Margaret Harris’ Diary – 1954



1 January.       This book was given to me by John Cooke and this day is exceptionally hot. Had a visit from a snake in George’s garden, Johnny saw him and called out til we all ran out to see what was wrong. Nora Matheson taken to hospital for appendicitis operation. Mrs Ford has baby. Party in Hall tonight. Clarrie Tarrant’s 21st birthday.

2 January.       Lovely storm this morning. Very heavy rain and is much cooler. Geo. just gone to milk cow. Races this arvo. I did not win. Had fire in  kitchen tonight.

3 January.       Holy Mass 7 a.m. Fr Casey – Sunday- All Wass’s down. No Mass at Wyangala. Beautifully cool. Wore my heavy coat and skirt to Mass. Aida [Jordan] left this morning to return to Sydney. Staying with Lois [Marks] while Lal on holidays.  Tigers playing cricket here.

4 January.       Very cold last night. 2 blankets and bed jacket. George took car to Cowra for check over.

5 January.       Snake at Fords today. Lal and Tiger back from Cooma and Canberra. Lal very ill.

6 January.       Cold wind today. Em went to town to see her brother George. Mrs Coward sent me box of Apricots. Snake at Fords today. Fire again tonight.

7 January.       Another beautiful day. Real wintry. Pain in shoulder. Dr says Fibrositis  of the muscle. Tiger Marks went to Dr with something on his back. Lal a little better.

8 January.       Beautiful morning. My shoulder feels better Em’s brother George and family coming today to do a bit of fishing. Tony and Junior caught a nice fish. They didn’t go home until 8.30 p.m.

9 January.       Warmer this morn. Races and I didn’t win Aub and Tilly went to Cowra. We killed another snake tonight. Had letter from Role [Easdowne].

10 January.     Warmer this morning. Holy Mass. George playing cricket in Cowra. I had my dinner at Ray Newhams. Aub and Thel down for tea. Thelma bought a cake. Darby’s won two matches. Paid Edie for Far East – 12/-.

11 January.     Cool morning. George  going to Cowra.  Minding P.O. and have just written  to Nellie, also Dibby and Jimmy. Neville rang me last night.

12 January.     Mary D’Elbeau down and had dress cut out. Em made two for Janet.

13 January.     Ray Howarth loading furniture this morning. Don’t know where he is going. Em took children to pictures in Cowra. Junior stayed in town.

14 January      Very hot. Janet learning to sew on machine. Very good too.  Just made handkerchief. Mrs Tarrant bought Edie’s carpet.  Clarrie looking at lounge suite. Bought 2/- wheat for chooks. Killed rooster.

15 January.     Warm day. Em with kids to Wyangala for swim. Mrs Walter Howarth bought Edie’s lounge suite.

[Edie and Jack (Ward) were living in Tot Whitty’s house, later bought by Father Gallagher].

16 January      Cool morning. My last day at P.O. Expect to go away next week. Races and no win. Herby sold calf yesterday.

17 January.     Holy Mass. Very hot day. Tom took Lizzie [Elsie Ford], Edie and kids up to Dam swimming. Janet went to Norman Newham’s for day and night. Jimmy rang tonight – said he dropped cigarette ash in Timmy’s eye – took him to Orange Hospital.

18 January.     Very hot still. Janet still at Newhams. Mrs Ray went to Bigga to see sister who is ill. Em took me for a drive after tea up past Ryans.

19 January.     Promising to be a very warm day. Wass’s went to town. George went to ambulance meeting.

20 January.     Mr Cahill expected at 9.30 a.m. Meeting about water. Put my shoes on this morning.  First time for weeks. Em taking children to stay with her mother for a few days.  Had to bring Junior home tonight with earache.

21 January.     Murray passed Town Clerk Exam. Highest in State for Public Finance and second highest for Economics.

22 January.     Em took Junior to Dr. He has not been well for last few weeks and when Johnny saw his mother he came home too. Cancelled our Sydney tickets for Monday night. Edie not too well. Dr told her not to go Monday.

