EARLIEST MEMORIES OF DARBYS FALLS
By Gordon Elliott (in Ca 1999)
[Gordon Elliott was a member of one of the pioneer families of the district. His recollections and descriptions of life and personalities in the Darbys Falls area provide a valuable research resource for genealogists and historians, as well as descendants who admire the resourcefulness of those family members who settled the area up to a century ago. I have added some photographs to enhance his descriptions.]
Jack Anthony lived on the corner where the Smiths live now and he used to run a bus. The bus was a horse drawn vehicle with a cover over it a like you would expect to see in the Wild West (with lightened arrows being fired at it). Jack himself would have to sit out in the rain or practically in the rain, although the kiddies were well protected.
He would collect the school kids from as far out as Pine Mount, mainly Olivers, Taylors, Kindon and other various families. The kids were pretty good, but they were devils. They used to get out of the back of the bus and throw stones at the horses and of course poor old Jack was trying to control these horses. The horses were well fed and used to give him a bit of trouble but he couldn’t stop the kids anyhow.
For his own comfort he had a fire drum built on an outrigger which he used to fire up with wood and give him some relief from the terrific cold in the winter time.
However, that’s where Jack lived. He lived in a house built in the old style with separate kitchen to the sleeping quarters. It was built out of round backs and slabs. There was no tank on the place and he used to cart the water from the spring in the lane, he used to cart it on the slide pulled by the horse. On the slide he had a forty or fifty gallon cask, he used to fill that and cover it up with bags so that it wouldn’t splash out and he would drag that home and that was the supply for everything for the house. He had five children that I know of, there was Annie, Tommy, Minnie Teddy and Billy. Billy used to work up at Ryans. Rode a horse everywhere, used to ride flat out on this horse.
On the Mt McDonald Road where Jack lived, going toward the Mount, five or six of hundred yards was a house on the left, and this house was occupied by the Whittys. There was Ned Whitty and his wife and Dam, Gay, Nat, Eden and Peter and he had a brother living with him who never married named Henry. They all lived in that house several hundred yards on the Mt McDonald side of Anthonys and they all developed into pretty good cricketers and had a pitch built neat the house.
Then as you go down the Darbys Falls Road, the next house you came to was the school house. My very earliest memories of the school was of a fellow Johnson. [The headmaster from 1910 to 1913. See Darbys Falls Public School.] I never went to school with him when he was there but I remember he had a wonderful garden at the school. Thelma Murray was another who used to teach there, she was Aub Murray’s wife~ she later moved to Wyangala and from Wyangala she retired to Sydney. A Miss Smith used to teach there. A school teacher named Warren and also Graham used to teach there. Graham had two daughters Victorine and Mary.
Opposite the school there was a road. Went down to where Charlie Elliott used to live by the river and where Fred Whitty used to live. Right on the top of the hill was an alone house where Hughie Newham lived. It was nearly a mile to the school. On the opposite side of the road from the house was a stable and I remember that the stable had a loft in it.
Hughie Newham had two sons, Reg and Eric. Eric moved to Lithgow and had buses and became very wealthy. I remember many years ago the Sunday Paper reporting on him giving a very very big party to thank the people of Lithgow for all the support he had from them.
Moving on down the main road from the school, just near the little bridge, on the left, was a chap who used to live in a tent. Pop Newham, as we used to call him, had a house there at one stage, but the house got burned down. The fireplace that belonged to the house was the only thing that was standing. Jarrow had his tent up against the old fireplace. He used to sit there and play the violin, he played for us kids going to school and we thought it was marvellous.
Moving on towards Darbys. the next house was owned by Bill Howarth, who was the father of Fred, Burt and Mrs Waters and there was a another Fred Howarth there who was the son of Dan Howarth. Bill lived right on the corner going up to the Church of England. Opposite the church Waters used to live. Arthur Waters and his Wife Amy with Ester, Ollie, Pearl and Thelma.
Move from there along towards the Catholic Church on the back road and the next house was Sid Newhams. He had two children Percy and Tessy.
Further along the road going up to the churches was Billy Fogg and his wife, Maggie, and then you went on up to the Catholic Church. Father Kennedy was first priest or at least the first one I can remember. The first one I can remember at the Church of England was Cannon Mirrington.
