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15 August, 2021

Headlines through the decades

For out 110 year anniversary, The Gilgandra Weekly reflected on stories that made the front page throughout the decades...

By Emily Middleton

Pictured are Gilgandra’s five torchbearers and escort runner, from left to right Andrew Newstead Bruce Meyers, Joanne Campbell, Marita Basham and Joyce Wise. Absent is Gulargambone torchbearer Ida Graham.


October 29, 1915

Owing to the rivers and creeks having for some weeks been in a flooded condition, due to the constant heavy rain, many of the old bridges are in a shaky condition. One of the bridges is over a creek near Curryong, and a motor car on being taken over it swerved, and fell into the stream. The car was wrecked, and Alexander Cunninghame, the driver, was injured. The other occupants escaped unhurt.


Between 30 aud 70 soldiers, detained at Langwarrin Camp, Victoria, for treatment for venereal disease broke camp on Tuesday night, because they had been refused permission to visit the township. The men escaped into rhe scrub adjoining the camp. Armed guards intercepted a train at Caulfield and arrested 19 soldiers, all of whom, with one exception, pleaded guilty. The cases were referred to the Adjutant General.


The danger of throwing empty bottles from moving trains was exemplified in a painful manner near Warren heip, Victoria, recently. While the Railway Commissioner's special train was returning from Ballarat to Melbourne, an empty champagne bottle was thrown from one of the cars near Warren heip. It struck a line-repairer, named Michael Quirk, who was working on the line, and rendered him unconscious. He was picked up by his comrades bleeding from an ugly gash behind the ear.


May 17, 1923

Tooraweenah News – From our own correspondent.

Friday last was not the success it should have been. Those present were mainly country people and one load from Gilgandra. The people of the town being very poorly represented, and it gives the community very little encouragement if people will not support such a good cause, seeing that the institution building really belongs to the people. Those present spent a very enjoyable evening dancing. The music was supplied by Mr S.J McWhirter, and extras were played by Mrs A Irvin and Mrs T Fyfe.


Jan 7, 1926

The rattling of the musketry increased. The pirate chief leaped to the mizzen halyards. He waved his broken sword. "Shuttle the ship!" he shrieked. - There was a moment's agonised silence. Then a quavering voice rose above the guns. "Master,” it screeched, "somebody has stolen the skuttle!" At this the rattling broke forth afresh, and the man awoke. His wife was shaking down the base-burner.

The woman did not believe in the occult. "Now, I propose to test this clairvoyant," she was saying. "I shall send her a lock of my hair as she directs, with some question, which no body but myself can possibly answer. Let me see, what can I ask her?” The man laughed hoarsely. “Ask her what is the real colour of your hair," he urged.


A certain Methodist minister, who lived on a very small salary, had great difficult to get his quarterly instalment. He had called on his steward a number of times, but had each time been put off with some excuse. His wants at length becoming urgent, he went to his steward and told him that he must have his money, as his families wanted the necessities of life.

"Money!" replied the steward. "You preach for money! I thought you preached for the good of souls!"

"Souls!" replied the minister, "I can't eat souls, and if I could, it would take a thousand such as yours to make a decent meal."



April 17, 1930

Household hints by mother-in-law.

A damp cloth dipped in common salt will remove inkstains from a kitchen table.


To prevent lamps smoking soak the wick in strong vinegar and dry it before using. The flame will then burn clear and bright.


Lemon juice squeezed on to rice when the latter is being boiled, will whiten it and separate it.


When boiling a ham leave it in the water in which it has been boiled until it is quite cold. This will make-it juicy and tender.


A lump of soda dissolved in the water when rinsing clothes will prevent any blue stains remaining on the garments.


To stone raisins quickly, smear the fingertips with margarine.


Small pieces of kid or washleather sewn underneath big buttons prevent them from being torn out and holes being made in the garment.


A little cornflour added to table salt will prevent it becoming, lumpy.


The best way to clean beaten' copper or brass ornaments is to wash them, let them dry and then rub with cleaning material. In this way all the patterned parts can be cleaned.


A mixture of methylated spirit and water in equal proportions, with a small amount of whiting, cleans and polishes mirrors and windows very successfully. The lotion should be kept in a corked bottle.


