Food on the table at the lock camps: as recalled by Charlie Adams.

Charlie Adams on the day of the first interview, Mildura, Victoria. March 1 2010.

Charlie Adams on the day of the first interview, Mildura, Victoria. March 1 2010.

When I first interviewed Charlie Adams (March 2010) who spent his entire childhood moving from one lock to the next while his father was employed on the construction, he described the supply of basic foodstuffs to the people in the ‘lock camps.’
“There was the government store and you used to buy your groceries at that store. But also at Lock 7 there was a private store with a post office attached to it, next to the school. I think it was Coombes who had the Paringa store (who conducted the store at Lock 7).
Milk you got wherever you could get it. At Lock 4, Quasts (at a neighbouring farm) supplied milk; at Lock 7 one of my uncles had a couple of cows and so he supplied milk. That was another job I had of a night after I come home from school. So I could get a ride on the bike, I used to bring the cows home for him to milk. I always found them out in the bush because they had a bell tied around them and you could hear them for miles.
Mum didn’t make butter but she did make a lot of bread and any surplus bread she sold to anyone else who didn’t have bread because the bread only came on the mail about twice a week. The same with the butcher; he came around once a week from Wangumma station, Mr Scadding. He used to come round with his truck selling mainly sheep, lamb, mutton, (there) could have been a bit of beef. One of the prime things was rabbits: if it wasn’t for the rabbits, thousands of people would have died of hunger. We used to go out and set traps and catch rabbits. I enjoyed it.
Fish was plentiful and you’d go down and throw the line in to catch a cod. There was a fisherman used to live with the Blakes at Lock 9, Lock 4 and Lock 7 and he was a marvel. He’d just take his fishing rod which was a sapling, a young tree; take it down and it didn’t matter where he threw the line in, he’d pull out a fish.
We (kids) used to go down the creek yabbying and used to get yabbies, (with) either nets or little lines and pull ’em in. We didn’t get many ducks but they were there and if somebody brought home a duck, ok you had a duck.”

Bill Pearson (left) and Harold Pearson (right) duck hunting with their dog at Lock 4

Bill Pearson (left) and Harold Pearson (right) duck hunting with their dog at Lock 4