Macclesfield Community History

Paris Creek

Links:
A Brief History of the Paris Creek Mail, by Norman BARTLETT
The Paris Creek Hall
The Paris Creek Schools, 1876-1948, by Norman Bartlett

Paris Creek was named after a Scottish settler Robert PARIS who was from Leith in Scotland.

Note: Have also added the "BARTLETT Family History, by Norman BARTLETT" here.


A Brief History of the Paris Creek Mail, by Norman BARTLETT

Records from the District Council of Meadows show that my father, Albion Edwin BARTLETT, had property at Paris Creek in 1906. This was section 1910 of the Hundred of Kondoparinga. His brother Norman Leslie BARTLETT had sections 1909 and 3319.

Albion married his first wife, Bertha Jane SMITH on 26th July 1906 and had a house built, 'Angel's Retreat'.

Angel's Retreat, Paris Creek unofficial Post Office

‘Angels Retreat’—The Paris Creek Unofficial Post Office

I believe he procured the mail contract about this period and collected the ‘Paris Creek via Blackwood’ mail with a horse and buggy, from either Meadows or meeting the bus on the Paris Creek / Goolwa Road corner. He then took the mail back to their house where it was sorted for the people of the surrounding farms.

It was a free bag with no remuneration, being an unofficial Post Office. The mail was sorted at the Blackwood Post Office hence the address being ‘via Blackwood’. The Meadows bus picked up the mail bags from Blackwood and delivered to centres along the way to Ashbourne, i.e. Dorset Vale, Cherry Gardens, Clarendon, Kangarilla, Meadows, Paris Creek and Bull Creek.

Albion Bartlett Paris Creek Mailman

Albion Bartlett—The Paris Creek Mailman

When dad passed away in 1940, Mavis VIVIAN, our next door neighbour, took over the contract and would call into our house on mail days, being Tuesdays and Fridays. She would pick up the outgoing bag and walk to Jack BURNS’ house on the Bull Creek Road and swap bags from the bus and return for Mum to sort the mail. This was a walk of about 5 miles, rain or shine.

Our kitchen was always unlocked and the sorted mail was placed in different spots where the neighbours knew to collect their mail. For example: WILLIAMSON was on left side of the mantle-piece, L. BARTLETT was left side of kitchen cabinet with HUTCHENS/BLAKE on the right, SCHOFIELD, BARTHOLOMEW, PEARCE, MASON on end of the table etc.

In 1954 I took over the mail contract with the PMG Department and rode my BSA motor bike and side car to meet the bus at the Paris Creek, Bull Creek Road corner. At that time it was ROBINSON ’s bus. When I started driving milk trucks at Meadows, I arranged to drop off and pick up the bag at the Meadows Post Office.

The bag was a canvas mail bag with a reversible metal tag with Paris Creek on one side and Blackwood on the other. The bag also had a lockable leather strap with a padlock. If any registered mail was sent, it would be placed in a red bag, sealed in the early days with string and wax. Later a wire and a lead seal was used. This bag was then put inside the canvas mail bag.

About 1959, I made up a set of ‘pigeon holes’ and bolted these under the back veranda, so people could collect their mail without having to go inside the house.

Around 1968, work commitments made it too inconvenient to continue the contract. I then asked the PMG Department to terminate the arrangement and for residents to get their mail at a post office of their choice.

Albion BARTLETT had the mail contract for about 34 years, then
Mavis VIVIAN for 14 years, then
Norman BARTLETT for 12 years.

I believe our house had been the unofficial Post Office for about 60 years, serving about 18 households during that time.

As properties changed hands in later years some found it more convenient to collect their mail from a Post Office Box in Meadows, Macclesfield or Strathalbyn. When I closed down there were still about 10 households collecting mail. Names of families who collected mail were:
E G BARTHOLOMEW
L N BARTLETT
N BARTLETT
A BARTON
F H BAUGHAN
E BLAKE
R BLAKE
M BRAZZOLOTTO
C GOLDER
R HALL
P J HUTCHENS
L MASON
M McKENZIE
M S PEARCE
W H POPE
N L SCHOFIELD
G VIVIAN
M H WILLIAMSON

 


The Paris Creek Hall

After years of fund raising by card evenings in the school, private homes and gymkhanas on Baughan’s Flat, the Paris Creek community had raised enough money to procure an ex-army Entertainment Hut which had become surplus after World War II.

