Vets Save Butchery

The following article appeared in a Riverstone feature in the Blacktown Advocate on 16 March 1995.

“The old butchers shop in Garfield Road next to the railway line, is a landmark in the Riverstone district. Built at the turn of the century by the Riverstone Meat Company as its window to the world, the shop made a proud architectural statement regarding the successful meat company.

A large sign on the wall still proclaims Riverstone Meat Co. Ltd. Orders forwarded to any part of the state. This was a proud boast because it depended on the skilled management of telegraphic communication, steam engine transportation, and the use of dry ice to keep the perishable produce cool.

The solid structure was not immune to the ravages of time, flooding and lack of maintenance. By 1987 the building was in a sorry state of disrepair and ready for the bulldozers.

Tom Lonsdale and Associates, the local vets, rescued the old building and restored it. A preservation order ensures it will be a reminder of bygone times.”

The White House

by Clarrie Neal

Unlike the American White House, the White House of Riverstone was never the seat of Government, but it was nevertheless an historic landmark of the district. It is featured in Daphne Kingston’s book of pencil sketches titled “Early Slab Buildings of the Sydney Region”.

It was built with ironbark slab walls and ironbark floors in the front rooms, and dirt floors at the back. These ironbark timbers allowed the house to withstand the many floods that have passed through it over the years.

The White House was located on the southern bank of Eastern Creek, on Lytton Road, just opposite the end of Marsden Lane. We cannot be certain of when it was built or who built it, but certainly the Hanna family have a long relationship with it, beginning with Noble Hanna.

Noble was the fifth son of Noble and Elizabeth Hanna who migrated to Australia from Ireland in 1852. Noble was born at Waverley on the 30th June 1861 but became an orphan in 1865 when both his parents died. He was placed in an orphanage along with his brothers and sisters and remained there until he left to work with a chemist at Orange, NSW. Following this experience he left Orange and travelled around the countryside working as jackeroo.

He arrived in Riverstone in 1883 as a 21 year old, lived on Essex Farms and worked as a fellmonger at the nearby Woolwash. He also worked as the gravedigger at the nearby Riverstone cemetery. He married a Sarah Ann Fibbins on the 20th May 1891 and raised a family of eight children.

Noble’s eldest son William kept a notebook diary that shows he (William) was born at Essex Farms on the 3rd December 1898 and that the family moved into the White House in June 1904. After being forced out of the house several times by floodwaters the family moved in September 1909 to a cottage on the corner of The Avenue and Marsden Lane where they lived the remainder of their lives, the family retaining ownership of the White House and its land.

Floodwaters have always caused problems to the occupants of the White House as it was always the first house in the area to be flooded. William’s notebook diary shows that the 1956 flood reached 18 inches below the ridge capping and that the 1961 flood peaked just 12 inches (30 cm) from the top of the chimney.

However, articles in the Windsor and Richmond Gazette seems to suggest that the Hanna family lived close to the creek prior to 1904. When the mailman Mr. Edward Simpson was drowned while crossing Eastern Creek in a flood, an article in the Gazette on the 29th March, 1890 stated – “A man named Noble Hanna, residing near the creek, heard the screams of the bystanders near the bridge, and at once jumped into the creek, but could see no trace of the deceased. Mr. Hanna states that it was with great difficulty that he reached the shore on the other side.”

Another Gazette article on the 26th March 1892 stated –
“… rain caused Eastern Creek to rise rapidly. At about 9 o’clock it broke over the bridge on the road leading to Marsden Park, completely stopping communication between that neighbourhood and Riverstone. Messr’s Hartigan and Noble Hanna were obliged to remove; the latter left some fowls, which were swept away. Mr. J. H. Cragg was on the point of moving when the water stopped
rising. ”

Descendants of J.H. Cragg believe that the Woolwash in the 1890s employed some 30 workers and that Noble Hanna was a member of the little community that lived around the area. It is also believed that following an argument with J.H. Cragg, Noble Hanna was ordered off that land. Noble subsequently pulled down his house and re-erected it on the banks of Eastern Creek.

Since 1891 the electoral rolls show that Noble Hanna was living at Essex Farms or Riverstone and was working either as fellmonger or a labourer. Grandchildren Clive Hanna and Winsome Archard both remember Noble and Sarah as a warm and caring couple, with Noble being a good gardener and a man who loved to read and write.

When Noble passed away on the 2nd November 1947, his eldest son William became the owner so the White House remained in the Hanna family for some 60/70 years. During this period it was often unoccupied but it was also let for varying periods. Although the water and electricity were connected to the Riverstone area in the mid 1930s the White House was never supplied with either service. The property was sold to Jimmy Hunt and “Crash” Craddock in July 1960.

The White House was well known in the district as it marked that area of Eastern Creek that was the local swimming hole and many Riverstone lads learnt to swim here. Just opposite the White House there was a rope swing attached to a large tree that the boys used to swing out over the creek.

Bill Shaw and Geoff Binks are remembered as men who used to teach the boys how to swim there, with Geoff being such a strong swimmer he was often referred to as the ‘Lifesaver’.

Nearby in a little cleared area in the bush was the site of the local two-up school, which was held every Sunday afternoon. Because two-up was illegal in those days the venue was often changed to prevent raids by the police.

A police raid on the two-up school would see a mass exodus from the area with players scattering in all directions through the bush with the police in pursuit. A favourite story of one these chases concerns Ernie Sullivan who realising he was going to be caught picked up a stick and started walking behind a cow, when challenged he said he was taking the cow home for milking. It proved to be a wise move because the officer who caught him let him go.

Another raid saw two young identities of the town take off and follow the creek towards Schofields, at the half-way mark they rested momentarily only to find they were still being pursued, so they ran all the way to Schofields station where they caught the train back to Riverstone. As the train neared the station they looked across and saw the other players being charged at the police station.

As a boy John Stacey recalled the day he was swimming at the creek when the two-up school was raided and remembers the police chasing Harold Johnston and Ronnie Brown up Marsden Lane. Being good runners they were too fast for the law and escaped, Harold in particular was a very good athlete and at the time was competing in athletic events in Sydney.

A half hour later the same day John said he and his mates went over to the ring to see if any loose coins had been left by the players in their haste to get away. While searching the area John was surprised to look up and find “Squarem” Elliott struggling to emerge from the nearby blackberry bush. He got this nickname because he never ever won or lost, he always finished square.
Apparently “Squarem” decided the best place to hide was in this bush and crawled right in, it took him more than 30 minutes to get out, with blood everywhere from the many cuts and scratches he received.

In later years when the White House was unoccupied the two-up game was held there on a Friday night, the lighting being provided by candles and hurricane lamps.

One of the characters who lived in the White House during the 1940s and 50s was a part aboriginal known as ‘Black’ George. His real name was Roy McLean and he paid 5 shillings a week rent. George came to Riverstone from the Wagga area in the mid 1930s and after working on Crawley’s property at Stony Crossing for a few years got a job at the meatworks in the skin shed as a wool classer, a profession he was highly regarded at.

Bobby Parkes recalls George coming over to his parents Jim and Emily’s house in Marsden Street to get his meals. George always arrived as the family were seated around the table and would stand in the doorway looking at the children and say “Holey smokes, look at ’em, heads on ’em like white mice”. This saying led to his other nickname of “Smokey”.

A favourite story told about George is one evening after a long afternoon at the hotel he was walking across the paddock to the little bridge near his house, counting the loose change left in his pocket. George reckoned he had three shillings left, or as it was known in those days, three bob. As he approached the bridge the frogs were croaking quite loudly and George distinctly heard this croaking as “four’r bob” “four’r bob”. George stopped in the middle of the bridge, took the money from his pocket and counted it again – three bob. As the frogs continued their chorus of “four’r bob” George looked at his money again and then threw it into the creek and said – “Here! Count it ya bloody self “.

Another often told story was of the day when one of his neighbours, who was a notoriously slow driver, stopped his car and offered George a lift as he was walking along Garfield Road into Riverstone. George politely said “No thanks, I’m in a hurry” and continued on his walk.

George was killed when struck by a car as he was walking along Garfield Road near the football oval in the late 1950s

The house remained vacant for a short period until it was sold to Jimmy Hunt and John “Crash” Craddock in July 1960. Crash was quite a character and was well known at the local hotel where he would often produce from his pocket his mouth organ and play a tune for the boys. He is also remembered for his favourite saying as he walked out to the S.P. bookie to have a bet “Weight’s right at Dubbo”. It is believed that Crash received his nickname from the rock and roll singer of the 1950s. Jimmy Hunt lived in the house for a few years and after his death, Crash continued on living there on his own.

The following article appeared in the Riverstone Guardian c1980 –
“Crash” Craddock was born in 1902, when Australia was still very much a land of the pioneers. He was a ward of the State and raised on a farm at St. Albans, the family caring for two other State wards plus children of their own. Crash told the Guardian the State wards worked like slaves on the farm. When he was only five he was out early milking cows. He wore no shoes and froze going to school on the frosty ground.

At 14 years of age Crash told a visiting Inspector that he was unhappy. As a result, all three State wards were taken to the Albion Street shelter in Sydney. There Crash was happier, but missing the outdoors when a lady from Kempsey visited the Shelter looking for a boy who could milk cows. Crash grabbed the edge of her skirt and begged to be taken. So, Crash wound up on the North Coast milking dairy cattle until he was 18, then branched out on his own as a milker along on the Macleay River.

Five years later he travelled to the Nambucca River loved this life, camping out in a bark hut and getting paid once a month. He had 26 bullocks in his team, led by a big animal called “Nobby”. There is today a team still working in the Dungog area.

In 1932 Crash came to Plumpton where he operated a farm for people at Burdekins Corner, he earned 25 shillings a week plus his keep. There he ploughed the fields and produced the corn, and was the only man on the farm who ever grew enough to fill the silo twice in one year. Later he went share farming at Richmond, then Wyong, but it did not work out.

In 1940 Crash moved into Creek Street, Riverstone, then lived in The Terraces in Garfield Road. Today he lives in the White House in Lytton Rd. The house is made of slab ironbark with ironbark floors. It was built in 1883 by Noble Hannah, the local gravedigger. Crash has lived in it for 21 years. He owns a herd of milking goats, a cat, a dog, an Australian pony, and an assortment of
poultry. He has a deep affection for his little slab home and inside he has an assortment of odds and ends.

There is an ancient draught horse collar, horseshoes, a few bits, and he admits he daydreams of the years gone by and yearns to collect old farm implements. Already he is showing off his latest prized possession, an old plough. Crash told the Guardian this week a few of his friends have decided that when he dies they will establish a small museum at the White House.

Crash Craddock is one of Riverstone’s colourful identities.”

Crash Craddock’s real name was John Henry Craddock. He died on the 1st August 1982 when he fell into his fire and was burned to death. He was 82 years of age and was buried in the Church of England part of Riverstone cemetery in Area 2, Row N12 in an unmarked grave.

The Madden family then lived in the house for a few years rearing their Shetland ponies. After they left it was unoccupied for a short period until a deliberately lit fire totally destroyed the house on the 7th June 1996.

All that remains standing are the two chimneys, plus the remnants of several old sheds on the property.

Compiled by Clarrie Neal from information supplied by Clive Hanna, Winsome Archard, Fay Brookes, John Stacey, Bill Mangold and Bobby Parkes, July 1999. Photos were provided by Clive, Winsome, and Fay.

The Shields Family

by Clarrie Neal

The history of the Shields family in Riverstone began when Albert Ernest, better known as ‘Steve’ Shields, married Elsie Florence Davis on the 7th October 1901. Steve (1877-1948), had lived with his parents on a farm on the Lowlands at Richmond, and Elsie (1883-1982) had lived with her parents, Fred and Elizabeth Davis on the corner of George Street and Bell Street in Windsor.

They first lived on the farm on the Richmond Road opposite the entrance to Clydesdale; St. Phillips church and its cemetery were located nearby. Elsie was employed at Clydesdale to do the washing and ironing and continued to do so when George Kiss took over in 1904. Records show that she travelled out from Riverstone to continue these duties even after moving into their own property on Garfield Road West.

In 1903 Steve and Elsie purchased an 8 acre farm at a mortgagee sale from August Long, better known as ‘Gus’. The property was located on Garfield Road West, opposite the Corcoran Street junction and comprised a brick home at the front with another timber slab home behind it and several farm sheds.

Both homes are still standing today, including the old slab home. Family history believes that ‘Gus’ was an undertaker as one of the sheds contained a horse drawn hearse and some coffins. When dances were to be held in the shed, to clear the floor, the hearse was taken out and the coffins stored in the attic of the shed.

It is not known exactly when the brick home and the well were built but the design suggests between 1880 and 1900. The farm has been in the name of the Shields family for 100 years and the Garfield Road corner became known by the locals as ‘Shields Corner’.

Steve and Elsie only had one child, Albert John Frederick Shields, born 1904. They then adopted and reared Esma Stubbs, the daughter of Elsie’s sister. In later years Esma married Claude Field and they continued to live with the Shields family.

Over the years the Shields family also adopted several State wards, rearing some to adulthood, including Roy Foster, David Walsh and Marge (surname unknown). David and Marge enlisted in the armed services in the 2nd World War and both lost their lives.

The family worked their farm to become virtually self sufficient. They ran a poultry farm, reared cattle, turkeys and pigs, had a large orchard and a vegetable garden. They grew all their own stock feed – oats, corn, saccaline, lucerne, etc. – all hand cut with the scythe.

When required Steve operated two tip drays for the Council, sometimes working the horses together, one behind the other. He worked the drays on the construction of the Richmond Road bridge over South Creek in the early 1900s. At times he worked at the meatworks.

In a taped interview with her granddaughter Debbie in the 1970s, Elsie recalled the following memories –

    • the few stores in Riverstone, including Darling’s general store, Schoffel’s smallgoods store,Joseph’s Riverstone Hotel, the bootmaker Tom Griffen.
    • always wearing long dresses with a hat and a veil.
    • travelling to other towns (Windsor) to get medicines, etc.
    • buying the house from the undertaker who lived there with his daughter.
    • the coffins stored in the back shed.
    • the meatworks working at night.
    • going into the meatworks to buy offals to use as fowl feed.
    • George Kiss (Clydesdale) owning one of the first cars in the district.
    • in dry times, using the horse and sled to carry drinking water from their dam for other families.
    • Cassidy’s house being the oldest house in the area. It is believed to have been Marsden Park’s first post office.
    • being told the old Shields house was the only one in the area not affected by the 1867 flood
    • the problems of the clay roads in wet weather, forever getting bogged.
    • most families using a horse and dray or a spring cart for their transport.
    • ‘wealthier’ families could afford a sulky.
    • husband Steve working seven days a week at Clydesdale for 1 pound a week. He was allowed every second Sunday off, after he had fed the horses. He worked there for seven years.
    • working his two drays for the Council for 5 shillings per day, often commencing at 4 am.
    • using a single furrow plough to form the roadside gutters, the family still have the plough.
    • the bushfires that frequently ravaged the area.
    • seeing nearby homes burnt down in minutes.
    • families with their possessions stacked out on the road, along with the mothers and children, seeking the safety of a cleared space.
    • the menfolk fighting the fires, the loss of several homes in the 1940s.

‘Steve’ died on the 28th June 1948 aged 71 and his wife Elsie died on the 8th August 1982 aged 99. They are both buried at St. Matthews C. of E. at Windsor.

Their only son Albert attended Marsden Park Public School. He owned a motor bike in his younger days before buying a 1926 Essex tourer, then traded up to a 1928 Essex hard top. He worked all his life at the meatworks and for many years he was the foreman of the skinshed.

He married Laurel Ina Scanlon in c.1932 and they moved into the Scanlon family home at 23 Church Street, Riverstone. The home was actually sited on a 3 acre block bounded by Church Street, George Street and King Street and it was here they reared their five children.

Following the death of grandfather ‘Steve’ in 1948, the eldest son Ron left this Church Street family home at the age of 12 to live with his grandmother to assist with the running of the farm. Ron recalled though still attending school he had to work hard – ploughing paddocks, sowing seed, reaping, using the chaffcutter, etc. The family ran a large poultry farm and there were cows to be milked. The money gained from selling the eggs and milk and other produce was used to help support the family.

Ron also recalled the disastrous bushfires that swept through the Marsden Park area in 1945. He recalled filling a 44 gallon drum with water from the well and pushing it around in a four wheel billy cart. They saved both houses and fought the spot fires that had started in the barn and sheds with buckets of water and wet bags. He remembered his grandmother in the poultry sheds splashing water over the fowls to save them.

Their only losses were confined to crops and fencing. Not so fortunate were some of their neighbours – the Armstrongs, Ryans, Woodland and Chatham families who lost all their possessions and their homes in the fires. The five children of Albert and Laurel were –

      1. Ronald b.12/2/1935
      2. Norman b.26/8/1936
      3. Eric b.6/2/1939
      4. Florence b.6/10/1942
      5. Arthur (Mick) b.6/4/1948.

All the children attended Riverstone Public School and Richmond Rural for their secondary education.

Albert J. F. died on the 2nd March 1962, aged 59. His wife Laurel died 10th August 1992, aged 82. Both were buried at St. Matthews C. of E. at Windsor.

Ron as stated previously had moved out to Marsden Park to help his grandmother. When he left school his first outside job was in the fellmongery at 4 pounds per week. He then worked several years in the beefhouse before getting his truck drivers licence, then drove a Riverstone meat delivery van till 1978. During this period he also drove buses on a casual basis for Noel Lakeman-Fiddler, Laurie Bowers, John Coles and also drove the Sunday School bus for many years.

From 1978 to 1988 he was a full time bus driver, first with John Coles then with Busways; he then left to become a bus driver/handyman at Our Lady of Consolation Home at Rooty Hill.

After his marriage to Denise Budden in 1960 they built their first home at 12 Hunter Street where they spent 24 years, and then moved into their new home near the old Shields home in 1984.

Ron has always maintained a strong involvement in community affairs with a role as Santa Claus for 46 years, a role he had the perfect physique for. Not only has he played this role in Riverstone, he has played it for many years for such organisations as the Spastic centre at Allambie Heights, the Far West Children’s Home at Manly, and The Little Sisters of the Poor at Drummoyne.

In the 1970s – 80s he also drove the bus that transported Brian Weaver’s Music School band when they played at concerts at various retirement villages and other institutions throughout Sydney.

Performances were regularly given at the Spastic Centre at Allambie Heights, the Far West Children’s Home at Manly, the McCall Garden Colony at Box Hill, the Concord Repatriation Hospital, the RSL Homes at Narrabeen, the Little Sisters of the Poor at Drummoyne, the Masonic Homes at Glenfield, and also at the various Retirement homes in the district. A star performer at these concerts was Siddie Heather and his dancing partner, always a very popular act.

Regular members of the band were Ron and Denise’s three eldest children – Debbie and Garth on their piano accordions and Steve on his guitar. Along with their youngest daughter Lisa, the family have continued their community work with their involvement in the ‘Learn To Swim’ campaigns at the Riverstone pool for more than 20 years.

In 2002 Ron was awarded a Life Membership plaque by Fire Chief Phil Koperburg for his 33 years of voluntary service to the Marsden Park Bush Fire Brigade. Ron was also made an Honorary Member of the Riverstone Swimming Club for driving the group to their various carnivals and functions, Ron driving the bus in an honorary capacity.

