Wally Wood

by Clarrie Neal

Compiled by Clarrie Neal from information given
by Jean & Colin Cubitt, July ’99

Wally was born into a family that have always shown a keen interest in the racing and trotting industries. Wally’s grandfather Harry Wood managed Clydesdale at Marsden Park in the late 1800s when it was owned by and used as a country residence for John Hardie, the Mayor of Sydney. The property flourished, becoming a showplace of comfortable country living and successful farming. Harry continued as manager when the property was sold to George Kiss in 1904.

Harry worked at Clydesdale, training trotters for several years before he moved into Riverstone to set up his own spelling stables on the corner of Riverstone Road and Railway Terrace, naming their home ‘Clyedo’. Clyedo was a champion trotting pony (he only stood 13 hands) of the 1900s and was owned by George Kiss.

Harry’s son Aubrey married Dulcie Schoffel and they lived at Marsden Park before they moved into 44 Railway Terrace, Riverstone in c1922, where they raised their five children – Joyce, Marjorie, Jean, Wallace, and Doreen. Helping his grandfather look after the horses at the spelling stables led Wally to a lifelong connection with horses.

Wally’s first horse was named Valoria and came to his grandfather’s stables to spell after it broke down. While at the stables it broke down a second time so the owner gave it to Harry to give to Wally when he was a teenager. Wally rode the horse at shows and gymkhanas and as his sister Jean recalled he used to keep all the ribbons he won in a sugar bag hanging on the stable wall.

Wally attended Riverstone Public School then Granville Technical College for three years. Wally often came home from Granville with dirty school clothes, it was some time later that his parents realised that a lot of his time at Granville was being spent at the nearby stables and not at the school. Wally was a keen sportsman and loved Rugby League, playing several seasons for Riverstone and later in his career was called up to play 2nd Grade with Parramatta when that club was formed.

During the Second World War he was called up into the Army where he served four and half years, much of it in New Guinea. Also in his group were his friends from school, Noel (Butch) Drayton and Laurie Williams.

When discharged from the Army in 1945 he bought an old Ford truck and used it to deliver fruit and vegetables in the Windsor district. Wally would travel to the Sydney markets with Dick Stacey in his truck to get his supplies. He worked on this run for three years until he got the opportunity to buy the shop in Railway Terrace from Charles Knight in 1949. He operated the shop with his sister Jean until it was sold in 1962. Other staff members were Verlie Sullivan, Dot and Howard Perrott, with Kenny Donnelly and Eddie Phillis doing the home deliveries of the grocery orders.

Wally married Elva Sullivan on the 27th July 1948 and they lived in Castlereagh Street until 1962 when they moved out to Oakville. Wally and Elva had three children, Peter, Joan and Bruce.

Wally bought his first trotter Minton Raider in 1949 and gave it to Laurie Moulds to train. A little later he bought a sulky from Laurie and began to train the horse himself, being a part time trainer for the next 11 years. He had many successes during this period and as he was spending less and less time in the shop, decided to sell it in 1960 and become a full time trainer. Early in his career Wally had considerable success with Regal Prince, a horse he part owned with Eric Conway that won five races at Harold Park.

Wally became a leading driver/trainer in Sydney, winning several blue ribbon events. He won the NSW Derby with Don Ngaree in 1961, a horse owned by Blacktown businessman Jim Sing. He won his second NSW Derby in 1978 with Wilbur Post that also won a Penrith Derby. Triumph Lad won the Victorian Sire Produce in 1982 and Summit Road won the first Inter City Pace at Maitland.

Other good horses he trained were Determined Boy, Brien’s Bruce, Chantilly, Jack’s Flight, Chameda, Gay Glen, Sparkling Bruce and Shadow Prince. Shadow broke down after winning the Mercury Cup at Bulli and became the family pet, spending his days in a paddock at Riverstone.

Wally won a treble at Harold Park one night winning with pacers Carmel Reid, The Pet and the trotter Sonny Teal. He won twelve out of thirteen starts with Legal Raider, a trotter owned by Hector Magennis, and also won several races with Merry Dance. Another big win was with Century Ann in the J. L. Raith Memorial Stakes at Harold Park.

Later in his career he won many races with Never There, Ideal Society, Mister Nibbles, and Port Talbot. Like many other good driver/trainers Wally did not always totally agree with the stewards and copped his share of suspensions. He was fortunate at these times to have his brother-in-law Colin Cubitt to look after his horses.

Wally aged 64, died suddenly when he suffered a heart attack while driving his float past the Doomben racecourse in Queensland on the 2nd July 1986. On the 8th July a very large crowd attended his funeral service at the Castlebrook Crematorium at Rouse Hill.

In 1987 the NSW Trotting Club honoured Wally by recognising his contribution to harness racing by naming an event at Harold Park the Wally Woods Invitation Stakes. Today Wally’s family continue the family tradition with sons Peter and Bruce both becoming successful driver/trainers.

The Tyburn Priory

by Laurence Hession

The Tyburn Nuns came to the Parish of St John’s on 2nd June 1986, setting up their Australian Headquarters at 325 Garfield Road East on five acres of land previously owned by Mr and Mrs Benz. Coming from Manly with a  ongregation of thirteen, they lived in rather cramped conditions for some time in the residence that was on the property, but the Nuns now are proud of their Convent and Chapel. The Tyburn Nuns are a contemplative order of Saint Benedict, their life is one of Prayer and Eucharistic Adoration, a life which is still attracting young women.

On 10th September 1989, a Shrine in honour of Mary, Help of Christians was blessed and opened by Father John O’Neil, Parish Priest of Doonside, assisted by Father Peter Little, S.J., and Father Carl Ashton, Parish Priest of Mount Druitt. The Shrine is built adjacent to the Chapel, featuring a beautiful statue of Mary, made of fibreglass resin imported from Italy. The Nuns still wear the traditional habits, this is something that belongs to the past with most Orders of Nuns today.

The Olympics

by Vilma Ryan and Judith Lewis

Riverstone resident Vilma Ryan was an Olympic Torchbearer and her grandchildren Ben and Reannon were dancers in the ‘Awakening’ section of the Opening Ceremony. Vilma and Reannon shared some of their memories with Judith Lewis at the ‘Olympics Revisited’ display at the Blacktown Bicentennial Museum one year after the Olympics. (Editor)

I ran with the Olympic Flame along the Great Western Highway at Eastern Creek. I was in the same group as Schofields’ Melissa Bushby and was about two runners later than Melissa.

It was a bitterly cold morning and on the bus I was rugged up in a coat to keep warm. Being an aboriginal Australian I was determined to run barefooted. When I took off my coat and shoes I was absolutely freezing, but the moment I saw the Olympic Flame the cold completely left my body and I felt really comfortable.

My family and friends were lining the road cheering and waving the aboriginal flag and it was an exhilarating feeling being part of something so special. I had been determined to run with the aboriginal flag as well as the torch. On the bus I had hidden the small flag in my bloomers and I had to sit up very straight so that the stick wouldn’t poke into me! When I saw the Flame I managed to extricate the flag from its hiding place and carry both the flag and the torch at the beginning of run but an official soon took it from me.

I work at Evans High School and was able to organise eleven students from Evans High, including my grandchildren, Reannon and Ben Gimbert, to be part of the dancers in the ‘Awakening’ section of the Opening Ceremony. The other Evans’ students were Millicent and Cheryl Dodds, Ben and Rebecca Nelson, Linda and Michelle Smith, Venus Murphy, Lila Rogers and Lisa McGuiness. Reannon’s mother, Joanne, coordinated getting the students to the Ceremony. Reannon said the dancers had to attend about 30 rehearsals, at Bankstown, Schofields in the airship’s hangar, and at Homebush. Reannon recalls the Opening Ceremony as a great experience.

