Christmas Greetings: a glance back to Lock 5 1926

Happy Christmas!

Social happenings at Lock 5: Mr M S Ward (teacher) went to Adelaide on Friday.

Mr and Mrs Angus McKinnon and two children went to Semaphore for the Christmas holidays.

Mr Mrs G W Martin and children drove to Victor Harbour for Christmas and New Year holidays

Mrs H Cruttenden and infant are staying at Norwood with her mother

 

Mr & Mrs Richards and daughter are going to Melbourne for Christmas

Ms Gilbert is returning to her home in Melbourne

Mr Vincent and his son are going to Melbourne for the Christmas holidays

Mr H T M Angwin and his mother have gone to Sydney for Christmas

(Taken from The Advertiser 21 Dec 1926)

1931 Christmas: Charlie’s Toby jug

“On the way, I got out at Blanchetown and spent Christmas with my cousins, the Brooks family. This little Toby Jug was my present off the Christmas tree in 1931. That’s all we’d get, one present. I arrived on Christmas Eve and the parents were given a present for each child and all that was left on the tree was a little Toby Jug.” (Page 153 Harnessing the River Murray: stories of the people who built Locks 1 to 9, 1915-1935)
charlies toby jug 1931 Christmas 4

In 1931 they had the big flood and they urgently needed stone so I was able to go with my father on the PS Captain Sturt because it was school holidays. On the way down, they had a barge on each side and one in front as well as the big 90-foot derrick boat, with the big boom on it. We had to take it down to Lock 2 to stand the trestles in the navigable pass up again after the flood.
We couldn’t travel at night in case we ran up a billabong because the river was up. On the way, I got out at Blanchetown and spent Christmas with my cousins, the Brooks family. This little Toby Jug was my present off the Christmas tree in 1931. That’s all we’d get, one present. I arrived on Christmas Eve and the parents were given a present for each child and all that was left on the tree was a little Toby Jug.
The boat went down and got a load of stone and picked me up on the way back. Coming back we couldn’t travel at night because the river had dropped so much, we were frightened of running against a sandbar. And we just got through past Lock 6 nearly to the South Australian border when we ran aground. Then we were two days while the men had to go back in a rowboat to Lock 6 and help get the weir back into place to build the river up so we could get moving again. The trip could take about three to four weeks I suppose, long enough for the school holidays to pass. By the time we got back it was time to go back to school again.

Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat…

Have you done your shopping? Do you know a history-buff, Murray River enthusiast or book-lover?

Harnessing the River Murray: stories of the people who built Locks 1 to 9, 1915-1935 could be ‘just the thing’ for some on your Christmas ‘gift list’!

You can read a sample of the text here: SAMPLE-Harnessing_the_Murray

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lock 7 Christmas tree from dawn glenn collection

Lock 7 Christmas tree c 1932 showing a large number of Christmas stockings at the base, one for each child.

On page 48 of Harnessing the River Murray, the Christmas celebrations at Lock 9 are described: ‘On Christmas Eve, the eagerly anticipated Christmas tree was erected on the lawns next to the men’s quarters and decorated with toys, balloons and Christmas stockings. Little electric bulbs illuminated the tree which sparkled amid the surrounding darkness as more than 120 children excitedly greeted Father Christmas, (Oliver Edwards), who arrived in a car to distribute a toy and stocking to each one. There was plenty of fruit, lollies, and cool drinks for the children and the adults enjoyed the music and dancing.’