23 January.     Sadie Tarrant still in hospital but a little better. Arthur Howarth has the S.P business.

24 January.     Dib rang me today. Early Mass. Darby’s 1st playing cricket at Goolagong and lost. Goolagong 2nds played here and Darby’s won. Aub down for tea. Thelma went to Sydney.

25 January.     Talking to Nellie. All well preparing for party to celebrate Murray’s pass. Nell and Norm have been out to see her. They are invited to the party. Ena and family left for Sydney this morning.

26 January.     Having meeting tonight to arrange date and orchestra for Catholic Ball.  Went to Dr today for check up before going to Sydney.  Paid Hennessy œ3.

27 January.     Very nice morning. Edie and I leaving for Sydney tonight, God willing.

28 January.     Arrived Strathfield 4.50 a.m. Conductor forgot to call us so Edie jumped off with corsets in her hands and left Rosary beads but got them from lost property. Margaret and Thomas met us.

29 January.     Murray went to town but didn’t tell us why he went.  Thought it might be the ring. Did not return til midnight. Nellie took me to the Dr about toe. Says it is a soft corn – to wear corn plaster. Just a plain one with hole for corn. Edie and Marg to town.

30 January.     Nothing doing but lovely weather. Anne went to Wollongong for weekend. Jack has not turned up yet and I cannot go anywhere as my leg is not too good.

31 January.     Everyone at Mass but me. All hands busy cooking for party tonight. Murray celebrating the Town Clerk’s Exams. George rang tonight.

1 February.     Ena arrived today after putting Nicky in the boarding College. John went to Cowra with Wasses.

2 February.     Went to Kellys tonight. Murray [Cooke] announced engagement [to Margaret Kelly of Concord].  Mary Ryan out to see us.

3 February.     Jane Munster [Bridesmaid] called from 11 a.m til 3 p.m. Listened to arrival of Queen. George rang up and had good yarn.

4 February.     Dos [Ward] and Lal [Marks] came out today. Stayed for tea and left 9.30 p.m. Murray shouted for them. Edie a bit full. Beautiful weather.

5 February.     Nellie and Edie going to Concord Park to see Queen. Talking to Auntie Gert [Iverson, bridesmaid] this morn and Mat Walsh [cousin].

6 February.     Had bets on Races but did not win.

7 February.     Edie and Anne went to Manly. I did not go to Mass.  Cannot walk very far. Murray went to Concord. Margaret swimming with Jack. John doing lawns and Edie and Nellie and I asleep.

8 February.     Dos and Lal came out to see us. Had tea and stayed til 9.30 p.m. Dr coming to see me about my legs. Gave me tablets – will see me next week.

9 February.     Gert Iverson out to see me today. She looks wonderfully well. Left for home about 5 p.m. Talking to home last night.

10 February.   Raining today. Walked as far as Woollies tonight. Had to have a rest at shop coming back. Then walked home O.K. Mrs Aub Smart rang Edie

11 February.   Guardians from home.  Edie’s cigarettes did not come. She is angry and has wired Mrs Noakes. Just wrote Jimmy and Aub. Edie got cigs this arvo.

12 February.   Cool morning. Edie and Nellie going to town. Edie getting hair cut and they are going out to Lals. Sent Valentine Card to Role. Bert Stone came to see me after 52 years – is 80 years old and looks splendid.

13 February.   Jane and friend called. Nell and Edie asleep. Got great shock when heard door bell. Murray playing golf and took Edie to see new lounge at Fairfield Hotel.  Went to Granville Swimming Carnival. Tom second to the champ.  (John Devitt) 3rd in next race – won Breast-stroke.

14 February    Jack Wilkinson for dinner. Took Marg driving to see the Queen’s robes. Edie to see Ivy and Aubrey [Smart]. Porky [Veness] and girlfriend called (friends of John Cooke).  Anne’s girlfriend Kath [Garard] called after tea.  Jack [Wilkinson] called and took me to Mass.  First time since I came down.

