AN OLD-TIMER RE-VISITS OLD SCENES.
EXCURSION TO THE WALLAROO REGATTA.
(By G. E. Middleton, Salisbury.)
On New Year's Day, your correspondent expressed a wish that he would like to see the Wallaroo Regatta once again during his lifetime. This was told to Mr. E. Davies, who is a fitter in the Commonwealth Rail way workshops at Port Augusta, and who, with his wife, is a guest during his annual vacation. This event took place at the breakfast table when the days program was under discussion, where to go for an outing with their motor car. Mr & Mrs Davies at once fell in with this idea of mine, and told us to hurry up, as it would turn out to a long day's journey to Wallaroo and back. We got going at 9.15 a.m., and we took the same track as I did in September, 1881, to Kulpara, on the way to Ninnes with two horses and a dray; when I took as many days I then as hours on this trip to the same place.
The townships we passed were very much the same then as now, only instead of blacksmith's shops there are now motor garages, and the hotels had more trade with horse drawn vehicles and their drivers, than ever they will receive from the motorists. I noticed at each town we struck, that there was a road sign indicating the name of the town.
We did not stop the car till we got to Port Wakefield, where we had a look-about. All the little trade appeared to be at the east end of the town where the occupants of the various motor buses were having lunch at the Renown dining rooms, and the motorists paid a good deal of atten tiqn to a garage and bowser. At the corner, even the local baker had slutted his business there and was disposing of eatables at that end of the town. The railway station is also out of the way in a quiet spot, where no one can see it, whereas the motor buses appear to get the customers travelling. It was a bad day for the town when they altered the railway track and workshops; it kept a lot of men employed and gained nothing from the change over.
We reached Kadina just as the town clock was striking twelve. We parked the bus outside the square, and had lunch alongside the Rotunda in the shade of the trees that were planted since we left the district 40 years ago, when only Tamarisk trees were growing there. The local Corporation has done wonders for the town, in providing seats and every convenience for people visiting the town, and the layout of gardens and footpaths do credit to the men responsible lor the beauty of the surroundings. I took a stroll around during our stay, and called at the "Times" ' office, but found no one about. A by stander told me that the office girl had just gone to lunch. I noticed a lots of new shops and houses erected during the past forty years. We were at the opening of the rotunda late in the nineties, when they had at the Institute hall a fete or bazaar. The late Mr P. Jackson, who was chief organiser in the business, invited us to the turn-out. They also had a brass band in attendance and several orators with songs in the afternoon and other items etc- A large crowd attended.
Well, to get on with our trip. We arrived at Wallaroo about 1 p.m., and drove straight down to the North Beach, which we were told was a wonderful sea front. I think it is on a par with our little St. Kilda Beach over here, with no water about in the middle of the day. On reaching the slag bank, we encountered a thick rope, with a strong man at each end who politely asked us for a shilling, to drop the rope and not to spoil our motor car. So one of us found a stray bob and one of the men forthwith stuck a ticket on our windscreen, and informed us that would carry us any where in Wallaroo. We tied up the motor car near the centre of amusements, such as children riding on two camels, sliding down a shoot and other games suitable to the occasion. The tide was too far out to see much swimming from that point. There were hundreds of cars parked there, and tents were tied to each one.
After nosing about the various motor cars, whose occupants were all enjoying a good dinner, we ran against Mr Axford, of Bute, whose acquaintance I made at the Jubilee recently. The name was familiar to me over 50 years ago, and that is a long time ago to recognise the same person. Then we met Mr Archie McPherson, who now lives at Wiltunga. When a lad he was with his father on the Ninnes company's land at Mona, between 40 and 50 years ago. The next one to approach us were Mr and Mrs Saul Lamshed, also of Bute; then came along Mr James Trengove (Bute). I well remember when his father, in July, 1882, secured his land at an auction sale in the Land Office in Adelaide at the upset price of £1 0/6 an acre. All the family were great workers in the Bible Christian Church at Wiltunga in the early days.