I have very fond memories of my part in the Olympic Torch Relay, such a special event, which united the country in a manner it has not witnessed before in peacetime and which set the standard for the days that were to come, when Australia staged the

greatest ever Olympic Games.

The Olympic Torch Relay

by Rosemary Phillis

Each night on the news we watched the progress of the Olympic Torch Relay around Australia. The relay had extra significance for those of us who work at the local Museum at Riverstone as Melissa Bushby, daughter of Paul who runs the Movie Making display, had been chosen to carry the torch. Melissa is a Downs Syndrome girl who has never let that hold her back, becoming a champion swimmer and member of the renowned Melody Makers dance group.

The official announcement of Melissa’s role in the relay had been made earlier in the year and at the time it seemed so far away, then suddenly it was here. Paul and his wife Kimberley provided maps and details of the leg that Melissa would run along the Great Western Highway at Eastern Creek.

At 5.30 am on the morning of the Wednesday 13th September 2000, Judy Lewis, Mum and I stood along the edge of the highway in the dark of a very chilly morning. We were not alone, for it seemed that half of Riverstone had come to see Melissa carry the torch.

We had been encouraged to bring sparklers so that Melissa would know that people were there to see her and many people lit them early to keep themselves entertained as they waited.

The torch was preceded by an array of support vehicles, the mini bus carrying the torch bearers, police cars, police bikes and the striking blue official support bikes and trucks.

The darkness cleared to a beautiful pre dawn light. The atmosphere was great, the crowd good natured, laughing and joking together and as time passed the anticipation grew. Finally came the call, “here she comes”. People milled forward, sparklers shining, Australian flags waving, and the yells of “Go Melissa Go” started along with applause.

Suddenly there she was, our girl, proudly carrying that torch and waving as she passed. She was flying! Paul had put her into training for the event, using a baseball bat taped to a cricket bat to simulate the height and weight of the torch. Despite the training Paul still expected her to walk. Not Melissa, it was her relay leg and she was going to run it. Cathy Freeman would have been lucky to catch her over that 400 metres.

In an instant she was gone, some of the crowd ran along the footpath to see her change the flame over to Michelle Cooper nee de Vries. (Who coincidently is a friend of a lady that I work with.)

We waited for her to return to the Service Station where they had started out from, filling in time by watching the others around. The torch bearer before Melissa was an Australian-Chinese basket ball player and he had a legion of fans. Dressed in green and gold tracksuit, they posed for photos with him, holding a banner and yelling the cry that was soon to be so familiar, “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi Oi!”

Over half an hour later Melissa returned. She had stopped to show people the torch and to have photos taken. Like everyone else we did the same, photos to be treasured forever.

Paul and Kimberley had invited everyone back to their place at Schofields for breakfast and we were so pleased they had, as it allowed us to come back to earth gradually. A large group mingled in their backyard, eating pancakes cooked on the barbecue, posing for more photos and sharing our memories and impressions of the morning.

A week later I dropped some photos into the Bushby family. There was something very special about sitting in their lounge room, watching the Olympics on the television, the torch sitting proudly on a stand in the corner of the room, a tangible reminder of the connection between the Olympics and the Riverstone District.

Riding to Hounds

by R. F. Mason

My grandparents lived in a modest, slab and weatherboard cottage, which was located on the top of the hill next to the Riverstone Catholic church. In pride of place above the sideboard in their sitting room was a large, hand coloured photograph of the Sydney Hunt Club. The photograph, which was taken at Box Hill Farm in about 1903, shows George Terry – the Master of the Hunt Club; Frank Mason – my grandfather and Hunt Club Whip, my grandfather’s cousin, Austin Smith and the Hunt Club hounds. The photograph originally came from Box Hill House and had been purchased by a Riverstone resident named Brookes at a clearance sale following George Terry’s bankruptcy.1 This was in about 1924.

I had always thought that the photograph was an interesting oddity. My understanding of hunting was that it was the somewhat dubious pastime of toffs. In the words of Oscar Wilde it was the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable.2 Why were ordinary people of modest means involved and more particularly what was its connection with the Riverstone district?

The simple answer is that the Hunt Club’s most enduring patrons were the Terry family. However, as with most things there are other dimensions to the explanation.

Hunting in the English tradition, dates back to the early days of the Colony when Sir Charles Fitzroy was governor. Fitzroy kept his own pack of foxhounds and hunted dingos in the areas west of Parramatta as far as Windsor and Penrith.3

In about 1864, Major Airey got together a pack of mixed hounds, which ultimately formed the origins of the Sydney Hunt Club. Later, Edward Terry took control of the Club and although its fortunes waxed and waned, his enthusiasm remained undaunted. Terry lived at Eastwood and until 1890 the Hunt Club was based there.

From about 1890 until 1907, the focus for the Hunt Club became the Riverstone, Box Hill and Rouse Hill area. This was largely because Edward Terry’s nephew, George Terry, had become an ardent participant and also because the club had ready access to the Box Hill and Rouse Hill Estates.4 In 1894, George Terry became Master of the Hunt Club.5

At this time, hunts were held weekly during the cooler autumn and winter months and although the number of locals who took part was not great, the hunts were nonetheless important social and sporting events. They brought significant numbers of influential people to the district and were of great interest to the residents of the town and surrounding farms.

Hunting Sydney style was mostly about horses and horsemanship and although the participants adopted the traditional English style of dress, very few of the Club’s meetings were in fact hunts. A more accurate description of their outings would be riding to hounds. They were commonly known as drag hunts. In modern parlance this conjures up quite a different image from the late 19th century reality. Drag hunting involved the laying of a scent trail for the hounds. This trail was laid by a rider – referred to as the runner, who dragged a bag of red herring and aniseed across the country. This allowed the runner to determine the difficulty and duration of the hunt. It also allowed for checks or breaks to be made at convenient locations like Box Hill House or Rouse Hill House where refreshments could be provided. More practically, the outing could be programmed to coincide with the train timetable.

In 1898 Harry “Breaker” Morant wrote to the Windsor and Richmond Gazette: though you don’t get a ‘kill’ when hunting with the drag hounds – which perhaps, from a humanitarian point of view, makes the sport better and cleaner – one does get a rattling gallop across country. 6

Drag hunts, steeplechases and jumping contests became popular features of the Hawkesbury Show. Here the Hunt Club was able to commence and finish the hunt in the main arena.

