Tuesday 20 February 2018

Talking of Tarlee - Sheaf tossing

This article appeared in 1947 with the reporter and John McInerney reminiscing about the Tarlee picnics of days gone by. Like so many Trove articles it opens up more lines of enquiry so Tarlee sheaf tossing led me to the history of a mill in Gawler and an Italian musician who composed “The Cat’s Polka” and “The Canary Waltz.”

But first the sheaf tossing.  In the picture above you see sheafs of wheat being tossed by pitchfork from cart up to the man responsible for building the haystack. (1)

Tarlee Sheaf Tossing

OUR esteemed old Riverton friend John Mclnerney confirms what Mr. Herb. Gray suggested about the origin of sheaf-tossing. 'Yes, it was my late brother Jim who first suggested a prize for sheaf-tossing at the Tarlee picnic more than 50 years ago. The method was to place a bar about as high as a load of hay, and competitors had to pitch the sheaf over this; the distance it went after was the deciding factor, As Mr. Gray stated, the sheaves were just as they came off the binder, and didn't stand very many throws. However, a plentiful supply was on hand and fresh ones were used. About 22 entries were received for the initial contest.
Reaper-binder-harvester with sheaf carrier
Museums Victoria - https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/774148

'Bowling at a single stump was also on the bill for the first time; and this is a popular event at picnic sports today. Another novelty was a polo race. Competitors lined up on hacks armed with a polo mallet, and had to thump a ball about 15 chains or so to the winning post. Swimming contests, too, were decided in a large pool close by in the Gilbert. 'For two or three years Phil Roberts ran here as a boy, but the committee insisted that he should in future run in the men's class.  Mr. Joe Denton, of Farrells Plat, was another good sport, and Mr. Bevan. 'A splendid luncheon was provided by the ladies— turkey and ham in plenty—with a help-yourself supply of pickles. I believe that the luncheon for 1/ was an attraction in itself. Setaro's Canary String Band supplied the music for the day and night, Really, in those days, the Tarlee picnic was spoken of as the Onkaparinga of the North.
'The railway was opened to Tarlee on July 1, 1869. Before this wheat was carted with bullock teams to Duffield's mill at Gawler. Fancy strolling beside a team of bullocks for such a distance. (2)
This article led me on more explorations. What was Setaro’s Canary String band and what was Duffield’s mill in Gawler?

Setaro’s Canary String Band

setaropicFrom May of 1889 advertisements for Signor Francesco Setaro’s band started to appear in newspapers. Hundreds of events from then on, referred to this popular band which provided music of a great variety from opera to popular tunes.

Yearly socials of literary societies, church groups of various denominations, fetes, picnics, banquets and sports occasions were all enhanced with music provided by this band. Sometimes it was intermittent music between other recitals or dance music provided at the end of an evening function. 

The band name with canary added in came about as recognition of  one of several popular pieces he composed - The Canary Waltz.

The background story is revealed in his obituary published in 1926. He had arrived in Adelaide at age 20 to play in a jubilee concert. He was already an accomplished musician who had been performing since he was 12. Slightly different details are provided in the various obituaries published by the newspapers, but at age 59 his illustrious career had come to and end. He was recognised as a generous citizen willing to contribute his talent and teaching skills to the citizens of South Australia. (3)

Duffield’s Gawler Mill

duffield mill
This photo shows the mill in 1882.
I then explored references to  the Gawler Mill and found through Trove that as early as 1862 additions to the mill were being made to cater for the quantity of wheat being delivered there.
The addition to Mr. Duffield's mill is fast progressing, and already overlooks the old building. When completed I should think it will be one of the largest mills in the colony, if not the largest of any. An immense amount of new wheat is being brought into the town, most of which at present finds its way to Duffield's mill; the mill and premises are literally crowded with wheat. (4)
Fire was always a hazard for the mill. Disaster struck not just once, but at least three times. In June of 1867 the newspapers reported the complete destruction of the mill wherein the shafts and mill wheels were damaged beyond repair by the intensity of the heat.(5)

In September of 1867 the new foundation stone was laid and building of the new mill was expected to be completed by the end of 1868. (6) Work proceeded apace with the new mill officially opened in July of 1868. (7)

The new mill however was short-lived and in December of 1868 the residents of Gawler were awoken to cries of “Fire, fire” once more. Yet again Duffield’s mill was destroyed and out of action. An inquest was quickly established to determine whether there had been foul play. (8) By August of 1869 the rebuilding of the mill was almost complete. In 1876 another conflagration consumed the mill and all it contained. (9)

Once again the mill was rebuilt and reopened in February of 1877. It continued to trade under a variety of guises including producing compressed fodder during the Boer War. In April 1927 after years of standing idle the old mill was once again consumed by fire. (10)

IN 1928 the death knell was sounded for the Victoria Mill as it was known. It was demolished to make way for railway yards. Its chequered history was recalled in the 1928 article 1928 'THE LAST OF THE OLD VICTORIA MILL.'

Walter Duffield the owner of the Gawler and several other mills is profiled here in The Australian Dictionary of Biography.

Trove a true treasure of stories of the past.