In the early 1940s the Neals lived in Crown Road near the Shield’s Church Street home and we often walked to the Riverstone school together – Ron and Norm Shields, Clarrie and Ron Neal. Although we had had our breakfast, Ron and myself always headed for the Shields kitchen where we could get an extra slice of toast, made over the open fire, spread with dripping and pepper and salt, and we loved it. Butter was rationed in those days and margarine was unheard of.

Also scarce was sports gear and you had to make your own from whatever materials were available. After school we would play cricket or football in their paddock, a piece of board cut to shape was our bat, and the ball was either made of cork or a tennis ball. The real six-stitch cricket ball was a rare and treasured item in those days.

The football we used was a dried pigs bladder from the meatworks. It was often that Ron would play us three littlies; and what a struggle it was for us to get him down. Ron may well have had the perfect build for the Xmas outfit, but our locally ‘made in Riverstone’ footballs did not like him at all. The game often ended when Ron fell on the ‘ball’ and it would burst – it was then a case of -“Mr.Shields, can you get us another ball from the meatworks”.

The new bladder was brought home, blown up and hung in the cedar tree near their garage. We had to wait for several days for it to dry before it was ready to use.

The Shields family home, Garfield Road West and their family of Morris cars.  (Photo courtesy of Ron Shields.)

Compiled by Clarrie Neal from information provided by Ron Shields and his family in 2003.

The Produce Stores in Riverstone

by Clarrie Neal

Through the late 1800s and early 1900s most of the general stores in the town sold a wide range of goods, including produce. It was not until 1914 that the produce store became a store specialising in all farm and garden needs, selling tools, stock feeds, poultry feed, seeds, fertilisers, etc.

The Gazette notes that a Robert Fell opened a produce store on the 5th April 1918, but the location and period of operation is not known.

It is not known if this was the same produce store, located near the corner of Garfield Road and Railway Terrace that Joe McKenna managed with his long time assistant, Bill Edwards. This produce store, along with the bootmakers next door, was demolished in 1928 to make way for Lyle Rosenthall’s new store.

N S W Produce

The NSW Produce store commenced in Garfield Road Riverstone around 1932. It appears that they moved into the premises once occupied by the Auctioneer and Land Agent H. Saundercock who
retired in 1928.

It was a single storey weatherboard and fibro store. The first manager was Baden Ford. The Gazette reported in 1936 – Baden Ford was leaving the NSW Produce store after several years as manager.

Bert Lillia became the manager in 1935 and his family came from Blacktown in 1936, to live in Castlereagh Street, directly behind the produce store. Prior to that Bert had worked as a storeman and driver with NSW Produce at their various other Sydney stores.

The feed was brought up in rail trucks to the station where it was loaded on to a road truck and delivered to the store. The bags of feed weighed more than 180 pounds and were manually unloaded. Wooden planks were used to walk up to get the bags to the top of the stack, it was very heavy work.

Some of the workers and drivers at the store with Bert were Greg Turner, Vic and Eric Gallen, Charlie Reece, Charlie Magennis, Dave Lloyd, Jack Fitzgerald, and Russell Langlands.

NSW Produce closed the store on the 10th July, 1963. Later it became a hardware store and today it is owned by Home Hardware.

Ad from 1937 Riverstone and District Agricultural & Historical Society 2nd Show Programme.

Taylor’s Produce Store in Riverstone Parade

Records show that the site, located at the western end of the railway station, between the road and the railway line, was bought by H.R. Reid on the 11th June 1913. He built a large galvanised iron structure that opened for business as a produce store on the 11th December 1914.

It was closed for a short period prior to the Taylor Brothers taking over the business in January 1924. They finally bought the store on the 24th May 1927. The Taylors Bros. at the time also owned other produce stores at Windsor, Rooty Hill and Castle Hill.

One of the early managers for Taylors was Gordon Arnett who died suddenly in 1936, aged 37. His brother in law, Claude Schofield took over as manager and remained there until he retired. Claude was well known throughout the district as a good sportsman, having played Rugby League as a youth with Riverstone and then played First Grade with the Western Suburbs team in the 1920s.

Claude married Thelma Brown and lived in one of the two houses in the paddock opposite the produce store where they raised their ten children. In 1946 the family moved to a larger house in
Elizabeth Street.

As manager of the store he was allowed to use Taylor’s truck at weekends to transport the family on picnics and on their annual holidays to Woy Woy. Eldest daughter Betty recalled these happy times with most of the family travelling on the table top tray of the truck, (no seat belts in those days).

Betty also recalled the family at play in the store, clambering over the stacked bags and the hay stacks. Other memories include –

      • her father going to work each day, donning his hat and putting the daily paper under his arm, even though he had less than 100 yards to walk.
      • the day Claude, who liked discipline, decided he had had enough of a pesky horse that kept feeding from the feed stacked for delivery at the side of the store. Armed with a stick and a kerosene soaked rag, he sneaked up, lifted the horse’s tail, and applied the treatment. The horse changed restaurants and was never seen at Taylor’s again.

Men that worked with Claude over the years include long serving employees Roy Cooke, Malcolm Anderson ( over 30 years) and Colin Cubitt (11 years). Others to work there for shorter periods were ‘Toodles’ Anderson, Tas Neal, Ernie Conn, Jimmy Locke, Ron Neal, with Alec Goddard, ‘Bung’ Boyd and Vince Murray working as casual hands when the mutton board at the meatworks was slack. Eileen Brown worked in the office there for many years.

Work at the store was very demanding, men being required to carry bags of wheat, etc, weighing more than 180 pounds. Elevators were not introduced until the 1940s. The bags were unloaded off the rail trucks direct into the store, then loaded onto Taylor’s trucks for delivery to the surrounding farms. The trucks used for these deliveries were 3 ton International table tops.

Colin Cubitt recalled the problems of rats, poisoning every week-end failed to control them, and that everybody in Riverstone seemed to dump their unwanted cats at the store.

Taylors sold the store in 1961 to Steggles, who in turn sold the store to Stockmans. Elders closed the store in 2001.

Schofields Produce Store

Another well known produce store in the district was that run by Wally Williams at Schofields. The store was located on both sides of Railway Terrace, adjacent to Schofields station, with the feed store shed sited on the railway siding, and the shop across the road.

Wally and his wife Lil conducted this store for over 40 years. Wally was a staunch supporter of the community, particularly the Schofields Cricket club of which he was patron. Wally died in 1981 at the age of 85. Long term workers in this store included Joe Laughton and Charlie Magennis.

Sam Lane reported in the Riverstone Press on 24 September 1981 –

Vale Walter Williams – Passing of Schofields

Identity Residents of Schofields were saddened to learn of the death of well known local identity, Wally Williams. For over 40 years, Wal and his wife conducted a Produce and Hardware Store in Schofields, and during that time associated themselves with many local activities.

Perhaps Wal’s greatest interest was Cricket, a game which he played in his younger days with considerable success, having his name on the record book as one who had scored over 500 runs for the club. He was very conscious of the honour conferred on him when invited to become a patron, a position he held for a number of years, and was never happier than when discussing cricket with anyone who displayed an interest in the subject, whether they be 8 or 80 years old.

Vale Wally, 85 – a good innings
Sam Lane

Ad from 1937 Riverstone and District Agricultural & Historical Society 2nd Show Programme.

Compiled by Clarrie Neal from information provided by Irene Gaddie (Lillia), Colin Cubitt, Betty Hope (nee Schofield) and the Windsor and Richmond Gazette.

The Hotels of Riverstone and the East Family

by Clarrie Neal

Riverstone Hotel
The first license for a hotel in the town was issued for the ‘Riverstone Hotel’ in 1879, the hotel was located in Riverstone Parade opposite the railway station, near the corner of Garfield Road . The first record of a hotel keeper in Riverstone is that of J. Parrington, described in 21 August 1879 as a
publican and butcher.

The licensees were –

1879 – 1882 John Parrington
1883 – 1892 George Ireland
1893 – 1909 Emanuel Joseph
1910 Thomas Buckley
1911 – 1913 Charles Watson

It is likely that George Ireland who held the license from 1883 to 1892 also acquired the adjacent butchers shop at the same time, as an article in the Windsor & Richmond Gazette 4 February 1993 noted that Ireland sold his butchers shop to Jack Doyle, after 10 years service.

The hotel was permanently closed on 23 March 1914. The Gazette 22 January 1915, noted the hotel premises were taken over by Tom Schoffel and used as a butchers shop. The Gazette of 11 June 1915 noted Mr H. Saundercock had purchased the buildings opposite the railway station and is now demolishing, including the old hotel and other small shops thereon. The site remained vacant until Conway’s Newsagency was built on it in 1925.

In the 1890s the Gazette noted that Colonial wine licenses were issued at various times to Mr Trautwein, Herman Wendel, John Mangold, T. Schofield, E. Meyers, G. Daley, J. Daley, Julius Schoffel and Tom Schoffel.

Following the death of H. Wendel in 1901, his license was transferred to Mrs Wendel and then to Charles Davis. This license was transferred to Charles Knight who in turn transferred it to Wally Woods when he bought his shop in 1949. (This shop is now the AP Motor Spares, in Railway Terrace.)

Never Fail Hotel
The second hotel to be built was the ‘Never Fail’, a two-storey weather board building on the park side of the corner of Carlton Street and Garfield Road West; the hotel is believed to have been built in 1886 by owner/builder David Jackson. Land Title records show David Jackson leased the hotel and license to George Solomon in 1887, and the licensees in 1888 were Joseph and James Marshall.

Early records are confusing but it appears Jackson sold the hotel in 1889 to Mary Kane, who then leased it to John Thomas Neale in 1892. When John died the lease was taken over by his wife Hannah Maria Neale.