In 1905 the Gazette described a typical meeting:
The Sydney Hunt Club met at Riverstone on the arrival of 1.30 pm train from Sydney last Saturday. Amongst those present were the Master of the hounds (Mr G.A. Terry) on Transvaal, Messrs D.G. Peel on Quondong, Lucas on Kildare, Eric Terry on Bon Ton, Dunlop on Trooper, W. Hilly on Vengeance, Lord on Red Bess, C. Terry on Daisy Bell, Bailey on My Jock, W. (Bill) Mason on Norman, Trevor Terry on Tatta, A. (Austin) Mason on O’Brien, W. Lacey on Jumbo, Brown on Quick Set, F. (Frank) Mason (Huntsman) on Larry, and A. (Austin) Smith (Whip) on Peter. There were many others both mounted and on wheels, who viewed the run from numerous points of vantage. Some time was lost at Riverstone Railway Station in unloading the horses, this station having bad facilities for such purposes. However, as soon as possible, the Master made a move in the direction of Box Hill where huntsmen and hounds were found in waiting. The pack was cast at once and quickly struck the line, which led the field over some beautiful hunting ground, across Messrs Rumery Bros Estate, whose courtesy in allowing the hunt to cross their land had been much appreciated, thence over the Windsor Road double in the Box Hill paddock, in the direction of the homestead, where a short halt was called. At 4.15 the hounds were again laid on the trail and hitting off the scent in the flat below the house, led the field over further excellent hunting country back to Riverstone, just in time to catch the return train for Sydney. The pace in both runs was severe and tried all the horses that were not in the best condition. It was a pleasant afternoon’s hunting, members enjoying the gallop immensely. 7

The Hunt Club members saw themselves as being egalitarian. In 1907, a magazine called The Lone Hand published an article about hunting in New South Wales in which it was claimed: It is a characteristic, I am proud to think, of Australia, where almost everybody is keen to encourage good sport, and where there is no class distinctions to surround hunting with any fence of snobbery. 8

These sentiments most probably had some truth to them. However, the cost of the sport would have excluded most people. The same article explained that the expense of hunting was surprisingly small. The cost of fodder was between 7 shillings and 10 shillings a week, while 12 horses could be transported by railway to an outing and returned for 29 shillings. In addition to this, there were other incidental expenses. This resulted in an actual cost of between 12 shillings and 15 shillings per week to maintain a horse. This amount may have seemed small to the well-to-do, but for others, it would have been a substantial sum.

Notwithstanding this, the Hunt Club meetings were an incongruous mixture of Sydney society people, locals from Riverstone and surrounding districts, men, a few women and the occasional child. Regular participants included the Terry family – George, Trevor, Charley, Edward, Claude and Eric, the Governor Sir R.W. Duff, numerous army officers, A. B. (Banjo) Paterson and Harry (The Breaker) Morant. Locals included Austin Smith, Jack Fitzsimmons (son of the owner of the Royal Hotel), the Mason brothers – Bill, Mick, Austin, Sam, Frank and Pat, Chris Hills, S. Hunter, M. O’Callaghan (Hawkesbury Agricultural College), McQuade from Windsor and Mrs Stace. Mrs Stace was an accomplished rider who despite the handicap of having to ride side-saddle still outclassed many of the other riders.

The Lone Hand also painted an idyllic picture of the relationship between the hunters and the local landowners: Some praise is due the people over whose country the hunting is done. The farmers and settlers have exhibited the best of good nature in allowing hunting over their properties. All they want is that the fences, if broken, should be restored, and this no hunting man would think of neglecting to do. Unlike the farmer in the English hunting counties, who sells his horses and produce to the hunting men, our people have nothing to gain from hunting, but from pure love of the sport they throw their lands open for it. 9

Again, these views are in the main true – but not totally. There is evidence that the Hunt Club activities were a source of income for the locals.

Both my grandfather and Austin Smith worked on George Terry’s Box Hill Estate and both regularly rode horses owned by Terry at Hunt Club Meetings. I have no doubt that their participation was in part because of their love of horses but equally because of their employment on the Estate. I also suspect that the reason that they gained employment on the Estate was because of their horse skills.

There is also evidence that the locals sold horses to members of the Club. It has always been a recollection within my family that the Mason boys used their skills to select and train untried horses which they subsequently showed at Hunt Club meetings and then sold to wealthier members. Notable examples are Sam Mason’s CY, a brown gelding that George Terry purchased and then shipped to India. Sam also sold him a hunter called McGinty while Bill Mason sold him Bryan O’Lynn and Larry. All three horses became successful jumpers at Hunt Club meetings and at local agricultural shows. Ironically my grandfather subsequently rode Larry on behalf of George Terry for at least six years. Another of the Mason brothers – Austin, sold a blue roan pony to R.W. Duff, son of the Governor. The Gazette reported: “(the pony) is now located at Government House with its mane hogged and its tail cut square”. 10

There is no evidence to dispute the assertion that the local landowners willingly made their land available for the hunts. In fact there are reports of the hunts crossing Wilkie’s Flat as well as the Rumery’s, Skinner’s, Seargent’s and Mason’s paddocks. The only report of any objection came from a writer who called himself Democrat. Democrat wrote to the Gazette suggesting that the Hunt Club member’s should: go farther afield than poking about among orchards and cultivated paddocks – to the disgust, and frequently, injury of the hard-working bread winner. 11 This letter prompted a rambling response from Harry Morant attacking Democrat and citing Banjo Paterson as an example of one of those best fellows, keenest sportsmen that are keen on hunting. 12 However, Democrat had the last word. He made two observations. The first was that the hunting fraternity were horse-mad and that just because they worshipped the horse, it was not necessary to expect others to do the same. The second and more insightful, was his concern about the introduction and breeding of animals such as foxes and rabbits, for the chase. 13

Interest in the Hunt Club seems to have waned in the period leading up to the 1914-1918 War. This may have been partly due to the fact that George Terry had over extended himself financially and was strapped for cash. He was subsequently made bankrupt and had to sell his Box Hill Estate.

Many of the Hunt Club members were also serving Army officers and were required for duty in South Africa and later Europe.

Whatever the reason, Hunt Club meetings ceased to be a feature of the Riverstone-Box Hill district.

The subsequent fortunes of the Hunt Club members varied greatly. However, horses and horsemanship continued to be central to their lives.

Harry Morant joined the Australian Boer War contingent and was promoted to Lieutenant after the relief of Kimberley. In 1901 an English Court Marshall found him guilty of murdering Boer prisoners and he was executed by a British firing squad. Banjo Paterson wrote a personal sketch of his former friend, which concluded: His death was consistent with his life, for though he died as a criminal he died a brave man facing the rifles with his eyes unbandaged. It would seem that the manner of his death, exemplified those characteristics that he most valued.14

Austin Smith enlisted in the 12th Regiment of the Australian Light Horse and took part in the last, great cavalry charge at Beersheba. He was subsequently wounded in the head by a sniper’s shot and although he recovered he did not return to the district.

My grandfather did not go to war. He had only one arm. In 1922 Smith’s Weekly reported:
When the Sydney Hunt Club used to hold its outings at Box Hill one of the personalities of the ‘meets’ was the whip Frank Mason, mounted on a 14.2. He cut a striking figure in the pink coat, peaked cap, and white breeches. Although he had lost an arm in a gun accident he had a perfect seat with reins wound round his arm and whip in hand he was always at the Kill. Any fence that Mason would not navigate was left alone by the rest. He was also a regular competitor at the Hawkesbury Show Jumping Competition. He still lives at Riverstone. As though to show his versatility, he knocked up 60 runs one day last season. 15

At the time my grandfather was supporting his family by casual farm work and by buying and selling livestock. The article impressed the manager of the Riverstone Meatworks who consequently offered him the job of company watchman. This brought with it security, award wages and a much improved standard of living.

Mrs Stace continued to compete at jumping events and was a regular competitor at the Hawkesbury Show. In 1915 she won the Ladies High Jump Championship of the World.16

The Sydney Hunt Club still exists but is now located in the MacArthur Region.