To polish amber, rub it with whitening moistened with water, and lastly with a little olive oil laid on with a piece of flannel.


When boiling beetroot, add a pinch of bicarbonate of soda to-the water, and they will retain their rich colour.


When marking new linen; dip the corner of the article to be marked into cold starch, then iron it gently with a hot iron. On linen treated in his way the ink does not run and the pen does not scratch.


When using benzine to remove a stain on dress material, start in a circle and gradually work nearer and nearer until the spot is reached. By doing this there will be no mark, when the benzine dries.


June 26, 1941

All who have relatives' overseas with the fighting forces will be interested to know how the Red Cross discovers and maintains the men who are taken prisoners of war.

If your Anzac is missing, you will be advised officially, that he is "missing, believed to be a prisoner of war," or "Missing, believed to be killed," but, in either ease, long before that notification reaches you, Red Cross searcher units will be on the job looking for him.

They will interview his comrades and tap all possible sources of information within the area of conflict. They will check up with base camps, hospitals, and convalescent depots, and, if necessary, will pursue their investigations right to the front line.

Red Cross Inquiry Bureau

Meanwhile you, at home, will no doubt have been in touch with the Red Cross Inquiry Bureau, at 34 Martin Place, Sydney. They in turn will be waiting for the news, which may come through Geneva, that your Anzac is safe and well, but in a German prisoner-of-war camp.

From that moment the Red Cross makes itself responsible for his welfare, and sets out to provide him with three parcels a fortnight, containing warm clothing, food, safety razors and blades, toothpaste and other necessities. These parcels cost up to £1 each, and their provision is a constant and heavy drain on the Red Cross funds.

Prisoner-of-war service cost £500,000 in the 1914-18 war and this time, it will cost the Australian Red Cross that sum each year.

One of the greatest hardships a prisoner of war has to face is the longing for news from home, and this need not be. There is no limit to the number of letters that may be sent to prisoners, and the Red Cross undertakes to see that they are forwarded, to the correct address.

Difficulties Overcome

For a time, there were certain difficulties, particularly in Europe, regarding the transmission of letters, but latest reports show that these have been overcome, and you can feel confident that the letter will reach your relative wherever he may be.

Never believe any rumours you may hear about the Red Cross making exorbitant charges for locating a prisoner, or for maintaining him when he has been found; these rumours are unjust and untrue.

As the war continues, the strain and burden of Red Cross Service will become heavier, but Red Cross Societies will not shrink from their task. Remember the work the Red Cross is doing for your husbands, your sons and your brothers, so ask yourself the question sometimes: Am I doing all I can to help the RedCross?


March 16, 1955

Gilgandra is starting to stage a recovery after the disastrous flood of February 24 and most business houses are now getting back to somewhere near normal working conditions, but mostly under very inconvenient circumstances.

The streets are starting to give the appearance as before the big event, but wide gaps in many buildings, fallen fences and windmills, with gaping holes in many directions, are a grim reminder of the battering our town received in the worst flood in history.

Business people and householders are just beginning to realise the many valuable possessions and records they have lost – articles which can never be replaced no matter to what extent flood relief is given.

Various articles of stock that were damaged and put aside in the vein hope that some of it may be of use, have had to be discarded as not worth the time that would entailed in its renovation.

And the same has applied to the various articles of household use. It’s a sad story and the individual losses of many are beyond imagination unless one has been unfortunate enough to share in the plight of the 300 families who were inundated by the flood.

To what extend domestic losses are replaced is a doubtful quantity, but with such a magnificent response from other parts there is hope that a substantial contribution will be made to allow those in meagre circumstances to get partly on their feet.

Hope may be gained from this little piece of information. In the Murwillumbah floods the committee controlling the habitation provided the people with 11 per cent of the approved amount of applications – not the amount claimed, but the amount approved as reasonable by the flood committee. Whilst this may be a little too much to expect at the present time when the claims will represent a much greater areas, at least 50 per cent of the approved claims should be payable.

A handout of £5 per adult and £1 per child to unemployed persons was given last Saturday, but already there are complaints about the incriminate manner in which this has been done. So much so that a city daily wired this office on Tuesday stating: “Informed flood relief funds being handed out indiscriminately without any chance as to bonafides.”

