Tuesday, September 1, 2009

DURIE newspaper articles

Following from my earlier post relating to John DURIE (who married Eliza TREIVTHICK), Annette has transcribed a number of articles about (or authored by) John DURIE, which are posted here, along with Annette's notes.

Local Wallsend/Newcastle newspaper (probably Newcastle Morning Herald) around 27.7.1899. Separate articles.

Last Thursday morning one of the children of Mr. John Durie, under-manager of West Wallsend Colliery, named Minnie (Marion Gordon), aged 6 years, became suddenly ill. D. J. P. Hocken, on attending, found that she was suffering from a severe attack of peritonitis. The little sufferer lingered until Sunday morning, when she quietly passed away, after an illness of three days.

On Monday a solemn sight was seen in West Wallsend – that of two funeral processions wending their way to the cemetery at one time, one being that of the daughter of Mr J. Durie, and the other of Mr. Thos. Lee’s son, named Thomas, aged 12 years, who was accidentally shot dead whilst out with his father in the bush. Both funerals started from the parents’ residences, which are opposite each other, at the same time. When the two processions joined on the main road it made an immense funeral cortege, fully 1000 persons following the remains to the local cemetery. The Rev. Mr. Hobson, of the U.M.F. Church, conducted the burial service over the grave of Mr. Durie’s daughter, the Rev. Mr. Rithcie, Church of England, Mulbring, conducting the service over Mr. lee’s son, the services, being most impressive ones. Much sympathy is felt for the bereaved parents in their sad loss, they being widely known and highly respected all over the district as were also the departed little ones. The Sunday and day school children walked in the procession, and many friends and relatives from all over the district followed the remains to their last resting place.

Local Wallsend/Newcastle newspaper (probably Newcastle Morning Herald) around 6.12.1900

Presentation to Mr John Durie

The esteem in which Mr. John Durie, the underground manager at the West Wallsend Colliery, is held in this township was manifested on Thursday night, by the large number of townspeople who assembled at Sharp’s* hotel to take part in the smoke concert, which was held in his honour, prior to his leaving the district to take up the management of the Zigzag Colliery, Lithgow. The chair was occupied by Dr. J. P. Hocken.

On behalf of the citizens of West Wallsend, the chairman presented Mr. Durie with a gold watch (valued at £25.00), and asked his acceptance also of a silver teapot** for Mrs. Durie. He stated that the people were so attached to the good qualities of the recipients that they felt it would be unjust to their own feelings to allow them to depart without a token of their esteem. When the suggestion was made, collectors went round the town, and found the people only too willing to subscribe to the movement.

The watch was inscribed: “Presented to John Durie, as a token of esteem from the people of West Wallsend, on the eve of his departure to manage a colliery at Lithgow.” The teapot was inscribed: “To Mrs. J. Durie, as a token of esteem from the people of West Wallsend, on the occasion of her departure for Lithgow.”

In making the presentation, the chairman wished Mr. and Mrs. Durie long life and prosperity. (Hear, hear.)

Mr. J.T. Tennant, the under-manager of Seaham, stated that he had known Mr. Durie for many years, and he, in common with others, held him in the greatest respect. (Hear, hear.)     Mr. Durie was beloved by the citizens. He was a man who had never met with a rebuff.  He wished there were many more like him in the place, and in other mining districts. (Applause.)

Mr. W. Jarvie (school master) was exceedingly glad to be present, because he looked upon Mr. Durie as a real “white man.” (Applause.) He always had the advancement of the town in view, and was always a charitable man. He (Mr. Jarvie) was glad to hear of his promotion. It was well deserved. (Applause.) He was just about as conscientious a man as anyone he had ever met. It was a great loss to West Wallsend for Mr. Durie to go away. He (Mr. Jarvie) felt the loss keenly, but he felt comforted by the knowledge that Mr. Durie was going to better himself. He wished him every success in his future career. (Applause.)

Mr. Andrew Henderson and Mr. Archibald Gray added their words of testimony to the recipient of goodwill, the latter stating that he (Mr. Durie) was a man of grit and common sense, and a thorough colliery manager. (Applause.)

Mr W. Brownlie and Mr. R. Arthur, two miners, spoke of their guest as a man who, while doing his duty to his employer, was always a just and honest man in dealing with the men who worked for him. (Hear, hear.)

