Card clubs entertained during the Great Depression

Wests Card Club 01.jpg

This photograph was taken by my uncle, Bert Hornery, of Windsor, on the occasion of the Wests Card Club’s first birthday in September 1932. My grandmother, Charlotte Hornery (nee Clarke), my mother Iris Hornery and her sister, Lily, are in centre-front row behind the children. (I have a framed, enlarged original of this photograph, left to me by my mother.)

Despite the difficulties of life during the Great Depression in the 1930s, the people of the Hawkesbury rallied together and continued their participation in social and sporting clubs. Card clubs were extremely popular and together with other social clubs, they offered friendship, entertainment and in many cases, a helping hand to those in less fortunate circumstances.

Wests Card Club in Wilberforce, formed in 1931, was renowned in the district for holding crib, euchre and dance parties. Wests also held the cup for being the best players although they were challenged by the Easts, Souths, the Cockey Boys from Ebenezer, the Don’t Worry Club in Windsor and the club in Vineyard at regular tournaments. Crowds of up to three hundred people attended Wests functions in the Wilberforce School of Arts, with ‘crowded card tables and a full orchestra’. Admission for men was two shillings and one shilling and sixpence for ladies. Festivities were led by Herb Shepherd, captain of the club, with assistance from Wes Thompson and Garney Salter, with Les Owens and Reg Turnbull acting as Masters of Ceremony.

The club’s first birthday function in September 1932 saw a record number of people participate in activities and enjoy the club’s birthday cake, which was organised by Mrs Neate of the Royal Hotel, Windsor. Flowers were presented to Mrs Neate by ‘little Shirley Owen[s]’. Due to the large number of patrons at a euchre party and dance held later in the year, players were split up and the euchre players were taken by bus to Inglebrae guest house.

Gladys Owens usually played piano for the dances, while Horrie Stevens and Ernie Keller played the cornet and violin. Bert Hornery from Windsor was the photographer at nearly all of these functions and his sister, Iris, often helped out on piano. Prizes were generous and boxes of handkerchiefs, goblets, wallets, cigarettes, socks, chocolates, handbags, cuff links and tobacco pouches were handed out to winners of card games and Monte Carlo dance competitions. Some of the Wests most successful social functions were held in 1933, with presentations to Wes Thompson on his marriage and William Thompson when he married Madge Beecroft, then 87th birthday celebrations for James (Da) Sullivan.

As the effects of the Depression took a firmer hold, members of Wests Card Club often joined with organisations such as the Upper Hawkesbury Motor Boat Club, Returned Soldiers’ League and the Merriment Sunshine Club to run functions for charity, assisting patients at the Home for Infirm and the hospital in Windsor. It was observed that ‘Wilberforce has two organisations, the Wests Card Club and the Merriment Sunshine Club, which are not merely charitable organisations, though the greater part of their proceeds are devoted to the sacred cause of charity…If anyone is sick or in distress of any kind and the fact comes under the notice of either of these bodies steps are at once taken by either or both to afford relief’.

copyright Carol Roberts

Wests Card Club Gazette.jpg

(My article on Wests Card Club first appeared in the Hawkesbury Gazette on Wednesday, 26 October 2016.)

References:

‘Challenge match in card tournament, Easts v. Wests’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 30 October 1931, National Library of Australia Trove News Article 85890291, http://trove.nla.gov.au, accessed 29 August 2016.

‘Card Tournaments: Challenge for the Cup’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 20 November 1931, National Library of Australia Trove News Article 85888118, http://trove.nla.gov.au, accessed 7 October 2016.

‘Wilberforce: To a packed house, crowded card tables and a full orchestra’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 30 September 1932, National Library of Australia Trove News Article 86056534, http://trove.nla.gov.au, accessed 29 August 2016.

‘Wests Card Club’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 4 November 1932, National Library of Australia Trove News Article 86055453, http://trove.nla.gov.au, accessed 29 August 2016.

‘In Charity’s Cause: Two Wilberforce organisations, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 27 January 1933, National Library of Australia Trove News Article 86051638, http://trove.nla.gov.au, accessed 29 August 2016.

‘Wests Card Club: Happy social function, presentation to Will. Thompson’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 10 March 1933, National Library of Australia Trove News Article 86050413, http://trove.nla.gov.au, accessed 13 October 2016.

‘Wilberforce: Another enjoyable euchre party and dance’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 7 April 1933, National Library of Australia Trove News Article 86055879, http://trove.nla.gov.au, accessed 29 August 2016.

‘Wests Card Club: Presentation to Wes. Thompson, another successful function’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 9 June 1933, National Library of Australia Trove News Article 86052912, http://trove.nla.gov.au, accessed 7 October 2016.