September 7, 1955

On Saturday morning an eight years old lad received a fractured right thigh and bruises to the head as the result of a fall from a horse.

He was Ian Cross of Coonamble Road, and as he fell his foot became caught in the stirrup. He was dragged some distance before he fell free.

First aid was rendered by members of the ambulance and the unfortunate lad admitted to the Gilgandra District Hospital for treatment.

On Saturday afternoon Ian was transferred by ambulance to Dubbo.


July 27, 1960

Winger John King, 18, former Gilgandra boy, son of the ever-green Cec. King, noted athlete and footballer, on Sunday scored three tries in a magnificent first-grade Rugby League debut in Sydney.

Commenting on John’s performance in “The Daily Telegraph” sporting writer states: John King stood out in the powerful St. George team which trounced New town 54/10 at Kogarah.

King, a utility back, received a hero’s reception after the match.

He had to battle his way to the dressing sheds through a crowd of autograph hunters.

King was promoted from reserve grade full back for the match. The game confirmed St. George as a strong favourite to take out its fifth successive premiership.

St. George led 18/5 at half time and overwhelmed Newtown in the second half.

St. George’s big forwards dominated Newtown and the fast and clever backs ran at will.

King was always ready to capitalise on the constructive play of his inside backs.

He scored the first of St George’s 12 tries with a dashing effort after 15 minutes play.

King acted as dummy half near the halfway mark and ran through the forwards without a hand being laid on him.

He swerved past Newtown full back John Kenny and scored between the posts.

John King is following his father’s footsteps as a footballer and an athlete. He reached the final of last years Gilgandra Gift, as did his father and the event could have been unique with father and son viewing each other. However, Cec. Had to withdraw owing to an injured leg.

Gilgandra friends will be elated with his success in first grade football, and making such a spectacular entry into class football with the famous St George side will undoubtedly lead to higher honours in this sphere.

September 21, 1960

Gilgandra Shire Council did not favourably consider the alternation of the Six Hour Day holiday from 3rd October to 10thOctober.

The Chief Secretary’s Department wrote to the Council that action was proceeding with the view to having Monday, 10th October 1960, gazetted as the Labour Day Holiday within the Shire of Gilgandra.

As Council has protested at their previous meeting against the proposed change, it was decided to write to the Chief of Secretary’s Department and the organisers of the local sports stating that the Council did not favour the change and considered that its protest should have received favourable consideration. Counsellors considered that too much confusion would be caused.


August 12, 1970

The son of a hotel licensee tore up a certificate and threw it into the fire when handed it, following a breath analysis test at Gilgandra Police Station.

The Court of Petty Sessions at Gilgandra was told this today, when 22 year old Kenneth James Duffy of the Armatree Hotel appeared charged with having driven a motor vehicle when his blood contained alcohol in excess of the prescribed limits.

Constable R Preston of Dubbo Police told the Court that he had observed the defendant’s vehicle being driven long the Newell Highway at about 12.20am last Friday.

“I was travelling south and the defendant was travelling north when I noticed his car cross onto the incorrect side of the road and travel directly towards the oncoming police car,” said Constable Preston.

A breath analysis check proved positive with a reading of 0.180.

The defendant admitted to have drunk 25 glasses of beer.

When handed the certificate advising the alcoholic content of his blood Duffy tore it into several pieces and through it into the fire.

Mr A Beveridge appearing for the defendant said that the man was not normally a heavy drinker, however on this occasion he had attended a farewell to another publican (Mr Ted Verden) who had sold his hotel in Gilgandra.

The case in continuing.

December 23, 1970

Last week “The Gilgandra Weekly”, published a story concerning fly flown meat which had been sold to the shire health inspector in Gilgandra.

The shire health inspector, Mr Combridge said this morning that he wished to make it clear that the adulterated meat although sold by a local storekeeper was not packed or cut by any local butcher.

January 31, 1979.

A young Gilgandra man had a lucky escape from serious injury on Saturday morning when he was working on the temporary wheat storage depot near the silos on the Dubbo Road.

Jeffrey Irvin (18) is believed to have been handling a sheet of tin when strong wind knocked him and the sheet of iron to the ground. Jeffrey sustained lacerations to the chest, a punctured lung, and a broken collar bone. He was taken by ambulance to Gilgandra Hospital, but immediately transferred to Dubbo, where his condition is no satisfactory. Jeffrey is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Roger Irvin.


