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Page history last edited by Lenore Frost 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Time Travellers in Essendon, Flemington and the Keilor Plains




See also Moonee Ponds Methodist Church for other groups associated with the church.



The Wattle Club was associated with the Moonee Ponds Methodist Church in Gladstone Street, Moonee Ponds, and was a social club for young men, apparently with a junior and senior division. The boys in the junior division were mostly too young to join the AIF, though some of them did late in the war.  They would all, however, have been attending compulsory military training with the Senior Cadets or Citizens Military Forces, which helps to explain why shooting was a popular competition sport.


The photos on this page were kindly provided by the McDonald family.





A unique concert is to be given in the Puckle street hall, Moonee Ponds on Wednesday, February 25th, by the Welsh Choir. The event has been arranged for by the Moonee Ponds Methodist Young Men Society (Wattle Club). A charming evening is promised.

SOCIAL BREVITIES (1914, February 19). The Essendon Gazette and Keilor, Bulla and Broadmeadows Reporter (Moonee Ponds, Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 5 (Morning.). Retrieved September 21, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74491886




This looks to be an older group of young men than the later photos of the "Junior" Wattle Club shown below.





Wattle Club Camp at Mornington circa 1915.  The man standing at the back, far left, is wearing a Moonee Ponds Methodist Football Club jumper.  Courtesy of the McDonald family.



The Wattle Club are holding a grand masked novelty night in the Masonic Mall, Ascot Vale, on Monday, 11th December, at 8 p.m.

SOCIAL BREVITIES (1916, November 30). Flemington Spectator (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88449152




Wattle Club boys at Yarra Junction, circa 1916.  Harold McDonald is on the far right.  Courtesy of the McDonald family.


By One of Them.


The Moonee Ponds Methodist Junior Wattle Club went to Yarra Junction for their Christmas Camp. The advance party left Moonee Ponds on the morning of Christmas Eve with equipment necessary for camp life, the others following at intervals until Saturday afternoon, when the last of the campers arrived.  The site of the Easter Camp was  again secured, situated on the banks  of the river Yarra, about a mile from  the township. There were 18 in camp,  and, as a result, the business people of  Yarra Junction did well   (especially the  grocer and butcher). The president of  the club (Mr. V. P. McRae) proved a  very effective cook, and was ably assisted by "Boazzer." The fresh mountain  air sharpened the appetites of the  campers, who did full justice to the  tasty dishes put before them. Some of  them accounted for so much that they  were considered to have hollow legs,  the most noticeable among them being  "Curly," "Show" and "Biscuit."

The punsters were always hard at  work at meal times, and when a joke  got stale it was pensioned off. The  Charlie Chaplin  comedian, "Darkey,"  was the life of the camp, and always  kept things moving. Swimming was  one of the chief pastimes, and some  of the members proved themselves worthy exponents of the art of natation [swimming].


Monday (Dec. 27th) was visitors' day,  and the boys spruced themselves up  to try and look respectable when the visitors arrived.  That evening a camp concert was  held with the assistance of the "baby"  organ, which was ably played by "Bunny,"[Basham] and every member had to  give an item. Next day, "Curly",  "Sub" and "Gunyah" had to "come  back to town, so they caught the evening train, and after passing Lilydale, "Gunyah" fell asleep. When the train  was nearing Flinders street, "Sub" tried to awaken him, but was met by  the gruff remark, "Pull off, or I'll flop you," and on the second attempt he just missed a straight left. When they eventually woke him up he told them that he had been dreaming he was in camp, with "Butts"' and "Ding-Dong" trying to pull him out of bed. Early on Wednesday morning, the president and "Uncle" went shooting, and as they were getting dressed, the Pres. heard "Fiddler" mutter in his sleep, "How did he get out of the box?" "Fiddler" got a rough time at break-fast that morning.


