illiam & ulia leary
James William Cleary was born at Rushworth in 1886. In his early days he worked as a wood-cutter and appears to have been a natural sportsman. My father used to remark about his prowess at throwing at the wicket.
Will and Julia were married on the 2nd October 1918 at Nentone. They lived on a farm at Girgarre for three years. This farm belonged to a relative of Harriet Cleary. Will then got a job working on the Waranga Basin. The main problem appeared to be that rain interfered with their work. Will later worked with Alf and Bert in building roads in the Goulburn Valley. Collin Patterson who was to marry Lily Cleary worked with them
Alf and Bert settled in Carwarp in the early 1920's. The farm next to Alf had been settled by a man named Bell before the war. Bell was killed in the war. Will applied for this land and it was reallocated to him.
Will bought his horses and implements to Carwarp by road. Julia came by train from Melbourne with her two young sons, Vince and Jim. She describes her arrival in this manner; 'Will said, "Come and see where we are going to build our house. It's a beautiful spot, open on one side and sheltered on the other." I took one look. Oh if I could only have gone back to Melbourne that night!'
Soon work began on the building of a kitchen and bedroom. Harriet Cleary and Julia sewed bags together to line the rooms. Julia states that Will had built beautiful stables for the horses. After about three years they had made sufficient improvements to be granted a four roomed house by the government.
As the families of the Clearys and other settlers began to grow, a school was built at Carwarp West. Will was the school correspondent and the teacher boarded with the family.
Julia recalls 'We had a wonderful time on the farm. We worked very hard all day and went to a local dance about once a month. C.W.A. was also an outlet for me.' Also droughts, rabbits and mouse plagues are vividly remembered.
When it was decided that a six hundred and fourty acres farm was insufficient to make a living, Will and Julia moved to Billabong near Irymple where Will had the Billabong-Irymple-Nichol's Point mail-run for three years from 1936.
Will then worked for the first Mildura Water Trust at Psyche Pumps until he retired. He had a quiet and restful time until he died on the 15th November 1970. In his later years Will was renowned for his skill as a fisherman and his ability as a story-teller. Julia lives at the Home for the Aged in Mildura. She is now ninety-two and has a marvellous memory. She always welcomes her many visitors with, 'Isn't this a wonderful surprise?'
Will and Julia's eldest son, Vince, served in the A.I.F in World War II and worked on a fruit-block for many years. He then worked at the Mildura Base Hospital until his retirement in 1984. In his younger days he was a keen cricketer and tennis-player.
Jim served in the A.I.F. in World War II in Darwin and New Britain. After the war he returned to Mildura for some years and then worked for the Housing Commission in Melbourne. Frank also worked for the Commission in Holmesglen for forty-one years. Vince and Jim no live in retirement in Mildura. Frank married Joan Worthington and after spending much of their married life in Melbourne now live at Merbein. He is now a keen bowler.
Thelma married Ted Hendy in 1946. For some years they had a fruit-block in partnership with Ted's brothers at Irymple. Ted then managed blocks at Billabong and Merbein. They then moved into the township of Irymple where Ted worked at the Australian Dried Fruit Sales packing-shed and Thelma worked at the Irymple Packing Company for twenty-six years. They are now both retired.