Family Names

Saturday, 17 February 2018

SEPIA SATURDAY 406 Swimming

SWIMMING : WATER : STANDING AROUND : HANGING AROUND

Growing up living near the river on a farm, there is lots of space and plenty to do:-


A child could make cubbies and get dirty and nobody minded so long as you stayed outside and out from under feet. Together with the cousins, you could build huge cubby houses out of the debris left behind after the land clearing.

Photographer unknown, building a cubby hut on Uncle Norm’s farm, circa 1939, Brucknell Victoria Australia Myrtle Sharp's Private Photo  Collection currently held by  Sandra Williamson [b067] From the left – Warwick Todman, Jeff Carter & Judith Todman.

Or destroy cubbies ... never a dull moment.

Photographer unknown, Destroyed a cubby hut on Uncle Norm’s farm, circa 1939, Brucknell Victoria Australia Myrtle Sharp's Private Photo  Collection currently held by  Sandra Williamson [b074] From the left – Warwick Todman, Jeff Carter, Judith Todman and possibly Graeme Sleight.
On hot days there was nothing better than spending the afternoon at the nearest water hole, for Judy and Warwick that involved swimming in the nearby river.

Photographer unknown, sitting on the banks of Curdies river; From the Left: - Judy Todman (2nd from the left), Warwick Todman (fourth from the left), with Norm Crump standing behind the children, circa 1939, near Brucknell Victoria Australia [b086]

To keep the children safe a big thick rope was tied around each child’s waist in turn while they ventured into the deeper water.  Judy remembers the rope being large, heavy and prickly.
Whether it was bridge building or swimming there was always much to do.



16 comments:

  1. From what little I know of Australia's climate, I imagine cool water is a vital part of any fun down under. Even muddy water.

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    1. It can get very very hot here 40C (or 104F) in the western districts of Victoria the heat is dry and the unforgiving. Before airconditioning water and shade were the only relief.

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  2. Great fun! Good that there was a safety rope used for river swimming, despite it being cumbersome and uncomfortable. Is Judy related to you?

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    1. Judy is my mother. I am currently in the process of making scrapbook albums of all her photos and gathering all the stories to go with them.

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    2. Excellent! My Mum had put most of her photos into albums and also wrote quite a lot in a Life Book that I gave her years ago, but she's gone now and there are always more questions I wish I'd asked.

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  3. Years ago we lived on the north fork of the Smith River in a small community. It typically rained 120" a year there, but the summers were warm - sometimes quite hot, and on those hot hot days, there was nothing better than to go down to the river, wade in, and sit on a rock with the cold water up to your neck! I remember one particularly hot day going down to the river and seeing nothing but beach towels laid out end-to-end and side-to-side on the small beach but no one in sight until I looked out in the river and there everyone sat on rocks - water covering them from the waist on up! :)

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  4. My grandmother grew up at Ecklin South so I expect she would have been familiar with some of the places you mention. The man she married came from the Wimmera and he thought the Curdies was heaven. I grew up next to a creek that we swam in occasionally on very hot days but the water was always very cold and the bottom muddy. And the contrast between hot and cold can be extremely dangerous - my husband's adult uncle drowned when he got cramp.

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    1. I can remember growing up there were always lots of warnings about the water and not to go in after you've eaten for at least an hour to avoid cramp although I had never heard of anyone dying from it. How very sad.

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  5. Many happy memories of playing in rock pools in the Cotter River near Canberra.

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    1. It's the simple pleasures that we remember fondly

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  6. I've always been fearful of natural watering holes. To me they were homes to slippery fish and frogs and snakes even. What a good idea to tie a rope around everyone.

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    1. Were you fearful when you were young? I often think that everything is an adventure for country kids who grow up with constant presence of snakes etc., just part of life. In Australia we have some of the most venemous spiders etc in the world so I suppose they learnt to live them and get on with it.

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  7. We didn't have cubbies or rivers where I lived, but there was a community pool nearby and some kids in the neighborhood built a "fort" our of scrap lumber.

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    1. Kids are the same eveywhere they make do with what they have at hand and what they can find if given the chance.

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  8. I'm so glad to learn what a cubbie is, and how it's made. Great swimming hole pics...I was a city gal and never got into natural water until later in life!

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