Go back down to the house where you turn off to go to the churches, and the road on the left hand side after you come back out from the church road. The first thing you came to was the Blacksmith’s shop owned by Sid Newham. It was quite a distance, the blacksmiths shop was down on the main road. The house next to that was owned by the Jordons, there was Clare, Una, Ollie and Moya. He had another girl Margaret.
A shop was on the block that Mavis Whitty now lives on., There was a house behind, although I haven’t a clue who lived there, then there was the hall. The hall was quite small but very busy in those days. They used to have many dances, it was owned by a fellow named Schapira.
Along from the hall, down the toad still on the left is the house that Lester Tarrant now lives in which was previously owned and lived in by Nicky Jordon. The back room. was the meeting place of all the old fellows of the village. Nearly every evening they would gather there and tell their tales. We used to sneak over as kids and plant ourselves and hear all the great tales of the things they had done. He used to have a model T Ford, which was used as a hire car. I will never forget that one day as kids we were looking around and spotted the diff underneath the back of it and it had this big filling plug. Somebody said “what you gunna do with that and he said “don’t undo that – there are cogs in there and they will all fall out” – that was his story of the diff in the Ford, that’s how much he knew about it. However he used to travel to town and other various places and it used to go like a train.
Moving down the road, the next thing in the block was the building of Ted Markham. Right on the road he built a Barbers Shop. Behind the Barbers shop was the Sawmill. Behind the sawmill was lots of old bits of machinery that used to fascinate us kids, mainly steam stuff, because the sawmill was driven by steam. My brother Gavin was the most mischievous kid in the world and the steam engine that they used to cut the timber with, he removed the governors by screwing them off. Some poor bugger started up the steam engine and away it went. That be nothing for Gavin. They also caught him one morning lying underneath a saw, in the sawdust, with the saw only just inches from. his face, waiting for them to start cutting so the saw dust would fall on him. If he had bumped the saw he would have cut his head off.
The next thing going down the road on the left was the plantation of Kurrajongs. They were planted there by Nick Markham and his house was directly behind that plantation of Kurrajongs and outside the northern verandah was a very big trellis of grapes. There used to be tons and tons of grapes, we kids used to try to climb up there and pinch all the grapes but we had no hope. He would have given them all to you-but we tried to pinch them- he’d only just hunt us away anyhow.
Tom Markham and Ena Markham (family of Nick Markham) had an Aunty Mary who was confined to a wheel chair. I was sort of frightened of her as a kid. She couldn’t speak or anything~ although she could make herself understood and that was about all, but if I saw her about …. those grapes were pretty safe at Markhams
The house on the left joining the Kurrajong plantation and it was lived in by Mr & Mrs Daniels, there was no evidence of it for years, I don’t know what happened to it or what they did with it, but Mr Daniels all the time I knew him was suffering from consumption. He was a very sick man. They had a daughter Mary.
Go down to where the water crosses the road about fifty yards ( Dan Howarth used to live there, he was the father of Fred whom I mentioned earlier) and across from where the water crossed the road was a tennis court. This tennis court was straight opposite a house owned by Markhams. Next thing going down the road was a cricket ground. On the left they really had a cricket ground. The ground wasn’t used very much, soon fizzled out, it was such a terrible place.
On down where Dick Woods now lives Ossie Ford used to live. Ossie had a family of four, Percy, Vince, Nonie Reg, and Enid. He used to conduct a very good carrying business. I remember the old trucks driving about carrying rabbits, that’s going back a long way. After you left Ossie Ford’s you went on down, on the left, to where the log cabin place is now and Oakey Markham used to live there. He was the brother of Nick, Tom, Mrs Ward, Mrs Harris, Ted and Bill. He had a bullock team. I can remember him driving up the street with his bullocks. It wasn’t a very big team but he used to drag logs with them. He had two daughters, Nell and Mary. Mary married Hilton Wass and Nell married a fellow named Morris at Orange. Oakey also had a son named Cecil who worked all his life at the mental home in Orange . he was a warder there.
From Oakey Markhams place (Jim was his proper name) walk up to the top of the hill about five or six hundred yards, this was Plummy’s Lookout There was a piece of ground on top of that very hill and this was reserved for a Police Station. My mother bought it when the Police Dept sold it some years later. I don’t know who she sold it to but Eric Newham ended up with a house on it, but it was surveyed for a Police Station.
