Life, War, Travel

The Perris Family came from Oakleigh to the Mallee. After a short time at Nullawil and Culgoa, they moved to Ultima in 1925, and settled on a farm east of Ultima, off the Swan Hill and Lake Boga Roads. In 1932 Perc Perris and his Dad opened a Butchery Business in Ultima, which this family had for 24 years. The eldest son, Frank, did not come to the Mallee, as he was employed in the E. S. & A Bank (now A.N.Z.) in Melbourne.

Succession of Doctors

Before the 1914-18 War, Dr James Rowan and his mother came to Ultima, and built a home; one room at the front of the house was used as a surgery, and the rest of the house, as their private home. There were no cars in the district at that time, so the Doctor used a horse and buggy to visit his patients, who lived out of town. On one occasion he was called to a farm at night, to deliver a baby.

Rise & Fall of Business Pioneers

When my grandfather was advised by his doctor to "go north" he and my grandmother purchased 1800 acres of land in the Victorian Mallee. Perhaps they were influenced by the current thinking of the politicians and intellectuals of the day who considered that closer settlement of the country was required to alleviate the depression of the 1890s. The Land Board Officers assured them that the Mallee had good rainfall, but ignored possible droughts.


What is ‘war’ a little girl of six years pondered as she sat outside the hedge which surrounded her mother’s garden? The adults talked about what they read in the newspaper and listened intently to the news on the radio. It was late 1939 and I was that six-year-old girl. At first, life on the dairy farm went on as usual. My parents remembered that other War of 1914-1918 and they probably wondered what would happen this time.