Snippets from the Gazette

Local newspapers provide an invaluable source of information for historians. The early journalists had a way with words and often a quirky sense of humour as the following snippets from the Windsor and Richmond Gazette show.

27 February 1892
Wednesday afternoon is a great day in our little town…. – Horse racing on the railway parade, cricket in Mr Richards’ paddock, picnic parties on the creek, and frequently the burly form of the “Only George” dashing down the road, enveloped in a cloud of dust, the gravel flying from the heels of his maddened steed like hail. High above his chariot may be seen a huge bundle of fishing-rods, tapering towards the Heavens, and as the vehicle bounds over 3 foot logs in its headlong course, the rods sway like a field of sugar cane in a gale of wind…

8 July 1893
The weather has been very severe here during the week, and on Tuesday morning it was particularly so. Ice more than half an inch thick was seen on that morning, and it is reckoned that the cold was more intense than it has ever been for years. Benny Woods was engaged in conversation with a passer-by shortly after 6 a.m. when his words simply “froze” as they came from his lips, and one jawbreaker fell on his companion’s foot that made the victim howl….

4 December 1897
A couple of local residents got together early last Saturday morning, with the result that both carry slight abrasions on the chivvy. Rough and tumble contests are disagreeable at any time, but especially when one’s face tries to smooth down the gravel.

7 August 1914
Riverstone people complain bitterly at the condition of the streets, or bogs, as they are termed here. On the Windsor-Riverstone road (Garfield Rd) in front of Mr Bambridge’s store there is a gully almost long enough and deep enough for a regiment of French infantry to entrench in, and in wet weather it becomes a brawling young river. Near this spot on the footpath there is a chasm which is nothing more nor less than a trap on a dark night and if anybody falls into it they might get lost…

7 August 1914
For originality Riverstone children are hard to beat. At a recent birthday party a road competition was suggested. Hereunder are a few of the questions suggested, with the answers appended:

Q: Why do they call the thoroughfare from the railway station to the road “Cinderella Place”?
A: Because so many young ladies, coming home from business by the evening train lose their shoes in the mud…

Q: What do you think the camera operator of a film company recently took photos of Riverstone for?
A: To get the scenery for a picture entitled ‘Venice’…

17 January 1930
The well-known Riverstone pacer, Ella Huon, which had two engagements at the Harold Park trotting meeting on Monday afternoon, got away from her stall early that morning and apparently wandered round the streets for many hours. Evidently she thought that a day round the shops would be much nicer than a hard afternoon’s work on the track. So she took the day off.

The Visocchi Family

by Clarrie Neal

Compiled by Clarrie Neal from information provided by Margaret Nelson, Mimi McLister, Alfie, Ron and Roy Visocchi, and from details gathered from a book written by Phillip McInnes.

The story of the Visocchi family in Australia began when Giuseppe ‘Joe’ Visocchi left Italy to work with his uncle in his shops in Fife, Scotland. He was to spend some 14 years in Scotland, its people having a lasting effect on him. He developed a deep affection for all things British and in later life it was often said that he was more British than the English were. As he had done in Scotland, he insisted that English be the language spoken by the family here in Australia.

Joe was born in Atina in Italy, and with his brothers became a successful businessman with several shops in Scotland. In 1919 he married Rosa Rosetti from Casalattico, and she joined him to live in the Leven area of Scotland. It was here their first six children were born, with their first son Attilio born in 1921, followed by Annie-1922, Linda-1924, Doris-1926, Ronnie-1927, and Amelia-1929, who from the day she was born was known as ‘Mimi’.

The great depression of 1928 saw Joe and his family lose everything they owned; he was bankrupted. Joe felt that with a little more cooperation from his brothers they could have saved their businesses, but it was not to be. He felt disgraced, and to get as far away as he could from his brothers, he decided to emigrate to Australia.

It was decided that he would travel alone to Australia with the family to follow later. Joe found life in Australia during the depression was just as tough as in Scotland and had to travel to outback Queensland as a timber cutter to get money to send back home to the family.

In September 1929 the family left England on the Orontes bound for Australia. The eldest son Attilio, eight years old, recalled how the ship called in at Naples and they had the opportunity to see their grandparents for the first time. It was an exciting time as the grandparents came on board, but he could not understand why this young girl who came on board with the grandparents just wanted to play with him. Like most young boys he did everything possible to avoid her. It was to be much later in life that he realised that this girl was his sister Anna, and that she had been sent as a young child to live with the grandparents in Italy, a common practice with Italian families in those days to maintain close family ties. Attilio was to write later just how much this episode pained his conscience, that he had shunned her and behaved so badly. Many years later when she came out to Australia to live, he was so pleased to be able to apologise for his behaviour.

When the ship finally arrived in Sydney, Joe was a very happy man as he welcomed his family and he was able to hold his daughter Mimi whom he had never seen.

Joe had arranged accommodation for the family in Woolloomooloo, but having great difficulty getting work, he set up a hand pushed cart, selling home made ice cream. The family soon found that life in the inner city was not for them, and decided to move out into the country. All the family’s belongings were loaded onto a Model Ford, and with Rosa and the two youngest children on board, set off for Schofields.

Joe and the three eldest children travelled by train, then walked from the station to their new home at Meadowlands Estate, better known as ‘Cow Flat’. After a few years of struggling to make enough to live on from his ice cream cart, Joe decided he would buy his own block of land on Carnarvon Road, and build himself a new home and a new brick factory to make the ice cream.

In 1933 the land was cleared of the bush, a shack was put up with walls of tin and hessian bags, the family living under these conditions while their home was being built. Their home was built with much help from their neighbours, Mr Cassels and Mr Roach.

Joe’s ice cream runs took him to Riverstone, Richmond, Windsor, Rooty Hill, Plumpton, Berkshire Park, Marsden Park, Oakville, Scheyville, Maraylya, Cattai and Maroota. After using a trumpet for several years, he then used a cow bell to alert the neighbourhood he was in the area, the sound of the bell sending many a child scurrying off to their Mum or Dad to get a penny for an ice cream.

From the cart he sold any surplus vegetables from the family garden, and also bottles of Noons soft drinks. In those days all soft drink bottles had a deposit, Joe accepting the bottles as payment for an ice cream. He often arrived home loaded with bottles, with barely enough room to sit in the cart.
Sometimes he would not return home until 10.00 pm, and Rosa and the older children would have to help unload the cart, clean up and pack things away.

It was also at this time the family grew with the birth of Alfred in 1934, Harold in 1936, Roy in 1937, Margaret in 1939 and the youngest son John in 1941, making a total of 11 children.

All the children had their chores to do, bringing in the horses and cows that, as the area was mostly unfenced, roamed freely all over the district. Then there was milking the cows, feeding the pigs, chopping firewood, helping their mother with the washing and ironing and in the vegetable garden which now extended over two acres.

Mimi recalled times when her father would pin a lot of money to the inside of her coat pocket and ask her to go and bank it. The nearest bank was at Windsor so she would catch the train, but if she was running late coming home and missed it, there wouldn’t be another one for three hours, so she would walk the train tracks home. Margaret remembered when the family had the only telephone in the area, the neighbours would come to use the phone, or the children would deliver urgent messages to their neighbours.

Although times were hard the family knew how to enjoy themselves, with their impromptu concerts involving all the family, including Joe with his bagpipes. The family owned an Italian made pump organ that is now an exhibit at the Riverstone museum.

The Visocchi children all have fond memories of their schooldays, playing with children from the Roach, Cassel, Sullivan and Jocelyn families. All the Visocchi children attended Schofields Public School, the name Visocchi appearing on the school rolls for more than 50 years.

In the 1940s Joe had a new cart built by Harry Williams the blacksmith in Riverstone, and had a sign built over the factory that read ‘Visocchi and Sons, Ice Cream’. Although each of the boys started out in the ice cream business, none were to carry on, a source of disappointment for Joe.

Joe continued to buy blocks of land in the Carnarvon Road area as they became available, and was able to give each of his 11 children a block of land for their own use.
Of all the children only the first born was given an Italian name – Attilio. The remaining ten were all given English names, evidence of Joe’s fondness of the Scottish people and their traditions.

So that he could join the Australian Army in the 1939 World War, Attilio changed his name to Phillip McInnes, as he believed the name Attilio Visocchi would make it very difficult for him to enlist, particularly with Italy siding with Germany. Attilio, now Phillip, was to do Australia proud with his Army service, serving in the Middle East, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, New Guinea, Borneo, then with the Special K force in the Korean war, and again in the Vietnam war in the 1960s.

Joe Visocchi died in 1974 and was buried in the Riverstone cemetery, alongside his wife Rosa, who had passed away in 1953 at the age of 54.

The Visocchi families, whether be it from their Italian ancestry, their years in Scotland, their religion, Joe and Rosa’s ethos on hard work, or the families’ togetherness, can feel justifiably proud that they have all become good Australian families.

Making ice cream
as told by Roy Visocchi

‘Tidlio’ Visocchi bought all the dry ingredients from Charlie Knight’s store in Riverstone, and in later years from Wally Wood when he owned the store. The ice used was packed in hessian bags with sawdust and delivered twice weekly from Blacktown to Schofields on the afternoon train. The children would drive the horse and cart to the station to collect the ice. There would be three or four blocks of ice, each measuring 1 metre x 500 mm x 150 mm.

The mixing of the ingredients was done in a steel cylinder, 230 mm diameter and 900 mm deep. This cylinder was placed in a much larger wooden cask that was lined with ice and sprinkled with salt, the salt lowering the freezing point temperature.