‘ “Da” Sullivan: Popular Wilberforce identity celebrates 87th birthday’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 11 August 1933, National Library of Australia Trove News Article 86051409, http://trove.nla.gov.au, accessed 13 October 2016.

Roberts, C. ‘Top spots in darker times’, Hawkesbury Gazette, Wednesday, 26 October 2016.

Sanders, J. ‘Merriment Sunshine Club’, The Hawkesbury Crier, Newsletter of the Hawkesbury Family History Group, March 2016.

The Clements family in Windsor NSW

Herbert Australia Clements was born in Windsor in 1865. At the age of twenty he married Mary Ann Butler, daughter of Edward and Mary Ann Butler of Windsor. The couple had six children: Herbert (born and died 1885), Miriam Clarice (born 1887), Pearly(ie) Grace (born 1889), Percy Edward (born 1891), Dorris Freda (born 1893) and Carlton Herbert (born 1896). Having lost their first-born baby in 1885, tragedy struck again in 1902 when Pearlie died aged thirteen years, after suffering with Bright’s Disease for four months.

Herbert Australia Clements 2

Herbert Australia Clements in Masonic Lodge regalia c1920s/1930s. Photo courtesy of his granddaughter June Irving and great-granddaughter, Julie Sinfield.

In 1892, H.A. Clements opened a grocery store on the south-western corner of Catherine and George Streets in Windsor. The store was popular and a great financial success for the Clements family, selling everything from ‘prime pickled pork, hams, bacon, fresh lard’ to ‘groceries of top quality at bottom prices, crockery always on hand and farm produce at lowest market prices’.

Percy Clements married Violet Amelia Hammond in 1923, Dorris married Bertie Milsim Hornery in 1928 and Carl (known as Mick) married Mona Mary Williams in 1950. The Clements family members were all musical. H.A. ‘Pop’ Clements, sons Perc and Carl and Bert Hornery played in the Windsor Band, while Dorris played piano and organ at the Presbyterian Church in Windsor for many years. Cousins, Harry and Colin (Bubs) Gardiner also played in the band. Miriam (known as Clarice) did not marry. She suffered ill health for many years and died in 1954.

H.A. and Mary Ann Clements were in the grocery business for thirty-seven years before they retired to the new home they built at 7 Macquarie Street, Windsor. They called the house ‘Hermar’ derived from their first names of Herbert and Mary. This area of Windsor, close to The Peninsula and Thompson Square, became a hive of activity for the Clements family. Perc and Vi Clements lived nearby at 21 Bridge Street, Bert and Dorris Hornery lived across the way at 46 Court Street in the brick home they built in 1928.

Clements house 7 Macquarie St Windsor Feb 2010

Clements family home Hermar, 7 Macquarie Street, Windsor. Photo Carol Roberts 2015.

Also in 1928, Carl Clements opened the Hawkesbury Motor Garage on George Street facing Thompson Square. The garage became a family business and an icon in the town: Perc Clements went to work for his brother Carl, who was the proprietor, and they were joined by their brother-in-law and my uncle, Bert Hornery, a motor mechanic who later ran his own refrigeration business just down the road.

Mary Ann Clements died in 1934 and Herbert Australia Clements died in 1957. They are buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery in Windsor with their daughter Miriam. The dark brick, solid, substantial brick homes the Clements family built in Macquarie and Bridge Streets and the Californian Bungalow built by Bert and Dorris Hornery on the corner of Bridge and Court Streets still stand, as solid as when they were built nearly one hundred years ago. They are prime examples of the late 1920s/early 1930s architectural style which forms part of the heritage landscape of Windsor and other areas of the Hawkesbury.

Clements shaped Windsor 18 May 2016

‘Clements shaped Windsor’, article by Carol Roberts for the National Trust Hawkesbury Branch, Hawkesbury Gazette, Wednesday, 18 May 2016.

copyright Carol Roberts

References:

‘Town Gossip’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Saturday, 1 May 1897, Trove, National Library of Australia, http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/?q=, accessed 1 May 2016.

‘Obituary’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Saturday, 12 April 1902, Trove, National Library of Australia, http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/?q=, accessed 1 May 2016.

‘Week to Week’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 2 October 1914, Trove, National Library of Australia, http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/?q=, accessed 2 May 2016.

‘Personal, About Men and Women’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 23 March 1928, Trove, National Library of Australia, http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/?q=, accessed 2 May 2016.

NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, http://www.bdm.nsw.gov.au/Pages/family-history/family-history.aspx, accessed 2 May 2016.

Hawkesbury on the Net, Cemetery Register, Windsor Presbyterian Cemetery, http://www.hawkesbury.net.au/cemetery/ accessed 2 May 2016.

Family genealogical information from Carol Roberts, Windsor.

Photograph of H.A. Clements from his granddaughter June Irving and great-granddaughter, Julie Sinfield.