Margaret Harris’ Diary – 1941




1 January      First day of the New Year and I am in bed with a sore throat.  I’ve had it now for some days so went to Dr Mahon and he gave me a gargle and said to bed for three days.  Mind I don’t think it will do me any harm as I’m 63 years and have just finished dotting around for 365 days.

All my girls have gone to Nellie’s tonight, also Tommy and Darcy and Mrs Ryan – Nellie will get a surprise – she was wishing they’d go in.  Tis very stormy looking at present.  We had Tommy and Mr Rodwell and Emilie for dinner – Geo and Em are going to the pictures.  I wonder how long this awful war will last.  Seems dreadful for us to begin a new year at war.

Rained a little – the party did not get wet, but they landed home about 1.30 and it started again and is going to rain on I think.  They had a wonderful time at Nellie’s.  Charlie was not home.  Cannot find out if Aub is home.  I rang the Dam twice.  I think he must have stayed at work.

Jim attending to races, but did not make enough to buy himself a tin of tobacco.  Forgot to say Anne sang Lights of London and Maori’s Farewell at party.

2 January      Raining still heavily.  Gorgeous steady soaking rain.  I’m still in bed but much better.  Tis great lying here and all my friends dropping in to see me.  Jim has the book but did not do any good.  I can see I’ll have to get back to business.  Beryl was here.  They are trying to arrange another soldiers’ dance.

3 January      Pouring rain still.  We had over 3 inches up till last night.  Jack came back from Sydney today – brought Edie pyjamas and me a nice little powder compact.  Georgie has been to town. Eric just arrived home from work in taxi, 6 pm and still pouring rain.  Charlie and Nellie just landed with family – they brought Geo Day home from work.

4 January      Raining lightly this morning – we’ve had over 5 inches.  I got up at 8.30 am after three days in bed – I feel good.  11 am the weather seems to have cleared up tis nice and fine – Nell rang Edie to ring Capt. Punch [at Military Camp] about men for Ball next Friday.  Had an awful dream about my Jimmy – I hope he is OK.

5 January      I had to go back to bed again – my throat very sore after being up.  Dr says to bed for 3 more days.  Nice weather not too hot.  Edie and Jack went up to see Aubrey this evening – he is coming down to Wards tonight.

6 January      Fine day – I am still in bed – Fr Reen called to see me yesterday.  Senr is in bed too – not too well.  Jim is working in the shop for a week or two as Jnr is out a good bit and only morning in shop.  Girls washed this morning.  Geo took his dad to the Dr tonight – also Aunty Mary Markham – she has a boil in her ear.  Neville Ward and family arrived this evening.  The Eggleston’s are down at Wards too.

7 January      Raining a little today.  I’m still loafing, my throat is better.  I had my hair cut and a nice hot bath.  Have just sent for a lottery ticket to see if I have any luck in 1941.  Elwyn Markham 21 years today – gave Mr Ray two pound for cow.  Jack just landed home, said he got washed out at Lyndhurst the rain was so heavy.  Brought home very large mushrooms.  Lee Markham [Elwyn] 21 years today.  Supply of ice cream today.

8 January      Lovely morning – out in the sun tis warm of course.  Georgie is leaving for Graham.  Talking to Aubrey last night – letter from Win.  Joan went to Sydney with Kathie.  No letter from Jimmy and he is gone nearly a fortnight.  Posting cheque for ice cream today œ14.8.3.  Midnight and a heavy storm raging.  Georgie putting up shutters in Post Office and running around fixing everything from rain.

9 January      Beautiful morning after last night’s rain.  Have not heard just how much we had – but 44 pts at Fred Whitty’s, much more up at Tom Whitty’s.  Loaned FH [Fred Howarth] œ5 and Georgie gave 10/-.  Mailman brought my new mattress today.  Have put in call to Temora to see what is wrong with Jimmy.

