We left our very quiet spot by Lake Albacutya and headed into Yaapeet.
Yaapeet was were Dad’s sister Lorna and her husband Charlie lived on their family wheat and sheep farm. Its 20km out of Rainbow and is where we would go on holidays after Dad’s mum (Nanna or Carrie Wood) had passed away. The last time I visited Rainbow was for Gayle (Aunty Lorna’s youngest daughter) and Andrew’s wedding in Feb 1981. By this time Uncle Charlie and Aunty Lorna were living in Rainbow and their eldest son Stuart and his wife Joyleen had taken over the farm.
Unfortunately Stuart and Joyleen had sold the farm awhile back and the home is now looking the worse for wear.
It was once an immaculatly maintained home with soft grass out the front and gardens out the back. There are many family photos from as far back as when my brother and sister (Morris and Nola) were children with Nanna and Mum on this lawn that now, sadly, is returning back to the Mallee scrub land it would have been before the farm was carved out of the bush.
We found out later that many farmers are now buying or leasing existing farm land to increase crop sizes. Appareantly its necessary to become larger to remain profitable in a very tough market where grain prices don’t make a sufficient return on the input costs of chemicals, fuel, machinery and time unless larger quantities are grown.
As the old farmers decide to retire and sell, or their farms become too much work for the return, other existing farmers take over who don’t need or want the old homesteads. They are surplus to requirements. It’s the paddocks that are important. This was apparent as we past house after house left abandoned to the unforgiving scrub but with the surrounding paddocks still growing grain.
After a quick look around Yaapeet we headed back to Rainbow. With Mum’s map in hand we saw where Uncle Perc lived.
This was Dad’s uncle who took over the partnership of Rainbow Motors when Dad’s father Tom died – “a victim of the influenza epidemic raging through the country at that time”.
You will have to enlarge the photo’s to read about Great Uncle Perc. To do this, click on the photo and then, when it comes up again click on to the photo once more.
Thanks to the Rainbow Historical Society for these. We happened to be able to talk to the local historians.
Dad did his apprenticeship at this garage which has long since ceased to be the busy motor workshop it was back then. It is now a private residence.
Nanna’s original house at 25 Cust St has been altered radically over the years but still has relatives living in it. (Nina’s Clugston’s family Nola).
The house that Mum and Dad owned, which Nanna later purchased after they decided to move back to Brisbane, is now badly in need of repair. My earliest childhood memory is of Nanna and I walking down the road and feeding the horse that was in the paddock next to the Uniting church beside the house. Mum told me that I would have been about 2yrs old as Nanna died in 1966.
The shops in town once closed at lunch time and everybody would eat their lunch in the center park. That, like a lot of wonderful old traditions, doesn’t happen any longer of course.
We visited “Yurunga Homestead” at the end of Cust St. You can read about this impressive home here. Scroll down the page on the web site to find out about this homestead.
We then visited with Marie Clugston, a cousin. She is a true treasure and we caught up on all that’s happening around Rainbow.
Marie had a stroke 2 years ago but is in great health now. She really is annoyed they took her driving licence away and made her give up her chooks. Not really sure who “made her”, don’t know if it was the authorities or her children? We did have a look at her veggie garden which, even in the 36 degree heat and hot wind, was still thriving and healthy.
After saying goodbye to Rainbow, (maybe for the last time?) we headed towards Horsham where we’ll stay for 2 nights while we visit my Aunty Lorna before heading off to Melbourne.