History Parkes

stories, photos, anecdotes….. sharing the past

A look back at… the Christmas of 1917

Deemed "the year that changed the world" 1917 was an eventful year full of firsts. This image shows four influential people from 1917. Clockwise from top left: Albert Einstein, Charlie Chaplin, Marie Curie and John Ford. Source: Belfast Telegraph website

Deemed “the year that changed the world” 1917 was an eventful year full of firsts. This image shows four influential people from 1917. Clockwise from top left: Albert Einstein, Charlie Chaplin, Marie Curie and John Ford. Source: Belfast Telegraph website

Continuing our series of blog posts highlighting a particular period in the history of the Parkes Shire, this post will focus on the Christmas period of 1917. The nation was still at war and had been involved in some of the worst battles of World War 1. These included Bullecourt, Messines, the third battle of Ypres of which Passchendaele was part of this campaign. In one of many firsts experienced in 1917, the United States entered a European War (World War 1). This was the first time America had entered a European war and it ensured Germany’s eventual defeat. Two famous people who died were Buffalo Bill (William Cody) and the “Red Baron” German air ace Manfred von Richthofen. To read more about the impact of 1917 click here

A snapshot of statistics from 1917. The reigning monarch was King George V. Governor-General of Australia was the Right Honourable Sir Ronald Munro-Ferguson. Prime Minister of Australia was Billy Hughes. Premier of New South Wales was William Holman. Governor of New South Wales was Sir Gerald Strickland until October 1917 - although Sir Walter Davidson didn't officially become the new Governor until 17 February 1918. There were two Mayors of Parkes in 1917 with Andrew Stewart Mayor until April and then Owen James Howard was voted in and remained Mayor until June 1918. The New South Wales Rugby League competition (forerunner to NRL) saw Balmain Tigers crowned champions, with Collingwood winning the VFL (precursor to AFL). The Melbourne Cup was won by "Westcourt". The cricket state competition the Sheffield Shield was not contested due to the war.

In the Parkes Shire there were storms of the natural kind and again the generosity of the community was highlighted when several men from Parkes went to Sydney to help keep key industries going during the “NSW General Strike”.

The Front Page – then and now!

Front page comparison of Western Champion in 1917 and Parkes Champion Post in 2017. In 1917 the front cover had three advertisements, all for agricultural needs. The colour front cover of 2017 also has three advertisements - one for an online bookshop, one for local hardware store and a gifts and gardenware shop - plus a colour photograph of young locals at the Carols by Candlelight evening in Cooke Park. Source: The Western Champion Thursday 13th December 1917 page 1 and Parkes Champion Post Tuesday December 12, 2017 page 1.
Front page comparison of Western Champion in 1917 and Parkes Champion Post in 2017. In 1917 the front cover had three advertisements, all for agricultural needs. The colour front cover of 2017 also has three advertisements – one for an online bookshop, one for local hardware store and a gifts and gardenware shop – plus a colour photograph of young locals at the Carols by Candlelight evening in Cooke Park. Source: The Western Champion Thursday 13th December 1917 page 1 and Parkes Champion Post Tuesday December 12, 2017 page 1.

Making Local News in 1917

The generosity and determination to help during a crisis was demonstrated by these men leaving Parkes to go to Sydney. The NSW General Strike (which was more than a general strike and actually spread further than just NSW) saw key industries almost shut down. This photograph highlights again that country assists city in many ways, especially during a crisis. Front row (left to right): Jeff Nelson, Sandy Allison, Jack Oliver, Jim Milthorpe, Frank Bird, Jack Martin. Top row, second from right: Alf Knight. All other names not recorded. Source: State Library Archives

The generosity and determination to help during a crisis was demonstrated by these men leaving Parkes to go to Sydney. The NSW General Strike (which was more than a general strike and actually spread further than just NSW) saw key industries almost shut down. This photograph highlights again that country assists city in many ways, especially during a crisis. Front row (left to right): Jeff Nelson, Sandy Allison, Jack Oliver, Jim Milthorpe, Frank Bird, Jack Martin. Top row, second from right: Alf Knight. All other names not recorded. Source: State Library Archives

Newspaper report highlighting the Margaret Kerin was the new licensee for Parkes' Railway Hotel. Source: Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales Friday 21st December 1917 page 6911

