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ANZAC DAY LIVES OUTBACK

IA Short Story of the Times by Eileen Finlay

AFTER a hard morning's run

/\ through back roads of the i \ Western district, slushing

through mud and drizzling rain, we. began to wonder if there was to be one bright spot in our dreary day.

Then just after midday as we ran over a merry little creek the sun came stream- ing out, the rain ceased, and there on the bridge that spanned the water we met our bright spot.

Accompanied by two boys and a dog, a shabbily dressed elderly man was driving

cows towards us.

The sunshine was so beautiful and we «omen were so tired and worn that we felt we Just had to stop and speak.

With all our travelling I am afraid that we had forgotten it was Anzac Day, but it was soon brought forcibly to our

minds.

While we took a snapshot of this way- back family and the cows, we heard in a few words a simple but moving story.

The father told us that he was killing two birds with one stone, so to speak, that he was "shiftin' the cows to a lower paddock and goln' to a bit of a service for Anzac Day about four mile down the

road"

In a brief half-hour's chat we leant on the bridge and became very friendly.

The elder boy was 20 years of age, with a strong growth of dark beard and the bluest eyes in the world, while the younger lad was 14, had Interested eyes, and wore half-mast pants. All their clothes were shabby, but were well-mended and clean.

They were very intrigued about us get

' ting to Melbourne that same day.

"I've lived here 56 years now," the ¡ father said, "and the nearest I've ever got

to Melbourne was back in nineteen-twelve, ( when a cove from Stawell asked me to , lend him a hand drovin' sheep, and « before I turned back home I seen the city

In the distance, like a lot of hen coops ' it looked, but I never got no nearer than 1 that" Then wistfully he added, "I'll

bet it's come on a bit the last few years."

The elder boy, not to be outdone, said ; eagerly, "And I went as far as Geelong, E Dad, you know, that time when Mum

The eyes that were as blue as his

son's slowly filled with tears

got took sick," and the little chap In a shy voice said slowly, "I ain't been no- where yet "

In the father's voice I detected sadness, and thought there was probably more in all this than met the eye, so turning to him I asked, "Were you in the last war?"

"No, I couldn't get," he said, "but me three brothers was killed over there "

Then slowly he added "And when this boy of mine enlists next week there'll only be me, mother, and this youngster

left "

The eyes that were as blue as his son's slowly filled with tears Then pulling his

old hat down over his face he Jerked out: "Well, I reckon we'll have to be get- ting along now; we've got to see to the cows," and In a most off-hand, Indif- ferent voice that did not mislead, us women, he added: "I reckon the boys may as well know as how it's Anzac Day. It don't do 'em any harm, anyhow, to go to the service, and I won't have 'em both next year."

Then to his dog: "Here, Digger, round 'em up. Good dog! Well, so long, ladies, and good luck to you."

As we stood watching the tumbling waters below the bridge I first thought, "What a life," then, remembering the in- telligent blue eyes of the younger boy and already picturing the elder boy in khaki, I reflected that perhaps that father who "couldn't get" had served his country as well as, If not better than, the three brothers who had died for it.

Then a mile or so beyond the bridge we passed his little farm, and over a front picket gate was flung an old faded Union Jack, while beside it stood a very old woman in a big white apron.

We women made no comment as we waved and drove past. We were rather ashamed of the lesson we had learnt so far back from the world.

This old woman who had given three sons to her country had not hung her flag out on that Isolated road for passers by to see, but simnly because it was April 25

and Anzac Day.

THE EDITOR'S

POST-BAG

LATROBE'S HOUSE

Mr. A. Ingram (Golden Square) writes:-"The Argus" Week-end Magazine of March 22 contained a photograph of a house at Mt. Evelyn, which, it was said, had an obscure connection with Governor Latrobe. Latrobe was appointed superin- tendent of the Port Phillip district of New South Wales In 1838, and, "lest there should be no houses In the settle- ment," he had a neat little Swiss chalet prepared, and took it with him when he left England In 1839-his wife was Swiss. Late in 1840 he bought 20 acres of land on the north bank of the Yarra, his wife calling the place Jolimont. The chalet which he had brought with him was erected on a sunny slope reaching down to the river. For a dozen years this was the Government House and social centre of the colony. Later the house was removed to Mt. Evelyn. Some re- sponsible person or authority should have an account of the history of the chalet attached to it for the information of tourists The photograph in the "Maga- zine" showed the modernised front of the house.

NORTH SYDNEY TRAMS

Mr. J. W. Eaton (North Sydney) writes: -In "The Argus" Week-end Magazine of March 22 appeared a "Cameroddlty" picture of cable trams In North Sydney, showing the original site of J. W. Eaton Pty. Ltd. as founded by my father in 1880. The date of the picture was given as 1898, but I have made inquiries among our old employees, and they think that it must

have been 1888.

I showed the picture to a meeting of the North Sydney Rotary Club, and a number of members have asked for a copy. Also, I wish to hang a copy of the original in the company's office and present another to the North Sydney

Council chambers.

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