Archive for the ‘Bega’ Category

The Bega Agricultural and Pastoral Society held its first Show on 15 February 1872 in the Bega School of Arts building in Carp Street. Two nearby paddocks owned by John Jauncey were also used to show stock animals. Over the next few years the Show was held at Annie White’s Victoria Inn in Auckland Street and from 1876 to 1886 Shows were held at the Market Reserve (now Bega Park and swimming pool).

On 29 September 1886 the Government Gazette published a dedication of the present Bega Showground, resuming eight acres, three roods of the Market Reserve. The current pavilion was officially opened for the 1905 Bega Show on 1st and 2nd March with both days (Wednesday and Thursday) declared as public holidays. The pavilion cost £1,700 and was designed by architect Robert Wallace Thatcher from Manchester. Local builder William Manning carried out the construction.

Bega Showground Pavilion, 1900s. Bega Valley Shire Library collection 008-00086

Bega Showground Pavilion, 1900s. Bega Valley Shire Library collection 008-00086

Source: History of the Bega Show by Margaret Evans, 1998.


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Dairy industry productivity poster from World War Two

Dairy industry productivity poster from World War Two

This poster was issued by the Commonwealth Food Control during World War Two. The poster was designed to encourage dairy farmers to produce more milk to support Australia’s war effort. The comic book style illustrations and wording were common features of this series of posters, perhaps introducing humour and stimulating goodwill in a time of uncertainty. The poster highlights productivity gains for the farmers through government subsidies, machinery pools, more workers and industry marketing – now it was up to the farmers to deliver for their country!

Australia’s food supply was well organised at the outbreak of World War Two. The Government had started planning for food control in 1938 to protect the economy and primary industries and to make sure food supplies could be transported overseas quickly. Arrangements were made for Britain to take food surpluses. As the war progressed the shortage of shipping space for exports became an issue, the rural workforce declined, machinery deteriorated and production fell.

In 1940 the Government faced the very real possibility of a Japanese invasion and the Emergency Supplies Plan was initiated to safeguard civilian food supplies if Australia was invaded or if internal transport was disrupted. Grocery stores around the country were given reserve supplies and Government stores were set up.

In May 1943 the Commonwealth Food Control was established to cope with potential food shortages. The main factors affecting supplies were a large increase in Australia’s military force; the arrival of American forces based in Australia and demands for butter and meat from Britain especially as American food supplies were diverted to Russia.

The Government worked with industries through the Commonwealth Food Control to overcome obstacles to maximising food production.  A section within Food Control was responsible for solving rural workforce shortages, acquiring machinery and expanding factories.

Dairy farmers from around the Bega Valley no doubt responded positively to the call to increase production of milk, cheese and butter in support of the war effort.


Australian Bureau of Statistics, Commonwealth Food Control feature article, Year Book Australia, No. 35, 1942-43, p. 921 at http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/ausstats/free.nsf/LookupAttach/1301.0Publication01.01.42210/$File/13010_1942-43_ControlOfFood.pdf

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'World War One: the War Years' local history calendar 2015

World War One: the War Years local history calendar 2015

The 2015 local history calendar was launched today by Mayor Michael
Britten at Bega library. The theme of the calendar is ‘World War One: the War Years’.

The 2015 calendar is very special and no doubt will resonate with many people as we head into the centenary of the Gallipoli landings and the ANZAC experience. Over the next three to four years Australia will commemorate various World War One milestones, marking 100 years since Australia’s involvement in World War One. Nearly 200 men from our region lost their lives in World War One and this 2015 calendar contributes towards creating a record of our region’s past during those tumultuous World War One years.

Towns and villages throughout Australia focused on raising money to support the war effort through subscriptions to government war loans.

One of the photographs in the calendar shows the Bega Honour Flag awarded in recognition of the town’s contribution to the Seventh War Loan in 1918. Bega doubled its quota of 10,000 pounds and was awarded the coveted distinction of adding three bars and a star to their flag which can be seen in the photograph. H.M Blomfield was Mayor of Bega during the war years and instrumental in raising funds. In recognition of his patriotic drive his name was inscribed onto the flag.

Finding suitable photographs for this year’s calendar was challenging and would not have been possible without the support of the Bega Valley Historical Society and the Eden Killer Whale Museum.

The calendar is available for purchase at Eden, Merimbula, Bega and Bermagui libraries at a cost of $8.80.

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Celebrating the end of WWI, Bega, 1919

Celebrating the end of WWI, Bega, 1919

What was life like in  the Bega Valley during World War One? Do you have any old photographs showing life on the home front such as local end-of-war celebrations, soldiers home on leave or women helping with the war effort?

We would love donations of old photographs from people for the 2015 local history calendar. The theme of the calendar will be ‘The World War One Years’. In the next few years, Australia will commemorate various World War One milestones, marking 100 years since Australia’s involvement in the war.