On Thursday, a party composed of  "Jock," "Monty," [Moore] "Ding-Dong," "Butt," "Boof" and "'Uncle," with the assistance of a guide, climbed to the summit of Mt. Ben Cairn which is 3700ft. above sea level. On the way up the guide pointed out some deer tracks, which are said to be fairly numerous in the ranges. The top of the mount is almost covered with rock, and some sport was obtained from sending great boulders rolling down the sides into the bush below. From Ben Cairn a good view of Mt. Donna Buang, which is about four miles distant, and some 380ft. higher, is obtained. A charming panorama of the country round about proved interesting, and Port Philip Bay could be plainly seen in the distance. On coming down the mount the guide took us through long stretches of thick undergrowth and fern gullies, and we found "Boof" to be very uncertain on his feet. When near the bottom of the  mount the party came across a fair sized brown snake, which they soon accounted for and took back to the camp as a prize.


On Friday, a miniature rifle competition was held between the occupants of the different tents, for trophies donated by the local grocer. The  competition created keen rivalry between the different tents, and the result was a win for No. 1 tent, composed of "Biscuit,"  "Fiddler" and "Boof," with "Tec" and "Monty" [Moore] in second place.  The highest individual score went to "Ding-Dong." An individual competition was also held, which resulted in a win for "Mac" [probably Harold McDonald] by one point from "Monty," [Moore] "Ding-Dong" and "Uncle," who tied for second place.


That night (New Year's Eve) it was rumoured that we were to have a raid from another camp, so everything was made ready and all members slept in their clothes in came of a surprise attack. "Fiddler" was on sentry duty (armed with a blue gum waddy), but he fell asleep on the wood-heap. When the President was going his final round he came across "Fiddler," and  with the gentle application of a No. 12 he persuaded him to go into his tent. However, the raiders did not come, and all were sorry at losing the prospects of a battle.


On Saturday, "Curly" and "Orb" came up for the day, and fell victims to the persuasions of the crowd to stay the week-end. On Sunday morning all members attended the local church, and made a good addition to the  congregation (also the collection plate). That night three of the members got home-sick and decided to catch the early morning train back to town. They were dubbed the six o'clock excursionists, and were loudly cheered as they left the camp.


That afternoon the camp was broken and the party of brown-skinned campers returned by the evening train, all agreeing that a most healthful and pleasant holiday had been spent.

"CHRISTMAS CAMP" Flemington Spectator (Vic. : 1914 - 1918) 13 January 1916: 6. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88453130>.


Wattle Club camp at Yarra Junction, Christmas 1916. Courtesy of the McDonald family.




By One of Them.

The annual Christmas camp of the Moonee Ponds Methodist Junior Wattle Club was held this year at Yarra Junction. About 20 members took part, and special days were set apart for visitors. The warm weather was ideal for swimming, but proved too hot for the sports meeting, which was held in an adjoining paddock. The all-round championship was win by A. Hutchison, and the 100 yds. championship by E. James. S. Nicolls injured his ankle while practising jumping, which seriously affected him in the races. The sports programme was commenced on Boxing Day and continued on the two following days, and included championship events, handicaps and novelty races. The president (Mr. V. P. McRae) acted as starter, and the president and vice president were the  handicappers.

Championship events.-100 yds.: E. James 1, A. Hutchison 2, I. Rowe 3.
220 yds.; A. Hutchison 1; E. James 2, S. Nicholls 3.

440 yds.: S. Nicholls 1, E. James 2. A. Hutchison 3.

120 yds. hurdles: A. Hutchison 1, H. McDonald 2, S. Nicholls 3.

High Jump: H. McDonald 1, I. Rowe 2, H. Heathershaw 3.

Long Jump: I. Rowe 1, H. McDonald 2. S. Nicholls 3.

Swimming under water: S. Nicholls 1, I. Rowe 2, A. Hutchison 3.

Neat Dive: H. Heathershaw 1, A. Hutchison 2, S. Nicholls 3.

Rifle Shooting: J. Sayers 1, I. Rowe 2, C. Crichton 3.
Handicap Events.-110 yds.: H. McDonald (6 yds.) 1, A. Moore (10 yds.) 2, J. Donald (6 yds.) 3.

120 yds.  Ladies' Nomination: A Hutchison (1 yd ) 1, R. Chenhall (7 yds.) 2, I. Rowe (1½ yds.) 3.