The dry ingredients were mixed in the cylinder with boiled sterilised milk and stirred to a smooth mix. As the mixture froze against the cylinder wall, a small spade was used to pare the frozen mix from the wall to the centre of the cylinder and the process continually repeated for more than an hour till all the mix was frozen. The steel cylinder was transferred from this cask to another cask in the cart that was pre-packed with salt and ice, thus keeping the mixture frozen throughout the day while it was being delivered.

The recipe for ‘Tidlio’ Visocchi’s ice cream has passed on with him, but there are still stores in Scotland today with signs that advertise for sale ‘Visocchi’s Ice Cream’.

Making salami

The family made their own salami, a rarity in those days but today a very popular smallgoods product. They farmed their own pigs, and when one was ready a neighbour was engaged for the slaughtering. It was always a week-end job as all the children were required to help.

After slaughter the pig was laid out on a sheet on the ground and covered with hessian bags that had been boiled in a 44 gallon drum on a nearby fire. The hot bags were continually changed to soften the bristles; when soft enough it was the children’s job to remove the bristles using jam tin lids as scuds. The intestines were removed and cleaned in a tub to be used as the sausage casings.

After the carcase was cleaned, the fat was removed and placed in kerosene tins to be boiled down for lard. The carcase meat was removed, cut up and minced in a hand mincer, and then mixed with all the herbs, mint, oregano, garlic etc. Using a funnel this mixture was then forced into the sausage casings and the ends tied.

The salami sausages were then hung in a small smoke house in the back yard and smoked for up to two weeks. Several cured salami sausages were then pushed into the lard in a kerosene tin where they could be kept for several months and used as required.

Roy also remembered how his mother loved to cook with olive oil; that the only place where it could be purchased was from the chemist, and how expensive it was. How the times have changed, today it is cheap, sold in every shop and supermarket, and used in every household in Australia.

Other memories
as told by Ron Visocchi

Ron Visocchi’s first memory of life in Australia was of how excited the family were when they arrived here from Scotland, having not seen their father for more than 18 months.

He recalled his father not being content to use a bell like the other ice cream vendors. He used an old Army bugle that not only attracted the attention of all the children, but could also frighten many of the animals in the nearby paddocks of Cow Flat. He said the bugle was a popular talking point for the locals and is still fondly remembered today.

When the family moved to Carnarvon Road they lived in a shed and a bag walled shack while their house was built. The shed in later years was used by Joe to make and store his home brew, a popular pastime for many families in the war years as the hotels would only open at 4.00 pm and closed at 6.00 pm. Ron recalled it was dangerous to enter the shed at these times, and one night hearing several bottles explode.

Joe decided to start a vineyard and make his own wine. Word soon got around the area that Joe was bottling the wine, Ron recalling some of the locals often coming across the creek after being turned out of the hotel at 6.00 pm to get their bottle of wine on their way home. They thought it was great, but Ron said it was awful and described it as a purple sludge. Ron said years later when he worked at the Meatworks he was often jokingly referred to as the son of a bootlegger.

He remembered several of the horses that Joe used to pull his cart around the district, all plodders that did the job and were responsible for many humorous, though sometimes unpleasant experiences. When his first horse looked liked dying, Joe discussed his options with his neighbours, who suggested a good clean out with Epsom salts and castor oil, after all it was successful on the children. Of course a much larger dosage was required so the mixture was prepared in a beer bottle and poured down the horse’s throat. The treatment proved successful, the horse after passing a lot of wind and much liquid manure, fully recovered and saved Joe the expense of buying another horse.

Another horse known as Jimmy was renowned for his reluctance to venture out with the cart, but when turned for home would run all the way, knowing there would be a meal waiting for him. One night coming home through the Vineyard bush Jimmy collided with a tree and overturned the cart. Joe, though badly shaken was unhurt and able to walk the horse home, returning with the family next day to retrieve the cart with its bent posts and dangling roof.

Another story concerned the grey horse, old and reliable and a real plodder, until the day a swarm of bees landed on the cart. The grey galloped all the way home along the Richmond Road from Berkshire Park to Carnarvon Road, Joe becoming very excited as he related the day’s events to his family at home.

Ron also recalled the standard answer Joe gave when asked why he had so many children “stock is better than money”. Another incident was the day a member of parliament was to make a speech in Riverstone and to rally the locals Joe was invited wear his kilt to play the bagpipes, accompanied by Pop Roach on his drum – a memorable day.

The Boy Scout Movement in Riverstone Part 1

by Ernie Byrnes

The Boy Scout movement was founded in Great Britain in 1908 by Lieutenant General Robert S.S. [later Lord] Baden-Powell who had written a book called “Scouting for Boys” (1908). Baden-Powell’s book described many games and contests that he used to train cavalry troops in scouting, this book became popular reading among boys of Great Britain. The symbols of the Boy Scouts include the handshake with the left hand, the Fleur-de-lis badge and their motto “Be Prepared”.

Since 1920 international scout meetings or “World Jamborees” have been held every four years. These are gatherings of thousands of scouts representing their countries and camping together in friendship. In 1916 Baden-Powell founded an organization for younger boys called the “Wolf Cubs” also known as Cub Scouts.

In 1921 the first Boy Scout movement in Riverstone was founded by the minister at St. Paul’s Church of England, the Reverend A.W. Setchell. The Windsor and Richmond Gazette provided information about the scout movement over the years. Many of these references are included below:-

Friday July 1, 1921: A local Corps of the New South Wales Boy Scouts is in progress of formation. The objects of the movement are so laudable that it should receive support. The only recorded scouts under Rev. Setchell are—Harry Vidler, B. Rosa, John McDonald, S. Allen, Allan Setchell [minister’s son], Fred Rumery, D. Kirwan, Eric Allen, Tom Wall, Keith McDonald.

Friday November 4, 1921: The concert being organised by the Riverstone troop of Boy Scouts to be held in the Oddfellows Hall on Friday November 11th promises to be a big success. It will be unique in the fact that the whole of the performers will be scouts, the local troop have been fortunate in securing the assistance of such well known scouts as the choir boys of St. Andrew’s Cathedral and the St. Jude’s Randwick. The former are giving exhibitions of semaphore signaling and tent pitching plus 5 or 6 vocal items, the latter are giving exhibitions of Ju Jitsu wrestling, Morse signaling and are accompanied by scout Jock McDonald, a fine Scotch singer. The local lads will give a first aid demonstration, physical exercises and render an Indian sketch called “Pocahontas”; the proceeds are to be devoted to the equipment fund of Riverstone Troop.

November 18, 1921: A batch of about 20 young scouts, boys of between 12 and 15 years of age, arrived in Riverstone on Friday and gave a pleasant entertainment in the Oddfellows Hall that evening in aid of the movement in this district. An excellent program was put forward to a large audience and the financial result was very satisfactory. The scouts camped in Riverstone on the Friday night and the good ladies of the town gave them breakfast and dinner on the Saturday, and the party left by the afternoon train.

Friday April 7, 1922: The local Scoutmaster, Reverend A.W. Setchell has suggested to his troop that they should go into camp at his holiday site at Austinmer during Easter. About 20 of the local lads will be able to avail themselves of the invitation.

Friday August 1923: On Wednesday August 23rd the 1st Riverstone Boy Scouts tendered their Scoutmaster, Rev. A.W. Setchell and fellow scout Allan Setchell a farewell evening prior to their departure for Tasmania. During the evening the gifts, a handsome umbrella, suitable inscribed to Mr Setchell and a Gladstone bag to Master Setchell were presented. Both presents were fully appreciated by the recipients, who had received a good surprise. Mr Setchell in thanking the boys for their useful gifts, stated it was his sincere desire that a suitable and capable Scoutmaster would replace him, as he regarded the scout movement as essential in a boy’s life as it made him look for the higher ideals in life, and it should be one that should receive the heartiest support of the public.

Master Setchell also suitably responded. The scout musician then struck up “for they are jolly good fellows”, in which the whole troop joined, all present did full justice to the refreshments provided, and later took part in various games until 10.45pm saw the termination of a most enjoyable evening. The troop are now eagerly awaiting the opportunity of a final outing with their Scoutmaster and fellow scout on Saturday next, they echo the sentiments of the whole district when they wish their Scoutmaster and family a most prosperous and enjoyable future.

With the departure from Riverstone of Rev. Setchell in 1923 there are no records that I can find to verify who carried on the scouts, if any, it appears that they did not continue much longer. There is no mention of scouts from 1923 until July 1929.

During 1929 the minister at St. Paul’s church was Reverend W.J. Owens and it appears that he was responsible for the revival of the boy scouts when he came to Riverstone.

Extracts from the Windsor-Richmond Gazette of 1929 continue the story…

Friday July 12, 1929: The 1st Riverstone Troop of Baden-Powell Scouts has been in progress for about three months under Scoutmaster W.J. Owens. The troop has a membership of 15.

Friday November 15, 1929: Movement well established… Successful Social… After a lapse of some years the Riverstone Boy Scouts was revived in April last, with the Rev. W.J. Owens as Scoutmaster. The churchwardens and committee of St. Paul’s kindly granted the use of the Sunday School Hall for the use of the established troop, officially known as the First Riverstone Troop, doubtless with the opinion at headquarters that a “second” Riverstone Troop would be formed in due course. Work has been regularly carried on each Friday evening and on alternate Saturdays, and now the troop consists of seventeen who have passed the Tenderfoot’s test. Of these, six have also passed for a Second-Class scout.

