Warrimoo Industries (b) Dairy*
In the years before World War II, most suburbs and towns throughout Australia contained “a dairy”—the source of fresh local milk and cream and maybe other dairy products, deemed at the time as healthy dietary staples to ward off a common childhood disease called ‘Rickets’, caused by a lack of calcium.
The small infant
different. Evidence of a local dairy off Florabella Street exists from the
early 1930’s, when a man called Leonard Jack Bebber purchased a block of 13
acres and, it seems, leased the land and some cows to anyone who might be
prepared to do a ‘Milk Run’ in the area. township
After selling the Run to one Francis Oswald Campbell in 1935, however, Bebber ran into some difficulty.
took Bebber to court and sued for
damages to the tune of 325 pounds, the cost of purchase. Campbell claimed that he bought the Run Licence
on the promise of milk sales of 14 gallons a week, when in reality they were
merely 8 or 9 gallons. Campbell
Close perusal of the books led the judge to conclude that
had in fact ‘cooked
the books’ to gain his lawsuit, and that Bebber had no case to answer.
Nevertheless by 1939, Bebber found it necessary to put the whole business up
for sale. It was purchased by Lisle Freeman Spence on behalf of his daughter
Beatrice and her husband Allan Patman. Thus commenced the legendary family
occupation of the ‘Patman Dairy’ and their seminal role in the nascent Warrimoo
|Hand-milked dairies operated in most towns of Australia in the 1930's--the Patmans commenced with eight or nine cows in 1940|
Close perusal of the books led the judge to conclude that
The Patman Story
Allan Patman grew up on a sheep property outside Mudgee. When he met Beryl Beatrice Patman (nee Spence) he was managing a sheep property in the district. Beryl also grew up in the Mudgee district where her father was a school teacher. They met in Mudgee and married in Penrith in 1933. Because of Allan’s prowess with tennis, he opened a sports store in Penrith. They had three sons; Bruce (b.1934), Barry (b.1937) and Graham, born when they were living on the Dairy, in 1942.
|Allan Patman--Noted tennis player, Penrith Sports Shop proprietor, 1930's|
(The chicken sheds were reopened a few years later, on a small scale, and day old chickens were bought, raised, killed and dressed by the family, for local sale for a number of years. Eventually the sheds were closed down because of an infection in the ground which could not be eradicated.)
There would have been 8-9 cows when the dairy, which
included milk delivery, was first bought. At that stage Allan would be up at
approximately 3:00 am to start the milking, by hand. During milking, the cows were fed
supplements, as well as relying on grazing. At approximately 5:30 am after the
milking he would have a large plate of toast, several cups of tea and a “BEX”
before starting off on the delivery. Beryl finished the clean up in the dairy,
while a neighbour, Mrs. Norman (‘Normie’) often helped in the house doing
breakfast for the boys and getting them ready for school.
|Allan Patman prepares for milking. At first there was a small herd of 9 cows, but this increased as the population of the area grew during WWII, and reached a figure of 20.|
|Allan and Beryl Patman with the two boys, Bruce (standing) and Barry in the 1930's|
Originally it was all fresh warm milk, with the cream not separated, and there was no refrigeration on the truck. When the milk run was finished all the cans, vat and measures had to be cleaned and sterilized with boiling water. By then it was time for lunch, and with a bit of luck a short rest before the process started all over again at about 1:00 pm in the afternoon with second milking and second delivery and clean up.
|The Patman Dairy jeep about to take off on its run--the front vat is used for ladling the milk, extra cans in the back.|
|Beryl Patman outside the milking shed with one of the boys. As the Milk Run grew, it was 'all family hands on deck' to help out on the farm. There was little time for social life.|
|Milk prices in shillings and pence for 1950-52|
Until town water was laid on getting water for the cows was a big problem. They would cart the ten-gallon cans over to the waterholes near
bringing back enough water to fill the troughs for the cows. It was very disheartening to fill the troughs
only to see the cows empty them again!
There was a permanent spring at the bottom of their land, but they had
to keep the cows out of it so that it wouldn’t be destroyed. There were also some beautiful old caves down
the back where they would go exploring.
|The Patman House around 1940. Milking shed and holding yard are some distance behind.|
Warrimoo Anglican Church and the Patmans
Church had always held an important place in the Patmans’ family life. The church had been there sometime before Allan and Beryl moved to Warrimoo (it was built in 1926—WH). It was under the stewardship of the Miss Carters, three sisters who lived in the big house in The Boulevarde.
|Allan Patman (left) and Merv Donaldson working on extensions to the All Saints Anglican Church, Warrimoo (1950's)|
The Reverend was often a visitor to the Patmans for a meal until he married. Later in his career he became Canon Rawson at St. Matthews,
. The families always kept in touch, and he
flew to Windsor
when Allan died, to conduct the service.
In the late 40’s as the population grew, Mrs. Webber restarted the
Sunday School. All three boys attended Sunday School, Bruce was older and
helped as a teacher. Brisbane
The Patman boys (from Left) Barry, Bruce and Graham, in Sunday best sitting on the steps outside Warrimoo Anglican Church
|Barry and Denise cut the cake|
The Wedding featured a delightful 'Programme' card with an illustration of a somewhat more elaborate 'All Saints Church' than was actually the case...
|Barry and Denise's 'Programme Card'...the humble 'All Saints' at Warrimoo never quite achieved the English ideal seen here.|
Close friends of the Patmans were Ted and Hazel Davis and family who lived at the corner of
Street and the Boulevarde. Ted was the Bursar at
Sydney University of Technology, and also served as treasurer at the church while Allan was Church Warden and Barry did carpentry improvements.
