|Notes for James Edward DYKE|
|Macarthur lies 48 kilometres north west of Port Fairy, between Hamilton, Portland and Warrnambool. It is 341 kilometres west of Melbourne via Warrnambool.|
Archie Campbell described one of the many parties which were held in his old home on Coast Road:
The day of the party had arrived! Soon some of the folk would come across the paddocks wearing their collard boots and carrying their dancing jumps and party dresses. Most would be on horseback, and their mounts (up to thirty of them) would be tethered to the garden fence.
Much ability centred around the colonial oven and a seemingly endless number of scones, jam tarts, sponges, and small cakes emerged from it. Also mum had to find time to cut a mountain of sandwiches.
There was the house to be rearranged so that a floor could be cleared for dancing. Here the young fry came into their own. Candles were cut up and the wax sprinkled on the floor, then midst great laughter, one or other of the children took turns to be dragged all over it whilst seated on a bag. This could produce a very fast floor, and the young ones loved to slide over it to test it out, but this generally resulted in them being turned outside.
And now as night fell, the bobbing of hurricane lanterns across the paddocks, or along the road, told of the approaching guests. Much laughter and gay banter as cowherd boots and outer garments were left on the verandah, whilst the young ladies slipped inside to change into their finery.
The musicians were Joe St. Ellen and Bill Bell taking turns at the piano, and various members of the Campbell clan with Larry McGrath, playing their violins. Sometimes Jim McGrath could be persuaded to play his concertina.
Of course these were the days of the Lancers and the Polka so an M.C. was necessary, usually Dinny Murphy from Dickies' Hill acted in this capacity. Despite the informality of the occasion there was always the formal request by the young man - 'may I have the pleasure of the next dance?'
Some young guests remembered are Jim, Arthur, and Frank Dyke and their sisters Annie and Ethel, the Ashworths, the Cantys, the Williamsons, Dick, Bill and Lizzie Nicholas, Jack and Jim Smith from Allambee, Jack Peters and his young lady (Miss Tomlinson), Alice and Dick Browning, and certainly there were many others.
Of course, old time dancing is fairly strenuous and often there would be a pause and someone would be pressed to 'sing a song'. Bill Bell generally obliged with one called 'The Way to Spell Chicken' . This was always good for a laugh. Then, after a lot of persuasion, Dad would do the Sword Dance.
Next came supper. It may have taken all day to prepare, but healthy hungry young folk could demolish it in no time.
Then Dinny Murphy would be calling another set, and so the fun began again. This would go on until the early hours of the morning. Often daylight would be breaking as the guests finally started for home, where there awaited the rounding up of cows and milking. Bone tired they got through their chores sustained by the prospect of the next party at Ashworth's.
Recorded from 'The unfolding Hills", Mirboo Pioneers of Gippsland 1878-1914
|Last Modified 30 Dec 2004||Created 30 Dec 2004 by EasyTree for Windows95|