The Little Box Brownie Camera

The year would have been about 1932 and my parents, who were pioneer wheat farmers at Natya in the Victorian Mallee, were having tough times. Wall Street had collapsed and my parents had four children in four years - all drought years - when there was little rain, crops were poor and little money.

The Mallee Dust Storm

The air was hot and sultry the sky was overcast,
We knew there'd be a dust storm before the day had passed.
The wind was getting stronger as it blew across the land,
The fallow started drifting as it blew across the sand.
Far away beyond the horizon the dust clouds rise and roll,
Like smoke from a huge bush fire, that's out of men's control.
The dust storm slowly gathers, for a while the wind is calm,
And a brooding silence settles around the house and farm.
The fowls seek shelter on the roost the birds fly to the trees,

Lightning and The Death of Ossie

In the spring of 1923, Joe Battersby bought two blocks of land with crop on in the Chillingollah East district. They drove up from Tatura, with two horses in a double-seater buggy, and Ossie, the eldest son, driving a horse in a spring cart. They called at our farm at Waitchie South on the way up as they were old neighbours of ours at Tatura and stayed the night, then went on the last 20-miles the next day.