Manangatang

Travels in the Mallee




My father, Ivan Leary, was born at the Ouyen Hospital in 1913 and grew up in Ultima. He would often tell me stories of his life in the Mallee.

On weekends, for amusement, he and his school friends would hitch rides on the wheat trains from town to town. Or they would walk twenty miles into Swan Hill and back, hopefully to be offered a lift from a passing dray.





WWI Soldier Settler




In 1922 I obtained a free rail Pass from the Soldier Settlement Board to the rail head at Annuello. This part of the Mallee was being opened for settlement. The area of blocks being 640 acres to 800 acres. I spent three weeks with the Lands' Officer Pat Cloonen looking at areas available for selection. Conditions did not appeal to me. I obtained a ride with one of the local settlers to the township of Manangatang. Here I was introduced to the Manager of the English Scottish and Australian Bank. (E. S. & A.) Ultima (Mr Fred Palmer).





Early Pioneers




John O'Brien was born at Pannoobamawm (about 40 miles north of Bendigo) in 1874, on a farm selected by his father, Michael, in 1873. He went to school at Tennyson, and as his father was then blind, the boys took it in turn to go to school. At the age of 14, he became a contractor employing men, constructing outlet channels from the Waranga Basin; he did some contracting in the Minyip area, and later in the southern Mallee. About this time - about 1890 - the dog fence was opened and settlement of the northern Mallee was opened up.