Ultima

My Life and Other People's Children




The Whroo Dam is situated about 10kms west of Ultima, and is (or was) a very big dam, perhaps two or three times the size of other Shire dams. Very thick scrub surrounds the dam, and signs of Aboriginal activity had been discovered. These had been carbon-dated by the Aboriginal Education Officer, Doug Nicholls, at the Pioneer Settlement as being at least 40,000 years old!!





The Whroo Dam




The Whroo Dam is a large shire dam, situated about 10km west of Ultima and 29km east of Sea Lake on the Sea Lake Road. It was two or three times bigger than the usual dams, which were in place to enable people to water their stock, and for travellers to do likewise, because in the early days of settlement travellers moved about on horseback, in a gig, buggy or wagon, and needed access to water for their animals.





Mallee Girl - Part 2




Johnny (Cyril)





Mallee Girl - Part 1




Meatian





Fox Hunting




Before we begin, a few words to calm the Greenies and the Animal Welfare Brigade - foxes are not Australian native animals - they are classed as vermin and, in fact, the Government has a hefty price on fox scalps!

Foxes were imported from England soon after the arrival of the First Fleet so the well-to-do folk could pursue their pleasures of riding to hounds ie fox hunting.

Foxes are a great concern to sheep farmers as they can do so much damage to stock and cause devasting losses.





The Boy and the Little Plane




THE BOY & THE PLANE

Stories of one’s childhood are often told amongst family members and not publicly, Great Australian stories in itself is a story of many people and places but it just so happens that one of those places and the people features more than most in Great Australian Stories, that place being the small Mallee town of Ultima. Situated twenty miles South West of Swan Hill on the Sea Lake road, it is where I spent four years of my childhood between the years of 1962-1966, and I have fond memories of that time.





The Short Life of an Ultima Boy




I never knew my uncle Athol. Born in 1919, he grew up in Ultima in the Mallee region of Victoria. My grandfather Bob Leary, his wife Emily and sons Ivan and Athol lived in Dillon Street opposite Cuttle's Store where Bob worked.





MY FATHER...JOHN THOMAS ENGLISH




My father was born on May 25th, 1860, at Ballarat in Victoria. His father was Richard English, one of a family of six born in Durham, England. His mother was Rebecca Colclough, one of eleven - who came from Kilkenny, Ireland. I assume that the two were unknown to one another until they chose to emigrate to Australia on "The Champion of the Seas" in December 1856. Rebecca's sister Matilda - of 16 years - accompanied her. I have no copy of their marriage certificate but assume that it would have been in 1869.





Education in 1920-30's




In 1925, my brother Lewis Jilbert, aged five, was boarded with our Grandmother, Mrs T.J. Stevens, at 176 Mont Albert Road, Canterbury, a suburb of Melbourne. Lewis attended Chatham Public School. In 1926 I also attended the Chatham Public School. There were about 25 children in each class. In September 1927, the infectious disease Whooping Cough, struck many suburban schools; Lewis and I were very ill. Our mother came to help Grandma nurse us, bringing our younger sister, Ivy, with her, later Ivy also developed Whooping Cough.





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.