Thursday, January 17, 2019

What happened in Garfield in 1916

This is a look at what happened in Garfield in 1916, 100 years ago. These references all come from digitized newspapers available on Trove,  There were many references to the War and how the community was supporting the war effort, but this is mainly a look at the non military activities in the town.

The Dandenong Advertiser reported on January 27, 1916 that the new rifle range for the Garfield Rifle Club was formally opened on Saturday by Mr Thomas Roxburgh of Melbourne. In addressing the gathering Mr Roxburgh emphasised the necessity for all young men to fit themselves for the defence of their country. Thomas Roxburgh was a Shipping Agent who, in 1912, planted the first commercial crop of asparagus ever grown in Victoria at his farm on Fallon Road, Vervale. His property was called Cheriton Park, though locally it was referred to as Roxburgh Park.

The same article reported that bush fires have been burning in all directions around the township for the last three days. On Sunday morning they approached as close as the State School fence, but fortunately no damage was done to property. The principal sufferer was Mr T. W Jefferson, who lost about 20 cords of firewood.

The Argus reported on February 22 about another fire in Garfield  At about 1 o’clock this morning the general store occupied by Messrs E. Harcourt and Co. together with practically the whole stock, was totally destroyed by fire. The fire was first noticed by George Scotland, a baker employed by Mr G. Bird. It was then burning on the extreme eastern side of the building and had apparently started on the outside. This was the second time within eight months that Harcourt and Co have had their premises burnt.

On March 31 the Gippsland Mercury had the headline ‘A Brotherly Affray’ - Two brothers named Borthwick from England were shot today on a farm at Garfield South. A dispute is said to have arisen over farm matters. A third man is in the Warragul Hospital with a shot wound in his cheek. Neither brother is fatally injured.

Another violent incident made the news on June 9 in the Dunmumkle Standard (a newspaper based around the Murtoa, Rupanyup area). At Garfield on Sunday as a result of a quarrel, an old man named John Munro was struck on the head with an axe. Munro, in company with three others, was in his hut when a man known as “Matt the Austrian” arrived. A quarrel occurred. Munro put the Austrian outside, but finding an axe the Austrian smashed the window. Munro went to stop him and was attacked receiving a terrible gash on the left side of the head and several heavy blows with the back of the axe on the muscles of the back whilst he was on the ground. The police who were sent for are now endeavouring to trace the assailant.

The Age July 1, 1916

On July 1, The Age reported that a Mr Hull from Garfield was walking along a lonely track when he came across the body of a dead man. Constable Anstee of Bunyip was called and the remains were conveyed to the Iona Hotel at Garfield. The body was decomposed and Dr Cowan who conducted the inquiry was of the opinion that the death took place at least a month ago. From letters on the body it is thought that the man’s name was Peter Lynch of Cork, Ireland. His remains were buried at the Bunyip cemetery. I’d imagine that the current owners of the Iona Hotel are glad that deceased bodies are no longer conveyed to their establishment.

The Dandenong Advertiser reported on another fire on August 3. Mr R. Lennox of Iona had his large hay shed containing 50 tons of prime hay, a quantity of chaff and sundry articles being consumed in the flames.  Sadly for Mr Lennox the shed was not insured and the fire had been started by his little child, a boy of tender years.

The same article also reported that Garfield residents had a very successful jumble fair; articles of every description being collected by a committee of local ladies and £40 was raised for the Red Cross.

The Dandenong Advertiser had a report on September 21 about a concert and Queen Carnival held on the 13th. Miss Kathleen Scanlon ‘Queen of Erin’ proved to be the winner; the other contestants being Mrs Aspinall, ‘Queen of England’, Mrs M. Lennan, ‘France’ and Miss Park who represented ‘Belgium’ The competition was initiated by Mrs Aspinall and was entered into with spirit by the local ladies.  The function raised £70. Mrs Jean Aspinall was the wife of William Aspinall, the Bank Manager.

The Dandenong Advertiser of September 28 reported on recent floods which caused enormous damage and great suffering in many homes.  It reported the sad news that a son of Mr T. Cunningham of Tynong was drowned in a drain in front of his house. Mrs Cunningham saw her son disappear, but was powerless to save him.  The same flood claimed the life of a boy from Koo-Wee-Rup, Lyle Raymond Loveday, who was drowned whilst out rabbiting. The paper reports that the boy was an exceptionally promising lad and would have been 12 years old on the day after the fatality.

Finally we will end 1916 as we began with yet another fire in Garfield. The Argus of December 27 reported that at about 3 o’clock the day before a four roomed dwelling owned by Mr Gaghin and used as a men’s quarter was burnt. The building was insured for £100.

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