January 26, 1983

One of the biggest dust storms seen for many years hit Gilgandra at approximately 7pm last Friday evening.

The dust could be seen swirling in for some time before it completely engulfed the town, turning daylight into darkness.

Although there was a lot of dust there was little wind, and no damage was reported.

One local resident, Don Stevenson, reckons it was only a mild storm compared to the one he saw when he was a kid. Don said the dust was so thick the rabbits were burrowing 40ft in the air.


May 27, 1987

Shire Clerk Paul Mann, Bob Pizzey of R.S. Pizzey & Co. and L.J. Hooker and Shire President Tony McGrane inspect the development site and plans.

“Gilgandra will have a new 1452 square metre supermarket and shopping complex if a development being considered by Council receives formal approval at Council’s June meeting,” the Shire President CR. A. McGrane, announced today.

“The project, comprising a supermarket and up to twelve speciality shops, will be constructed on the old sawmill site in Eiraben Street and have a sixty metre frontage to Miller Street.”

Off street parking for one hundred cars will be constructed and the development will be extensively landscaped and, where possible, existing trees retained,” Cr. McGrane said.

A spokesperson for the developers has advised Council that negotiations have almost been completed with a tenant for the supermarket and possible one or two of the specialty shops.

If development approval is obtained at Council’s June meeting, it is envisaged the Centre will be opened at the end of October.

“The complex will feature air-conditioned shopping with all shops opening onto a plaza having pedestrian access to both Miller Street and the car park. The centre will complement existing shopping facilities in Gilgandra and draw customers from a wider area including Mendooran, Warren, Gulargambone and Coonamble,” Cr. McGrane said.

“Apart from providing an increase in shopping facilities for the town and district, the construction will be of benefit to various building industries in the town and could possibly lead to the establishment of another industry employing local people.”

“The possibility of this new industry and a further development in the industrial area as a result of the May meeting indicates a resurgence of interest in the town,” Cr. McGrane concluded.


July 12, 1995

Gilgandra Public School students Natalie Louie and Hayden Lowe preparing to cut the huge cake during the school’s National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander day of celebration prior to the school holidays. Each class in the school presented an entertaining item in a 90 minute concert before the students joined their families for a barbecue lunch and other activities

August 16, 1995

A man was arrested late Monday night after a rampage through the grounds of the Cooee Lodge Hostel and District Hospital left vehicles vandalised and elderly residents frightened.

Four cars parked at the hospital were vandalised, including a St John Ambulance Australia vehicle that had its interior extensively damaged.

Police charged the man, aged 19 with no fixed place of abode, with break and enter with intent, causing malicious damage and unlawful entry.

The charges are all in relation to alleged offences at the hostel.

Police enquiries are continuing about the hospital incident.

The arrest comes after Gilgandra police reported not one charge had been laid in the past week.

Only two residential break ins and the recovery of a vehicle stolen in Coonabarabran marred what was being called a “quiet” week.

Police on Monday also confirmed Gilgandra will have its promised three additional police officers.

Confirmation follows a television interview on Thursday when the Police Commissioner, Mr Lauer, agreed Gilgandra would have more officers.

Gilgandra Sector Supervisor Sergeant David Fuymer said the North West Region command has confirmed the presently “over strength” officer will remain in the sector and an additional two positions will be established.

The Gilgandra sector will now have nine full time police officers plus the support of Tooraweenah officer “as required”, Sergeant Guymer said.

Senior constable Lauren Read, recently attached part time to the Gilgandra Sector, ha since retired for personal reasons after returning to full time work with the Police Service.

A second law and order rally will definitely go ahead in Gilgandra next Tuesday, Mayor Carol Stockham and community representative Ross Whalan announced in a statement yesterday.

Enough is Enough founder and prominent victims’ rights campaigner Ken Marslew will join Gilgandra residents for the rally.

Mr Marslew is fighting for increase awareness of the effect o violent crimes after is 18 year old son Michael was shot dead in a Sydney robbery last year.

Accompanying Mr Marslew will be Radio 2KY youth commentator John Begg and Daily Telegraph Mirror newspaper columnist Piers Akerman.

