Tragedies & Accidents

Tragedies & Accidents

People I Remember

Farming was very hard work here in the early days. I remember Norm Crowe - he lost his arm in a chaff cutting accident. He could do anything, with just one arm. I've seen him yoke up a team of eight horses, putting collars and hames on them, which is a big job with 2 arms. He'd push the collar up, with the two straps to buckle up and he'd grab them and hold them in his teeth, until he could do them up. He lost his arm in a portable chaff cutter, when he was about 20, might have been a bit more. He was working for people named Dowling. Dowlings lived more or less just opposite Digger Taylor's. They had a steam engine and they used to tow a chaff cutter around, I think it was over in South Australia when Crowie got caught up in the belt, got pulled up in the belt, and it pulled the arm off. Of course he got no compensation - there was no insurance in those days. I've seen him fight you know, and he had so much power in his right arm that he'd kill you. 

There was a poor fellow here named Les Finley whose nerves had been shattered during the war. Les cleared off from home - he sort of went "off' a bit; he lived down past where O'Briens lived. He had land there, and the R.S.L. blokes all banded together to see if they could go and find him somehow or other. Mark lived here at the pub all the time, so Punchie and Mark and another couple of blokes set off to look for Les. They got down there, and Mark says to Punchie "Listen Jimmy, you know that Les Finley, he goes down to that rifle range, and he can nearly hit a bull's eye with no trouble, I suggest that we change our tactics and get to b----- out of here, because there's a 303 rifle missing from home." Well, Les Finley had taken the rifle, had wrapped himself up in the Union Jack and shot himself out in the paddock, poor fellow.

Another fellow used to get boozed up a bit, and he came into the pub one day and had too many. He got in a gig and he lived out where Stewarts were, and he fell off the seat, and he fell down, and was there and the wheel ran around and put a hole through his head. A morbid thing you know. I took the policeman out. The Policeman was Buckley. He had a white horse, and he could ride a horse, but he couldn't drive a motor car. (When I was 12, I was driving Dad and the Policeman round about. My Dad could do anything with horses, but none of this business with cars. Dad used to push the car out of the shed, in case he knocked the shed down.)

Buckley's son John finished up a Colonel in the army. John Buckley dropped a lid on a big desk at school, on his leg, and damaged his leg. He was in trouble for a long time with it, and he never went to school for a long time - may be two or three years, I think. I did 2 or 3 courses at the Castlemaine Tech., and in the finish I was in charge of the crew that were there - this was just after the war started - and the instructor (that I took over from) and I used to go to Melbourne and Cookie used to come with us - that's how I met him (he was from Clunes). 

In all the rooms at the Tech. School, 6 or 7 or 8 of them, there was a blackboard in each one, on every one there was the name J.P. Buckley - he was a top student. He was the top of the class. Then he was teaching maths in a Brisbane University before joining the army, and got friendly with General Sturdee, and later married Sturdee's daughter. Colonel Buckley comes up to the Ultima School now and again, looking at old records.

Bill Bullock, a top line machinist at that time, went down to Melbourne with us one time. He joined up and went away, he was away only about a month when he was killed. 

Harry Cattanah used to be there at that time. Later, Harry was killed when he fell off his motor bike at Pinky Bend.