Anzac Day 2012

Our wettest year to date. David from the roadhouse read the ode at the dawn service.

Nigel Hodge spoke about the days on the land during WW2

I started school about the time when the war started and went permanently until 1940.
We were lucky to have teachers right through the war years even though it was mostly half time with Butchers Ridge.
Names of the Teachers we had
1. Ray Fyfe
2. Jim Egan
3. Neil smith
4. Jack Alexander
5. Warne
6. Doug Sprout
7. Peggy Gillies
8. Cliff Craig
9. James Devaney
10. Heather McDonnell
11. Fiona McDonnell
12. Alex Magill

I had 12 teachers in 7 years.
That was all the education l got. There was no Secondary Education within our reach.
Petrol rationing came in sometime in 1940 and by 1941 rations were 2000 miles per year per car. In June 1941 the Prime Minister reduced private motorist to 1000 miles per year. That would have limited our family to 6 trips to Bairnsdale per year.
Great Britain had 1500 miles and New Zealand 1600 miles per year
Rationing forced Australians to change their methods of transport. A lot of dairy farms went back to horse and cart to take milk and cream to a pick up point on main road. Housewife’s in cities went to push bikes to do their shopping.
Gas producers were fitted to a lot of cars but they were unsatisfactory and not popular. Refuelling with charcoal was a dirty process during the Labour Government of the 1940’s. Created Black dust also engine wear because of its dry dusty nature. Petrol rationing ended on 8th February 1950. End of petrol rationing was coalition government promise when they won government November 1949.
We never had a football as kids during the war as rubber and it seemed everything was used for the war effort. Most of the young people of my age suffered when playing football later in life most of us not good kicks because of not having practice as children.
Our parents would ring up Buchan Store and a lot of supplies were brought up in the mail car which was a utility mostly, 3 times a week. Lighting kerosene was brought on the mail in big square 4 gallon tins, two to a packing case made of pine boards.
Bread came in loaves from the bakery at Buchan rapped in brown paper. The mailman had to be careful where it was stacked and if it was too close to the kerosene you could have kero flavoured bread.
Mrs Peter McDonnell use to get a fresh loaf of bread on the mail every Thursday to have nice fresh bread for lunch.
One of the old characters in our area was a German called Harry Westphal. He did not like Mrs McDonnell and they had an argument over something. Harry caught a ride up to his hut on the Mail from Buchan one particular Thursday he sat on Mrs McDonnell’s loaf of bread all the way up to Butchers Ridge. The loaf looked like a big flat pancake with brown paper wrapping. Mrs McDonnell was not a happy lady at lunch time.
Children living on farms like us probably had it a lot easier than most because we had house, cows and vegie patch. We made our own butter and jams. Dad killed our meat from sheep and cattle we even ate kangaroo meat and rabbits also and had our own hens and eggs.
Tea and sugar was rationed. We as children did not drink tea until we left school. Clothing was rationed and Mother made a lot of our clothes, knitted socks, etc.
Our parents got flour in 3 bushel jute bags. Mum made bread with potato yeast she made herself. It would start fermenting with a little drop of beer which kept producing for about 3 months then went sour and she would start the process again with clean equipment.
Kerosene tins were used with the top cut out and a wire handle put in to heat water, etc. over open fires. Tins cut down to about 6 or 8 inches height were the bread tins for our mother.
I think the highlight for us kids during the war was the V.D.C. It was something like Dads Army in England. Every week local farmers and men from all ages gathered at the local hall on Butchers Creek for drill and training. Three returned solders from World War One were the instructors; Jock Rankin, Keith Rogers and Colin Hume. We kids used to get a stick and copy what the adults were doing. There were three men that never seemed to be able to march in step with the rest.

I think Jock Rankin was a retired Corporal from the Scottish Army. He could really bark out the orders. One day he pulled three out and called it the Awkward Squad put the three together and drilled them separately up and down the road blasting them with orders and saying left, right, l don’t think he was ever satisfied with the end result.
Towards the end of the war us school children were asked to collect as much aluminium as we could, old saucepans, lolly papers, anything aluminium no matter what it was. This was bagged and sent off to somewhere. It was some years after the war that l found out what they used it for, it was chopped into little pieces and spread from aircraft at night which stuffed up the German radar beams.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *