1924 A New Year Dawns

Photo of Miss Franklin courtesy of RAHS History online.

January 5th – “Manly” on the Nepean. If anybody had the idea that there are not any beauty spots in and around the Penrith District that idea would certainly have been dispelled if they had paid a visit to the western bank of the famous Nepean River during the recent holidays. On Sunday last the crowd that attended this splendid bathing resort amounted to about 300. On Monday 31st the number was easily increased to 400 or more while on New Years Day something like 1,400 to 1,500 would be nearer the mark. This seems familiar 100 years later as the Nepean River now has a new beach on its eastern bank now called “Penrith Beach”. Back then visitors from all parts of the district and from almost all towns between here and Sydney came in their motor cars, motor Lorries, sulkies and carts, and from early morning until late in the evening they were coming and going. From the tiny toddlers up to grandparents they were all there in the placid waters of the Nepean. It was rumoured that some of the “Surf girls” were entering for the “Daily Guardian” championship as the photographer was snapping some of the district “Beauties” on New Years Day. It was understood that a movie was to be made to get the Blue Mountains Shire and Penrith Council to cooperate in an endeavour to get the Government to resume a portion of the land above the beach on the side of the river for a reserve, and if it was successful bathing facilities could then be arranged and a car park made for the cars etc, right down to the beach. Another move in the right direction was to appoint a ranger for Sundays and holidays to prevent any vandalism as it was found that some of the lads liked to amuse themselves by throwing bottles into the water and breaking them by throwing stones, and on New Year’s Day two cases of cut feet were reported owing to this senseless practice. Also an ex-Penrithite in the person of Miss Stella Miles Franklin arrived from America by Tahiti recently. Miss Franklin was well known to Australians as the author of “My Brilliant Career” and several years ago it was hailed as the first real Australian novel. Since those days Miss Franklin had thrown her energy into most of the big problems that have confronted women. For several years she was the guiding force behind the women’s settlement work in Chicago, and along with Miss Alice Henry they edited “Life and Labor,” the first magazine in America owned and edited by women. Woman suffrage and trade union matters also claimed her attention. Miss Franklin served during the war with the Scottish Women’s Hospital in Servia and contracted malaria there that resulted in her being invalided back to England. Miss Franklin has not recovered from this experience, and it is her conviction that back again in the Australian bush she will regain that strength necessary for her to carry on her work as literature secretary of the National Housing and Town Planning Council of London. At St Marys on New Years Eve, Billy Parkin held a dance in his new garage to celebrate. The work is almost complete and when fitted up it will probably be one of the finest garages outside the metropolis. A large number of folks attended the function and spent a most enjoyable time. The dance music was supplied by a “jazz band” with Mrs Elliott and Miss Kitching at the piano and Mr Les Payne of Penrith playing the kettle drum and cymbals. Extras were played by Messrs Eric and Colin Dollin and Mr Harold Raymond gave a skilful exhibition of roller skating. Also in January at a special meeting of Penrith Council, the Mayor Alderman Fitch moved that the Council consider a proposal to borrow £2,000 that already had been approved. This was seconded by Alderman Lance and carried. Also in reference to the matter, Alderman Adams moved that both sides of High Street, from Evans Street to Lennox’s invert and Station Street between High Street and the railway be kerbed and guttered where necessary and that an engineer be appointed to submit plans and specifications with an estimate of cost. This was seconded by Alderman Walker and carried and it was decided to advertise in the “Nepean Times” and the Sydney papers for an engineer for the work. Sadly on Friday 21st December in Bringelly, the truth of the words, “In the midst of life we are in death” was verified when Mr J Milton aged 26, the only son of Mr and Mrs J Milton of Croydon met with an accident that caused his death the same evening. It appears that on that day he was in company with his mate returning from work to Croydon on a motor bike, and on the Windsor Road something went wrong with the machine and it ran with great force into a telegraph pole. Both young men were rendered unconscious with one soon recovering but Mr Milton never regained consciousness and died the same evening in the hospital. He was buried on Monday 24th “December at Rookwood. Mr Milton was the nephew of Mrs McIntosh (the late respected postmistress of Bringelly). He was a frequent visitor here and was well-known and respected by everybody.

Source: Nepean Times Saturday 5 January 1924.