Another identity of the village was Murray Lewis who was a singing teacher at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. He formed a very good choir of church members who were invited to be part of the performance to welcome the Queen to
in 1954. This became the formative basis of the 'Warrimoo Chorale'. Sydney
Every year the ladies guild from the Anglican Church would organise a fundraising fete and sometimes this was held in the Patman’s yard. There would usually be a theme of some sort. They would make lovely decorations to match the theme - one year it was ‘wisteria’ and another ‘peach blossom’.
Barry recalls the three ladies known as the ‘Miss Carters’, who lived in the ‘Rickard’ house on the corner of Victoria Street and The Boulevard. They always dressed in black clothes, and one evening as they were walking up the highway Miss Hilda Carter was accidently hit by a car and killed. A collection was taken up and a memorial bell erected at the Anglican Church.
Patman Family and Social Life
During one of the many bush fires Allan rescued Mrs Ruben Parton in his Jeep from the massive 1951 fire surrounding her home in Valley Heights and about to engulf it. After driving through the blaze and dropping off Mrs Parton at Florabella Street, he realised the fire was heading in their direction. They were able to 'backburn' the neighbouring houses and save them all. Although the Parton family was safe they had lost their home and all their belongings, so until they were able to obtain a new home they lived with the Patmans.
As bush fires were regularly a danger in the area Allan was
always available to help fight fires as the need arose. There was no organized
association until after the war when the Bush Fire Brigade was formed. The
closest Fire Station was at Springwood.
The boys tell the story of Allan and Beryl’s father having to shelter
under the (
church when once fighting a fire. While the fire took the homes each side, it
jumped the church (divine intervention?).
|The 'Daily Telegraph' article on Mrs Parton's rescue. Her daughter, Jan Parton (later 'Welland') was in Penrith working at the time of the rescue, but she too was obliged to stay with the Patmans until a new home could be found.|
There was a run down tennis court on the Patman's property when it was bought, which the boys used for fun. After closing the dairy and no longer having to milk Allan and Beryl had much more time to enjoy more leisure activities. The tennis court was repaired and it was used for social games and fixtures. Bruce and a friend, Mark Saba, had the job of rolling and bagging the courts Saturday mornings, ready for the adults A grade fixtures in the afternoon. Then the boys played in B grade fixtures at the Tennis club which was near the railway station.
Mrs. O’Brien (formerly Rene Carroll, leading ladies tennis
champion) was the station mistress and also coached any of the young people who
were interested in tennis. On Sunday,
friends and family would visit the Patmans and play socially. Because of
Allan’s contacts with the tennis fraternity, one year Allan organized a tennis
exhibition which included Bill Gilmore (Australian Junior champion, later Davis
Cup referee) and Beryl Penrose (top Australian ladies player), to raise money
for the church.
|Barry Parton and 'Mary' (?) on the tennis court prior to a social game. Tennis remained a major part of Warrimoo's social life throughout the 20th Century.|
When Barry, Bruce and Graham grew up they, with a number of other boys from Warrimoo, were involved in the Blaxland Scouts. John Webber from
was the scout master at that time. Jim Boxsell was also involved with running
the group and the boys remember many good times, especially bush walking the
mountain trails, and scout camps among their many activities.
As teenagers the boys with their friends travelled to Springwood to attend dances and take part in square dancing. They also went to the movies in Springwood or Penrith. By this time Bruce was driving and a group would travel together in the farm jeep.The boys and their friends took it in turns to have square dance nights at each others homes.
Barry remembers having slide nights to view photos. Allan
and Beryl, as well as the boys, when
they grew older, attended balls organized by the Warrimoo Tennis Club and held
in Springwood or sometimes in Penrith.
|Bruce was the designated 'driver' to Dances--after performing his role with the Old Jeep, he purchased this MG 'Classic', which must have been a sight on the streets of Warrimoo!|
When Bruce started work in
he caught the 6:04 am train with a
number of others. It was always a race between Bruce and Norm Leven to the station:
through the fence, over the rail lines and a dash into the last carriage. Barry travelled on the “Chips” to work at St.
Marys. In the morning there were two trains that ran for workers travelling to Sydney . The first, the
“Fish” was an express train that ran at approximately 7:15 am. The “Chips” ran
about 10 mins later, stopping at all stations to Penrith, then express to Sydney . Then home after work on the Chips; the Fish
left about 5 mins earlier, but did not stop at Warrimoo. Travelling 1 ½ hours
each way every day there was lots of time for playing cards, reading and
friendships as well as romances developing. Sydney
for health reasons. The family
stayed on the property and the milk delivery continued until 1957, when they
sold the property. They then bought and
moved to another dairy at Bellingen. In 1960 Barry and Graham also moved to Queensland Brisbane, and in 1964 Allan and Beryl sold the Bellingen
property and bought another dairy in the Samford area near . Brisbane
*SOURCES for this Post are entirely drawn from interviews conducted by EVELYN RICHARDSON and JENNY DUNCAN on behalf of the 'Warrimoo History Project', of BRUCE PATMAN and BARRY PATMAN, and the notes derived from them in 2009 and 2010. Images come from these sources also.