Macclesfield Community History

The Early Days - Dulcie Scrutton letter

Among the many interesting letters the History Group has received over the years was this thought-provoking account of life in Macclesfield as seen through the eyes of a young girl, during the years 1911—1917. (Some relevant photos from the past are included).

Letter from Mrs Dulcie Scrutton (nee Troughton) dated 22nd March 1979.

My name was Dulcie Troughton and my mother was the Postmistress in Macclesfield for 6 years, spanning my age from 8-14 years. I was an only child. My father was a semi-invalid, resulting from an accident at his London school when 8 years old. As a young man, permanently crippled, he came to Australia seeking a milder climate, settled in Adelaide and married my mother. For some years he worked in a city office but in 1911 was medically advised to seek a quieter life in the country. My mother's appointment to the post office made the move possible.

Davis family home c1930's

Davis Family Home and Post Office with hitching post in front c. 1930's

We loved our years in Macclesfield and when I completed the course at the local school we returned to Adelaide with my father's health much improved and I became a pupil at St Peter's Girls School.

The most important person to me in Macclesfield was Mr Fred Chick, Head-master, a fine man and fine teacher. I was most fortunate in having those 6 years of his teaching and influence. His nice wife taught sewing. My parents kept in touch with them in later years and we valued their friendship.

Mr Chick's Class in 1911

Dulcie Troughton is not clearly identified in this photo but was a student of Mr Chick in 1911.
Elsie Calaby

I remember three young local 'pupil teachers' who assisted at the school. I think they were Amy Waters, Elsie Calaby and Ida Dugmore.



Elsie Calaby c. 1912
(photo courtesy T Calaby)

The nearest doctor was Dr Formby who lived at Strathalbyn and must have cared for a large practice. He was a good doctor and well liked.

Transport both public and private was either horse-drawn or on horseback. Some of the school children walked several miles to school and back in every kind of weather. When Mr Mott of the Davenport Arms Hotel bought the first car in the town, it was a sensation. When he drove it from Adelaide and drew up in the main street by the post office, everyone crowded round in excitement. I can still see us!

Some-time later, a man named Liebelt, I think, from Hahndorf began a weekly service to Adelaide with another marvel—a charabanc. He picked up passengers on Friday mornings at the Meadows Road corner, returning the same evening. His route was through Meadows and Clarendon.

The mail was carried daily in a high coach drawn by two horses driven by Mr Waters. Mother rose at 5.30am to have the mailbags sealed and ready when he called at 6.10 am. He drove through Echunga and Mylor to the Aldgate railway station, picking up mail and passengers and was back at Macclesfield at 11am when Mother would sort the mail. Mr Waters repeated the trip in the afternoon, arriving back at 7.30 pm with another mail, to be sorted by 8 o'clock when the office opened for half an hour.

I remember the various churches—the Roman Catholic with the convent alongside, the Methodist and the Congregational overlooking 'the flat' as that open grassed area was then known. We attended the tiny St John's Anglican Church, on the hill, and I was confirmed there in 1915. The Parish was worked from Clarendon, I think, with Kangarilla and Meadows. The clergy I remember were the Revs. Moore, Everett and Sewell.

St John's Anglican Church c.1920's

St John's Anglican Church c.1920's- (only the cemetery remains today)

The year 1914 brought not only the outbreak of war, but the terrible bush fires following a severe drought. Macclesfield was in danger and people prepared to leave in any way they could. The fire eventually reached Mt Dennis and appeared on the summit and all hope seemed gone. Then the miracle happened, the wind changed and sent the flames along the top of the range, instead of down on to the town. I can see those flames still.

Mt Dennis

Mt Dennis, Macclesfield, 2020

Gradually the war began to affect us all and raising funds for patriotic purposes became a way of life for old and young. Dances were always the most popular entertainment and now became fund raisers. One year my parents and Mr and Mrs Chick organised a children's fancy dress ball. We were all taught at classes in the Institute after school; the dances of the time being the polka, tango, waltz, circular walk, military twostep, polka, mazurka, alberts, lancers, quadrilles and the 'grand march'. The ball was eventually a great success.

