A Fond Farewell

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Photo by Paul Briton, Arcadia
Photo by Paul Briton, Arcadia

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Irene Rogers at the age of 95.

Irene was one of the original members of the Progress Association of Galston which was formed in 1967. She created the first local community newsletter called the Galston Gazette which was only 4-5 pages each month, keeping locals informed of what was happening in the community.

By 1971, with the formation of the Galston Chamber of Commerce, a new updated Chamber paper was produced called The Galston & District News, with Irene as its first editor and honorary member. Irene was instrumental in ensuring the success of the paper. She helped sell advertising, collected and researched all the news stories.

Irene remained as Editor of the paper until 1979 when she handed over the reigns to Edith Robinson. Irene remained involved in the paper and many other local committees.

Irene realised the important local historical record that was created each month in the paper. She undertook a project with the Dural Historical Society to ensure copies of each edition was preserved for future generations to read what life was like during the years since 1971. Thanks to Irene all copies of the original Galston & District News right through to today’s copies (under our current name) can be found at History Cottage.

In 1971 the newly-formed Galston Chamber of Commerce decided to publish a monthly paper. The Chamber asked me to take on the job. It was not easy as I had no experience in this field, but I received lots of help and advice from the late Ron Stettler who at that time published the Parramatta and Hills News at his printing works at Conie Avenue, Baulkham Hills.

Ron took on the printing of the paper and right up until this day, Ron Stettler Printing (now run by Ron’s children) still prints the paper.

I had the task of creating an interest in the paper, canvassing for adverts and attending meetings to write copy. None of this was easy as there were few shops and businesses in the area at that time, but I did have the advantage of prior knowledge of council activities. Each month I had to think of a subject to write an editorial.

A Paper Committee was formed and we met each month to discuss the paper before going to press. Committee members were Irene Rogers, Barry Allen, Jack Diacopoulos and Bill Hayes and any other Chamber of Commerce member who cared to attend. In 1973 Edith Robertson became a valued regular attendant at these meetings.

In 1971 the only shops in Galston were the ones fronting Galston Road. The other shops were opened in April, 1973.

ITEMS OF INTEREST IN THE FIRST EDITION
Large assortment of Fireworks at Galston Newsagency – Flagon of Red Claret $1.69, French Brandy $3.05 at Galston Cellars – Five acres of fully arable land in Glenorie $12,250 – Lamb Grillers 99c for 3 pound, $1.25 for a 3 pound Chicken at Allen’s Butchery Advertising rates in Galston News $1 a column inch.

REGULAR CONTRIBUTORS
1.Gardening Notes by the late Valerie Swane.

2.The late Dick Fishburn, with a wealth of knowledge, wrote a monthly column on the history of the area using the nom de plume “Patsy Boliver”.

3.The Fishing News was written by Harry Dunn under the name of “Pedro”.

ADVERTISERS IN THE FIRST EDITION
Galston Motors (Ian Lawton) Allen’s Butchery Galston and Round Corner – Galston Pharmacy (Warren Griffiths) – Howard Gare (Fuel) – Galston Newsagency (M. & M. C1.1s¬ worth) – Galston Hardware (Trevor Turner) – Summertime Chicken Pty. Ltd. (Ray Summers) – G. W. Edwards (Fuel) – B. & G. Panelbeaters (Bill Bovis) – Hills District Memorial Club – Bill Hayes (Carrier) – Foodlands, Galston (now Clancy’s) – Harry Dunn Real Estate – Glenorie R.S.L. and Bowling Club – Stockmans, Dural – Rural Estate, Annangrove – Round Corner Timber Mill (Norm Sproule) – Doug Smith’s Driving School – Vicar of Wakefield, Dural – Hills District Farm Equipment, Dural – Pig-n-Whistle, Dural (now Black Stump Restaurant) – Barry Larkin (Dural Vet.) – Allfoods (Ken Clune) – Claude Fay’s Galston Cellars (John Kars) – Wilkinsons Boat Hire Service (Berowra Waters).

COUNCIL NEWS
$5,000 allocated for a bridge to be constructed over Colah Creek in Mid Dural Road to alleviate the inconvenience of having to travel via Sallaway Road to reach Middle Dural. (At today’s prices $5,000 would probably only cover the cost of a site hut and port-a-loo).

Councillor Rogers arranged allocation of $1,000 to renovate the Cenotaph in Galston.

$30,000 to be spent on improvements to Galston Park.

