The More Things Change
The Diary’s researchers have taken a peek into the archives to see what was happening in Warrandyte a century ago and guess what they found?
Hawthorn and Camberwell Advertiser Friday, October 18 1918, Page 4.
About 100 returned wounded soldiers were entertained at luncheon and afternoon tea on Sunday, October 13.
The display inside the hall was most inviting, the tables being stored with the choicest of edibles, tempting in the highest degree and sufficient to satisfy the most exacting of epicures.
As the soldiers arrived they were all directed into the hall, the weather being wintry, and a gusty wind prevailed. Among the visitors was Mr Pearson, who has been such a prominent figure in this particular mission of conveying them to the different centres of attraction.
After luncheon, they sallied forth to see as much as they could of the little village and to gather the beautiful tinted leaves which at this season of the year are the glory of the bush.
One young fellow who had undergone six or seven operations on the table of the operating theatre, and was the wonder of the medical faculty, came sauntering back from his ramble looking happy carrying a little forest of green leaves, and pleased with the thought of taking a touch of nature back with him to gladden the hearts of those left behind.
The topic, however, was not of Warrandyte or its possibilities, but General Pau, who was to visit the hospital next day, and to them the prospect was a highly interesting one.
About four o’clock the cars began to move away, the occupants being none the worse for their outing, but much benefitted by the fresh air. Mr W. Aird, formerly of Ringwood, catered for the guests, and after the visitors had departed those who remained behind were invited by Mr Aird to partake of what refreshments were available, which was done ample justice to.
The whole of the arrangements were under the supervision of the Warrandyte Patriotic League. A welcome home was tendered on Saturday evening, October 12, by the residents of Warrandyte to Corporal George T. Clarke, better known as “Bobby”, who had seen four years’ service right through from the peninsula to western Europe.
He was the pioneer of the little town to enlist, and sailed on October 19, 1914. Corporal Clarke has been three times wounded, the first occasion being at the landing at Gallipoli.
On arrival in the township, he was given an ovation by the school children, and the reception in the evening was a hearty one, some of his mates from the 8th Battalion carrying him shoulder high. Being a general favourite, he was made the recipient of warm eulogiums.
Mr A. Aird congratulated him on behalf of those present on his safe return, which was endorsed by Sgt Thompson, of the 8th Battalion, and others.
Corporal Clarke responded in simple language, and expressed his pleasure at the welcome given him.
Cheers were given again and again for the guest of the evening. Items were rendered by Queenie Robertson, Francey Sloan, Mr Archie Clarke (a brother of Corporal Clarke), Mr J. Cooke, and Miss A. Mullens. Mr Woodford Smith (violin) and Mr A. Aird (piano) supplied the musical programme for the evening, and Mr C. Jones acted as M.C. Dancing was kept up late, and a most enjoyable evening spent, refreshments being provided gratis by Mr and Mrs Aird.
But the saddest of all was the homecoming to that vacant chair, for the mother who had said farewell and bade him “God speed”, had passed away during his absence.
Perhaps the blow had been softened, as not long after he had departed he had received the news that his mother had died suddenly, which came as a great shock to her many friends, but only he alone could the feel the full significance of his loss.
Articles in “The more things change” sourced through the National Library of Australia’s online archive Trove: https://trove.nla.gov.au/
image courtesy of Warrandyte Historical Society website.