Go on down now towards the river quite a distance perhaps a mile and there’s a road that turns up to Milburn Creek, turns to the left and goes on to Milburn Creek – right through to the creek and some time of the year you could apparently cross the creek but you couldn’t rely on it because of the sand, depth of the water and that sort of thing. The first house you came to, on the right of this road, where Stubbs now lives. The first person that I can remember living there was a fellow named Dyball, he used to work tor Coward and the old house was on Cowards property. Quite a few kids they had and they used to go to school at Darbys. I’ve forgotten their names though. Then you went on out to where Mr & Mrs Nolands used to live/camp there, they had a hut there. And further out although I’m not real sure of this, I think, it was Paddy Jordon who used to live in the house before you got to Milburn Creek.
Across the creek on the other side was a hut lived in by a fellow named Bill Dawson. He was a very good batchelor, had a very neat hut and used to go gold mining up the creek. Probably half a mile or so up the creek was a waterfall and apparently he got reasonable gold before the water went over the waterfall, he used to collect in the ridge that went across that formed the waterfall. He got a reasonable bit of picking of gold, which used to help with pension.
Right back up the top to the turn off to Mt McDonald at the cemetery is a memorial to the Markhams, built of local stone, Not sure if built by a chap named Mitchell or by Markhams themselves, but it is a very unique memorial.
Moved down the right hand side of the street and right opposite the school are the tennis courts, they were very popular and in my day very busy, with lots of players. We had players such as Herb Newham, Clem Newham, Albert Newham Millice Whitty, Vera Whitty, Tom & Jack Whitty, Clarrie Hickey and his wife, and Clarrie, Clive and Oliver Markham. All really good tennis players.
Right next to the tennis courts was the cricket ground. They had a wonderful cricket team having won the district competition thirteen years in a row. They were especially good cricketers and they included Peter Whitty, Herb Newham, Frank Newham, Clem Newham, Albert Newham, Charlie Newham, Bob Newham. (or Pop) Stan Francis, Clive and Clarry Markham, George Harris, Gay Whitty, Dom Whitty, Ron Oliver, Ray Oliver, Clive Oliver, Norm Oliver, Jack Oliver and Gordon Elliott. And so the names go on and on. It’s futile to try to mention everyone. It was a very popular area. It wasn’t the best ground in the world but did the job.
Across the creek from the cricket ground as mentioned was the tennis court. The Waters girls and Stan Francis were some of the keen players. There also used to be a tennis court between the Church of England and the Catholic Church on the left hand side of the road going up. It was used mainly by the Waters family. It was a very popular place too with some good players I can tell you. The first tennis court was up behind the hall, the one that now has the fire engine it. Schapira, the storekeeper put it in and a lot of the early tennis was played there.
Going down the right side of the road opposite the turn off to the churches, lived a man named Puttock. He only had one leg and was an extra good tailor. He used to sit on the table on the stump of his leg and hand make a suit. No machine, just all hand mad e – he was a marvellous tailor. And the next people to live there was Selmes as I remember. Selmes used to work for Charlie Elliott down on the river, he was married to my father’s sister. Then moving down to where Stan Francis now lives, I can’t think of the history. I remember Jack Anthony lived there after he left up the top, the original place, but I don’t remember the original history of that place of Stan’s. Next door to it was another Blacksmiths shop (I don’t know who was in that either).
Then next to the Blacksmith’s there was a little garage run by a fellow named Jack Hore. Next to where Ettie Howarth now lives. Next to that was Schapira’s shop, which was well stocked. You could buy anything from needles to an anchor as the saying is , wire netting, tools, stock feed, anything at all. It was a very very good shop. Schapird had his house on the bottom side. He also owned the hall. Next to him was Ray Newham. In between Schapira’s house and where Ray Newham used to live, was an office, a Real Estate office run by Lane who was the proprietor.