The Gazette in 1891 noted that E. Joseph was the licensee. On 26 August 1893 it noted that E. Joseph moved from the Never Fail and took over G. Ireland’s Riverstone Hotel. Mary Kane, who owned the Never Fail hotel, then became its licensee.

Historian Doug Bowd’s book claims the hotel was opened by A. G. East in 1887.

28/9/1912 – The Gazette noted the ruins of the old Royal (Never Fail) Hotel, which had been vacant for some time, were being demolished.

Other items in the Gazette noted the following –

  • 19/8/1893 – A Riverstone man (unnamed) had inherited 1,000 pounds.
  • 26/8/1893 – A presentation to Mr W. East.
  • 15/12/1894 – Mrs Kane transfers hotel license to Mr W. East.
  • 22/12/1894 – Mrs Kane transferred hotel to Mr A. East, a brother of Mr W. East,  the foreman at the meatworks.
  • 26/1/1895 – A liquor license was granted to Mr A. East.
  • 27/4/1895 – The Never Fail hotel changed its name to the Royal Hotel.
  • 14/7/ 1900 – noted the flood of the previous week had reached the ceiling of the first floor of James Wonson’s Royal hotel.
  • 20/6/1903 – noted Miss Kane was staying with her sister Mrs Wonson (J. Wonson was the publican 1899-1903)
  • 27/1/1906 – Mrs Kane applied for the transfer of Royal Hotel license to fresh premises. Plans of the new place were exhibited.
  • 12/5/1906 – Mrs Kane is having the rooms at the rear of the old Royal hotel demolished and the bricks utilised in erecting an addition to the premises opposite the railway gates for which she has a conditional transfer, and where the business will be eventually carried out.
  • 19/5/1906 – Mrs Kane is having the premises opposite the railway gates renovated and new buildings erected, it is expected to take three months to complete.
  • 16/6/1906 – The renovations and additions to the large brick building lately owned by Mrs C. P. Ayling are being proceeded with. Some little time ago a provisional hotel licence was granted for this building. A large balcony is now being erected. When completed it should be a commodious hotel.
  • 15/12/1906 – The new Royal Hotel opened last Saturday.
  • 28/9/1912 – The ruins of the old Royal Hotel were being demolished.
  • 19/3/1915 – A Black Ban was placed on G. James Royal Hotel by the local meat workers. G. James was farewelled from the district on 14 May.
  • 20/8/1915 – W. J. East complains to Windsor Council re condition of road at front of the Royal.
  • 22/10/1915 – The Royal Hotel license was transferred to W. J. East, after having purchased the freehold of that property two years earlier.

The Gazette in 1889 noted there were now two hotels in Riverstone. Records indicate the town could boast of two hotels for a period of 28 years –

  • 1887 to 1895 – the ‘Riverstone’ and the ‘Never Fail’.
  • 1895 to 1914 – the ‘Riverstone’ and the ‘Royal’.

Royal Hotel
The new ‘Royal’ was the town’s first substantial brick hotel and was owned by Mary Kane. It was a two storey structure built in 1906 on the corner of Garfield Road and West Parade, and it was to serve the community until 1977, a period of 81 years. The hotel was expanded in the 1930s with increased accommodation and a ladies lounge.

John Finnegan, who has provided all the Land Titles information and is a descendant of Mary Kane, confirmed that Mary had changed the name in 1895 and then in 1906 transferred the license from the old site to the Garfield Road corner, opposite the railway gates. Records show Rose Kane, Mary’s
daughter, married William J. East in 1894. Land Title records show Mary Kane as the owner of the ‘Royal’ in 1907, when the lease passed from Patrick Kiely to George James. The Gazette of 20 June 1903, noted that a Miss Kane was staying with her sister, Mrs Wonson.

In the period from 1896 to 1906 the Gazette notes the holding of several race meetings on the race track at back of this Royal hotel, sometimes attended by crowds of up to 800.

Royal Hotel licensees:

1896-98 James Collumb
1899-03 James Wonson
1904 Fred Kingham
1905 Roger Glanville
1906-07 Mary Kane
1908 Patrick Kiely
1909-15 George James
1915-19 William East
1919-28 William East Jnr
1928-35 Mrs V. East
1935-39 Frank Hosford
1939-40 E. Harten
1940-43 W. Douse
1943-51 W. Morgan
1951 G. Punch
1952 E. Butler
1953-57 J. Shapiro
1957-61 F. Butcher
1961-62 J. McGrath
1962-64 G. Jefferies
1964-66 K. Williams
1966-68 E. Webb
1968-69 A. Rafael
1969-70 D. Ewings
1970-71 E. Lewis
1971-80 L. Dawson

Records indicate the Royal Hotel was owned by members of the Kane/East families from 1887 to 1939. The hotel was known as the ‘Neverfail’ until 1895 when the name was changed to the Royal Hotel. The name ‘Royal’ was then transferred to the new hotel built near the railway crossing in 1906. This Royal Hotel was demolished in 1977 to make way for the new Royal Tavern.

The East Family
George and Hannah East arrived in Sydney from England on the Herefordshire in 1853 and it appears they first settled in the Maitland area. The eldest son Alfred G. (b.1854) moved to Penrith where he ran a successful butchery business in High Street, a slaughter house at Castlereagh, a farm at Llandilo and became a prominent land owner in the Penrith business area.

The second born son, William Joseph East was born on 18 March 1859, along with a twin sister Lydia Elizabeth. William came to Riverstone in 1878 to work for Benjamin Richards at his new meat works. He was one of the original four slaughter men and was popularly known throughout the district as Billy East. An article in the Gazette of 29 June 1934 stated Billy was the first man to grade sheep for the export trade to England.

Billy married Rose Kane, daughter of Mary Kane, the owner of the ‘Never Fail’ hotel in August 1894, the Gazette (1/9/1894) noting that it was a quiet wedding. Their only child, William Joseph East (Junior) was born on 10 September 1898.

Around 1900 the brothers Alfred G. and Billy J. East returned from England and America with a great deal of money they inherited from their grandfather, John Smithers, a silversmith. A book dated 1898 and titled “Unclaimed Money in Chancery in England and America” showed the East family with a full page of entries.

When Billy retired from the Meatworks in 1912 he was presented with a gold watch and chain in recognition of his loyal service. He was immensely proud of this watch. He wore it every day and was never seen without it.

After more than 30 years as a resident of Riverstone, W. J. East and his wife decided to leave the district and take over the Rugby Hotel at Newtown. On 27 July 1912 the front page of the Gazette featured a report of their farewell –

A crowd of more than 100 assembled in the Oddfellows Hall at Riverstone when a complimentary smoke concert was tendered to Mr W. J. East who has left the district after more than 30 years as a resident. During the evening Mr East was presented with a beautiful illuminated address. Mrs East was not forgotten, for Mr East received for his good wife a solid silver toilet tray bearing the inscription –

“From the residents of Riverstone to Mrs W. J. East, 20th July 1912”, and also a pair of brushes and a hand mirror with silver backs, each engraved with Mrs W. J. East’s initials.

Mr H. Kirwan occupied the chair saying that Mr East had been with them for more than 30 years, and had been a good citizen. As an employee at the Riverstone meatworks, Mr East had by merit and his own exertion worked himself up to the very responsible position of overseer of the mutton shed, and was a trusted servant of the Company. All would admit that he deserved the greatest praise in which he had fought the battle of life. When he was only 8 years old, he lost both his father and mother, and had to go out into the world to forge his own career. He was a native of Maitland and at the age of 17 was managing a butchers shop in Singleton.

He had large experience in the shop trade and came to Riverstone aged 31, with splendid qualifications. After 11 years he was promoted to overseer of the mutton shed, a position he held until his retirement last week. The fact that no strikes had occurred during the whole time he held that position spoke volumes for his management and the tact and ability he displayed. It was generally admitted in the trade that there was no better judge of a sheep than Mr W. J. East.

The Illuminated Address he was presented with was embellished with photos of scenes around the works taken by George Wiggins. It read –

“To William J. East Riverstone, 20th July 1912
We, the residents of Riverstone district and employees of the Riverstone Meat Company, regret to learn of your departure from us. Your 30 years of sojourn amongst us has been educational to those engaged in the capacity of mutton butchering. Your explicit skill with knife and chopper is envied by many and accomplished by few. This achievement has been embellished by many with the tact displayed as foremen. Your departure from this district will be felt by all, and your future watched with eager eyes and zealous hearts, trusting your new endeavours will attain the exalted positions of the past.

We unite in wishing Mrs East, yourself and your family prosperity and good health in your new career.

Yours Sincerely

H. B. Francis, W. High, John P. Quinn, G. H. Scott, H. J. Ludeke, J. Edwards, Charles Watson, R. Cruikshank, J.A. Shaw, R. J. Bowden, F. Hundsdorfer, E. B. Shoular, H. A. Kirwan, Chas. Davis, F. C. Bray, L. J. Darling, James H. Smith, R. Small, R. Hodgson, A. C. Crisp and H. L. Lawson.”

After an absence from Riverstone for a period of three years at his Rugby Hotel in Newtown, Billy and his wife returned to Riverstone to manage the Royal Hotel in 1915. On 20 August 1915, the Gazette noted he had sent a letter to Windsor Council complaining of the condition of the road at the front of the hotel, near the railway gates. On 22 October it noted the Royal Hotel license had been transferred to W J East, after having purchased the freehold of the property two years earlier.

In the meantime, on 10 September 1915 it noted that Billy had sold the goodwill of the Rugby Hotel at Newtown.

Billy was an active member of the Masonic Lodge. The Gazette of 16 June 1928 noted “the Lodge Loyal Prince (W. J. East) bade farewell to Dr. Baden Cook, at a large function held in Riverstone”.