15 February.   Mat [Walsh] came out today to lunch. Stayed til 6.30 p.m.

16 February    Nellie to attend Fair Rents Court. Has to pay œ2.2.0 per week since 9th January.  Mary Ryan rang this morning. Dr Frost called. Think leg has improved as I walked a little further without trouble. Going to see Quo Vardis tonight.

17 February.   Writing Nell Morris [Markham] and Mrs Jordan.

18 February.   Queen left Sydney for Hobart today. Edie went to town with Mary Ryan. Anne and Marg to town to see Hot Ice Show.

20 February    Eric Ward married at 6.30 a.m. George best man. Ollie Waters Matron of Honour. Left after for Orange on morning train. George went to Canberra in afternoon to bring Em home. Talking to him 6.30.p.m.

21 February.   Raining. Walked to Mass with aid of stick. Jack brought me home. Too wet to do anything. Expecting George to ring up but he didn’t.  Nell Morris rang to say too wet to come over.

22 February.   Fine day.  Nellie and Edie to town.  Only Murray and myself for dinner.  Wrote to Jimmy and Frank Murray.  Just heard Alice Murray married before Xmas.

23 February.   Mrs Jordan, Ollie and Clare out to see me.  Ollie took snaps of us all.  Had afternoon tea and went to pictures to see ‘Anna Karenjenia’ Edie got MO from George.

25 February.   Edie went to see Dr.  Nellie to see dentist but nothing done.  Only examined her mouth and she must go back in fortnight.

26 February.   Edie took me  up town today – bought tag for my port and some fish for dinner.  Longest walk I’ve had in four weeks.

27 February.   Margaret gone to town for Wedding.  Anne going to Austinmer for week. Won œ1 on races.

28 February.   Mass this morning. I walked with stick of course. Eddie Bourke out this morning. Marg Kelly out. Eddie to be ordained on  21st July. Very nice  day.

1 Mar.              Arrived Cowra 4.30 p.m. Two Georges met me. Much hotter than Sydney. Jack Wilkinson drove me to Strathfield.

2 Mar.              Very nice day. Em gone to town.  Taking Jan to Dr with wart under foot and getting something for Eric’s gift evening.  Wrote to Nellie and sent three papers (Cowra Guardian).

3 Mar.              Lovely morning.  I’m only just up at 8.30.  Eric putting in lawn at Hardgotte [Ward’s place].

4 Mar.              Johnnie learning to ride the bike.  Very proud of himself.

6 Mar.              Worths Circus in Cowra.  George and family gone to it.

7 Mar.              Party at Hardgotte and gift evening. Lots of beautiful presents.  No room for crowd so came back to our place. Music and cards til midnight.

8 Mar.              Tom gone back to work at Ryans.

9 Mar.              Janet had wart out of her foot.

10 Mar.            Geo putting new valves in car.  I walked down to Markhams – they repaired tyres on John’s bike.  Talking to Nellie tonight.

11 Mar             Edie gone to town.  Last trip to Cahills.  They have sold out at last [Australian Hotel].  Johnny rode bike to school for first time.

13 Mar.            Played for Juvenile tonight. First time. Very nice dance – lots of kids.

14 Mar             Holy Mass 9 a.m. George and Em gone to cricket in Cowra.  Both teams beaten so out of competion.

15 Mar.            Mrs Whitty Snr died this  morning. Has been ill for some time. Is to be buried Darbys. Em went up to be with Millice til boys come.

16 Mar             Mrs Whitty buried today. Two Masses today and five priests at funeral

17 Mar             Decemberorating Hall for Ball Friday. Hall meeting tonight.

18 Mar.            Finishing Decemberorations. Meeting tonight re Back to Darby’s Ball. Not so cold.

20 Mar.            Won at Races today. Cricketers dinner tonight. I played for dance.

21 Mar.            Went to see Aub’s house this afternoon and Gordon Elliott’s house in morning. I think Aub will finish first.