10 January    Beautiful day, only warm in sun.  Very busy preparing for dance tonight.  Talking to Jimmy tonight from Temora – Mr Adamson roused on him for not writing to me – Aub down to dance and played a few on drums.  Dance a success.  œ8.13.0 at door and over œ4 clear on beer.  Did not get to bed till 4 am.

11 January    Lovely day again but I suppose twill soon warm up unless we get more rain.  The soldiers filled Tiger’s old bus up with everything about the yard last night and put our Aspidestra on the shop verandah.  Georgie had to go for Nellie and Emilie and take them back after the dance.  Had good win today.

12 January    Mass this morning.  Fr O’Kennedy so we were home bright and early.  Georgie to town on ambulance.  Jim had busy day in shop.  Quite a lot went to Weir swimming and into Nellie’s to party tonight.

13 January    Very muggy this morning – hope we get more rain.  Georgie has taken twins [Clarrie and Clive Markham] to Oliver’s to work again.  Went for a drive to see Nellie this afternoon.  Wrote Dibby about going over one weekend.

14 January    Very cool this morning – no rain here but seemed raining heavily a few miles from here.  Sent MO [money order] to Western Stores with payment linoleum œ3.6.8.

15 January    Very like rain and cool.  Good day at races. Went to pictures with Georgie.  Nellie and kids OK – they were all bathed and in pyjamas ready for bed.

16 January    Cloudy still and cool.  WVS meeting today.  Edie going with Nell Ryan to tea and out to Eileen’s after to meet some military gents.  Thunder storm tonight and more heavy rain. Edie came home about 12.30 pm.  Paid electric light account.

17 January    Beautiful cool morning.  Georgie in town for goods.

18 January    Lovely morning again.  Won few bob at races.  Betty Ryan’s baby son born tonight.  Aunty Bid went to Ena’s with bad leg.  Edie looking after Aunty Mary.

19 January    Still cool – Fr O’K at Mass.  Eileen Ryan taken to hospital – we do not know particulars.  Party at Ward’s tonight.  Jimmy rang up tonight.

20 January    Fair and warmer this morning.  Eileen Ryan’s baby daughter born 8 pm last night, weighed 7 lbs.  Wrote Winnie today.  Paid for carpets.  Georgie in town.  Jim started old Mrs Power’s house.  Tom did not go to work till dinner time.

21 January    Much warmer today hoping for rain and cool change.  Letter from Dibby – they are all well.  Going up to Aub’s tonight.

22 January    Still warm.  No rain.  Wrote Dib.  Not much luck at races.  Georgie out all day with goods.

23 January    Little more like rain this morning and a trifle cooler.  Paid ice cream and small goods.  Edie still at Aunty Bid’s.

24 January    Nothing happened today – has been very muggy but all signs of rain gone.  Hall meeting tonight.

25 January    Sprinkling rain just now.  We expect to leave for Canberra tonight.  Spend weekend with Dibby.  Arthur Vaughan asked for ride over, left as arranged – Georgie went to Cowra for Emilie – had a grand trip over – road is beautiful.  Mr Crabtree met us outside Canberra and guided us thro and Dib and Win were waiting.

26 January    Pouring rain – we went to Mass.  George and Em went for look around and got lost.  Landed home after we’d had our dinner dripping wet.  We all went in car after to see the lookout and water supply.  Drove all round Canberra – looked over Institute of Anatomy – went to Harman and had ice cream in Queanbeyan.

27 January    We intended going out early today but Mrs Gibbs called and upset our plans.  She had to wait for her friend till after lunch.  We all had our photos taken at Dib’s and then went to see Cotter Dam – a beautiful place to spend a few days holiday.  Georgie took snaps of us on top of it. Arrived back about 4.30 left for home about 5.15 pm.  Had a lovely trip – cool drinks at Yass and tea at Boorowa and home about 9 o’clock.  Found everything in order.

28 January    A wee bit tired, think I’m getting a cold.  Feel lazy and sore bones.  Georgie took Emilie in this morning at 8 o’clock in time for work.  Was home again for lunch.  Wrote Dib and Win and Jimmy.

