Early Memories by Thomas Peter Grigg (Tom)

Tom Grigg


 Born 09/05/13, Murtoa, Vic
Died 11/01/90, Melbourne, Vic.
Married 00/00/37, Scots Church, Melbourne, Vic
Lois Nantz Schennesen
Phillis Tonkes
Born 00/00/14, Parkdale, Vic.
Died 00/00/94, Parkdale, Vic,

Early Memories-Tom
(Each member of the second generation alive in 1983 wrote their memories of the early days at Baring.)

Thomas Peter Grigg Number 6 Son

Grandfather Grigg was born in Cornwall in 1842. He was a butcher by trade
"Granny Grigg (our Grandmother) was born in Ireland.
I will tell you personally of Cousin Masie's comments re our Grandfather.
I think I should concentrate my efforts (re early ancestors) on Grandma's family "The Crams"
Sunday October 27th 1985. This reunion is rather special being the anniversary of Maters birth.
It was suggested at the reunion 23rd October 1983 that we should have some permanent record of Maters life and family for information for future generations.
It has fallen to Number 6 son, Tom to try and gather facts and background.
It is a very difficult task, because I was brought up by my Grandparents and Aunt Sylv at Murtoa, and I was not part of the pioneers at Patchewollock.
But with the help of other members of the family with their recollections we may be able to put some history together.

Where do we start? How far do we go back?
I personally think we can only trace our family tree from Mater.
I will do my best. Other members of the family have to contribute.
Mater born Ruby Jesse Cram was the oldest child of John and Mary Cram. Mary Cram was born a Forster. I have no knowledge of the Foster family. I believe they lived in the Hopetoun- Lascellas area.

Ken may be able to fill in with background of the Fosters.
I have nothing but fond recollections of the "Crams" old fashioned - narrow in outlook - but honest.
From what my older brothers have told me our father - George Edward Grigg was a Saddler (and a good one) at Murtoa.
I was born at Murtoa 8th May 1913. The family moved to Rainbow late 1914.
I have been told that one of the great sights at Rainbow was when our father went to mass with 6 sons.
Arthur was born 31st October 1915- Father died 1919 - so I do not remember if 7 sons went to mass together.
Father died in 1919- I was born 8th May 1913 and confess I do not remember our father.
I know the family had a mixed business after Mater realised it was not feasible to carry on a saddlery business with a trusted employee, make a profit and bring up her family.
I have two memories of that time. Arthur - 7 - self 8 plus six months- we would ring the bell (heirloom from the Cram Hotel at Murtoa) around the streets to "flog" the local picture. For that we were able to see the film from the back of the screen

Older brother Bert at that time was the disciplinarian for Mater - so we were truly spanked on our "Bottoms" for our efforts.

The other wonderful memory I have is Saturday nights. The train arrived 8-9pm and Maters mixed business catered for suppers. Arthur and myself - still only 7 and 9 would sneak in and pinch some sausages nicely cooking for hungry customers. But just when, I understand the business was a success, we were burnt out. At least I remember this as I rang the bell at the fire station. It was November 1923 - 8am- the whole block was destroyed. The family had nothing (except guts and fortitude) plus some washing Mater had farmed out for ironing. Now I am personally running out of knowledge of the family re the move to Patchewollock. Harold and myself went to Murtoa November 1923 to have schooling.

Perhaps I could add something about Mater's parents. Harold and I were brought up by the Crams. Mainly our Grand parents - John and Mary Cram and Aunt Sylv. I can say we came from good stock. Our grandparents and Aunt Sylv - in my view were the finest people I had ever known. Old fashioned - yes- but honest, solid citizens, That's what life is all about. A couple of memories of John Cram (Senior) Mater's father. A wonderful man but' Pig Headed' like a lot of his grandsons and his great grand sons. I think it was about 1927 when the price of tobacco rose. The one pleasure that Grandfather Cram was he enjoyed his pipe. But no - he was not prepared to pay the extra increase for his tobacco- and there and then he gave up smoking until the day he died. He complained about the government.He would sit in front of a lovely wood fire and "spit in the embers". Again I say we come from a "pig headed stock".

A few thoughts about Maters- Mother- Mary (Forster) Cram. Grandma Cram as I remembered - and I was there from the age of 10 (1923) until 25 (1938).
Grandma Cram was in the same class as her daughter Grandma Walch. Grandma Cram had one pleasure- apart from her family - The Saturday night movie. One evening she tripped on the stairs - fractured her hip and died ( clot of blood to the brain) a fortnight later. Grandfather Cram died the following year - mainly loneliness - he missed his wife.
A couple of items of interest about Grandfather Cram. He held the license of the Victorian Hotel ( Murtoa for some year about 1900+
I have been told on good authority that he took out insurance for the Racing Club on race days. That is he "brought the gate" and took a 'punt' on the weather and how many would turn up. Not a gambler in the real sense but he took a calculate risk. I do not know if he won or lost on those ventures. I am now running out of information, but have on record form Arthur how the family first moved from Rainbow to Patchewollock(Baring).

March 1924 The Grigg/Walch Family migrated to Baring via Hopetoun and Patchewollock.
Bob drove a covered wagon with Mater. No money at Hopetoun and was given two shillings by a 'drunk'. Bob Grigg said I will always help a drunk because Mater and Bob left their money behind 'Not a cent between them'.
Arthur Grigg drove a cart. Bert Grigg and Skipper drove another veichel.
Arthur, Skipper and Bert stayed the first night at a farm called 'Harry Vince'

This is my contribution. Each and every member of the family in turn can add their recollections and we should finish up with a history that may be of interest to our grandchildren and great grandchildren.

