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Richard Douthat (Son of Dick) Recalls

Posted by on March 3, 2012

“The strongest memories I have of my grandfather, Bohwen Douthat at Waanyarra are of going fishing in his flat bottomed, corrugated iron boat. We fished at Anchor’s Bridge mostly, and always, we got fish. We caught red fin and measured our catches in bags full.

We lived at Bohwen’s for a while in the 1950’s when my father was ill. I remember the lovely glass kerosene lanterns in his house, there was nice furniture in the main front room and the walls and ceiling were lined with timber. There was no electricity and we used the lanterns or candles for lighting.

My brother, Max, and I did our school work on the front verandah, where Mum had set up some forms from the old Waanyarra school, and a table each on which to do our work. I’d do about two hours school work and then go off with the ferrets to catch some rabbits. Once, when I was rabbiting, I fell down an old digger’s hole and when I looked up there was a snake about one foot from my face.

We went out at night to neighbours’ houses to play cards, I remember going to Pearce’s. My grandfather had a crystal radio-set and a battery run radio. There were dances to go to, my father, Dick, played the piano accordion at most of the dances at Waanyarra. I used to collect beer bottles with my Uncle Ray there, he had a huge stack of bottles he’d picked up at these dances.

We also spent a lot of our holidays at Waanyarra. Mum had a 1934 Plymouth car, Max and I used to sit in the back on the blankets and clothes, our sister and my twin, Barbara, sat in the front seat because she got car sick. Once, on the way to Waanyarra we stopped and bought some pies. That was like Christmas for us, because Dad never stopped except for spa water at Kyneton, and he never bought things to eat. The pies were lovely until one of us discovered they were full of maggots.

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