One Mile: S. Nicholls (scr.) 1, A Hutchison (40 yds.) 2, I. Rowe (65 yds.) 3.

"Yarra Doon" Handicap, 75 yds.: L. Basham (8 yds.) 1, A. Hutchison (½ yd.) 2, H. McDonald (4 yds.) 3.
Throwing Cricket Ball: V. P. McRae (scr.) 1, I. Rowe (scr.) 2, M. Easton (scr.) 3.

The swimming events had to be cancelled owing to the uneven current in the river. When the sports were over the boys proceeded to enjoy  themselves by shooting, swimming, browning-up and other methods of amusement. On Friday the party essayed a trip to Warburton and commenced to climb Mt. Donna Buang, but many there were who sat by the roadside and few there were who reached the top. Some good views were  obtained from different points on the ascent; but when at the top the boys were enveloped in a thick cloud, and the mist was so heavy that one could not see 40 yards ahead. After leaving the summit, the cloud lifted and a splendid view of the surrounding country was obtained; while Port Phillip Bay could be plainly seen. Fern gullies and springs were numerous, and the process of sending down the timber to the sawmills was very interesting. In some parts the grade is one in three, and the trucks are run on wooden rails and lowered by means of a cable  controlled by a steam-driven engine. These engines are placed at intervals on the top of each incline, and are connected together by knockers and telephone. The party arrived back in Warburton and had a look round before catching the evening train back to the Junction, and all agreed that a pleasant day had been spent.

Saturday was spent in swimming and browning up, and finished with a camp-fire concert, with "Bunny" Basham tickling the ivory of the baby organ. Sunday was New Year's Eve, and at night all members went to the local church (which they almost filled), after which they were entertained with a musical evening at the local grocer's. It being Sunday, sacred music was the order of the day (or rather, night), and the boys had to give the ragtime music a spell. A very enjoyable evening was spent, and after supper the party dispersed after a hearty vote of thanks to the host and hostess, and after the compliments of the season had been exchanged the campers made their way to "Yarra Doon" boarding establishment, where more music was enjoyed, and the New Year was ushered in with the firing of guns and the singing of Auld Lang Syne.  On arriving at camp the boys found that the "Yarra Doon" "heads" had been busy in the tents, as the pyjamas were tied in exquisite knots and the bed clothes were found in general disorder.

New Year's Day was Visitors' Day, and it dawned with a clear sky, which gave promise of a fine day; but by the early afternoon the sky had darkened and rain began to fall, which kept the  visitors, within the bounds of the tents and prevented them from seeing the country round about. That night the campers played a return joke on the boarders of the "Doon." and suffice it to say that next day they admitted it was the best joke they had ever seen in the way of manipulating bed clothes, etc.

On Tuesday, the party prepared to return home, and the day was spent in using up surplus ammunition and breaking camp. The photographers "Bunny" Basham and "Monty" Moore secured an excellent variety of views, including one of the station on which the luggage was piled, while waiting for the train. It was humorous to see the bewildered expression on the faces of the people at the station, as the camp luggage was being transferred from the carrier's van to the platform. There was a great heap of baggage of about 40 articles composed of portmanteaux, Gladstones, kit bags and various shaped bundles of blankets in rugs, and these, besides tents, cooking utensils and other paraphernalia which were sent by goods train. The baby organ was brought to light coming down in the train, and helped to make the journey very pleasant. The bronze-faced campers arrived home a little after dark, all agreeing that this was the most enjoyable camp yet held.

CHRISTMAS CAMP (1917, January 18). The Essendon Gazette and Keilor, Bulla and Broadmeadows Reporter (Moonee Ponds, Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 1 (Morning.) http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74601395



The Wattle Club turned out in numbers in May 1918 to attend a memorial service for Lionel  (Bunny) Basham who died on active service.


Wattle Club camp at Dromana, Christmas 1917


All are of the camp except for the bottom left cricket photo on the first of the three album pages which Harold notes separately is of the MP Methodist Cricket Club.





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