Floods have always been part of the Dalby scene. This picture from 2010 depicts what it was like.
Floods have always been part of the Dalby scene. This picture from 2010 depicts what it was like. Contributed

Early citizens left their mark on our country town

A TOWN is made up of its personalities and, while we may know a fair amount about the civic leaders, it is often the average citizens who are the interesting characters.

Who today ever heard of George Palmer yet in his day almost everyone would have known or at least heard him.

In the early days bullock and horse teams carried supplies from the railhead at Dalby as far into the west as St George and further.

One of these teamsters was George Palmer who took up the position of bell ringer.

He was there to advertise sales and functions and, if they proved unsuccessful it was no fault of the bell man, as George always gave it a loud blast.

There were various town clerks in the early days and one of these was Julius Otto.

He was a journalist by profession, described by some as a "peculiar person” and some of his writings in the minutes were amusing.

Many good stories were told against him.

If only those minutes had been preserved for us to read.

We should spare a thought for Thomas Hanley. He was the proprietor of a store in the town and decided he should take part in the Town Council.

It seems he had no trouble in becoming an alderman but then made one mistake:

He sold the council a clothesline for a shilling (10 cents today) and, according to the rules, was forced to resign.

In those days an alderman could not trade with the council for any amount.

Later it was changed and allowed aldermen to sell 100 pounds worth each year.

Almost everyone knew old Mrs Charlotte Byrne.

She lived in the town all of her life, raised a family of six and, to top that, she was the first white child born in Dalby way back on October 28, 1847.

The floods of Dalby were strong in her mind.

She remembered two young men were drowned trying to cross the creek in flood and sometimes the water forced them from their home. She lived many years on her own in her cottage.

She made many good friends and one of them was her Standard sewing machine which she bought for 11 pounds 40 years before.

The secretary of the Jubilee Sanatorium in it hey-day was George Fabian.

He seemed obsessed with butcher shops and fires.

He would describe some item of interest and insert "another fire in Dalby” or "a new butcher shop has opened”.

He further wrote "Mr Fabian in dealing with butcher shops, said butchers' sausages were like racehorses - half-bred”.

It's not known how long George Fabian stayed in Dalby or perhaps how long he was allowed to stay in town.



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