Organised in three patrols- the ‘Doves’ under Patrol-Leader T. Beazley, the ‘Kangaroos’ under Patrol-Leader A. Moore, and the ‘Curlews’ under Patrol-Leader K. Robshaw, with G. Andrews as Troop Leader, much good work has been done. A small detachment will go to Lake Illawarra to take part in the great corroboree for the New South Wales scouts starting on December 27, at which the Governor General and Chief Scout for the Commonwealth will be present, but the troop as a whole will go into camp for a week early in the New Year at Wentworth Falls.

The following are just a few examples from the Windsor and Richmond Gazette of the many activities performed by the Riverstone scouts at this time.

Friday September 19, 1930: Splendid Progress: The Riverstone Boy Scouts held their second annual social in the Olympia Hall, Riverstone on Friday, August 29. Close on 300 of the townspeople, young and old met for the occasion.

Four scouts under Troop-Leader Andrews had attended the great New Year’s Corroboree at Lake Illawarra, and twelve scouts under Scoutmaster Owens, assisted by Acting Troopleader Moore, had gone into a troop camp for eight days in January at Wentworth Falls. The thanks of all Riverstone scouts are most heartily given to their honorary examiners – Dr Rich for Ambulance, Horseman and Friend to Animals. Major F.W.D. McClean for Marksman. Mr. T.B. Davis for Pathfinder, and Sister Barnes for Missionary. The following have also given consent to serve: – Mr. W. Vaughan for Carpenter and Handyman. And Mr. O. Robbins for Athlete.

Friday May 6, 1932: Hawkesbury District Association. On the 28th April a meeting was held at Windsor to form a Provisional Hawkesbury District Association, to embrace troops already existing in the Hawkesbury and to include such troops as may be formed in the future. Troops in existence are at Riverstone, Richmond, Wilberforce and Windsor. Commissioner Mc Allister, Commissioner for the Unattached area addressed the meeting. [The above scout troops were before under the Blue Mountains District]. Rev. Owens and Dr. Rich were elected as two of the Vice Presidents.

Sunday April 13, 1933: Scouts and Cubs under Scoutmaster Phillipson and Beasley attended the Anzac service at Riverstone. They added to the length of the procession, which halted at the monument and was drawn up in two ranks with the Scouts and Cubs on the right flank. I am not sure what transpired at this time, Rev. Owens was still at Riverstone until the end of 1934. There is no record of him handing over the Scouts to the two above.

Friday December 7, 1934: Ten Hawkesbury Boy Scouts are to attend the Centenary Jamboree, eight from Windsor, two from Riverstone. On Boxing Day 26 December, a party of ten Boy Scouts will proceed to Sydney to join one of the special trains which will convey the New South Wales contingent to the International Boy Scout Rally in Melbourne. Over 2,000 from New South Wales will be in Melbourne for the jamboree which will be attended by the Chief Scout, Lord Baden-Powell. Prior to their departure it is suggested that the Mayor should tender them a civic Farewell. During their absence from New South Wales the boys will be in a canvas city where all languages will be spoken, all creeds honored and neither color bars, nor international boundaries exist.

During Rev. Owen’s farewell report in the Riverstone Church of England October 1934 magazine he mentioned “the scouts and cubs who know I really love them when I growl at them.”. During Rev. Owens stint as scoutmaster the scouts flourished and had a busy time and they were a very active group. Rev. Owens left the district at the end of 1934.

I cannot find any reports of scout involvement from 1934 until 1940. It also appears that the scouts in other nearby towns also dissolved around this time. Windsor and Ebenezer scouts reformed during early 1940, before Riverstone. Again the Windsor and Richmond Gazette contained references to the scouts.

March 15, 1940: Under Scout News. It is hoped to form a troop at Riverstone in near future. Mr. V. Rowland is the District Commissioner.

July 12, 1940: During the past week a 1st Riverstone Scout Troop and Cub Pack have been formed. The troop is under the leadership of Mr Jim Laughton once a scout in Riverstone and later an Assistant Scoutmaster at Windsor. Mr Roy Turnbull of Box Hill has taken the position of Assistant Scoutmaster. The Cub Pack is under Mrs M. Rowland. The lads are keen and enthusiastic and a
good troop and pack are assured.

Jim Laughton lived in Riverstone Road and had a run down poultry farm with some old chook sheds in poor state. While we were meeting there one of our regular jobs was to clean and repair each shed. We whitewashed four of these for our own use, one for each patrol, however after we got them repaired and whitewashed we suddenly left his premises. This was our first meeting place. It was during this time that I along with many other boys in Riverstone joined the scout movement.

One of the first things all scouts relished was to obtain the scout uniform. We had to go to the scout shop at Parramatta to get all the necessary gear. The hat when bought was not formed into the peak style required, to obtain this the hat crown had to be soaked for a considerable time to soften, then shaped and held in this position by four clothes pegs until the hat dried, it then retained this shape. Our scarf colour was Light Blue with a Grey border.

The scout uniform during my time as a scout comprised of khaki hat with leather band, khaki shirt, scarf with a woggle. Over the scarf we wore a white lanyard with a whistle attached. We wore navy blue shorts with a leather belt with the scout emblem buckle. On the belt we wore a small leather pouch, and, if lucky a sheath knife. We also wore long socks with green garter tabs  showing on the outside, and black shoes. On the left shirt shoulder each scout wore the Shoulder Knot, six inches long. This was the colours of his patrol. I belonged to the ‘Kangaroo Patrol’. This colour was red on the outside and grey inside. On the right sleeve, high up was the Group Name Badge. Proficiency Badges [of which there were many] were worn on your shirt sleeves.

January 1941: Scouts worldwide mourn the loss of their Chief Scout Lord Baden-Powell. A memorial service will be held for World Chief Scout Lord Baden-Powell in the Windsor Park, Sunday January 1941 at 3.30 p.m. District Scouts and Cubs will be in attendance. (The Riverstone scouts attended.)

When Scoutmaster Laughton decided to leave the scouts Mr Roy Turnbull took over as our Scoutmaster. The scouts then met for a while in an old slab shed on Mr Davis’s property in Market Street [opposite to where the  swimming pool is]. We also used the shed that used to be behind the Masonic building. Quite often we would ride our bikes out to Mr Turnbull’s property at Box Hill. It was here that we would pass many of our proficiency badge tests.

After a big flood in the Hawkesbury River a letter appeared in the February 8, 1950 issue of the local gazette paper stating that the Boy Scout movement in the district would be beneficial in sending messages from one side of the river to the other during big floods when the river could not be crossed. The letter indicated that as the scouts were instructed in Semaphore [signals using two
flags] and Morse Code they would be a big help, how about it boys. [This appeared to be a challenge.]

In response to this letter the Acting District Commissioner for scouts A. Morrison replied that all scouts under the Hawkesbury District [which Riverstone was a part of] would be used in any emergencies including floods. He indicated that scouts could send messages by day using flags, and send Morse Code during the dark hours using a morse light. He states that senior scouts are well versed in these procedures.

We did not at the time have our own camping equipment. I can remember one trip going to the large Scouting area at Pennant Hills. Here, during Saturday night, some scouts from Parramatta let down our borrowed tents causing some merriment.

Another place visited was the Y.M.C.A. [Young Men’s Christian Association] grounds on the Grose River. To get there we caught the steam train to Richmond and then walked out to the area which is about 5km.

During World War 2 scouts who had a push bike were used as what was called ‘Runners’. We could be used for conveying messages from one place to another. We had to attend certain meetings to be told our duties.

We also collected aluminium (mainly old cooking utensils) and anything that was required for the war effort; for this we used our billycarts to go from house to house.

Windsor and Richmond Gazette of April 8, 1942: The scouts were up bright and early with their billycarts and a motor lorry at their disposal for the collection of rubber, and by the look of the collection they accumulated for the day they deserve a pat on the back for their marvellous effort.

One vivid trip I remember was when some of the scouts went into Sydney to view one of the four Japanese Midget Submarines that had enter Sydney Harbour and was depth charged and salvaged, it was later put on display at Circular Quay. Souvenirs off the sub were sold to the public. This occurred May 31, 1942.

During 1943 the Red Cross appreciated the assistance of the local scouts headed by their Scoutmaster Mr Roy Turnbull in gathering reeds from dams and Eastern Creek. These were dried and given to the Red Cross, who distributed them to military hospitals for our wounded soldiers. The reeds were used in teaching basket weaving as a means of helping them to rehabilitate.

Our scout group came to an end when Roy Turnbull decided to leave. As we did not have an Assistant Scoutmaster to take over, our troop folded and ceased to meet, this was about 1944-45.

I have always been a scout at heart and I decided to try and revive the scout movement in Riverstone. I started late in 1949. I had very good response from the boys and soon had enough, so I approached the R.S.L. to get permission to hold our meetings in their building which was at the time an old army hut. I was granted permission and we were away. We soon had enough boys to form into four patrols, namely Kangaroo, Wallaby, Dingo and Koala.

Like our last troop we did not have our own camping gear. I suppose money at this time was scarce. I mainly stayed with teaching the lads all about scouts and getting the boys to pass their different proficiency tests. We did go on a lot of short trips and attended the march on Anzac Days that usually started near the Presbyterian Church, went down the main street and ended at the

The reports in the Windsor and Richmond Gazette continued…

October 1, 1949. Field Day for Boy Scouts. Scouts from Riverstone, Windsor, Richmond, Wilberforce and Vineyard troops descended upon Rifle Range Road at South Windsor which was the scene of great Scouting activity. Truck loads of Scouts and Cubs arrived for a real field day.

