FROM SALISBURY TO BUTE JUBILEE CELEBRATIONS.
[By G. E. Middleton, Salisbury)
Having only horse-drawn vehicles and a wheelbarrow to get about we again decided to make the journey to Bute by rail car to attend the festivities in connection with the Jubilee of the District Council of Bute. Our local station master, Mr Powning, who is out to do business for the department, assured us some time before the event that excursion fares were to be issued to Bute during the Jubilee week, and we could return till the 5th of October. That would suit us just right as we also had been invited to the opening of the Willamulka church hall on the 2nd October. However, we arranged to go on the Saturday, the day His Excellency the Governor attended. It was the event of the Week, the aeroplanes included, though we see them every day here, close to Parafield, without anything to pay out.
When we approached the railway officials about the excursion, they informed us that it was "off", only the week-end; but they telephoned the Adelaide officials if they could extend the excursion to us. The only reply was that ordinary fares would be required, and we were allowed to return in six months. It cost the three of us £2 13/6. We could have gone by aeroplane for less than that; the aerodrome is only, a mile from here. And the railway heads wonder why everybody drives a motor car and don't patronise their little business now. Eventually a railcar and a trailer came along. We were told to get aboard the leading car as it was going to Redhill, and the trailer was for Moonta. The trailer appeared to be more respectable, so we got in, and were told to change into the front one at Bowmans.
Nothing of much importance look place on the journey till we arrived at Kallora. The car did not stop, and a young woman had to get out there, as her people were waiting with a motor car for her to join them for a trip to the Balaklava show. She had the seat at the back of where I was perched, and requested me to stop the car. I rushed through our and the leading car, over a lot of cases, etc., to where the driver sat. I at once told him to stop, and as we had gone nearly two miles, he said he would take her on to Bowmans. The conductor came back with me and tried to explain that she ought to have informed him on the way up about stopping at Kallora; but nothing could convince her but that he was to blame in passing through that important place, and that she would report him on arrival at Bownans. I fully expected to see him down this way on the hill at Northfield, serving a sentence over the incident. He told her that he would take her to Balaklava or back to Kallora, but that would not suit her arrangements. The last I saw of her, she was laying down the law to the stationmaster at Bowmans.
We then had to change into the Redhill car. There we got smoke all through, even two young women were puffing smoke out of cigarette's. We had to put up with that sort of consolation til we got to Snowtown. On the way we met Mr E. Matthews, who was on his way to the Bute Jubilee. He formerly resided at Bute. At Snowtown we had an hour to wait for the rail car to get there from Brinkworth, and feeling hungry we came to a tea, coffee and refreshment shop. Owing to a scarcity of cats there, the pies and pasties had gone up to fourpence each, and a pot of tea likewise to a shilling. Eventually we got into the car on its way to Moonta, and this turn out appeared more comfortable. The seats were facing each other, and they had excursions from Snowtown and Redhill that day. There was a large number going to the Bute Jubilee pageant with us.
On arrival at Bute we saw the town in holiday attire. The decorations were simply marvellous. Mr W. Paterson met us at the station. Everybody seemed to be in the street adjacent to the Soldiers' Memorial Hall about the time the Governor was performing the opening ceremony. We met a lot of old friends again after an absence of 34 years. Mr Paterson motored us over to the Aero Club's aerodrome. The aeroplanes came too close to be pleasant for us. We see them every day here, but they generally keep well aloft owing to the high tension electric wires. Subsequently we were motored back to the institute hall by Mr R. Spry, another old pioneer of Kulpara and Ninnes. We got in touch with Cr. W. N. Trengove, the chairman of the Bute Council, who introduced us to His Excellency and Lady Dugan, who seemed quite interested in the old pioneers of the district, especially when we told him I was one of the first ratepayers in the Hundred, of Ninnes, that I took up scrub land there 54 years ago, and that we had journeyed up from Salisbury to attend the celebrations that day. He told me that he could locate this place, as he had passed over here by aeroplane from the aerodrome at Parafield. We passed a very pleasant time chatting to the old-timers. The afternoon tea was excellent; the ladies had provided us with an abundant spread of good tea coffee and provisions. We were again motored back to the aero sports, and then Mr Paterson motored us to the town and later to his home at Mona: were we stayed till the following Thursday.