Another attraction in entertainment was promoted by my father, who introduced tableaux into concert programmes. These were for children and were taken from pictures in children's books and from the picture postcards of the time. A lot of trouble was taken by parents to improvise costumes and backgrounds similar to the pictures chosen. In fact, the grownups became so interested that some eventually took part in tableaux too. Rehearsing was thoroughly done and when any tableau appeared on a programme the hall's kerosene lamps would first be turned low, the stage curtain opened and the tableau would be illuminated from the wings by some kind of flare my father procured from the city.

One of the most significant innovations of that era, was of course, the 'moving pictures' and occasionally a travelling show would visit the country towns with this new excitement.

The local shops, as I remember them, belonged to the O'Malley, North, Dugmore and Tonkin families and in our latter years my father opened a small disused shop next to the post office as a general store. I don't recall a butcher shop - I think meat was sold (by Cecil Yates) from a cart which he drove from door to door.

I don't remember whether milk was delivered, or bread - they may have been sold in the shops. The local carrier was Frank Mustard who drove a horse-drawn truck.

Once a week a bank clerk from the Savings Bank at Mt Barker, I think, would occupy a room in the Institute buildings and transact business for the town. There was also a good library in the same building and a reading room.

My parents were both musically gifted, my father a baritone and my mother a pianist and violinist. She had always taught both instruments and at Macclesfield she had several pupils, including myself. She was one of the organists at St John's Church and when a Sunday school teacher was needed she filled that position too. My father often sang at local entertainments and he also played the flute.

Dulcie remembered the following local families—children's names are in brackets.

Chick (Jack, Archie, Colin)
Mott (Dorothy, Prissie, Mrs Rayfield), Davenport Arms Hotel
Mrs Mott snr. was living near the post office.
Kinnane (Jean), Macclesfield Hotel.
Bleechmore (Maisie, Bob) - Successor to Kinnane at the Macclesfield Hotel.
Davis (Howard) they lived next door to the Post Office and owned the butter factory, previously the well-known brewery.
Yates (Cecil, Vera)
Gooch, Blacksmith, dance pianist
Waters (Harold, Myrtle, Amy, Albert, Laurel)

Annie HEATH (Annie was an Army nursing sister in Egypt during the 1914-1918 war) photo courtesy RSL Virtual War Memorial.

NURSE , Sister, Australian Army Nursing Service, Australian Army Nursing Service, Born 18 Mar 1880, Died 28 Jan 1953, Natural causes.

Annie Heath

Dugmore (Ida, Nellie, Jim)
Kain, a widow in Meadows Road.
Rudd (John)
Duance (Herb, Bessie)
Cameron (Maggie, Bob)
O'Malley (Edna)
Mountstephen (Maggie)
Miss Passfield (a schoolgirl named Ethel Suow lived with her)

Mary Vaudrey
Mary Vaudrey c 1910

McNamara (Ann)
Tonkin (Reg and maybe a sister)
Calaby (Elsie, Herb, Jessie)
Fry (Merle, Violet)
North (Maggie, Allie and widowed brother-in law named Brook and his daughter Flora)
Michelmore (Erick, Alick)
Mustard (Frank, Arthur, Greta, Aubrey)
Vaudrey (Mary)
McMahon (Mick and a schoolgirl Dolly Simms)
Wright (Vera, Andrew, Elsie)
Ross (Ernest)
Murphy (Alma, Jack)
Hollamby (Ewart)
Peterson (Mary, Peter)
Mrs Mary McNamara
Davenport - of the Davenport Olive Oil Co.

Dulcie mentioned that there were a number of children known as 'State children' at the school who lived with various families. She thought that they may have been orphaned and in the care of the State Children's Department.

Post script: Mrs Dulcie Scrutton died in 1983 at the age of 80 and is buried at the St Saviour's Anglican Cemetery, Glen Osmond.


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