Raymond George Earl
|Type of person||Individual|
|Place of birth||Mallala|
|Principal occupation|| Farming
Raymond George Earl was born on 15th August 1925. His parents were Ernest George Wesley Earl (Wes) and Muriel Jane Earl (nee Sowerby). Ray had three siblings: Gwen born 31st January 1924, Kevin 7th September 1931 to 17th January 1989 and Melva 21st February 1933 to 25th July 1947. They lived in a cottage on Feltwell Road, Mallala, South Australia which was built by his grandfather Charles Earl prior to his marriage in 1896. Ray slept on the front verandah and read by a small lantern ( which he still has,) until his dad enclosed the back area. They had no electricity or refrigerators and relied on kerosene lamps and candles for lighting.
Ray was expected to tend to 150 chooks and gather and chop the wood for the stove after school. He had to walk to the Mallala School in rain or shine. Mr A. V Gent was headmaster and he knew how to use the cane! Pen and ink were used for writing - no biros. He later travelled to Adelaide on the train everyday to attend the Adelaide Technical High School on the corner of North Terrace and Frome road and gained his Intermediate Certificate in two years.
Ray started work in the Mallala Post Office in January 1941 at 19 shillings per week. Mr Jack Ryan was postmaster. When the RAAF training base at Mallala was opened they didn’t have a post office there, so he used to ride his bike out and deliver and receive telegrams and empty the multi coin phone boxes, until the RAAF set up their own post office.
He left the post office at the end of 1942 to help his father on the farm. They still used a team of horses to sow wheat, barley and oats. They also kept pigs, chooks and milking cows. Ray used to deliver milk to the workman’s camp at the aerodrome. The workmen were still erecting buildings although the RAAF had moved in. After the RAAF 6 S.F.T.S. was closed he delivered milk to Algar’s shop. Eggs and cream were sent to Adelaide by train. Pigs and calves and surplus cows were sent to Gepps Cross market (via the carrier Mr Norm Jarmyn,) until they purchased their own truck, a 3 ton ex army Chevrolet.
Social and family life:
For entertainment Ray attended the film shows in the Mallala Institute and practiced gymnasium also held in the Mallala Institute and taught by Mr Cam Huxtable. He attended the many dances and balls held around the district. In the 1940’s Les Duhring, Reg Peters, Brian Blacket and Ray regularly attended the Saturday night dances held in either the Dublin or Windsor Institutes. They travelled in Reg’s old car or Ray’s first car which was a 1928 Chevrolet Tourer, originally owned by his grandfather Earl. Petrol was rationed, so they used to start the car on petrol and change over to kerosene and back to petrol before they stopped. Many a time they had to mend a tyre on the way.
It was at these dances that Ray met Ethel May Parker and after a few years Ray and Ethel were married on a very hot and dusty day at Balaklava, S.A. on 1st October 1949. They lived at 16 Cameron Terrace for two years then shifted to the farm house on Feltwell Road. Ethel and Ray raised four children Geoffrey, Joan, Anthea and Sharon. They now have nine grandsons and two granddaughters. In the year 2013 they also have two great granddaughters.
Ray started farming with the following implements: a seven furrow plough, 21 tyne cultivator, sixteen row combine, an 8 ft header, ten harrows and a team of ten - twelve horses. Also of importance was the six foot binder used to cut hay to feed the horses and 12 cows. Hay was carted by wagon and 5 horses and stacked for future use. Some hay was later chaffed using a 5 horse power Ruskin oil engine to drive the chaff cutter. The horses had to be fed by 5am so they were ready for work. Twenty acres a day was good going. Eventually the horses were sold at Coles sale yards at Gawler (now the site of Coles supermarket) and a Massey Pacemaker tractor was purchased. Kerosene was bought in 44 gallon drums. As well as his own farm he used to sow and cut for hay all the small blocks on Dublin Road. He also cut Mr E.P. Pitt’s stock paddocks on Dublin Road and Balaklava Road, and also the block where John Griffiths lives on Elizabeth Street. Mr Syd Buttle used to keep a few cows there.