1 Oral information given to me in 1999 by my uncle, Denis Mason.
2 Oscar Wilde, “A Woman of No Importance”, Act 1, 1893.
3 First Check, “Hunting in N.S.W”, The Lone Hand, 2nd September 1907, p504.
4 Ibid, pp504, 505.
5 Windsor and Richmond Gazette, 25th August 1894, p4.
6 Ibid, 24th September 1898, p4.
7 Ibid, 15th July 1905, p7.
8First Check, “Hunting in N.S.W”, The Lone Hand, 2nd September, 1907, p510
9 loc cit.
10 Windsor and Richmond Gazette, 27th October 1894, p4.
11 Windsor and Richmond Gazette, 10th September 1898. P10.
12 Ibid, 24th September 1998, p9.
13 Ibid, 1st October 1898, p7.
14 The Sydney Mail, 12th April 1902.
15 Bluey, Smith’s Weekly, 22nd July 1922.
16 Hawkesbury District Agricultural Association, “The Hawkesbury on Show”, 1986, p35.

My Torch Experience

by Marina Johnston

Every morning in the daily notices at school it was announced that you could be an escort runner for the Olympics. I decided to get a form and see how I went. I filled out the form and handed it in, but to my surprise I was too young as you had to be 14 by July but I was 14 in July. I was very disappointed that I was too young and only by a month. The next day a teacher at our school named Mr Cousins came up to me and asked if I would like to be a torchbearer for the paralympics. I took the sheet home and filled it out, this time there was no age barrier this was my chance. I was ecstatic I might have a chance to be a torch runner. I had to get my roll call teacher to write what kind of person I was so that happened.

Weeks passed and I hadn’t heard anything, the Olympic fever was in action everyone was so happy it was our turn to hold the Olympics. Then a letter came in the post. Yes 1 had been selected to be a torchbearer, I didn’t think they would let me do it but they did. Then a few weeks before I was invited to a meeting (more like a welcoming) for the Paralympics it was in Blacktown. There were a few Paralympians themselves and the torch and also the mayor and other guests. That’s when it hit me, yes, I was going to run with the torch.

Then I got a parcel, it was my uniform. I tried it on and it was a bit big but it still looked important. Also in the parcel were all the times of when I would run, do’s and don’ts, and if I would like to buy the torch. My mind was set Yes I would! (Well mum and dad would.) When the Olympics were on, my family and I went to see the torch run at Castle Hill it was exciting and there were so many people. I was excited because in a few weeks it would be my turn. There were green and gold balloons along the street, and the Australian Flags as it was all spruced up.

My day was October 13th at about 5:30pm on the main street in Windsor. It had rained the day before so I was hoping for some good weather. I had told all my friends and family when to be there and other stuff. 1 arrived at the meeting point at Richmond Park and there were plenty of people dressed like I was in their uniform. I got my number: 116.

My mum and dad left me and then we all got in the bus and we were all off. We got our talk on what to do and what you should do when you got out of the bus. I was nervously excited because you don’t know what you have got in store for you. I talked to some of the people who were doing the same as me and we were all very excited to be doing this.

My leg was in Windsor but my meeting place was in Richmond. Everyone was dropped off at different spots. When someone got off we would all give them a cheer and they would be excited. Soon there were not as many people on the bus because they had all gone to their parts. Soon it was my turn to get off the bus. I was so excited and couldn’t wait till it was my turn to carry this special flame.

Soon I got off the bus and I got cheered off, then when I got out people came up to me and asked me questions about me and about the torch. Since I was in the main street there were plenty of people and lots of little kids who wanted to have a picture with me and them holding the torch. At this point I felt important and the centre of attention. It was weird I guess that’s what popstars get too. Some people even wanted autographs.

Then I saw the man running with the torch and the motorbikes came up to where I was, I turned on the gas and then from there I knew I had only minutes till it was my turn to run. Finally the man came up to me and we hugged and then we exchanged the flame. It was alight and I started running I could hear the roar of the crowd and everyone was happy and I was smiling and waving. The car in front of me had a camera and that was a bit scary at first but I got used to it. My family and friends were watching me and cheering for me. I ran and sometimes walked and carried the flame I waved to the crowd as I passed them.

After my run I talked to my family and friends and also other people came up to me wanting to hold the torch and have their photos taken with me. I felt like a superstar!

When we made it to the celebration with heaps of people it was over but there were still plenty of people. When I got out of the car, everyone came up to me and asked questions and they wanted to hold the torch and have some photos taken with me. I had so many people come up to me I felt funny inside and hungry too. It took me ages to finish talking to everyone. Then I was on my way home. It’s something that I will never forget – it’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Feel Inspired

Paralympics, Sydney October 1st – 29th 2000
By Marina Johnston

Life in Riverstone During the Depression

Written by Rosemary Phillis after an interview with ‘Bubby’ Gordon (nee Packer)

My grandmother had five children and when one of her daughters went blind at the age of twelve from meningitis, she gave up the other four children to look after her. The other four, including my father, became State Wards and were sent to live with the Stanford family at Riverstone. Dad was born in 1907 and was only two when he came to live with the Stanfords.

It was a hard life, the children had to help around the place and my father always seemed to get into trouble with Mr Stanford. When he was 13 he went to work at the Meatworks.

He married my mother in 1928 and they had three children. When work became slack during the Depression he was sent to a Meatworks up in the country at Aberdeen. When the Meatworks started to get busy again they called for Dad to come back to Riverstone.

Dad bought five blocks of land in Sydney Street for £35 in 1934. He paid it off at eight shillings a month. You can imagine how difficult it was to earn that sort of money during a strike when they weren’t being paid. It must have been a constant worry for Dad, as in his later years when he was dying he would call out “I have to get up and go to work or they’ll take the land”.

With the payments for the land there was little left to build a house, so Dad built it himself. He cut stumps and poles from the bush and built the supports and frames.
The Schofields lived just up from us in the brick house with the well next to it which had beautiful water. They were very good to us, Mr Schofield used to save feed bags for Dad, who would soak them in a concrete slurry mixture. When they went hard Dad would tack them to the timber frame. Our house was a two room concrete bag house with a dirt floor.

It was something special if Dad came home with a window or a door to put on the house, as until then we just had bags to cover the spaces and keep out the cold. People used to save newspapers and magazines for Mum and she would paste them onto the inside wall with a paste of flour and water. Of a night we children would take the candles and read the magazines on the wall. I believe that is the reason that I can read so well now.

Mum used to keep the dust from the dirt floor down by sprinkling it with damp tea leaves from the teapot. She would sweep it with a broom made of branches from the trees in the bush.

Mum had to work very hard, she had few clothes and had to wash her dress every night so that she had something to wear the next day. She did washing for people to earn extra money. Mrs Shepherd and Mrs Harpur both paid her ten shillings per week for doing all their washing in an old boiler. 1

She then paid Mrs Harpur two shillings a week to teach me how to play the piano. Mrs Harpur was very strict. She used to sit a penny on each of my hands and if either of the pennies fell off while I was playing she’d hit me with a wooden knitting needle that had a large wooden knob on the end. I still play the piano, for my own enjoyment and down at the Pensioners Hall.

My piano came from my Aunty, Frances Parker, who was very musically talented. Like Dad she came to Riverstone as a State Ward. One of her daily tasks was to bring in the cows for the family. Enid Pettet told me that her family used to hear her singing as she brought the cows in.

When she was fourteen she went to Stanmore to be a housemaid for a lady who lived there. This lady recognised Aunty’s musical talent and arranged for her to take lessons. Eventually Aunty became a Professor of Music. As well as singing she could play every musical instrument except the trumpet and went under the professional name of Phyllis Roscoe.