On 21 February 1930, the Gazette noted “our good town man (W.J. East) has donated a block of land 70 by 120 feet on the corner of George Street and Garfield Road to the Loyal Pride Lodge of Riverstone. It is understood the Lodge intends to build an up to date hall on this land. His gift is greatly appreciated.”

Billy was a man of short stature, best remembered for his bowler hat and wearing a suit to show off his gold watch and chain. He enjoyed meeting with Harry Kirwan (the post master) and Norm Conway at Norm’s hairdressers shop where they would sit in the front room on the top floor and discuss the events of the day. Following the death of Norm Conway, his son Eric joined in these discussions and he recalled that Bill had become so deaf that to communicate with him the message had to be written on paper.

Eric Conway said Billy then became a father like figure to him and often they would go over to the men’s club for a quiet game of billiards, a game Billy loved to play. Shortly after the death of his wife Billy asked Eric to accompany him to Melbourne to see the running of the 1936 Melbourne Cup. Eric, aged 18 at the time, said it was the trip of a life time: they travelled to Melbourne on the boat Westralia and stayed at one of Melbourne’s best hotels. Eric recalled the cup that year was won by the 100 to 1 outsider Wotan.

Billy’s wife Rose died on the 20 May 1935 and was buried in the R. C. cemetery at Riverstone, alongside her son. The obituary read –

With tragic suddenness the death took place early on Monday afternoon of Mrs Rose East, Royal Hotel. Riverstone. Wife of W. J. East, aged 64 years. Born at Greymouth, N.Z. daughter of late Henry Kane, married to W. J. East for 40 years. Issue, one son, whose tragic death occurred in Riverstone seven years ago. Brother – Bert Kane, sisters – Mrs Hosford and Mrs Trautwein (Belfields hotel).

William Joseph East (Snr) was killed in a tragic train accident on 7 July 1938. At the time of his death William was profoundly deaf and was wearing a large battery operated device on his chest for hearing. The Sydney Morning Herald on 8 July 1938 reported –

Elderly man killed at Riverstone. Legs cut off by shunting goods train. W. J. East, 79 years, widower of independent means, well known Riverstone resident was killed last night by shunting goods trucks at Riverstone Railway crossing. Mr East lived at the Royal Hotel Riverstone which he owned. Late in the evening of the 7th July, he left his premises to post a letter. Shunting operations were being carried out for the meat works and the main railway gates were closed. It is believed he went through the small pedestrian gate and tried to cross the line but was run down by train trucks. Both legs were cut off and he was otherwise injured. His watch had stopped at 9.24 pm and was badly damaged. Parramatta ambulance took his remains to the Windsor Morgue. He was buried in the C. of E. section of Riverstone cemetery.

The Gazette 15 July 1938 reported:
His wide circle of friends throughout the Hawkesbury were deeply shocked to hear of the tragic death on Thursday evening of last week of one of Riverstone’s oldest and most popular residents, in the person of Mr William Joseph East, who was struck and killed instantly by a string of rail trucks while crossing the line to post a letter; his chronic deafness having prevented him from hearing the approach of the trucks, which were being shunted over the crossing the deceased was using.

The unfortunate occurrence took place at 9.24 pm (at which hour it was subsequently found that deceased’s watch, which was badly damaged, had stopped) and from the fact that a stamped and addressed letter, was found beside the body, it is evident that he had left the hotel, where he was residing, to post this letter. He walked through the pedestrian gate at the railway  crossing, and was seen by two young girls walking across the rails with his head bent, as though picking his steps. An engine with a string of trucks was shunting back from the loop at the Schofields end of the station, but deceased did not appear to notice the trucks approaching him, and, as he was very deaf, he obviously could not hear them, or hear the girls calling to him, while the latter had no other means of attracting his attention.

He was struck by the leading truck and thrown beneath the wheels, two trucks passing over him before his clothing caught in the brake equipment of one and he was carried 70 to 80 yards along the line. The train crew were unaware of the tragedy until the guard, while examining the couplings, discovered  deceased lying dead beneath a truck, it being necessary to cut the clothing before the body could be released. Dr. Rich was immediately summoned and pronounced life extinct, while Constable Pike, who had been informed in the meantime, communicated with Parramatta, and Sergeant Avery and Constable Rash of the wireless patrol were despatched to the scene. Their examination indicated the occurrence was obviously an accident, for which no blame was attachable to anyone, and the Parramatta Ambulance conveyed the body to the Hawkesbury District Hospital morgue.

The late Mr. East, whose only son predeceased some 10 years ago, and his wife 3 years ago, had been a resident of Riverstone for over 50 years, being 79 years of age at the time of his death, and was known and respected by  everyone in and around Riverstone and district, as well as enjoying the friendship and esteem of a very large number of Hawkesbury residents. He is survived by three sisters, Emily (Mrs Furlong), Lydia (Mrs Larter), and Rose (Mrs Fanning), while Frank, Girlie and Renie Hoskins are nephews and nieces respectively.

The attendance at the funeral which took place on Saturday, the interment being conducted in the Church of England portion of the Riverstone Cemetery, was ample evidence of the universal respect in which the deceased had been held, being one of the largest ever seen at that centre. Rev. Hawkins conducted the last rites of the church, while the Masonic service was read by W. M. Bro. W. Nichols. The mortuary arrangements were carried out by Mr Chandler.

In his will William J. left his gold watch along with 500 pounds to George Fletcher, and relatives recalled when the solicitor handed the damaged watch to George, it was in a brown paper bag.

From an estate worth 26,000 pounds, he left money and properties to his three surviving grandchildren, and also left varying amounts to many other relatives and friends. Included in his friends were Harry Kirwan (100 pounds) and Eric Conway (100 pounds and the land on the corner of Garfield Road and Riverstone Parade).
He also left large sums to many organisations including –

  • Freemasons Benevolent Fund – 300 pounds
  • Riverstone Presbyterian Church – 100 pounds
  • Riverstone C. of E. – 300 pounds
  • Windsor Salvation Army – 100 pounds
  • Riverstone Catholic Church – 100 pounds
  • Riverstone Methodist Church – 100 pounds
  • Masonic Boys Home – 200 pounds.

He also left 300 pounds to his twin sister Lydia and requested that she be buried side by side with him in the cemetery at Riverstone. Lydia later declined this request and chose to be buried with her husband, Henry Larter.

The family of William and Rose East had suffered earlier tragedy when their only son had died in 1928 at the age of 29, leaving a wife and four young children.

William Joseph East (Jnr)
William Joseph East (Junior) had been born on 10 September 1898, the only child of Billy and Rose. He married Veronica Josephine Freeman in 1920 at Riverstone and they had four children – Rose b. 1921, Jean b.1923, Francis b.1925 and Shirley b.1926.

This account of William Jnr’s death appeared in the Gazette on 20 July 1928:
Hawkesbury people could scarcely believe the report which was circulated late on Tuesday afternoon last, to the effect that William Joseph East Jnr. proprietor of the Royal Hotel, Riverstone, had passed away. Many people did not know he was ill, and the untimely end was a shock to the community. To the relatives and many friends the bereavement was particularly severe because of its pathetic suddenness.

Less than a week ago the deceased was apparently in normal health, and his death was caused by the simplest of mishaps. One day recently he was proceeding to Llandilo, where he had a farm in partnership with his father, when he happened to scratch his arm on the side of the car. The injury was so slight that little notice was taken of it, and among the things he did at the farm was the handling of some sheep. ‘Tis surmised that a germ from a sheep’s wool got into the wound, as on Friday last he became ill and the symptoms were diagnosed as blood poisoning. So serious was the development that a specialist was consulted and operations performed, the troublesome limb being opened no fewer the 18 times. But the deceased gradually became worse, and notwithstanding that all the loving regard of his parents could suggest was done for him, he passed away on Tuesday afternoon in the ‘Craignish’ Private Hospital at Windsor, to which institution he had been removed that morning.

Born at Riverstone, the late Billy East, as he was affectionately called by his intimates, was the only son of Mr and Mrs W. J. East (Senior) of that town. He was educated at Riverstone Public School and later at Riverview College, and after leaving his Alma Mater he turned his hand to engineering.  Subsequently, however, he assisted his father in the conduct of the Royal Hotel, Riverstone, and upon the latter’s retirement a few years ago, he took over the licence of the house. He was married to Miss Josephine Freeman, a daughter of Mr. and the late Mrs George Freeman of Riverstone, who survives him, together with four young children, Rose, Jean, Francis, and Shirley, the latter being a baby in arms.

The late ‘Billy’ East was a general favourite in and around Riverstone, where he spent the whole of his life, and his death caused profound sorrow among those who had been his companions. Always bright and cheerful, with a lovable disposition, he was a dutiful son and a kind and loving husband and father. In the prime of life he was only 29 years of age at the time of his death and he was a splendid specimen of robust Australian manhood. To be called away so soon, together with the fact that he was the only child, makes the grief of the parents and the young widow all the more poignant.

If any further evidence was needed of the esteem and respect in which the deceased man was held it was seen at the funeral on Wednesday afternoon. It was certainly one of the largest corteges ever seen in Riverstone, people coming from long distances to show their sympathy for the bereaved parents, widow and family. The remains were laid to rest in the Roman Catholic portion of the Riverstone general cemetery, Rev. Father McNally, assisted by Rev. Father Fabian Dwyer conducting the last sad rites. Mr. Chandler was the undertaker.

A magnificent lot of floral tributes were sent by relatives and friends, the top of the motor hearse being covered, whilst a special car was engaged to carry the overflow.

Billy East (Jnr) became a qualified Engineer at the University of Sydney and lived with his family in the Royal Hotel at Riverstone. He had taken over managing the hotel when his father ‘retired’ in 1924. He was fondly known locally as Billy East and was a member of the Parents and Citizens Association at the Riverstone Public School.

