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J - Jackaroo - Jumbuck
Posted On 11/17/2017 18:00:08

J – Letter  Jackeroo - Jumbuck

 When it came to the J Letter I wasn’t all that sure what to write about.  I thought of several subjects but wasn’t really happy with those then one night when I couldn’t sleep (Why is it mostly at night that we think of these things that otherwise escape us?) The thought occurred to me of writing about the meaning of some of the Australian ‘Slang’ words that are used here. Many of the words that I grew up with are gradually fazing out as we become more of a Multi-Culture Society but are still used by the middle age group through to we older generation whilst the younger generation continue to use the more common ones.

 Following is a list of some of the words and meanings that are still used today.

Jackaroo - A jackaroo is a young man (the feminine equivalent is ‘jillaroo’) working on a sheep or cattle station, to gain practical experience in the skills needed to become an owner, overseer, manager, etc.  The word originated in QueenslandAustralia in the 19th century and is still in use in Australia and New Zealand in the 21st century.   Its origins are unclear, although it is firmly rooted in Australian EnglishAustralian culture and in the traditions of the Australian stockmen. The word 'jillaroo' for a female land worker was coined in the Second World War and persisted into the 21st century. During the war it was necessary for women to take on all the occupations followed traditionally only by men. Jillaroos were the female equivalent of jackeroos.

Waltzing Matilda" is Australia's best-known bush ballad, and has been described as the country's "unofficial national anthem".

The title was Australian slang for travelling on foot with one's belongings in a "matilda" (swag) slung over one's back.   The song narrates the story of an itinerant worker, or "swagman", making a drink of billy tea at a bush camp and capturing a stray jumbuck (sheep) to eat. When the jumbuck's owner, a squatter (wealthy landowner), and three mounted policemen pursue the swagman for theft, he declares "You'll never take me alive!" and commits suicide by drowning himself in a nearby billabong (watering hole), after which his ghost haunts the site.

Waltzing Matilda

Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong
Under the shade of a coolibah tree,

He sang as he watched and waited 'til his billy boiled

You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me

He sang as he watched and waited 'til his billy boiled,
you'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me

Down came a jumbuck to drink at the billabong,
Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him with glee,
he sang as he shoved that jumbuck in his tucker bag,
you'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
you'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me
he sang as he shoved that jumbuck in his tucker bag,
You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me

Up rode the squatter, mounted on his thoroughbred,
Up rode the troopers, one, two, three,

With the jolly jumbuck you've got in your tucker bag?
You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me.

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me

With the jolly jumbuck you've got in your tucker bag?
You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, you scoundrel with me.

Up jumped the swagman and sprang into the billabong,
You'll never catch me alive, said he,

And his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong,
you'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me.

Jabiru - The black-necked stork is a tall long-necked wading bird in the stork family. It is a resident species  with a disjunct population in Australia. It lives in wetland habitats and certain crops such as rice and wheat where it forages for a wide range of animal prey. Adult birds of both sexes have a heavy bill and are patterned in white and glossy blacks, but the sexes differ in the colour of the iris.  It is one of the few storks that is strongly territorial when feeding.

Jumper (A pull-on sweater) any type of knit shirt that is pulled over the head rather than buttoned up……

Joey – (A baby Kangaroo) A female

 kangaroo gives birth to a tiny ‘Joey’ that weighs about 2gm and is the size of a jellybean. ... Before the birth, the mother kangaroo licks her fur to make a track so that the joey can climb up into her pouch

journo (journalist). There was a newspaper article about "dodgy journos," meaning sloppy or dishonest journalists.

Jumble – Rummage Sale           

Jelly = Jell-O

Jarmies - Pyjamas, bed clothes

Jaffas is an Australian registered trademark for a small round sweet consisting of a soft chocolate centre with a hard covering of orange flavoured, red coloured confectionery. The name derives from the Jaffa orange. The sweet is part of both Australiana and Kiwiana.


Tags: Words

I - Ink
Posted On 11/10/2017 22:18:06


How many of us can remember the Pen, Nib and the ‘Ink Well’  in the desks that were used in the Schools?...Along with those went the ‘Blotter’ for drying the Ink. I’m not sure what Grade I was in when we began using the Pen instead of the Pencils and Rubbers. It was about the time that we graded from printing words to Cursive…..I think I was in Grade 3.   I remember that there were two colours of Ink that we used. One was a dark blue and the other Red. The red ink was not used a lot by the students; however the Nuns/Sisters used it when correcting work. One sure couldn’t miss seeing the mistake when it was underlined with red Ink !!