My childhood was an enjoyable one. We may not have had much, but we were always fed and always looked after. During the Depression we had cows and chooks and Dad would bring home bacon dripping from the Meatworks so we had bread and dripping and pepper and salt and loved it.

Mum and many others in those days made ‘Waggas’ to keep us warm at night. A ‘Wagga’ was a wheat bag or chaff bag in the centre which then had material patches sewn onto it, to form a blanket. I can remember warming bricks in the oven at night and then wrapping them in old cardigans and putting them in our beds to warm them up.
We were related to the Cooks and the Willis families and sometimes we’d all go for a picnic up the Windsor River and we’d have a great time. We always had something to do, catching cray fish in the gully where the swimming pool is now, swimming out at the stone wall crossing at Eastern Creek or out at the Andrew’s place on the Windsor Road. It was good fun.

When I was twelve I would visit Aunty Phyllis who lived with her husband down towards Sydney. We used to give concerts at old people’s homes, boys’ homes, girls’ homes and Long Bay Gaol. When we went to the gaol the Black Maria (a police car) would pull up out the front of Aunty’s place and we’d all climb in with the musical instruments and they’d take us into the gaol.

My husband built the house that we live in now. We call it the house that Dick built. When we first moved in it was only the shell of the house, the inside walls had no lining and there were no ceilings below the roof. Gradually though we added these as well as a number of rooms. 

Jim Woods – Gentle Man, Champion Boxer

by Judith Lewis

They referred to him as the gentle giant. Some said he lacked the killer instinct to become a great boxer. He fought in an era when boxing had yet to be tainted by greedy corrupt entrepreneurs, by fighters who bit ears. Boxing was a popular sport throughout the country. At the Parramatta Stadium, the Rivoli, you could watch forty rounds of boxing – a main bout of ten rounds, a six round bout and six further bouts of four rounds for the

Popular Prices: 4/-, 3/-, 2/- (plus tax)

In Riverstone Aub Gillespie had a backyard gym in Railway Terrace (now West Parade). Locals involved in boxing were to include Arthur Luland, George Cafe and Colin Clarke, a National Lightweight Champion.

When you talk with Jim Woods you are impressed by his humility: “No, I never won anything major.” Yet the local press, after his fight against Norrie Bell at Newcastle on 28th June 1952, stated …a good fight by two good sportsmen. Woods is a good crowd pleaser and a top class fighter. The Singapore Press, in October 1952, labelled him Australia’s best heavyweight today.

Jim Woods was the last boxer to fight Dave Sands who, between 1946 and 1952 held the Australian Middleweight, Light-Heavyweight and Heavyweight Championships and the British Empire Middleweight Championship. Sands was killed in a truck accident at Dungog on 11th August 1952. The fight between Woods and Sands, at Wagga Wagga on 9th July 1952, was for the Australian Heavyweight Championship. Jim Woods was knocked out in the fourth round.


Jim Woods was born on 23rd January, 1928. His parents were George and Margaret. George worked on a dairy at Enfield. As urban Sydney expanded, the Woods’ family moved to Blacktown. Jim was 18 months old. George and Margaret had four children whilst living at Enfield – Hilda, born in 1922, George, Ethel and Jim. George died at age three, Ethel at age six. At Blacktown they had two more daughters, June, born in 1931 and Margaret in 1936.

Jim went to school at Blacktown Public School and did his secondary schooling at Westmead Boys’ Technical High School. Before and after school each day Jim helped his father on the farm. Jim was fourteen years and eight months when the family moved to Marsden Park to run a poultry farm.

On the same day the family moved to Marsden Park Jim got himself a job at Riverstone Meatworks in the Casings (commonly called the Gut Shed) Section, underneath the Mutton Board. As Jim tells it, At the meatworks, a bloke gave me a hiding. Sid Parkes said, “Come down to Billy Teale’s at Parramatta and learn how to box”. Billy Teale, a former Riverstone resident, had been the Army’s Heavyweight Boxing Champion in World War 1 and had a ‘gym’ set up in the back room of his Parramatta home.

Jim’s first fight was in an amateur tournament in what was supposed to be the Novice Section, but which turned out to be the Open Section. The fight was at Lidcombe against Bluey Edwardson. Jim won in the fourth round. This fight was followed by two more Lidcombe bouts, both resulting in knockout wins to Jim in the first round. Then followed a loss in four rounds at Blacktown, a win in the fourth, a knockout in the second and a win in the sixth round, all at Auburn.

After seven amateur fights Jim turned professional and fought Max Ballard at Auburn on 23rd February 1948, winning in the fourth round. In the five years that followed Jim was to have 51 more fights at venues including Leichhardt, Ryde, Newcastle, Auburn, St Marys, Parramatta, Sydney, Nambucca Heads, Melbourne, Wagga Wagga, Gloucester and finally Singapore. Of his 52 professional fights Jim was to win 33, 16 of them by knockouts. In his 19 losses he was to be knocked out six times.

For his first 20 fights Jim was trained by Mick Lawrence whose gym was in a building at
Blacktown Showground. Jim used to ride his bike from Marsden Park to train. When it was raining Jim’s friend from Marsden Park, Don Whiting, would come to Jim’s house to box with him.

Mick Lawrence gave up training boxers to train trotters and his brother Billy became Jim’s trainer/manager from his spacious Woodville Road gym at Merrylands. Like Jim, Lawrence was a meatworker, but at Homebush Abattoirs. Lawrence had an impressive stable of fighters which included Colin Clarke, National Lightweight Champion and Trevor King, State Lightweight Champion.

A fight at Newcastle on 30th June 1951, which he lost on points in the twelfth round, against local Alfie Sands, brother of Dave, is the one Jim remembers as his best. Jim Woods … regarded as having little chance of staying more than six rounds … after one of the gamest displays seen at the stadium …. was still there at the end of the twelfth, when Sands got a points verdict.

The Australian Jack Dempsey was a fighter who gave Jim a lot of good advice. Jim fought Dempsey once, on 22nd October 1951 at Sydney Stadium. Dempsey’s eye was cut when the two clashed heads and Jim was awarded the fight, by Referee Patrick, on a TKO in round six.

On 9th April of that year Jim fought the preliminary bout before the Dave Sands (Australia) v. Henry Brimm (America) main event at Sydney Stadium. Jim’s opponent was dynamic but crude Latvian migrant Emil Berjinski, a railway fettler stationed at Chullora Camp who was fighting to buy a home for his wife. The crowd that night was in the vicinity of 12,000. The newspapers reported as follows, …. Berjinski threw everything but the ring posts at Woods in the sixth …. However, on the night Woods knew just a little too much, and by boxing coolly earned the pat of Referee Patrick at the concluding bell. Both boxers earned a shower of coins amounting to almost £6 for their efforts but they certainly earned it.

As well as local opponents Jim won a twelfth round points decision against Fijian Henry Braye on 17th February 1952 at Newcastle. A stout fighting-heart backed by a copybook left hand, won a well-deserved victory for Jim Woods. Braye had been lined up to fight Dave Sands for the Heavyweight Championship of Australia. He pulled out and Jim Woods accepted the challenge. On the 1st March Jim defeated Italian Ubaldo Giometti, a former heavyweight champion of the Orient, on a TKO in the eighth round.

Of his fight against Dave Sands, Jim says he was completely outclassed by Sands. “He went easy on me. He carried me through those four rounds.” The newspapers reported Sands won the fight with a short right hand punch that crashed on to Woods’ jaw, and the Sydney boxer sprawled helplessly on the canvas. He received attention from an ambulance officer before he was able to rise to his feet. For this fight Jim was guaranteed a purse of £100.

