Good Dogs and Black Dogs

This was written over two days after a dear friend died; it is not his story, but a story written that recognizes depression and awareness.

16 years ago I met the most beautiful man in the world , it was the start of this story. We met in an elevator on Sanibel Island in Florida USA and by the way he wore his hat I could immediately see he was a proud Aussie! The story about how and when we met and what happened after is a long one so in a nutshell I will just say we ended up marrying in 2004 on my mother in law’s property in Echuca. Very Aussie all together.


I'd weed your garden Mrs
If you'd give me a cup of tea
I'd be ever so grateful Mrs
If you'd spare a crust for me.

Been on the road eight months Mrs
And my clothes are wearing out
But I still have a bit of pride Mrs
So I work my way about.

What's that you said to me Mrs?
Come in! do you mean that?
Into the warmth of your kitchen Mrs
Then I'll wipe my feet on the mat.

A drop of soup in a bowl Mrs?
And I can sleep in the barn?
Wait till I tell my mates Mrs
They'll never believe this yarn.

The Mouse Plague

I have seen a plague of locusts
And I've seen a plague of grubs,
I've heard of flies and rabbit plagues
Men speak of, in pubs -
But none can beat the plague of mice
Back in nineteen-thirty-two,
They ate up everything in sight
Till there was nothing left to chew.

They came in countless millions,
None knew from whence they came,
They swept the mallee bare of food
Like grass before a flame.

Education, Work & the Dole

My father, Thomas Charles Sutton, (the sixth child of the family) drove with their worldly possessions, in a wagon drawn by two horses; and a few other animals - horses, a couple of cows and dogs; from Mallala in South Australia to land selected between Ultima and Waitchie.

A Country Pub

The original Ultima Hotel, which used to be a wine saloon, was burnt down, and the new two-story Hotel was built for about 11,000 pounds - a lot of money in those days. It was a wonder of the district, and Ultima was a thriving town.

The Hotel had two dining rooms, one for the solicitors, doctors and other professions, priests etc, and the other one for the rest. To the best of my knowledge, the food was the same but the No. 1 Room had the silver service, starched serviettes, table cloths, uniformed waitresses etc, and all for three shillings, and two shillings respectively.

Birth of the Party Line

In 1914 Dad bought a new "Essex 4" motor car. And he was one of the first farmers to have a tractor - the steel wheeled variety; Fordson, and other makes later. Fuel was cheap in those days, and came in wooden boxes, two in a box 1/3d a tin. These boxes had various uses for furniture - three boxes nailed together made a window seat for bedrooms, covered with cretonne. The tins were used for milk buckets, with a handle added at the top. Necessity is the mother of invention! Wheat was carted by wagons, before the motor trucks came.

A Night of Natya Magic in 1938

Just after the Depression, and 9 months before Robert Menzies announced Australia's involvement in the Second World War, a night of magic happened at Natya Hall; the School Concert and Christmas tree and Santa visit was held, it was December 1938.

The fathers in the School Committee had been out during the day before, and collected a large branch of a Mallee Pine Tree and placed it in the Hall in a big drum of sand.


It was towards the end of 1926 that my parents moved to a dairy farm called Myrtle Mount a few miles from a quiet country town. The road to the farm turned off the main highway on to a rough gravel road, past several small dairy farms, up a steep hill until it reached the last farm on this road. Tucked under the shadow of Curry’s Mountain, the farmhouse commanded a splendid view of the surrounding country but that was of little interest to this family of Mum, Dad and two small boys, aged eight and seven.