Mr. D. D. Moon endorsed all that had been said. Mr. Durie was the same from Monday morning till the last working day of the week – a real good man, and a friend to all who had dealings with him. He wished him the success he deserved.

Mr. Durie said he had never expected to find so many friends. He felt the compliment very much. He had always tried to act honestly between employers and employed. He seemed to feel that he ought to do to others as he would like others to do unto him. He felt that he had not done much for the welfare of the town. But he had tried to do something, even though that something might only have been the encouragement of good feeling generally. West Wallsend was a town with a great future before it, and he hoped to see many of his friends doing well shortly.

Mr. E. Stobbs, who has a good tenor voice, sang “Fetters of Gold” in splendid style.

Mr. B. B. Moon (in the absence of Mr. D. D. McGeachie, who had been called away to the Greta Colliery fire which occurred late on 5th December 1900) proposed the toast of “parliament” and referred to the energy of the member for the district. He also apologized for the absence of Mr. Pendleton, the manager of the Waratah Colliery, who was ill.

Mr. D. Watkins, M.P., had a splendid reception on rising to respond. He said he was extremely glad of the invitation to be present. He recognized in Mr. Durie a genuine man and he knew that the miners, as well as the citizens present, thought well of him. The room would not accommodate all at once, and he understood the miners would be making a separate presentation on Saturday evening. He referred to the work of Parliament. He claimed that something tangible had been done this session. He thanked them for the way in which the toast had been received.

Mr. R. McArthur proposed “The Commonwealth”.

Mr. C. Hurn, the accompanist for the evening, here sang “A Solder and a Man,” Mr. J. Etheridge following with “A Fisherman’s Daughter.”

Mr. Robt. Durie (probably brother Robert) proposed “Success to the British Arms.” Mr. J.L. Gray remarked on the necessity of West Wallsend being represented on the jury list for the Newcastle district. Mr R. Durie sand “The Scots Guards.” Other toasts were honoured, and a very enjoyable evening was spent.

The arrangements were well carried out by the committee, which comprised:- Dr. J.P. Hocken (chairman), Mr. J.L. Gray (secretary), Mr. J. Johnson (treasurer), Messrs. J.T. Tennant, Peter Rowbottom, W. Williams, W. Low, W. Smith, Robt. Durie, E. Stobbs, Nesbit Gray, R. Sharp, W. Jarive, W. Leckie, R. McArchure, and J. Pallister.

Mr D. McGeachie, the manager of the West Wallsend Colliery, arrived towards the close of the entertainment, and invited those present to drink success to Mr. Durie in champagne. He remarked that Mr. Durie had been an expert underground manager, and regretted very much his departure from West Wallsend.

Notes by Annette:
*Probably no relation to son David Durie’s future father-in-law Victor Hugo Sharp of Lithgow who had no brothers.  However, Victor Hugo’s father had several brothers who may have emigrated at the same time.

**Gold watch (we think) and teapot was handed down to David L. Durie, now in daughter Elaine’s possession. The gold-plated watch has an inscription on its face “WJ Coote” together with a card from WJ Coote, Bathurst , also a big mining town.

The teapot has an inscription on its side:  “Presented to Mrs John Durie as a token of esteem. From the residents of West Wallsend on the occasion of her departure for LITHGOW, 6.12.00.”

Lithgow Mercury February 1927

THE FIRST CAR: Mr. J. Durie’s Reminiscences – Tales of Old Lithgow

Writes Mr. J. Durie, manager of Zigzag colliery:-

As the history of the motor car in Lithgow, as far as my knowledge reaches back, has never been written, probably a few facts concerning it will not be out of place during the “Back to Lithgow” celebrations.

In September, 1902, the writer brought the first car that successfully ran in Lithgow, and ran it for a considerable time. It had a single cylinder D Dion engine, and weighed about 10cwt. There was a Winton car brought to Lithgow by Mr. Beard, a chemist, whose place of business was at that time where the Fitzgerald’s plumbing business is carried on. The Winton car was pronounced a failure, and Mr. Beard had it sent back to Sydney and returned it to the seller. He obtained in exchange a 9 h.p. single cylinder motor car engine, which he afterwards sold to Mr. R. Lean, then of Sunny Corner, who installed it in a buggy, but Mr. Lean will probably tell all about that.