The Ceramic Ink Well was on the top right of the desk next to the Groove that held the pens and pencils. I can’t remember any being on the left side for the children that were left handed.  Each morning before school commenced certain children were allotted to filling those Ink Wells. 

Learning to adjust to the Pen for some was difficult as the Pen had to be held in the correct position for the Ink to flow smoothly down the Nib. Sometimes if we dipped the Nib too deep into the Well and if we didn’t dab the nib onto the Blotter, excess Ink would drip onto our books and unlike the pencil it could not be erased. Thank goodness for the Blotters.

A favourite sport of mainly the boys when the Nuns/Teacher went out of the room for a few minutes was to make ‘Paper Planes’ with the Nibs  and using the bend of the Ruler to shoot these Nibs up to the Ceiling. The ceiling in our school was very high and it was only when a person looked upwards that they saw the ceiling riddled with these Paper Planes.   I don’t think the Teachers ever noticed as I cannot remember anyone ever getting into trouble for doing this.  The story goes that when the School was transferred/sold to the local Community, the Ceiling had to be replaced. No guess as to why?!!.

Back in those days Hand Writing with many people was an art….It was beautiful to see with the flowing curves of the letters and the slight slant to set it off. Sadly an art lost today. My parents and all in their generation had beautiful Cursive Hand Writing.

At home if we wanted to write in Ink we had Fountain Pens. These held a cylinder within the casing of the pen so it only had to be renewed every so often depending how much the pen was used. I remember a popular Gift given to people for their 21st Birthday or Special Occasions was a Gold or Silver Fountain pen inscribed with their Name and the Year on it. These Fountain Pens were treasured and people kept them for years, even after the Biro’s became popular.

Now when we think of Ink it is to refill the ink Tanks in our Printers!!.


Added Note--------An inkwell is a small jar or container, often made of glassporcelainsilverbrass, or pewter, used for holding ink in a place convenient for the person who is writing. The artist or writer dips the brush, quill, or dip pen into the inkwell as needed or uses the inkwell as the source for filling the reservoir of a fountain pen. An inkwell usually has a lid to prevent contamination, evaporation, accidental spillage, and excessive exposure to air. A type known as the travelling inkwell was fitted with a secure, screw lid so a traveller could carry a supply of ink in their luggage without the risk of leakage.


Inkwells gradually fell out of use in the early part of 20th century  as the reservoir fountain pen (which needs to be filled only occasionally) replaced the dip pen, which needed to be dipped in ink after writing a few lines. Old school desks had round holes for inkwells. 



Tags: Memories

H - Hobbies
Posted On 11/01/2017 19:08:53

H – Hobbies

I guess that most people have a Hobby or had hobbies during their life. I know of exceptions where folk are not and have not indulged in this rewarding pastime. It just has never interested them. I have always found these people to continually say that they are bored, time drags………I guess I’m crazy but I don’t understand this as I just don’t have enough hours in the day to accomplish all that I want to do and have always been that way.

The main Hobbies that I concentrate on now (apart from Computers) I began at an early age… These are, Photography, Gardening (In a much smaller way now) and Music. I bought my first Computer in 1999 and since then it has been at the centre of my attention. They fascinate me and I have gained such an enormous amount of pleasure from working with them. Have no idea how I ever managed without one!!!!.   Photography comes second from the time I bought my first camera when I was in my late teens.  I have two cameras an Olympus  Digital Compact and a Nikon DSLR.  At least one goes with me almost everywhere I go. One never knows when the opportunity of a good photo will arise. The one thing I notice now is that all through the years I was the one to be taking photos and when I look back over these photos I realise that the one person missing in family photos is me as I’m the one behind the camera.  Music is another love. On our farm that my father purchased,  the former owner left behind a Bellows Organ and I soon discovered that I could play tunes on it that I had heard over the radio. Then my late brother and I bought our first guitars and we basically taught ourselves to play, I then taught my older sister and we became a C & W duet singing at Concerts and shows etc. This continued until we both married and she moved to a town some distance away.    When my daughter showed a natural talent for music I bought a Piano and made sure that she had Music lessons (She is now a Music Teacher at a School in the City). Then I bought my first Yamaha keyboard and continued to play at different functions around the town. Now I just play for my own enjoyment.