On Sunday I rode to Bute in Mr Dayman's motor lorry. Mr Dayman was also guest of Mr and Mrs Paterson during the celebrations, and come from the Meadows. The hall was crowded, and the Rev. G. Parrott had charge of the proceedings. Dr. C. T. Piper gave an interesting address. The singing and music were splendid. A quartette by the Willamulka male choir was well tendered. The place was well remembered by us for its good singers. At the conclusion of the service we took a stroll around the town and to the home of Mr and Mrs J. H. Barnes., where we met Mrs Alfred March, senr., of Henley Beach and formerly of Willamulka. Mr Barnes was a prominent citizen in Bute when we left there 34 years ago. We had a very pleasant chat about old times, and he seemed to be quite rejoiced to meet us again after so many years. Subsequently we were invited to tea in the Council hall, along with visitors from other parts of the State. The local ladies provided us with a sumptuous spread, which we all enjoyed. In the evening the Soldiers' Memorial hall and gallery were again full, and people were seated in the aisle. The chairman of the Bute Council, Cr. W. N. Trengove, presided at each service. Mr Ebsary was choirmaster, and the Rev G. R. Parrott gave an address. Special singing was rendered by the Methodist combined choirs at each service.
On the Monday night the final commemorations of the Jubilee took place in the Memorial Hall, when Cr. W N Trengove occupied the chair. I being one of the first ratepayers now living, was given a seat on the platform next to the chairman. I was looked up for rates in 1885 in the old Ninnes Council at their first meeting, having occupied land there from 1881. The only Councillor now living, Mr W. A. Young also occupied a seat on the platform. He was in the Council when Ninnes, Wiltunga and Tickera were amalgamated in 1887. Neither of us was recorded in your issue of October 2nd although we came out in a picture with the other nine or ten. Some of them came to Bute years after the township was settled. Mr Bettess, senr., gave reminiscences of the early days of WiItunga, and his experience of the hardships he endured, which all of us went through. I was there 12 months before Wiltunga was taken up.
Mr Betts spoke of the numerous kangaroos that destroyed his wheat, going through it in flocks. But all the kangaroos I saw together in one lot would be about half a dozen at the most. The damage they did to the crops, was not near so destructive as that done by the wallabies. We had to put up a basket fence out of mallee to keep them out of the first 100 acres we had in the season 1882, which produced eight bushels an acre. I sowed only half a bushel of wheat an acre broadcast.
Mr Green also gave a sketch of the early days of Ninnes, but he appeared too young to have been a ratepayer in those times. Mr Yelland took credit on behalf of the Farmers' Union to have been the first to introduce the superphosphate into the district; but I still maintain- that the local storekeeper (Mr J. H. Barnes) who was the local agent for the Australasian Implement company, was to the fore in that respect. He had both the super mid drills going strong before the Farmers Union came along, and Messrs Norman & Co. (of Bank street) came a good second. They had Messrs H. Bamman, of Paskeville, and Hedley Coker, of Salisbury, as travelling agents; in the Bute and Willamulka districts, and sold quite a number around our end of Ninnes. Mr Yelland had the Bute agency for Messrs John Darling & Son, and it would not have been profitable for him to have advocated the Farmers Union super, when his own firm had the sale of the Thomas' brand, which did not suit the land there like the imported manures were doing.
The late Mr Alex. Wight, who had the oversight of the Ninnes Land Company's property then, and had been there some years in that capacity, was the first man to introduce the Merits of the Farmers' Union into the district so much so, that he called a meeting of farmers in the Bute assembly room, to which I had been invited. Giles, M.P., who was a director, and two other gentlemen from Jamestown, addressed the farmers and pleaded with them to pull together, and advocated a branch at Bute. Mr Wight took the names of several as members but the majority was like myself, they wanted money themselves and not pay out what they had to keep any sort of union going. The other merchants' paid us for the wheat we had, so why complain about them making a profit. They were not purchasing our wheat for fun.
To get back to the Jubilee meeting. Well, the queens came along. The committee had an alarm clock on the platform, set to go off at 10.30 p.m. till 10.35 p.m. The Queen of Ninnes and Kulpara was leading, and the Queen of Bute was a good second. Two minutes before closing time the supporters of the Queen of Wiltunga sprung fifty pound's on her number, which they had kept back, and with a few extra pounds brought her up to the winning post. We had no chance to cap that for our Ninnes lassie. All the same, she looked charming. My sympathy was with the Tickera Queen, whose supporters were fully twenty miles away and could not be there to back her chances: However, had there been a prize offered for the best girl, and had I been the judge, the award-would have, gone in her direction.
I was glad to see Mrs Allan Paterson crown her as well as the others, and the chairman, Mr Trengove, on behalf of the committee presented a gold wristlet, watch to each queen. Their respective mothers at the back of them, and the queens themselves made a splendid picture when their photo was taken afterwards.
I met Mr Wood there, and he informed me that in my last report of the early history of Bute I omitted to mention the late Mr J. J. Chapman, the local carpenter. I ought to have remembered him, as he made a bookcase for the Willamulka Sunday school in 1885, which Mr Mercer ordered. I was the treasurer, so I paid him £3 15/ for the job. We were this first customers.