After Dave Sands’ death Jim was offered a number of fights. His next fight was against Fred Riddell at Sydney Stadium in a Benefit Night for Dave Sands’ widow. Riddell had won eleven of his last twelve fights and was five to one favourite to win this one. Jim recalls, “Riddell was a southpaw. He had hit me very hard. Billy Lawrence, my second, said to go out and hit him with a left hook. I did. It knocked him out.” (in round six). The night raised £350 for the widow. Woods and Riddell received £60 each after they had given half their purse to the fund.

A week later, on 11th September at Leichhardt, Jim Woods was to defeat Irish Middleweight Champion, Jackie Wilson, who trained on the “Orcades” as conditions on the ship were better than those offering on land, with a knockout in the tenth round. Then, on 19th September, in Melbourne, Jim was to lose in twelve rounds to Englishman Ken Brady, who went on to win the Heavyweight Championship of Australia in his next fight.

Jim’s first overseas’ fight, at Happy World Stadium in Singapore on 17th October 1952, was also his last. Jim was up against Fijian and Orient light-heavyweight champion, Isimeli Radrodro, who also represented Fiji in Rugby Union. Both weighed 12.3 and thrilled the onlookers with their clean fighting, Woods being applauded for his effort against his formidable opponent.

Watched by more than 6000 holidaymakers Jim was knocked out in the ninth round of the ten round fight and says he fought the fight “on blackout or memory”.

More than 100 members of a Fijian Battalion fighting communist terrorists in Malaya immediately jumped into the ring and celebrated “Sergeant Radrodro’s victory” with a war song. Carrying banjos they had travelled more than 200 miles from their camp.
When Woods was knocked down by Radrodro …. his head hit the ring boards. He was removed unconscious to hospital where he recovered the following morning….

Woods told the Free Press that he has decided to hang up his gloves for good and help his mother with her chicken farm ‘back home’–.

Jim was true to his word. In 1956 he married Ila McKinnon. This long marriage ended in divorce and in 1993 he married Doris Talbot (Vissochi). Doris and Jim had ‘gone out together’ in their younger days. Although Doris and Jim are now separated they remain good friends. Jim has always been close to his sisters, particularly June (Evans) and Margaret (Walsh) who live in Riverstone, and is very fond of June’s children, Lesley, Kaylene, Darren and Scott and their families.

Jim Woods was a champion boxer, he was and is a gentle man.


by Clarrie Neal

Compiled by Clarrie Neal from information given by Shirley and Barry Allison, Les Teale and John Stacey, September 1999. Also from the Windsor Gazette, and from an interview between Lance Strachan and Rosemary Phillis, December 1994. Apologies to the dog men I have failed to mention.

The breeding and training of greyhounds (once known as kangaroo dogs) has always been a popular pastime in Riverstone and surrounding districts. In the early part of this century there were no dog tracks as we know them today, only live hare coursing at such tracks as Woodstock at Rooty Hill.

There were only two dogs in a race and they would chase a hare up a hill – if the hare was fast enough he could make an exit through a gap in the fence. The race was judged as the dogs crossed an imaginary line across the course but dogs could also score points if they made the hare change direction. Sometimes the hare was caught by the dogs and it was this action that led to the sport being banned c1947 on the grounds of cruelty.

Some of the older residents of Riverstone who trained dogs at this time were Sid and Ted Jarrett, who the Gazette reported in March 1914 won a NSW Derby with Jet D’Ean and an Oaks with Joy Bell. ‘Pilty’ Marlin won a Waterloo Cup – another of the Blue Ribbon events of live hare coursing with Waterford Lad, a dog he trained for Sir Mark Foy. Other trainers of the day included Perce Allen, Reg Ford and Bede Freeman who the Gazette reported on 21st March 1903 caused much excitement when he gave his two greyhounds a rabbit chase in Mr Richard’s paddock.

The mechanical hare was used to replace the live hare and as a result greyhound tracks were built in many country towns. Tracks that were frequented by the locals included Moss Vale, Goulburn, Lithgow, Bathurst, Gosford, Wyong and Londonderry.

In the days before cars became popular, the only way to get to these country tracks was by rail. If there were enough patrons the railways provided special dog carriages, with one side of the carriage fitted out with kennels and the other side with seats for the owners and trainers. Cards were played to pass the time away on the longer trips. It is interesting to note that before the dog was allowed on the train a ticket had to be purchased for the dog.

During the 1940s and 50s many Riverstone identities became involved with greyhounds, some of their names and their dogs are: Reg ‘Dodger’ Stanford – best known for Pretty Secret which won a string of long distance races at Harold Park and Wentworth Park. Perce Allen and his sons Howard and Ron had many successes between them: Our Noreen won 13 consecutive races at various country tracks and they also trained Blonde Glen, which was to hold the Harold Park record for many years being the first dog to ever break 27 seconds for the 500 yards.

Dick Stacey (senior) owned many good dogs including Ida Thelma (named after his wife), Jean O’Joy (named after his two girls), Debenture, Bright Souvenir, Major Whirl, Chief Escape and Apache Boy, with Lance Strachan doing most of the training. However training was a real family affair with all members of the Staceys likely to be seen at times out walking the dogs with Lance. Dick Stacey (junior) also became involved with dogs, owning Miss Whippa which won 10 races on the Sydney tracks; another good dog was The Black Don, both were trained by Gordon ‘Gudgeon’ Alderton. Dick also won several races with Dessick, a dog he part owned with Dessie Cartwright.

Mavis and Ronnie Brown were a family who had a lifetime involvement with the sport. They shared many successes with Shy Search and the ‘Moss’ dogs. The Connolly family in Clarke Street, also had a lot of successes with the ‘Moss’ dogs. Norm Shields was another who teamed up with Ronnie Brown and won many races with Bill Moss, Molly Moss and Gold Stockade. Johnny Brookes trained Misty Issue which won many races and held a track record at Bathurst. Les Teale won 18 races at the country tracks with Glen Amber.

Barry Allison and his wife Shirley have had many successes in a lifetime involvement with the sport. Names that come to mind are Swift Dream, Get Lost, Im Lost, Dominant Miss which won 14 races in 12 months and held a track record at Moss Vale. Barry and Shirley are still very involved with dogs and currently train Bingara Echo which won 20 races in 1998/99.

Other owners / trainers in the district who bred and raced dogs with varying degrees of success include – ‘Prince’ Greentree, Alec Matthews, Gordon Martin, Bert Kobler, Clarrie Neal, Kevin ‘Stumpy’ Byrnes (Miss Nigalong), Siddie Clark (Little Chance), Chris Becke (No Place), and ‘Possum’ Perrott, Ted Sutton and his two boys Kevin and Alan, Frank Johnstone and son Harold (My John Son), Charlie Wells (Court Ruler), Jack Pearce, Bobbie Johnstone, Reggie and Johnny Johnson, Mick Sullivan, Reg Barron, Norm Schoffel, Reg and Norm Schofields, Alby Matson, Les Aberley, Stella Withers, Norm Brown, and Snowy Sullivan.

Many of these dog men worked at the Meatworks and often of a Monday morning after the races at the weekend, they would get together to discuss the results. The discussion would be “a certainty beaten”, “unlucky”, “will win next week”, and sometimes “it was a great win”. If these talks continued for any length of time their workmates would start a chorus of barking or howling, indicating they had heard enough dog talk for the day. If this failed they would start scratching themselves to show how bad the fleas were, these actions usually bringing the discussion to an abrupt end.