Then you went on to our old house which was next door to Ray Newham’s. [This is the house where we used to live and later Dad sold it to Walter Howarth), We had the water laid on from the spring up above the cricket ground on to the house, although there was a real good spring just below the house down on the bank of creek, the water from the spring up on the road above the cricket ground used to gravitate down to the house so there was no need to pump it. The house just mentioned had forty acres across the creek. Nearly everyone had a cow in the paddock there. This changed somewhat when dad sold it. But everyone used to have their own cow. I remember one time when I hit on a great plan. I used to have to get the calf in every afternoon. I hit on the idea of taking Nip. the heeler with me and I reached the stage where I just used to send Nip around the paddock and the cow would come hurrying down with Nip at her heels. And dad said to me “It’s a funny thing – that cow’s not giving much milk”. My patent on the quick way of getting the cow in was soon cancelled by flip in the ear. But it was very good while it worked. saved me getting the cow without having to walk across the creek. – just send the dog and that was it.
Next to our house was the Butcher’s shop, concrete one, built for my father by Nick Markham. It was solid concrete. Then next to butcher shop was the house that Johnny Taylor lived in. Johnny owned 70 acres down below the town on the opposite side of the road to Plummy’s Lookout, below Ward’s house. Great place for Rabbits, Georgie Harris and I used to knock holes in the fence, block them up at night and go down the next morning and chase rabbits all day,. Especially Friday night, Saturday was the day to get through the thistles with no boots on. It was very good, poor old Johnny wouldn’t have liked it very much.
There was another store next to Taylors I think at one stage run by Tom Jordon, quite a comprehensive store it was too; well stocked. Next door was the Post Office. Next to the Post Office was Harris’. house. Harris’s, was the focal point of the village because they were always playing music. The band they had used to practise there. The band consisted of Tom Markham on saxophone, Aub Murray on the drums, Mrs Harris on the piano, and Sid Newham on the cornet. It was very good.
The Harris family consisted of Aub Murray, Nellie Murray, Dibby Murray, Jimmy Murray, and
George Harris (young George). Mrs Harris was married for the second time , the Murrays were her children from the first marriage, George Harris was the boy of the 2nd marriage. They were all musical, all good sp orts with plenty of life.
Bottom front corner of the Harris block which was possibly 50 -60 yards down from the house was the first Butcher shop that was in Darbys. It was a weatherboard place, it was very high up the back, built up on stilts about 10 – 12 feet, because the ground was very steep there. My father used to use freezing works next door for his meat. The freezing works was where Fred Hudson’s house now is, they used to use a lot of water and there was a spring in their block. The freezing works was a very busy area, there were millions of rabbits that use to come in. Ray Newham used to bring a lot of rabbits from up the river in a horse drawn cart I wagonette. Ossie Ford also used to cart rabbits, there were hundreds of pairs of rabbits come into the freezing works. They used to be frozen. crate d up into boxes and they were taken from the freezing works at Darbys to the rail in Cowra by Hastings Neville in a horse wagon. When I was a little fella, I used to go down to the freezing works at the crack of dawn, in my pyjamas and get into the feed trough that was always attached to the back of a horse drawn wagon and I would ride from there up to the front of our place and think it was great. That was early in morning. they had to get away with the rabbits as early as possible. They also used to freeze for anyone about, dad used to use it for the butcher shop.
The house down below the freezing works just before the water crosses the road where the creek is, I think that house was occupied by Arthur Howarth very early on and latterly by Herb Newham when he shifted down from up in the gap. Then across the creek and opposite the tennis court I was telling you about, was Markhams house. Eileen, Clive, Clarry, Rosie and Oliver were all family and Tom was their father.
Once you left Markhams house, you went right down to opposite the log cabin house as you turn off to the Lookout, – this was Wards. There were plenty of Wards there in my day~ all living in that small house I can just remember old Mrs Ward, although I don’t really remember anything about her. There was Eric, Jack and Wriggle, (don’t know his proper name) Jock, Reg, Neville, Beryl, Lall, Dot and Ida. That was actually the last house in the village of Darbys. on the right as you go down.