Hobbytex was another Hobby that I loved doing. I was amazed last week when I had gone into a cafeteria to have a mug of coffee and they had a large display of Artwork . While I was waiting for the coffee to arrive I glanced around the walls and two pictures looked very familiar.   I became so curious that after I had my coffee I took a close look and was surprised to find that they were two that I had done some 30 years ago and had sold. The owners of the Cafeteria were as surprised as I was to find the connection.

Just thinking back on some of the hobbies and interests that I’ve had/enjoyed through the years….At a very early age I began corresponding with other kids of my own age from various parts of Australia and the world. Back in those days it was all accomplished by ‘Snail Mail’ and letters took a long time in transit especially overseas mail which in most cases took 2-3 weeks from the date of mailing. I looked forward to receiving letters from my friends for It was so interesting to learn about their family, the area where they lived, their customs, pastimes. I always called it my ‘Armchair Travelling’…some of the pals I kept for up to 35 years.  My dearest and closest friend came from North Battleford in Saskatchewan, Canada. Our Daughters were both the same age and we became very close friends making the occasional telephone call or sending voice recorded Audio tapes.  After she passed away some 10 years ago her daughter and husband came to visit with us for a week. I was sorry to see them leave.

This interest/Hobby/pastime led to my interest in collecting Stamps and by the time I was in my late 20’s to 30’s I had an extensive collection not of rare stamps but of variety. Eventually I divided the collection up to share amongst the Grandchildren that were interested in the same hobby. I dabbled in Oil Painting for quite a few years until we moved house and I had no place to set up my gear….A colleague at work talked me into attending Ceramic classes with her. That is/was an extremely interesting Hobby where we all made useful and pretty items….A local store took them on consignment and we all sold most of what we made there.  The man who took the Classes decided to give these away and that was the end of that hobby. Of course both Sewing and Knitting were not just a hobby but a necessity I found I had to learn…This saved us an enormous amount of money as I made most all the clothes that we wore.     Now I detest having to take up a hem!!!

My love for Photography and music still continue as does gardening and Computers.

Tags: Hobbies Recreation

G - Geonealogy
Posted On 09/25/2017 22:58:15

G – Geonealogy-----

As far back as I can remember I have always been interested in the lives of my ancestors on both sides of the family plus local History and especially of the early Polish settlers to this area.  I am a direct descendant of these early settlers…My Maternal G. G.  Grandfather along with his wife and two children, migrated here from Poland in 1848 being amongst the first early settlers to this colony. Then in 1855 and 1856, three of my Paternal G. Great uncles also migrated to South Australia from Poland to settle here in the Valley in an area known as ‘Polish Hill River’ (PHR). The Poles that settled in PHR were the largest group to migrate to Australia during the 1880’s. During my research I discovered that most of these Poles came from the same area in Poland and were related in some way which continued to occur after they settled here. It was comforting to learn of this relationship to Poland as it meant that they were not coming to a strange unknown world alone but would be with people that they already knew, could speak the same language and had the same customs. During the Years as the families of these Poles increased and the boys/men grew older and they themselves married there was not enough available land for all of them to purchase so many went North and settled there as although the land was not as productive they could purchase it more cheaply thus being able to buy larger holdings. My Paternal Grandparents Migrated in 1878. Gran was the niece of the three brothers who migrated in 1855-56.    I have through old Newspapers traced the route of the Barque/ship that they came out on. The journey from Hamburg to Port Adelaide took just on 4 months and on their arrival it was placed in quarantine over two weeks because several of the passengers had Diphtheria and passengers were not allowed on shore until everyone was cleared of the disease. From there they had to make the journey of close on 80 miles overland to reach their destination. The story is told that a few of the local Poles went by wagons to Port Adelaide to collect all the polish migrants that were aboard and bring them back to the Valley. One can imagine how rough, long and awe inspiring this journey must have been to these people, travelling on rough rutted country tracks through scrubland. They would have had to sleep out for several nights before reaching the Valley.