The aim of next year’s calendar is to acknowledge peoples’ varied experiences of World War One. So many went overseas to fight but there was a home front as well where a lot of the war effort was focused for those family members left behind. Families waited anxiously at home, people held fundraising events to support the war and towns organised homecomings for returning soldiers. Life continued while the war was on and we particularly want to capture the day-to-day life on the home front for the 2015 calendar.

Memento showing grave of local man T. Corporal Bernard Joseph Heffernan.

Memento showing grave of local man T. Corporal Bernard Joseph Heffernan.

We already have some suitable photographs like one of people gathered on the corner of Carp and Gipps Street, Bega in 1919 to celebrate the end of the war, but we need lots more to make a full calendar.

We aim to put out a calendar that represents the whole shire and we would love for everybody with photographs of the Great War to share this important part of the shire’s history.

Photographs can be loaned or donated, and for people lending images we just digitise and return the original to you. If you have a photograph that fits the theme then please contact Linda Albertson on 6499 2127.

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1st Bega Troop 1936
This wonderful photograph of the First Bega Scout Group is a recent addition to our photographic collection. It has a studio mark embossed on the corner from ‘Dimond Studio 150 Rundle St. Adelaide’. What was the Bega Scout Troop doing in Adelaide and when were they there?

The SA Memory site provides some clues. A Scout Jamboree was held near Adelaide in 1936 to commemorate 100 years of European settlement in South Australia. Known as the ‘Centenary Corroboree’, a six day camp of 4,000 scouts was held in the Belair National Park from 28 December 1936. Scouts came from all over Australia, including Bega, as well as from South Africa, Sri Lanka, the Solomons, Rabaul and Nauru. What a trip for our local boys back in 1936!

Does anyone recognise the Scout leader? Or any of the boys in the photograph? If you can shed any more light on the people in this photograph, please make a comment.

Sources: The Corroboree Advertiser at http://www.samemory.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm?c=5383#

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Corner Eden and Upper Streets, old cemetery site Bega.

Corner Eden and Upper Streets, old cemetery site Bega.

In 1905 the good people of Bega found themselves “in between” cemeteries. The ‘old’ cemetery, located where the present day public high school is, was de-commissioned on 7 June 1905. However, the transition to the ‘new’ cemetery wasn’t a smooth one according to a report in the ‘Southern Star’ on 14 June 1905.

The Bega Municipal Council gave three months’ notice making burial in the old cemetery illegal after 7 June 1905. It seems that the work in preparing the new cemetery didn’t progress very quickly. So when a death occurred on 11 June, “nobody knew what to do about a grave.” The undertaker instructed a man to dig the grave in the old cemetery since the new cemetery was not fully prepared. The digging was soon stopped by the Inspector of Nuisances with a threat of prosecution. An appeal was made to the Mayor who was unable to authorise a breach of by-laws so the only thing left to do was to start digging a grave at the new cemetery.

The problem was that the new cemetery hadn’t been properly marked out into religious denominations so no one knew which area was Roman Catholic, Anglican, Prebyterian, Methodist and so on. In addition, the land was used as a cattle run at night time. Eventually, permission was obtained from Mr Blomfield, secretary to the cemetery trustees, to bury the deceased in the new cemetery. However, as the land hadn’t been pegged out the grave had to be dug in a remote corner.

The writer of the article (anonymous) is clearly indignant at the lack of foresight from authorities in organising the transition between one cemetery closing and the other cemetery coming into use. As to the identity of our poor deceased person, they are only referred to as a “stranger”.

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Radio waves

2BE radio equipment  with Bill Momsen, Frank Heffernan, John Kerr and Mrs Crowley, 1961

2BE radio equipment with Bill Momsen, Frank Heffernan, John Kerr and Mrs Crowley, 1961

George VI was King, Joseph Lyons was Prime Minister and newspapers were the main source of news and information. Since the early 1930s Far South Coast people had been listening to city based radio stations – often putting up with fading and crackling signals. But it was now 1937 and at 6pm on Monday 30 September the local 2BE transmitter was switched on and “A Programme of Music Selected from the World’s Best Recordings” went to air. The evening was hosted by Chief Announcer, Alfie Andrews.

At 8pm Mr W. H. Balmain gave the official opening speech followed by a dance programme from 10pm until midnight when the station closed down.

The studio, control room, transmitter and office were located in offices above Grist’s chemist (now Priceline) in Carp Street, Bega.

From opening night, the station broadcasted each weekday noon – 2pm, 6pm-10pm and Sunday 6.30pm-10pm. The station didn’t operate on Saturdays initially although after about a year the hours were extended to include Saturday programming from 6pm-10.30pm with an extra two hours on a Sunday morning, 8am-10am. Apparently the signal was very clear and could be heard for a radius of 50 miles reaching a population of about 21,000 people.

In 1987 the station changed their call sign to 2EC (East Coast Radio) and still operates today.

Source: ‘2BE-40 years old this week’, supplement to the Bega District News, September 25 1977.

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