His wife Veronica became the Licensee of the Royal hotel though Billy (Snr) and his wife Rose continued to run it. Frank Hosford, another family member became the licensee in 1935 and held it till 1939.

Other descendants of the East family to have a long association with the Riverstone district were the family of Billy Brookes and his wife Lindia, who was a daughter of Billy East’s twin sister Lydia. Their children were Eric (the town’s bootmaker for 50 years), Joyce, Ray, Elsie, Allen and Gregory.

Compiled by Clarrie Neal in 2003/5 from information supplied by Evelyn Lauer, Eric Brookes, Eric Conway, John Finnegan and from the Windsor & Richmond Gazette.

Television Production at the Meatworks

by Alan Strachan

During mid 1964, a Television Camera Crew from the ABC [Australian Broadcasting Commission] visited the Riverstone Meatworks over a period of one week [five days]. The “Religious Program” was made each working day between 12.15pm and 12.45pm, thus enabling workers in all sections of the Works who desired to take part in the film production, to have their lunch and be back at work by the 12.45pm whistle. The management encouraged the workers to support the film production, in an effort to build the attendance numbers up.

The half hour episodes were shot at a location between the western side of the skin-shed and the Casings Department, just across the laneway from the Mutton Board. During the filming of the show, those seeking assistance in the form of some good advice, could ask questions and run a scenario to the Church movement conducting the interviews.

Curiosity got the better of many of the workers who simply turned up just to be photographed amongst the crowd, so as they could appear in real life on television, yours truly being one of them. In all, about 20-30 people which included male and female attended the location, but the attendance would vary from day to day.

Wally Woods was the one who always fired the questions and ran scenarios past the three Church people, who were two men and a lady. Other workers like myself were just too shy to come forward and ask questions in front of the television cameras. I noticed that every time Wally was given the microphone and he took hold of it, his hand would commence shaking, and his speech somewhat changed to a quiver as the television cameraman moved in for a close-up of his face. There were many others present who asked questions and received sound advice from the Church movement, and the two film crew were greatly pleased with the attendance and the numerous questions asked. In those days, the cameraman used film in their cameras and not video film tape like today.

The five 30 minute episodes started to appear on ABC Channel 2 in Sydney about two weeks after the final episode had been filmed. They screened on our black and white television sets [no colour sets until 1975] on Sunday afternoons at 3.30pm and appeared in the TV Guide as a “Religious Program”. The five episodes appeared on alternate Sundays, thus giving the series a longer running time period of two months.

As the filming took place not far from the Mutton Board, the larger proportion of those attending was drawn from this location. We all watched our television sets every second Sunday, in a hope that we could catch a glimpse of  ourselves on television.

Sports Person of the Year Award

by Judith Lewis

In 2005 The Riverstone-Schofields Memorial Club set up a Sports Council with the aim of benefiting local sporting teams and sporting bodies. The Council comprises Chairman and President Glenn Hunter, Bob Puzny, Mick Randall, Grant Smith and Mark Whitby. They meet bi-monthly and, with the support of Councillor Alan Pendleton, have been successful in fast tracking many aspects of Blacktown Council’s maintenance and repair to grounds, fields and the swimming pool. They also found a new home for Schofields Baseball Club when it outgrew Schofields Primary School.

On Saturday 8 April, 2006 their inaugural dinner was held to present awards of “Sports Person of the Year”, “Junior Sportsperson of the Year” and “Club Person of the Year” to ten district sporting clubs. Those clubs and their winners were:-

Riverstone Dolphins RSL Youth Swimming Club:
Club Person of the Year – Margaret Mills, Club Treasurer and delegate to the State RSL Zone for all of the Club’s 12 years. Its first life member, Margaret oversees the organisation of all Club activities.
Sports Person of the Year – Taylah Boyd, who has broken all 50 metre records for her age, been a State Representative for the past 4 years and won 3 gold and 1 silver at the 2005 State Finals.
Junior Sports Person of the Year – Matthew Wilcox (aged 7), Freestyle Champion 2004/2005 and a representative swimmer at the State RSL Swimming Finals in late March 2006.

Schofields Baseball Club:-
Club Person of the Year – Stan Tossell, Club President, member for nine years, successful club and representative coach and recipient of NSW Junior Baseball 2005 Volunteers Medal.
Sports Person of the Year – Wayne Finney, founded Schofields Baseball Club in 1966, has coached at club, district, school, state and national levels. Head coach 2006 State Under 14 Team, assistant coach Australian Under 13 Team who competed in USA in 2005 & 2006.
Junior Sports Person of the Year – Blake Finney, has represented at Zone, State and National levels travelling to represent Australia in USA in 2002. He was invited to join the “train on” squad at NSW Institute of Sport Baseball programme in 2005.

Schofields Netball Club:-
Club Person of the Year – Warren Hughes, an executive member of committee, umpire and umpire convenor, equipment custodian, coach and team manager, assists with preparation of district courts for competition.
Sports Person of the Year – Lucy Taber, badged umpire, assists with coaching and training of junior teams, chosen in 2006 Hawkesbury representative team.
Junior Person of the Year – Brittney Hughes, selected in 2005 Hawkesbury 11 years representative team.

Riverstone Junior Rugby League :-
Club Person of the Year – Russell Magennis, Life Member, member for over 35 years, has held most executive positions, coach, manager, involved in all  aspects of volunteer work.
Sports Person of the Year – Dwayne Sarina, Captain and Best and Fairest Player of Premiership winning A Grade side 2005.
Junior Person of the Year – Charlie Harris, one of the best and fairest players in Under 12s Premiership winning team 2005, making both District and Metropolitan West Representative teams.

Riverstone Cricket Club:-
Club Person of the Year – Martin Walls, spends many hours working on the development of younger players.
Sports Person of the Year – Jim Jones, inspirational team captain, leading wicket taker and run scorer. In Top 5 of District for most wickets and runs.
Junior Person of the Year – Raymond Walls, a member of the Under 14s, scored 334 runs at an average of 34, took the most wickets including 5 for 46 and took the most catches.

Riverstone-Schofields Soccer Club:-
Club Person of the Year – Malcolm Burke, registrar, coach for Under 11s and Over 35s.
Sports person of the Year – Jo-Anne Gentles, captained first ever ladies’ team to grand final victory in Blacktown Association, to runners-up in Champions of Champions, making them the second best amateurs ladies’ team in NSW.
Junior Person of the Year – Jacqueline Anyoun Smith, Under 7s player with the gift to glide past opposition players and score at will.

Huxley Homes Netball Club:-
Club Person of the Year – Loretta Vaughan, club member since 1981, Secretary since 1985, Life Member since 1992, has been player, coach and umpire. Recognised by Hawkesbury Netball Association with Volunteer of the Year and Service Award for dedication to netball and 2006 Australia Day Local Volunteer Award.
Sports Person of the Year – Tiffany Guy, Division 1 netballer for 10 years, represented Hawkesbury in Night State League and in Hawkesbury Netball’s top team.
Junior Person of the Year – Leanne Golebiowski, has represented Hawkesbury since the age of 11, has played Night State League for both Hawkesbury and Baulkham Hills Associations. In Track and Field she won Gold and Bronze at NSW CHS, 2 Bronze at NSW All-Schools and achieved two top ten placings (6th & 9th) at Australian All-Schools.

Riverstone Netball Club:-
Club Person of the Year – Leanne Leach, Club member since 1972, coach since 1981, President since 1996, Masters Rep. (Hawkesbury), National Umpire Badge, Club Umpire Convenor, Umpire for Riverstone Sports Centre, helping hand for Riverstone Dolphins Swimming Club.

Riverstone and District Little Athletics:-
Club Person of the Year – Vernon Cross, Life Member, Championship Officer for 21 years, creating the first Club Record Book, integral to the upgrading of Amenities Building, Equipment Sheds, long jump pits, discus and shot put rings.
Sports Person of the Year – Michael Barber, from 1996-2002 State Representative in Discus, Shot Put, Javelin and Multi-Event & multiple club record holder. 2005- Australian Universities Games – 3rd Open Decathlon, 5th Open Hammer; NSW University Games – 1st Cross Country Team; NSW – 1st U/20 Decathlon; Australian – 4th U/20 Decathlon; UTS Sports Scholar, Sporting Blue Award recipient. 2006- NSW – 1st Open Decathlon, 1st U/23 Decathlon, 1st U/23 Shot Put, 1st U/23 Hammer Throw, 1st U/23 Pole Vault, 1st U/23 Discus, Australian – 6th U/23 Decathlon, National Combined Events Challenge – 3rd U/23.
Junior Person of the Year – Rachel Pace, 8 years old, set new record for 60 metres Hurdles, Zone Championships, 1st 70m, 100m & 60m Hurdles, 2nd Discus’ Regional Championships, 1st 70m, Gold Medal, 2nd 60m Hurdles, Silver Medal.

Sportsman of the Year: The worthy winner of the inaugural Russell Magennis Trophy for Sportsman of the Year was Michael Barber whose achievements in athletics at University, State and National levels was outstanding. Michael’s acceptance speech showed what a high standard this
young man has set for future winners of this award.

The evening was most successful, not only in recognising achievers in their chosen sport, but also in acknowledging the huge contribution to the community made by the previously unsung volunteers who keep these sporting organisations running. The Riverstone/Schofields Memorial Club and its Sports Council are to be congratulated for engendering such a feeling of community pride and spirit in all the people lucky enough to have attended the presentation evening.

Remembering the Old Schoolyard

by Judith Lewis

Much of the following article is from a talk given to Riverstone Primary School students for Education Week 2004.

