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fi TrK DOLLYPOT!

There ts a wealth of story yet untold about our goldfields, past and present. In order to remedy this and provide the old-timers and the new generation with the opportunity of bringing the picturesque personalities of the past and present to life in these pages a prize of 10/6 weekly will be given to the yarn selected to go "Over the Plates." Send contributions to "Non-Com," "The Western Mail," Perth, and endorse the envelope "The Dolly Pot."

~OVER THE PLATES.

OLD NANNINE.

Memories of Mines and Men.

By Suter Abis, Inglewood.

Time > has changed in many ways

But one thing changes never.

The memory oí those happy days

We fell once spent together.

DEAR "Non-com,"-Nannine came into

existence about 1892 when Bayley found gold on the "Island." According to all accounts he got plenty. His patch

and the immediate vicinity have been worked spasmodically ever since; man: made good while others were only 01 tucker. The gold they say goes into the bed of the lake and there is no telling what may be hidden under that deep layer of mud.

Although I first saw Nannine about 1894 when Mullewa was the "head of the line," it was not until about nine year later that I resided there, when Cue hat acquired that distinction. Later stil Nannine became the terminus.. The uv habitants pf every town "farther up" th< gold belt always clamoured for the rail- way to come to their centre, and noi without reason. It brought the innei world much closer, transport was quickei and cheaper, and it brought finance a;

well.

As the line advanced so did the team- sters. The first siding opened up saw ar exodus from the last centre. Thej picked up their loading at the temporär} ramps, and kept on doing it until thal section of the line was finished, when thej formed a new central camp. It meant s lot of money to any town, and no one was ever pleased to see a line started to another place. Almost every town be- gan to decline once the line had passed through, while the new one put on an air of affluence; for the time being lt waa the business head for outlying centres There were scores of teams-horses donkeys and camels-and there was a lot of trade quite apart from the local min " ing activities.

The first trip to Nannine was made on one of Jules Gascard's mail coaches driven by Bob .Allen, better known as ? "Raspberry Bob." He was so used to the name that he took no offence at it even when mentioned by strangers.

We left Cue about 8 a.m., passed through Jack's Well and arrived at Cork Tree for dinner. George Stanbrook kept the hotel then and Susie Wein, an ex- ceedingly pretty girl, was waitress. She later entered a contest for "the prettiest girl on the Murchison" and was well ahead until the last night when the "boys of the village" who were mostly golden hole men, caused a stir by handing in 'handfuls of notes for old Mrs. Donovan, the washer lady, who "walked it out," much to Susie's disguest.

Cork Tree Flat was an unforbidding looking place, but the hotel made up for that deficiency. The dinner was all that could be desired and the surroundings of the hotel were kept scrupulously clean. A block of about a quarter of an acre was surrounded by a fence of bottles about three feet wide... ' In' later years this grew to great proportions; there must have been millions of bottles.

Towards evening we approached the Nannine Lake, which on account of bad seasons was bone dry. Although there was no water the coach had to keep to a beaten track. Any slip and we were gone, for all along the road for about five miles through the lake were car- casses of horses and camels entangled In the black ooze; there wasn't a chance in a thousand , of any of them getting out without help. As we proceeded we saw one horse which had struggled for about 20 yards leaving a churned surface be- hind him. Nothing but the head . was showing; yet he whinnied when he saw us. A ball from the driver's Winchester put him out of misery. The usual route was through the "Glue Pot", (and a beauty it was) along the limestone ridge on the edge of the lake but the way we went meant saving a couple of miles.

Old Raspberry, whose name belied his choice of drinks, was a fund of infor- mation and put his knowledge to good use. He won drinks from the box seat passengers first try on what looked a hundred to one against him. "Ill bet yez drinks," he said, "that the first man we see in Nannine will be Corporal Tyler." We were about three miles out then and didn't think that he could see Tyler from that distance, and even if he did there was plenty of time for him to shift before we arrived. He was asked, "How many people in Nannine?" "Oh about 500" he said. "Then," said the passengers, "we'll double the bet." "Good oh," he said. "That'll do me."

