May 2021 Newsletter

What happened in the Shed in May?

Mac’s wine tables were so successful, once he sorted out the issues with the table legs, that when he and Rita set up their picnic on the front lawn and the neighbours noticed, orders came rushing in. I am reliably informed that the lawn picnic has been considered Covid safe for social distancing, but they can’t share the wine.

I can’t really tell you what John Porch is up to but he and Banksy are the go to people for scroll work, it is an art and thanks to Yancoal the equipment is being put to good use. John has been working on this little project for some weeks, I will show the big picture when it’s finished.

Kevin and Mick are doing their magic on the garden gates from our veggie plot. I believe Tom Duddley made these when he had the Wood Turning Shop in Lewis Street. Didn’t do a bad job for a Fitter, but with Kevin and Mick on the job they should last for years. Kev’s good at repairing rotted wooden things.

Believe it or not this is a Chook Box. Those that know say it is difficult to transport a chicken without doing damage (unless it’s in an oven), to the many shows held around the country and keep their plumage intact. So the Shed has manufactured a number of these transport boxes for that purpose. The inside is like a Hilton hotel for Chooks, lounge/dining area, open plan of course with nesting area. Everyone’s ideal Escape to the Country home.

The Men’s Shed participated in the Mudgee Cycle Classic, no we didn’t ride the 170 Km race or even the 35 K, we fed the masses after the ride, this is us during our rush period. But believe us cooking rissoles and sausages is just as exhausting. Thanks to all who helped on the day.

I mean, really Rod, put the shirt back on. A little bit of skirt and a camera and its “show time”. The Yancoal Coal news review are sending this lot of photos to the home company to show their investment in our Men’s Shed. I bet these get talked about when the Federal Trade Dept. meet with the Chinese Delegation, or even used as propaganda, these may even make the 7 National news. Rod may well be the face that solves our trade problems with China. Or Not.

The first of two aviaries to be made at the Shed went out last week. Project manager Garry, seems to have a cast of thousands to load the unit, mainly supervisors. It turned out to be a good job for the group that assisted in its manufacture, just the type of work that keeps us active and alert. 

Guess Who

I was born in “Roslyn” Hospital at Arncliffe Sydney on 18 October 1936 to parents Jim and Barbara Charlesworth.

My early years were spent at “Elanora” on the eastern side of Yowie Bay near Caringbah with brother Jim and sister Janet.

Starting in January 1942 I attended Caringbah Primary School, ending in 1948 and then going to Sutherland Intermediate High School. Subjects included Elementary Maths and Science, English, Woodwork, Metalwork and Technical Drawing and I achieved the Intermediate Certificate.

From January to June 1952 I went to Lasalle College at Cronulla, which was then the only High School in the Sutherland Shire, where I could obtain the Leaving Certificate, but I left after only four months.

On 10 June 1952, I gained employment with CSIRO Fisheries branch at Cronulla as a workshop assistant, aged fifteen years and a job that I enjoyed very much and learnt quite a lot and stayed for nearly two years. My initial wage being five pounds, six shillings per week. Transport to work was some two and a half miles by push bike.

Our family moved to Milepost Creek Bribaree on 5th March 1954 to a farm of nine hundred acres. Life was quite different to the City, with no electricity, wood stove and kerosine lights. My brother Jim and I worked with Dad growing crops, mainly wheat and oats, but also sheep and cattle. We also did some share farming and casual work lamb marking, stooking hay and chaff cutting for nearby neighbours.

Jim left the partnership after a few years, going his own way and buying a farm at Junee. During 1961, Dad and I bought an adjoining property of some twelve hundred acres, which made a big

difference as we now held over 2200 acres. In 1962 I married Margaret O’Keefe from Barmedman, then moving into a house on the property which we recently purchased. Quite a lot of repairs had to be done to make it more habitable. Daughter Rachael was born in 1967 and commenced primary school at Quandialla Central, then going on to boarding school at Loreto College Normanhurst Sydney for her secondary year.

About 1969 I became interested in vintage motor vehicles and purchased a 1934 Ford V8 Coupe from Kandos NSW. I brought it home and stripped it to the bare chassis and then completely rebuilt it over the next two years. Later I restored a 1928 Ford Tourer, then a 1930 ‘A’ Ford Roadster, which had been cut down to a farm ute and which I purchased at a farm clearing sale for $90.

My Mother died in 1981 and Dad followed in 1988 age 88 years. That same year we lost our home and all the contents in a fire, nothing could be saved. A big loss at the time, though thankful that no one was hurt.

We carried on the farm with Margaret doing some casual teaching at Quandialla Central School. The next few years were reasonably good, excepting 1982 and 1994 and with only 6 to 8 inches of rain, the crops failed completely and most of the dams going dry. Hand feeding the livestock became a constant chore.

Rachael completed Year 12  at Loreta Normanhurst and then trained as a Primary Teacher at North Sydney Catholic College, later teaching Art at Young.

In 1992, Rachael married Mick Flynn from Mudgee, moving to their family farm at Piambong. James was born in 1996 and Paddy in 1998. The boys attended St Mathews School in Mudgee and Rachael did casual teaching at Gulgong and Mudgee. She now runs a successful online business called Red Tractor Designs.

Following the 1994 drought we had seven very good years on the farm, but then from 2002 to 2007 the years were very dry though we managed OK.

During 2007 Margaret and I bought a house in Court Street Mudgee, which we then rented back to the existing owners for nearly two years. We sold the farm in 2007, but stayed on for another year having a fairly good year to end on.

In March 2009 we had a clearing sale and sold off all the farming plant and livestock and the accumulation of over fifty years of farming. Made the move to Mudgee about Easter time, but had many trips back to Quandialla with Hilux and trailer to bring up household items, Margaret’s garden plants and pots along with my vintage vehicles and collectables.

In conclusion I must admit that I missed the farm for quite some time. Those quiet times in the paddocks, the starry nights, bright full Moon and the sound of gentle rain on the roof. Some of life’s simple pleasures one does not have while living in town. Life moves on though and by keeping busy, setting up my workshop and shed with the company of my Red Kelpie dogs, being close to Rachael Mick and the boys and becoming a member of the Mudgee Men’s Shed and having more time to spend together with Margaret makes everything much appreciated.

Looking back generally, I am very thankful for the many good times, wonderful family and friends and now consider my life has been a very fortunate one.

14 April 2021