Down the years: Flu outbreak takes toll of Mildura boys

An aerial view of Mildura in the mid-1960s.
An aerial view of Mildura in the mid-1960s.

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

100 years ago

TELEGRAMS: The Russian North-West Army is retreating under Bolshevik pressure. A Bolshevist submarine was sunk in the Baltic by British submarines. The House of Commons has passed the Coal Mines Bill, establishing a seven-hour day. Peace with Afghanistan was signed last Friday. The Belgium Chamber of Deputies unanimously ratified the peace treaty. The sudden reappearance of a representative of the discredited Hapsburg family as a virtual governor of Hungary is regarded suspiciously by England and France. (13.8.1919)

INFLUENZA: To the editor of The Cultivator: Sir, Permit me to utter a protest against the continuance of the drills during this outbreak of influenza. With all deference to the opinions held by the Health Officer, I maintain that to call two hundred boys together for four consecutive hours is to run a needless risk. Over half of the boys were absent from drill, yet several were totally unfit to be in the ranks, one boy in particular who had been in bed for eight days previous was compelled to fall out. Others came from homes in which one or more of the inmates were down. Anyhow, it seems to me that the safer policy of cancelling all drills until danger is past, is the wiser.

Yours etc., Arthur W. Pearce,  Mildura. (13.8.1919)

AWARDS: Another Mildura soldier has been awarded a military distinction-in this case the Military Cross. This is Lieut. A.R. Pegler, the newly appointed manager of the Mildura Butchery. He recently received the accompanying riband, in a letter from General Sir W. R. Birdwood, who congratulated him heartily on the recognition of his good and gallant work, sent kind regards and best wishes for the future. Art enlisted fairly early and saw service in Gallipoli before leaving for France. He secured his commission some 15 months ago. Art is a native of Mildura. Rather singularly, several of the “boys” in his corner of the town won distinctions, these being Lieut. J. S. Shilliday DCM, Sergeant Gus Pegler MM, Sergeant Arthur Armsden MM and Corp. Les Bliss MM. (13.8.1919)

GRAVES: Seven thousand photographs of Australian graves in France and Belgium have been taken and sent to the relatives of the dead soldiers. Eleven photographers will be occupied for another year taking photographs of the remaining 50,000 graves. The Australians are erecting a cross for every man lost. Those who died on the troopships bound for Gallipoli have crosses in the Gallipoli cemeteries. (13.8.1919)

75 years ago

NEW GUINEA: A new deal for New Guinea natives after the war was forecast today by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. E.J. Ward). The natives would get  better treatment than ever they had before. Indentured labour would be abolished as soon as possible and better health facilities would be provided, while special technical training and improved agriculture methods would also be planned. The difficulty at present was the uncertainty regarding the future administration of New Guinea which would not be decided until after the war. (14.8.1944)

EUROPEAN NEWS: All indications are that the Allied landing on the coast of southern France has been completely successful. Mediterranean headquarters are now maintaining silence regarding the operations, apart from the bare observation that they are “proceeding according to plan”, but the indications are that the Allied forces have established a bridgehead over a distance of 40 miles. Diplomatic quarters estimate that between 3000 and 4000 persons so far have been shot in the purge which followed the attempt on Hitler’s life, says Reuters’ Zurich correspondent. Over 500 submar­ines have been sunk since the outbreak of the war. “The German submarine fleet has become the hunted rather than the ­hunter.”(14.8.1944)

LOCAL GATHERINGS: The last weekly dance at the Irymple South School was well patronised with euchre and Monte Carlo competitions and a lucky door number. In the future the dance will be conducted fortnightly. There was fair attendance of members at last night’s meeting of the Cardross Younger Set with dancing being held, music being provided by Messrs A. Dolisson and 

J. McMillan. Members of the Red Cliffs branch of the CWA and friends are invited to the annual effort at the Women’s Club tomorrow afternoon. The monthly CWA card party will be held in the town hall on Friday, commencing at 7.45pm. The exhibition of the Red Cross work in the Mildura Town Hall will open this afternoon and will continue until tonight. The exhibition will include displays of the Apex Club Red Cross Woodworkers and the Red Cross Emergency Company. (11-17.8.1944)

50 years ago

BOOK FAIR: Sunraysia people are expected to respond well to an appeal for books for the annual book fair of the Mildura and Irymple technical schools. The fair will be held at the Mildura Tech, in Deakin Avenue, Mildura, on Thursday from 4pm to 9.30pm. Fair organiser Mr Bruce Wright said it went well each year and between $100 and $200 was usually raised. Mildura residents can expect to be called upon for donations of books by school students during this week. (11.8.1969)

SHOWS: Mr M.H. Philip, 91, is a man who has done a lot of things in his lifetime. He won a trophy for sheep dogs at the 1905 Wentworth Show. Mr Philip is not only a life member of the Show Society, but is the eldest member. The show gets under way today with sheep dog trials. The sheep dog trials are in the top bracket in Australia. The ­results are watched keenly by sheep men in all Australian states. Dogs have been attracted from as far away as Nyngan, 125 miles south-east of Bourke, Gippsland, the Goulburn Valley, Murray Bridge and Mt Gambier. The earliest shows were the citrus fairs held in the Melbourne Town Hall in 1895 and 1896. They proved a great advertisement for Mildura. They were big undertakings. There were 26 classes for dried fruits, 22 for bottled fruits and sauces, 13 for fresh fruits, 26 for jams, jellies etc., six for Mildura wines. A grand championship prize was offered for wine. (14.8.1969)

VIETNAM: The US Command said yesterday that another 3600 US troops would leave Vietnam this week as part of President Richard Nixon’s announced redeployment of 25,000 American troops by August 31. The withdrawal, to be completed by today, raises to 17,176 the number of troops so far pulled out of the Vietnam War. (14.8.1969)

 25 years ago

MILLEWA TRAIL: Historical group secretary Margaret Kelly said the trail was expected to take anything up to two hours to complete in vehicles to see how settlers lived and worked. The trail begins with a visit to the old Taperoo homestead to examine old sheep yards which were originally built with wire. There are also lots of remnants of the old open channels which we want to preserve, as well as a look at old bough shelters made out of wood, which are still standing. There is an old water tank which dates back to the turn of the century which the assoc­iation has discovered was used to water camels on their way through to the Pink Lakes. Mrs Kelly said she expected people to be interested in an old cellar which was built in the ground during the 1920s by one of the area’s original settlers. She said there had been stories that one Millewa family had to spend a Christmas Day in the cellar because the weather was so hot. The Millewa Train will cost $5 per person, which will cover the use of a guide for the tour and an afternoon tea out in the bush. People interested in taking part in the trail can contact Margaret Kelly, phone 283 213, or Bill Duncan, phone 283 295. (11.8.1994)

VOLUNTEERS: The Red Cliffs Nursing Home and Day Care Centre is on a recruitment drive for volunteers to assist the residents and day care clients. Activities nurse Mrs Di Rogerson said the home was looking for people who could spare two hours a week to share their hobbies and interests with the elderly residents. (11.8.1994)

SUN TOUR: A television audience of 130 million people in 111 countries will watch Mildura’s hosting of the start of the 1994 VicHealth Herald Sun Tour in October. Sunraysia Development Corporation chief executive officer Mr Eddie Warhurst said it would be far and away the largest audience to see the district. Mr Warhurst said the coverage by Channel 10 would also include Robinvale and Swan Hill, which would be a wonderful opportunity for the whole of the Murray Valley to be exposed worldwide. (13.8.1994)

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