Early Memories- Neil Walch

Neil Walch

Born 12/02/22, Rainbow, Vic
Died 27/09/94,
Married Una Mary King 21/01/50, St. Peters Church, Brighton, Vic.

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

Early Memories - Neil Walch
I was only 2 years old when we came to Baring so I do not remember the trip.
Regarding the fire at Baring I have been told that a clucky chook was siting on her eggs. I wanted to look under the chook and she pecked me. I then threw a match at her. Everyone had matches as we were clearing the block.

I started school travelling to Patche. With Arthur driving the horse and cart Kids my age had to have a sleep in a spare room at the hall.

They opened the Baring school in 1928, which made us close, so could run there in no time.

One of my early memories.
It happened while we playing football. Alan bumped me and I fell over. The school bell rang all of the kids ran into school. I could not get up. Our teacher who was Jean (later married brother Bert) came out wanting to know what was wrong. They carried me into school then Fred Hobbs yoked up a horse and cart and took me home. Then I had to be taken to Warracknabeal in the back of a utility belonging to Alex Price who owned the local store in Patchewollock with my broken leg.

We had a hall next to our school at Baring and Jean was our teacher. She would take us to the hall to practice ballroom dancing. By the time we left school those of us who enjoyed dancing were very good at it. Thank you Jean.

I had rheumatic fever when I was 15-years of age. A doctor came from Sea Lake and said to Mum nurse him at home as there was a lot of fluid on my joints and if we try and shift him he may die. A girl in Patche had died a couple of months before with the same complaint. Mum made up the girl's room. Elaine became my nurse (this was before she did go nursing). I had lost a lot of weight and Elaine could easily carry me about even though I was 15.

Sylvie started going out with Johnny who had a utility. So now we had means to get to the dancers - siting in the back.. They were great nights even if we got bogged in mud or sand.

Arthur used to teach boxing but I did not join in. Arthur didn't think much of me but I reinstated myself when I gave a black eye and blood nose to a local lad who picked a fight with me over a girl after a dance.

With the drought of 1938/39 I was able to get us jobs down at Murtoa on the state rivers enlarging a channel. Alan, Harold and I left January 1st 1939 driving a wagon with 8 horses plus and horse and gig. Arthur came later in an old car that Bob had given us. Corrie (Arthur's wife) moved to Hopetoun. Matt stayed home with Mum and Dad. We stayed at Murtoa for 6 months getting money to put in the crop.

When war broke out we didn't think it would long enough to join and I was only 17 years. I ended up joining and spending 4 and half years in the RAAF.

Mum had a lot to put up with during the war. One lady who had a son overseas was telling Mum what a worrying time she was having. Mum said so am I. The lady said you have six sons and I've only one. Mum said I have six times as much to worry about as you. One can imagine the extra worry Mum had. After I had sent an uncensored letter home telling her where I was - a few days later big headlines in the paper the island where I had been had been razed to the ground with Jap bombs. It was a couple of weeks before a letter could get home as the airstrip was riddled with holes.

With the war over we started to get back to ordinary living. Naturally enough Mums' care and worry just started. With Alan, Matt and I living at home having left home as boys and come back as men but still boy's under Mum's eyes.

In 1951 I married Una King - from which we have 5 children - 3 boys and 2 girls. From now on they will be able to keep up with the gossip.

Neil and Una Walch





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