Monday, 28 September 2015

On the way to Mildura, Victora

Stayed at the Webberburn Caravan Park  in Victoria on our first night and saw this sweet little cottage with the story attached at the entrance to the Caravan Park.

Mr & Mrs Stokes arrived in Wedderburn in 1933 and early the following year Mr Stokes died leaving Mrs Stokes living in a little home made tent alongside the reservoir drain. Bruce Robertson, who lived with his family in the town later described the place as “a shocking place to live! It was a bag tent, home made, sewn together, plastered with flour and pipe clay to try to run the water off. When it did rain, they got equal amounts of water in and out”.

Bruce, who was 11 years old, said to Mrs Stokes one day, “What say we build a little mud brick cottage for you?” an so they set to. They made the bricks, “just so many so we could go on”. Bruce made the mould and the mixed “the white quartz stone and loamy sort of soil that won’t crack like clay and is more durable” and let them dry.


They needed slate for the foundations, so with Jimmy, an old draught horse, they went out in the spring cart to get the slate. No damp course because they had no money for tar or bitumen. When it came time to lay the bricks, Mrs Stokes mixed up the mortar and Bruce did the brick laying.
At first Bruce had only weekends to work as he was at school. Leaving school early and while working for his uncle, Graham Ross, he had Wednesday afternoon off and “that speeded it up a bit”.

The house has a double fireplace, for fireplace and stove and a dirt floor. The doors, windows and stove were found in an old disused farmhouse. Timber was “anything Dad had laying around” and “Dad helped me put the roof on” said Bruce.
Having just started to plaster the walls inside, they realised that the wet weather was starting and “there was no way you could keep her out, even with a big stick” Bruce said of Mrs Stokes, so she moved in and lived there until 1979.

Mrs Stokes died aged 93 at the Korong Bush Nursing Hospital in 1982. In 1983 the house was moved from the Crown Land on which it was built and re-erected by the Shire at the Pioneer Caravan Park as a memorial to Mrs Nancy Stokes.




The Caravan Park at Wedderburn, Victoria.


Came across these old discs at Wycheproof a small town.


Wheat growing, and an indication how flat that part of the country is.


A sign to say how far some places are in this world.  Need a good paint and redo.
If you wish to see how far places are it's possible if you make the image larger.
This was where we bought some diesel at Hatta where we have done 640km from home.

26 comments:

  1. What a nice little story and isn't it amazing how mature kids were back then. I am not at all keen on the western flatlands and the wind across the plains.Gippsland terrain is so much nicer, although wetter. Born and bred south of the Divide, you might say.

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    1. Didn't know about being born and bred south of the Divude?
      Bruce must have been such a caring person at aged 11.

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  2. Margaret the story is fantastic and interesting one.The house is small but lovely. Your great country is completely different from mine. THe landscape is fantastic and impressive.

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    1. I see by some of your photos how different Poland is to Australia..

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  3. What an absolutely lovely story.
    Andrew is right about the maturity of kids then - and the ingenuity. Sometimes I think we have regressed...

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    1. I'm sure we have gone backwards in many things.
      I liked the story of the kindness of that young boy, so hence the post.

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  4. An ingenious young lad that Bruce. Agree with two comments above - kids were far more mature and
    decent back then than today's "i-pad addicted ones".
    Wedderburn when I googled is a quaint little country Victorian town - crop and sheep country it looks like.
    Yep that map of distances to places all over - it does need a facelift. Can distinguish only Delhi and Rome. These maps to distances all around the World I think are an Aussie thing. They are quite common and in the most unlikely of places. I wonder how correct the distance from Wedderburn to Rome is?????
    Now BEING home in Launceston, Tassie, it is be so much easier to organise your travel blog reports.
    You are to be congratulated for going into such indepth of information for people to READ.
    Cheers
    Colin

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    1. Eyes!!! or new glasses??
      WeBBerburn - not WeDDerburn -apologies to the 640 residents.
      Colin

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    2. I had to look twice regarding the spelling of Wedderburn..sometimes those maps and distances might be as the crows flies.
      Thank you for your nice words :)

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  5. Seems every little town in Australia has a story (often full of intrigue, adventure, scandal, hard times...) that goes along with its set up.

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    1. I agree, every town seems to have one of those stories, we just don't always know about them.

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  6. What a lovely story and what a thoughtful kind lad Bruce must have been. It looks as if he built Mrs Stokes a very sturdy little dwelling, and she certainly survived in it until a very good age.

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  7. What a cute little cottage and what a lovely story behind it thank you for sharing this with us today

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    1. You are welcome Jo-Anne, it was good to have a lovely story to tell.

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  8. What a sweet story, Margaret! Bruce was obviously a very kind and thoughtful lad! :) Your photos are lovely.

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  9. what a lovely story and what hard work it must have been. i love the sign

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    1. Would have been very hard work back then to build that cottage.
      Priceless that sign..

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  10. Beautiful story to accompany their good photos.

    Kisses

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  11. I would be very pleased to have lived in a house like that. Great account.

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  12. What a wonderful little fellow worth his weight in gold.
    Merle............

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    1. He sure was. Pity more young ones weren't more like him.

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