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The Stroud Community Web is an online news and information source for Stroud and surrounding communities. An initiative and ongoing project of Stroud Lions Club.

Bi-Centenary 1988

Story by Beryl Bowden

Australia’s Bi-Centenary in the year 1988 was to be a big event. Accordingly, buckets of money were available for anyone with an idea that would appeal to the government committee in charge of funding. The newly formed Stroud Bi-Centennial Committee applied for a grant of $4000 to restore the old Booral Wharf. Located on the Karuah River a short distance from the Booral township the wharf had been the scene of bustling activity in the 1800’s. Supplies for Stroud and the surrounding areas were transported by boat to the wharf where they were off-loaded before being placed on bullock wagons to be delivered.

Booral Wharf

Portion of Booral Wharf still visible

Elated when the grant was approved, the Stroud committee organized a working bee at the wharf. In ‘picnic’ mood we made our way down through thick undergrowth to the barely visible remnants of the wharf. Jeanne Mullaney, Rosemary Neville and myself as the executive of the Stroud committee had commandeered aid in the form of manpower where we could, with a view to setting them to work clearing undergrowth and digging holes for tree planting. We became alarmed when we realized that the ‘boys toys’ we had borrowed for the big jobs were inappropriately manned. We had a shopkeeper revving the chain saw and a pilot perched on the tractor! While the rest of us were busy keeping out of their way they had the time of their lives! The fact that we arrived home with all limbs intact was tribute to our agility!

Booral Wharf

Members of the Bi-centenary Committee in Period costume

At the appropriate time we held a ceremony to celebrate the work we had done. We had managed to clear the undergrowth on the bank above the wharf and planted some native trees.

Booral Wharf

MLA Phillip Lucock speaking during the ceremony

The committee dressed in period costume for the occasion and the local Member of Parliament Mr. Phillip Lucock was ceremoniously rowed across the river and escorted up the steps of the wharf. A small programme was held during which Booral school children sang, local dignitaries spoke and Mr. Lucock presented the the Bi-Centenary Committee with the $4000 cheque.

I don’t feel much was accomplished, as our efforts to beautify the area were very soon overgrown. The wharf itself is redundant as no boats of any size are able to negotiate the river; also it is situated on private property whose owner is reluctant to admit public access!

Restoration of Booral Wharf. 1988

Blue skies, green grass, still water, an atmosphere serene.
Impossible to realize, that once this placid scene
Was one of great activity.
Here cargoes were unloaded on soil where we now stand,
Then placed on waiting bullock teams and carried overland
To newly settled towns.
Erased by time, the sheds and homes that once were rising here,
Are but a memory in minds of those who still hold dear
Our local early history.
Mute monuments, remaining still are remnants of the wall.
A testimony to the skill and craftsmanship of all
Who laboured here.
The children’s song reminds us where our future lies, and yet-
Today we here preserve our past with honour. Not forget
Our heritage.    

Beryl Bowden 1988



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2 Comments on “Bi-Centenary 1988”

  1. Pauline Ibbetson July 10, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Beryl you are a darling, with all your stories and memories of Stroud’s yesteryears. It is a credit to you and the past residents who willingly and joyfully gave so much time and effort to preserve and maintain the wealth of heritage attributes of this area. Your stories and the articles written by Denise by way of The Pioneer are hopefully filtering down through the younger generations and will encourage them also, to keep your example and enthusiasm alive and kicking in the future.

  2. Wal Towells (Little Wal) July 10, 2013 at 9:33 am #

    A real tragedy to see what was so important to those who pioneered what we have today go into decline

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