I can recall going on the train with my father to the dogs at Goulburn and at Lithgow and remember it being a long day, having to leave early in the morning, walk to the station, catch the steam train to Strathfield and there board the train to Goulburn. The days I travelled there was no special dog carriage so we travelled in the guards van with the dog on a rug on the floor and I remember watching the card games the men played to pass the time.

Because the main training track ‘Bowcocks’ on Briens Road at Westmead involved a train trip and a fair walk from the station the dog men would often use a 400 yard straight track that was supposed to be Loftus Street in Riverstone. This was alongside Swifts paddock, also known as Grantham Farm. We could give the dogs a ‘hand gallop’ there. Dad waited at the top of the track and Ron or myself walked the dog to the other end and when Dad gave a signal we would release the dog.

Many of the dog men trialled their dogs there and at one stage they used a modified bike frame to drag a stuffed rabbit skin along the track as a lure. I also remember the large blackberry bush near the track that was home to a lot of rabbits, sometimes the greyhounds would career off the straight and narrow and chase these rabbits instead of completing their trial.

Mick Sullivan had an interesting theory on his dogs at this track – instead of waiting at the top of the track, Mick would wait at the telegraph post some 80 yards down the track from the finish. When the signal was given to release the dog, Mick would start running and if he beat the dog to the finish line the dog was classed as a failure.

Although the prize money offered at Harold and Wentworth Parks was good, that offered at the country tracks was poor. Because dog racing was so popular in those days you had to race at the country tracks to prove the dog was good enough to race in the city. Some of the maiden races at these tracks offered a winner’s prize of just 4 pounds, with 1 pound for 2nd and 10 shillings for 3rd.

To get increased attendances at the city tracks various innovations have been tried, perhaps the most novel was when they held special races using monkeys as jockeys. The monkeys made very good jockeys and as one old timer said “he never ever remembered one to fall off”, but then they knew what to expect if they did fall off.

Another measure that was tried was racing over the hurdles, but these were never really successful because some of the dogs would lose sight of the lure as it passed through the hurdles.

Many dogs failed to make it to the racetrack and if the owner ignored such freely given advice as “take it out into the bush and run away from it” the dog could be given to a farmer to chase rabbits on his farm or property. Les Teale recalls travelling to North Richmond on the ‘Pansy’ along with Reggie Johnson and Kevin Sutton and their two greyhounds, and chasing rabbits in the paddocks surrounding Phillip Charley’s castle, now known as the St. John of God Hospital. In those days the rabbits were in plague proportions and wherever you looked you would see them, the dogs not knowing which rabbit to start chasing first.

Charlie Fisher

by Clarrie Neal from information
and notes provided by Nancy Hayden

Charles Edmond Fisher was born in 1882 in Ballarat, Victoria, one of seven children born to Edwin and Elizabeth. He was educated at Ballarat and with schooling completed he made his way across to Western Australia, working at various jobs throughout the state. He often worked on the land and always found it to be very satisfying.

As time went by, Charlie got a job in the mining industry and worked for several years at Meekatharra as an engine driver. He eventually left that industry and became an apprentice in the bakery trade. After receiving his certificate he moved to Perth to work as a baker.

It was in W.A. that he met his wife to be Alicia, who had come out from England in 1910 and lived with her sister until she found work. However the courtship was interrupted when World War 1 broke out and Charlie enlisted in the Imperial Camel Corps, later transferring to the 10th Light Horse Corps serving overseas in Turkey and other Middle East countries.

He was given his honorary discharge in 1919 and later in the year married Alicia. He was now ready to move on and came back to Victoria, settling in a small country town known as Eltham where he bought his first bakery. He was helped in this bakery by an apprentice, Jack Matthews, whom Charlie trained through to get his certificate.
It was in Eltham that their first three children were born – Roma, Bruce, and Nancy. It was also in Eltham that Charlie suffered severe burns to the body in a mishap while working in the bakery ovens. After his recovery he made up his mind to go to Double Bay, Sydney where he bought a bakery and pastry cook shop with residence. It was here in Double Bay that their fourth child, Alex was born.

The work in Double Bay wasn’t easy by any means, after the baking he did the deliveries, often walking up three flights of stairs in flats to find that the customer didn’t require any bread that day. In 1929 it appears that Charlie wanted a return to the country way of life so he decided to buy the bakery business of Mr Harold Wallace in Riverstone, including the home and the shop.

How he ever heard of this bakery business being for sale in Riverstone remains a mystery to the family, but it certainly came as a shock to them, after enjoying the comforts of Double Bay with the harbour, its electricity, water supply and the sewer, they came to Riverstone, a town with none of these amenities. The family had to wait until 1934 just to get the water and electricity.

Jack Matthews, their baker from Eltham, also made the move to Riverstone and lived in the home with the Fisher family for several years. As the business grew, it wasn’t long before another apprentice, Alan Wallace, a son of the previous owner, was employed to learn the trade under Charlie, and stayed with the business until it was sold in 1953.

Charlie commenced his deliveries in Riverstone in a small way but it wasn’t long before he had three carts delivering. As the business expanded he had a large sign erected across the top of the bakehouse /loading dock area that read ‘On The Wings Of Progress’.

A horse and cart was used to make bread deliveries each weekday to the residents of Riverstone, Schofields, and Marsden Park; and every Monday, Wednesday and Friday to Vineyards and Berkshire Park. There were no bread deliveries of a weekend, and somehow we all survived. The bread was taken from the cart and placed in a cane basket, covered with a canvas top for protection from the elements, for delivery to the householder.

Nancy recalled that it was her job to wash these canvas covers every Friday afternoon; the covers had to be scrubbed clean, then placed in the copper and boiled until they were white.

Some of the driver’s names that many old residents would recall were – Wally Britton, Billy Schofield, Stewart Cummings, Ron Loveday, Lennie Dawson, Ross Smith, Joe Potter, Noel Waller, and Lennie Bolton, who was renowned for sleeping through the alarm. Charlie would often have to drive up to Lennie’s place in Crown Road to get him out of bed.

It was always a sight to see these delivery horses doing their rounds; they would routinely stop at a house and as the baker came out they would move down to the next house and stop, or they would turn the corner and wait, without any directions from the driver.

Nancy remembers working in the bakery: The bakehouse commenced baking at 2 am every week day. The bread was always ready for delivery at 8.0 am with the first stop being Conways to pick up the papers and magazines for delivery to the outlying homes. During the 1940s home delivery ceased to the outer areas and the papers and bread were then left at the local Post Office /store for collection by the residents. The bakers shop was the front of our home in Garfield Road, opposite the lane and the town’s only bank at the time (the Commercial).

Thursday was the day we baked buns, how the kids loved them, they would call in on their way to school. We buttered the buns and off the kids would go, sometimes it would be their breakfast. Other kids would call into the shop on their way home from school.

I wonder how many children of the day remember taking delivery of the bread from the cart and breaking it in halves to get the ‘kissing crust’, then pulling strips off it, how great it tasted, what a wonderful memory. In the winter time, Sunday was pie making day for the other shops and the canteen at the meatworks.

Nancy recalled the floods when Charlie, usually referred to as ‘the boss’ by all the staff, would always say “no one was to go hungry”, and he did everything possible to ensure that the families over the creek and at Berkshire Park received their deliveries of bread.

