Fond mem­o­ries of an idyl­lic childhood in Kata­matite

The Cobram Courier - - REAL ESTATE - Don Kil­gour rem­i­nisces about grow­ing up in Kata­matite in his poem

I’d like to tell you all a tale, al­though you’ll think I’m batty

Of what a lovely time we had whilst grow­ing up in Katty.

It was back in 1946 when my twin and I saw light,

Our par­ents took us to their home in Beek St. Kata­matite.

Now how the town had got its name, is the sub­ject of a story.

But it doesn’t mat­ter how it did, we loved it for its glory.

It’s spe­cial in a lit­tle town with just 200 souls,

Be­cause we had Kil­gour’s Store, we didn’t need a Coles.

For ‘Kil­lies’ met the district’s needs for food and clothes and fuel,

The farm­ers picked their gro­ceries up, whilst drop­ping kids at school.

With rolling fer­tile plains abound, they grew great wool and wheat

And carted it to the rail­way, through Katty’s wide main street.

Then ir­ri­ga­tion wa­ter came which changed the farm­ing scene

From 1950 on­wards many dairy cows were seen.

The farm­ers all were hard at work with ma­chin­ery at hand

To sow and reap and cart the pri­mary prod­ucts of our land.

And when the work was car­ried out, the farm­ers took a rest,

They played their sport with much aplomb and of­ten were the best.

With foot­ball, cricket, ten­nis too they played and lost and won.

Bad­minton, net­ball, ri­fle shots were added to the fun.

We didn’t have all mod cons but life wasn’t re­ally hard,

Al­though the out­side toi­let, was at the end of the back­yard.

So whilst we paid a visit, it was our Fa­ther’s strong de­sire,

That we chopped some wood and car­ried it up for the stove and the open fire.

For ed­u­ca­tion, Katty had a school (2069)

We learned to read and write and play and had to toe the line.

And when our pri­mary days were through we hopped upon a bus

We headed for Nu­murkah High with­out a lot of fuss.

With Sun­day as the day of rest, ’twas off to Sun­day school

With Chas and Nev and oth­ers too, who taught the Golden Rule.

School hol­i­days were much adored under Katty’s red hot sun,

We’d fish and swim and ride our bikes and rab­bit­ing was fun.

On Mon­days, sheep were sent by train, which belched out steam and grunted

Oc­ca­sion­ally, we had the chance to drive it while it shunted.

And on those long hot sum­mer days we didn’t mind the heat

When Ron­nie Barnes or Pat O’Kane said ‘‘help me cart some wheat’’.

In May and in Septem­ber, on school breaks we didn’t fool,

We were busy help­ing ‘Harry Kil’ de­liver drums of fuel.

With shear­ing on in earnest we could drove big mobs of sheep

Or pick up in a shear­ing shed and press the wool to keep.

Our evenings were so busy too, with youth clubs or a dance,

Or you could learn to play gui­tar at the lo­cal Methodist manse

One could also learn the banjo, at Rob­bie’s close at hand,

And so it was we all ap­peared in the Kata­matite string band.

The best thing about Katty, was the free and easy life,

The open space, the fresh­est air, no need to be in strife.

A street you could play cricket in, or kick the footy about

As we waited for the school bus to take us in and out.

It was sad when I left Katty, to pursue a boy­hood dream,

To an­nounce upon the ra­dio and be on the TV screen.

But what I learned in Katty, set me straight for all my life.

I never miss the chance to show the town off to my wife.

I fin­ished up in pol­i­tics, as Shep­par­ton’s lo­cal mem­ber

And trav­elled off to Lon­don, an oc­ca­sion to re­mem­ber.

When the Queen asked me ‘‘Where are you from?’’ I said with much de­light.

‘‘I live in the City of Shep­par­ton, but I come from Kata­matite’’.

How good it was to have the chance to live in that great town,

To be so safe and com­fort­able and never be­ing down.

I feel for all those city folk from places loud and ratty

Who’ve missed the op­por­tu­nity, of grow­ing up in Katty.

Big week­end: Straw­berry Fields Fes­ti­val at­ten­dees re­lax­ing on the Mur­ray River dur­ing last year’s event.

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