Clarence Robert Davis (Clarrie) 7/9/1923 – 19/9/2018
of his long happy lifetime when he was in hospital after a motor cycle accident.
“Mum’s friends Isabel and Mary Marshall (the late Mrs Langford and the late Mrs Crook) had asked her to substitute for them and visit Clarrie when they couldn’t make it themselves. As they say in the classics, ”the rest is history”!
“It was only in recent years that Dad shared with me a romantic little story. He had arranged to see Mum at the Yarrawonga show, he had worked with Mr Bob Tait senior in the morning, and had to ride his bike approximately 2 to 3 miles from house to house, back to Fairview. He changed his clothes, got a lift into Yarra and they met up about 3pm at the show. The show was nearly over, but it was obviously a successful day.
“After marrying they moved into the almost new home at Pine Grove which David and Maud White had built and eventually purchased the property from them.
“During the past two years the house has been moved into Yarrawonga and given a new lease of life. Dad viewed this with great interest.
“Farming was simpler and probably more enjoyable in some ways than today, provided that you could put up without having electricity and other amenities! Our Electricity was switched on around 1959/1960. Prior to that we had carbide gas lights and/or kerosene lanterns and a fridge. Carbide gas was in crystal form like salt.
“Having only spent about one year away from the land throughout his entire working Dad became a skillful, knowledgeable and excellent farmer.
“Dad had worked draught horse teams as a teenager so was quite happy to move into the tractor era and other better machinery. I recall the excitement when Dad arrived home in his first truck, the 1950’s green Bedford, which did a great job for the whole time Dad and Mum farmed Pine-Grove, even though a larger truck was eventually purchased.
While working on the farm of his childhood, Fairview, during busy times of the year draught horses had to be fed very early, so Dad would be out of bed about 4am. When the horses were working he would spell them for a drink every hour or so, which meant unharnessing and by the time they were fed at night it could be quite late. All very heavy work.
“Dad was a natural horseman with or without a saddle and made it look so easy. In our childhood years Dad milked a house cow and we were never able to make the huge froth on the top of the bucket that he did with his powerful milking action. As most farmers did in those earlier times Dad butchered his own stock, which helped the family budget.
“From Pine Grove the dirt road to Yarrawonga Sale Yards (another once vibrant, exciting part of Yarrawonga now consigned to history) did not have much traffic so Dad could drove his sheep and lambs for sale with the aid of sheep dogs but sometimes Mum or ourselves would block off streets or intersections.
“From the seventies he also ran Angus cattle and was pleased to regularly top markets at Wangaratta and Cobram. He enjoyed a long friendship and professional Stock Agency association with Jim Drake in Yarrawonga and Kevin Sanderson in Wangaratta.
“Dad had an eagle eye and could spot sheep lambing and crows near them on the fence, and cows calving, a mile away.
“The main operation was cereal cropping at Pinegrove and Burramine so we three sons did quite a bit of tractor and truck driving as teenagers (and younger). I vividly recall the cold, clear sunset silhouettes while sowing crops in late autumn and the searing heat of harvesting, without overhead shades.
“Eventually there were beach umbrellas and later cabins. The sweet taste of those dust caked hessian waterbags!
“Fortunately Dad taught himself to weld so he could modify and repair equipment, machinery and pumps.
“In the sixties Dad had laid out irrigation with his tractor pulled land grader. He was then able to grow many crops and fodders including Lucerne, he harvested clover seed and would come home totally covered in black dust. Sorghum and Sudan grass grew so tall that townspeople drove out to view it! “Eventually Dad and his friend Alec Cameron, laid a town water pipe from Yarrawonga to the farm.
“In the 80’s and 90’s Dad embarked on a major tree planting program, which is evident today.
“Dad and Mum sold Pinegrove in 1995 at the age of 72. Initially when they first moved into town Dad remarked that after a good rain, the smell of wet soil made him wish he could still commence ploughing. “During retirement he continued to raise cattle on the balance of the land and eventually enjoyed a great friendship and share cropping partnership with James and Lorraine Cummins.
“First and foremost, Dad was about his wife and family, being fortunate to enjoy a loving 68 year marriage. Ian, Ken, Lynne and I were the beneficiaries of this.
“Dad and Mum were both devout in the christian faith they shared which always gave them peace of mind.
“Dad was an elder in this church for 35 years following in the footsteps of his parents’ in law here, and his parents at Ringwood NSW. Dad’s Mum played the organ at Ringwood for 37 years.
“Dad took us to see Yarra’s first Premiership in 1959 at Albury. Dad continued to accompany me to the six Yarra Grand Final appearances of the last 10 years.
“During the late 60s, 70s and 80s as a family we attended many AFL Grand Finals leaving early to be at the MCG at 8.30am.
“As children we were taken to the movies nearly every Saturday night. We sat upstairs and enjoyed getting ushered to our seats.
“In summer the movies were in the Open Air Theatre and then eventually we went to the Drive-In.
“Dad built us a tennis court and he played in and captained a tennis team, he helped at the tennis club, school and scout working bee’s, sometimes assisting with transport to and from scout camps. He helped arrange Sunday school picnics at Pinegrove. Annually after Christmas and harvest we were treated to beach holidays.
“Dad and Mum eventually enjoyed Australian and overseas travel. When my family was young, in 1988 they joined us in a fantastic two car drive across the Nullabor.
“In retirement Dad and Mum built their lovely home in McNally Street, they planned everything together and Dad helped to set up the new garden.
“He bowled until he was more than 85 years. (the Club is situated opposite what was his parents retirement home) Dad also attended Probus.
“They enjoyed nearly 20 years at McNally Street and the home was a constant stream of grandchildren, great grandchildren and visitors. They also appreciated their wonderful neighbors.
“Eventually Dad became Mum’s designated carer for several years and he did an absolutely dedicated job, checking tablets, preparing meals (combined with meals on wheels) and shopping, housework (plus home help), gardening and they still managed to go driving to Milawa for occasional afternoon teas.
“In essence Dad was a loving and much loved husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, uncle and friend a truly gentleman. Although we are sad today we can celebrate and be thankful for Dad’s fortunate life.”
A committal service was held for Clarence at the Yarrawonga Cemetery followed by refreshments at the Yarrawonga Bowling Club.