Thursday, January 17, 2019

What happened in Garfield in 1918

Here is a look back 100 years to what happened in Garfield and surrounds in 1918. 1918 is, of course, the year the Great War ended on November 11, and the local community were still involved in fundraising for the War effort, local men were still enlisting and soldiers who had served were returning home, but this article will look at the other activities that went on in the area. Most of these reports come from the various newspapers available on Trove,

In January, the Shire of Berwick called for tenders for two bridges at Garfield, one on the 13 Mile and one on the 14 Mile. These were replacement bridges and I have found reports in a 1903 paper about the bad state of these bridges. In fact, the 14 Mile bridge was called a death trap, so whether they had been replaced in the interim (I doubt this) or just a series of repairs undertaken (more likely) I don’t know for sure. One hundred years down the track there are still issues with the 14 Mile Bridge at Iona, however the Council’s ‘solution’ is just to close the bridge to vehicular traffic, so we have not progressed at all in the past 100 years on this issue. (Pakenham Gazette, January 11 1918 and South Bourke & Mornington Journal, August 12, 1903)

The South Bourke & Mornington Journal reported on February 14 on the Berwick Shire Council meeting. Correspondence was read from a number of ratepayers of Iona and other parts of the Shire complaining of the spread of blackberries, and requesting that the council take some action in the direction of coping with the nuisance, which is causing considerable inconvenience and annoyance to landholders.  Once again 100 years on, blackberries are everywhere, so no change there!

 Dandenong Advertiser reported that on Saturday, May 22 Dr Mannix, the Catholic Archbishop, opened a bazaar in connection with St Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, Iona, where there was a very fine attendance. Dr Mannix gave a very powerful address, and referred to the [Conscription] referendum campaign, and to Roman Catholic schools and the education question. On Sunday, May 23, Archbishop Mannix opened the Convent School at Cora Lynn. The Advocate reported that there was a vast assemblage from the Parish at the opening. The school was located, not surprisingly, in Convent School Road and closed in 1975. (Dandenong Advertiser, May 30 1918 and The Advocate June 1, 1918)

On June 21, an Ugly Man Competition was held and raised over 50 pounds for the Red Cross. People voted for the ugliest man by donating money to each individual. The voting closed at 9.30pm and the local bank manager, Mr Gardner and his assistant Mr Fitzgerald then counted the money. The winner was Peter Pederson (dressed as Peter the Great), closely followed by Mr. G. Doherty (Kewpie), with Harold Gee (Bumper) a good third. A procession of the candidates was held and the winner, Peter the Great, was crowned with a scooped out pumpkin and then presented with the winning prize, a parcel 9 x 4 x 3 (feet or inches - it doesn’t say) which, when finally unwrapped, contained a single bank note. (Lang Lang Guardian, June 28 1918)

On August 5, the courteous and obliging, Miss Price, who had been in charge of the local Post Office for the past year was farewelled at the Garfield Hall. She was presented with a travelling rug. She said that her work in Garfield had been a pleasure and she would long remember the many kindnesses. (Pakenham Gazette August 9, 1918)

Local Cheese Factories performed well at the Royal Melbourne Show held in September. Here are some results - Cheese over six months - first, Iona Butter Factory; second, Cora Lynn Butter Factory. Cheese under four months - first, lona. Cheese suitable for export, over three months -  second, Iona. Cheese loaf, not over four mouths, second, Cora Lynn and third, Iona. (The Age September 24, 1918)

The Argus September 27, 1918

There were reports in The Age and The Argus that a man’s skeleton, fully clothed was found in Bunyip North, in a tent in a thick belt of scrub.  The clothing was rotten and the tent was much weather beaten.  The man, described as a swagman, was about 60 years old and under his body was a newspaper dated March 13, 1917. Several articles found in the tent were marked with an M. An inquest was held on September 26, 1918 and Mr C. Pearson, J.P returned an ‘open verdict’. I wonder who the man was and if he had any relatives who wondered what happened to their son, father or brother? (The Argus September 27, 1918 and The Age September 26 1918)

The Bunyip and Garfield Express reported on the Bunyip Police Court hearing held on October 2, 1918. The hearing was to prosecute Edward Dreier, licensee of the Iona Hotel in Garfield, for serving three persons, under the age of 18, with liquor. They were Frederick Sippo, Hugh Murdoch and Stephen McMillan. The first two boys were 16 and as it turned out Stephen was actually 18, so that charge was dismissed. The licensee was away on the day of the alleged event and the boys, who had been playing billiards in another room, were served by Mrs Dreier. However, Mr Dreier did say that the three boys had previously told him that they were over 18. The charges were dismissed by the Bench as Dreier had evidently put his foot down on the matter by taking every precaution. The three boys were also at the Gippsland Hotel (Top Pub) at Bunyip on the same day with George Schmutter. We know this as the publican, Henry Wilson, was also charged with serving liquor to underage persons.  Wilson refused to serve Murdoch and McMillan, but served Schmutter who had bought a drink (a shandy) for Sippo, but as the publican could not see Sippo and did not know he was underage the charges were dismissed. Not yet finished with their pub crawl, Schmutter and Sippo then went to the Railway Hotel where they were playing cards in a room behind the bar. Schmutter bought a bottle of wine, but the Bench was satisfied that Sippo had not been served so charges against the licensee, Tom Stacey, were dismissed. (Bunyip & Garfield Express, October 4 1918)

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