The circus came to Manildra about once a year and it was a big thing those days and I don’t think anyone missed out on seeing it. They used to have the circus opposite Allen White’s house on the vacant block.
There was a weir near the recreation ground and people used to swim in it years ago, but it was broken after a big flood came down, I think in the early 1940s. The main swimming hole was behind the railway station or near the Bridges.
Once every now and then we would make up our mind to go crayfishing and everyone would get packed up and away we would go. We’d find a good dam and tie meat to some string ion a stick in the ground and it was on.
We all went to town on Saturday and everyone did their shopping and after that the men would go to the hotel and have a few beers and then go to the cafe and have their dinner. There were a lot of people there for dinner and then we would come home or go to a party somewhere. The neighbours would come for dinner or tea and they would get all the musical instruments out and have a sing song.
The women did most of the gardening and they grew lots of vegies and flowers. Most of the farmers had an orchard. The orchards and gardens must have saved their lives during The Depression and war time. We don’t realise how they lived in those days with starvation and big families and no money.
There were a lot of swagmen and they would call in and get some cake and some bread and butter and then they would be on their way again with their swag on their back, and probably carrying the billy. Some of them had a pushbike and we would talk to them on our way to school and they would tell where they had been and where they were going.
The water was put in underground pipes at Manildra in about 1950-1952 and I can remember the trench digger working in Loftus Street. There was one town bore that pumped water into a big tank near the Bowling Club and a few houses near the bore in Loftus Street.
Before we had fridges we had a cooler that worked on water and there was always a meat safe hanging in a cool spot somewhere. There were charcoal refrigerators too, and many were home-made. They were big and heavy but they did the job. The first kerosene fridge I remember was a Silent Knight, and you could make ice cream and ice blocks.
In the 1950s there was a grasshopper plague; the worst I can remember. The grasshoppers wiped out all districts; it was an instant drought. Wherever you walked the ground was moving; grasshoppers would hit you in the face and it hurt. It was like a big black cloud and they also made a lot of noise.
I remember the flood times as well and in the 1950s there were some beauties. Out the back of Mayfield the creek is known as “Back Creek” and before the flood it was about ten feet wide. After the flood it was washed out to 15 or 20 feet wide. The flood also washed the railway bridge out at Manildra – the main bridge at Manildra. It had about six inches of water over the top of it.
I have worked hard in the Manildra district, and supported all those people who have progressed, and the battlers who have made the town and districts what they are today. To those people who have passed on – we will remember them!
For further information see Manildra Memories folder at Manildra Library