Gran’s father remained in Poland. I have no idea if she ever had contact with her Father or siblings after she migrated although I have a vague memory of once hearing her talk about a sister…After researching both her and Grandfather’s history I discovered that Gran’s Mother died when she was 5 years old and her father remarried and had more children which means that I would have relations living in Poland today.    It was my dream to visit Poland but alas not meant to be so will never get to meet them.  Gran and Grandfather had 11 children all born here. There were six boys and five girls.   My father was the 7th in the family.  Sadly four of their sons died all before the age of 20 years. Two at a very young age (5 weeks and 7 years)….The other two died at the ages of 17 and 19 years after contracting Typhoid Fever whilst working in the Mines at Broken Hill in New South Wales. This left just two boys in the family. My Father, and his older brother.   My Uncle although Married, had no children however my father produced seven of which I am the youngest. Although we know that my mother’s maternal side of the family came from Poland and we have all their history, very little is known about her father who she said came from Glasgow in Scotland.  Mum’s Mother died when she was 7 years old and her father died from an accident when she was 15 years. She had a younger sister and one older brother. After the death of her mother, both my mother and Auntie were cared for by the Sister’s at the Convent in the town where they then lived…Another brother died as an infant hence reason why little is known about her father. He had a common Scottish name and no records can be found although it’s quite possible with such a common name the records are there but to define which is his is extremely difficult.

I have treasured memories of my Paternal Grandmother who had a wicked sense of humour. A classic example was in her last few years she came to live with us on the farm and this particular day her eldest daughter and family from Broken Hill were visiting us and Gran and I were sitting on the ‘Miners Couch’ on the front Veranda.  Gran run off a sentence in polish and told me to repeat it.   This I did until she was satisfied I could say it fluently then she told me to go and see Auntie Toni and repeat the sentence to her. Not knowing the language or knowing what it was I was saying I went into the kitchen where my Auntie was, and repeated the sentence that Gran had told me….. Auntie Toni shook her head and said….. Do you know what you have just said?   I replied no…. She said who told you to say this?  I told her it was Gran…She gave me a Hug and laughingly said ‘You have just told me that ‘I’m a silly old goat” !!!!...At that time I was about 10 years old….Gran was 84 years when I was born but was a very fit lady as most of those Polish women were. Her mind was brilliant. Each Sunday we would go to visit her in the nearby Village where she lived. (Grandfather died from an accident in 1913 ) Often on these visits,  Gran would take me by the hand and we would go into her bedroom where she had a miniature chest on her Dressing Table and in it she kept pretty Handkerchiefs that were given to her. She would pick one out and give it to me. Not sure why she did this as I was the only child that she gave anything too.  Each Easter My Auntie’s would give her large Chocolate shaped Rabbits or Chickens that she never opened but placed them on shelves in her Dining Room. Whenever we visited her all of us kids when walking through the room and thinking no-one was looking would peel back a little of the wrapping and break a very small amount off. It was only when I was in my 40’s that an Aunt told me they knew we were doing this but never chastised us as we were so careful not to do too much damage. Gran lived until the grand old age of 97 years. I only wish that when she was alive I was older and could have asked her all about her life in Poland before she migrated and of her early years in this new land which became her home.

Tags: History

F - Football - Fever - Fans
Posted On 09/17/2017 19:39:03

F – Football – Fever – Finals – Fans - Females

The sport of Football in Australia has been around since 1897 (I’m adding more information on the origins of the game at the end of this Blog).

Up until recently Football was played during the winter months by boys at schools and in junior teams and at home or wherever there was a gathering of Boys. If there was a football around it just had to be kicked and marked (Caught).  As they matured they joined teams as ‘Colts’ then graded into the senior games playing for their home town and if they showed excellent qualities they were chosen by the ‘Scouts’ ….men who were on the lookout for good players to join one of the State teams. From here the best are chosen to play for one of the AFL (Australian League Football) teams, which is every boys wish.

Football is a Fast and furious game and nothing like the football played in the US. It has similar Character to the Gaelic Football played in Ireland, but with some differences such as the shape of the ball used and a few different rules that I won’t go into here.

Supporters are extremely ‘one eyed’ about their Team and during the Football Season, especially the AFL one has to be very careful when talking to an avid supporter.

