Early Memories of Kenneth Norman Grigg
Born 23/06/1908, Carlton, Vic. ( Third Child)
Married 00/00/00, Hopetoun, Vic.
I shall write of our Father first, for at the present time I would know more about him than other members of the family, although I was only 11 years of age when he died in 1919. George was 12, and Bert 13. At that time, and for years after, we did not place any importance on who our ancestors were etc., only realizing in recent times the importance of such knowledge to later generations.
Our Father, George Edward Grigg, was born, I think, in Australia in 1883 (where?) and died as the result of the influenza epidemic in 1919. Bob and I were also sick, but were fortunate in that we survived. We were living in Rainbow at that time.
The epidemic was so severe, that the Court House was converted into a 'temporary Hospital.' That was where our Father died.
(The Encyclopaedia Britannica states that the 1918 epidemic was the most destructive in history, in fact it ranks with the plague of Justinian and the Black Death as one of the severest holocausts of disease ever encountered. It was estimated that more than 20 000 000 persons perished of influenza in a few months and more that 50 times as many were sick.)
Father was a capable person, a good tradesman and took an interest in public affairs, was fond of gambling and liked a drink. I do not know much about his parents. I met his mother once - Grannie Grigg - she lived in Kerang, and I think she was born in Ireland and was a typical Irish Grannie. I don't know anything of Grandfather Grigg. I do not remember much of my early years in Murtoa. We left there late in 1914 (I was 6 years of age) and went to Rainbow, where Father had his own saddlery business. In 1916, he and Mater were members of the winnging "Queen's Competition Committee". The total amount raised was pound 1 704, the equivalent today could be around $150 000. He was a staunch Roman Catholic and taught Sunday School in Murtoa. Whilst he was alive we were brought up a R.C. and attended Sunday School and Mass regularly.
He hated lies - considered a liar worse than a thief. Family photos where considered very important at that time, and many were taken (studio photos) of the family at different times, I think some could have been lost in the fire. The ones we have create a lot of interest.After Father's death, Mater gave us the choice of remaining R.C. or turning to her Church, the C of E. At that time Bert had been confirmed R.C. and decided to stay with the Church. The rest of us changed to Mater's Church. Alan was born a few months after Father died, and the older ones chose his name. At that time Mater, now a widow, had 10 children, and was 34 years of age. The quantity of milk required for the family was a problem, so Mater bought a cow. I think she did the milking. The older ones had their particular jobs at home, such as dishes, beds and washing floors etc. of course we had our quarrels, but we are a close family and we managed. (Often with a woman in the house helping out etc.) As Tom said the Saddlery business was sold and we went into a mixed business - fruit, vegs., lollies, soft drinks etc. Mater had a special light spring cart made, bought a horse ("Trixie") and George and I used to deliver shop orders around the town. (I think Bert was in Murtoa then)
Mat Walch (Skipper) with his brother Mick, had a Baker's Shop in Rainbow at that time - met Mater, and were married. They carried on the business until we were burned out November 1923. The family migrated to Baring, March 1924. What happened between November and March, I don't remember. I started work at "Gray and Wood's garage" May 1923 (age 15) and did not go to Baring. As regards the early years in Baring, clearing the land, looking after the horses and carting water etc other members of the family know more about that than I do.
Now to Mater:
Tom has given you some information so I shall not repeat that, but I do agree with his comments re the Crams. I lived there for a time myself. I cannot remember much about Mater prior to our Father's death, except she was a good mother and always working. Our Father was a very aggressive person, and I think at home was "No. 1" Mater remained C of E all her life, and had wonderful faith, which was a great comfort always for her.A boast of hers was, all her 13 children, grand children and great grandchildren (at this time 160), there is not one who is retarded. I used to think that was normal, but in later years realised it is not.
Her 70th Birthday, celebrated in Hopetoun, October 1955, was a wonderful event. Every member of the family, with their spouses and children, also her brothers and sisters from Murtoa were present. Photographs were taken (in groups) of everyone. Mater had them made into albums and presented one to each member of the family. Tom was living in Cobram at the time and his transport arrangements fell down, so we hired a Taxi for him and family, (He had to be there.) In my teens, and early married years, it was wonderful to go home. We always had good meals (took them for granted) and the table was always covered with a white starched cloth. We had some great talks and her advice was always sound. She was a remarkable woman.
Now a little of my life:
As mentioned before, I was born in Carlton - 23.6.1908. My parents apparently moved to Murtoa some time after, and I remember attending R.C. Sunday School and Primary School. We started school at 4 = years at that time.The family moved to Rainbow late 1914. I finished my schooling in form 4, at the age of 14.One experience in my early life I must relate. It must have been early 1924. I was 15 and Bob 14. We hired two horses and rode from Rainbow to Baring, stopping overnight at Nypo. I rode back on my own. (I loved horses at that time) After leaving school I worked in the shop until May 1923, when I commenced work in "Gray and Woods" garage at 15/ - per week. I think I got a rise of 2/6 every 3 months. After a little more than two years, the then foreman there left and went to Murtoa. I followed a few months later. Whilst in Murtoa I lived with the Cram's and appreciated them for what they were. Grandma Cram was a lovely person - all heart. I worked there for about 18 months, and very foolishly left and went up to Baring for a time.
Early in 1927 I went to Hopetoun and started working for "Gray & Wood" again, who had opened up another business there. It was in Hopetoun I first met Rene, (I thought she was the loveliest girl I had ever seen) and some time later we were married. The depression years, 1930-35 were pretty tough, at that time we had 4 children - Ken, Joan, Des and Barry (Peter was born July 1938 and Sue May 1944). The award wage then was 25 - a week. (If you could get a full weeks work) but we managed, with a little outside work etc, and repairing all the family footwear (for years) plus help from Mater, and others at Baring. Poulton Motors took over the Garage in 1936, and I stayed on until 1943 (a total of 21 years) when I went into partnership with Bill Price. The business was known as Corrong Motors, (I. H. Coy Dealer). My children were a help to the business in the early days, first Joan, then Barry , Des and Peter. The partnership continued until March 31st 1961 when I bought out Bill Price, and Peter came into the business. We always had difficulty in getting suitable mechanics, which in general did not help the business, but we made out O.K. After 11 years (I was then 69) I had had enough and decided to retire. The property and stock etc was sold and Rene and I retired to Highton Sept. 1977. We had 3 great years until later September 1980, when Rene contracted Viral Pneumonia. She died October 12th and was buried in Hopetoun.