Opening of the Paris Creek Hall c1948

Opening of the Paris Creek Hall on 16th July 1947

This building was dismantled and transported by Gilberts’ Transport of Echunga to a site next to the school, on land donated by my uncle Mores WILLIAMSON. The hall was framed with 1¼ inch pipe welded and bolted together, with galvanized iron walls lined with canite and a jarrah floor on concrete stilts. When the builder need a truss raised into position he would get boys from the school to go over and help pull them up.

The building had one of the best dance floors in the district with a curtained stage, dressing room and kitchen. Working bees were held to paint and put on additions.

The hall was opened on the 16th July 1947. It became the focal point for community events, with the holding of dances, concerts, pet shows, strawberry fetes, birthday parties and weddings. It was lit with 3 kerosene lamps until 1948 when the power to the district was connected.

The hall has since been demolished.

 


The Paris Creek Schools, 1876-1948, by Norman Bartlett

There were two schools in Paris Creek.

The first Paris Creek School was opened in April 1876 and the Head-Teacher was William HAYES. The first recorded attendance was 19 students and this was the greatest number in the history of the school. The attendance rapidly dropped and the school closed two years later—possibly due to a diphtheria epidemic. Little is known of the school but it seems that it was built of stone with plug mortar. The lime concrete base can still be found on the corner of the fire track and the Paris Creek road, opposite Schofield’s dam.

The ‘new’ or second school was erected next to the Paris Creek Hall and opened in 1905. It was built of corrugated iron with a fire-place at one end by Alexander GARWOOD on his own land and he received 10/- a quarter rental for it. His son, Fred GARWOOD was nine years old when he attended on the first day the school was opened. Nellie BLAKE who was later to become Fred’s wife also attended the school. Some of their memories of the school included: writing on slates and rubbing them clean with a rag, sitting at a six-student desk (with plenty of shoving and cheating) and singing Good Morning to the teacher.

They also attended the opening day and remembered it as a festival occasion with singing and accordion playing. They also recalled the local identity who wouldn’t send his children to Paris Creek but stubbornly drove them past the School to Bull Creek. When he attempted to drive past the festivities that day, the crowd booed and to the fellow’s embarrassment and anger the horse jibbed and wouldn’t go past because of the noise!

Before being closed in December 1948, twenty four teachers and 150 children had passed through the door. School records indicate that the children attended regularly, were neatly attired, had a healthy appearance and were well nourished.

During the thirties, even with the closing of the Bull Creek School, attendances were low; only four scholars attended on the first school day in 1935. The school actually closed for six weeks because of a lack of clients! Funds were raised by holding euchre and bridge evenings. Dances and evenings were also held in local homes. School picnics were regularly held at Milang, Port Elliot and Port Noarlunga. The scholars had some time off! In July 1937, school was dismissed because the whole school obtained 100% in weekly exams and for six weeks in 1938, the school was closed because of an infantile paralysis epidemic.

Back to Paris Creek school closing 1948

'Back to Paris Creek' school event at the time of its closing in 1948

In December 1948 a ‘Back to Paris Creek School’ was held, the school doors were closed for the last time, the materials from the school were used to build a cow shed, the toilet hauled away on a sled and the children were driven to Strathalbyn by Mr Merv WRAY in a school bus.

SCHOOL TEACHERS 1905-1948

 

1905

Catherine COONAN

1932

Roy WOLTER

1908

Nellie GUY

1932

Alfred HACK

1915

Marian SMITH

1934

Maxine GORDON

1916

Hannah HALL

1934

Hubert WATSON

1917

Mary WHITE

1935

Doreen SANDFORD

1920

Gwen ARNOTT

1935

Clarice MURPHY

1922

Elaine TRETHOWAN

1935

Elaine AITCHESON

1923

Emily LINFOOT

1936

Phyllis COLEMAN

1923

Ida DUGMORE

1939

Merv WRAY

1924

Doris FRY

1941

Joan EDYREAN

1924

Madge SLATER

1942 - 1948

Merv WRAY

1924

Mavis USHER

 

 

1925

Jean LINDSAY

 

 

1931

Laurel ZANKER

 

 

 


 

Gymkana Paris Creek c1948-1949

Gymkana, Paris Creek c1948-1949

 

Two horse-teams carting wood from Paris Creek to Bugle Ranges

Two horse-teams carting wood from Paris Creek to Bugle Ranges

 

 

 

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