They will address the rally after a march from Miler Street to McGrane Oval, beginning at 1.30pm on Tuesday.

Once again, Cr Stockham and Mr Whalan are seeking the support of local businesses in closing for the rally, scheduled to end at 3pm.

Marches are also being held in Walgett and Bourke on the same day, they confirmed, as Gilgandra’s fight for Government action on law and order problems in country towns continue.


September 1, 2000

Pouring rain did very little to dampen our town’s spirit when the Olympic flame passed through last Friday September 1.

Police believe that over 5,000 cheering, screaming, happy, waving people of all ages lined Gilgandra’s streets to witness this once in a lifetime event.

From around 4pm the crowds grew and grew at all the major vantage points, namely the Warren Road and Newell Highway intersection, the main ‘drag’ Miller Street, and the Warren Road and Wamboin Street corner.

The town itself looked spectacular thanks to the hard workers on Clean Up Gilgandra Day, the members of the business community who decked out their shops in the wonderful Olympic and Aussie themes, and the people of Gilgandra who cleaned up their yards and streets. One can not forget the efforts of our school children who also cleaned up along the torch route.

While the excitement was growing in town, the 14 torch bearers had gathered out of town to await the arrival of the Olympic Torch Relay convoy.

It was an unforgettable scene - SOCOG officials working tirelessly, media representatives snapping last minute shots, our torchbearers looking forlornly at the sky and their family and friends talking excitedly.

As soon as everyone was present and accounted for, town bucketed the rain that had held off all day. Our torch-bearers took refuge inside where they were quickly introduced and then even more quickly debriefed. And that was that.

The convoy rolled in and away it went with our first torchbearer, Warren’s Trevor Burton, kicking off the proceedings. From then on time and events moved very quickly. The flame passed from Trevor to Ida Graham, Gulargambone’s sole representative, and then to our first Gilgandra runner, Marita Basham, who ran the longest stretch of the Gilgandra Torch relay.

“It was just fabulous, but it was all over far too quickly,” Marita said of the experience.

From Marita the flame passed to Keir Meyers, the youngest torchbearer, who had been nominated to carry the torch by his father. Keir also discovered a Gilgandra connection on the day – he is a distant relative of our own Bruce Meyers,

The next runner was our own Joyce Wise. Joyce was overwhelmed by the spectacle of hundred of people lining the mains street, waving their Olympic and Aussie flags and smiling in the teaming rain,

Veronique Attenica from Coonabarabran, long time swimming nemesis of Marita Basham, was next on the list and she turn passed the flame to local businessman Andrew Newstead. Despite fewer crowds on his stretch, Andrew’s run lacked nothing in atmosphere.

‘It was absolutely amazing,” Andrew said of his turn in the spotlight.

July 14, 2009

Local business owners may be down, but they are not out after fire destroyed Gilgandra Pharmacy, Hutchison’s Real Estate, Commonwealth Bank, Peacockes Solicitors, Bendigo Bank and NV DZines on Saturday, July 11, 2009.

While some may say it’s doom and gloom for six Gilgandra businesses, that may not be the case. The owners of the six businesses that were damaged in the main street fire on Saturday, July 11, 2009 are already making plans for relocation.

The fire started at approximately 10.20pm on Saturday, July 11 in a pile of wooden floorboards from the Golden West Hotel, which were stacked between the hotel and the Gilgandra Pharmacy building. The flames from the fire entered the roof of the pharmacy, continuing to spread through the roof to NV D-Zines.

NSW Fire Brigades from Gilgandra, Coonamble and Dubbo attended the scene, extinguishing the fire at approximately 3am on Sunday, July 12.

Rural Fire Service, Police, Ambulance, Country Energy and Dubbo HAZMAT also attended the scene. The Royal Hotel was closed and evacuated due to the smoke from the fire.

Detectives were in Gilgandra on Sunday and Monday and are expected back today to continue investigations into the fire. A number of statements have been obtained.

The origin of the fire appears suspicious at this stage. Six businesses were destroyed including Gilgandra Pharmacy, Hutchison’s Real Estate/Photographics, Commonwealth Bank, Peacockes Solicitors, Bendigo Bank and NV D-Zines.

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