"BRUNGLE Public School"
1924 BRUNGLE. (From Our Correspondent) SCHOOL CONCERT AND DANCE.
The event of the season took place on Wednesday evening last, the prime movers being the local school children, those present being loud in praise of the children's efforts. In all matters of this kind where the young people take part the success depends upon the training given in preparation, and in this respect much credit is due to Mrs. King for the way the entertainment was staged, and to Mr. Reg. King for the training of the voices in the musical items, Mr. Vallance, the school teacher, is worthy of the highest commendation for the able manner in which he had trained the children in various parts, especially so those who took the leading roles. The first half of the programme was devoted to concerted and individual numbers, the little tots appearing in "Rose buds," followed by an action song "Gay Little Girls of Japan" by the elder pupils. Thelma Hartshorne recited "Xmas in the Workhouse," and Lionel Holt gave a very good rendition of "The Stockman," both items meriting the round of applause they received. The first half of the programme terminated with the play lette, "Little Red Riding Hood," the characters being taken by Thelma Hartshorn as "Red Reding Hood," Les Frost as "The Wolf," Colin Hartshorne as "The Woodsman," and Linda Harly as the "Mother," each of the parts being portrayed in first class style.
After the interval the cantata "Lilyvale," or "Soot and the Fairies" as some know the piece was given. The part of the "Fairy Queen" was entrusted to Nellie Frost, who acquitted herself well, and was one of the "successes" of the evening. The part of "Captain Soot" was in the hands of Colin Hartshorne, his actions and mannerisms being very good indeed. Minor parts were taken by Billie Beach as "Wag," Herb. Sefton as the "Queen's Secretary," Lionel Holt "Dr. Sunlight's Secretary," "Dr. Sunlight," Lil Tozer, "Baron Hairbrush" Les. Frost, "Lady Soapsuds" Enq McAlister' "Lord Bootlace" Don Kelly. After the children had put through their part of the programme, Mr. A. W. Beach, as President of the Parents and Citizens' Association, congratulated the children, teacher and other helpers on the splendid performance.
DISTRIBUTION OF PRIZES. - The most important thing in the children's mind was the presentation of prizes to those successful in the examination, and the following were the recipients Class 1A, Syd Hartshorne 1, Lance Hartley 2; IB Margie McGruer 1, Gladys Austin 2 2A, Reg Kelly 1, Charlie McAlister 2 3A, Herb Sefton 1, Fred Crane 2; 4A, Jean McGruer 1. Geo. Hartshorn 2; 4B, Winnie Tozer 1, Ivy Tozer 2; 5A, Les Frost 1, Rita Fenton 2; 6A, Doris Kelly 1, Alice McKenzie 2; 7A, Tom Kelly 1, Thelma Hartshorn 2. Dux of School, Tom Kelly.
In the matter of the good conduct prize the pupils, as far as Mr. Val lance was concerned were all deserving of the highest marks, and he found it difficult to decide, so that the matter was left in the hands of the children, each name going to ballot, the successful ones being Alice McKenzie for the girl's prize and Colin Hartshorne for the boy's.
PRESENTATION. - The Chairman, on behalf of the children, presented Mr. Vallance with a safety razor in silver case. In reply, Mr. Vallance said that the presentation came as the greatest of surprises. Amongst little ones the teacher often heard tit-bits of the goings on, but in this case he had no idea whatever of the movement on foot. He thanked the parents for the assistance given him at all times, and was indeed gratified to know that they appreciated his efforts in his endeavor to instil into the young mind that learning which will fit them to take up the battle of life in the years to come.
THE DANCE. - Having disposed of this part of the evening's entertainment, the hall was cleared to allow of dancing being proceeded with whilst the ladies in charge of arrangements spread the supper. As this was children's evening they were catered for first, and, taking as a guide the clean sweep made of all the edibles put before them, they thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Dancing was indulged in until it was time to get home, all voting the evening a huge success. - (Ref- The Tumut Advocate and Farmers & Settlers' Adviser (NSW : 1903 - 1925)(about) Previous issue Tuesday 23 December 1924 Page 6).