29 January    Still feeling lazy – each day gets warmer.  WVS holding a dance tonight – 30 soldiers coming out.  I’m wishing at the moment I hadn’t to go.

Soldiers arrived early.  A jolly lot of boys – 2 musicians amongst them – I had an easy time.  It was hard to get them away from the piano.  Closed up at 1.30 am.  Georgie had to take girls back to Cowra – they came out with Darcy Ryan.  Got home almost 3 o’clock.

Soldiers 2/12 Field Ambulance.  Fr Reen called to say goodbye – he is transferred to Orange.

30 January    Nice morning but will be warmer later.  Feel OK after dance.  Captain Bristoe out to collect œ20 from WVS for comforts for soldiers.  Edie, Mrs Ford and Beryl entertained him.  Nell [Ryan] went to Cowra to be present at the christening of Thomas Timothy Ryan and Mary Ryan.  Betty’s uncle who is a priest is over specially to christen her baby.

31 January    Georgie to town this arvo – passengers Paddy and Les [Whitty], Beryl and Mickie [Eggleston].  Had a sprinkling of soldiers in the shop during the day otherwise very quiet.


1 February    Very hot this morning.  Races this afternoon.  Hope I’m lucky.

2 February    Very muggy this morn.  Went to Mass, Fr Healy our new priest – he is very nice.  Storm coming up as we come home and tis much cooler now.  Geo to town but home for benediction.

3 February    Edie and Jack went in to see Nellie last night.  Kids still coughing.  Very cool weather.  Murray went up with Jim to Powers building for a week.

4 February    Had letter from Nora [O’Leary, cousin] today – she is well.

5 February    Nice day, cool enough for a cardigan.  Went to pictures with Geo to see ‘Fire from Avenue A’ and ‘Young Tom Edison’ – very good too.  Saw Nellie.  Marg has bad ear again – Murray and Jim came down whilst we were out.  Aunty Bid went to Ena’s with Tom and found Billy very sick so stayed there.  Had win on Teddy Rioni today 8/1.  Just heard Jock Ward engaged, they wired him congratulations.

6 February    Weather still cool – never think it is the middle of summer.  Billy Wass slightly better.  Aunty Bid coming home this evening.  Edie up with Aunty Mary Ryan.  Letter from Winnie today.  Went down to see Aunty Bid Ward – she is very well.  Pearl Water’s operated on for appendicitis today, also Jack Smart tonsils and nose.

7 February    Gorgeous morning – warmer than usual but like a spring day.

8 February    Fine again and warm – Edie, Jack and party went to town – got home about 2 am – had puncture at Nellie’s.  No luck at races, in fact, kitty was cleaned up and had to dip.

9 February    Fr O’K out this morning – looks OK but very feeble.  Murray went home this morning and not too keen on going.  Win rang up about 10.30 pm to say Dib in hopsital with Pneumonia.

10 February  Warmer than usual.  Thellie here and washed very early.  Geo to town and Margaret came for holiday.  She has very bad cough.  Win did not ring as promised so Nev is not any worse.  Lovely storm this evening and rain made a bit cooler for tonight.  Nellie rang to hear about Dib.  Tommy in working at Darcy Ryan’s.

11 February  War as ever this morning.  Went to Aub’s tonight.  Had a ring from Winnie, Dib improving.  Tess went to hospital tonight to have tonsils removed.  Cold change.

12 February  Tess operated on this morn and OK.  Geo and I running shop and PO between us.  Very cold still.  Soldiers all over the place out here, flying thro Darbys in cars and trucks and motor bikes.

13 February  George Snr has cold this morning.  Tried to keep him in bed but cannot.  Se we had to make fire in lounge.  Tis so very cold. We all have our warm jumpers on.  Woke up this morning to firing of bombs.  Dummys, you know. Wrote Winnie today.