At the moment we are into the Semi-finals play off which leads up to the Grand Final  to be played at the end of September.  The atmosphere is at fever point….The team that I barrack for has done well this season reaching round one of the semi –finals and after their win last weekend are now in the Preliminary Final’s to be played next weekend ….Not sure they will be good enough to reach the finals as they have to play the top very best teams to get into the Grand Final. Also one of their top players was injured on Saturday and won’t be playing again for this season which is quite a blow to the team.

As I mentioned earlier up until recently Football was a boys/man’s sport but this past 12 months the Females have formed their own teams and have begun to compete in State Games.  I have to confess that I’m not impressed on seeing the girls play such a rugged sport and what was until now a man’s game.  But such things as ‘equality’ have taken over.  I have tried to watch the Females play but to me it takes away their femineity. However, I realise that it is a sign of the times but many people think along the same lines as I do.  Also the situation has changed regarding the football commentators on the radio, now having a female joining the Group. Once again to me it does not sound right to hear this woman trying to talk like a ‘Macho’ man…I always have my radio on and listen to the games being played while I work in the house. I like the sounds of the Music, social and Sports features. Can’t bear the sound of a ‘silent’ home.  I used to enjoy listening to the Football commentators as they described the game. Their quips, explanations, description.   Most of these commentators are retired AFL Football players and have a good grasp of the game.  Having a Female try to describe the actions in a ‘Macho’ way tends to irritate me, but I’m gradually getting used to it and probably before long I’ll accept.  Alas a sign of Age I guess!! J

The Game:  Every Aussie Rules match follows the same format; it is competed between two teams, each of which has 18 players, and four interchange players. Considered a contact sport, AFL is held outdoors on a large oval-shaped grass pitch, and revolves around the advancement of an oval-shaped ball. At each end of the oval are two tall posts and the overall aim of AFL is for a team to score as many goals as they can, by kicking the ball through the opposing team’s goal posts, and to prevent the other team from doing the same – often by obstructing or tackling their opponents. Held in quarters, the winner is the team to have scored the most goals after all four quarters have been played. At the end of each quarter, which lasts 20 minutes, the play rotates and teams attack in the opposite direction.

Each Aussie Rules game is overseen by an umpire, who starts the match after a siren goes off, by bouncing the ball on the ground. With every match there are three field umpires, two boundary umpires who conduct throw-ins once the ball is out of play, and two goal umpires who are the official score-keepers. There is also an emergency umpire who can immediately replace any of the umpires if needed. Matches held during the day use a red ball, whereas night time games are played with a yellow ball.

The league currently consists of 18 teams spread over five of Australia's six states (Tasmania being the exception). Matches have been played in all mainland states and territories of Australia, as well as in New Zealand and China. The AFL season currently consists of a pre-season competition (currently branded as the "JLT Community Series"), followed by a 23-round regular (or "home-and-away") season, which runs during the Australian winter (March to September). The top eight teams then play off in a four-round finals series, culminating in the AFL Grand Final, which is held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground each year. The winning team in the Grand Final is termed the "premiers", and is awarded the premiership cup.

The relationship between Australian rules football and Gaelic football is the subject of controversy among historians. The question of whether the two codes of football, from Australia and Ireland respectively, have shared origins arises due to similar styles of play in both games.}

Tags: Sport

E - Embroidery
Posted On 09/13/2017 18:42:50

E - Embroidery

Embroidery seems to be a craft that very few people do today. It’s an art in its own right.  I remember the fine detailed work that my Mother and Auntie did and other women of that era.   I was very fortunate that my mother was so patient in showing me the different stitches used in embroidery and soon I was creating designed Supper cloths, Dressing Table sets, Centre pieces for the table, doilies etc. using Lazy Daisy stitches, stem, satin, worm, French knots, chain, back stitches and the cross stitch. Not the fine X Stitch but the large style used for Supper cloths and Aprons using a much heavier cord type thread. Everything that we made was useful and not just for show. 

At school we had time set aside each week for embroidery projects whilst the boys made Cane baskets and Trays. Those days were a huge success and the time just flew by.

Sewing was something that I had to do so much of when my family was young. Wages were minimal and money had to be stretched a long way. Buying clothes was much too expensive so I set too and began making all of our clothes. I enjoyed the challenge of working out the patterns and the end result. At first I made endless mistakes to begin with. Stitching then unpicking after I had realised that I had sown together the right side to the wrong side!!! But it was a craft that became so useful and saved us lots of money.

