Margaret Harris’ Diary – 1944



3 January          Jimmy left tonight for Sydney, also Nonie and Lloyd.

4 January          Warm today after lovely cool night.

5 January          Bush fires raging up at Riverslea.  I’m going in to see Frank.  Doctor does not like his condition.

6 January          Still very hot – fires still burning.  Started by soldiers.  Wrote to Winnie this arvo – I am minding Post Office. Edie very sick, went back to doctor.  She has flu badly. Dr said to stay in bed till she’s better.

7 January          Very hot again.  Em and George gone to town – will see Frank.  I owe him œ2.3.0 on three pensions (13/-, 16/- and 14/-).  Nellie home from Canberra and the children went back home today.  Have not heard from Jimmy since he left.

15 January        Uncle Doll passed away Cowra District Hospital.  Brought out to Darbys Church that night.

16 January        Uncle Doll burried today near Uncle Ted.  Very hot morn.  Cool change at night.


1 February        Daughter born to Emilie and George.  Very hot day but storm in evening.

3 February        Really a wintry morning.  Very cold wind blowing.  Letters from Dib and Jim yesterday.


19 April              Tess left for Grenfell Post Office relieving – had given me two weeks notice.

24 April              Violet Howarth came to PO to work.


17 May              Races held at Darbys first time in Ray Newham’s paddock.  A great success.  Military Band out and played in front of shop for 1 hour at night.  Ball a big success too.


13 July              Darbys Freezing Works burnt 20 years today


23 September   Aunty Bid Markham home from hospital after 6 weeks.

28 September   Telephone installed in shop today.  Fred Whitty very ill in hospital.  Tom Markham left for camp yesterday after one month’s leave from New Guinea.  Is trying for another month.  Jimmy home last week-end, left on Sunday night 24th by bus for Blayney.

29 September   Reg Hailstone had first call to George – No. 1 Darbys Falls.  Line finished to Hydro at Wyangala. Men cleaning up camp preparing to leave.

30 September   Race meeting at Reids Flat.  Beautiful day.  Edie to Cowra with Nell and Norm for trots.  Fred Whitty’s condition same.

Later – Fred Whitty died 3 pm.  Mrs Whitty and boys came home at night.  I rang numerous places for them.  Tom rang tonight and is trying for further leave.


1 October          Very warm and stormy looking.  Fred Whitty funeral this afternoon at 3.30 – quite a nice funeral in Cowra.  Cooler tonight and raining steadily.

2 October          Much cooler today.  I got back into my cardigan.  Tom rang from Sydney tonight – he cannot get any more leave.  Mrs Pat Ryan is up with Aunty Bid for a few days.  Aunty had a fall this afternoon.

3 October          Quite cool again today.  Aunty Bid Nick not so well:  the shock of the fall we think.  Ena and Herby went thro to town.  The Apple Man has been here.  I bought a case each for Nellie and myself.  Jock Ward’s birthday.  I had a letter from Murray.

4 October          A meeting was held this arvo to arrange a dance for the Hospital Queen, Sister O’Connor.  It was decided to have it on 14 October.

5 October          Mrs Pat Ryan went back to Northwood after spending a few days at Burrilda [Nick & Bid Markham’s place].  Went to see Aunt Bid Ward.  Her hand is beginning to pain her.  Jim and Jack came home had their holiday for the week-end instead of Monday, 6 hour day.

6 October          Tom rang from Sydney tonight he is leaving for Brisbane.

7 October          Races today.  I had a small win.  Beastly hot today.  Violet went to town and brought me some music.

8 October          Fr Masterton out for Mass this morn.  Aunty Bid going up with Ena for a week or so.  Jimmy rang up today – he is going to Wagga tonight.

10 October        Emilie went to town to have her hair done – took two wee ones.  Very hot today.  Government’s men repaired Aunty Bid’s water pipes.

11 October        Our two cats had kittens at the same time this morning on Emilie’s good mat.  Beautiful cool morn, in fact, could wear a cardigan.  Ordered cakes for dance Saturday night.  Men still clearing camp across road.  Fr Gallagher arrived tonight – has been very ill since he left here.

12 October        Nice and cool this morn.  Margaret Cooke’s birthday – 15 years.  Very hazy all round.  We think a bush fire somewhere.  I had a bad night with my family of kittens.  Penny tried to mother them, picked the kittens out from their mother and took them on their own cushion but had nothing to give them to drink.  Letter from Jimmy from Wagga.  Dos got parcel from Jock.

