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General meeting November 2023

Stories of past Holiday Seasons

Yankalilla Library Meeting Room

President Sue Speck welcomed everyone to a special celebratory meeting, deviating from the usual format. The evening drew together the contributions of the members and committee to share accounts of Christmas past, broadly, and in members lives or the district.
Margaret Morgan led the group in some Christmas craft, demonstrating how to make paper chains out of two strips of coloured crepe paper. A lot of fun and fumbling followed but some colourful creations livened up the supper tables. Crafting continued while Rob Malone presented a poem by Banjo Patterson, along with a fascinating illustrated talk about him. As the evening wore on a great range of newspaper accounts, personal recollections and excerpts from historical accounts from all over the district were shared with what turned out to be a common theme of congregational tea parties and over- indulgence.

“Christmas Day was one of the hottest and most unpleasant days that we have experienced this season—notwithstanding which the beach and jetty during the greater part of the day were covered with pleasure-seekers — the cool sea breeze being very refreshing. A few private picnics were formed but the grand event of the day was the great annual Wesleyan picnic which, to the disappointment of many, was held in the schoolroom and not near the beach as was once supposed it would be.”
“Our want of a police-station was fully exemplified on the afternoon of Christmas, when two noted pugilists were engaged in a severe battle for an hour and a quarter in front of the Finniss Vale Hotel; none attempted to interfere, and the fight went on till at last one was obliged to give in, he being severely punished. The fight was witnessed by nearly 200 people.”
An excerpt from the South Australian Weekly Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1858 - 1867), Saturday 5 January 1867, page 2

A lavish supper followed with lots of laughter and goodwill.

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