1925 - BRUNGLE PUBLIC SCHOOL BREAKING-UP PRESENTATION TO THE TEACHER. - On Thursday of last week the Xmas vacation of the local school started but before the children entered upon holidays opportunity was taken to present the successful scholars with the prizes won at the examinations held at the end of last month. Owing to the epidemic of chicken-pox that has been going through the district the cantata which the children had been working on had to be abandoned until some future date, but Mr. Vallance having invited the parents to be present a short impromptu programme of concerted and individual items was put through and much appreciated by those present. This part of the programme having been disposed of Mr. Vallance presented the prizes to the following successful candidates: Dux o£ school, Thelma Hartshorn; 7th class, Alice McKenzie, Doris Austin; 6a class, Lionel Holt, Nellie Frost; 6b class, Les Frost, Ena McAlister; 5th class, Jean McGruer, Billie Beach; 4th class, Herb Sefton, Noel Sefton; 3a class, Gladys Austin, Willie Hartshorn; 3b class, Margie McGruer, Bert Crane; 2a class, Lance Hartley, Chas. McAlister; 2b class, Ossie Fenton, Reg Kelly;, la class, Syd Hartshorn, Dulcie McGruer; lb class, Jean Crane,. Jean McKenzie, Daphne Sheather. The successful ones having shown their prizes to the mothers and friends foregathered, order was called for while;Nellie Frost and Colin Hartshorn; (on behalf of the pupils) read an address and presented their teacher with a tobacco pouch and wallet, to show the regard in which he is held by them all.
This over Mr Vallance was again asked to the the mark and at the hands of the President or the Parents and Citizens Association, whose remarks were supported by Messrs Dave McGruer and Austin, received a presentation case of pipes: To both gifts Mr Vallance feelingly responded thanking one and all for their manifestations of goodwill shown to him that day. The proceedings closed with the singing of 'He's a jolly good fellow' by the children and the National Anthem by all assembled with expressions of good wishes to all for the coming festive season and prosperity in the years to come. - (Ref- Adelong and Tumut Express and Tumbarumba Post (NSW : 1900 - 1925)(about) Previous issue Thursday 24 December 1925 Page 3).
1927 - A juvenile ball was held at Brungle recently. Mrs. Nicholl judged the costumes and awarded first prize donated by Mrs Beach to Marge M'Gruer with a special to Mira French; first for boys, Norman Kelly (donated by Mrs. M'Gruer), and special to Bertie Crane. The school prizes were then presented by Mrs Beach, the winners being: Normon Kelly 1, Jean M'Kenzie 2; form 1A Hazel Morris 1, Jean Crane 2; 2nd class, Tom Austin 1, Les French 2; 3rd class, Ossie Fenton 1, Syd Hartshorn 2; 4th class, Gladys Austin 1, Will Hartshorn 2; 5B class, Dorothy Austin 1, Herb Sefton 2; 5A class, Billie Beach 1, Jean M'Gruer 2; 6th class, Enid M'Alister 1, Les Frost 2; 7th class, Doris Kelly 1, Alice M'Kenzie 2; dux of school, Doris Kelly. The pupils then presented their teacher, Mr. Vallance with a small gift as a token of esteem. Music was provided by Mr. R. King. - (Ref- Albury Banner and Wodonga Express (NSW : 1896 - 1939)(about) Previous issue Friday 14 January 1927 Page 6)
1928 - The prizes won by scholars at Brungle Public School were presented by the teacher (Mr. Vallance) on Thursday after a programme of concerted and individual items was rendered. Dux of School.- Thelma Hartshorn. . Seventh Class. Alice M'Kenzie Doris Austin. 6a: Class. Lionel Holt, Nellie Frost. 6b Class. Les Frost, Ena M'Alister. Fifth Class. Jean, M'Gruer, Billie Beach. Fourth Class,- Herbi Sefton, Noel Sefton. 3a, Class Gladys Austin, Willie Hartshorn. 3b Class. Margie M' Gruer, Bert Crane. 2a Class. Lance Hartley, Chas. M'Alister. 2b Class. Ossie Fenton, Reg. Kelly, 1a Class. Syd Hartshorn, Dulcie M'Gruer. lb Class. Jean Crane, Jean M'Kenzie, Daphne Sheather. Little Nellie Frost and Colin Harshorn then presented the teacher (on behalf of the pupils) with a tobacco pouch, wallet and address. The Parents and Citizens' Association also presented Mr. Vallanco with a presentation case of pipes. Proceedings closed with the singing of For He's a Jolly Good Fellow' and the National Anthem. - (Ref- Albury Banner and Wodonga Express (NSW : 1896 - 1939)(about) Previous issue Friday 8 January 1926 Page 41).
