From the pages of the McIvor Times

December 23, 2023 BY

Political locusts: The political cynicism expressed by a local writer in 1873 was a reflection of wider attitudes at the time. This late 19th century cartoon portrays a crow making a political speech to a paddock of sheep. Photo: STATE LIBRARY OF VICTORIA

FIRE, politics and the march of progress feature in this journey into the past.

In 1873, one local family lost their house just before Christmas, while in 1923 McIvor Shire councillors expressed their frustration with the quality of local railway services.

Technological change marked the end of 1973 when the Pyalong telephone exchange was automated.


150 years ago

25 December 1873

Fire – One night last week the house of Mr Short, who lives near the Old Race Course, was burned to the ground.

The fire, it is supposed, was caused by the slabs, of which the chimney was constructed, igniting from the embers.

The fire was first seen by a person who was returning from work at a reef. He immediately aroused the inmates who, with his assistance, and that of a few others who were alarmed, succeeded in saving some of the contents of the dwelling, together with a crop growing close to the place.

Had not Mr Short and his family been aroused, it is thought that the crop and the whole of the property would have gone to the flames, and perhaps even lives would have been lost.


8 December, 1873

Owing to the intense heat of the weather, all animals, bipedal or quadrupedal, keep constantly gasping; which present distress, however, I do not consider wholly unmingled without benefit, as the locusts, which were shortly, during the prevalence of a moist air, rapidly making their reappearance, have evidently got quite scorched up, so that our most abundant cereal harvest will, no doubt, soon be securely garnered.

But such is the waywardness of human affairs that no sooner is one awful difficulty safely tided over than another instantly presents itself.

I allude, of course, to the forthcoming general election, for it is quite probable that our liberal minded and warm-hearted constituency will soon be subjected to a serious amount of mental disquietude in consequence of the brawling enunciation of many crude opinions emanating from a thick swarm of political locusts.


100 years ago

7 December 1923

At the Shire Council meeting on Thursday, the President (Cr JJ Farley) reported that he had met the Railways Commissioners when they visited Heathcote recently on their annual tour of inspection.

He had made a request that the railway passenger service on the Heathcote line be supplemented by the establishment of a motor-train service.

The Commissioners had promised to consider the request in the light of existing passenger traffic. Continuing, Cr Farley said he had since sought information from the railway authorities, and had been informed that the passenger service averaged 10.1 daily.

Under these conditions he thought it impossible to expect to have any improvements instituted at all.

Cr Crossle – The Railways Commissioners are not out to do anything for the people. They run the railways to suit themselves, not the public.

Cr Long – They do not give much satisfaction at any rate.

Cr Farley said that other matters brought before the Commissioners had been favourably considered by them. But it did seem a pity that they could not be prevailed upon to attach a passenger car to the goods trains.

Cr Crossle – They won’t do it. they maintain that if a passenger carriage were attached the trains would have to be run to a scheduled time, whereas under existing conditions they need not.


50 years ago

18 December 1973

22 Years as a Telephonist

After 22 years as operator on the Pyalong exchange, local personality Mrs Myrie White has at last laid down her headset.

She won’t be all together without a set, however, as the people of the district handed around the hat and bought her a 25 inch Phillips TV set, along with the necessary reception aerials.

What brought it all about was the conversion of Pyalong’s telephone exchange from manual to automatic this week.

Locals decided to show their appreciation of the wonderful service Mrs White has given over the years.

They also presented Mrs White with a 12-month viewers licence – after 22 years, it was not the time to get her into any trouble with the PMG!

Until late 1974 Australian radio and television owners required a licence to listen to or watch programs. When Myrie White retired from the Pyalong telephone exchange in late 1973, grateful residents bought her a TV and a licence to go with it. Photo: MOYA MCFADZEAN/ MUSEUMS VICTORIA

Clash of meetings

A clash of meetings of various local organisations occurred last night (Monday 17th December).

The McIvor Shire Council held yet another special meeting (what about no one knows); the Show Society met at the usual place; the Heathcote District Hospital Committee held their monthly meeting; and the Heathcote District Football League held the second part of their annual meeting.

The editor commences his annual vacation on Wednesday and a well-deserved one indeed, he did not attend any of these meetings as it is impossible to attend four meetings in the one night.

No Doubt someone will give us the “guff” on what happened so that a par can be inserted in our first issue in the New Year – Wednesday, 16th January.

Advertising in the McIvor Times in 1973. Photo: FILE