Many scouts went through their Tenderfoot investiture ceremony and were presented with their Tenderfoot Badge and their Patrol Knots. There were varied activities during the day.

October 7, 1949: A meeting was held at Windsor to form a Hawkesbury District Association of the Boy Scouts Association to foster the Scout movement in the district. Prominent members of the association attended in force [too many to list here]. Mr W. Marchant the Area Commissioner for
the Western Metropolitan area stated that our district had 170 scouts.

November 1949: The Phillip Festival. Inspection of Guard of Honor.
His Excellency Lieut. General J. Northcott. Governor of N.S.W. refused to abandon his inspection of the Guard of Honor and in pouring rain, moved through the ranks of Boy Scouts and Wolf Cubs, who manfully stood to attention through the ceremony. Altogether 240 members of district Boy Scouts and Wolf Cubs were in attendance.

December 7, 1949: The local Scouts and Cubs attended the ceremony for the presentation and unveiling of the Honor Roll for the 1939 – 45 World War 2.

After completing the necessary items I was granted my Scoutmaster certificate in 1951. Again with no Assistant Scoutmaster to carry on I reluctantly during 1951, due to unforeseen circumstances, had to bring to a close something I held dear. I did not look forward to what I had to do. This brought to an end another chapter in the Scouting movement in Riverstone.

At present I am compiling the complete history of the scout movement in Riverstone for the Riverstone Historical Society. I would appreciate any input to the scout movement however small, especially old photos.
E.B. 02 9627 1846.

The ‘Riverstone Rubies’ Rugby League Team

by Rosemary Phillis

A legendary name in the sporting history of Riverstone is the ‘Riverstone Rubies’ football team. This all girl rugby league team was formed in 1956 by Helen Liepa (nee Wheeler) to raise money for the Blacktown Ambulance Fund. The Rubies played two fiercely contested matches against the ‘Belles of St Marys’ another female football team.

Some of the girls who played were Helen Liepa (nee Wheeler), Dawn Cartwright, Shirley, Betty and Jean Roots, Dotty Robbins, Phyllis White, Enid Ryan, Fay Mulford, Jean White, Maureen Baldwin, June Martin, ‘Googy’ White and Gwen Stephens. Lorraine Forbes (nee Wilkins) was the ball girl.

Helen convinced the girls to take part, all were about eighteen or nineteen. The games were taken seriously and they trained hard for them. Each girl played a specific position and knew what her role was. Dawn Cartwright (nee O’Brien) recalls that she played in the front row. The matches were twenty minutes each half and the referee was an official from one of the Football Clubs.

The matches were very popular, all the St Marys and Riverstone locals came to watch as well as people from the surrounding district. According to Helen the male footballers were behind the team all the way, especially in the second match.

The girls travelled to St Marys to play the first match and when they got there they found that the St Marys team was all properly fitted out in jumpers and shorts. The Rubies were wearing whatever they had, some girls had no shoes, some wore shorts, some peddle pushers. There was a massive crowd there to watch and they ended up being beaten by three points.

A return game was organised and to try and improve their chances of winning the Rubies organised Brian Woods to coach them. This time they were well dressed for the game, borrowing football jumpers from the men. Once again however the Rubies were beaten. The match was covered in the St Marys’ paper the Weekend on 9 June 1956. The Belles won 8-0.

There was always a bit of rivalry between Riverstone and St Marys and Helen recalls that a couple of the St Marys girls actually lived in Riverstone and they meant business when they played. Two of the Rubies girls ended up injured, Maureen Baldwin with a broken collar bone and ‘Googy’ White with a broken arm!

St Marys contacted Cinetone about the fundraising event and they brought their cameras out and filmed one of the matches which was later played as a short before the movies at cinemas.

(My thanks to Helen Liepa (nee Wheeler) and Dawn Cartwright (nee O’Brien) for their assistance with this article.)

Stock Trains and Steam Trains

by Heather Smith

In 1951 at the age of 17 years my husband Kevin Phillip Smith commenced employment at the Riverstone Railway station as a Junior Porter. His duties were to sell and collect the tickets, attend to the parcel office, clean the waiting room, secure passenger’s bicycles on the station, fill the kerosene lanterns on the signal poles and open and shut the gates at the crossing. The station was fully manned twenty four hours a day, seven days a week by a staff comprising Station Master Jim Howes, Assistant Station Master Frank Coates, Shunter Frank Toole, Porter Neville Wiggins, Junior Porter Kevin Smith, Clerical Officer Charlie Egan and Relieving Station Master Frank Jeffries.

In the 1950s Riverstone was a thriving town which existed around the Meatworks. If the Meatworks was the heart of Riverstone the railway was its life blood – hundreds of head of livestock were brought in by the goods trains. Massive steam engines hauling 65 trucks which shunted back and forth in the night.

From Riverstone Railway station the trains diverged into five lines running into Richards siding (the Meatworks) and for three hours the steam engine hauled the full trucks down to the cattle yards situated behind the textile factory and up under the skin shed where the sheep were unloaded and penned up ready for the next morning’s kill. The empty trucks were then re-assembled back onto the main line for the return journey to Sydney.

The skilful manoeuvring of this complicated procedure was known as shunting and was the responsibility of the Shunter, Frank Toole. Frank joined the NSW Government Railways in 1941 at 18 years of age. He commenced as a Porter at Shoalhaven and then came to Blacktown where he did a course in shunting while working as a Porter. He then trained as a Signal man and relieved at Rooty Hill, Kurrajong, Richmond, Windsor and Riverstone. He married a Kurrajong girl Violet Simmons in 1946 and settled in Windsor. In 1948 he was appointed to the permanent position of Shunter at Riverstone Railway station a position he held for 27 years, before moving onto Richmond station where he remained as Station Master until his retirement in September, 1985.

The longest livestock train ever to pass through Riverstone comprised 85 trucks and two brake vans. The engines were P class 32 (engine capacity) and 58. Frank remembers the Railways experimenting with a 59 engine, however it was so wide that it scraped the sides of the platform and was taken off the run.

Some nights up to 25 trucks of horses consigned to Burns’ Knackery would be unloaded onto the main Riverstone platform and herded into yards where the car park is now located adjacent to the railway station. Stockmen drove them up Garfield Road to the knackery paddocks at Rouse Hill. The stockmen from the knackery controlled the horses with electric prodders, however it was not unusual for horses to break away from the mob and gallop off in different directions around the streets of Riverstone. Worse still they could fall between the platform and the vans and have to be pulled up by ropes or injure themselves so badly that the local Police Officer Charlie Crawford was called to put the poor beast out of its misery.

The average freight bill incurred by Riverstone Meat was 150,000 pounds per month ($300,000.00). Invoicing and payment was handled by Frank Toole. At the beginning of each month the Meatworks would forward to Riverstone railway office a cheque for 30,000 pounds, this was duly banked and entered into a large ledger. As each goods train was unloaded the costs were entered into the ledger; when the credit side of the ledger was hovering at three to four thousand pounds Frank would attend the office of the Meatworks Manager Mr. Leeson and he would be presented with another cheque for 30,000 pounds. The freight transaction continued in this manner each month.

Frank reported to work each afternoon at 2.00pm and spent the next two hours until 4.00pm balancing the freight account and once the manifest arrived from Sydney he would notify the Meatworks Head Stockmen, Syd. ‘Squeaker’ Strachan (cattle) and Ted Follet (sheep) who then organised the stock men and their dogs for the night. Bert Wheeler, Barry Strachan and Georgie Cafe were a few that Frank and Kevin could remember.

When the fully loaded livestock train arrived the skilful juggling of unloading and shunting commenced. One wrong move would create chaos on the five lines into the Works. Guiding their movements was Frank who sometimes rode in the guards van or hooked himself onto the outside step of the steam engine, jumping down into the tracks with his own ‘key’ which diverted the points guiding the trucks into position for unloading by the stockmen and then shunted onto sidelines to be picked up by the engine as it passed by them again.

Meanwhile as the stock unloading continued, Frank was also responsible for the dispatch of the meat train which had to steam out of Richards Siding promptly at 9.20pm each night. Gordon Minturn supervised the night loading of fresh meat (beef and lamb) from the days kill from the chillers at the front of the Meatworks onto MRC and TRC refrigerated vans for delivery to various meat depots at Hay Street Sydney, St Leonards, Hornsby, Wollongong, Granville, Kogarah and Liverpool ready for early morning trading by the butchers when they came into their respective depots to purchase the days supply of fresh meat for their shops.

The main labour force for the Works was drawn from the town; as well an influx of workers arrived by train each morning especially those who hoped to obtain a days work ‘on the gate’. These casual workers were selected by the Industrial Officer Peter Grealey assisted by a young Dennis Graham, and the number of casual labourers selected depended on the size of the kill anticipated for that day.

Unfortunately there was not a great call for skilled female office workers at the Works so most young women travelled out of town to work further down the line as secretaries and shop assistants. My mother said that she could always tell the time by the sound of the train whistle.

If my memory serves me correctly firstly the ten past seven to Central was packed with office workers destined to Town Hall and Wynyard. The ten past eight carried the Parramatta workers and students to high schools in Homebush, Parramatta and Blacktown. The ten to nine was the ‘shoppers special’ excursion train. The returning passengers usually commenced with the half past four, then the twenty past five, the ten past six and finally the ten to seven saw everyone safely home and preparing for the next day’s exodus.

