Clarence Robert Davis (Clar­rie) 7/9/1923 – 19/9/2018

Yarrawonga Chronicle - - Front Page -

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.

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