Our next move with the motor was down towards the jetty. We stabled the car as near as possible to the crowd of motors. There must have been a thousand, easily, parked about there . The other three stayed with the motor, so my sister and I went on foot through the crowd to the end of the jetty (it seemed like a mile long) not an easy job either. My walking stick got jammed several times on the way, and the journey was anything but pleasant, tripping over lines and sleepers. On the way back the diving contest was on. We saw the champion dive. I could not see which cove won, but the young lady, in my estimation, got through the performance most gracefully and ought to have come off No. 1. Just at the finish we met Mr A. Bussenschutt, of Kadina. He was farming at Paskeville when I was at Willamulka close by.We encountered Mr W. U. Wall, of Port Broughton. I well remember both these boys attending the late Mr. James Poole's school here in Salisbury in the early seventies. The same school is still in the same position at the rear of the Anglican Church as formerly, and is now in use as a Sunday school. Mr Wall and his brother Richard were yearly boarders with Mrs Poole, and came from the Broughton extension then.
We got an early start homewards, and reached Kadina by 4.45 p.m. We were so well catered for at lunch time that we decided to have tea at the same place. We procured a billy of tea, etc., and had a substantial meal all to ourselves. We soon got a move on, passed Rosewarne's the blacksmith and wheelwright's shop in our time. Through Kadina East to the main road. After passing Paskeville about half a mile on I pointed out the road going north to our old home, to Mr Davies. He at once turned the motor around on to the road to Willamulka before I could say "Jack Robinson," and got running at high speed. The road was worn into ruts and stoney. I had not driven along it for over 40 years. We passed the late Messrs G. Baynes' farm and Anthony Lovis', Trebil's, James Ayles', Pearce s, Rodda's, Ramsey's and Joseph Ayles'. On Thomas' Plains the church is still there, and a new schoolhouse opposite on the site where they used to hold church services in Mr Rodda's old house. We came to Mr Harris', next farm, then crossed the old Clare track, and after a section further on we arrived at the southern corner of Section No. 83. We had two miles of land, from there on to the Willamulka chapel crossing. We motored into our old home, and I knocked at the back door. Mrs Bagshaw came out and invited the lot of us inside, and Mr, Mrs and Miss Bagshaw gave us a great welcome. Our time was very limited. We spent a very pleasant half hour chatting about recent events, etc. The sun was getting low, so we had to proceed on our long journey to Salisbury. We turned at the crossing to the right and took the Cameron road down the hill. I had a good view of the Willamulka church. I was looking back so eager to get a last look at the church nestling amongst the trees, that I felt like Lot's wife, and would turn into a pillar of salt straight away. The land on both sides of the Cameron road was formerly ours, and by the look of the stubble, Mr Bagshaw must have had a fine crop of wheat. We had a mile of land on either side of the road. The next section to No. 109 was held by Mr Edmund Parnell, of Kadina, now in the occupation of Mr W. A. Paterson, and on the other side, was the property of the Ninnes Land Company. The late Mr Alex Wight was manager. Unfortunately, I told Mr Davies to take the three chain road to the right and thence on to the old Clare track to Ninnes Plain, and I got admonished for my information. It was a good road when I drove along it 40 years ago. It is now all ruts and stones, and evidently he knew of the bitumen road from Bute to Ninnes, as he came that way from his mother s place at Cameron on his way down from Port Augusta.
We got down to Port Wakefield by sunset, and 12 miles this side we had a look around the old home of Mr and Mrs Michael Burt, who had the post office at Inkerman. They were old Salisbury people, and we had many a cup of tea in their house, which is now in ruins. We got home at 9 pm. after a great day's enjoyment. I might say that the Wallaroo regatta is not now in the same street as it was over 40 years ago, when hundreds of excursionists came down from Gladstone and intermediate stations to Kadina, and the same from Hamley Bridge to Wallaroo, also a Moonta crowd. They then all congregated at the jetty that was then in use, and the parklands alongside was the scene of picnic parties, all sorts of buggies, carts and the useful spring dray and horses biought their complement of visitors to the annual event. There were also flag ships decorated with flags and bunting, whilst pleasure boats such as the Adelaide, the steamer Ferret, and the Dawn took loads of young people out for a shilling trip for a mile or two. There was also a good bathing place for the men back of the slag bank, and the jetty was easier to walk on than this rough track.
On Thursday last we had with us Mrs Thorn, who resided at Cameron and Bute in the early days, Mrs Parker Parnell, who is Mr Davies' aunt, and Mrs Gordon Parnell, her daughter in law, here on a visit from Shephard's Hill. We gave the motor a rest, and I drove Mrs Davies and the two Mrs Parnells out to the Munition works. On the way to Penfield we called on Cr.H.J. White, who represents North Salisbury ward in the local Council, for permission to go through his padpock from the front gate. We did so, and went through the works in great style.
