DURAL & DISTRICT HISTORICAL SOCIETY INC. – NEWS FROM HISTORY COTTAGE

In the light of the current directions for gatherings, the Historical Society must cancel its programme for the first half of 2020. Our proposed meetings for the 9th May and the 13th June and the two day tour for the 18/19th May will not take place, while the meeting for the 11th and the tour on the 14th July, may also need to be cancelled. The effort our guest speakers put into their presentations is much appreciated and our enjoyment is only transferred to a later date.

Many of us are now finding there is time to do some of those things set aside for when we could “get around to it”. The residents of our community during the Great Depression were in the same position. Some turned their attention to using local material to earn extra income, to build shelter or to improve their surroundings.

One of the best woods for the bakers’ ovens came from the Casuarinas. It is still possible to see smaller examples these in the remaining woodlands as well as the occasional stump of a much larger specimen. These were harvested and sold to local bakers in Galston, Dural and Hornsby and provided much needed cash.

The huge trees of the time gave an excellent slab for building. All that was needed was hard work and time, to provide a simple slab cottage or farm shed and some of these can still be seen by the keen observer. Another ready raw material much used was the local sandstone. In block form, it was used to construct examples that can still be seen throughout our community. Less obvious are the flagstones around many of those cottages of the late 1920s. Garden edges, paved shady areas under now large trees and low walls are evidence of time well spent during those hard times. Our local history also records how caves also provided shelter for those in even more straightened circumstances.

There was also a community desire to improve the local amenity. One such building is the Arcadia Community Hall, once the School of Arts. Over many difficult years, funds were raised for the construction of a public hall. In 1934 a weatherboard clad, unlined, iron roofed building came into being. There have been many more community fundraising activities, Council financial assistance and additions but the old Hall continues to serve the community, thanks to the foresight of those earlier residents who saw a way to serve their community when they came together to use some of their spare time during hard a hard time in our history.

History lets us look back so that we can make a better future. Maybe now is such an opportunity.