Then you went right down to the river and on the fall close to the river on the right and well in from the road was where Paddy Whitty used to live. He had a son Les, who was deaf and dumb. Across the river and up Hovell’s Creek for about a mile and a half and you came to Dan Neville’s, place, and was actually across the creek, always had flood problems getting home, getting out or getting in, and he had a family of Clyde, Hastings, Thelma, Ruby, Sylvia, Clarice and Pearl. When I was real little fellow the girls used to take me over there. I used to run around the yard. it was marvellous, Clarice used to tell me she would give me two shillings if I could catch one of the guinea fowls
I remember them having a pigeon shoot, a live pigeon shoot and they held it just above the cricket ground going straight up the hill and across the road from the cricket ground and on the side of the hill and Hilton Wass bringing home lots and lots of pigeons that mother stewed. There was also a clay pigeon shoot some years later, between the two churches up the back of Waters house on the top side of the road going to the churches, they had a pidgin shoot up there. As a lad I was very interested in guns and remember these pigeon shoots.
I also remember the food. I remember boiling the kerosene tin for the tennis and the food they used to supply was absolutely unreal the way the women used to cater and they would boil this four gallon tin (you used to get petrol in tins in those days) so they would a bucket and would have this big spread every Sunday. Marvellous caterers all the women were around there.
Another funny bit.- Johnny Taylor, who was a very cranky old man (and he was an old man then when I was a boy) had a horse in his back yard the horse was always rugged of course in the winter time and Georgie Harris and I let off bungers, the greatest thing was a sky rocket. When we let off a sky rocket Johnny’s horse would do two or three laps around the paddock with his rug rattling. Johnny would be wondering what caused all the trouble. I knew. He bailed us up one day (he knew too) and got us up on top of the shed and he had a fairly long stock whip but couldn’t reach us with it. We sat him out sitting up on top of the shed, when he went away, of course, that’s when we would come down.
Another thing I did was climb up under the freezing works until I got stuck. I don’t know why I did it but of course kids, got tight up underneath, I don’t know how they got me out but anyhow I got out eventually. Why I wanted to go up until I got stuck, you would not know.
Things that stick in your mind. I remember Bill Howarth and Arthur Waters going out to work on various properties and they used to have the whitest of whitest tucker bags. It always stuck in my memory, the beautiful white tucker bags that they always produced. Never varied. It was just something stuck in my mind as a kid.
I mentioned earlier that the popularity of Harris’s. We used to rehearse for all the concerts, they used to run lots of concerts in the hall in those days. No TV of course and no wireless, so they had these concerts. One in particularly was the Rudd family. I remember I have digest somewhere about it, written up by the Cowra Guardian (only it wasn’t the Guardian then I suppose, Free Press or some other thing. but it had all about it.)
Talking about entertainment, I can remember a fellow who came to Darbys quite a few times on a push bike, that’s all he had was a pushbike. Where he used to sleep or carry his tucker or how he could keep tucker fresh or anything edible was beyond me. He used to call himself Cudonis and he’d rig up all these flags and on the stage, and he would put on a concert and it was well worth seeing. He used to play all different instruments (but brought everything with him on his pushbike.)
An identity of Darbys Fans was Doll Markham he was the brother of Nick, Jim, Tom, Mrs Harris and Mrs Ward and he was a bachelor and had some funny ways. He used to walk to Cowra to the show every year. That was his big project. He would walk to the show and then walk home. Why he walked I would not know. but that was what he did.
I remember one time they had trouble down at the freezing works To secure a leaking boiler cow dung (sometimes has an advantage) and would cure it temporarily. I think they mixed the cow dung with water and it goes to the holes stops the leak So either Aub Murray or Tommy Markham were in charge of the boiler and they said slip and get us some cow dung Doll, he went off with his barrow for a bit and turned around and came back and said “How the hell am I going to know cow dung from bull dung?”
Tom Markham and Aub Murray had a vehicle an Australian Six. There weren’t very many of them made but they had it in going order. I remember them driving it up and down the main street. If they still had it today it would be worth a fortune.
Darbys had a water supply at one stage from up near Jack Anthonys It was a gravity fed turn out, they had a supply tank down the front of the Catholic Church and the spring was about a couple of hundred yards on the Mt McDonald road up near Jack Anthonys. I think the main trouble was the supply tank wasn’t big enough and the supply used to run out. When everyone had the water laid on they thought that was the be all and end all. Of course they used more than they should have and it would run out. It wasn’t satisfactory really.
