A small bit of history | tarrangowertimes.com.au

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Anzac Hill Climb

Shire President John Bowen officially opened Maldon’s Anzac Hill on Saturday, 3 November, 1917.  Trees had been planted on the renamed hill to remember each Maldon-born serviceman who had died on active service during the Great War. 

To celebrate the opening, the Maldon Progress Association and the Castlemaine Motor Cycle Club conducted a hill-climbing contest up the winding path from Spring Street.  A crowd estimated at more than six hundred gathered on the hill to watch the event.

The ten competitors included Jack Booth, who held the world speed record, local schoolteacher, Hugh Gilmour, and Maldon-born William Jenkins.  Each motorcyclist was allowed three attempts to climb the hill.

Hugh Gilmour, on a 7 horsepower Harley Davidson, was the first rider to attempt the climb and reached the summit in a time of 43.4 seconds.  Jack Booth, on a 5.5 horsepower Indian, failed on his first outing but recorded a time of 36.2 seconds on his third attempt.  Harold Parsons of Melbourne, on another Harley, recorded the fast time of 29.4 seconds to win the blue ribbon.

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Snakes Alive!

November brings out snakes and snake yarns.  November 1885 produced a bumper crop.

On the Higgins’ farm at Baringhup East, when a snake fancied a turkey chick for dinner, the mother hen came to its rescue and a desperate battle ensued.  The hen pecked furiously at the snake and eventually broke its back.  Sadly the snake also scored a number of strikes and the turkey died an hour later.

At Sandy Creek another snake was seen near where a small child played.  A cat, lying nearby, sprang on the reptile and soon a confusion of cat and snake was rolling about.  The child’s mother ran from the house and snatched up her child.  The battered snake fled and for the next few days the cat, like a guardian angel, followed the child everywhere.

At his Manton’s Gully battery, Thomas Hodge ordered his men out to do battle with a ten-foot monster he had spied in the grass.  The men formed a circle, waddies in hand, and moved cautiously in only to find a ten-foot piece of old hose.  Nearby two boys could be seen, thumbs to their noses, running up the Mount.

 

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Bill Battles The Bunnies

In November 1911 Bill Pitchford, herdsman for the Maldon Common, spoke to the Tarrangower Times about his approach to combating the rabbit pest.

Rabbits were more numerous than in previous years and Bill felt that his efforts were not having much of an impact.  He was having difficulties settling on an effective bait, as the pest’s taste seemed to vary from year to year.

Previously phosphorised wheat had been most effective but it was now practically useless.  Apples laced with strychnine and “Toxa”, a jam-like proprietary mixture of apple pulp and strychnine, were both proving successful.  Apples, however, were very expensive and Bill was trying to substitute carrots.

Bill was not convinced of the value of fumigation, but preferred “carboning”.  His own approach was to block burrow entrances with old newspapers soaked in coal tar.  He found that under this method burrows were deserted for longer periods than when they were simply filled in.

All efforts to check rabbits, however, would prove fruitless until fencing with wire netting was made compulsory.

This information was supplied by the Maldon Museum and Archives.

 

 

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