Many a day when you thought there was enough bread, only to find there wasn’t, a quick phone call was made to the surrounding bakeries of Moses in Windsor or Gillespies at Pitt Town for help. Everyone helped one another whenever they could, we were the only ones selling bread in the district, sliced bread was unheard of in those days.

During the war, with the rationing, hard times were experienced by the larger families and we had relief papers for people to sign and collect the allotted quantity of bread. Sometimes it was hard when their quota was used and they had to wait for the next issue, but we always managed to bake a little extra to tide them over, and somehow we all survived on the ration coupons ( I wonder if we could today).

The baking ovens were kept going at all times, they were wood burners and a contractor was hired to split and cut the wood to the desired length for the fire box. Sometimes if the wood was green it was placed in the oven on a large tray during the weekend to dry out for better burning during the week. In summer it was very hot in the bakehouse but it was great in winter, a nice place to make us warm, and a great area for drying the washing during rainy days.

All the flour came by rail and Jess Goodwin’s truck was used to transfer it from the railway yards to the bakehouse for storage in the flour room.

Charlie was always proud of his horses, ensuring they were well fed and shod. His pride and joy was the Clydesdale he owned for many years and used in the dray, he was known appropriately as ‘Pride’. He sent the horses regularly to the town blacksmith Harry Williams to be shod, and if Harry was too busy he would shoe the horses himself.

The bread was delivered each Monday to Friday no matter how bad the weather, be it rain, hail, or shine, or stinking hot. The hot days always saw the drivers pleased to be finished so they could hose down the horses and give them a light feed and a drink. They had to be careful not to give the horses too much as they would develop ‘colic’ and have to be drenched to relieve the problem.

The horses remained in the stable yards until 4-30 pm when they were let out and crossed the railway line near the hotel, making their way along West Parade to the paddocks, picking at the grass as they went. Charlie would arrive some time later with their night feed, and in the winter time make sure the horses were properly rugged. He would return each morning at 6 am to bring the horses back to the bakehouse.

Many a time these good rugs were stolen during the night, which was very disappointing for Charlie, so he started using heavy bags that were cut and sewn together to make the rug; these rugs lasted much longer.

Charlie’s stables were also home to several other ponies fondly remembered by many older residents of Riverstone, they were the ponies used by Eric Conway for his paper deliveries.

When Eric was away in the 2nd World War, his sister Mavis did the deliveries for more than four years. During the cold winter months Charlie would set up the sulky, wrapping two house-bricks that had been heated in the ovens in a bag for Mavis to keep her feet warm while doing the rounds.

Many families walked home through Charlie’s paddocks, there were tracks everywhere. Nancy recalled the kids walking through in the winter time, often with no shoes. She also recalled the days as the horses crossed the railway line, if the gates were shut and there was a line of cars waiting, how the horses would move up to the front of the cars and squeeze in to make sure they were first through the gates.

Charlie grew all his own feed, corn, saccaline and lucerne for the horses, in his paddocks located along Carnarvon Road and Burfitt Road, down to Eastern Creek. Nancy recalled as children sitting down in the dray with Dad standing up driving with the reins, going out to the paddock to help with the harvesting. They would pick the corn, and then help load it when it was cut.

When the hay harvest was ready, Charlie and Fred Cassell would be out there for hours with the harvester, pulled by the Clydesdales, cutting and binding the hay into sheafs. The sheafs were loaded onto the lorry owned and driven by Jess Goodwin for transfer back to the bakehouse, where it was thrown and stacked in a huge hay shed.

Nancy loved to see the men throw the sheafs up high using the pitch fork when they were stacking. In later years Charlie put in a chaffcutter that he was able to operate from the motor of the dough maker, when that was not in use. Charlie also owned the clay pit in Burfitt Rd for many years, a previous owner was the legendary Lance Skuthorpe.

Nancy recalled the trotting track that was located in the meatworks paddocks opposite the railway station, and how it was always in use by the trotting fraternity. In the 1940s a new track was laid on the opposite side of Garfield Road, around the football oval, They paid two shillings and sixpence to use the track, and there were that many trotters that they often used a water truck to lay the dust. No wonder Harry Williams the town blacksmith was such a busy man.

At a meeting held by the Riverstone Progress Association in 1935 it was decided to form a committee to run their own Agricultural Show. There was also a ladies committee formed to run the craft and cooking sections. The first show was held in 1936, and then held annually until the outbreak of the 2nd World War forced their cancellation.

Charlie Fisher was the driving force behind the formation of the show society, becoming its President for many years and was made a life member. He served many years as the President of the Riverstone Progress Association and also served several years as a Councillor on the Blacktown Council representing the Riverstone district. In his early days he was an active member of the Master Bakers Board. He was an original member of the Riverstone-Schofields RSL Sub-branch and when the RSL Club was formed he was appointed as its first Trustee.

He was a wonderful man and did much for the community of Riverstone, he can certainly be proud of his many achievements.

Nancy always remembers her father for his kind heart, recalling the days he would bring ‘Jockey’ Stevens back to the bakery change rooms. ‘Jockey’ was a down and out type who used to sleep in the paddock opposite the railway station, sometimes under a sheet of iron, and sometimes under a newspaper. He was a returned digger from the 1st World War and was required to report to the Dept. of Veterans Affairs every three months.

Charlie would give ‘Jockey’ a shower, shave him, give him a haircut, sometimes using the horse shears, fit him out in a suit that had been provided by the RSL sub branch, then put him on the train to Sydney. When he returned home he was given some fresh clothes or his old clothes were returned to him, and the suit was stored in a locker at the bakehouse until the next time. It had to be done this way because ‘Jockey’ would ruin the suit the first night he returned.

Nancy also recalled Charlie bringing home a skinny, mangy, stray dog off the street that nobody wanted, he bathed it and gave it a haircut. Every day it was treated with the sulphur and carbolic oil treatment used on the horses and it soon became a lovely terrier and was found a nice home.

Tommy McNamara recalled the day he asked Charlie if he would sell him a small sulky to allow his mother to get to Jack Abell’s place in South Street, Marsden Park where she worked one day a week to help support her young family. Charlie asked Tommy if he thought two pounds was too much to pay. Tommy said he had the two pounds so Charlie gave him the sulky, and also all the harness and gear that went with it. Tommy said it was a beautiful hickory sulky and the pony used to pull it was the one the McNamara children had learnt to ride on.

Charlie was sad to leave his bakery but failing health forced his retirement. The bakery and house were sold to a Bill Bamford in 1953 and the family moved from the shop to Crown Road. During retirement Charlie took up bowls and became a member of the Windsor Bowling Club, Riverstone Bowling Club being formed a few years later.

In 1959 he made a trip to Western Australia; he was never to return as illness forced him to enter the Perth hospital, where he passed away. Charlie’s wife Alicia passed away in 1964; both were cremated at the Northern Suburbs Crematorium.

Of the family, Roma managed the ladies hairdressing shop next door to Dick Stacey’s fruit shop. Bruce became an electrician, working at Blacktown Council for several years before becoming a draughtsman with Parramatta Council, he now lives in Queensland. Alex worked in the bakehouse for many years, before opting to do the deliveries.

Nancy left school at 15 owing to her mother’s illness, spending the first year learning the book- keeping and then working in the shop. Like her father, Nancy has been a wonderful worker for the community, an active member of the CWA, serving many years as their Secretary and President, and being involved with Meals on Wheels for some 30 years. She has been a member of the Hawkesbury Show Ladies Auxiliary for more than 20 years, and been Social Secretary of Hawkesbury Legacy for 15 years.