I have much to remember about Riverstone Public Schoolyard. I spent 33 years, almost half of my life, there. I was a student for all my primary years, from 1943 – 1948, returned as an Infants’ Schoolteacher from 1958-1960, retired, then returned in 1968 as Teacher-Librarian. I retired on my 55th birthday, in 1992, as Relieving Principal

I started school in June 1943, during the Second World War. The school was in Garfield Road. In the schoolyard at that time was the long trench the fathers had dug along the Castlereagh Street fence. Riverstone, being between two military airbases, Schofields and Richmond, would have been threatened had the Japanese fighter planes attacked Sydney, as those two airbases would have been prime targets. Mothers made each child a cloth drawstring bag. These were hung on the pegs outside each classroom. The only thing I can recall being in the bags was a wooden dolly clothes peg that we were to bite on to stop our eardrums shattering if there were any loud explosions. We practised in, but never had to use, those air raid shelters. We were ready if we had to.

I have a very clear memory of the day the war ended. We all assembled in the playground. Four big boys carried out the huge wooden school wireless (radio) and we all listened to the Prime Minister’s announcement that the war was over. There was much cheering and we were given the day off. Some boys rang the school bell for ages and as we raced home we heard all of the town’s church bells joining in. Mothers were all out in the street, talking, laughing and crying. We kids were mostly happy because we had a holiday!

At playtime we girls usually played games like Skipping, Hopscotch or Fly and the boys played chasing games or marbles. Skipping was usually a group activity. Two girls would turn the long rope whilst the others lined up for their turns at running in to skip. A favourite was “Miss a Loop”. Each girl ran in succession and skipped once. If you allowed the turners to turn the rope before you ran in you had “missed a loop” and became one of the rope turners. This was all right if there were a lot of girls playing, but if the numbers were few you had to run fast to get back on the line so you did not “miss a loop”. Many skips were done to rhyme with the appropriate actions, such as:-

“Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear touch the ground,
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear turn around,
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear do the high kick,
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear run out quick.”

Really smart girls could skip with two ropes being turned alternately. This was called “Double Dutch” or “French and English” depending on which direction the ropes were being turned, clockwise or anti clockwise.

Fly could be played with two or more people. A number of sticks were placed on the ground about one foot (30cms) apart and each person had to step into every space without touching a stick. The last person was “The Fly”. The Fly made an almighty leap after stepping into the last space and then chose any stick, except the first one, to be moved to where their toe had landed. As the game progressed the spaces between the sticks became further apart and running starts became a necessity.

Once you were no longer able to take only one step between each stick you were eliminated from the game and the last person left in became the new “Fly”.

A popular game we played in the weather sheds was “Puss in the Corner”. One person stood in the centre, four others one in each corner. The centre person had to try to ‘steal’ the corner as the four encouraged each other to change places by beckoning and calling “Here, Puss”.

Games played with a ball against the wall were also popular with the girls, as were games such as “May I?”, where one girl stood out the front and gave directions in turn to the four or five girls who were lined up some distance away. Directions for “May I?” were varied –a needle was one foot’s length whilst a pin was half of that; a frog’s leap was as long as you could make it or you could be told to take any number of needles, pins, frog leaps or whatever. Before doing your action you had to ask “May I?” If the answer was “Yes” you proceeded if “No” you stayed put. If you forgot to ask “May I?” you had to go back to the start. The first girl to reach the front was the winner and became
the director for the next game. A game of similar format to “May I?” was “Alphabets” where the person at the front called out letters of the alphabet. If you had the called letter in your name you took two strides for each time the letter appeared and four strides if the letter was a capital.

Because not many mothers worked most children went home for lunch, coming back to school in time for afternoon classes. When we were in 5th and 6th classes we would sometimes hurry back from lunch because we were allowed to play in the large open paddock opposite the school (where the swimming pool is now). I don’t ever recall any teachers going with us. The boys would play cricket on one side of the paddock and the girls played vigoro in the corner near Market and Piccadilly Streets. When the bell rang we hurried across to school because no one wanted to be late. Being late for school without a good reason might mean being caned.

Nearly all teachers used canes. I was caned in my first week at school, for talking. I don’t recall it hurting at all, but I was very embarrassed and was never caned again. Boys were caned often, especially if they were fighting in the schoolyard. The smarter boys learned to save their fights till after school. They would arrange to meet behind the paling fence of the Masonic Hall (now the
Museum). I don’t know what happened there because girls were never allowed to watch.

In 1958 I returned to Riverstone Public School as a teacher. The new Primary Department had been built in Elizabeth Street and the Garfield Road School had only six Infants’ Classes. That meant five teachers saw a lot of the schoolyard as we had to do playground duty once or twice every day. When
we had a special morning tea at Recess the children were limited to playing on the quadrangle where we could watch them from the Kindergarten Room verandah.

In 1947, two years after the war had ended, there were 72 children in 5th Class. Teachers were very scarce and one of the 5th Class teachers was a very old retired teacher (we really believed he was 102). Each morning he pulled a big alarm clock out of his bag and placed it on his desk. The boys in the class said it was to wake him up at home time. He couldn’t cope, so all 72 children were taught by the Deputy, Mr. Russell, in the weather shed, which only had three full walls. An old army hut was brought to the school and put near the Piccadilly Street corner. A new teacher, Mrs Payne  arrived, and my 5th Class, with Mr. Russell, moved into the new room. It was later moved and, in 1960, became my Kindergarten Room. In later years it became the Infants’  Department Canteen and was moved to the Elizabeth Street site as the Community Room when the school consolidated.

I left teaching that year, 1960, and returned in 1968 when my three sons were at school. This time I was the Teacher-Librarian, so I didn’t spend a lot of time in the schoolyard, but quite often the schoolyard came to me. The library was the place to escape to if you were in strife in the playground.

Three times a year, on the last day of term, then a Thursday, I joined in when the Staff played the students in a game of softball. On one occasion one of the students hit a high ball and Class 6 teacher, Anna Kragt, called “mine”. Another teacher, Ian Woods, also ran to take the catch and they collided. Anna’s jaw was broken. She was in great pain and could barely say, “I do” when she was married on the following Saturday. Anna, Ian and I still keep in touch and often share a laugh about the many happy days we spent in our old schoolyard.

My three sons tell me their very best school memories are of the fun they had with their mates playing in the schoolyard. Most of our school friendships have been long lasting. Many of our schoolyard games were also played in the backyard at home in the afternoons and, in summertime, in the evenings. With the advent of television, computers and video games and the trend to very small backyards it is rare now to see children enjoying the after school fun of games they learned in the old schoolyard.

Nevis Margery Tyler Watson

by Heather Smith

Photo courtesy of the Worboys family.

When my sister Nevis Worboys, along with three other women, Joan Sookee, Dorothea Lamerton and Heather Gow, was elected as an Alderman to Blacktown Municipal Council in September 1974, the Blacktown Advocate ran a photograph of the women and labelled them “Pioneers” of the Blacktown District.

Born Nevis Margery Tyler Watson on 15th June 1938, Nevis was the second of three girls to Margery and George Watson. Our father was a butcher in Camden who took up dairy farming. At the outbreak of the War he and his two brothers joined the AIF, leaving our mother to run the farm and look after three small daughters. It was then that she decided to move to Riverstone where her parents, William and Mary Morgan, were Licensees of the Royal Hotel (now demolished).

We attended Riverstone Public School then continued our high school education as boarders at Claremont College, Randwick. Nevis became a  Dental Nurse in Parramatta until she married Patrick Worboys in December 1958. She then attended Granville Technical College for three years and studied sewing and dressmaking, a skill she maintained all her life.

Strong females predominated in our family. Although we did not go out to work, we were always encouraged to pursue community work.

In an interview with a local paper after being elected Nevis paid tribute to her family’s influence. She stated, I guess it’s because my family, who have been associated with the Riverstone district for over 30 years, have always been interested and involved in community affairs. My grandfather William Morgan was President of the Newcastle Branch of the Australian Labor Party for many years before moving to Riverstone. He was a member of NSW State  Parliament in the ill-fated Jack Lang Government and later Chairman of the State Conciliation Committee. My uncle was President of the Postal Worker’s Union, my father George Watson is President of the Riverstone Bowling Club, my mother Marge Watson is the International officer of Riverstone CWA, my aunt Pertha Morgan is President of the Original Old Age and Invalid Pensioners Association and my sister Heather Smith is President of the Riverstone Netball Club as well as President of the Mothers’ Club.

Nevis was always keenly interested in local causes, being a Justice of the Peace, Treasurer, Coach and player with Riverstone Netball Club, a member of Riverstone Parks’ Committee and the Riverstone Mothers’ Club.

In 1974, with Blacktown Council in disarray due to rumours of corruption, the State Government threatened to bring in an Administrator to run it, so an election was hastily called. Nevis, at the age of 36 and mother of two small children, Matthew 10 and Luke 7, was approached to run as No.3 on a ticket of Independents for Ward 1 led by William “Bill” Smith, Marsden Park, and Alan Watton of Riverstone.

Nevis’ campaign was strictly a family affair run by friends and relatives, mainly women. The general opinion was that a woman running as No.3 on an Independent ticket would have little or no chance of success. Money was short and most of it went on printing “How to Vote” leaflets so Ward was inundated with women pushing strollers, accompanied by older children on bicycles, knocking on doors and handing out pamphlets. When I look back on our endeavours they were very amateurish compared to nowadays, but we got our message through with our “How to Vote” pamphlets.

Although Riverstone was a strong Labor orientated town, their loyalty to one of their own paid off. Voters in Ward 1 voted strictly to the ticket. Nevis’ Primary Vote, plus the preferential votes handed down to her from Bill and Alan, was successful not only as a “long shot”, but also a woman to boot being elected to Blacktown Municipal Council. It has always been a claim by our family that Nevis was the first woman elected to the Council. That night we waited on the lawn outside the Council chambers. When the Electoral Officer started reading out the successful campaigners Nevis’ name was the first female name called out. Riverstone had been without representation on the Council for many years. Once Nevis was sworn in local residents beat a path to her door in Castlereagh Street, Riverstone.