14 February  A little warmer today. Dave Cooke went thro here this morning.  Looked splendid in his uniform. Our galah died this morning after three days illness.  We have another one of the soldiers taken in tonight to be operated on for appendicities.  Letter from Jimmy – he is going back to Griffith on 24th.  No word from Dib.

15 February  7 am – beautiful morning.  Georgie and Percy gone out to take delivery of sheep for Harold Power and mainly to get their commission as Jack Taylor is the seller.  No luck here at races.  Had a win in Cowra on Connette.  Edie and party gone to Nellie’s.

16 February  Fr O’Kennedy today – seems OK.  Georgie playing cricket again.

17 February  Nothing startling today.

18 February  Haven’t written in my book since last Friday so really forgot what happened.  Neville is improving – still has a slight pain.  Had quite a lot of soldiers in today they are going thro the village all day.  Bunny Bastian [a soldier] called.

19 February  Soldiers in all day – used up all our drinks – finished up 10 pm with cold lemon squash. Frank Ellis called and had a bottle of lager.  Storms all round and very heavy in Cowra. Geo, Dos and myself went in to see ‘Forty Thousand Horsmen’ – just a picture.  Tess came home from hopsital this arvo.  Races and won about 16/-.

20 February  Very warm again.  Soldiers have gone back to Cowra – forgot to tell mailman about ice cream so Geo had to go in after lunch for it.  WVS meeting this evening, only a few there.

24 February  600 soldiers passed thro this morn. We had a busy time while they were here – one lot thro about 11 am, the second about 2.30 pm. We had to ring Geo in town to come out with ice cream and drinks. They were 2/13th Captain Punch in charge.

25 February  Things are much quieter today. The soldiers are camped up at Coward’s shed – having a day and night out and it was raining.  Geo and I went to Aub’s and he delivered parcels at the Weir.  Emilie left on holidays today.

27 February  George out to Hovell’s today – has not been there for three weeks as Tess is not yet back.  They said they missed him.


1 Mar             Nice day.  Races as usual.  I had a small win.  George went to town as usual altho Em is away.  Was on ambulance – thought he’d get a case as the AIF and Militia do not mix and have a few brawls.  Jack, Edie and Co. went in too.

2 Mar             Mass Sunday.  Fr Healy and a good roll up.  Nice day but getting very hot – had the discussion group at PJ Whitty’s only 3/4 of an hour.

3 Mar             Very muggy and a real summer wind blowing.  Thellie has the washing out and finished when we came home from Mass about 8 am.  I think the change will bring rain.  Tess came back today.  Yes, nice rain today.

4 March         Much cooler after the rain.  Had letter from Dib.  He is getting better, has still another two weeks off work and is taking Scotts Emulsion.  Geo and Margaret went to Kindon’s last night and did not return till 10.30 pm. So I was in bed.

5 March         Still very cool, in fact, I think there was a slight frost last night.  Georgie gone to Hovell’s Creek.

8 April            Son born to Mr & Mrs Herb Wass – Nicholas Joseph.  Dib rang up Edie speaking to him.

9 April            Geo and I went in to see ‘No No Nanette’.  Nellie came with us.

10 April          Geo and Ernie went fishing – only caught two small ones.  Margaret, Anne and Murray out for weekend.

11 April          Very warm day.  Edie at church doing the stations.

19 May          Herb Whitty died this morning in Alston Hospital.  Funeral tomorrow afternoon 3 pm.

21 May          Geo Senr.[George Harris I] taken to Alston Hospital – very severe stroke.  Dr Mahon out to see him and ordered ambulance for him.

22 May          George little better.  Junr. [George Harris II] just going in to see him.  Had light shower just now but gone again.

23 May          George much better this morn.  Lovely rain – started during last night and still raining.

24 May          Pouring rain till midday.

28 May          I went to bed with Lumbago.  Got medicine and linament from Dr Mahon.

30 May          Grand Catholic Ball – great success – about œ25 clear.  Beautiful night.  I’m still in bed with Lumbago – had to get Mollie Jordan to play.