23 Mar.            Em took all the kids in car up to bus this morning. Also did the washing after final meeting of Back to Darbys.

26 Mar.            Joan Murray sailed for England on Largs Bay.

28 Mar.            Jim and Marj left Parkes for Cronulla for holidays.

29 Mar.            Saw Dr tonight – is going to give me a tonic to take thrice daily.


2 April.             Dib, Win and Nellie arrived for weekend celebrations.- 70th anniversary of opening of Darby’s Falls School. Ball tonight – great success.

3 April.             Back to School this afternoon. It was lovely to see all the old students back. Speeches by Mr Laughlan, Reg Hailstone, Mr  Shumacher and Mr Johnson. Cricket by Johnson’s team playing Muir’s team. Johnson’s won.  [Johnson was earlier teacher. Muir is present teacher]. Nellie, Dib and Win left for Canberra.

14 April.           Jim and Marj arrived from Cronulla.

17 April.           Jimmy’s birthday. Marj gave him a golf stick. I gave him some covers.

20  April           Jim and Marj left for Parkes. Enjoyed their week with us. Tim is a lovely kid.

22 April            Fr Gallagher back staying in his own house [Allawah].

24 April            Junior playing Bobbies and Bushies and fell on back steps- cut his shin open.

25 April.           Sunday. Aub and Thelma down – rained all afternoon about 35 points. Dib’s birthday. Junior stayed at Olivers. Fr Gallagher said 7.30 Mass. Geo and Em to town to bring Janet and Sadie [Tarrant] home. Taking Junior back to school  after holidays.

26 April.           Aubrey’s birthday.


3 May              Went back to Dr. Was pleased with my weight. I’m down to 12 stone but have to lose half a stone yet.

5 May              Em going to town to have tooth out. Terribly cold this morning.

7 May.             Children gone to school sports.

12 May            Ern Murray’s birthday. I rang up. He is in bed with jaundice. Talking to Nellie tonight.

16 May            Margaret Ryan’s 5th birthday. Em  and I and Johnny out.  Home 5 p,m.

17 May            Em went to town to get a few things for John’s trip to Sydney. Sam Oliver died tonight.

18  May           Sam Oliver taken to Sydney for Cremation.

19 May            Em and Johnny left to Sydney this morning. Frosts every morning


1 June             My 77th birthday. Aub and Thelma down today for tea and Fr Gallaher. We had chooks and I am very well. Lots of telegrams and calls.

4 June             I left for Parkes today. George’s holidays start this afternoon.  Jan is to be examined for Confirmation.

6 June             Sunday. Went to Mass – Parkes.

14 June.          Junior’s birthday – 12 years.

16 June           Jimmy took me to Condoblon with him. We had a look at Church.  A  beautiful building.

19 June           Returned from Parkes. Had a lovely holiday. Met a lot of Marj’s friends.

21 June           Wished John Cooke Happy Birthday for 21st.  But I was a year early! He is only 20 years.

23 June           Tom Markham’s birthday. Em asked him for tea.

26 June           Saturday. 5/- on Olympic today and lost.

27 June           Sunday – Janet and Junior confirmed today.  Em left for Sydney with John. Taking him to specialist for Tuesday.

28 June           Thellie Ward confirmed today.

29 June           John went to Dr today at 8 a.m. for operation to eyes. Very successful. He was kept in theatre till 6 p.m.

30 June           Took John back to specialist. His eye is very good. Dr gave him drops. Take him back next Tuesday.


1 July              Country Womens 19th birthday. Very large gathering from surrounding towns. Lovely afternoon tea,

3 July              Betty Corcoran in hospital with daughter.

4 July              Gordon Elliott moved down from Wyangala Dam today.

6 July              Em took Johnny to Dr today – took bandage off eyes. Is not receiving treatment now but Dr wants him back in month. George went to town this arvo. Took Thellie and Edie Francis to see what Scottie is bringing out to dance. Edie Ward coming home.

