A 12-year-old’s Orbost in 1924

A 12-year-old’s Orbost in 1924

The year is 1924 and Agnes Herbert, of Orbost, is 12 years old. It was a time when The Weekly Times ran a Young Folks section edited by Aunt Connie.

Agnes was the aunty of Lee Stevenson, who brought a letter Agnes wrote to Aunt Connie in November 1924 to the attention of the Snowy River Mail recently. Agnes had four brothers, Albert Lancelot (Chip), Harry, John (Jack) and Norman, and a sister, Marjorie. Their parents were Lance and Jessie Herbert, Agnes’ letter to Aunt Connie, published on November 8, 1924, reads as follows:

Dear Aunt Connie,

I have only written to you once. I will take for my subject, “Orbost and the Surrounding Districts”.

The Snowy River winds its way through hundreds of acres of the most fertile land in Victoria.

Parts of these river flats are very low lying and liable to be flooded when the river rises.

At the present ploughing is in full swing in preparation for the planting of maize, beans, pumpkins and other fodder crops. By Christmas time these flats, viewed from the town, present a pleasing sight. The maize is planted on the square, and rows run in every direction, green, with a flower of a lighter colour.

Here and there can be seen men with horse hoes, going up and down between the rows all day, keeping the crop free from weeds.

The pumpkins are throwing out their long lines in the distance. Dairying is the mainstay of a great number of families, the larger dairy farms using milking machines. There is an up-to-date butter factory in the town, with which is combined a plant for supplying the town with electric light and power.

A few miles to the south of the town quite a number of men are employed at sleeper cutting, and it is a common sight to see the bullock wagons passing through the town with immense piles on them.

The town itself is not a large one, but is a busy centre, and has long lines of telephone wires up and down each side of the river.

Through the main street runs “The Princes Highway”, and in the summer months many tourists motor through on their way to Mallacoota and Sydney.

We have a State School, a Higher Elementary School, a Catholic School and five churches.

Water is laid on in the town, coming in pipes from a reservoir at the higher level in Young’s Creek.

At the mouth of the Snowy River, 10 miles from Orbost, is a tiny seaside place called Marlo. Many tourists come here in the summer for fishing and shooting. Nearby the Brodribb joins the Snowy and there are several lakes where good fishing is to be had. I go to the Higher Elementary School, and I am in the Form F. I am 12 years and three months old.

Wishing your page every success.

Aunt Connie’s response to Agnes’ letter -

“You have sent an interesting letter, Agnes. Write again – Aunt Connie.”