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Dawson Memories (24 September 2016)
contributed by GeoffreyHamilton
(contact GeoffreyHamilton about this story)
In the latter part on the 1950s’ Jean who was my Mothers niece, would invite her closest relations to visit at Dawson.
Dawson was a populated town in those days and the pub was operating.
After hours serving of beer was common as closing time was at 6pm.
The bar tenders were always informed when the cops from Peterborough were coming by the farmers on route using code on the party line telephone.
I remember Jean and Orlando playing tennis on the courts opposite the pub and then having a session in the pub afterwards.
I remember Uncle Bob , Aunty Marcel and their children, Lauren (Bob) and Peter coming to Dawson at the same time as us. Lauren and Peter are Mark and my first cousins.
Bob and Peter, Mark and Geoffrey are first cousins to John and Jayn Stuart, one generation removed.
My mother’s sister Ada and husband Norman came up to Dawson also.
It was a real family affair.
Our family drove up with Dad and Mum in Dad’s old (not old then)1950 Vauxhall Wyvern which was half worn out and had so much play in the steering that it was torturous to drive..
Brother Mark, me and Sister Mary (deceased) thought of it as an adventure of a lifetime as we had little knowledge of bush life.
It was an adventure and my friend Malcolm came with us one time.
Orlando had all new farm equipment which as kids we all marvelled at.
Each of us were given a crash lesson riding the bantam BSA motor bike and even driving the tractor.
A horse ride for our younger sister Mary was enough to keep her happy.
I remember crashing the bike into some forty four drums.
Funny how things stick in your mind years later as Lando showed me how to pour out of drums, and how to put a block under them to keep the water off. Not that it ever rained much.
On our last trip to Dawson, I stayed on when the rest of the family returned to Adelaide, and Orlando taught me about farm life.
Trapping rabbits, climbing windmills, chasing foxes, swimming in the dam down from the house and feeding the chooks.
Water was so scarce then as Jean and Orlando only had the dam to rely on.
I remember when Orlando went into the water and it appeared to be up to his chest.
He had sneakily gone onto his knees without me seeing. He told me to come in for a swim but I was reluctant because I could not swim and it looked deep. When I just went in a short distance Lando grabbed me and pulled me in. I was shocked but relieved when he stood up to reveal the real depth. This was Landos humour which we were to enjoy many occasions.
On another trip to Ringwood, Lando wanted to check on some kangaroo shooters on the track north of the property. After finding them and chatting, we stopped for lunch and I found a very old rusty tin of bully beef. Orlando opened it and it smelt as fresh as the day it had been canned. It must have been there for years. Unfortunately or fortunately Orlando would not let me try a small sample.
Our family was fairly prudish and our Mother was into good manners etc. Nothing wrong with that as it was part of our learning experience of life. So when Orlando picked up the chop bone to get the last morsel, at the Dawson dinner table, It made an impression on me as I had never seen that done before.
Small things stick in your mind.
Water was scarce and Aunty Jean made me have shower with Lando and as I was very prudish and about the height of his upper legs it was a huge embarrassment to me but something I got use to in the end.
Slaughtering of the sheep was a shock to the system as I had never seen that before.
I remember those words from Lando “Go and ask your Aunty Jean for a bowl for the liver”.
There was always a memory of the shearing shed at Ringwood but I was starting to doubt if I had it wrong as I could not find it on Google maps and could not find the road there on recent trips to Dawson.
In October Brother Mark and myself resolved this when we went back to Dawson and found a sign post to Ringwood from the Northern side near Blackrock.
This was eventually to lead to the old shearing shed and shearers quarters that I had the memory for fifty odd years.
It was sad when I had to leave my new experience in the bush, but I had to start High School, so Aunty Jean drove me home.
I loved that life and it inspired me to go to an Agricultural school to become a farmer.
As life had it, it was not to be and my life took a different course
This story was uploaded into the Bonzle Digital Atlas of Australia entry for the Locality 'Dawson'.