10 July            Received letter from Joan Murray in Ireland. It is very interesting. Played for dance for ambulance and Hall.

11 July            9.30 Mass and I slept all afternoon. Lyn and Norm [Oliver] called and had afternoon tea.


7 August          Rowena Tarrant and Colin Howarth married today. Lovely turnout. 84 guests.  Dave Noakes driving to Cowra had accident – smashed his truck.  Dave Noakes in hospital


3 September.  Sydney. Went to Concord to see Emily. She is feeling better. Connolly’s over to see Nellie. Had late night and Murray drove them home in John’s car.

4 September.  Home from Sydney today.

7 September.  Mass this morning.  Fr Casey.

8 September.  Cleaned out stove this morn and Edie did inside fireplace.

10 September Emily home from Sydney today. Has to wear dark glasses. Eyes very weak yet.

14 September First Show Day. Rotten weather – windy cold. Dib said he’d ring but didn’t.  Dib and Win over !

15 September Second Show Day.  All gone but me. Edie went to help Linda. Beautiful day.

16 September Father having Mass every day in his chapel.  Went up to Aub’s with Win and Dib.  Saw Meredith’s Ford.

17 September Went to races.  Lost 11/-.  Dib went back to Trots.

18 September Win not well so did not go back to races.

19 September Win and Dib left 2 pm.

23 September Reggie Frazer killed in car accident. The others in hospital.


2 October        Phil Carlin died suddenly today.

16 October      Vince Ford married today.

17 October      Sunday.  Aub and Thelma down to tea.

8 October        80 points rain in one store this morn.

19 October      George to Ambulance Meeting. Clive, Edie and Liz went too.  Up to present rainfall 3 inches.

21 October      Em making dress for Cabaret tomorrow night.

22 October      Em and Geo going to Cabaret in Cowra tonight.

25 October      Raining again.  Also Tues. Wed. Thurs. about one and a half inches so far.

28 October      Edie making Xmas Cake at Rays today.  Posted letter to Nellie and Dib.

16 Nov            Enid Ford’s baby daughter born today – Jennifer Lee.

19 Nov            Governor Sir John Northcott entertained at morning tea. A great crowd attended. I played God Save the Queen and shook hands with him.

20 Nov            Dreadful storm this afternoon. Took off roof of our church and half Wyangala’s new Hall.  Two sheets iron off Eric’s [Ward].

23 Nov            Pictures in Hall tonight shown by Agricultural Bureau.

24 Nov            Men from Woodstock putting roof on Church. Also men tarring road. A  real good job this time.

29 Nov            Joan Murray arrived back from England today.

3 December.   Ball at Wyangala tonight. Took œ154  at door and donations will bring it up to œ400 . Great crowd. I am still at Aubrey’s. Bishop coming out soon so I’m waiting.

5 December.   Mass at Hall. We all marched from Corcorans where they’ve been holding Mass for ten years.

7 December    Finalised McPhee A/c this month.  Will only be for Decemberember.

9 December.   Men working at PO putting in new board. Have written to Role and Anne.  Geo and Aub to town meeting.

12 December  Bought chooks feed today. Aub and Thelma down and car went phut and had to stay night.

13 December. Sent card to Chas Johnson.

18 December  Housie up at Waters tonight.

19 December  Neville rang today.  He is coming over Xmas afternoon.

20 December  Went to see Dr tonight.  Everything O.k.

21 December  Men still working in PO and putting in cable.

25 December  Jim and Marj arrived 11.30 a.m. Nev, Frank and Joan at 5 p.m. All went to Aub that night.

26 December  Mass 9 a.m.  All but me went swimming at Dam.

28 December. Jim left for home at 11 a.m Dib and Co went 2 p.m. Joan went to Parkes with Jim. John Cooke arrived at 5 p.m.


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