Monday, 4 February 2019

Back to Cranbourne, April 1927

Over 400 people attended a Back-to Cranbourne in April 1927. There was a full report of the weekend's activities in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal of April 21, 1927. You can read the report on Trove, here, and it is also transcribed, below. It is an interesting account of the events that took place over three days at Easter, April 16th to 18th 1927 and interesting to see the names of the old residents.

Thursday and Friday saw visitors arriving at Cranbourne by every train and quietly establishing themselves in the homes of relatives and old-time friends. Saturday morning—the opening of the celebrations, the early train emptied at Cranbourne, and motors, buggies, jinkers and pedestrians fought their way to the old township, where banners, bunting and decorations of every kind gave festive tone to the excited gathering. Long before the appointed hour, visitors and residents began to foregather in the market place (the historic meeting point of Cranbourne), and very early the seating accommodation provided had to be augmented. After the Gippsland train arrived with reinforcements, the Rev. D. Bruce, President of the movement, opened the gathering with an appropriate address of welcome. Whilst the ladies served morning tea, several old one-time residents responded.

Mr. Josiah Allen told of Cranbourne as he found it in 1862 after a journey of 14 hours from Melbourne. Angus Cameron traced its development from his infancy. Mr. J. Nelson, told of its ancient glory, and Mr.Frank Facey referred to the great pleasure they all experienced in seeing again the faces of old friends. The Rev. Thomson, one-time Vicar of Cranbourne, also expressed the pleasure he and Mrs. Thomson felt at being present. Mr. R. C. Garlick, secretary, apologised for the absence of Messrs. William Brunt (who was not well enough to attend). H. White, A. L. N. Walter, M.L.A., and many others. In the absence of the Shire President and all the local Councillors, Cr. J. Crabbe, of Devon Meadows, the only Councillor present, spoke, and wished the celebration
every success.

After lunch, a large number proceeded to the old school at Clyde North, where further reunions were enjoyed and school, under the direction of Mr. T. A. Twyford, the respected master of olden days, was conducted. “Tardy scholars” were still in evidence, and punishment duly admnistered. Contrary to the olden school practice, afternoon tea was dispensed, and all returned to Cranbourne happily appreciative of their reception in the old school. In Cranbourne a football match between Well’s-road and Cranbourne provided an exciting entertainment for those who stayed home.

In the evening a concert and social evening was held in (and out of) the Shire Hall. Long before 8 o’clock the building was filled to overflowing, and hundreds had to be content with what they could see and hear through the windows. By way of keeping the anxious throng quiet Mrs. Norman McLeod played old but popular airs, which all joined in singing. The gathering was the largest recorded in the history of Cranbourne.

The Rev. Bruce presided, and the whole programme, with one or two exceptions, was provided by former leaders of song and speech. Two very old-timers, “Mr. and Mrs. Donovan” (afterwards discovered to be Messrs. Paddy and Ernie Einsiedel), were introduced to the audience in due form by the secretary, and their silent comedy “brought the house down.” Miss Faulkiner then steadied the fun with a very fine pianoforte selection of popular airs, and after Mrs. Evans had splendidly rendered the “Floral Dances,” Mr. Josiah Allen, a former well-known identity, gave a short speech reminiscent of 50 years ago. Master Angus Facey, a young scion of the Facey-Bethune clan, then favored the audience with a violin solo. Miss F. Hart gave a recitation, “Make My Coffee Strong.”

Back to Cranbourne, April 18, 1927. 
Left to right - George Binding, ? Cameron, Jim Binding, Harry Bird. 
Seated - Donald McKay. 
Cranbourne Shire Historical Society photo

Mr. Alex. McLellan an ex-Councillor of the Cranbourne Shire, was then in introduced by Mr. Garlick. His Celtic blood was up, and for a short period he kept the house in a whirl, and could the bagpipes have been introduced there would have been nothing lacking His name sounded Scotch, his speech commenced the same, but ended in the wild Irish song, “Tim Flaherty.”

Miss Jessie Cameron, a descendant of the Cameron clan, who invaded these parts in the early 50’s, then sang “Back to Dear Old Cranbourne.” Mrs. Avard (Ada Hunter) sweetly sang Angus McDonald,” and so prepared the way for another “old-timer,” Mr. Angus Cameron, who told of “the good boys” who inhabited Cranbourne 60 years ago, how they “borrowed” fruit from the gardens, chased kangaroos, swam in the lagoons, and altogether established a standard for all succeeding generations of “good boys. ’ He told, too, of the wonderful horsemen of those days—Jim Adams, Will Lyall, and Frank McCraw. Mrs.Sibley sang “Coming Home,” and Mrs. Avard and Miss Inez Hunter sang the duet, “Maying.”

Mr. R. Herkes, another old-time Councillor, said he would like to make a speech, but was afraid someone might “pinch his seat,” and so, imagining that Cranbourne was as bad as ever, was taking no risks. The Rev. and Mrs. Bruce astonished the house by the splendid way in which they rendered the duet, “Keys of Heaven.”

Cr. Wm. Greaves spoke on behalf of the pioneering Greaves family, and Mr. Norman Brunt on behalf of his father (Mr. Wm. Brunt) who for 20 years held a seat in the local Council, and who was to have opened the proceedings, but was too ill to do so. Mrs.Radford, another one-time resident, then favored the audience with a song, “My ’Ain Folk,” accompanied by Mr. Angus Facey on the violin. Mr. Ernie Einsiedel turned the house “upside down and inside out” with a couple of his inimitable comics. Had Mr.Einsiedel taken to the stage in his youth Harry Lauder would not be known. Mr. William Greening, a 66-year old “boy,” told more tales of early Cranbourne, and how he held the ‘gobbler” by the neck and went in swimming.

Finally, with Mrs. Norman McLeod at the piano, and Mr. Evans wielding the baton, the whole audience broke into song, and the “Swannee River,” “Home, Sweet Home,” and “Auld Lang Syne” ended an evening of unalloyed enjoyment, followed by supper.

Sunday morning saw all  the churches full, afternoon the Sunday schools, and in the evening the town assembled in the Shire Hall, where a people’s service was conducted by the Rev. Douglas Bruce, who took as the theme of his discourse the one word, “Home.” All that “Home” meant both on earth and in Heaven, was splendidly expounded.

A united choir filled the stage, and Miss Elsie Bethune at the organ led a large congregation in fervent praise and thanksgiving. The collection was equally divided between the three churches — Church of England, Roman Catholic, and Presbyterian.

The celebrations, which were most successful throughout, concluded on Monday. It was proposed to hold sports and a football match on the recreation reserve, but the crowd was so large that this could not be done. An “old-time” ball was held at night, and the Shire Hall, Parish Hall, State School, and Poole’s motor garage had to be used to accommodate the dancers.

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