1930 - At the Brungle School, the following children were presented with prizes: Dux of school, Bert Crane. Sixth Class: Bert Crane 1, William Hartshorne 2. Fifth Class: Sid Hartshorn 1, Os Fenton 2. Fourth Class: Jean Crane 1, Jean M'Kenzie 2. Class 3A: Laurice Burns 1, Douglas Mann 2. Third Class: Reno Fenton 1. Cassie French 2. Second Class: Colin Boardman 1, Flora Turnbull 2. Clasa 2B: Ken Hartshorn,1. First Class: Lorna M'Kenzie 1, John Burns 2. - (Ref- Albury Banner and Wodonga Express (NSW : 1896 - 1939)(about) Previous issue Friday 24 January 1930 Page 40).
The Canberra Times
18 May 1968
Brungle Aboriginal Station is about 12 acres of land about 60 miles west of Canberra. It is home for some of that racial minority "Australia does not have". John Loizou reports on a piece of God's Own Country.
By John Loizov
" We have no racial minorities within our boundaries to cause us those unending and so far insoluble conditions so acutely suffered by some countries at this time - Sir Garfield Barwick.There is in fact a racial minority in Australia - Prince Philip."
Quotes from opening speeches at the Duke of Edinburgh's Third Commonwealth Study Conference in Sydney on Tuesday.
To arrive at Brungle about noon on a Saturday is to arrive the morning after payday, and some of the people who live at the settlement like to drink.
That is not to say all the people are drunk, but some of the men are not sober. The men who are not sober come up like phantoms to introduce themselves.
They shake hands many times and tell of how they fought Jack Hassan. Some offer to show how they fought like Jack Hassan.
Brungle is a settlement for Aborigines between Gundagai and Tumut, about 60 miles due west of Canberra and about 140 miles by road.
Set on a barren, green hill in the foothills of the Australian Alps, Brungle, which has the same name as a nearby hamlet, is five houses and a dozen humpies on about 12 acres of land.
The dwellings are on ground officially described as a station but known also as a settlement, reserve or mission. It is the responsibility of the Aborigines Welfare Board of NSW.
Minnie Freeman greets my companion David, a Quaker and a regular visitor to Brungle, at the door of her house which is near the gate. It was built by returned servicemen from Tumut because her now dead husband was in the Australian Army.
In the sun, outside the house, we meet a few of the people. A motley lot, they are relatives or friends of Mrs Freeman. To describe them as aboriginal in appearance would be a misnomer. Some are dark with broad flat noses. Others are European. A girl, a young mother, is almost white. She sits with us but does not talk. She looks away. The others, apparently happy to see David, seem eager to please, but it is only when names are mentioned that the response is anything but vague.
Have they heard of the annual meeting of the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders (held in Canberra at Easter)? "No, we don't get the paper here". They have not heard of Dr. Coombs.
They ask their questions. "Do you know Doug Nicholls?" one man asks. "He's related to my mother". Have we heard of so and so from the North Coast, Queensland, or the Northern Territory?
They are we are told, the type of people who usually go to these conferences. They are sceptical of Charlie Perkins. ("What's he done for us?".)
Fred wanders over to introduce himself; two black girls in bright dresses walk past, one is carrying a small black baby. "She's on her way to the doctor", says Fred, Where? "In Tumut". But why on a Saturday? "Her baby needs a check-up. One died last month". How will she get there. "Hitch a lift most likely". Fred tugs at my sleeve: He is at least middle-aged, I am a young man. "Hey mister", he says, "give her a lift".
A Holden, one of the two or three cars on the settlement and occupied by several young men, goes past and through the gate. The car takes the road to Tumut without the girl.
With Fred, our guide, we walk across the settlement. Perhaps, he suggests, we would like to meet a friend of his, a good bloke, who makes boomerangs. Fred, we know, is hustling, but we go and see the boomerangs. They are rather sad.