With only a single line from Blacktown to Richmond and double lines at Quakers Hill, Riverstone, Mulgrave and Richmond stations, safe progression along the line was secured by a metal ‘staff’ which guaranteed ‘right of way’ along the line. Carried by the engine driver the ‘staff’ was exchanged at each station with an attendant.

As the train from Blacktown entered Quakers Hill station a simultaneous exchange of ‘staffs’ took place. The ‘staff’ from Blacktown was then inserted into the ‘staff clearance’ machine indicating the train from Blacktown had arrived safely. The fresh ‘staff’ was then carried on by the engine driver and the exercise was repeated again at Riverstone, Mulgrave and Richmond stations. This simple precaution ensured the safety of trains travelling in the opposite directions. The two ‘staffs’ were short metal rods. So that they could never be confused one was carried in a leather case mounted onto a cane hoop which the porter could hook onto his arm as he exchanged the other from hand to hand as the train entered the station.

The ‘staff’ worked in conjunction with the signals. The signals were worked from the signal box located on the western end of the station. A large lever operated the switch points of the rail line switching trains to the second line. The signal was another ‘right of way’. Situated a short distance from each end of the station platform was a tall wooden pole with a metal arm extending from it and lit from behind by two kerosene lanterns. When the arm was in the horizontal ‘stop’ position it allowed the red lantern mounted behind it to show and the train came to a halt. Once the line was clear and the arm dropped down allowing the green lantern to show the signal was indicating ‘go’ and the train proceeded into the station. The rail line points were controlled by a steel arm which ran from the signal box. Separate wiring controlled the arms  mounted on the signal pole however they were both controlled by the lever located in the signal box on the platform.

Livestock and passenger trains were supervised by a staff of three. The engine driver and fireman up front and the guard in the guards van at the rear of the train. Tons of coal was packed into the coal tender hooked onto the engine at the Enfield coal depot and was shovelled into the huge furnace at the front of the engine by the fireman. There was also a small coal depot at Richmond station. However there was only one water tower on the line and that was at Riverstone. Situated at the eastern end of the platform the huge square steel tank was mounted on scaffolding about 15ft above the platform. It contained approximately 50,000 gallons of water. A canvas hose 12” in
diameter was attached to a swinging steel arm which was pulled into place above the engine boiler by a chain and the boiler filled with water. Frank remembers the engine driver or fireman thought it a great joke to wait until he was walking past and then they would swing the arm across drenching him with water. Sometimes the engine on its way to Riverstone would run out of water and limp into Blacktown station. The station staff then had to run back and forth to the engine filling it up with watering cans so they could get up enough head of steam to reach the Riverstone water tank.

The trains also had a parcel van hooked onto it and many a shopkeeper waited for their goods to be unloaded each day, ice cream, newspapers, pigeons, dogs and various consignments of parcels arrived from all over the State. There was a goods’ siding at Schofields to unload goods for Williams’ Produce store, another at Mulgrave to unload straw for the mushroom growers and a third at Windsor to unload for Taylor’s Produce store.

Trains also had their role in flood time. As the waters encroached from South Creek across the Meatworks paddocks and into the houses along ‘Butcher’s Row’ formally known as Richards Avenue the vans would be positioned along the line facing them and the householders assisted by townspeople would load their furniture into the empty vans for safe keeping until the flood waters subsided.

Gradually the livestock trains were phased out and road trucks took over as the preferred method of shipment of cattle, sheep and horses. The Meatworks ceased trading and the people of Riverstone were left wondering why? Then before we realised it the steam train was leaving our station for the last time on 25th October, 1969 – motor rail and diesel snuck in and soon a steam train became a novelty.

No longer would mothers use the rolled up corner of a handkerchief to gouge cinders from their children’s eyes – no longer would the children cling to their mother’s skirts as the giant engines pulled into the station, great puffs of steam blowing up ladies’ skirts and frightening little girls – no longer would the residents of Riverstone fall asleep lulled by the crashing of the empty vans as they joined up, the impatient whistle from the engine driver demanding the railway gates be opened for them so they could be on their way – their wheels spinning on the slippery rails as they headed up the hill to Schofields and out of our lives forever.

Written by Heather Smith from information supplied by Frank Toole and Kevin Smith. June, 2003.

Riverstone Fire Brigade

by Clarrie Neal

Compiled by Clarrie Neal from information and photos provided by Len Parry, Peter Aldridge, Penrith Museum of Fire and the Windsor and Richmond Gazette.

The first Fire Brigade was formed in Riverstone in 1925 when the Fire Board asked Charles Davis, a prominent storekeeper in the town, to nominate two men suitable to form the brigade. Charles was also asked to look for suitable premises to house the brigade.

The brigade was formed with John Weaver as Captain and Harry Head as his assistant, both men being partially paid. The other six purely voluntary members were – Les Bray, Harry King, Albert Keegan, George Wiggins, M. G. Arnett, A. Rankine.

John Weaver as captain received a retainer of 32 shillings and sixpence per month, with Harry Head receiving seven shillings and sixpence per month. In 1927 John requested that the other six volunteers receive the seven shillings and sixpence retainer.

A horse drawn turbine appliance, No. 69, was transferred from Richmond to become the brigade’s first unit. It is not certain where the unit was first housed, but a Mr J. Andrews received five shillings a week for the lease of the shed. Records at the Penrith Museum of Fire show the Fire Board strongly objected to placards being placed on the walls of the shed by a Mr Harper, advertising the then current shows at his Riverstone Picture Hall.

Len Parry believes the shed was between the railway station and Taylor’s produce store. A report in 1925 states ‘the building is very old and does not provide good housing for the appliance, or sufficient comfort to encourage members to attend of an evening’, also that planks were to be laid on the dirt floor.

Len, now aged 86, recalled as a young lad going with his father Bert Parry to this shed and sitting there by the light of a hurricane lamp. Each volunteer fighter had to spend one night each week from 7.00 pm to 10.00 pm, signing the book and maintaining equipment.

A large bell, similar to a church bell, was used to call the volunteers to the outbreak of fire. Len also recalled other members being wary of John Weaver as he often advanced the spark timing so that whoever started the pump would receive a kick.

It is believed that the same horse used at the sawmill was used to pull the brigade cart. Len also recalls a truck owned by Jess Goodwin often towed the cart, and an attached report shows a vehicle owned by Lyle Rosenthall towed the cart to a fire on the 4th March,1928. Another report in 1926 shows Les Bray suffered a badly damaged foot when the turbine engine ran over his foot as it was returning from drill.

Fire-fighting equipment in those days was very basic; a cart that carried hoses and a small hand started pump. With no reticulated water supply in the town, the pump was used to draw the water from the nearest creek, dam or well. Sometimes for fighting bush fires the only equipment available was a green tree branch or a wet bag.

On the 4th September 1931, No. 98 motor engine, a solid rubber tyred Garford Hale appliance, was installed at the Riverstone Fire Station. Records show that at this time a new brick fire station 32 ft x 12 ft, with a galvanised iron roof was built for the Fire Board on land leased from Taylor’s produce store for 10 shillings per week.

This time the land was on the northern side of the store, between Riverstone Parade and the railway line and the building was to serve Riverstone until 1972. In the 1950s a siren was installed to replace the old fire bell.

The brigade’s first Captain J. W. Weaver resigned on the 31st August 1930 and was replaced by Harry Head who held the position until the 18th August 1936, resigning after completing 10 years service. The brigade in 1931 was:-

Harry Head – Captain and Engine keeper, Harry King, Bert Parry, Herb Freeman, A. L. Aberley, Arthur Wells, W. Doolan, Cecil Gibbs.

Long serving volunteers in this period were:-

Albert Keegan 1925 – 28
Les Bray 1925 – 29
Herb Freeman 1928 – 46
Arthur Wells 1929 – 51
A.L. Aberley 1929 – 35
Bill Doolan 1930 – 31
Cecil Gibbs 1930 – 42
Joe Fitzgerald 1931 – 38
G. Saxby 1935 – 37

It appears that the No. 98 unit was replaced with another Garford Hale unit No.154 in 1935. In 1937 a telephone fire alarm was installed in Railway Terrace, opposite St Albans Road, Schofields with a direct line to the Riverstone Fire station. A Garford Hale unit No.131 served the area in the 1940s.

Bert Parry who had joined the Riverstone brigade on the 1st March 1927, took over the captaincy from Harry Head on the18th August 1936. He continued to serve in this position until 1965, a total of 28 years as the captain. As the longest serving volunteer fireman in the history of the town’s brigade, Bert was honoured for these 38 years of service with a plaque inscribed on the bell located at the new Fire Station when it was opened in 1972 on the corner of Church Street and Riverstone Parade. Bert’s son Len Parry, joined the brigade on the 1st October 1936 and also received a long service medal for his 20 years service.

Henry Cooke became a volunteer fireman in 1937. In 1943 on his way to answer a fire call he was riding his bike down Garfield Road and when cutting the corner into Riverstone Parade he collided with the fire engine on its way to the fire. Henry suffered nasty injuries in the collision, including a fractured skull, dislocated shoulder, fractured left wrist and lacerations to the left leg.

Another unfortunate incident occurred on Christmas Eve 1950. Harry King, one of the town’s original volunteer firemen, failed to return home after a fire call to the Meatworks. At 3.00 am his wife went to the Meatworks to inquire of his whereabouts, a subsequent search finding Harry lying in the grass near the fire station. He was conveyed by ambulance to the Parramatta Hospital where he died later in the morning from a cerebral haemorrhage.

