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Aussie Pioneers - 17. AP Chapter 17

When we arrived in Ceduna in the late afternoon, we saw a number of motor vehicles drive past, which made the horses a little skittish at the noise and smoke that they produced, until they passed. At the Mercantile store we sold all of the produce that we had brought with us to sell, which was a lot less than what Florence had brought last trip, as we had very little spare produce to sell, although the goat’s cheese, milk and butter were always a welcome treat.

From there we headed to the farm supply store to look at the what they had there in windmills. When we learnt that they had 6 windmills in pack form, I decided to buy three of them, along with more coils of plain fencing wire, four tin water troughs, and two water tanks. I knew that it was going to be a very expensive purchase, but it was a needed investment, needed to make retrieving water for the sheep a lot easier.

I had to go to the bank to get some money from our account to pay for the farming items, and outside the bank there was a motor car parked, with a hand-written wooden sign saying for sale on the windscreen. When I exited the bank, I had the money to pay for all of the farming supplies, and I was now the proud owner of a motor car.

The bank manager stepped out to show me how it operates, and to tell me all of its features. I would now have to add a drum of petrol to the shopping list, so as to be able to travel between Ceduna and the farm, each time. I was told that the average speed for the motor vehicle was 40 miles per hour, which would mean just a 5-hour journey between the farm and Ceduna, instead of a two-day journey by horse and wagon.

I drove the motor car the three street blocks to the farm supplies store, and parked it before pushing the button to sound the horn. It made our two Clydesdales standing nearby start to get skittish, and I immediately regretted pressing the horn, as Archie and the store own came out of the store.

“You didn’t, did you, brother?” Archie asked.

“I sure did, and at 40 miles per hour, we can make the supply run to Ceduna in just five hours, meaning it will save us 2 ½ days that can be spent working on the farm,” I replied.

“Well yes, I guess when you put it that way, it will be a good investment, and I guess I still have to drive the wagon back home on my own,” Archie said sadly.

“Not to worry, brother, we will stay in town tonight and I will camp overnight with you tomorrow night. I will leave town at lunch time tomorrow and meet you there, so let us get the last of our supplies and go and get the horses settled into the livery, and we will check into the hotel for a good night’s sleep,” I announced to Archie.

With the wagon fully loaded with packs of windmills, a barrel of petrol for the motor vehicle, a few pieces of comfortable furniture for Florence’s private lounge, two comfortable chairs for our living room, a dozen more chairs for the school/church, and a proper desk for the teacher, which would be the altar on the second Sunday of each month, the wagon was stored away for the night, and the two Clydesdales bedded down in the livery.

Early the next morning, Archie set off just after dawn, so he could arrive at the homestead before dark the next day. I had a relaxing breakfast in a café, before collecting some more nails and staples, which I had forgotten to purchase the day before, and posted the letter to home.

A letter was at the post office waiting for us to collect; it was from home. I waited till I was seated in the motor vehicle before opening it.

16th January 1913

Dearest Sons,

It is so good to receive your last letter from you today, dated 29th of November. We hope you had a happy and joyous Christmas. It was sad, that we could not be all together, and we hope that we will be reunited with you in the near future. I hope that the farm is doing well and everyone is in good health.

The girls sent their love to you all, and they miss you all terribly. There are rumours about war once again, and this time, it seems to me more truth than idle gossip. I just hope that it does not come to our home land.

Your father is talking about us packing up and immigrating to South Australia before the end of the year, so please prepare for our arrival sometime in December. Look after yourself my dear sons, and I look forward to the time that we are reunited again.

Your loving Ma.”

Stopping at the general store for some food and water for the day’s journey, I set off for home just before noon, in our new motor vehicle. I ended up having to stop a number of times to allow the engine to cool, as the hot weather was not favourable for a vehicle more suited to the cooler weather.

By 3pm, I had Archie and the wagon in sight, and remembering how the horses do not like motor cars, I slowed down to allow the horses to slowly get used to the sounds behind them. Archie stopped when I had caught up to him, to give the horses a rest and some water.

“You have made good time today, brother,” I said to Archie, as I helped him with buckets of water for the horses. “Yes, we have been going at a good pace, even with this heavy load, but I have stopped a number of times to rest the horses,” Archie replied.

“I had to stop and rest the motor vehicle, because the engine does not like the hot temperatures, so it has taken an extra 1 ½ hours to catch up to you” I said to my brother, who laughed. I gathered the cooking gear and food from the wagon, and drove around it to take the lead, so I could set up camp for the night, before Archie arrived.

While having dinner, I suggested that I lead in the morning, so I could set up the midday meal ahead of the wagon, which Archie happily agreed to. The following day, after our midday meal, we loaded up the cooking equipment onto the wagon, and I once again lead the way and it wasn't long before I was soon out of sight of the wagon.

With one more stop to allow the motor vehicle to cool down, I finally arrived at the front gate of the property. I stopped outside the produce store, and pressed the button for the horn, which resulted in all the children rushing out of the school to see what the noise was. They came running up to the motor vehicle to have a look, and Helena O’Grady soon arrived not happy.