To Start
One memory I will always treasure. Probably in 1936 when Lois first went to Baring. We drove in a gig for a swim at Foxes Tank. I suggested we would call in at he 'Local' for a cold bottle. Lois though I was romancing but in those days 'Dellais Corner' was the local cold bottle on ice. How lucky we were in those days

Reflections From Tom
I have not had any answer from the suggestion they could help with their memories of the Grigg/Walch pioneering of the Patchewollock/Baring district from Eileen, Coral or George's family. In fairness - they had no personal knowledge of the early struggles
I have a good memory- so I will recall some incidents that I think will be of interest to the children 3rd and 4th generation

Again- where do I start
Having left Rainbow to live with Grandma Cram and Aunt Sylv November 1923. I went home to Mater every Easter and Xmas and sometimes on my holidays.

Incidents with Arthur
This was probably 1925/26. Arthur and self were sent off to look after cows/ horses in the paddock- next to Jamieson's property. I probably suggested to Arthur we slip over to see my Rainbow schoolmate - Noel Jamieson. The cows or hoses (I am not sure which) without our supervision got at some wheat. How would a 12-year boy know what that meant to a farm. As far as I remembered when "Skipper" gave us a hiding (deservedly so) . I cried my heart out- the only hiding I had in my life (except when Brother Bert spanked Arthur and myself bottoms at Rainbow for ringing the bell advertising the picture show. I mentioned that earlier - but it was not a hiding.

Incident 2
I think it was 1931 Keen boy had started work at the Sate Rivers, Murtoa. Arthur took me for an outing to Pine Plains and return via I do not know where- horses- no saddles. How I got back to "Grandma" I do not know- but I do know that when I returned to Murtoa I was "red raw" for at least a fortnight. Arthur thought it was a great joke. I still shudder when I remember the agony I went through.
Incident 3
Must have been 1935(I had started drinking- and I did not have my first drink (beer) until after my 21st Birthday 1934. I have been told that I have made up for that since..
Arthur and self were off to visit Brother Bob at Manangatang for a week. We somehow got to Sea Lake- Bob picked us up- more than a little shocked when he arrived to find us "a little full". He did not believe his kid brothers had started to drink.
At Managatang we went to a country-dance. How it happened I do not know- but brother Bob whether to impress his kid brothers- who knows- but the upshot was a fight in the open- 11pm - midnight- car headlights.
Poor Bob. He was so big- but so soft. I hope I never have to witness such a massacre again. Bob was black and blue for weeks. The incident was not the fault of Arthur or myself. Eventually Arthur and I got back to Baring via a couple of rabbit trucks via Ouyen. As I said I was only 22- but I still remember the incident - I personally have not been involved in a "fist cuff" argument since.
Thinking of "fist cuffs" I should record one of the most memorable incidents that Arthur was involved in. I feel sure it was in 1936+- when he fought some chap (a stone heavier) for a wager- or a grudge match- at Ouyen. The purse was put up by Bob an myself. At the time I was relieving at Birchip. Bob called in at Birchip on his way back to Melbourne - said it was one of the best boxing battles he had ever witnessed. The result was a "Draw". This information is from what Bob told me of the contest. Arthur was a very good boxer. Ken will never admit who was the best. Ken or Arthur.

One other famous incident Probably 1935-1936
Arthur and Roy Hatley were to collect me from the train. For some reason I was "conned" to wait until the beer delivery truck arrived- this mind you was Midnight -1am. Being the only person with cash in his pocket- Arthur and Roy smartly purchased ? Dozen of beer. That was bad enough - had to spend the night in the train- early Sunday am the locals headed over to the train. Arthur and Roy did a roaring trade (beer at black market price) and pocketed the proceeds. All I wanted to do was get home and see Mater.

George - from Tom
The year I am not positive of this probably 1931-32. George and I were on the train to Patche. Train late- raining- arrived Patchey 1am. George and self asleep and did not get off the train. Whoever had to pick us up assumed we were not on the train and returned to Baring. When we eventually woke say 2am no one to meet us. George was furious B&.Mallee yokels etc. etc. I think it was our fault- we had arrived at Patchey and did not get off the train. It must have been about 4am before transport eventually caught up with us. In those days George did not have a great sense of humor. The next few days were very strained. The "sixty dollar question" who was at fault.

The wonderful holidays I had with Bob when I was a "kid" from Murtoa on holidays. Bob's job as "water carrier" about 7 hours turnaround- Bob so kind and full of stories- arrive at he council dam- 10+ - wagons ahead of us. Everyone took a turn on the "pump" but if you were the last one in the queue you had to do all the pumping on you own.

The rifle range
In the very early days it was the one sport all the locals could afford. Bob was a top shooter- Harold was fair. As a kid visitor I was enrolled as a member. That gave the club more ammunition for their club competition.
A couple more incidents from my early days coming home to Baring.

The year 1934-35.
Bert had his own block (adjoining Pine boundary). I stayed with Bert and Jean few days. Carting wheat- Bert in the middle of his block with wagon overloaded. Sand hills- Horses could not pull the load. Bert (I was just a kid) used language that frightened me- but that did not help- we were stuck. Bert had to offload half the wheat to get to the road.

How he ever had time to get the balance of the wheat loaded and reach Patchy station- I do not know. I often wonder what sort of Mallee farmer I would have been if I had been No 7 or 8 son. We will never know.




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