Newspaper report highlighting the Margaret Kerin was the new licensee for Parkes’ Railway Hotel. Source: Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales Friday 21st December 1917 page 6911

An advertisement in the local paper advising of the church services on Christmas Day 1917. Church of England (now called Anglican), Presbyterian and Methodist (now Uniting Church) are listed along with the various locations. Source: Western Champion Thursday 20th December 1917 page 17

An advertisement in the local paper advising of the church services on Christmas Day 1917. Church of England (now called Anglican), Presbyterian and Methodist (now Uniting Church) are listed along with the various locations. Source: Western Champion Thursday 20th December 1917 page 17

Towards the end of the fourth year of the Great War and still its impact on the Parkes Shire was being felt. Another Parkes casualty, Gunner Frederick John Klein was killed in action prompting his family to post this In Memoriam in the local newspaper. Source: Western Champion Thursday 20th December 1917 page 18

Towards the end of the fourth year of the Great War and still its impact on the Parkes Shire was being felt. Another Parkes casualty, Gunner Frederick John Klein was killed in action prompting his family to post this touching tribute in the local newspaper. Source: Western Champion Thursday 20th December 1917 page 18

Even one hundred years ago, farming was a difficult endeavour. With crop yields looking to exceed expectations, farmers experienced the devastation of crop damage due to hail. Source: Western Champion Thursday 20th December 1917 page 17

Even one hundred years ago, farming was a difficult endeavour. With crop yields looking to exceed expectations, farmers experienced the devastation of crop damage due to hail. Source: Western Champion Thursday 20th December 1917 page 17

The article highlights more issues for farmers in Bogan Gate. A wind storm caused considerable damage and hampering harvest efforts. Source: Western Champion Thursday 20th December 1917 page 4

The article highlights more issues for farmers in Bogan Gate. A wind storm caused considerable damage and hampering harvest efforts. Source: Western Champion Thursday 20th December 1917 page 4

This excerpt from the local newspaper provides a detailed overview of the year. Flood, drought, hailstorms, mice plague - all with the backdrop of World War 1 continuing - yet it was considered a good year. Water levels were full at Bumbury and Beargamil (Lake Metcalfe) but proposed developments were on hold as pig-iron was unobtainable due to the war. To read the full article click here Source: Western Champion Thursday 20th December 1917 page 5

This excerpt from the local newspaper provides a detailed overview of the year. Flood, drought, hailstorms, mice plague – all with the backdrop of World War 1 continuing – yet it was considered a good year. Water levels were full at Bumbury and Beargamil (Lake Metcalfe) but proposed developments were on hold as pig-iron was unobtainable due to the war. To read the full article click here. Source: Western Champion Thursday 20th December 1917 page 5

 

1917 NEWSPAPER ADVERTISEMENTS

Announcing new management is The Union Hotel in Trundle. J.J. Kelly is the new proprietor. Apart from the language showing that this advertisement is 100 years old, there is also the fact that the hotel offers "free stabling and an attentive groom" Source: The Western Champion Thursday 13th December 1917 page 2

Announcing new management is The Union Hotel in Trundle. J.J. Kelly is the new proprietor. Apart from the language showing that this advertisement is 100 years old, there is also the fact that the hotel offers “free stabling and an attentive groom” Source: The Western Champion Thursday 13th December 1917 page 2

An advertisement for Constantine and Matthew Fisher's general store, located on Clarinda Street and Pholeros Lane. Con Fisher was Mayor of Parkes five years earlier. Source: The Western Champion Thursday 13 December 1917 page 2

An advertisement for Constantine and Matthew Fisher’s general store, located on Clarinda Street and Pholeros Lane. Con Fisher was Mayor of Parkes five years earlier. Source: The Western Champion Thursday 13 December 1917 page 2

A new product for motorists (it was introduced the year earlier) was Plume Benzine - a motor spirit produced and sold by Vacuum Oil Company. Vacuum Oil Company eventually became part of Mobil, now known as ExxonMobil. Source: The Western Champion Thursday 13th December 1917 page 4

A new product for motorists (it was introduced the year earlier) was Plume Benzine – a motor spirit produced and sold by Vacuum Oil Company. Vacuum Oil Company eventually became part of Mobil, now known as ExxonMobil. Source: The Western Champion Thursday 13th December 1917 page 4