“I am sorry, Helena, I didn’t mean to disturb your school lessons. I just wanted to see if Augustus was in or not,” I said to the school teacher.

“That is ok, Edwin. It is almost time for the end of the school day anyway. Augustus was here this morning, but returned to his farm just before the midday meal,” Helena replied.

I had a letter from my mother. You maybe getting two more students before Christmas, as my parents and two sisters are immigrating to South Australia,” I informed Helena.

“We will need a second teacher soon, if the class number keep going up,” Helena replied.

Have you asked one of the other mothers if they can assist?” I asked.

“No, but I will ask the children to pass a message on to Julia, Maria and Louisa, and see if they can,” Helena replied.

“I will bring the buggy. The other three can travel home with you if you like,” Simeon said to me.

“That is very thoughtful of you, little brother. Archie will be along in a few hours with the wagon, and there is a lot to unpack this time,” I replied.

“Ok, children, school is finished for today. You can go home early, and for the oldest Barrington, Frankston and D’Angelo children, please ask your mothers if they are interested in helping with teaching 3 mornings each week,” Helena said, and the children set off back to the school house to collect their school work and set off home in their buggies.

James, Mark and Adam climbed into the motor vehicle, eager to experience riding in the vehicle for the very first time, and 15 short minutes later we arrived at the homestead, and I tooted the horn.

“What on Earth have you done, Edwin James Cameron? That is too much of an expense for this family,” Florence said scolding at me.

“It is well worth the money, when it only takes 5 hours to travel to Ceduna, instead of the two full days by buggy, dear,” I replied.

“I see, and I presume your poor brother is struggling along behind you somewhere?” Helena asked, “Yes dear. We had the midday meal together, before I set off ahead of him, stopping to collect the boys at school on the way,” I responded.

Florence said no more, and returned inside to continue with preparing the evening meal, and I asked Mark to open the barn door, so I could drive the motor vehicle inside for safe storage.

“I am sorry that you are unhappy with the purchase of the motor vehicle. I just felt that it would cut down time travelling into town each time, so we have more time to work on the farm,” I said to Florence, when I entered the kitchen.

“What else did you buy? Nothing too extravagant I hope,” Florence replied.

“Well, a rocking chair, a rug and a two small tables for your sitting room, two more comfortable chairs for the living room, some more chairs for the school, and a proper desk for our teacher, plus three windmills and more wire for the farm,” I replied.

“I guess that has wiped out the majority of your savings?” Florence asked.

“Yes dear, we have a few pounds remaining, but I am sure once we sell more produce, lambs and wool, we will have more savings in the bank,” I replied.

“Patrick went home before midday meal, as he had done everything that you asked him to do, and he will be back in the morning,” Florence informed me.

“Good, I will need to take Simeon with me as soon as he arrives, to head back to the school, to help Archie to unload the furniture. We will be back before dark, I said to my wife, and I went to the washroom, to wash my face and neck, and headed outside to check on the goats while waiting for my younger brother.

When he arrived, we gave the horse, Dickens, a drink, before turning around and heading back to the school which is a half hour ride away.

“Have you thought about what sort of house to build for Ma and Pa?” Simeon asked me as we made our way back to the school house, after I told him that Ma and Pa and our sisters would be joining us before the end of the year.

“Yes, I have. I think I will build a square house, with a high roof, so there are three bedrooms upstairs, an indoor washroom and outhouse, large kitchen and a master bedroom, and big open dining and living area, on the ground floor,” I replied.

“Will we have to move to the new house?” Simeon asked me.

“I am not sure, brother. We will need to discuss that with Ma and Pa when they arrive,” I replied.

“I would prefer to stay with you and Florence,” Simeon stated.

We only had to wait twenty minutes before Archie arrived with the wagon, and he drove up to the school house, so we could unload the desk and chairs for the school, along with one of the windmill packs, and one of the water tanks, before we set off for the homestead.

Florence was delighted with the furniture for her private living room, plus the extra lounge chairs for the living room, which I was pleased about.

“I had a letter from home today. Ma and Pa have asked that we prepare for their arrival sometime in December, because there is talk of war in Europe, and they want to be well away from it,” I said to Florence as we stood in her newly furnished private living room.

“What will you do? Will we extend this house?” Florence asked, as she sat and relaxed in her new rocking chair.

“No dearest, I have decided to build a new home for them, next to the produce store, so my sisters are close to school,” I replied.

“Will Archie and Simeon move to the new house?” Florence asked.

“I don’t think Archie will since he is working on the farm, but Simeon may do, depending on the outcome of discussions with Ma and Pa when they arrive, but Simeon has already told me he wants to stay here,” I replied.

“I love them both as younger brothers, that I never had, so it would be nice to have them stay,” Florence said as she stood and walked back towards the kitchen.

“That is good to hear, as I too would like them both to stay,” I responded, and I went to the living room to relax till dinner.

Copyright Preston Wigglesworth January 2019 All Rights Are Reserved

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