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Journal by itellya

Balnarring and District Historical Society Inc
Postal: PO Box 183,Balnarring VIC 3926
Email: ?

The above society has done some wonderful work in preserving the area's history. Today I was given a loan of its August 2011 newsletter to further my research on the Connells and I couldn't stop reading. Every article was fascinating. I had heard of Saltbush Bill and seen Eric Jolliffe's comic strips but little did I know that Banjo Paterson had created the character or that he was based on a Balnarring (and Heatherton) pioneer.

The article in that newsletter, headed SALTBUSH BILL:THE WHIP CRACKER, with information from the internet and Mary Karney, states that Roderick William Mills, the subject of several Banjo Paterson poems was a nephew of Georgina Mills who married Balnarring pioneer, John Oswin.Roderick, or Dod as he was known to the family, was born in Balnarring in 1869. The Mills family had land at Balnarring*. As a teenager, he went to outback Queensland......Dod married Hannah Porter in 1888. His last concert was in Boomerang Hall in Dandenong in 1926.During his life he ran a market garden in Old Dandenong Rd, Heatherton.

(*W.Mills was granted crown allotment 34B (section 12), parish of Balnarring,consisting of 131 acres 3 roods and 8 perches. This land fronted the south side of Stanleys Rd from No 41 to the Merricks/Balnarring locality boundary, with Merricks Creek just inside the eastern boundary, and went south halfway to Frankston-Flinders Rd, adjoining John Oswin's 35B.)Oswin's "Newstead" was 2km away, bounded by Bittern-Dromana Rd, Merricks Rd and (the future)Kentucky Rd.)

Graham Whitehead's City of Kingston heritage website has saved me a heck of a lot of typing. The article was written by Sylvia Roberts (grand-daughter of Saltbush Bill.) Google SALTBUSH BILL, STOCKMAN and this story will be right on top. There are some great photos but not the one at Government House,Brisbane, included in the newsletter article. Saltbush was a plant common in outback Queensland where Bill began working at the age of 14. Dod performed for the Duke of York during a royal visit in 1901 and soon after began touring the world, demonstrating his unbelievable skills with whips nearly as long as a cricket pitch. In about 1912 came his command performance at Buckingham Palace.

Eric Jolliffe gave Saltbush Bill a visual dimension, so it's only right to give him a mention.

Eric Jolliffe
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Eric Ernest Jolliffe (31 January 1907 � 16 November 2001) was an Australian cartoonist and illustrator.

Born in Portsmouth, England, he was the youngest boy in a family of 12 children. The family migrated to Perth in 1911. The family then moved to Sydney after six months, where they settled in Balmain. Eric left school at the age of fifteen, where he spent the next six years in the country New South Wales and Queensland, working as a boundary rider, rabbit trapper and in shearing sheds. A visit to Angus & Robertson bookstore, whilst visiting his family in Sydney, led to the discovery of a book on drawing. He afterwards reflected: 'I learned to my surprise that art wasn't necessarily a gift divine but a craft that could be studied and worked at'.

Jolliffe enrolled in an introductory course at East Sydney Technical College (now the National Art School), where his teachers commented on his lack of talent. During the depression he worked as a window cleaner, during which time he inundated The Bulletin with cartoons, which they subsequently rejected. Eventually they began to buy his cartoons and by the beginning of World War II he became a regular contributor, taking over Andy from Arthur Horner. During the war he served as a camouflage officer with the RAAF and spent time in Arnhem Land.

After the war he joined Smith's Weekly but resigned and began freelancing selling his cartoon strips, Saltbush Bill and Witchetty's Tribe to Pix Magazine.[1] Another cartoon strip by him, Sandy Blight, appeared in Sydney's Sun-Herald. In 1973 Jolliffe began publishing his own magazine, Joliffe's Outback. He was particularly fond of "bush" subjects.

Jolliffe died at the age of 94 in the Central Coast, New South Wales on 16 November 2001.

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by itellya Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2013-04-23 07:02:56

Itellya is researching local history on the Mornington Peninsula and is willing to help family historians with information about the area between Somerville and Blairgowrie. He has extensive information about Henry Gomm of Somerville, Joseph Porta (Victoria's first bellows manufacturer) and Captain Adams of Rosebud.

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by janilye on 2013-04-23 07:32:45

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