I was also reminded by Mr Bettess, senr., about Mr Buckley being left out. Mr Buckley held a miscellaneous lease of some land in Wiltunga before the other was surveyed in 1881. I recollect him having the 18 mile tanks, on the Barunga road, to look after when we first settled in the locality. Also with regard to the seed drills, in the nineties, the local hotel proprietor, the late Mr J. P. Rooney, had the agency for the Massey Harris drills for Qutterbuck Bros., of Hindley street. He had also clients that took a fancy to that class. His (terms were very reasonable, spreading over a long period.
On the Tuesday morning Mr. Rater son motored us to Kadina. We called at his brother's place on the way. Mr and Mrs Allan Paterson also had their share of visitors, including Mrs Paterson's aunt (Mrs March, of Henley Beach) and two other young ladies from Adelaide. On arrival at Kadina we were the guests of Mr and Mrs Daniel, who were formerly of Kulpara and Thomas' Plains respectively. We called on Mrs and Miss Westphall, who were also from Thomas' Plains, The next place we struck was Mr Albert Bussenschutt's, who was one time farming at Paskeville. He originated from Salisbury, as also his sister, Mrs Westphall. We paid a short visit to the Rev. E. G. King, the Congregational minister, and Mrs King, Mr King, and a student of Parkin College, had charge of the Salisbury Congregational church on two vacations, three months each time, and took his turn throughout the year along with the other students. He used to climb down from his pulpit and sing a solo for us. We were much indebted to him for his service. We were let loose all the afternoon in Kadina, while Mr and Mrs Paterson had to motor down to Moonta to a funeral. Therefore we made good use of the time at our disposal. We did some shopping there, and had a chat with Mr Bowman, who as a boy used to stay at the late Mr Roe's place, at Mona, for his school holidays, also at Mr E. Parnell's as well. I also called at the "Times" office, as you know. I met Mr James Trengove, of Bute, there.
Our time was about up then Mrs Paterson had arranged to be back from Moonta at 5 p.m. at her parents home near the post office (Mr and Mrs Joseph Ayles). We were there to the minute. Mr Ayles was ill in bed. He is in his 87th year, and Mrs. Ayles is 82. I remember them getting married early in the "Seventies," here, at the Church of England. Our day school was at the back of the church, and Mr Poole let us children out early to see the event, which, was the first that I had ever seen. Mr Ayles' father was an early settler on the Para Plains, and settled there in 1839. Mrs Ayles' parents were Mr and Mrs Albert Bussenschutt, whose farm adjoined Mr Heier's, which is now the Parafield aerodrome. They came to Parafield in the "Fifties." Mr Henry Bussenschutt still resides at Salisbury. Mr Joseph Ayles took up 550 acres at Thomas' Plains in 1875, fully sixty years ago. He is therefore the oldest living farmer that bought land in the Hundred of Ninnes. He told me when I went in to see him, that he bought his land at auction. They ran him up to £5 15/ an acre for the plain land. The whole plain consisted of about two thousand acres. When I went there in 1881, the plain altogether looked from our sandhill a small green patch surrounded by high mallee trees, which was four miles south from us. He had as neighbors then, Messrs Anderson, the Roddas, Pearces, Ramseys, etc. He has a good memory, and can recollect events that happened 70 and 80 years ago in Salisbury.
On the Wednesday, Mr Paterson motored us down to his sister's place (Mrs Malcolm McPherson). She was busy cooking for the ''turn out" they were having at Willamulka, and the men folk were shearing. We went to the opening of the Willamulka church Sunday school halt, in the afternoon, full particulars of which appeared in your paper. We again renewed old acquaintances, and young ones, too.
On the Thursday morning, Mr Paterson motored us to the Bute railway station to catch the rail car, which came along on the way to Brinkworth. We enquired at the station if we could stay in it to Brinkworth and then come down here in comfort by train on the Pirie line. This he would consent to do if we paid another 10/6 on top of the other lot we paid here at Salisbury. I offered1 3/6 extra. I even went so far as to pay the fare from Snowtown to Brinkworth but he could do nothing like that on his own. That is what they call "working the railways on business lines" when a motor chap would jump at the offer on top of what was paid before. As to their wide gauge, I see little or any benefit that has been derived for all the money that was spent on that wild cat scheme, when they already knew that the standard gauge was bound to come along sooner or later.
On arrival at Snowtown we were told to hurry up, as we only had two minutes to change over. We had to climb up on a platform three feet, high, or else walk along a chain or so to the end. About a dozen of us had to jump up. They did not even have a step ladder to help us. No sooner had we got in, the car was off. The back part was all tobacco smoke, and the front half smelt strongly of fish that had been out of the water too long. They had two large baskets of fish in the front along with the driver, and a number of cans of cream, a very good mixture. Needless to say, we opened all the windows within reach. On arrival at Bowmans we were had of a cup of tea each, for which they had the neck to charge us fourpence each. The railways ought to be a paying proposition.