Other long serving volunteers who served with Bert over the years included:-

Henry Cooke 1937 – 43
Hilton Platt 1938 – 40
Les Alderton 1942 – 46
Hector Magennis 1944 – 51
Neville Alcorn 1946 – 71
Morrie Haylor 1946 – 65
D. Wills 1948 – 50
Jim Andrews 1951 – 55
Eric Gunton 1951 – 66
Neville McGaughey 1951 – 61
Reg Anderson 1960 – 66

In 1972 when the new Fire Station was built, Stockmans resumed using the old brigade building to store baled hay. In 1975 this hay combusted and the resultant fire caused the building’s walls to collapse and it had to be demolished.

When Bert retired in 1965 his son-in-law Neville Alcorn became the brigade captain. Neville had joined the brigade in 1946 and he retired in 1971, a total of 25 years service for which he received the Queen’s Medal. Names of other members at the time included:- Stan Russell, ‘Red’ Buchanan, ‘Sonny’ Knott.

Peter Aldridge joined the brigade in 1966 and became captain in 1974, a position he was to hold for the next 25 years. Names of other volunteers of this era include:- Bill Burnett, Norm Herrington, Ken Nobbs, John Fulton, Ray Coleman, Gary Murray, Jim Quillan, Brian Kemp, Michael Britton, Brian Wallace, Len Gosling.

Peter recalled volunteer’s payment in those days was made up of a 20 shillings/month retainer, 20 shillings/month to attend drills, and seven shillings and sixpence per hour when fire fighting.

The Riverstone brigade since its inception has been manned by volunteers. It was volunteers only up to January1990 when permanent staff were introduced for the first time. Monday to Friday from 8.00 am to 4.30 pm it was manned by a Station Officer with three permanents, plus volunteers. At all other times (week-ends and night time) it was staffed with a Station Officer plus volunteers on call.

It is believed the Garford Hale unit was replaced with a Dennis unit in the 1950s, and then followed the Bedford, a D Series Ford, a 1700 Series International and today it is a 1800 Series International.

The brigade has attended many major fires. In 1932 a fire destroyed the town’s largest store, a two storey weather-board building along with an adjacent store. After a day of fighting bush fires on the 14th January 1939 (Black Saturday) that claimed the lives of two persons and destroyed many homes in the district, volunteer Harry King collapsed from heat exhaustion and cramps and had to be hospitalised.

The flames from the fire that destroyed the Berkley Box factory in Edward Street in the 1970s were visible for many miles.

However the worst and the most tragic fires occurred at the old Meatworks. The most spectacular was the skin shed fire that occurred in the evening of 27th July 1970. Residents from Windsor and Richmond reporting seeing the flames, and the glow was visible as far away as Katoomba. The skin shed was totally destroyed, but worse was the 3,700 sheep and 820 pigs that were burnt to death. These animals had been placed in pens underneath the skin shed ready for the next day’s slaughter. It was impossible to get near to the stock to save them, and the community of Riverstone did not take too kindly to reports from certain sections of the media that more could have been done.

Several weeks later temporary holding pens were built between the mutton board and the freezers to enable production to continue. On the 8th October when a fire broke out in the freezer section, many workers aware of the previous criticisms, rushed in to get the sheep out. It was on the roof over these men that the collapsing freezer wall fell, resulting in the death of six work mates and several others being seriously injured. It was a tragic event that had a devastating effect on the entire community of the Riverstone district.

Following a series of fires at the Meatworks in the 1950s, the Riverstone Meat Company decided to set up their own brigade. They bought a 1929 Garford tender and built the fire station behind the Meat Inspectors dining rooms. Staff who served on this brigade include:- Bill Anderson, Dennis Graham, Eric Graham, Bob Taber, Norm Brown, Arthur Godfrey, Keith Turnbull, John Fulton, Kevin Gough

While training was always a serious matter, members still recall the day they parked the vehicle on the bank of Eastern Creek and while practicing their hose drill, leaking hoses caused the vehicle to slide down the bank into the creek.

The last day on which the Riverstone Fire Brigade Station was manned by permanent staff was Thursday, 12 December 2002. The Brigade was then transferred to the new station at Hambledon Road, Schofields/Quakers Hill, which was officially opened on Tuesday, 11 March 2003.

The Station at Riverstone is now manned by “Retained Fire Fighters” on call. (i.e. Volunteer fire fighters.)

Mills’ Butchers Shop, Schofields

by Beryl Teale

Mum and Dad, Jack and Grace Mills, had a butchers shop built at Schofields in 1950. There were four of us in the family, myself and three brothers. The money for the shop came from a prize in a raffle. Mum bought a ticket and won first prize, which was a MG motor car or the value of the car. As neither Mum nor Dad could drive they took the value of the car, which was £1000. They bought a vacant block of land in the main street of Schofields from Wally Williams for £100.

The shop was constructed from concrete bricks, which we made at home at Marsden Park. The eldest two boys and I had to make twenty concrete bricks every night after we came home from work, forming them in square moulds, to be tipped out of the moulds the next day when set. They were eventually transported to the block at Schofields by horse and cart. I think that Mum’s brother, Jack Dwyer built the shop itself. They moved into the shop at Easter in 1952.

The shop was built as a butchers shop, and included a small cool room at the back. Dad was a self taught butcher, having learnt while working at the Riverstone Meatworks. Dad used to buy the meat from the Meatworks and served in the shop, generally without assistance. Mum and Dad made their own corned beef by putting the meat into brine. Mum made sausages to her own recipe and made deliveries as far out as Marsden Park and Box Hill on a Tuesday and Friday. She started off using a horse and cart and then in 1954 they purchased a car and both learnt to drive.

They ran the shop until Easter 1960. When Dad developed thrombosis he sold it to Mum’s younger sister Freda and her husband Jimmy Andrews. They continued to operate the shop for a number of years. It remained as a butchers shop until the 1990s when it became a bakers shop, which it remains today in 2003.

Laurie Hession

by Clarrie Neal

Compiled from information and photographs provided by Laurie Hession.

Laurence Vincent Hession is a well known identity of the Box Hill – Nelson area. His involvement in the community, his hobbies of family research and his scrapbooks, have enabled him to build up an incredible historical collection of the area and its people.

Laurie’s Australian story began when his great grandfather Thomas Hession and his wife Bridget, arrived in Australia as assisted migrants aboard the Queen Victoria in 1841. They were natives of Tuam in County Galway.

After settling at Pitt Town for a few years they moved in the mid 1850s to Nelson and became one of the pioneering families of that district. Thomas had bought 30 acres in 1854 and then purchased another 50 acres in 1856; it was on this site he built his ironbark slab home that still stands today. Another two property purchases in later years built the total family holding to 134 acres.

The second of the five generations of Hession family homes that stand on the property was built by Laurie’s grandfather Thomas in the 1890s. His parents, Vince and Annie Hession were to build their home, the third on the site in 1921.

Laurie was born on the 2nd December 1923, the eldest of three children to Vince Hession and his wife Mary Anne Stenland. Though not many families lived in the area and playmates were few, he still has fond memories of his childhood days. He recalled making his own toys, using scrap boards to build a truck, and using boot polish tins for the wheels; and also going to his cousin Frank’s place to play with his meccano set. When other children were there, they played chasings, shop, hide and seek in the field of oats, and made their own billy carts.

As a five year old he remembers the day in 1928 when Kingsford-Smith after leaving Richmond aerodrome, flew very low over the surrounding countryside on his way to New Zealand. He said his father was standing on the fence to get a good look at the plane, a very rare sight in those days. 

No swimming pools in those days, so swimming on the hot summer days was in the farm dam or in the waterholes of the local creek. Christmas was a time of great excitement, in the Christmas stocking would be a bottle of Noons’ soft drink and a brown paper bag of lollies.

He was often told by his mother of the day, when as a babe in her arms, they were travelling into Riverstone in the family’s horse and sulky. The horse reared up when it shied at something on the track tipping Laurie and his mother out, his father who had stayed in the sulky looked down and politely asked “What are you doing down there, Mum?” His father bought the family’s first car in c1934, an Erskine sedan.

Laurie commenced school at the age of seven at the Rouse Hill School located on the Windsor Road. This meant a walk of more than four km to get there, then another four km walk in the afternoon to get home. He started the walk of a morning with Edna Mason and Lillian Lester and on the way they would meet up with other children from the Box Hill area.

They would walk along dusty roads and tracks and across paddocks. Sometimes grazing in the paddocks would be a bull and Laurie said “we would always keep a close eye on them”.

Sometimes on hot summer days on their way home from school they would stop at Miss Roberts’ place on Nelson Road for a cold drink from the tank and a feed of loquats from her tree. He remembers the days they would run most of the way home to beat the oncoming summer storms.

Rouse Hill was a one teacher school with about 30 pupils. Mr Brereton was the teacher, his wife taught sewing, and Nina Terry (nee Rouse) gave the children their singing lessons. Though Mr Brereton wielded the cane when necessary, his usual form of punishment was to make the pupil stand on his form or on his desk, much to the amusement of the class.

As a schoolboy, Laurie had the jobs at home of picking up the sticks and bark for kindling for the fuel stove (no electricity supplies in those days). Another job was to pick up and clean eggs and he learnt how to milk the family cow at an early age. Laurie never had the opportunity to attend any secondary schools.

He recalls his mother cooking over the open fire or on the fuel stove. As with many other families, Monday was wash day, with all the clothes going into a boiler or kerosene tin on an open fire. He remembers how happy his mother was when she had the bricked in wood fired copper boiler built.  No water supply or hot water service meant that Saturday was bath day, and through the week a face and hand wash would suffice.