Knitting was another useful craft that my Mother taught me. I was about five years old when I first began to knit. I will always picture my Mother sitting with my father by the old Wireless/Radio in the evenings listening to the News broadcast then the serials that followed.  So many times I would make mistakes then take the knitting to her and she would patiently unpick the rows and start me off again while she was listening to that old Wireless. After a time I learnt how to unpick the rows myself of which I’m sure she was very pleased when I did.  At one stage I purchased a ‘Knitting Machine’ and used that for many years as making garments was so quick and easy many with lacy patterns and Fair Isle. It was faster to make the garments than it was to sew the pieces together….This I did until the synthetic wools and stretch materials came into vogue.

Crochet was the one craft that I never learnt although both my Mother and Auntie were so good at it. Several times over the years I’ve attempted to learn Crochet but each time gave up because I could knit the garment faster. I think it’s something that a person must learn at a young age. Many of my friends do beautiful Crochet work and I envy them for their ability as they make it look so easy.

Recently I was making a few gifts to donate as prizes for our Card Day Raffle and thought that I would add some embroidery on the article I was making. I had not forgotten what to do but my efforts were terrible!! Finally I gave up in disgust and unpicked what I had done. It is such a long time since I have done embroidery and the lack of practise was obvious!!..

Tags: Craft

D - Dancing
Posted On 09/09/2017 23:19:32


There were several D Subjects that I was thinking of writing about but the one that stood out in my mind.  ‘Memories of the Dances’   that we attended as Teenagers and into our twenties.

These dances were held every Saturday night in the local Hall in our little Town. This Hall served as a Schoolroom during the week and for Social events on the weekends. Before I was old enough and allowed to venture out on these evenings, I attended the school there.  Each Friday afternoon after school was finished and before we were allowed to go home the older Boys and girls had to remove all the Desks and seats and carry them next door to put under cover on the Convent veranda. The Hall belonged to our local Parish and the Josephite Sisters lived next door. The noise of the music and the crowds having a good time must have kept those Sisters awake until the dance ended on the dot of midnight. They never complained as funds raised from the dances went back into the Parish.

People both young and old came from all the surrounding towns.   Whilst the younger generation spent their time dancing in the large Hall the older folk played cards in the smaller room adjoining the Hall. They played Euchre and Bridge. Occasionally a few would come into the Hall to join in the dancing.  This sounds as though we were being under scrutiny and watched to make sure everyone behaved themselves. Not so,  we were allowed as much freedom as we wanted.  Outside the Hall there were a few ‘wild & woolly’   things that went on.    Alcohol was prohibited within 100 yards of the Hall and frequently one would see couples heading out the door and off to their vehicle to drive several hundred yards along the road or back streets to indulge.  The local Policeman from the major town would ride down on his motor cycle and walk around shining his torch into the vehicles to keep everything under control (he thought!!),   Some of the stories that were told in later years of the pranks that some people got up too would make his hair ‘stand on end’ if he knew J.

Back in those days there was no Rock & Roll, Twist or the Limbo  etc…They all came on the scene after I was married and began a  family…. Instead, we had something like the ‘Ballroom & Square Dance styles.   The first dance to begin the evening  was the Queens Waltz and that was followed by a variety including the Military two-Step, Evening Three-Step Waltz, Quickstep, Barn Dance, Tango, and Foxtrot. The Alberts, Progressive Barn  Dance, Pride of Erin Waltz, Gypsy Tap,  Maxina Waltz, Alberts and several others all with different steps, movements and beats.

The band consisted of a local lady who played the piano. She never used music books but played all the music by ‘Ear’.  The local Post Master played the Drums as did another town resident when needed.    Another man played the Button Accordion. And occasionally another man would play his Violin. There was a table set up in a corner with cool/soda drinks or cordial and anyone could help themselves to these. It was good old fashioned music.   Many times the dancers would join in and sing along to the music. It was at these dances that many young couples met and their friendship ended up in marriage.