The name of Darbys Falls is the most controversial thing that people think about, but really the name was quite simple and how it happened was quite simple. I told you of the road that went out to Bill Dawsons, the road that turns off up the river, right down near the river, turns off to the left where Bill Dawsons used to live, down near the creek. This is how the name derived. You follow that road up but half way to Milburn Creek and there’s another road that turns, it’s laned off now and runs down to the river. Now this road used to cross the river there and there was a gravel bed across the river, and the river was fairly wide and fairly shallow and this gravel bed got known as Darbys Falls. It was a fan in the river but this ridge of gravel used to run across the river and people used to cross the river and go up the old road which went up to Cowards and came out up at the Buckup. The Buckup is the ridge about two miles from the bridge on the main road to Wyangala Dam. Now this crossing was known as I said as Darbys Falls. There was a Telephone Office first installed just on the left hand side of the road going down to the river from Darbys. just near the crossing and became Darbys Falls Post Office. It was later transferred up to Jack Anthonys area, up to the turn-off to Mt McDonald and still was considered to be Darbys Falls Post Office. Eventually the Post Office was transferred in to the village and became Darbys Falls. That is the story that I was told by some of the very old people of the area.
I’ll give you some idea of the old identities of the place. I might miss a lot but I know most of the old ones, so I’ll try to keep to them .
Nick Markham – he was a saw miller, a builder, he could build nearly anything and he used to mill
timber in the town, right in the centre of the town – I told you where the sawmill was. Both the Catholic and Church of England Churches were built by the Markhams.
Jim Markham – the man who had the bullocks, used to drag logs to the mill. There were pines in all the hills around Darbys then. Dozens and dozens of milling pines, no trouble at all to get a log to a mill,although you wouldn’t find one there today. As a matter of fact, that hill behind the Catholic Church was covered with pines and oaks when I was a kid
Tom Markham used to ride every day or nearly everyday, out to an area out past Bill Dawson’s hut and he had an interest in some ground out there. One property was The Rusty Hut and the other property was known as The Square. He rode on the smallest pony in the world and he was a big man but this pony I don’t ever remember him refusing and he must have gone through for years, until I left Darbys anyhow.
I think Ted Markham did a little bit of saddling at one stage and he was a Barber, and later on in life his sight failed badly.
Bill Markham who never was in Darbys, or possibly was when he was a boy, :went to Cowra as a saddler and opened up his own business opposite where the Town House now is.
Tom Jordan was a storeman – he had an interest in the store at Darbys. and was a machine mechanic – champion of the singer sewing machine apparently.
George Harris Senior (not the George that used to play with me) his father- he was the Postmaster. [NOTE: G W Harris Sr had the shop but was never the Postmaster. His wife Margaret (Markham) (Murray) was Postmistress well before and after they married.]
Nick Jordan had the Ford model that he used to run for hire and had a little bit of property besides, I just don’t know where.
Billy Fogg he used to work for Olivers
Arthur Waters was a jack of all trades- he worked for everybody, knew all about everything, and the way of managing the farm and was a very reliable worker.
Bill Howarth was a good bush worker and a noted axeman
Charlie Howarth – used to live up on Tom Whittys place, Melrose and share farm for Tom. Jack Howarth was his son, as were Colin, Merv and Percy.
Dan Howarth was clever man with an adz. A sort of bush worker very smart with an adz.
Erin Schapira had the main store, which was a good store in Darbys Falls. Naturally he was a Jew, he came from Reids Flat. I think he was born at Reids Flat ( his father had a store there) He was the kindest hearted man I have ever seen, he started a business at Wyangala and went broke through giving credit. Now this is not in keeping with a Jew but he was very soft hearted, and a very good friend.
Paddy Whitty, I always used to put him down as the ‘lamb man’, he used to mark all the lambs around about for everybody, he apparently had a good set of teeth and he used to mark lambs with his teeth.
Paddy Jordon had a small property somewhere, I don’t know where.
Jack Anthony used to run the school bus and he had 50 acres of property around his house, and he had some weird and wonderful patents in the running of his property. I’ve seen some very clever work the way he did things that you would think would be impossible.
I include the Horsefalls as Darbys Falls people, not that the older ones lived there but nearly all the children as far a I know went to school at Darbys. I went to school with Merv Marge and Mort, I don’t know whether Ray, Nita or Roly went to school there, but I supppose they did. He used to share farm for Ryans and was a very good farmer too.