13 October        Nothing happened today.  Geo went to town for goods, brought Elliott girls out from school.  Letter from Tom – he will only be thirty miles from Brisbane.  Return to NG (New Guinea) cancelled.

Very hot today and windy.  Getting up sweep for Epsom tomorrow.  Fr Gallagher called to see us tonight.

14 October        Very hot, dusty and windy.  Granny Hudson of Graham died in Cowra Hospital this morn aged 92.  Had a good dance tonight for Sister O’Connor, she is in Queen Competiton for Hospital.  Result œ23 clear.  About seven nurses out and Mrs Ellis, Secretary and the Ambulance chap and wife.  Aub and I played for dance.

15 October        Mass this morning – Fr Gallagher – and very hot and windy.  Aub and Till down for the day.  Geo and Aub went to Mount McDonald for tanks at old Police Station.  Did not get home till very late – tea about 7.30.  Edie, Nell, Norm, Nellie and Charlie invited to Sergeants’ Mess for tea.

16 October        Very hot and windy and dusty and now at 12 noon tis sprinkling rain.  I do hope it keeps on.  The transmission camp is just about to move off from Aunt Bid’s paddock.  They have left everything very tidy.  Geo and Em going to Graham for Granny Hudson’s funeral.

Went to town tonight to see Nellie and Uncle Bill.  George took Oliver [Markham] in to doctor.  Nothing serious.

17 October        Beautiful cool day – We are back into cardigans.  They say Goulburn was flooded out yesterday so that is the reason for cold snap.  Tuesday afternoon dreadful storms all round. We had a little rain and hailstones.  All lights blown at just about 6 pm.  Geo rang Koorawatha and we prepared for candles but they were on in about two hours – went to see Aunty Bid Ward.  She is well.

18 October        Fine day again.  You’d never think we had two dreadful days of dust and heat and just a little rain. Still in our cardigans.

19 October        Cool day again in doors but warm in sun.  No wind.  Have just written to Dibby.

20 October        Much warmer today, have discarded cardigan.  Letter from Jimmy from Penrith.

21 October        Very hot this morning.  This is Metropolitan Day.  If Nightbeam wins Em and Jim and I win œ100.  We won!  [Emilie explains they won œ100 each.  They bet 5/- each way on a double].

22 October        Very warm.  Mass this morn – Women’s Sunday. Tilly and Aub down.  We talked winning the hundred pounds all day – twas marvellous.  Clarrie went up with Aub to dig a hole looking for water.

23 October        Just finished Form 100.  Janet crawling real well and picking up any rubbish she can off the floor.  She can also stand up to the chair.

Edie went up to see Aunt Bid – she thinks she looks very bad.  Jim and Jack left at 5.30 am for work.  Sent slip to Mr Hackett for collection also sent œ1 to Snowy [Oliver Markham] – Fr Masterton left. Wrote to Jimmy.

24 October        George going to Graham and I’m shopkeeper.  Had a quite day.  No mail much.  Warm in the morning but cooler towards evening.  Edie went to town with Herb Wass and Mrs Ford with Percy.  I sent for a lottery ticket – called it Epsom and Metrop.  Violet six months here today.  Sent Dib papers.

25 October        Started to rain early this morn, nice and steady and now 9 am and still raining.  Tis so badly needed.  Writing to Winnie.  Eric Newham’s telephone installed – No.14.

26 October        Beautiful day but rain all gone.  Geo went to Cowra for goods.

27 October        Cool and fine this morn.  Violet learning to type.

28 October        Races today – Orderly won Tatts Cup.  George took Howarth bros. to Boorowa – their brother Jim died.  Is not coming back tonight.

29 October        Went to Mass – Fr Casey.  Aub and Till stayed after the pictures.  George arrived home about six o’clock.  Maisie [Smart] gave him a nice little swing for Janet – brought Junior a gun and Em and me a few packets Shampoo and flints for lighting.

30 October        Nellie’s birthday. Very hot and quiet.  Jack took Edie to doctor – not too well – she stayed in at Nellie’s.

31 October        Letter from Dib – he is OK. Very hot again – am busy on Form 100.  George gone to Graham.  I’m in the shop and a very hot day.