Before Orbel's and Cordaiy & Ashcroft there was J.G. Derwin. This advertisement claims they are the only Cordial & Aerated Water Manufacturer in the Parkes District. Source: The Western Champion Thursday 13th December 1917 page 5

Before Orbel’s and Cordaiy & Ashcroft there was J.G. Derwin. This advertisement claims they are the only Cordial & Aerated Water Manufacturer in the Parkes District. Source: The Western Champion Thursday 13th December 1917 page 5

Goudge Brothers, another in the wide range of department stores that Parkes has been served by. Note how the advertisement addresses Mrs Thrift and Mrs Economy. Source: The Western Champion Thursday 13th December 1917 page 6

Goudge Brothers, another in the wide range of department stores that Parkes has been served by. Note how the advertisement addresses Mrs Thrift and Mrs Economy. Source: The Western Champion Thursday 13th December 1917 page 6

A diversified business in 1917! Kendall's served fresh fruit, drinks and afternoon tea. In addition they also sold musical instruments and sheet music. Source: The Western Champion Thursday 13th December 1917 page 11

A diversified business in 1917! Kendall’s served fresh fruit, drinks and afternoon tea. In addition they also sold musical instruments and sheet music. Source: The Western Champion Thursday 13th December 1917 page 11

It's amazing how different times are 100 years ago. This advertisement for Foots & Lancaster, explains to customers that orders for imported American body Ford cars cannot occur due to government restrictions. Instead customers are encouraged to purchase Australian made Fords! Source: The Western Champion Thursday 13th December 1917 page 12

It’s amazing how different times are 100 years ago. This advertisement for Foots & Lancaster, explains to customers that orders for imported American body Ford cars cannot occur due to government restrictions. Instead customers are encouraged to purchase Australian made Fords! Source: The Western Champion Thursday 13th December 1917 page 12

Australian bush poet, Henry Lawson, wrote Scots of the Riverina in 1917. The moving poem has been interpreted muscially by Lee Kernaghan, Hugh McDonald and John Schumann and the Vagabond Crew. This version contains Lee Kernaghan’s song accompanied by country scenes on video. Source: YouTube

If you have stories of the Christmas of 1917 that you are willing to share please contact Parkes Shire Library via library@parkes.nsw.gov.au so that they can be shared and kept for posterity on this blog. Alternatively you may leave comments on this page.

To view old local newspapers, come in to Parkes Library and speak to Dan who will assist you with operating the microfilm

Click here to read A Look Back At… The Spring of 1972
Click here to read A Look Back At…The Winter of 1932
Click here to read A Look Back At…The Summer of 1945

REFERENCE LIST

At A Glance Images (clockwise from top left)

  • National Archives of Australia. (n.d.). William Morris Hughes [Photograph found in Prime Ministers of Australia, National Museum of Australia, Canberra]. Retrieved December 11, 2017, from http://www.nma.gov.au/primeministers/william_hughes
  • Parkes Historical Society. (2011). Mayor Owen James Howard [Photograph found in Mayors of Parkes, Parkes Champion Post, Parkes]. In Owen James Howard, businessman and Mayor of Parkes from 1917 to 1918 (May 16, 2011 ed., p. 7). Parkes, NSW: Parkes Champion Post. (Originally photographed 2011, May 16)
  • Agence de Presse Meurisse (March 19, 2012). Sir Gerald Strickland [Sir Gerald Strickland, as Prime Minister of Malta, alighting at Le Bourget Airport in 1930] Retrieved December 12, 2017 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerald_Strickland,_1st_Baron_Strickland#/media/File:Gerald_Strickland_1930.jpg
  • Melba Studios, Sydney. (n.d.) Balmain District Rugby League Football Club [Photograph found on Balmain Tigers Twitter Account @tigers1908] Retrieved December 12, 2017 from https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DFx21foVwAAV1cB.jpg

 

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This entry was posted on December 15, 2017 by in 1910s, 1917 At A Glance, 1917 Newspaper Advertisements, 2017, Bogan Gate, First World War soldier from Parkes Shire, Former Mayors of Parkes, General history, Humour, local historical articles, Making local news, Making Local News in 1917, microfilm, Newspaper Advertisements, Parkes, The Front Page... then and now!, Trundle, Uncategorized, World War I and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .
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