We spend the next hour talking to the people who will talk to us, mostly children and old people. The rest stay out of our way. We are not invited into any houses.
In 1909 Brungle was of 142 acres and had a population of about 100. Under the supervision of a white man the people ran cattle, sheep and horses; they grew their own vegetables and had their own school.
Today it is not known exactly how many people live on the remaining 12 acres but it is probably about 100, more than 60 are children.
They grow no crops and the only livestock are wandering cows from neighbouring dairy herds. The children go, with white children, to Brungle school. They have wrecked their church.
Many of the people live on their social service cheques, others work with the NSW Forestry Commission or the railways.
Four of the five houses are in the centre of the property and were built more than 25 years ago. The people living in these houses pay either 50c or 75c a week rent. They owe a total of $220 to the Aborigines Welfare Board.
This is how the people or Brungle lost the land which, if not theirs in law, would seem to be in spirit. In 1890 the Government of NSW put aside three acres for the Aborigines who lived at Brungle or nearby. By 1909 this had been extended to 142 acres.
In 1945 the manager was removed.
In 1955 the Aborigines Welfare Board apparently decided the land was of no further use. The people on settlement had dwindled to about 42 and they were living in isolation contrary to the policy of assimilation and integration.
Because in all the Australian States, except South Australia, such reserves belong to the government repossession by the Crown Land Department of NSW was simple.
In 1956 this department leased the land to Mr. Edward Quilty who runs a dairy herd of between 40 and 45 cows on about 352 acres. Since then the Aborigines Welfare Board has encouraged the people of Brungle to live in Tumut about 12 miles away.
One family is already living at Gilmore, about five miles from Tumut, and sites for two houses, which will be rented to "suitable" families have been bought in the town. Some, formerly of Brungle, squat in shacks away from Brungle, but not in towns. They include a man who is a foreman with the Forestry Commission.
For many of the people at Brungle their bonds with their land are strong. Most were either born there or are from the South Coast, Griffith, Yass, or Corowa.
And it seems that after being cared for by government officials for 78 years people are either not yet ready or do not want to live with white people. Fred Marlow, however, wants to settle in Tumut. At 39 he earns about $40 a week as a forestry worker and lives in one of the houses. I like to live the white fellow's life, he says. "I don't like missions and I never did. I've filled in forms but they tell me it will be a year before I can get a house".
Mr Marlow, who says he has never voted, has been married nine years and has four children. He says he pays about $1 a week rent to his father-in-law but has not got the $100 deposit he apparently needs for a house.
Does he believe anything can be done with Brungle? "It could be a beautiful place", he says. Would he help? "Why should one mail do all the work?" But then Mr. Marlow is from northern NSW; Brungle is his wife's home.
Mrs. Olive Williams, who says she does vote ("We see the politicians about the day before the elections"), and who was born on Brungle, wants to stay. "You get used to the place", she says. "Anyhow the white people in Tumut might not like us living there".
Mr. John French, the Anglican curate at Tumut, lived at Brungle as a boy; he is inclined to agree with Mrs. Williams about the people staying. "Although they are breaking up the mission I think the people will tend to go back", he says "And I feel that some are not ready to shift".
Mr. French's views are echoed by Mr. Steve Murphy, who owns the store at which the aboriginal people do most of their shopping. "They will never go", he says. All agree that something must be done about Brungle.
"It's a shambles", says Mr. French. "They need some sort of help, particularly the mothers. Perhaps like the district nursing service we have in Tumut".
In theory Brungle is in the care of two welfare officers, one male, the other female, who have their headquarters at Griffith. Their schedule includes visits to the settlement once every three weeks. The people say these visits are, in fact, less frequent.
The future of Brungle is unclear. In December last year the NSW Parliament adopted in principle the reports of its Joint Committee on Aborigines Welfare.
The committee decided against the construction of any more houses on aboriginal reserves, or the building of more than two or three houses together for Aborigines. Assimilation, it found, was the best policy.
The committee suggested the abolition of the Aborigines Welfare Board and its replacement by a Director of Aborigines Affairs, but an appointment has not yet been made.
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