"Now," he said, "I'll make another bet with yez, and that is that not only will Tyler be the first man sighted but that he will be drawing mud maps, but," he added, "yez'll have to lay me two to one about that." He soon got his odds and the drinks appeared to be as good

as won.

It was a hot day and getting well on towards evening as we approached the town. The tin roofs shone In the. sun and small spirals of dust rose up in the "willy-willy" and more raised by teams hung over the town.

When Bob made the bet he didn't say that on the road we travelled the police station was the first building met with; but it was, and outside of it dressed in riding breeches and helmet which shone in the sun, was Tyler sit- ting on his "hunkers," drawing a stick about the ground describing something to another man. Bob had won. He told us then that never had he arrived by that

road unless a similar thing war happen- ing. Tyler met every coach and be couldn't possibly tell a story without il- lustrations in the sand. We didn't be- grudge him the drinks-and they weren't the first or last he won on similar bets.

Nannine resembled lots of other min- ing centres; tin and iron houses; many with hessian walls, and the usual array of pubs, business places, and blacksmiths' shops. The country was bare and the quartz hills on one side and the flat lake country on the other didn't add to the outlook. But it was a good place just the* same and the centre for Quinns, Burnakurra, Star of the East and Wiluna on the east, Meekatharra. Abbotts and Peak Hill on the north, and all station properties on the west.

During the 1900 floods a boat was sailed from Nannine to Stake Well, a distance of 12 miles and a load of flour brought back. It was the only way. Re- gattas were held on the big stretch of water and on one occasion the sports had to be postponed because the heavy winds made the water too rough.

They had swimming races, too. There was a barber there who resembled the one described by Banjo Patterson in the Man from Ironbark. He was small and flash-and a champion swimmer to boot. He was one of the leaders in getting up the swimming events and from reports he put up sensational times in trials which were always in private. No one ever saw him train. Tie was scratch man and favourite for most of the events. A bookmaker friend laid him at evens foi all he could get. The-day of the race he started In the 100 yards event. Thej had to go round a boat anchored 50 yards out; he never got halfway and had to be dragged out of the water to save him from drowning. He couldn't swim at all-but bis mate had the boodle, and both left the same night. Just as well.

About as friendly and sociable a crowd as could be found anywhere were the Nannine folk "But Not Goodbye" would have enjoyed it then.

Prominent men in the business line were H. R. Williams (now in England) of the Big Store, whose firm did all the I forwarding for the rabbit-proof fence department, H. and J. Eves, of the "S.P.Q.R." store over the way. Harry ij still about Walkaway, but Jim has passed on. Louie Zürcher, of Crooks and Brooker, with Alex Campbell (now de- ceased) as off-sider. Louie will well re member the day his sulky caught fire oi the Meeka road; he doused it with sand Another time the gas main at Mrs. WU lows's pub went wrong. Louie looked io: it at night with a lighted match. Hi found it and lost his whiskers, but he sai< it SHOULD have been all right-"I ha< a safety match."

Jack and Jim Bond kept the Nortl Murchison Hotel. Miss Mulholland wa housekeeper. Later she married Jack an« went to Canada to live while Jim car ried on the business with Alice Blythe the singer and pianist, as manageress Later she became the landlady. Othe publicans were Dan Gill, Dan Downes Ted Dixon and Mrs. Willows. For a tim' too, Bill Snell kept a hotel. He hai sheep country out near Burnakurra where he first made his rise. . He wa sitting (not too pleased with things) oi (a big boulder which had been rolled int position for a datum peg when be fount lit was "lousy with gold." He took u]

leases and erected a battery and for ¡ long time held the fort. Gus Nelson wa publican there, butcher, and general fae totum, and although he held many ll , cences afterwards he finally settled dow to farming life at Nabawa, outside Ger

aldton.

Ted Lehman was mine host at Quinn; where the famous "Quinns Cup" was rut and where Harry Grant grew «the bean It was a lively spot, and it was a poe ' prospector who could not find enough gol

there to "tucker up" and make anothe trip further out. Alf Perry, an old Nan ninette, seems to be the reigning kin there '' now. He has a battery and as j has been working for years it seems sal to say it isn't a losing proposition.

