Tag Archives: 1913

A Postcard …… from Jack Findlay

Murtoa is a small town at the centre of a wheat growing district in Victoria.   It is 305 km to the north west of Melbourne and this postcard, showing the railway station, was sent in 1913.

Murtoa Railway Station postcard 1913

We can see the two platforms, and a couple of horse drawn drays.  As yet I haven’t identified the billboards.  But  Murtoa hasn’t had a passenger train service  since 1993 though the lines are still used for freight.  It now has a population of less than 1000 people.

When the Tansey family shifted from the port town of Geelong to the flat plains of Murtoa in 1909 the young man Jack Findlay went with them. I don’t know why he did this.  His parents were still living in Geelong.  Jack  worked as a driver in Murtoa,  So who was this friend of the family, Jack Findlay ?

By 1913 the Tansey family had moved to Traralgon but Jack remained in Murtoa.  He posted the card the day before Hilda’s 12th birthday.

Murtoa Railway Station postcard 1913 BACK25.2.13

Dear Hilda

We are having warm weather up here.  Billy Heal is working for Wynne and Scott.  If you and Vera like to send views of Traralgon I will send you some views of Murtoa.    enclosing 5/- P.N. for your birthday.

Jack

N.B.     5/- P.N.  –  five shillings postal note

Wynne and Scott were coachbuilders.  13 refers to 1913  !!

But Jack eventually followed the Tanseys to Traralgon and married there to Fordyce Brereton in 1921.  But by that time the Tanseys had moved on to Hay in N.S.W.   Here  is Jack’s  wedding photo. He was 35 and Fordyce was 33.

 

Findlay Brereton 1921The Electoral Roll shows Jack  as a grocer in 1924 then a labourer in 1931.

A transcript from the Traralgon Record of  Tuesday, 18th October 1921, tells us

Wedding. FINDLAY-BRERETON.   A pretty wedding was celebrated at the Presbyterian Church on   Saturday last. when Mr John Findlay was united to Miss F. Brereton daughter of Mr J. H. Brereton, of Traralgon. The officiating clergyman was the Rev. James Smith. The bride, who was given away by her father, was attired in ivory crepe do chene, with Georgette over-skirt, and wore a handsomely worked veil (loaned by Mrs H. Campbell.) The court train was lined with shell pink crepe DE chene, embroidere with pearls and orange blossoms. She carried a nice shower bouquet. Miss Ruth Phillips rendered “Because” while the bride was signing the register. The bridesmaid were Misses Main and Pearl Elliott (friends of the bride), and they wore pretty frocks of lemon and lavender crepe do chene, with black tulle hats., and carried posies of pansies and sweet peas. The train bearer was little “Diddy” Rogers (niece of the bride), who wore a pretty frock of shell pink crepe do chene and hat to match. She carried a basket of pale pink carnations and Mr Ed. Findlsy was best man, and Mr Alf. Brereton groomsman. The reception was bold at “Loch Gorm,” the residence of the bride. The usual toasts were enthusiastically honored. The reception room wee prettily decorated with ferns and pink roses. The bridegroom’s gift to the bride was a pair of pearl ear rings, and the bride’s gift to the bridegroom a pair of gold sleeve links. The happy couple left by the even- ing train for Lorne, where the honey moon will be spent. The bride traveled in a smart navy coat and skirt,   with hat to match.

They were singing “Because” at weddings even that long ago.  Those naughty Beatles pinching the name of the song for one of their jingles  !

So this little mystery remains. Why did Jack Findlay follow the Tanseys around Victoria.  The Tansey girls were only children and Tom Tansey was 16 years older than  Jack. There is no obvious connection between the two.  But friends are friends so who am I to question that.

Other interpretations of postcards and proverbs, many humorous and some serious, can  be seen on this week’s Sepia Saturday..

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Fred and the Incident of the Flooded River

Here is a picture of three men on horseback.  The one on the right is Frederick William Fricke  (1870-1949). and towards the end of this post he will have a little trouble with a flooded river.  I will just call him Fred.  Why is he on horseback ?  Let me tell you something about him.

1913 on horseback in Gippsland.  Fred is on the right.

1913 on horseback in Gippsland.    Fred is on the right.

Fred was brought up on a farm in Central Victoria.  Whereas two older brothers stayed on the land he went into the Victorian Public Service and started off on the bottom rung,  Then in 1913 he and two others were appointed by the Government to be the initial members of the Country Roads Board.  This had been set up to identify the arterial roads in Victoria, to plan their construction and maintenance, a strong central authority to  ensure consistent standards across the state.

Inspecting the remote Dargo Road in a chauffeur driven car, also in 1913.

Inspecting the remote Dargo Road in a chauffeur driven car, also in 1913.

So off they set, by horseback and by car, to inspect Victoria.  The three of them gradually endorsed construction contracts and by 1917 had produced a map of Victoria identifying  what they considered to be the necessary arterial and main roads.

Athe 1917 Coutry Roads Board Map of Victoria identifying the shires, the main roads and the railways.

The 1917 Country Roads Board Map of Victoria identifying the shires, the main roads and the railways.

As time went on there were few changes in the membership of the board.  Originally Calder, McCormack and Fricke in 1913,  by 1935 McCormack had become the Chairman with members Fricke and Calloway.  Fricke was to become Chairman in 1938.

So at the beginning of May in 1935 it was raining.  At Warburton the Yarra River was rising rapidly,  isolating the small township, flooding houses and driving the residents to higher ground.  The river rose 10 feet in 12 hours and washed away two bridges above the town. .  Downstream through Melbourne the river had been rising at 4 inches per hour.and in East Kew the river was nearly a mile wide.

So what were the three CRB members doing in Warbuton.  Two days after the flooding started they were in Warburton to inspect the damage done to roads and bridges. Fred, Chairman McCormack  and two locals were crossing the river on a temporary punt at Hazelwood Road, between Warburton and East Warburton.  The rope which was used to pull the punt back and forwards became slack and suddenly the floodwaters poured over the upstream side of the punt, drenching the occupants. The punt was bouyed with empty oil drums and fortunately the rope didn’t break so that they were able to recover and pull the punt to the far side, with nothing worse than a fright and a soaking.  A walk back towards Warburton brought our bedraggled men to a footbridge over the river and they were able to make their way to the comfort of the Warburton Chalet where they spent the night before returning home the next day.

Warburton Chalet

Warburton Chalet

Q:  Were they initially expecting to spend the night and so had a suitcase with a change of clothes or did they have to spend the night wrapped up in towels while their clothes dried.  And would a man in 1935 pack a spare suit in his suitcase if he was only going away for the night.  Quite puzzling  !

And before you wander off to view some other flood stories on Sepia Saturday, a few pictures of and early Warbuton,  overlooked by the Donna Buang Range.  There is a pause button, lower central, on each photo, if you want to inspect any photo more closely.

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