1 November      Mass this morn – All Saints Day.  George has to take Clem’s [Newham] wife [was Pearl Waters] to town to hospital.

2 November      Mass again – All Souls Day.  Very hot.  Just finished a few important things in PO.  Violet [Howarth] started on bills on typewriter.  Maggie [Fogg] off work sick.

3 November      Little cooler today. George went to Hyles to help Oliver repair windmill.  [Hyles property over the river on the Reids Flat Road].  I am in the shop.  Jack went round by Cowra and brought Edie home.  Maggie back to work.

4 November      Very warm again.  Races today and I won back the money I lost last Saturday.  Aunt Bid came home from Ena’s – she is improving.

5 November      Em and Geo went to town.  I’m here alone – Jim minding shop till dinner.  I’m sending him home as I couldn’t be bothered cooking dinner.  Aub and Til came to tea.

6 November      Very hot again till evening.  I went to see Bid Ward and got telegram from Jimmy from Grafton.  Heard news of Squizzy Taylor being run over by his son – poor boy was going out in car and his father had a few drinks – raced out to jump in car and slipped under the wheels.

7 November      Hot this morn but has blown up very stormy – dust would blind you.  We are hoping for rain.  Got cheque from Mr Hennessy.  Started raining tonight.

8 November      Raining this morning nice and steady up till dinner time.  Fine in afternoon.  Letter from Dib and I wrote to Dib and Jimmy.

9 November      Fine and cool today.  Geo and Em gone to town – I’m shopkeeper.

11 November    Haven’t written anything for a few days.  This is Cup Day (Melbourne), won by Sirius.  I had a fair day.  Dance tonight for WVS – think they’ll have œ8 clear.  Aub and I played.

12 November    Desperately hot. Went to Mass at 9 am.  Aub and Till with us.  Cricket match Hovells Creek and Darbys – needless to say Darbys won and George made top score.  Plenty insects around the lights tonight.  Aub and Till went to Wards. Aub won 7/6 at cards and they went home about 11 pm.

13 November    A roasting night.  I was up at 6.30 am and had a shower.  Cooler change in afternoon.  Some place was lucky enough to get rain.

14 November    George gone to Graham.  I’m in shop and have written to Dib and sent papers.  Much cooler again today.  Junior went with his dad.  Herb and Ena went to town and stayed.

15 November    Cooler again today – just finished Form 100.  Geo has been up at Ray’s sawing a ton of wood.

27 November    Haven’t written anything for a week.  I had a turn myself and could not use my right hand  so was in bed for four days till the blood pressure went down.  In the meantime, poor Pat Whitty collapsed and died on Saturday, buried on Sunday at 12 noon, and on returning from the funeral we were informed that Eileen Ryan had died.  Poor little thing she is better off – she’s only been waiting for it for about four years, but she wouldn’t leave Darcy.  Poor Pat was hale and hearty down at breakfast time for butter for breakfast and in half an hour was dead.  Eileen is buried in Cowra today.

Emilie has gone to the funeral.  They wouldn’t let me go and I couldn’t mind the shop so George couldn’t go.  We’ve had dreadful dust storms during the week – couldn’t see across the road and had 40 pts rain.  Aunty Bid Ward gone in this morning.


4 December      Nothing written since November 27.  We’ve had very hot weather after a cool change. Dance Saturday 2 December for Combined Cricket Clubs.  Darbys and Hovells Creek – not a bad turn out.  Some could not go on account of Pat Whitty’s death.  They had œ3 each for clubs.  Aub and I played till 2 am – I was not very well next day and got roused on all day for playing.

Went to Mass in the morning and just lounged about all day.  Talking to Jimmy at Boorowa Thursday night.  Cyril Howarth just rang up from Cowra – he is out of the army.  Hazel left Aunty Bid – she is now up at Bert Howarths.

11 December    Nothing written since the 4th.  I’m very lazy.  I’ve had a letter from Jimmy from Wauchope and one from Boggabri and he rang me from Brewarrina last night.  Mrs Johnson [school teacher’s wife] died last week end and was cremated – I think that’s dreadful.  I’d rather let the worms crawl thro me.

Very hot weather still and no rain – nothing but dust.  No letter from Dib for over a week.

31 December    Noni [Ford] Matheson’s baby born.


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