In 1943 Ray and his father Wes started share farming Farrelly’s farm on Balaklava Road and in 1949 they purchased a Massey 44 diesel tractor. He believes that diesel fuel was 17 pence a gallon and super phosphate was around 5 pounds a ton. In about 1955 Ray formed a partnership with his brother until Kevin’s death in 1989.
Until 1956 when bulk handling came to Mallala, wheat and barley was reaped into 3 bushel bags and sewn and carted into the railway yard. Previous to the weigh bridge being established the bags of grain were individually weighed and branded with the weight on them and elevated and stacked 20 bags high. They were then temporarily covered with an iron roof and hessian sides until sold and railed to Pt Adelaide. Ray understands that up to 100,000 bags would be stacked some years. He used to help with the out loading of railway trucks.
In the 1960s Ray also farmed the Parker farm at Long Plains. He certainly didn’t have any time to spare until 1974 when son Geoffrey took over the farm at Long Plains. In 1975 some of the land at Mallala was sold to Gilbertson to build an abattoirs which didn’t eventuate, and after a few different owners the A.W.B. (Australian Wheat Board) built bunkers on the site for grain storage. They then purchased land at Windsor from Dean Williams and relinquished the share-farming. As well as cropping we bought and fattened cattle on the farm at Windsor and had cows and calves mainly at Mahoney’s. We also had 500 to 800 wethers for wool, driving them by road from place to place.
After Kevin’s death in 1989 the partnership was dissolved and Ray retained the Mallala land and the land which was called Mahoney’s on Hall Road. This was later sold to Neil and Brian Tiller.
In 1998 Ray leased the farm for a period of ten years. He eventually sold the farm in February 2007 after it had been in the Earl family for 130 years. The purchasers were Wayne and Mark Heaslip and Peter Irish.
In 1985 Ray cut off three housing blocks from the farm, (all the Council would allow) and built a house on one, and shifted there in January 1986 and leased the farm house. In 2013 Ray and Ethel still live at Dublin Rd. Mallala.
Ray Earl became a member of the Agriculture Bureau and served as President and received Life Membership. Meetings were held in the Institute Supper room at that time.
He was a member of the Mallala School Committee and was President and/or Secretary for nine years. He was involved in planting and looking after the school oval and among other projects built the fish pond.
In 1977 Ray was elected as Councillor for the Mallala Ward and served for nine years. While on council he was Chairman of the Mallala Oval Committee when the bore was installed and the oval turfed.
Ray was also council representative on the Mallala and District Ambulance Board for nine years. After leaving Council he was re-elected to the Ambulance Board and became Chairman. He was involved in alterations to the centre to accommodate two ambulances. Ray also erected the front steel rail fence, planted the front lawn and cared for it..
In 1971 Ray joined the Mallala Museum Committee and is still a member in 2013. He was President from 1978 – 1992 and again in 1996 – 2007. Ray states that the achievements of this small committee have been outstanding and an asset to the district and it has been a pleasure to be part of it.
Ray was a Justice of the Peace for 22 years. Awarded Citizen of the month in 1966. Citizen of the Year 1997 and International Year Volunteer 2000. Commonwealth Recognition for Senior Australians 2001.
When Ray left school he joined the Mallala cricket club and became secretary. However when he married Ethel Parker he transferred to tennis. He was President of the Mallala Club and also Lower North President. He was Captain of Mallala B Grade in the Gawler Association and later captain of a Mallala team in Lower North Association.
Ray started playing lawn bowls in the late 1970s and was President for 2 years, Club Champion three times, night champion, pairs champion also pairs champion with J. McEvoy in a divisional competition. He spent many years watering the bowling green and was greenkeeper for seven years. Ray was made a Life Member of the Mallala Bowling Club.
In 1945 Ray started playing football. He played over 200 games for the Mallala Football Club, won Best and Fairest, also runner up. He was Treasurer for three years and goal umpire for may years. Ray was made a Life Member of the M.F.C. Ray assisted other volunteers in building the original club house as prior to this the change rooms had been under the grandstand.
Ray says "I feel that I have been very fortunate over my lifetime having seen the bad times in the 1930s but also the good years and I have lived through many changes to farming methods and lifestyles. I have enjoyed my volunteer efforts and involvement in the community".March 2013
- Raymond George Earl