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Rushden Echo, 5th August 1927, transcribed by Kay Collins
Clark family
Rushdenites from Australia
Better Climate and a Healthier Life – Comfort in Wooden Houses

Three Rushden people who emigrated to Australia 16 years ago are now spending a holiday in this country. They are Mr J E Clark, who operates an intertype machine in a newspaper office in Wondai, Queensland, Australia, and his father and mother, Mr and Mrs J C Clark. Mr Clark sen. is in the joinery trade, which was his trade before he left England. He was in the firm then known as Clark and Sanders at Rushden.

Mr Clark jun., who was eleven years old when he left his native shores, told a Rushden Echo representative he and his parents were very glad to be having a holiday here, to have the chance of looking up old friends, but they would not care to return to England for good. They all like Australia better. Its climate was more congenial, opportunities were greater—for those with merit or a little money—and the life generally was healthier. He personally was getting a much high wage at his trade than he would get in England. In some respects, in a country district like Wondai they had to rough it, but they did not mind that; they had soon learned to make themselves comfortable. They lived in a wooden house, with the floor built above the ground, their fuel was the timber they fetched from the wilds, their water was the “gentle rain from heaven” collected in big tanks. Their food was fresh home-grown, and fruit was cheap. Clothing was dearer, but there was not the same necessity, the climate being warmer and social demands less rigorous. Hours of work were reasonable – 44s. a week was the general rule in the trades protected by trade unions. As for health, he was able to

Sleep on the Verandah

all the year round, and there was plenty of sport. Cricket, football, and tennis were played for long periods, and there was nothing to prevent a mean getting a gun and going out to sheet what he liked in the way of wild creatures.

“In fact,” said Mr Clark, “every man has a gun—there are no irksome licence regulations—and there is much sport in shooting kangaroos, hares, and different birds. There are no rabbits in our district, but Sydney swarms with them and they are a regular pest.”

“But there is the drawback of droughts?” asked our reporter, rather sheepishly, with an eye on the rain outside.

“Oh, yes,” replied Mr Clark. “We get used to them, but I could not get used to the English climate again, with its many days of wet. We had a severe drought last year, when many cattle perished. In these droughts trainloads of sheep are rushed through on the railways to spots where the pasture is not dried up, but many of them die on the way. We prepare for droughts by catching the rain in big water tanks, and when a long spell of very dry weather sets in we reserve the water in the tanks for drinking and buy water for washing, etc., from the local authority at about 2s. 6d.for 100 gallons, water which they have collected in a huge rough reservoir.

“I haven’t seen snow for 16 years,” he added, “and I don’t know that I want. Our cold spells are much more bearable. It is generally only cold in the morning and evening as during the day we can generally count on some sunshine. It’s the sun we miss in England. Of course, we get some very hot weather every year, but it does not disagree with me. They get snow sometimes further south. As we return in October, we hope to get the best of your weather, but we have been warned not to count on anything.”

Mr Clark said he and his parents enjoyed the five-weeks journey to England and never missed a meal, the 20,000 tons Orient liner being very comfortable. Even the Bay of Biscay behaved itself fairly well.

Asked why they went to Australia, Mr Clark said they were “nominated” under an old emigration scheme by Mr W H Perkins, and old Rushdenite in Australia, who takes the Rushden Echo. Mr Clark said his family had the Echo regularly and always read every word of it with the greatest of interest. He thought it was remarkable the distances all over the world that the Rushden Echo travelled.

Mr Clark said that obviously there were too many people in Great Britain. The colonies wanted men and women, but they had no place for those merely looking for a soft job. With a little capital, and a good degree of skill in his profession, an Englishman would do well in Australia.

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