WINDUS FAMILY MEMORIES
I read with great enjoyment the efforts of Brian Davis in preparing a book of memories of this area.
I am about the same age as Brian and went to Gumble School with him until he left Gumble School to attend Manildra School. I think when we were both at Gumble in our class was Brian Davis, Julie McLachlan, John Watts and myself (Paul Windus). When Brian and the others left to go and attend Manildra School I was left by myself in sixth class, and that was one year I remember coming first in my class. My parents sent me to school in Sydney for secondary education and the first year there were 36 in my class, five grades in first year and 800 in the secondary school and I was like a rabbit on a squat for a while.
I remember as Brian has said going over the creek to Mrs Delaney’s at morning tea break with our home-made pies for her to warm up for us. At lunch break we would race over again for our hot pies. Mrs Delaney was a very nice old lady and she would have great pleasure giving us our hot lunch.
Brian mentioned a Mr Bruce Cursley who worked for Delaney’s, and I remember his name clearly because when I was about five of six my father (Max Windus) went to see Mr Cursley and bought a rubber tyre sulky which was in perfect condition and I still have that sulky today. Occasionally we were driven from Rockvail four and a half miles to Gumble School, that is my sister Janice and I.
School teachers I remember at Gumble: Mr Peacock, Tom Ruffley, Colin Donaghue and Gordon William during my six year stay. The years at Gumble School were very impressionable and once Mr Ruffley was yelling at the students for some reason, crashed the chair on the floor and broke the chair leg. I was in Kindergarten and remember saying to him that Mrs Delaney would hear him; little did I known how cheeky I was being.
Sport was good fun in those days; school games were tunnel ball rounders, egg and spoon races, relay races, three-legged races, hop step and jump, high jump and others. The big sport carnival of the year was the Molong Sports. To all the kids in the little schools this was a big and scary event because there were a lot of schools there and lots and lots of children. At a different time of the year there was the Gumble , Garra and Gregra school sports, which was always held at the cricket ground at Garra.
The Connie family who lived at Barton up near the dyke scrub left when I was in about third class. Their daughter Gillian was probably my first sweetheart and when they sold out and left I was devastated, because I thought we would be married by sixth class.
We used to have a bonfire every year held in the hall yard just down from the school opposite the tennis courts. The fun started for this event by all us kids at school at lunch and after school and spare time collecting branches and dragging them from around the road and schoolyard to the hall yard where a big bonfire was built. When the big night arrived on Empire Day, 24th May, the big fire was lit, which the kids and the fathers had been building for a few weeks. Great excitement, because in those days there were no restrictions on fireworks. Not like NSW today where they are illegal. Everyone used to love the skyrockets; we would stand the wooden stem in a large drink bottle then light the wick and run away and watch the skyrocket go whizzing up into the night sky. Some of them had a pointy plastic top on them; we would collect these the next day.
One night I remember a bag of fireworks had a bunger thrown into it, accidently I suppose, and all of a sudden they exploded and people went in all directions and I can still see a skyrocket going through the crowd and hitting Mrs Betty Dowling on the hip. I guess that id why they are nowadays called dangerous, but in those days it was just so exciting and special things like this kept us going for weeks.
One incident I forgot to mention about building the bonfire was one day we were all dragging branches along the road and my sister Jan and Gwen McLachlan kept treading on the branches being pulled along in front of them and stopping the kid in front of them instantly. After a while the teacher got sick of these two playing up, and sent them back to the school. When the rest of us arrived back at school there wasn’t Janice Windus or Gwen McLachlan to be found, but it was soon revealed where they were as when we started lessons again these two, who were under the school, started pushing pieces of grass etc. up through the floor where there were knot holes. They eventually came out and they were in serious trouble.
Mrs Delaney was a very interesting lady who had a lot of history in her head and a magnificent display of Aboriginal artefacts. She used to tell us stories about he early days of settlement in the Gumble district. The display of spears that were given to her by Aborigines in the local area was exceptional and what ever happened to them, who knows.
I remember an old man called Mr Nicholson who came when Mrs Delaney became the owner of the property called Gumble, and soon after sold the property to Vaughn Petrie. I think Vaughn Petrie was a second generation workman on the property for the Delaney family.
Those days were great and locals used to have a lot of fun playing tennis at the Gumble Tennis Club. Some of the people I remember playing there were The Evans’, Mr and Mrs Bill Evans who lived at Moonaculla. Bob and Joyce Evans, Eric and Betty Evans, Mr and Mrs Barrett from Garra, Mr and Mrs Lance Woods, who had a little property on Gumble, lots of Windus’ – George, Arthur and Lorna, Max and Ailsa, Ken and Isabel. There were lots I don’t really remember but I think there were Yellands – Ted and Bill, and Dowlings and Eaglesons.
Some little stories I have heard along the way about cricket. I think every man on Gumble played cricket. They made a cricket match a real family day. As Brian recorded, the matches at The Pines were a great day. The cricket pitch as I recall was only half a pitch, with a coir mat. When the bowler finished his over a new one would come on the same end, the batsman changed ends and the fieldsmen stayed where they were.
There were a lot of good cricketers in those days. My Uncle Arthur told me once he played with Manildra for a while – he and his brother Terry. They went to play against Parkes once and every member in the team at some stage in their career had scored 100 runs. I doubt if that would ever be recorded anywhere. As told to me, they were Earl and Major Eagleston, Bill Yelland, Clarrie Stanford, Jack Holland, who was a school teacher at Gumble about 1935 and 1939, Ken Rubie, Dud Davis, Mac Sunderland, Arthur Windus and ? Floyd.
Mr Bill Yelland was probably one of the finer wicket keepers in those times. Some of the star bowlers that I have heard of were Ron Dowling, Earl and Major Eagleston, Dud Davis, Clarrie Stanford; all old names that ring a bell for me as if I was only young.
Mr Yelland once told me of a funny happening at a cricket match in Parkes where Manildra was playing. Earl and Major Eagleston started the bowling and they bowled and bowled and bowled and couldn’t move the two opening batsmen. At last Major, who was captain, threw the ball to Dud Davis and said “Have a bowl”. Quick as a flash Dud threw the ball back to him and said “You bowled them in and you bowled them out”. Funny things happen.
In those early days of Gumble cricket they played against Baldry, Cumnock, Red Hill, Reedy Creek, Garra, Ulundry and Myrangle which is a property near the Gumble intersection on the Cumnock Baldry Road. The property Myrangle was owned by the Bruce family and still is today.
Also around that time Manildra Cricket Club used to play against Yeoval, Canowindra, Parkes, Bathurst, Nashdale, Borenore and Peak Hill. These names and places were told to me by my Uncle Arthur, who said he played most of his cricket with Gumble and frequently played with Manildra. Speaking of small batting innings, the Manildra side, which was a good side, batted against Yeoval one day on a wet turf wicket and were all out for 15 runs.