Footy injury puts an end to job at DMR

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.

Job short-lived: The Department of Main Roads building in Bega when Len Spindler worked on a DMR gang. It's now the police station.

Job short-lived: The Department of Main Roads building in Bega when Len Spindler worked on a DMR gang. It's now the police station.

WE worked for Innes for some time then moved to Newtown and went wood cutting for Dick Rawson out at Wannatta, Wolumla, at ten shillings per cord. Our woodcutting came to an end and Mum and Dad moved to Tathra to live and I went to live with Fred and Muriel Monk on Tathra Road. I was now about 18.

About this time a bushfire went through Stafford’s to Evans Hill and burnt out a culvert. The DMR engineer came down and gave Fred and I the job of filling in the hole in the road, then offered me a job on the DMR. To get the job I said I was 21. I camped with the gang at Pambula, Merimbula, Eden and Brogo.

I broke a rib playing football for Tathra and had to leave the DMR. Fred and I worked at anything we could get as we had no money.

We stripped wattle bark on the islands down from Thompsons and carted it in a boat to Blackfellows Lake, then home by horse and slide, chopping it up with axes.

We sold it to Dick Spence for 10 pounds per ton, bloody hard work.

Dot left home to marry Jim Robinson. He had a good job on the road, but would just leave work to go wild goat shooting and got the sack. He then started to breed goats for milk.

This was about the time that Mulholland was shot at Wolumla. He was the schoolteacher there. The gun was never found and to this day the shooting remains a mystery.

About this time I met Eva Rankin. She was staying with mum at Tathra for a holiday and we started going steady.

Dad and I cleared and levelled the first tennis court on Tathra Beach. All we had were axes, shovels and wheelbarrows.

We got the job by tender for 11 pounds 10 shillings and it took us about eight days. We later fenced it for 15 pounds.

At the same time I won a bottle of Bell’s whisky in a raffle and Dad would stop off at my place every evening until the bottle was empty.

Dad and I then got work from Perc Waterson, putting up 80 chains of wire fence: two plain, two barbed.

All the holes in the posts were bored by hand with a brace and bit and auger. He paid one pound per chain.