Tom Thick, later a farmer at Mückle budin, and now a salt contractor « Norseman, was the man of the momei at Barambie. This is, the place whei the ladies with the uncommon name resided. There were the "Mulga Queen "Highland Mary," "Florldora," "Sevec Mile Liz" and "Kangaroo Kate"-a rough diamonds, but good at heart.

At the Star of the East was a ric mine which had to be abandoned on a< count of water. Mark Maingay was tl manager there for many years. Padd Green kept the pub. Three miles aw« at Gabanintha Harry Dawson kept

store. Joe Dyson was the mainstay i the mining world and was always i hopes of finding the famous "blue reef but it is still in hiding. Ernie Bend and his brother saw to the beef marke

Chesterfield was a mining centre about 50 miles north-west of Nannine, close to Belele station. Bill Streuffert (recently passed over at Meekatharra) was the dispenser of good things, and the Cash- man Brothers were the men who got the good gold. They got it in lumps.

Harry Swinton, the engine driver, left there on account of his health, and with his good wife and young Fred made a home at Gap Well, 10 miles from Nan- nine. The best recommendation this place had was the -big round well of

water. Drovers passed through with big

mobs of bullocks, but no matter how much water they drew with the well whip lt never went down more than a foot or so, and filled again almost imm< ately. Teamsters made this a cami ground, and Mrs. Swinton started boarding house. Today the oTd pe< are gone, but Fred carries on with sheep run, and those who have nt heard of the lovely big "Gap orang

must be new chums indeed.

In the old days Mr. Cruickshank, lt a cattle inspector, near Broome-> manager of Annean Station, about miles west of Nannine township. TI Bill Tierney took it over, and the fo in-hands which came from that hoi ¡stead were something to be admired;

that run is Mill Mill pool, one of

choice spots of the district In which spend a shooting holiday. Most tir there are duck galore, and pigeons «

turkeys always.

j Stake Wejl on the Cue line was fo while the scene of a gold mining venti Jack Irwin (Vic.) and Tom Doug (N.Z.) were interested parties. Billy B; i (Chapman River, Geraldton) and

brothers did well there. Alex Forsyth -v mine host ipr many years. This was 1 outlet for Reedy's Patch, where the

mine is now. There were some very r dabs got in-that part; it wasn't far fr Bitter Well and Tancrow, where du went at night time when the lake v full. Jack Earner could tell of many day spent there. On Bitter Well p was a duck hawk; a brown chap witt dark ring round his neck; he was a gr« friend to shooters, who could almost sure of having more than one try down any ducks on the water. As so as they rose the hawk was at them, a drove them backf to water. They w< more afraid of him than the gun a often made the mistake of coming i close to the shooter in the hurry to { into cover. Seldom did those who kn I this hawk leave without paying him 1 his trouble and assistance. A duck

water hen would be hung on a convente limb, and he looked for il. A strang who went shooting in that direction cai back empty handed. His only kill he se was at Bitter WelL "where he shot dirty little hawk which kept flying rou him." He didn't know until then h< unpopular a man could become over small thing like that.

Harry Ellis kept the Nannine cordi factory. He recently passed over

Brunswick Junction. Alex McCrae (Vi toria Park) had a big drapery establisi ment. Bob Roepke (now at Wickepii was a miner at the Champion mine. Tl trio were the best billiard players in tl town. There were plenty of tables ai snooker, pyramids and billiard tourn; intents were all the go; but these UH preferred devil's pool-at half a crown time. They spent hours a day at j and although many took a hand they soc became spectators. They were too h for the ordinary player, and seldom le before ¿he closing hour; then they play« the games over again-at the bar.

A. C. Twine, a very big man, was P.RÍ and Billy Cantelow was his assistai) Billy was a champion runner, and Twlz was the most Obliging P.M alive. £ knew how far some men had to travi to get their mail, take out money order etc., and it was nothing for him to gi up at any hour of the night or mornin and oblige them sa that they could stai their journey home and get to work.- H was full of the milk of human kind

ness.