After tea there would be the games of Ludo, draughts, snakes and ladders, dominoes, and as they got older they learnt the card games of euchre, five hundred and crib, all played by the light of a kerosene lamp. Empire Day was celebrated on the 24th May, usually with a bonfire and crackers and held in the paddock at the Willock’s home in Blind Road.

As teenagers they would go walking across the paddocks towards Maraylya, shooting rabbits, hares and foxes. They would often ride their pushbikes to Broadwater, near Cattai to go fishing. On Saturday nights they would ride their bikes to Windsor to attend the ‘flicks’.

Being a farming family the Depression of the 1930s had a minimal effect on them, but Laurie does recall the swaggies, men willing for work of any kind, just to get a feed. One was a regular visitor who was always looking to sharpen farming tools, scissors, saws, etc. Another was known as the ‘peapicker’ because his first enquiry was ”are there any peas to pick”.

Laurie worked on his parents’ poultry farm for nothing other than his meals and his keep until he was 20 years old. He well remembers when he returned home from the Army his father saying “Well! I suppose it is about time I started paying you a wage”.

He also worked casually at Ted Terry’s vegetable farm on Cattai Creek, riding his pushbike three miles along a sandy track to get there. He would be picking melons, cabbages, spuds, etc. for 6 shillings a half day, later he was to earn 10 shillings a half day.

On the 14th January 1939 the district experienced the worst bushfires in its history, with two men losing their lives, several homes destroyed, as well as the loss of fencing, livestock and poultry. Laurie had this to say about the fire –

With a temperature of 47 degrees and a westerly wind gusting at 60 mph the fire started at the Jack and Jill picnic ground at Vineyard where a man was burning out a stump. The fire spread quickly through Box Hill and Nelson and then burnt through to Castle Hill. I remember running with buckets of water, dousing a 10 ft high privet hedge we had on the south western side of our home.

It had been a very dry period and all the vegetation was tinder dry, fortunately our home did not catch alight, but there were many anxious moments until the fire passed, a day I still recall quite vividly. This fire followed a smaller fire the previous month in the Blind Road area, but this second fire was to burn out that area again.

A southerly change that blew up that evening caused smouldering trees and stumps to burst into flames, showering sparks all around, the burnt bush resembling a fairyland scene – a day I will never forget.

Laurie received his call up notice for the Army in April, 1942 and reported to the Richmond drill hall where he was drafted into the Medical Corps of the Army. He did his initial training at the bases at Cowra, Wagga, Sydney showground, and at Liverpool. On the 21st December 1942 he and 12 other Medical Corps staff embarked on the converted troop carrier Katoomba bound for New Guinea.

A note in Laurie’s note book diary reads – “Xmas dinner in 1942 aboard the Katoomba consisted of a small piece of bully beef, a smaller piece of fatty meat, a small potato, and a cup of water.”

They arrived in Port Moresby on the 3rd January as reinforcements for the 3rd Field Ambulance Unit, later they were to erect the 2/5th Australian General Hospital on the outskirts of Port Moresby. He recalled the many night air raids there and loading the hospital ship Centaur with wounded soldiers bound for Sydney. A month later on its return trip from Sydney it was sunk off Brisbane with the loss of 299 lives, there being only 64 survivors.

Laurie left New Guinea on the 12th December 1943 and returned home to work on his parents’ poultry farm. Later in 1945 he bought his first car, a 1927 Chevrolet Capitol Tourer that cost 80 pounds. Eight years later he sold this car for 100 pounds.

Laurie met Daphne Nellie Vaughan, a girl from Pitt Town, in 1945 and they were married in the historic St. Matthew’s Catholic Church at Windsor on the 28th October 1950. In 1949 he commenced making cement blocks to build his home; he was to make 11,000 of them and the house was built in 1950. Here they raised their children – Michael, Maureen, John and Helen.

In the 1950s while helping his father on his poultry farm, Laurie started to build his own poultry farm. He recalled it as a very busy period of his life that often meant working a 70 hour week.

After the disastrous bushfires of 1939 it was decided to form a Bush Fire Brigade for the Box Hill – Nelson area. The brigade was formed on the 27th January 1940 with Laurie being one of the founding members and over the years he has held many committee positions. He was President from 1950 to 1970, Brigade Captain from 1971 to 1986, and was again elected President in 1990, a position he still holds.

He was a founding member of the Box Hill-Nelson Progress Association when it was formed on the 12th April 1944 and has held the positions of Vice President and President for many years. The year 2000 still sees Laurie an active member.

Besides being a good committee member of these organisations Laurie was also an active ‘hands on’ member, helping build the brigade’s first water tanker and also the original hall for the Progress Association.

He was an original member of the Riverstone Conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society when it was formed on the 3rd April 1949. He was their first Treasurer, a position he held for 17 years and followed this as Secretary for a similar period, retiring in 1995.

He has always taken an active part in the affairs of St. John’s Catholic Church at Riverstone, managing the weekly envelope giving scheme with the help of such people John O’Hanlon, Norm Hession and Norma Saunders. He helped build the tennis court at St. John’s for the Catholic Younger Set, of which he was a member. He also helped build the first class room for the school and has participated in many working bees over the years.

In 1975 Laurie started collecting bottles. The collection is now housed in a large shed he built at the side of his house. Collecting bottles led to him collecting items of historical interest, and with his many friends and relatives giving him items he had to increase the size of the museum. Laurie commenced collecting weather and rainfall details in January 1938 so is now in his 63rd year of keeping records.

Laurie is proud of his Irish ancestry and over the years has done a lot of research into the Hession family history. Laurie had this to say – “in 1972 I started an interest in family history, this is similar to having a virus; once you’re stricken, there is no known cure, 28 years later I am still afflicted.”

All these family files are stored in a book cabinet along with several files and scrapbooks that contain photographs, newspaper articles, etc. on the history of Box Hill, Nelson, Rouse Hill, Riverstone and the Hawkesbury district. It is an incredible collection and something he can be very proud of. He is also an avid collector of stamps and coins.

Laurie was an original member of the Riverstone and District Historical Society when it formed in 1980 and has been an active member since.

For all his efforts to the community Laurie was rewarded at the 1986 Orange Blossom Festival with a Community Service Award. On Australia Day 2000 he was again honoured with the Shire Community Service Award. In 1994 he was awarded a Certificate to commemorate 54 years of service to the Box Hill – Nelson Bush Fire Brigade and the year 2000 brought up his 60 years of service. In 2003 a portrait of Laurie, painted by Judith O’Conal, was hung in the Baulkham Hills Council Administration building, as part of a project to capture community icons on canvas.

In the years ahead residents of the district will be deeply indebted to Laurie Hession for his community involvement and his recording of the district’s history.

Jan ter Balk

by Kevin Balk

My grandfather, John (Jan) Ter Balk, was born in Amsterdam. Jan became a seafaring man and met and married my grandmother Jessie in Greenoch Scotland in 1888. Jan worked his passage to Sydney in that year and settled in Plumpton.

Plumpton was about three and a half miles from Rooty Hill station and transport between these two points when my grandfather first arrived in 1888 would have been by horse-drawn cart or coach. That Jan went direct to Plumpton suggests that his employment had been discussed prior to departing Greenoch, although the Glendennings did not hail from Scotland but from England.

Jan probably boarded with a family in Plumpton until moving into a rental cottage in Cannery Road when joined by Jessie in May, 1889. The 1891 census disclosed this as still their address. The family resided at Plumpton until moving to Riverstone in 1900.

During 1895 Jan obtained employment as a Butcher with the Riverstone Meatworks. Either Jan had acquired some special butchering skills and now sought a better wage with the established company, or, perhaps had been recommended for the new job by Mr Glendenning.

Until the family moved to Riverstone in 1900 Jan walked from Plumpton to the Meatworks and home again, using a rough track meandering through the bush. From Plumpton the route crossed Richmond Road and covered a short distance before crossing Grange Road. The track then led through mainly open space with a few fences until reaching and crossing Garfield Road near the Riverstone cemetery. Shortly before arriving at the Meatworks, Jan’s path passed the property which later became his permanent home in Riverstone. However, for almost five years he accepted this monotonous walk, in all weather, as part of the routine in earning his living. It indicates his acceptance of any challenge in providing for his family.

My Grandfather’s employment was in the days before refrigeration in the Meatworks or the Railway louvred vans conveying the carcasses. This caused all the slaughtering and processing of meat to be performed in other than the hot daylight hours, mostly in the cool of the evening.

Commencing their duties late in the day the labourers then worked until about 10.30 pm when they took their first break. When slaughtered the animals were first placed in the ‘Hanging Yard’ and later the dressed carcasses were loaded into the Railway vehicles for despatch to Darling Harbour.

Butcher shops of the period, utilising block ice, contained a ‘Coolroom’ but the public display of the trays of cut meat in the then un-refrigerated window presented a problem. Aided only by ice and freshly cut ferns this must have been a real challenge to all butchers attempting to retain meat freshness. Still the Illawarra Line Ferncutters benefited through meeting the daily supply demand for ferns which they sent to Central Station daily.

The hours in which the Riverstone Meat Works operated confirms my Aunty Coba’s report that her father made his forward journey to the Meatworks in the late afternoon. Probably he then arrived back at his residence at Plumpton about daybreak. The daily travel routine was eased following a move of residence to Essex Farms Estate Riverstone in 1900.

