Thursday, January 17, 2019

What happened in Garfield in 1911

The article I wrote for the first edition of The Spectator looked at what happened in Garfield in 1910, (read it here) and this is the article I wrote for the February 2011 edition of  The Spectator - a look back at Garfield, 100 years ago, in 1911. These references are taken from The Argus, on-line at There are plenty of reports about the Garfield Races, of which Mr W.Reidy was the Honorary Secretary, so The Argus is a good source of information if you are a race fan.  

There is a report of April 13 in which a bookmaker, Walter Turnbull, was charged with uttering counterfeit sovereigns, at these races on March 31.The case was heard by the Police Court Bench at Bunyip under Police Magistrate Harris and J.P’s Pearson and A’Beckett. The conclusion reached by Magistrate Harris was that there was a grave doubt of feloniously uttering and the accused was discharged. Uttering means putting into circulation counterfeit coins or notes.

The Argus August 2, 1911

 Amongst the farming reports in The Argus is a report of June 16 said the Barker Brothers of Garfield sent a consignment of Jonathan apples to Hamburg in Germany and realized an average price of 18 shillings and six pence per case.  On August 2, a report said that in the past six months nearly 6,000 tons of farm produce had been trucked away from the Bunyip, Garfield, Tynong and Nar Nar Goon Railway stations, representing a sum of over £4,000 in freight. Garfield despatched 3,287 tons.  This indicates the significance of rail as a form of transport and the amount of produce grown in the area, which also would have included the Swamp.  

The agricultural wealth of this eastern end of the Shire of Berwick, may have been a factor in the decision, made in 1911, to re-locate the Shire Offices from Berwick to the more central town of Pakenham. The original Shire Offices had been built in 1865 for the Berwick Road Board, on top of the hill at Berwick.  The new Building opened in 1912 and  has since been relocated to the corner of Main Street and the Princes Highway in Pakenham, and is now the home of the Berwick  Pakenham Historical Society.

However, it is the personal stories in The Argus, which I find most interesting.  On October 11, there was a report of a Breach of Promise of Marriage case. Mrs Charlotte Ewen, formerly of Garfield, a widow with a two year old child, was claiming damages of £1,000 against Mr William Park Temby, farmer, of Bunyip for damages of breach of promise. A subsequent report on November 21 said that as part of Mrs Ewen’s damages she was claiming £40 for the cost of her trousseau. Mr Temby, 33, who had a farm of sixty acres, claimed that Mrs Ewen had broken off the engagement because she wanted more than I could give her, the furniture, and a  longer honeymoon than I was prepared to spend.  His financial position had changed due to considerable losses through potatoes with the Irish blight. A witness, Elizabeth Flett of Bunyip, said that that Mrs Ewan had told her she had broken off the engagement as Mr Temby deceived her about his property and that most of it belonged to his mother, she also did not think she would get along Mr Temby’s mother. The jury of six took 45 minutes to make a decision and awarded Mrs Ewen £50 in damages. To put that in perspective, a female factory worker, at the time, had an average annual wage of £70. Was she just a gold digger or was he a heartless cad? Who knows, but as you can no longer sue for breach of promise when an engagement breaks up then these sort of press reports are, unfortunately, a thing of the past.

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