There were many advertisements in The Argus from 1913 advertising the Devon Meadows Estate, including this one shown on the left from September 17 1913 (http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article7289816) If you click on the image to enlarge it, you will see that Devon Meadows was advertised to Men of small capital to purchase the one, five, ten or twenty acres for an annual payment less than a rental. According to the advertisement Devon Meadows was also specially suited to French farming. French farmers apparently know that small farms pay best. Other selling points of the land was that is was a good start for new arrivals and even a good birthday investment for the members of your family. The reality was not quite as rosy as the advertisements would have you believe. Rhoda Rawlins*, who we met in the last post, said that many people paid a deposit on the land but couldn't keep up with the payments so the same land was sold over again. Rhoda also said the roads were just winding tracks through the bush and that water was was obtained from the public well near the Hall. In spite of the grandiose advertising if appears that many of the Devon Meadows farms were too small to support a family and many of the men had to find employment in the Cranbourne Sand pits, the Mayfield dairy at Cranbourne and local farms.
However a community soon developed. In 1916 the school was established with an enrolment of 46 pupils. Harriet Bury was the first teacher and by 1932 there were three teachers working in the one room, so an extension was added, another extension was added in 1955 and the school was divided into two rooms. In July 1917, the School held a bazaar and social to raise money for the Red Cross. At times, the Mechanics' Institute was leased to provide additional space for students. This Hall was opened on October 1, 1925 on five acres donated by Benjamin Cox. Funds to repay the debt on the Hall were raised by Sports Days, Balls, Bazaars and Exhibitions. The Sherwood Dramatic and Musical Society of Devon Meadows not only entertained the locals but also raised money for Hall. In 1925 a public telephone was erected at the Five Way store. The phone was connected to the Clyde Exchange.
In the 1930s Devon Meadows also had a Horticultural and Agricultural Society, which as we found out in the last post, ran the local flower show.
*Rhoda was interviewed for the book Uncovering Devon Meadows: a collection of local lives. Published by the Devon Meadows Primary School, 1985.