(By G. E. Middleton).
Your correspondent, "Philo," in his usual weekly instalment of. news to your "^aper, which was published on the 24th ultimo, referred1 to the near approach of New Year's Day and the difference in the kind of sport and the other enjoyments we used to get in the nineties to what there are at the Wallaroo regatta at the present time. He forgot to mention the quota that went there in the useful horse and spring dray, which took its place on the parklands opposite' tthe jetty in those good old days, which we will never forget, when everybody-was at peace with one another, even if the price of wheat and wages were small. We have survived it all, and we notice the contrast up till now of what is taking place.
I can inform "Philo" I remember the Wallaroo regatta in the eighties, when the late Hon. David Bews was the judge of the boat racing and the various swimming events. He left his parliamentary garments at his home, and donned the sporting suit and took his place in the boat with the other •chaps. He was Minister of Education in the Kingston and Playford GovernInents about that time. Tihere was no ^uch thing as payment of members in those ,dEys.- He got in Parliament on liis merits. Through him we got the Beetoldo water down to Bute in February
1686, which was a boon to the "cockies" at that time, it having- been a dry season.
We used to go by tram from Willamulka and Mona to Wallaroo, in wheat trucks to the regatta. We had over three miles to walk tihere. They never knew they could stop at crossings, jtill WeWb came along and taught them their business. At the approach to the jetty there was a publican's
booth, and if we felt at all thirsty 'he would be only too pleased to show us several barrels covered with wet bags. There was no ice about then—it had not been invented. There were no sides to the jetty so we had to look out and walk steady. When we reached the end, about halt a mile on. there were flagships decorated.
The}' Ciad been loading wheat before the holiday. They a]^wed us a seat on deck to watch the races for 1 a nominal fee. whilst the decorated
pleasure steamers "The Dawn," "Adelaide,"
"'Ferret/' and one from Port Pirie that brought a contingent down from there. They were engaged for the day by the Good Fatlier to carry passengers out to sea f°r a mi'e or so for tthe modest sum of 1/ each. All the young people liad a sail out, whilst us fellows (Messrs J. Hore senr., Sam March, T. McEntee, Julick Olsen, and myself) found a seat on a bundle of ropes which were rolled together. We -were in that hollow place on the jetty when all at once we took a sudden leap upwards' and down into space in a second. Then we found out the ropes were holding a vessel that was chained up to "a post and a pleasure boat Oiad run into it. Thus the ropes tightened up and threw us on our
- We drove down there one NewYears
Day when there was a water famine. It was in 1896. The Beetaloo
pipes were full of Broughtdn water, hence we all had our tongues out for a drink. A local resident took in the situation" and ran home over the hill, got his horse and dray and a 200 gallon tank, and \0itli one of Potter's pumps filled; it but of an under
ground tank and sold tihe lot at one. penny a glass, and did a roaring trade —made half hour trips during the day.
The other day I had a stroll smongSt the cabin cottages. They are built on tflie late Mr J. Harvey s estate, oh the east side of the line. They also "have about 200 on tihe west side of the property of Mr P. Guerin. They have taken seven acres and are only paying rent, whereas they have secured about 30 acres at the back of Park terrace, on the same terms. They have about 300 cottages there. They have a new school and are calling :t "Salisbury Extension." It is made of weatherboard with a (galvanised iron roof, and is 200 feet in length and 66 feet wide. It is divided into half a dozen 'class rooms and is -within three chains of the. recreation park. It is an up-to-date building, with a verandah the length of the -building. The cabin cottages are built of asbestos
cement, with corrugated sheeting for roofing. There are at (present about 60 families -who are well satisfied
with their homes—much 'better than they: were us-d to in flats.
We have had -numerous fires here lately. Cr. H. J, White and the volunteer
brigade are kept busy every other day ora the job. -What witfli the gas producer and trains there is no
end to fires, 1
I Printed anil published by the proprietors,
William Francis Taylor and
i Frederick William Pengelley, at the 1 Printing Office, Taylor Street, Kadina
(S.A.), every Friday morning.