31 May          Fine today.  Won a few bob at races.  Still in bed.  Rain started just as Georgie came home about midnight.

1 June           I am sixty-four today and feel better.  Got up for dinner – had lovely turkey.  Pouring rain all day.  George brought Emilie out to help him do bills.

5 June           Georgie going in to bring his dad from hospital.  Beautiful day. Dib rang from Canberra is leaving 10 am for Sydney.  Trying for leave to come home.

7 June           Letter from Dibby from HMAS Kuttabul.  Is coming home on leave next Thursday.

8 June           Mass this morning.  Fr O’Kennedy.  Pouring rain.

10 June         Dib home on leave till 24th.  Wire to Canberra –  report on board 24 for draft to ship.

13 June         Jimmy came over to see Dib – left for Leeton again 15th.  Dance tonight for piano fund.  œ6.15 at door.

17 June         Nonie Ford’s birthday – 22 years and announced her engagement to Lloyd Matheson.  Pouring rain all night.

19 June         Dib left for Sydney but going back to Canberra to see family.  Ernest in hospital with Tonsilitis.

22 June         Talking to Jimmy tonight.  Thinks he’ll soon be called up.  Uncle Bill called this arvo.  Looks well.

23 June         Dibby back in Sydney from Canberra.  Children all well.  He will wire me when he knows the boat he’ll be on.  Aunty Bid went to Ena’s for a week.

24 June         Tom gone out to Wattamondara working for …. Oliver’s husband building garage.  Edie looking after Aunty Mary Ryan.

25 June         Note from Dib.  He is going to Port Melbourne tonight to board HMAS Gerard.  Thinks tis examination vessell going to Darwin, but will write again.

26 June         Son born to Mrs Jack Neville.  Bitterly cold morn.

28 June         Letter from Nev.  He is not leaving Melbourne for 14 days.  Gerard being fitted up.


1 July            Mick Neville’s first day taking Maryama mail thro Darbys.  Bitterly cold wind blowing.

13 July          Darbys Falls Freezing Works burnt down 17 years today.  [Freezing works situated between the shop and Hudson’s house].

14 July          Rain set in this evening

24 July          Letter from Dib today.  Port Kembla post mark but he couldn’t say just where he was.

25 July          Sun shining this morning, first time we’ve seen it for a week.

29 July          First payment at Post Office for Child Endowment.  Nice day – sun shining sometimes.

Next entry:

27 August      George Snr came home from hospital.  Tom painting front of house.  Put in fruit trees this month.

28 August      Bill’s [Markham] birthday.


6 September Jack Howarth married

11 September       Very cold today.  Races in Cowra.  I’d like to go but hope the sun shines.  At present I don’t think I can.

16 September       Geo Jnr paid œ4.2.0. case butter outstanding at Wright Heaton.  Lovely rain last night.  Geo [Jnr] gone for medical exam.  Tom putting up fence at Emilie’s place.

20 September       Geo married today.  Left for Orange.  Breakfast very nice – plenty of everything.  Came out to see dad.  Left again about 11.30.  Got case butter from Wright Heaton.

21 September       Talking to George at Orange.  Having good time.  Very hot today – first hot day we’ve had.

22 September       Very nice morning – raining a little this arvo.


18 October    Caulfield Cup.


7 November  George [Snr] passed away 2.45 am, Cowra District Hospital. Buried Cowra 5 pm.

11 November        Mr McGuinness [Win Murray’s father] passed away at his residence, Bondi North, today.

15 November        Edie left for Orange.

19 November        Very hot last night.  Ditto this morn.  George going to Graham.


2 December  Iris Markham taken to hospital very ill. They think Bright’s disease – Dr says she has a very grave outlook.

4 December  Very cold snap.  We are having a fire tonight.  Iris a little better.

5 December  10 am.  Bitterly cold.  Doll is making a fire.  I am going in this afternoon to see Uncle Bill.  Iris much improved this morning.


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