were in the parade. Taking the salute at Henderson Park were Mr Thomson, the Mayor (Cr Roy Burr) and the guest speaker (Mr Don Farquhar). Following Mr Farquhar’s address to about 1000 people, wreaths were laid on the cenotaph. After the wreath laying the Last Post was played by Mr J. C. Holmes followed by the recitation of In Flanders Fields. (26.4.1968)

ELECTRIC CARS: The first all-electric motor car is likely to be seen in Mildura much sooner than many people believe. This was the opinion expressed by Mr S. H. Buzby, managing director of Goodyear, last week. He said a great deal of work had gone into the perfection of the electric car. Some five passenger electric cars already perfected in the United States were capable of speeds up to 60mph and would travel up to 120 miles on one charge. The commercial production of electric cars will find tyre manufacturers ready to supply the low-power-loss tyres they require, he said. (26.4.1968)

25 years ago

SAILORS: For the second week in a row, Lake Cullulleraine sailors encountered strong winds and heavy conditions. Only two yachts, a Paper Tiger skippered by Ken Thompson, and a Laser skippered by John Cooke, survived to finish the race on the Sunday previous. This Sunday is closing day with an afternoon race followed by casserole tea. Friends and visitors interested in sailing are welcome to attend. Things went somewhat smoother when a dozen yachts contested the last race for the season’s aggregate and championship series and the catamaran skippers were set for some fast sailing. As the wind strength increased so did Thompson’s lead. Then a capsize left Pay with a broken rudder and a trip back home. Then Thompson ran into strife when his yacht suffered gear failure and he too limped back to shore. This left Beyer with just one lap to finish and no opposition, giving him an easy win. (22.4.1994)

ANZAC DAY: Hundreds of returned service men and women, steeped in the Anzac tradition, remembered fallen mates and battles fought gallantly on distant shores at memorial services across Sunraysia yesterday. The Mildura RSL president, Mr Ted Griffith, said about 200 veterans from World War II, and the Korean and Vietnam conflicts took part in the parade. Sadly, no World War I veterans took part in the parade. Mildura police said more than 1000 people attended the wreath laying ceremony at Henderson Park which followed the march. Most Sunraysia retailers closed all day Monday for the Anzac Day public holiday. (26.4.1994)

RUFUS RIVER: Bones left exposed by falling waters at Lake Victoria may contain a clue to one of early Australia’s most shameful acts of genocide, the Rufus River Massacre. An archaeologist with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), Mr Harvey Johnston, says bones found at the lake could be linked to the massacre of 50 to 70 Aboriginals at Rufus River in 1841. NPWS Buronga manager, Mr George Townsend, said yesterday he believed there was no definite link between the recent bone finds and the Rufus River massacre of 1841. “We are re-locating some bodies at Lake Victoria, but all the ones I have seen have been over 1000 years old,” he said. (27.4.1994)

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