The flooring in the Hall was made of Jarrah Wood which was a deep red colour and extremely tough. Before the dance the men would spread ‘Floor Speed’ over the floor. This came in packets. It consisted of Sawdust and some other ingredient that made the floor slippery and easy to dance on.  Many a time someone would slip and go for a tumble which caused lots of laughter,  all in good fun. I doubt if there was not a person who had not slipped at sometime,  on the floor.  After the dance was finished the floor was swept by the men whilst the women cleaned everything else up and the following day (Sunday) the men would return the desks and seats to the Hall for School on Monday.

We lived on a farm 5 miles from this town and many Saturday evenings after we had finished all our chores, we would bath and dress up in our best/prettiest clothes and begin walking to the dance. It was never long before a car would pull up and someone would call out ‘Hey kids would you like a lift’ . We never hesitated to climb into the car as apart from everyone knowing each other it was safe back in those days , be it boy or girl to do this.  No-one was ever harmed.   On other occasions if one of the girls had a boyfriend to pick her up the rest of us were included in his vehicle to be taken to the dance.   We never had any trouble getting a ride home from the dance!!

C - Canasta
Posted On 08/28/2017 19:04:59

C – ‘Canasta’ the card game– Every two weeks on a Friday afternoon, a group of women get together at our local Parish Hall, to play the game of Canasta….It’s a fun afternoon.. We have approximately 14 – 16 players. The attendance varies from one fortnight to the next, depending if people have appointments or other commitments that day.   Over the years we have had an occasional man come along and join in but mostly it’s the women who attend.  

We do not play ‘seriously’ as it’s meant to be a fun afternoon where people can get together and meet up with friends, have fun and relax.  Several of these women drive to other towns to play at that particular towns ‘Card Game day’ some driving 30 miles or so. At these towns other card games are also played including Bridge, Euchre etc. However, we only play Canasta.

The ages of the players varies from 60 to over 80 years. Up until early this year we had one lady who was over 90 years and she was an absolute delight.

We commence playing each year in March and continue through every fortnight until November when we all go to one of the local Pubs/hotels for a Xmas luncheon to finish up the year.

On arrival each person donates $2 to enter the raffle for the day. The Raffle does not go to the player with the ‘highest score’  but instead, she pulls out a ticket to announce who wins the first prize. Then the winner of that prize draws out another ticket to announce the winner of the second prize…. (Two raffle tickets being drawn.)  The players at various times throughout the year donate the gifts for the raffle prizes. The value of these gifts, not to exceed $10.   Many make home-made gifts. These gifts can include Homemade Jams/jellies, Lemon Butter, Relishes, Pickles, sauces, cookies, Crochet Coat hangers or hand stitched tea towels. Face washers or hand towels made into novelty gifts such as handbag shapes, Pantaloons etc. There are small gifts bags with a variety of things in them such as hand-creams, Bath and shower goodies, room deodorisers, note pads and pens etc.  Potted plants are also included in the gifts.  At the end of the year the money raised from the raffle is donated to a worthy local charity.

Tables can consist of two, three or four people. The number of people that come to play varies each fortnight. Sometimes, like last Friday we had enough people to set up three tables of four. Having four at a table gives you a partner and 11 cards are dealt out to each one. If the numbers are uneven we may have one table with four people…. another with three and the other with two seated at the table. In the case of two and three at tables, the player scores individually.(having no partner).  With three at a table the number of cards dealt is 13 and when there are two at the table the number of cards increases to 15 which is quite a handful at the beginning of the game.

Occasionally during the game, a Cell phone may ring. With many of the players having the same Ringtone, several of the players will jump up at the one time to answer ‘their’ phone ! This inevitably causes a laugh !!

At 3.30 pm we pack away the cards and tables and some of the women go out to the kitchen to make tea and coffee whilst the remaining  stack away the tables then place the chairs around a large dining table. This is followed by a scrumptious Afternoon Tea.   Each player brings along a plate of food to share and the food is delicious!!  During afternoon tea if any of the members have a ‘Joke or two’ to share that she has brought along, she reads it out causing much more merriment!!! .   Following that the Raffle is drawn and the winners open their parcel to show everyone what she has won.

After cleaning off the Dining table and rinsing out the cups and mugs, making sure the room and kitchen are left tidy, we all head off home relaxed and with good memories of that fun afternoon.