Dick Stacey

by Clarrie Neal

Compiled by Clarrie Neal from information provided by John Stacey, December 1999.
Dick will always be remembered as one of Riverstone’s favourite sons, a man who always wore a smile and a man who always had a good word for everyone. He was born on the 25th August 1907 in Redfern and his full name was Richard Walter Victor Stacey.

His father died when he was just seven years old and he left school when he was 13 years old to help support his mother and his sister Marjorie. As a young lad he would go to the markets to buy a case of apples or pears for six shillings and go around the neighbourhood selling, hoping to realise ten shillings. He would then return to the markets and buy another case to sell.

As a youth he became one of Sydney’s famous singing milkmen, running around the streets of Redfern and nearby areas singing while seeking customers to buy their milk at sixpence halfpenny a quart. He also helped his uncles when they drove their rabbit truck selling rabbits to the residents of these inner city areas. Another experience he often recalled was buying bacon sides from PDS and then taking them out west to sell to the farmers and cockies. A tale also told here was that before buying the bacon it was a good idea to take with you some maggots in a matchbox and by sprinkling them on the bacon you would get the bacon at a cheaper rate. We can only hope they removed the maggots before selling.

Dick’s life was to change when he met a girl from The Rocks area. Her name was Ida Thelma Scott and they were married in 1927. They lived in the Chippendale area and it was here that Dick Jnr, Jean and Joy were born. John was born in Riverstone in 1937.
Dick and the family moved to Schofields in 1934 when he was able to buy a house with a shop alongside in St Albans Road. It was from this shop he began his career as a greengrocer and itinerant vendor, selling from the shop and from a truck he used to deliver around the district. The first truck was a Morris Commercial purchased from Alf Saundercock at Knights garage in 1934.

The shop was successful from the start and as Ida was busy raising the children, Dick invited one of his friends to come from Redfern to work in the shop. His name was Charlie Harris and he worked in the shop for several years until the girls, Jean and Joy, were old enough to work there. Charlie then left and started at the Meatworks as a foreman in the fellmongery. Dick ran the business at Schofields until 1942 when he decided to transfer to Riverstone.

Dick bought the two storey shop in Garfield Road from Jim Nowlands and the family lived on the top floor. At the time there were two other shops in the building – a confectionery shop owned by a Mr Vallos, and the end shop owned by Nelson Andrews the barber. In later years Roma Fisher bought the centre shop for use as a ladies hairdresser, and Frank Keating took over from Nelson Andrews.

The shop at Riverstone was very much a family affair with all members of the family involved. Dick’s sister Marjorie worked there, along with son-in-law Bobby Cox. Lance Strachan was another who had a life long association with the Stacey family. The family all remember Lyle Rosenthall who owned the general store near the railway gates, as a regular daily customer.

Dick will be remembered by many residents for his leather apron which was the trademark of all greengrocers of the day. It had a pocket at the top for the note-book with the orders, a pocket at the front for the silver and copper coins, and a pocket on the inside for the notes. Dick was never one for folding the notes, they were just stuffed into the inside pocket.

Because Dick had been a ‘battler’ from his early days and right through the depression, he always had a soft spot for those not so fortunate. His family would take some of these people into their care, names that come to mind are Sonny Locke, his brother Jimmy and Georgie Cafe. In later years another lad who worked for Dick was Barry Taylor.

With his vending business Dick always owned a truck and when the Morris was replaced in 1944 he bought a Lend Lease Chevrolet. Even though Dick was in an essential industry he still had to get approval from the government to buy it because it was during the war. Petrol was in very short supply so the Chev was fitted with a charcoal gas producer.

In the early days Dick travelled every Monday and Thursday to the markets to get his produce, then known as Paddy’s Markets and situated in the Haymarket area. As the business grew it became necessary to do the trip three times a week, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The Lend Lease Chev was used until he bought another Morris Commercial in 1955.

Besides carting his own produce he also carted for the Blair family who owned a shop in Garfield Road; their shop is now located at Heritage Village at Wilberforce. He also carted for Wally Wood when he had a greengrocers run around the Windsor area. Dick also carted produce such as potatoes, strawberries, tomatoes and mushrooms to the markets for the local growers, namely Martin Cunich, Mick Selic, Bob Perrott, Jimmy Christafaro and George Shillington. At other times the truck was used to cart bags of firewood offcuts from Max Gosden and Noel Dunston’s sawmill to the city.

Due to ill health Dick retired in 1962 and sold the shop in 1963 to Johnny Octavo who traded under the name of Johnny Wallace. It was at this time Dick Jnr and brother John formed a partnership, bought a 3 ton Austin truck and became itinerant vendors selling fruit and veggies in the Rooty Hill and Doonside area. In 1979 Joy helped Dick Jnr on the truck when John decided to leave and commenced as a salesman in the margarine section at the Meatworks.

Apart from his family and business Dick had three other great passions in his life, his music with the piano, his greyhounds, and punting. Many residents would best remember Dick seated at the piano and giving a big smile to all who looked his way. His love of music was shared by the whole family, with Dick Jnr, Jean, Joy and John all learning the piano. John also learnt the saxophone and the clarinet and the family provided their own dance band for many years. Their mother Ida was a top class dancer.

As a dance band they held regular bookings at the Richmond RSL Club, Penrith Rowing Club and were the first band to play at the Rooty Hill RSL Club when that club first gained its liquor licence. John recalled that Dick had fond memories of playing at a charity ball that was held every year at Camp Mackay, Kurrajong. The ball was always well attended by Sydney’s leading doctors and surgeons, and the top brass of the police force.

Dick was a very successful greyhound owner and won many races with Debenture, Jean O’Joy, Major Whirl, Ida Thelma, Chief Escape, Bright Souvenir, and Apache Boy. Lance Strachan was the trainer of all these dogs but once again it was a family affair and you would often see Dick Jnr, Jean, Joy, John, or Ida out exercising the dogs with Lance. Dick Jnr also became a successful dog owner and won many races with Miss Whippa, The Black Don and Dessick, with Gordon Alderton as the trainer.

No story on Dick Stacey could ever be complete unless it told his favourite yarn, he told this yarn to everybody and everywhere:-

“One day as he was driving his truck around the streets of North Sydney selling bags of firewood, calling out bags of firewood, a voice from the second floor ordered “three bags, please”. Dick thought this is my lucky day and proceeded to carry the bags up the stairs one at a time and placed them against the door. As he placed the third bag down he knocked on the door, but there was no response. He noticed the door wasn’t locked so he walked in to find the house empty except for a cat asleep on the lounge and a cockatoo sitting on his perch, saying “three bags please”. 

Dick was furious and in a fit of anger grabbed the cocky and with feathers flying all around the room half strangled it, opened the window and threw it out. The cocky landed in the garden, stunned and with his feet up in the air.

Dick proceeded to carry the bags down the stairs, one at a time and placed them on his truck. As he was placing the last bag on the truck the owner arrived home and seeing the cocky missing and all the feathers around the room, immediately grabbed the cat, belted it and threw it out the same window. The cat landed alongside the cocky with a thud, with his feet in the air. The cocky by now was coming to, and as he struggled to hold up his head, he half opened his eyes and looked across at the battered and bruised cat and said “and how many bags did you order, Tom?”

The following article was extracted from the Market Industries News in August 1962:-

Dick Stacey in his summing up after 40 years in the trade said Sydney Market agents are a ‘good mob’ who would sooner help than do anyone a bad turn. Mr Stacey retired only last month due to failing health and will ‘potter about’ with his wife and grandchildren until he again feels like doing a spot of work. He sold his shop at Riverstone to a very likeable young Italian who trades under the name of Johnny Wallace. Dick Stacey has been a battler all his life.

Born in the slums of Sydney he left school at the age of 13 (by special permission) to assist in the upkeep of his widowed mother and the family. He hawked fruit around Chippendale then became one of Sydney’s famous singing milkmen in the old days when milk was sixpence halfpenny a quart and as many as six carters used to race along streets for customers.

He later took a job in the potato market with Walter Deacon and George Hurley, but subsequently started his own fruit run when the partners separated and opened separate businesses.

Mr Stacey was at Riverstone for 23 years and built his shop into a really first class business by giving the public value. He would never buy fruit or vegetables when they reached levels his customers could not afford. He would advise housewives to buy a substitute when the quality or price was not suitable.

He always took the customer’s word and exchanged or refunded the money without an argument. 

Mr Stacey was the last president of the NSW Fruit Shopkeepers Association….
Dick Stacey passed away on the 7th March 1966 after a long illness. The following tribute was printed in the local paper:-

An overwhelming tribute to the memory of the late R. W. Stacey was paid by hundreds of mourners who attended his funeral service at St. Paul’s Church, Riverstone, last Wednesday.

The congregation overflowed into the adjoining church hall, and more than a hundred cars followed the long funeral cortege through Riverstone’s commercial centre, to the Australian Memorial Park on the Windsor Road.

The funeral service was preached by Rev. Turner who said that cheerfulness had characterised all aspects of the late Mr Stacey’s life, and great courage, in the last eighteen months of his illness.

Mr Stacey, he said, had been well respected as a family man, businessman, musician, and member of the Riverstone community.

The late Mr Stacey who had lived in the Schofields and Riverstone district for over 35 years, is survived by his wife Ida, two sons Richard and John, and two daughters Jean (Mrs Cox), and Joy.

Ida Thelma Stacey passed away on the 12th April 1994, and was also buried at the Memorial Park on Windsor Road, Rouse Hill.

Dick Jnr carried on with the family tradition of involvement in the community by taking over as President of the Riverstone Bowling Club in 1978 and holding that position until 1991. Dick Jnr passed away on the 28th February 1996.