$176,000 allocated to the South Dural Pumping Station to improve the water supply to the Dural elevated reservoir for the outlying areas of Galston and Arcadia.

(It is doubtful if anyone living in the abovementioned areas noticed any improvement).

HIGH SCHOOL
Councillor Rogers had been agitating for a high school in the area since 1968. At a council meeting, he pointed out the worst scenario of the youth of the area being lost with an accident in Galston Gorge.

(Local children in the main travelled by bus to Asquith Boys’ and Girls’ High Schools).

In 1971 an opportunity arose to speak to the Education Minister, Roden Cutler, face-to-face. His comment: “Find a suitable site and I’ll give the matter serious consideration.”

With the support of Hornsby Council, the site was found. The Galston site was approved, acquired by the Department and promptly gazetted. All that was needed was the allocation of funds and the start of stage one.

Unfortunately, a delay was experienced because Dural residents proceeded to lobby the Department for a high school in Dural. The reason? Because it would be a more central position (near the cemetery in Derriwong Lane).

The Minister for Education, Roden Cutler, stated in September, 1971: “Delays and increased costs and having regard to serious site difficulties at Dural and the fact that the Department had already acquired a suitable site at Galston. Therefore, approval has been given for the construction of a new high school at Galston which would allow tenders to be called in 1972, with stage one being ready by 1973.

“During the period from 1972 to the completion of stage one, students would be ‘housed’ at Baulkham Hills High School, with buses available to transport the children to Baulkham Hills.”

A Parents and Citizens’ Association had already been formed and the Galston High School uniform chose, which the children would wear to Baulkham Hills High School.

P. & C. members were: President, Ken Seale, of Dural; Vice-Presidents, Trevor Carter and Lyn Lawrence; Secretary, Alan Cadman; Treasurer, Phil Fullagar; Patrons, Bernie Deane, M.L.A., Hawkesbury and Councillor Charles Rogers.

WADDELL COTTAGE
Ken Seale called an emergency meeting when the clearing of the high school site began. To protect Jim Waddell’s old cottage, he negotiated with the Education Department to stop the excavators demolishing the building.

An agreement was made that the P. & C. Association would restore the building and the Education Depart¬ ment take over the responsibility of ownership and maintenance.

A fund-raising committee was formed:
Betty Archdale – Galston; Irene Rogers – Galston; Neville Brown – Dural.

$3,000 was raised and with the help of voluntary workers, plus valuable help from Jack Blinkhorn, of Dural and a talented stonemason (whose name, sadly, escapes me) from Wise¬mans Ferry, the work was completed. It was decided not to interfere with the gardens around the cottage as Alan Cadman said some of the old fruit trees were of a variety no longer grown.

Counciilor Rogers arranged the removal of the old horse drinking trough from the nature strip outside St. Jude’s Church in Galston Road and placed in the grounds of Waddell Cottage.

On completion of the restoration a dinner was arranged in honour of all the people involved. It was held in the cottage, with school pupils dressed in period costume waiting on the guests. The cottage had been furnished with suitable period items and memorabilia donated by local residents.

The menu was typical of the period, including “Cockie’s Joy” (Damper and Syrup). It was a nice touch, all arranged by history teacher, Tom Richmond, who had taken a very keen interest in the local history.

GALSTON AIRPORT
Who can forget August 29, 1973, when the Labor Party announced in Canberra that the new airport would be located at Galston?

Everyone went into shock at the stupidity of such a proposal. Not only would our pristine area be destroyed, but logistically be unsuitable.

The Galston News sprang into action, doubling the copies of the paper and saturating the area.

On September 5 a protest meeting was held in Galston Park. The turnout of protesters was amazing. Police had to be called in to control the traffic. They estimated that the turnout was between eight and ten thousand people. The protest made headlines on National TV and newspapers. No longer could people say: “Galston … where’s that?”

Another project that was abandoned through the use of people power was an application to build a mausoleum on a site on Old Northern Road, Glenorie.

Over the years a small group of people have given freely of their time to make the paper a success.

In August, 1978, the Chamber of Commerce won the coveted W.H. Matthew Award (under 50 member¬ship), which is an· award given each year for the most active and progressive chamber in the State.

The fact that such a small area could publish a monthly paper so successfully impressed the judges.

The Galston Chamber of Commerce, through their publication, the Galston and District News, has made an important contribution by keeping locals in touch for 25 years.

Advertisers have been benefitted on a considerable scale, some making continuous use of this medium from the first publication in June, 1971.

Let us hope for another 25 years of service to the readers of the district.

Reprinted from June 1996