Nevis’ first term of three years was an experience. Her second term,  commencing in 1977 was a much more difficult kettle of fish as Bill Smith and Alan Watton had decided not to contest a second term. This time she was an Independent woman battling a strong Labor push, especially in Ward 1 where Ken Roberts, whom she had beaten in the 1974 elections, decided to stand against her again.

Her hard work over the past three years had made her very popular in Ward 1 and once again family and friends rallied around. Her husband Patrick, sons Luke and Matthew and the rest of our family manned Polling Booths, acted as Scrutinizers and handed out “How to Vote Tickets” in the boiling sun. Once again she was successful with her Primary Vote. This time she was No.1 on her ticket. Again her supporters voted strictly to the ticket, but she was unable to bring home her running partners. Dorothea Lamerton in Ward 5 was the only other woman on the Council for this term.

In a large Council like Blacktown it is difficult to attribute any one success to a lone Independent woman. Following the 1977 elections Labor Aldermen, led by the Mayor John Aquilina, dominated the Council. Because she was an  Independent she was looked to for advice from many of the newly elected Councillors. She formed a strong friendship with John Aquilina as well as State Member of Parliament Kevin Rozzoli and Federal Member Allan Cadman. She was appointed as representative on the Local Government Council and served on the Finance Committee.

Nevis never sought recognition for herself; she only wanted recognition for Riverstone. She declined to have Streets or Parks named after her. She was instrumental in having streets in Riverstone kerbed and guttered, and public tennis and netball courts constructed.

When she wanted to ban the selling of alcohol at football games where young people were playing, a group of protesters packed the Chambers at a fiery Council meeting and accused her of indulging in a worse habit, smoking. When she spoke she agreed to give up smoking and the Council banned the selling of alcohol at Junior Football games. She never touched another cigarette. She also campaigned successfully against the abolition of Rural rating which would have added a greater financial burden on the large number of market gardeners in her Ward.

Not so successful was the campaign against the building of Parklea Prison. She and the residents of Ward 1 held a two week long vigil protesting about the prison. On the final Saturday, police were ordered to break up the protesters. As they moved in, Nevis, her youngest son Luke (11) and Quakers Hill Parish Priest Father Bartholomew Cullose jumped up on top of a shipping container, urging the protestors not to move. With that the police closed in on them, ordered them down for trespassing then placed them in the back of the ‘paddy wagon’. As they were being driven to Blacktown Police Station Nevis pinned her Alderman’s identification badge to her dress and Fr. Cullose place his gold crosses on his shirt collar.

Twenty five years later her son Luke recalls them being unloaded at the rear of the Police Station and the consternation they caused. He was brought out first. The Sergeant looked at the Constable and asked, “What are you doing arresting kids?”

Next to come out was Nevis. The situation became even more strained when the Sergeant, very red in the face, exclaimed, “What on earth are you doing arresting the Lady Alderman?” He could hardly speak when the next prisoner to appear was the local Parish priest. He spluttered, “My God you’ve arrested the local priest. What’s going on down there?”

After much discussion it was decided that they would proceed by way of a Summons and the three of them were released, much to the cheers of the waiting spectators. They never were charged over this matter.

Nevis was a strikingly attractive woman with excellent features, dark curly hair and brown eyes. Her motto in life was “If you can’t do something with a willing heart don’t do it at all.” She had the ability to analyse a complicated problem and then offer a simple solution. She was never too busy to listen to anybody’s problem. If she could not solve it she would make sure that they would be put in touch with somebody who could.

In 1993 at the age of 56, Nevis was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She  passed away in January 1994 and was buried in Pine Grove Cemetery. She was survived by her husband Patrick and two sons Matthew and Luke.

This article was written by Heather Smith, Alderman Nevis Worboys’ sister, for our Journal and a booklet called “Rediscovered: some notable women of the Blacktown district”, published by Blacktown City Council for International Women’s Day 2006.

Motor Racing at Schofields – 1958

Jon Marsh/Barry Collerson

Barry Collerson was a well-known figure on the Sydney motor racing scene in the 1950s and 60s. Starting his career in 1955 in a Singer 9, he progressed through two MGs, a Lago, a Cooper Minx, a Jolus Minx, and a Repco Brabham before realizing a dream in 1966 and heading to Europe for two seasons of Formula 3 racing. He now lives at Wilberforce. In his book Mount Druitt to Monza (Bookworks 2004) he recalls racing at Schofields Aerodrome in 1958. The following article is reproduced by permission of the author.

“The Canoblas Trophy was followed by a win in the 1.5 litre Racing Car class at Foley’s Hill Climb, to be followed by two highly successful meetings on the Schofields Aerodrome Circuit. With the demise of the Mount Druitt circuit in 1957, New South Wales enthusiasts were starved of motor racing venues, having only Gnoo Blas at Orange (one or two meetings per year), and Bathurst’s Mount Panorama (two meetings per year).

Circuits such as Warwick Farm and Katoomba’s Catalina Park were still a couple of years away from fruition when a group of enthusiasts, led by Bruce Polain from the Manly Warringah Sporting Car Club, successfully negotiated with a sympathetic Commanding Officer at HMAS Nirimba, a naval airbase at Schofields on the outskirts of Sydney. The result was an interesting motor racing circuit that combined the main airstrip with the various perimeter and service roads of the base.

The first meeting, jointly organised by the Manly Warringah and North Shore Sporting Car Clubs, was held on 6th July 1958. What a wonderful day for the motor racing starved people of Sydney! The program commenced with scratch races for Touring Cars up to 1100cc, followed by 1101-1500cc
and over 1500cc races. Next were Sports Cars under 1500cc, followed by over 1500cc. The latter race was won by Frank Gardner driving a D type Jaguar, ahead of Frank Matich in an Austin Healey. Both these drivers were destined to make their mark in motor racing, Gardner on the European Sports and Touring Car scene, while Matich would dominate Racing and Sports Car
events here in Australia in the mid-nineteen-sixties.

With only two entries for the over-1500cc Racing Car Scratch Race, the under and over 1500cc Racing Car events were run concurrently. As a result, I had a wonderful dice for outright honours with Frank Walters in the So Cal V8 Special, with Frank beating me across the finish line by one second, leaving me a comfortable winner of the under-1500cc section from Robin Orlando, in yet
another famous supercharged MG Special from the Mount Druitt “Glory Days”, the Fowler MG. This little yellow car, originally built and raced by Ray Fowler, was based on an MG J2 chassis and powered by a 1500cc TC engine, blown by a J100 Marshall supercharger. Paul Samuels finished third in yet another MG Special.

Now to a race with a difference, the Inter-Club Teams Relay Race. Each team consisted of one Racing, one Sports and one Sedan car. North Shore Sporting Car Club was represented by Frank Walters’ So Cal V8 Special (racing car), Tom Sulman’s Aston Martin DB3S (sports car) and Ken Brigden’s Peugeot 203 (sedan). The MG Car Club had Paul Samuels (MG Special), “Tex” Downie (MG Special Sports) and Les Howard (Simca), while Manly Warringah Sporting Car Club was represented by myself in the MG Special, Frank Gardner (D Type Jaguar) and Bill Thompson in the twin-cam Waggott Holden sedan.

Racing Cars were first away, and, as we completed our lap and screeched to a halt, I was narrowly in front of Frank Walters and Paul Samuels. Leaping out of our cars, we then ran to our Sports Car team-mates, who in turn ran to their respective cars and took off…unfortunately, the D-type was in reverse gear and the delay allowed the Aston Martin into the lead ahead of the MG, with the Jaguar charging up behind. As they re-appeared onto the straight, the D-type had re-taken the lead from the Aston Martin, so that at the changeover Bill Thompson was the first away…in the same manner as his teammate…in reverse! The delay was only slight however, and the superior power of the dohc (double overhead camshaft) Waggott Holden enabled Thompson to re-take the lead before the end of the lap and receive the chequered flag to give victory to our team. Second place went to North Shore with the MG Car Club team a close third.

As the day’s program had run smoothly and was, in fact, ahead of time, the CAMS Steward was approached with a proposal to hold an additional race. Permission was forthcoming and the over- 1500cc Sports Cars, together with all Racing Cars, were assembled for a “Le Mans Start” scratch race, the Racing Cars to be “push started” by their respective pit crews. I doubt that officials would condone such a dangerous event today, but things were pretty “rough and ready” back in the fifties. Fortunately, we all managed to run to our cars and get away, without any pit crew members being run over! To quote Australian Motor Sports magazine:-“Collerson (MG) led Frank Gardner through
the first corner, but the Jaguar slipped by as Barry slowed while fastening his safety belt. These two positions remained unchanged, and Horst Kwech (Austin Healey) was third”.

Following the resounding success of this initial race meeting at Schofields, the Singer Car Club of Australia was prompted to run a meeting at the same venue, albeit with a more orthodox program. Again, “the Hotty”, as I had affectionately titled the MG Special, was running like a dream and I had
the satisfaction of two wins and a third placing from three starts. After winning the under-1500cc scratch race from Robin Orlando in the Fowler MG and George Websdale (Buchanan MG). I started from the back mark in the under-1500cc Handicap and got through the field to win from George
Websdale and Tom Corcoran in yet another MG Special.

Finally came the last race of the day, the All Powers Handicap, traditionally known as “The Butchers Picnic”. The “Hotty” was giving away lots of litres, but we managed to finish third in the scratch section behind Jack Robinson’s Jaguar Special and Frank Walters’ So Cal V8 Special.”

Racing at Schofields in 1958. Barry Collerson with his MG
Photo courtesy of Barry Collerson