1. ‘Building a stack of cereal hay’ http://pir.sa.gov.au/aghistory/photo photoID 306946

2. 1947 'Out Among The People', Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954), 9 October, p. 43. , viewed 11 February  2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article93226029

3. 1926 'OBITUARY.', The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929), 18 January, p. 11. , viewed 20 Feb 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64327151

4.1862 'GAWLER.', The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 - 1889), 31 January, p. 3. , viewed 11 Feb 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article31807106

5. 1867 'GREAT FIRE AT GAWLER.—DESTRUCTION OF MR. DUFFIELD'S MILL.', South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), 28 June, p. 7. , viewed 11 Feb 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article39178794

6. 1867 'THE NEW VICTORIA FLOUR MILLS, GAWLER.', The Express and Telegraph (Adelaide, SA : 1867 - 1922), 21 September, p. 3. (LATE EDITION.), viewed 11 Feb 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article207672514

7. 1868 'THE VICTORIA MILLS GAWLER.', Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904), 18 July, p. 9. , viewed 11 Feb 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article158932347

8. 1868 'DESTRUCTIVE FIRE AT GAWLER.', Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904), 19 December, p. 6. , viewed 11 Feb 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article158934811

9. 1876 'LOCAL TELEGRAMS.', The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 - 1889), 28 January, p. 5. , viewed 11 Feb 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article31964777

10. 1927 'GENERAL NEWS.', The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929), 26 April, p. 10. , viewed 11 Feb 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article54092726

11. 1928 'THE LAST OF THE OLD VICTORIA MILL.', Bunyip (Gawler, SA : 1863 - 1954), 6 April, p. 11. , viewed 11 Feb 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article96672759

Tuesday 6 February 2018

Talking of Tarlee - The Institute

Tarlee Institute dated 1888

The power of a book club.

Three men wanted more books to read, others followed their lead.

In 1888 in Tarlee, in the mid-north of South Australia, an institute was established and subscribers paid for the privilege of reading. Money was raised to erect a building to house books, provide reading and other public space. The Public Library Board offered affiliation and supplied books to local institutes as well as purchases being made by the local community.

The Institute was used as a polling booth, a room was let to a bank, and a multitude of community functions were held. Each year the exhibits for the local show were housed in the building.
In 1905 the Tarlee institute incurred the displeasure of the Public Library Board by their disposal of 44 dilapidated volumes.(1)  After this incident, regulations were changed to allow for more local decision making.

Fundraising efforts towards completion of the building continued as exemplified by this short article where participants enjoyed several competitions. These included nail-driving and potato lifting for the women and potato peeling and bun-eating for the men.
Tarlee annual festival fund raising for Institute
1905 fund raising function

By 1906 further money had been raised to complete the building as originally planned. This account of the 1906 reopening appeared in the local paper, The Kapunda Herald. (2)

Thirty-five years ago three men - Messrs. P Hogan, Prescott, and G. Walker started a book-club in Tarlee. Others asked to be allowed to join, so an institute was formed. In 1888 portion of the commodious hall depicted in our illustration was built with the support of the Wooroora Agricultural Society, who gave a free grant of land. This year the building was completed, and a re-opening ceremony was performed by the Hon. J. J. Duncan. Great praise is due to the president (Mr. J. F. Godfrey). the vice-president (Mr. J. Mclnerney), the secretary (Mr. K. Noack), the treasurer (Mr. J, O. Taylor), and the committee (Messrs. J. Bond. I Jacobs, W. Pickering, M. McCarthv. E. Willis, R, H. Clarke, and F. Fleming) for the determined effort which was made first to reduce the debt on the old building, and then to raise money for the completion of the original design. The trustees are Messrs. McInerney (chairman), R. H. Clark,. J.G. Kelly, J. Bond, and J. F. Godfrey. The Institute Hall is used every year for the local show.
Two years later the same paper published an article on the Institutes of the Lower North in which they compared the buildings and services offered by the institutes in six towns of the region.
Tarlee Institute as completed in 1906
The text below the picture reads:
This Institute grew out of a book-club started some 38 years ago. The building was completed to its present state in 1906. The agricultural show grounds adjoin the Institute land, and the building itself is used for the display of goods. (3)
Throughout the years this humble building became the centre of a wide variety of activities for its community. In more recent years extra rooms and facilities have been added to the side of the  building.

A 1954 article in Trove captures the opening of  the supper room built on to the side of the Institute.
Tarlee Celebrates
IT WAS a great event for the little hamlet of Tarlee, always busy with to-and-fro traffic; on Saturday when district residents congregated in numbers to see Mr. Quirke, MP, open the new supper room attached to the institute, and the Minister for Defence (Sir Philip McBride) unveil a World War II. honor roll. Mr. Melrose, MLC, came across from Kadlunga, Mintaro. They were Introduced by Mr. A. L. Molineux, chairman of the war memorial committee since its formation in 1946, and Councillor (now chairman) of Riverton District Council for 29 years and opposed only once. Mr Molineux explained that £1.000 had been raised promptly toward the extension. District people subscribed £300 for a bio-box for cinema shows. The CWA (Mrs. Clayton Dunn is president now) raised £437 toward the hall. (4)
Meetings for local committees, fetes, dances, farewell socials, concerts, debates,  family celebrations, CWA meetings, election campaigns, polling booth: these are just a few of the types of functions held in  the Institute which sprung from the humble beginnings of a book club.

1. 1905 'PUBLIC LIBRARY BOARD.', The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929), 19 August, p. 4. , viewed 03 Feb 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article55820856

2. 1906 'TARLEE INSTITUTE.', Kapunda Herald (SA : 1878 - 1951), 2 November, p. 1. (Kapunda Herald Illustrated Supplement), viewed 03 Feb 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article108379385

3. 1908 'Institutes of the Lower North.', Kapunda Herald (SA : 1878 - 1951), 13 November, p. 3. (Kapunda Herald Illustrated Supplement), viewed 03 Feb 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article132367197

4.  1954 'Out among the People', Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954), 20 May, p. 51. , viewed 03 Feb 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article93914430

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