Ossie Ford was an identity of Darbys Falls too, He had two trucks he and his son Percy used to drive one.
But I don’t know where to start and finish.
Then Bill Saurine, married to Val came after him. He was a carrier. Bill had a family too, Kenny, Marge, and Wendy.
There were a few people lived around Darbys Falls. The first one comes to mind is Hastings Neville. He was over at SunnyView over on Hovell’s Creek He was very a good man with horses and used to do a fair bit of breaking in and that sort of thing.
The girls, I refer to Clarice and Ruby and Thelma, mainly Clarice and Thelma used to drive over, leave the horse with a harness on in our yard and go to a ball up in the hall and come out 3 – 4 o’clock in the morning. put the horse in the sulky and off home over to SunnyView. Ruby and Sylvie, I can remember, used to drive the horse and sulky over to school at Darbys.
Then on the western side of Darbys is Fred and Pearl Whitty’s. Harald and Terry and sister Betty all attended school in Darbys. Fred’s brother Herb also lived with them. Over a bit from them, about a mile away was where Tommy Wyatt lived. He was adopted by my uncle, used to ride a horse to school.
Then on the other side were Donald Elliott’s. Grace and Dave used to drive a horse to school at Darbys . They came from Springvale, over the vale, up near the mount. Harold and Nita were younger members of the family.
I mentioned Dad, George Elliott, the butcher, he had two shops, the old weatherboard one and secondly the concrete one. He used to kill his meat over on Milburn Creek joining the reserve. The old slaughter yard is still there, nowadays would be suspicious killing meat on a floor that was used as a dip, but that used to happen in those days. Nobody ever died or caused anybody any harm that I know of. But regulations now wouldn’t let you kill anything over there.
Arthur Howarth who I think used to live in the house, where I said I couldn’t remember who lived in it earlier. I think it was the house below Fred Hudson’s, Arthur Howarth did most of his work up near Bigga and I didn’t know much about what he did, I do remember that he was a very good shot.
Tiger Marks was another identity. He used to live in the house. that Nick Jordan lived in, straight opposite our old house. He was a very clever man. He was the father of several inventions. The story goes that he invented the Hargans saw.
I mentioned Ray Newham carting rabbits to the freezing works, well that was very early in his life, but later on he owned a property that had been Paddy Whitty’s down on the river. He had very good sheep. He was a sheep crank, also a burr crank, He used to carry a hoe with him at all times from his house at Darbys to the river and used to cut everything that wasn’t right along the lane and kept the place in proper order.
Millicent Whitty, from Melrose, Jack and Tom and also, the Kindons, Phyllis and Tom from Pine Mount,
Jack Ward was a real comedian. He always took part the part of ‘Dad’ in the Rudd family, did a marvellous job, was a real comedian. In occupation he was the chainman for surveyors
Wriggle Ward I understand was a mercer in Sydney at one stage
Eric Ward used to work on the saw mills.
Jock Ward left Darbys fairly early and went to Tenterfield and had a garage in TenterfieId.
Reg Ward I don’t know much about.
Another personality in the town was a fellow named Cooke, was the father of Chalie Cooke who married Nellie Murray and they lived at one stage in the house that’s now Saurine’s. Charlie’s father used to walk around the village with a draft board and would probably end up playing someone on the front verandah of Schapira’s shop, this is what the old fellow used to do. They had a property, I understand, up on the Boorowa River and sold it and moved to Darbys in the latter years.
My mother was the unofficial nurse of Darbys Falls. If anyone got sick they were after Mum. Anybody wanting any treatment for anything Mum was the word. Doctors weren’t used like they are today. There were a lot of home remedies and that sort of thing. I got a blister on the inside of my leg where I got hit with a cricket ball and it bruised the bone, but mum put a full loaf of bread on that and used as a poultice and eventually it burst and probably saved my leg.
Clem Newham had a horse, a pony and it was very good for all these sporting events such as any sort of pony event it was tops at, especially tilt in the ring, they put a ring out on a post or a pole and you had to thread it through onto a stick, a pretty tedious sort of thing.