Masterton was mayor for a while, an later Ted Dixon took it on. Alf Oldhat was Town Clerk. The members of th council 'got it into their heads that al vehicles should carry lights at nigh and wrote thé-police about it, asking fo the by-law to be enforced. It was to tak effect from the first of a given monti They even advertised it in the Cue pape which circulated in Nannine.

This particular date happened to b the one on which Archbishop Riley cam from the north and made a stay fo the day at the Twelve Mile. All Nannin went out to meet him, including tho al dermen. It was the night of the ful moon. None of them gave a thought ti the lighting by-law. On the way homi they were all caught-except H. R. WU hams, who got the tip from one whi had been intercepted. He had a Ugh taken to him, but that didn't prevent hin from sitting on the bench and fining ead of his colleages a pound each. They wen the only men who were ever charged For months afterwards teamsters whc had no better lights than candles ir bottles would carry them on their wag- gons when in town.

George Wilcox (Supreme Court) wa! C.PB. for a time and was followed bs Frank Walsh (retired recently from Arbi- tration Court). Bob Anderson and Jack Edwards worked the Caledonian mine on the Hospital Hill, where Dr. Rigby wat medico. Jack Tuohy and Paddy Darra- gan (Meekatharra) had one of the finest blacksmith's shops in the north. They did a great business but had to shift when the line passed through. Robinson's mine on the hill was very rich but water was~ the' trouble. He was offered a large sum for it, but refused. Mines were al- ways worth such fabulous sums. It has been deserted for many years. Alf Perry has a lot of the machinery at Quinns. Dick Caddy (deceased) managed the mine for Snell at Burnakurra. Tom Allanson (Mullewa) worked for W. H. Williams and also had a dairy round. When he was about 16 he was full whiskered and still wears them. Arthur Dinee was drowned bv a rush of water in Robbie's mme. Jimmy is in the P.O., Perth. W. Kelly has gone the way of all flesh; he was a Queenslander of the old school. Ola Mrs. O'Brien lived to be 80. Rose nyes in Perth. Jim Smith (manager Roy Hill station) was head serang for Irwin and Douglas. He was no slouch with an axe. He married Carrie Willows. Jack Earner (Midland Junction) took Lucy to wife. Harry Sorenson, who rode all the whi- ners at the Quinns Cup meeting, ls still on top. His mate Frank Vale, is in High- gate Hill. Roary McLeod and his wife were Identities who lived near Tuohy's smithy. If you wanted to know what she thought of you it was only necessary to raise the old lady's ire. You'd hear

it.

Bm and Alf Jose kept a garden three miles west of town, while Jim Bond kept one at the Three Mile on the Meeka road. He had a splendid place, and got half-a-crown a pound for his grapes. In the early days he carted melons and vegetables to Cue. He earned every penny he got Jim Dunn, one of H. R. Wil

liams'6 men, is still on top. He wean j

well. Billy Bogen, the little engine driver who played a great game of foot- ball, Curly Turnbull and Dick Mathews, who used to sing "On the Road to Man- dalay" as well as the next, have all passed on. Geo. Johns a, one-time teamster, has station property at the Twelve Mile. Hugh Dunlop fell down a shaft near the Champion mine and was killed. Cock Sands, who on his own admission plucked a sheep instead of skinning lt the first time he tackled butchering, made Nor- tham his home, Jack Tierney, the but- cher, has killed his last beast, and Ted Brown one time council employee, is buried at Meekatharra.

Many a night was spent with Jack Earner and his crowd shooting duck at Polelle Pools. We never missed a good bag. A great man with a gun was John.

Dan Downey held a publican's licence for many a year; he passed over at Nor- tham. He used to tell a good tale about a visit which Sir John Forrest paid to Nannine at a time when the line head was at Mullewa. He came by four-in hand drag and spent a night at each town as he passed through. Dan's ver- sion was vouched for by others who were present at the dinner.

