Wodonga Historical Society is very appreciative of people, who over time, have lodged their stories with us. A personal story is the window dressing on history.
This story came to us from Mrs Dot Lawry in 2008.
I lived at 94 Mitchell Street. It was the area where, when the New Australians came to the area, they bought land to build their shanties, sheds, worked and did whatever they could. They brought timber from Dunstan’s timber yards and grew their vegetables.
My husband and I had a cow and they would come to get milk and water from us because there was no reticulated water. Gordon and I didn’t have water properly laid on – it would run across the ground into our place.
When they got their own vegetables growing, they would bring us vegetables as a way of paying for the water and our kindness to them.
It was a good life.
Gordon and I worked for the Wodonga Poultry Supplies. We would wash the feathers we got from the Wodonga Poultry Supplies. Gordon would dry them in a machine which he built, and the New Australians would get feathers to make their continental quilts and eiderdowns and pillows.
A group of women would come and sit near our back door and strip the feathers from the quills. They’d do some for one family and the next for another family, but everyone would work on it. They would make a quilt for one family and then another until everyone had a quilt.
What did we do with the left-over quills? We’d dig a hole and bury them. They weren’t allowed to go to the tip. Eventually the quills rotted into manure and they’d dig it up and take home for their gardens.
The offal from the poultry and processed animals went to a piggery. Some of it would be buried in an old swamp down the end of Athol Street where the Racecourse is now.
We made our own continental quilts for our family. I didn’t strip the feathers for our quilts; I used to get the fine duck down. I did it the easy way.
Anything that had feathers on we processed at the Wodonga Poultry Supplies.