Johnny Taylor had a gun that he used to carry down onto the 70 acres, the property down below Wards, he owned it then. He had this gun with a great green pad on it you would think it was a cannon, but anyhow it seemed to satisfy him. He used to carry with it him all the time.
Now I mentioned that there was a house next to Saurine’s, between Saurines and the hall, thinking back, I think it may have been John Jordon. I don’t remember seeing him though. He had two girls and two boys that I know of – Beatrice and Jean and Jack and Greg. Later on they went to Cowra. But I never remember John Jordon.
George Harris who had the post office I mentioned before, came from Bennett Springs. Harris owned Bennett Springs at one time. There was a lot of stone work up there. I don’t know if Harris is responsible or not it was a very historic old place, still there of course being of stone.
One person who used to frequent Darbys a bit and that was Paddy McInerney who was some how connected to the Harris’s, either by friendship or relationship don’t know which, but Paddy McInerney was a keen cricketer.
Another chap who was in Darbys and created a lot of fun was Horace O’Brien. I think he may have got a legacy of money from somewhere. He came there with a motor car and he was the bright boy of Darbys for a lot of years.
I remember, that when the first wireless came to Darbys, it came to the school. and it was a great long thing about half as big as a piano, and had all these knobs and things on it and you would be screwing and it would be whistling and going on. I remember one evening Dad taking us boys up to the school to hear the wireless. We heard the Sydney Town Hall Clock strike the time and that was it. We went home then and reckoned that it was just marvellous.
Dad had a car away back years ago. It was a single seater I think it was a Buick and it had a gear shift outside the driver’s side door on the running board – the gear shift was outside the car altogether. I remember seeing the relics of it up at Nick Markham’s yard years after. Mum and Dad decided to go to Sydney once in this car as far as Bathurst and then caught the train, seemed to be the clever thing to do., Dad would go for about an hour and then he would want a smoke so he would leave the car and go on the side of the road away from it and light his pipe tobacco, they were too frightened to smoke in the car.
I remember when I was little, before I went to school (and I started at school pretty early, I know that much) I used to have to ride my pony which was called Tim. He was related to Thumbs Up, the great jumper, a well known jumper of Australia at the time. By gee Tim could jump, the little blighter, he was also a terrible rogue. Now I wasn’t old enough to go to school but I used to have to ride up Hovells Creek tilI I met Ossie Ford coming with cattle from the slaughter yard from Con O’Connor’s. The cattle would be pretty docile by the time I met him of course, but I used to have ride up Hovell’s Creek four, five or six miles, and pick the cattle up and bring them home to the paddock. Now I had a healer, red heeler named Nip and he used to come with me. I mentioned this pony was a bit of a blighter and he was bit cunning he wouldn’t leave with me, as a little fella I wasn’t strong enough to get him to go, so, mum used to get behind him witha stock whip. Imagine a mother today with a stock whip, cracking it across the rump of a pony, the mother would be that frightened that the kid would fall off but I wouldn’t fall off. Mum knew that. Once he got away from the house he would be all right but he had to get this chop across the rump with a whip to get going. However, me and my cattle dog would head off after the cattle and pick them up and start back to Darbys. When we got to the bridge, the cattle dog would line up the cattle, perhaps five or six head, the dog would line them up, squared up with the bridge and give two or three a good quick nip and then they would race across the bridge. I’d never never have any trouble getting the cattle across the bridge. Nip would just line them up and ‘bang’ then he would leave me and go home. Now the dog would follow me all the way up to the cattle, all the way back to the bridge, then nip these cattle and then go home. Mum would know that I was getting close to home by the fact that this dog would arrive home.
Dad used to go to town about every second week in the horse and sulky and it was my great day when he went to town because he would bring me home a pink nose lolly pig .. I used to go out on the road in front of the house and literally put my ear to the ground listening for the horse and sulky to come home with this lolly pig. I’d eat the nose off one night and the next night eat a bit more and a bit more. I’d be three or four days eating this sugary pig. But it’s a fact you can hear by putting your ear to the ground, it was all blue metal then and you could hear a horse coming, a horse with shoes on, by putting your ear to the ground.
[NOTE: The names throught the above account might usefully be read in conjunction with Margaret Wilkinson’s Map of Darbys Falls and residents.]