Gunning News with Ann Darbyshire | August 18

ETTIE RODROM

The charming and amazing Ettie Rodrom returned to Gunning recently with family members.

She just turned 97 and lived in Gunning until the late 1950s.

The family home was on Grovenor Street and she recalls the stock auctions held regularly nearby where she used to sit on the rails to watch the action.  

Ettie attended the St Francis Xavier Catholic School. She recalled with a laugh that the contract to build the convent went not to a Catholic but to Mr Venness, a Freemason!

HAPPY DAYS: 97 year-old Ettie Rodrom (in red) was taken on a nostalgic visit back to Gunning where she was born, seen here with family outside Pye Cottage. Photo: supplied

HAPPY DAYS: 97 year-old Ettie Rodrom (in red) was taken on a nostalgic visit back to Gunning where she was born, seen here with family outside Pye Cottage. Photo: supplied

She recounted with great sadness witnessing the accidental death of her six year-old brother Bobby.

Other recollections included the formidable Nurse Caldwell, midwife at ‘Templeton’ on Collector Road – no tears allowed. 

Ettie shared these memories with Gunning District Historical Society members when she visited Pye Cottage. She was a keen pianist and treated us to an excerpt from The Sound of Music on the organ with one daughter pumping a pedal and Ettie using her walking stick on the other! 

It was a pleasure to meet this remarkable woman.

MASONIC HISTORY

There will be a book launch on September 2 for ‘Forger, Freemason, Freeman’ by Margaret Smith.

The book is about Irishman Samuel Clayton, transported for forgery to Australia, leaving Cork in 1816 on the “Surrey”. He later lived with his son Dr Benjamin Clayton at Baltinglass near Gunning. This fascinating story includes the fact that Samuel Clayton (with friends) established the first regular Freemason lodge in Australia in 1817.

Anchor Books and Gunning District Historical Society will present the book at 2pm at Gunning Courthouse. For details please contact spillers263@activ8.net.au or phone Rosemary on 4845 8217.

FORGER TO FREEMAN: Author Margaret Smith met Gunning District Historical Society treasurer Rosemary Spiller earlier this year in Ireland.

FORGER TO FREEMAN: Author Margaret Smith met Gunning District Historical Society treasurer Rosemary Spiller earlier this year in Ireland.

GARDEN BOUNTY

Much of the proceeds from the biennial Gunning Garden Club raffle will be donated to community organisations, so this is definitely one to enter.

First prize is a wheelbarrow full of useful stuff for your own garden with plenty of other great prizes as well.  

DIG IT: Community organisations will benefit from the Gunning Garden Club raffle, for which the first prize is a wheelbarrow full of gardening goodies. Photo: Shutterstock.

DIG IT: Community organisations will benefit from the Gunning Garden Club raffle, for which the first prize is a wheelbarrow full of gardening goodies. Photo: Shutterstock.

Making up one prize set is a glovebox book on frogs of surrounding districts. Did you know that earlier on in Europe, families kept a pet ‘weather frog’? Early TV weather reports gave the meteorologist’s forecast first followed by showing the ‘weather frog’ in its glass container. The frog’s prediction was usually correct!

The raffle will be drawn on Lions market day, August 27. Tickets at $2 are available from local shops and Garden Club members.  

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