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Changes after the war

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Early Bingara during the WW1. Source: Bingara Early Images

Changes after the war – Bingara History

All disruptions bring change, both positive and negative. For example, the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic while it is horrific with millions dying across the Globe, it never-the-less is forcing change. 

In Australia it has highlighted that all governments need to raise the standards of caring for the aged, and more people will continue to work from home, changing the nature of both business centres and lifestyles.

While the impact of major disruptions appears more concentrated in the high density populated areas, the impacts are no less felt across the rural areas. A great example of this is Bingara in the aftermath of World War 11.

The following article written by Don Whittington in the Daily Telegraph  Sunday 25th March 1945 describes a battered town, one crippled by the war. However, also note the green roots of change and as we now know, Bingara not only recovered, it has become a very progressive robust town.

War Changes – Bingara

(Population 3000)

Don Whittington had written:

‘They are planning a show in Bingara next month. Bingara is an average New South Wales country town. Its story is typical of two or three hundred country towns in this state. Its progress is an integral part of the state’s economy. So, the Bingara Show makes news because it is the first the district has attempted since Pearl Harbor. 

Bingara the population 3000 in north-west New South Wales, 100 miles south of the Queensland border, produces the State’s best cattle, some good wool, some of Australia’s best horses and horsemen all the ingredients needed to make a successful pastoral and agricultural show.

But all that was pre – Pearl Harbor and a lot of things have happened since then.

Some of the leading stud cattle breeders left their herds to join the Army. Farm produce has fallen off because of manpower difficulties. The good horses are still there, but a lot of the horsemen are missing about 500 men from the district are in the Forces and many of them will never ride again.

The big stations in the district have been short – handed for so long graziers have almost forgotten what it was like to have a full team. They cannot get station hands or stockmen, fencers, or shearers.

The town itself is a good barometer for the district.

Bingara had a football team once. It was pretty good as country teams went, won the Spicer Cup the pride of the north – west one year.

But there have been no football games in town since the war. Half the team is in Darwin and New Guinea. The other half was in Malaya when Singapore fell. 

There was a cricket team once, too. Occasionally a player was selected for the big Country Week games. But there has been no cricket team for a long while.

The greens on Bingara’s golf course are not as well kept these days. The curator has gone and two of the expensively installed tennis courts are overgrown with weeds and right out of commission for the same reason.

The gold mine on All Nations’ Hill is working with four men and a manager. There used to be 30. And Mr. S. Dickson is still at 75 editor, reporter, and publisher of the Bingara Advocate, because his son is in the Air Force.

The shops are short – handed and the proprietress of the principal hotel acts also as booking clerk, barmaid and sometimes waitress.

A man with a trucking service and 1000 acres of good land has had to lay up his last truck but one and let the land lie fallow because manpower has just taken his last man.

Bingara is not sure whether things will ever be the same again, even after the war.

Some of the young fellows who have had some leave show signs of itchy feet. When they finished school, they were usually content to become drovers or stockmen or rural workers of some kind. But they have seen something of the world outside now. They have been places and met people. They have learned to drive tanks and motorboats, operate intricate radio sets and build bridges. They have become good tradesmen, and the Army post – war training courses promise to make experts. A lot of them will not want to come home permanently to Bingara.

Meanwhile, a lot of Bingara wives and children, many of whom have never known a father, live in single rooms or with friends and relatives. Houses and furniture and personal effects were sold up or let when the men joined the Army. 

Now it is a case of waiting for the final bell.

Source – Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW: 1931 – 1954) Sunday 25 March 1945, page

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