B - Baking
Posted On 08/22/2017 05:35:55

B – Baking

Today I thought about Baking a few cookies and Cakes to freeze for the occasions when the family comes home or friends come to visit.     Baking is something that I do very little of now unless our local Parish is holding a Fete or we are Catering for a function or Street Stalls to raise money for the school or Charities. … …..Gone too,  are the days when people could bake cakes, cookies etc. and take them into Aged Care  or Nursing home facility’s for the residents to enjoy some  “Home Made cooking”.    Having worked in An Aged Care Home for many years I know only too well how those resident’s enjoyed that food.   Once again it is prohibited because of Litigation Laws…..

 Personally I try to avoid eating too much cake or cookies.  Especially those ‘yummy ‘ rich slices made with chocolate, Milo, Peanut Butter, Mars Bars, Rum Balls  and so the list goes on !!....It’s much too easy to add extra weight that I really do not need to carry.

 My Mother, like all the women of that era was a great all round cook.   Scones especially were her specialty.  They just melted in one’s mouth…. She would whip them up in a flash    then put them on a tray to go into the Wood oven….On removing them she then would wrap them into a clean Tea Towel until they cooled.  This she said kept them moist and light   I remember my brother and I were allowed to cut the Scone Dough into either round or square shapes.   They were a great stand-by when we ran out of Bread.   My parents had but the one shopping day a week which was Thursday, when they would dress up in their best clothes and head off to the nearest Shopping centre some 10 miles away and stock up on supplies to last a week.

 When making Cakes or biscuits, after she had poured the mixture into the cake container we kids were allowed to grab a spoon and clean out what was left in the bowl …. For some unknown reason that mixture tasted extra ‘yummy’ .    When the baking was completed it was our task to wash the bowls, containers etc.  and put them away in the cupboard until next Baking Day.  There were times when Mum ran out of sugar or flour and it was my task to walk to the neighbour’s farm, usually with a large cup or Container, and ask the lady of the house if she could lend my mother the ingredient.     This she did, then the following Thursday after my parents returned home from their trip to the stores, Mum would measure the amount lent to her and I then took it back to the neighbour.     What do we do today if we run out of an ingredient??! ….. Grab the car keys and Jump into the car and drive to the Supermarket to buy it plus a few extra’s that we see on a ‘special’ ,  and grab them while it’s on a reduced price !!     Times surely have changed! …. Something my parents did not and could not do, simply because they didn’t have the money to buy extras.

 When my father was working out in the paddock ploughing or pruning the fruit trees in the orchard or the vines and it was school holidays, Mum would mix up a batch of scones then make a ‘Billy can” of tea (No Hot Flasks in those days) . Place the scones and 2 mugs into a basket and I would walk to the place where my father was working so that he could have his morning or afternoon Tea.  I shall never forget that when I walked up to my father he would stop what he was doing and say “Oh good, It’s “Crib Time”.. For years I wondered why he said this and what it meant. Then one day I discovered that before he married, he spent a few years working in the Mines at Broken Hill in New South Wales and when it came time for a meal break, The Miner’s called it ‘Crib Time”.  A term he continued to use thereafter. Apparently it is an old term used by the Cornish Miners many of whom migrated to parts of South Australia to work in the Copper mines here.

 When I left home to work in the Dry Cleaning establishment in Town, during those years I boarded with an Aunt & uncle.   Auntie Eileen was my Mothers sister. She too, was another fantastic Cook.  Her Sponge Cakes especially were something out of this world.    On Sunday mornings after we attended Church Services and returned home she would whip up a Sponge Roll using the ‘Hand held Egg Beater’, then put the mixture into a container to go into the wood oven.   After it was cooked she then rolled it up in a clean Tea towel until it had cooled.    After it had cooled she would spread Jam/Jelly and re-roll it.  This we ate for desert covered with lashings of fresh cream that was separated in the morning from the milk of the dairy cows..    What amazes me is that back in those days we ate good solid meals plus deserts, cakes, cookies and no-one was overweight!!.     Everyone was so active in those days as most chores/tasks had to be done physically by hand, plus most of the time we walked or rode bicycles everywhere.

 Here I must mention my cousin Brian one of their sons.  When friends came to visit, Brian would whip up fresh pancakes. They were so delicious that as fast as he made one batch they would disappear and he had to make another. This was something that he loved to do.   His reputation for making the best Pancakes and Pasties was well known around the district. Sadly they have all passed on now but the memories still linger of those wonderful people.

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