To make Sir John's visit a success and place before him (as Premier of - the State) all the requirements of the dis- trict, lt was agreed that a banquet should be held at Dan's Hotel. It had the big- gest dining room and many were ex- pected to attend. They did. The trouble was suitable waiters. It would never do to have one In ordinary clothes attend such a high dignitary. It must be done in proper style. But how? Rather than make a mess of it Dan agreed to be chief waiter and attend to the visitor; but he' had no suitable clothes; there was only one dress suit in the town and that belonged to an Orangeman. Dan was of another faith; but anxiety to do the thing properly overcame his preju- dice, and he got into the suit which fit- ted him handsomely. And whatever else Dan might be he was a handsome man. His one condition was that he was not to partake of any intoxicant until mid- night. That was even harder than wear- ing a heretic's suit; but it had to be faced. ,\

The evening passed on with Dan sur- prising himself and every one else with his ability as a waiter and his avoidance" of the contents of a Monopole bottle. He addressed Sir John as "Your Lord- ship" and "Your Excellency," and was so pleased he could even have addressed him in higher terms, and Sir John in his turn, looked well satisfied.

The midnight hour had struck and Dan was released from his promise. To make amends for his long abstinence he swal- lowed the best part of a bottle of fizz. This mellowed him and he became more friendly. It was a thirsty night-he took some more. As the wine worked Dan's formality left him. He became over-zealous to help the visitor to drinks. He filled up every few minutes but Sir John took it in good part

Later he got impatient when he found the glass still full, and not getting much of a hearing, said, "Go on John-drink her up; get a move on." Slr John ob- liged, but very slightly, and Dan, striking him on the back with the flat of his hand, said "Irrigate, you blank, irrigate!" Sir John said he would-get another bottle. As Dan went out some of the crowd took possession of him much to the detriment of the dress suit, which got a very rough handling. What the owner thought about it when lt was re- turned is not recorded, but it would not be very helpful in settling any religious

differences.

Billy Borwick (North Fremantle Hotel) made his goldfields debut at Nannine. He arrived from "good old Vic" on his way to Meekatharra. His face was as rosy

as a girl's. He thought he was back in Melbourne and wanted to know if he could get a cab to take him out-25 miles. The nearest cab was in Geraldton, some hundreds of miles away. Bill has learned a lot since. His brother Peter was boni- face at one of the Meeka julcerks.

Rabbits were first discovered on the Island about three miles from the town about 1904. Ossy Benbow, Alex Mccrae,

-r- -,- I .

Jack Earner and myself got many a brace there, using ferrets to hunt them «ut of their burrows, which were made in the opaline rock.

Seven years later the Government de- cided to erect a north and south rabbit proof fence to keep rabbits from coming into the Murchison pastoral country. A bit belated, as they had at least seven years' start. Hundreds of tons of wire netting came through and was sent" to the depot at Gum Creek, some fifty miles east on the Wiluna-road. It still stands and no doubt the boundary riders do the rounds. But there were so many rabbits west of it by the time it was finished that it was of little use. Later an east and west line which passed six miles north of Nannine near the duck pools was erected. Th LS was a decade too late, like the other one. Up and down these fences emus would parade in scores, and often died there, too, because they hadn't the sense to turn back. During the "wet" of 1900 when turkeys came south in thousands the young birds were trapped by the hundred along the fences. The old birds flew over and walked along the opposite side waiting for the young ones to join them, or else went on with the flock and forgot all about the chickens.

The first gold escort by car undertaken in W.A. was between Nannine and Bar- rambie, a mining centre 75 miles east.

The occupants of the car were Jock Thompson, afterwards in Parliament, and prominent in the Yampi iron ore leases, "Banjo" Patterson, driver, and myself. Banjo is now in Perth and one of his boys is well known as an East Perth

footballer.

We left Nannine at 7 a.m. and re- turned with the gold the same night, a total run of 150 miles, which, at that time, was considered to be very good go- ing; and it was, too, considering that the cars were anything but the articles they are today, and that the road was just a bush track along which teams carted goods and firewood. They were extremely rough and the wheel tracks deep; in many places they had to be "straddled" by the ca*, and stumps were plentiful.

Banjo, however, was a good man at the wheel, although he had had enough by the time he reached home. It was a

strenuous run.

The old town is a skeleton, but there is no telling what it might have been with a fair chance. The mining com- panies those days did not have millions behind them; just enough to go to water level or take out what was easy to get in the way oí stone; so one mine after another became a derelict. Some other day they may have better luck.

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