It was back in the depression days when pennies didn’t seem to come at all. We were all well in debt to our local grocer. When I arrived home one weekend, my wife was very excited, our grocer had called and had a look through our home. He told her that if we could let him lease it for the Christmas holidays, it would clean up our debt. After talking the matter over, we decided that if he would supply a 14 x 12 tent, we would move out of our home for a couple of months.
The old boy was quite willing to supply the tent, so we with our five kiddies were looking forward to a camping holiday. When returning home a few weeks later there was a letter from a favourite aunt of ours,asking if she could spend Christmas with us at the seaside. Now, this was a fine state of affairs, seven of us in a tent and Auntie Tot wanting to spend Christmas with us. So we spent the weekend writing and explaining how we were situated, and how sorry we were that we hadn’t a home to offer her this Christmas.
The following week we had a letter back saying that all her life she had longed to spend Christmas in a tent, and she was bringing her son and daughter aged eleven and nineteen.
The next few weeks while I was away shearing my wife put all her spare time sewing together flour bags also supplied by the good old grocer. We made a huge tarp that went over the tent and extended well out the front to make a kitchen.
We moved a couple of weeks before Christmas, so as to get settled before our visitors arrived. In the tent, we had a double-bed, two single beds, a cot and a chest of drawers. All the spare room was a track around the double bed so narrow that we had to go round sideways.
I finished shearing at Clarrie Stewart’s about ten days before Christmas and as usual, had to send my tally to his Melbourne office to get my cheque by return post. Then on to Jim Miller’s for a couple of days. When I finished, Jim was up to his neck in troubles. He had a good crop of oaten hay ready to cut and a reaper and binder about as old as Jim. The repair job took more time than cutting the crop. Then he got me to stook it up for him. Finally, I finished about 4 o’clock on Christmas Eve and went up to collect. But alas Jim hadn’t a cheque form but promised to bring it in as soon as he could get a cheque-book after Christmas.
So home I wentall smiles that I had been able to help someone out. But when I got home, my wife asked: “Have you got your cheque?” And I said, “Hasn’t Stewart’s arrived?” She said “No. We have sixpence and Auntie Tot arrives in the morning!” We talked well into the night of our chances of having a happy Christmas.
as I walked up the road I saw where a car had been parked and someone had been
having a Christmas Eve party. Quite a few empty bottles lay around, and something prompted me to have a closer
look, and there in the grass, I saw a
small brown purse. I smartly picked it up and looked inside. “Pennies from
Heaven.” Back at the tent we talked things over and decided that the owner
wouldn’t begrudge us the use of it until after Christmas.
Right after Christmas, our cheques arrived, and although we advertised and put notices in two shop windows, nobody ever enquired after the purse. Those “Pennies from Heaven” gave us one of the happiest Christmases we ever had. By the way, there wasn’t room in the tent for Mum and I so we had a single mattress on a couple of boxes behind the table in the kitchen. A seat in the daytime and a bed after we had packed the others in the tent.
By Mr Harold Drowley (dec’d) (Read by Mrs Eulalie Brewster, Inverloch Historical Society General Meeting, 28 November 2018)
Newsletter #237, November 2018
2018 was a momentous year marking 100 years since the end of World War 1. Memorials to the fallen can be seen across Australia. Some small yet moving; some large and impressive such as Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance. Designs vary depending on the funds each community could raise, but all are prominently located. A few towns even feature tributes to those who served in the Boer War when in 1899 Victorians decided to go to South Africa to support the Empire. These monuments are historical landmarks that remind us of the sacrifices and contributions of Australian men and women. In 1918, the population of Inverloch was around 200, yet the town, like so many small communities, made a mighty effort to support the cause. These and other pioneers set the foundation for the community we love.
Despite the current, very modern face of Inverloch, we should always remember that the men and women who looked and dressed so differently, whose daily lives, modes of transport, personal conduct, and responsibilities may appear very unlike ours, would have had hopes and aspirations that are similar to today’s residents, who have built a prosperous and vibrant town. This we should never forget.
Another Christmas and New Year approach, full of promise and great hopes. Thousands will flock to Inverloch, and the town will take on its summer buzz. Many will enjoy the beaches, and hopefully, local traders will be busy. Our streets will be filled with vehicles—some laden with surf boards and bikes. There will be caravans, trailers, boats and all manner of playthings causing some interruption and inconvenience, especially at the beach-fronts. But this is the destiny of a holiday town.
What does all this means for historians? It means that we should record, in words or pictures, what Inverloch is like in 2018. Is this important and why? The answer is a loud and clear YES! Many residents and visitors like to see how Inverloch has altered and where and how it has changed. Despite the rhetoric that “history is boring”, it is an amazing and contradictory eye-opener, that most Australians do take an interest in local and family history. The society has a film (now on DVD) from 1960 made by a man pointing his 8 mm movie camera through the windscreen of his son’s Wolsey car, filming as they drive along A’Beckett Street and onto what is now Ramsey Parade. The images are not all that clear, but we can easily see how very much Inverloch has altered. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a sharp and clear copy of this footage but, sadly we can do nothing. Today with our technology and cameras the record of that journey would be much clearer and very different. Any man or woman from 1930, should they visit today, would not recognise their town. Though bits would jog their memories.
Could I remind members, subscribers and other readers, that family photographs play a significant role in maintaining a good record of Inverloch across the years? A family member may be standing in front of something that has vanished, or altered markedly. Never underestimate the value of the family photo. Please let us see them and evaluate their historical content.
Some of our members have suffered illness or accidents recently. I would like them to know that we care and think of them often. I am sure every member joins with me in extending our most caring thoughts and respect to all members who are not well.
Early in October, the Society set up a small display in the main hall at The Hub at the request of local Probus Clubs. A question was attached to each of the 24 display boards to see how alert the 122 Probus members were. Such was the interest that Secretary David Vance informed me that members were ‘several deep waiting for the answers’. It was quite a fun day for me as I was deluged with questions about the contents of our collection.
On behalf of the committee, may I wish everybody a very happy and peaceful Christmas and a bright and prosperous new year.
John Hutchinson, President
Final General Meeting for 2018
Our last meeting this year will be held on Wednesday 28 November at 2 PM.
Members are asked to bring along some food to share at our post-meeting Christmas celebration.
Members are also asked to contribute to the afternoon’s enjoyment by (1) telling a short story, or (2) bringing along an item of interest to talk about.
Please make a real effort. Don’t leave it to others!
2019 Meeting Dates
Committee Meetings will be held on the 3rd Tuesday of each month from 9.30 am. Meetings will be convened during January and early February to get organized for the year ahead. Further details will be provided to committee members.
General Meetings will be held on the 4th Wednesday of each month from February to November at Inverloch RSL at 2 PM.
2019 Outings of Historical Interest
It is always our aim to offer members two excusions each year but this is not an easy task.
Your committee would welcome suggestions. We have had many wonderful outings and speakers over the years, but we need your contributions.