Looking Back: Chasing hares and chasing girls

Bega Pioneers' Museum has countless files on people and places. This one was written by Len Spindler about his life in the Valley in the early 1900s.

Times have changed:  Hare chasing was one of Len Spindler's favourites sports growing up  in the 1900s when dog racing used live hares.

Times have changed: Hare chasing was one of Len Spindler's favourites sports growing up in the 1900s when dog racing used live hares.

I FOUND  time for house parties with the Richards on No One dairy, which was about a quarter of a mile from us. The Shiels girls from Parbery’s would also join us with the old tube Edison phonograph – about the first one out.

As time moved on we became friends with the Pecks from Dave Darcy’s dairy, Daisy Bank, and started hare chasing every weekend. Dave Darcy bred Dave’s Hope, which won the Waterloo Cup twice at Rooty Hill, Sydney. They used live hares then.

Bill Peck owned a dog, Frisco, and a bitch, Feather. Feather was black and white and the fastest. She could run a full grown buck hare on her own for a mile till she caught him. We were very happy on Darcy’s, although we had no money.  It was while on Darcy’s that Mum started writing Bega the Beautiful, a book of poetry on local events; all this time Mum was suffering from asthma.

We killed all the bull calves. That was my job and quite often a heifer calf would get the knife if I was short of dance money. Skins brought from five to six shillings each.

The car fare to Tathra was two shillings plus two shillings to get in the door at the dance, and three shillings to Bemboka. The car drivers were Errol Alcock and Toss Ford.

My first girlfriend at Bemboka was May Floyd. We all had horses and our mob would ride to Bega every Saturday night and fight with Brownie Rixon’s gang. About this time Paul Darcy got an Oldsmobile, single seater, probably the first one out here and flash as hell.

One night Fred Monk and I raided John Darcy’s melon patch. It was dark as pitch and we were fooling around. “Here’s a good one,” I said. “Yes, and I’ll keep it,” came the reply. Fred ran into the corn but I was caught, which meant a smack in the bloody ear from Dad.

John Darcy decided to close one dairy, so we got a house in Parker Street, Bega, next to Pearce’s Bakery. Dad and I went wood cutting for Ike Innes on Dr George Mountain, for the stone crusher that supplied all the metal for the Tathra Road from the showground to Ike Games Hill. The metal for the road from there to the wharf came from the quarry up Boller Bay Road.