MEMORIES of PORT GERMEIN 1920s-1940s
I was born on a farm just north of Port Germein in 1925, and lived there until the early forties. I have treasured memories of Port Germein:
TINY's MEMORIESAs told to Jill Curnow
Tiny (aged 96 in Oct 2008) lived in Baroota where she went to school, but had left and was working by age 12 when she used to take a mob of sheep up into the Flinders and stay with them all week. She would walk them around to get the best of the feed then bring them back down, spend the weekend home and then, off again for another week.
They did their shopping in Pt Germein. The shop was owned by a Mr Dally but the meat came from Melrose with the butcher bringing a cart and selling it in the street. The first baker she remembers was a Mr Clutterham and then a Mr Lukerman who passed away in 2007. The blacksmith was a Mr Mulligan and the fruit shop owner a Mr Shaw. The local midwife was Mrs Seymour. There was no Advertiser but the paper was called something like The Register though the one that they used to get was The Chronicle.
She was living in Geelong and working for the military, at a munitions plant, in 1934 so never saw the high tide. She came back to Pt Germein in 1946 and married a year later. She had her kitchen tea at the Palais. Her husband was one of the workers for the Highways Department, helping to construct the road to WA and she was the cook for the gang.
At right: A 1994 letter to 'The Advertiser' describing ships and the Palais in 1937, printed with kind permission of E J Johnson. The captains' signatures are shown centre.
Mr Johnson remembers someone pointing out that the flag flying on the main mast of the 'Admiral Karpfanger'was a swastika but he did not realise what that was until the war came.
The children were not allowed on the ships but would go out to the end of the jetty to look at them, often hitching an illegal lift, together with their crabbing gear, on the back truck of the train carting the wheat bags out for loading on the ships.
Joyce Schmerl née Mickel lived at Kadina but would visit her Uncle and Auntie who lived at Wallaroo Mines at Christmas Time. Hers is a memory of the boats, not of Port Germein. A wheat boat would come in and tie up at the jetty on New Year's Eve at no cost for mooring if she remembers correctly, and a dance would be held on deck. Boats she remembers are the Pamir, Passat and Abraham Rydberg. Children were not allowed on board but they would watch from the jetty. Her uncle would whistle and people would dance to that. It was a loud whistle that could be heard from a long way. There were probably also bands. People were not necessarily dressed up as it was only "down the jetty." The children were fascinated by the sailing boats as all they had seen were rowing boats on Porters' Lagoon.
Maywald Gallery of Port Germein photos.
PORT GERMEIN POLICE STATION JOURNALS, 1923 and 1924
On July 1, 1923 Mounted Constable P. Thornton is the duty officer, together with his trusty mare, PM (police mount) Raffa. The distance travelled by Raffa is recorded for each trip made, together with purchases of chaff and oats and details of shoeing. Each day the constable visits Brown's Hotel and the Pier Hotel 2 or 3 times and up to 5 times on Sundays and holidays, almost always reporting "all correct."
About once a month the policeman is on bailiff duty at Port Germein or Baroota and often spends time collecting statistics around Baroota. He is apparently completing a farming statistics report for the government. The main crime seems to be drunkenness and one poor individual is arrested twice and fined before finally being convicted as a "rogue and a vagabond" and sentenced to three months in Gladstone Gaol. While prisoners are in the cells, meals supplied are recorded in the station journal but the cells at Port Germein are very small and the prisoners must be transferred to Port Pirie or elsewhere for longer periods of time. This seems to happen via the coach or the constable rides out onto the Pirie road and meets a constable from Port Pirie to transfer a prisoner.
MC Thornton receives a letter requesting that a State Boy be sent back to the State Children's Department and later in the year another State Boy is reported missing but found in Port Pirie. A farmer also applies to be allowed a farm boy via the Department of immigration. Such events require the use of the telephone and all calls are carefully recorded with margin notes as well. There are occasional inspections of the police station by visiting senior officers and an extra officer is sent out from Pt Pirie to help patrol, especially for sporting and beach events and for New Year's Day.
Other duties involve attending football matches or euchre and dance parties and strawberry fetes at the institute. When complaints are received about the fencing at the Aboriginal Reserve, the policeman rides out to Baroota and investigates. The aborigines agree to repair the fences to prevent cattle wandering on to neigbouring properties. On one occasion he is summoned to Mambray Creek to interview a man who is "off his head." The man is "acting in a peculiar way" but the officer thinks he is suffering from the effects of drink. A number of cattle are reported missing and lengthy investigations ensue to locate the missing animals. The same farmer reports both missing cattle and sheep, on different occasions.
Other activities include inspecting a butcher about whom there have been complaints, checking on the sudden death of an infant, searching for an invalid person and following up on a car with no headlights.
The arrival of the sailing ship Kǿbenhavn is recorded as 8 am on January 1st, 1924. On January 3rd, 1924, MC Thornton has 21 days leave and is replaced by MC Howard from Pt Pirie, with his horse, PM Major. MC Howard now adds the jetty to his daily patrols and on January 12th, 1924, states that he attended a Continental on the boat "Kobenhaven" at the Port Germein jetty between 9 pm and 10 pm. It is a busy night because at midnight, Stanley Wilson reports that someone has removed his motor car from the shed at the rear of the Pier Hotel. Investigations reveal the car being driven in the main street by a man from Solomontown. He has no authority to drive and when he fails to produce his driver's licence at Pt Pirie police station within 48 hours is charged with various motor vehicle offences. The sailing boat "Kobenhaven" leaves the jetty at 8 am on Tuesday 15th January, 1924. Cases are heard at Pt Germein by JPs Hillam, Mullighan and McPhee. MC Thornton leaves the station on Tues 22nd Jan, handing it back to MC Thornton who immediately passes it to MC Robinson. PM Raffa is brought back to the station from the paddock.
Some more events are:
Page created 13-2-2009, updated 30-3-2011