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An Early Pioneer of Avenel (1980)

contributed by greenfingers
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Dads side of the family arrived in Avenel district about 1898. My mothers side were here much longer, they settled on a property called Rose Bank, on Tarcombe Rd. We shifted into town for schooling about 1915. My first school teacher was Miss Hayes, Miss Horner and Mr Hambrook. The headmaster was Mr Carse. Later teachers were Miss Allan, Miss Horner and Mr Hambrook.

I vaguely remember lot of early buildings were demolished when we first came to Avenel, what were not demolished the termites would have eaten the rest. I remember a gate keepers cottage on the old Hume Hwy. The Imperial Hotel was redbrick, the first dentist I went to had a practise there, he used to come from Nagambie (Golding) once a fortnight. Sid Hall another Dentist came from Seymour, he also had a room there. My first wife, she was only a girl at the time reckons she ended up on the floor with Old hall on top of her, pulling her teeth. We later divorced.

There were no more Doctors in Avenel after Dr Dobie, two midwives one was Mrs Young, Vics mother and the other was Mrs Murphy, who was midwife at my birth. She was grandmother to Mrs Mary Hayes

After 3 months driving the baker's cart for Mr Bob Underwood, I went & worked for a family on a farm where I stayed for 7 years and then and worked for Mr Reynolds on Falcon Vale and stayed for 45 years until the property was sold. In those early days you were very lucky if you owned a horse, even a Jinker was luxury. There were a few bicycles, most walked.

Unveiling of the monument in Bank St, my Uncle was on the Council at the time, when they unveiled the monument, it was a stinking hot day and all the school children were made to stand on either side of Bank St. Later the sealing of Hume Hwy which was the Sydney Road or Coach Road.

Depression: Influx of Little Brothers Movement. This was a scheme started in England, there were sponsors in Avenel and they used to get small children, there were several in the district, they were not too popular because a lot of native born were out of work. No Social Security, how out of work people survived, the only meal ticket, trapping rabbits. Another thing I remember was the unemployed moving along the Highway on foot, we lived on the Highway and it was the usual thing to have people dropping in for a hand out.

There was a light horse troop in Avenel. An Officer used to ride from Seymour. Later they were under Lt J. Shelton, after a few years my brother & I used to ride to Seymour. Vic Young was a Sgt in that. The horses got better rations that the people themselves.The Unit was stationed at the Oddfellows Hall.

Apart from Fires, Drought, Floods there was not much of interest.

You had to attend School, your parents were paid so much a mile, and usually drove a gig to school

Between the wars was mostly lean, both for farmers and workers. After 2 World War work was plentiful.

Rabbit fences: A fence was erected across Tarcombe Rd to stop rabbits coming from the hills, during the summer, they used to migrate once they had eaten the hills out. The fences were erected between 1918-25. It was not long before rabbits became a curse, they did not know how to eradicate them, and finally used netting on the boundary fences. Rabbits were processed and they exported them. The fur was used for hats. When the rabbit population was really bad, they would kill up to 600 at a time. One could sell them to the butcher for 11 pence per pair. Bob Tingay used to drive the rabbit cart. Bob and I were the best hand shearers in the district and Bob could shear up to 100 sheep a day.

The first cars to come to Avenel were owned by Pat Arthur, S. Plummer, Gil Macalister, R. Shelton, J. Melbourne (Jerry) had the first Ford truck & used it on the rabbit run, replacing the horse drawn cart.

Tragedy: Claude Harvey falling from a pine tree on Leahy's property now owned by Meyer's.

The last steam engine chaff cutter was owned & operated by the Shelton family. Avenel Estate was owned by Tom Bailey, then by Roy McLeish after WW1.

Ted Hollaway had a store along from Gadd’s which was burnt down, but when I am not sure. For awhile he was then in Old Harry's store and then moved into Harvest Home.

Hughes Creek had terrific floods, there was brick house below Cambreys, it used to go in across there (1916).

CFA started in 1943, they had a fire cart and were called the Bush Fire Brigade.

Life in War years, you could not get petrol, food was rationed and kept on for a couple of years after the war.

There was a flour mill, 2 sawmills up behind the railway, Jerry Melbourne ran one, George Saunders the other. There was another at the top end of Tarcombe Rd owned by Jerry Melbourne.

There was a bookmaker 2 doors up from Anne Sidebottom in 1918.

Gilbert Lewis could tell you. There was another bookmaker before 2WW, Mr Nightingale.

Livingstone St, RHS from pub opp side- My uncle Charlie Lewis used to live there, the house is now gone, old George Saunders had a little shed there (garage). Swans were where Lindsay lives, is now vacant block. The only house on the other side is Scottie Tingay, then Lewis and Max Green. Swans used to live down this end near the creek, old Gill Sidebottom. The corner block in Shelton St, has a long drive that was Bill Tebbles old place later Jack Lewis lived in that house. Blanch Shelton was a Gadd. Daisy, May and Mrs Conville lived in Stewart St. Ewing Bill-Bob-Charlie-Jack. Hughie McCade died road accident.

Policeman: Piggot, Mooney, Watson, Grantville, Harrington, Eric Felding.

Most common offence. A bluey for failing to keep rabbits down on your properly.

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