My single cylinder car was built in Sydney by Phizackerly from parts imported from France, and was to the best of my belief the first motor car built in N.S. Wales. Mr. D. Ezzy and Mr. Jack Cantor, at that time budding mechanical motorist, worked on it under great difficulties at night up to 10 p.m. and 11p.m., with a lathe that only took a scratch off the metal parts, to get the car ready to put into the 1901 Great Sydney Show, and they succeeded, taking first prize, as there were no other competitors. It was named after Phizackerley the Phiz, and my word, she could phiz all right!

It was built mechanically on the lines of the present day cars. That is, it had 3 speeds forward and one reverse, and was capable of 30 miles per hour on top speed. It had a carburettor after the present day style, with make and break electric ignition and spark plug, similar to modern cars. Dry batteries and accumulators had not then come into general use, but it was not so perfect as the cars of today in either carburettor, ignition, or spark plug. The hot tube for ignition was then just going out, and the brakes were lined with leather. When they got hot, running down the long Hartley hill, the burning leather used to smell like forty cats! The wheels were of the bike pattern with …….-on tyres as present day bikes. The tyres were 750 m.m. x 90 m.m.

The car gave a good deal of pleasure in runs to different places, and at times there was a good deal of profane silence, as we were always careful not to let the others know our inward thoughts when anything went wrong. Naturally it took a considerable time and pushing up hill to realise that the hill power was not great enough in a 6 h.p. engine. But others besides us only realised that after a considerable time, such as Mr. Mark Foy, W.J. Elliot, Charles Bennett, and other well-known pioneers of the motor. I afterwards installed a two cylinder engine of 12 h.p. in the car, and sold the 6 h.p. engine to a fisherman in Wollongong to put in a boat. After putting in the 2 cylinder engine I ran the car successfully for a while, when I discovered that the frame work and the chassis was not strong enough, as can be seen from the picture of the car (taken in Centennial Park, Sydney, with my son Fred. and myself in the front seat, 25 years ago).

We then decided that if anything further was done to the car it would have to be remodelled and, after a good deal of thinking and planning, we decided to import a new engine. So we wrote to the Coventry Simplex Engine Co., of England, for a price and specifications of a 4-cylinder engine rated at 16 h.p., 3 3-8 in. diameter cylinders , and 4in. stroke running on ball bearings. While negotiating and waiting for the engine from England, we ordered a 3-speed gear box from the Phoenix Engineering Co., and a worm and worm wheel drive from Henry Buttler, of Manchester. We built a new car with channel steel frame from stem to stern, and this I ran for some years. I built the body myself, after the style in vogue, and we upholstered it ourselves, buying the hide for this purpose from Lassetter and Co., Sydney. But we jibbed at the painting, and got a quote from Walters and Son, Lithgow, for the job, which had to be done in time for the Lithgow show, which took place a few weeks later. The quote from Walters nearly gave me a deadly shock. I ordered paint (Robiallac) and did the job myself.

Compare the present day cars with those of that day mechanically. They are after the same style, but have been wonderfully improved, the body work especially. I might say that, besides ourselves getting much fun and amusement out of the first car, it also gave a good deal of fun and excitement to the general public, especially the boys, some of whom came from Hartley Vale on Saturdays when there was no school to see the motor car. They have all grown to men now, and I often meet some of them who tell men they can remember (as boys) seeing the first car, while we ourselves are proud of being among the pioneers of motor cars.

I have seen Lithgow grow wonderfully during the past twenty-six years. But I was a resident of Lithgow before that. It is 47 years since I first set foot in this town. It was a very small place then. The school was held in a building just off the Vale of Clwydd-road. I used to attend at night with a number of others. I was married then. We had one child at the time, and I worked in the Vale of Clwydd mine as a miner. Mr Bo Vought, our very much respected fellow townsman was then miners’ check weighman. Afterward I went to Newcastle for some years. That was before the present Commercial Bank was built, and Loneragan’s, of Mudgee, kept the business occupied by Bracey’s, Ltd. The ironworks were on a very small scale then, the present Courthouse hotel had not been built; there was no Imperial hotel, no Grand Central hotel, no Landsdowne hotel, while the Lithgow paper was run by Mr. Targett. The house he lived in stood on the side of the road – Vale of Clydd.

May Lithgow grow and expand as quickly as it has done this last 15 or 20 years, is the wish of John Durie.

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