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Clare in Christmas' Past

Updated: Nov 18, 2021

Social Activities at CLARE at Christmas (1929)

CLARE, Friday. 20 Dec 1929

Speech days, eurythmic displays, and Christmas break-ups are, as elsewhere, the order of the day.

Always Clare, set in its amphitheatre of tree-clad ranges, seems to have just the most thrilling Australian Christmas sort of feeling in the air,

with the scarlet bottlebrush glowing in its hills like altar lights and

droves of gay-plumaged parakeets winging their shrieking flight across the town, with its masses of golden broom and vine-covered slopes.

We went to Mintaro — about ten miles away — last week to see the slate quarries, and loved it.

There are such a number of little, English-looking houses there —houses that really ought to be gazing out at snow, robins, and holly bushes at Christmas time instead of on ripening wheat and glinting stooks of golden hay.

They look like some of the early pioneering ladies who retained their English air to the end. Still the things that really matter, happen in the heart, and Christmas is Christmas under whatever conditions one may spend it.

With every good wish

from Yours sincerely. 'LANTANA.'

The Pryor Family of Clare Brass Band

The citizens of Clare and surrounding district will be interested to know that a portion of the members of the Clare Brass Band will play Xmas Carols and other music in the streets of Clare on Christmas Eve.

A large percentage of the band are engaged in business, but those who are free have arranged to give a programme of appropriate music.

It is a fine tribute to the spirit of Christmas that prompts this service, and feel it will add to the pleasure of shoppers and pleasure seekers on Tuesday night.

The deputy bandmaster, the Rev. A. H. Kenner, will be in charge, and will have the assistance of about 14 players.

Mr. A. Knappstein has kindly lent his motor lorry, and it is proposed to play selections at three

different positions in the street. After the shops close other players have expressed their willingness to join in, and the band will play until 11 or 11.30.

The proposed positions are: —

No. 1, opposite Bentley's Hotel;

No. 2, Pappin's Garage;

No. 3, at or near the Town Hall.

Many entries have been received for the annual rink and pairs tournaments which will be held at Clare during the Christmas holidays.

The trip by motor through the hills to this picturesque township is most enjoyable, while the hospitality of the Clare people is well known.

The bowling green is considered by visiting players up to the standard of those in the city.

It is expected that the majority of the previous year's contestants in tournaments will again avail themselves of the chance to revisit Clare.

Sevenhills Church

In addition to a first-class one-rink green there is a large swimming pool.

During the holidays motor trips to Sevenhills College and through the hills and stations have been arranged for visitors.


The Christmas Tournaments held by the Clare Croquet Club attracted many entries from both

city and country clubs, and passed off most successfully.

The final results were as follows:—

Mrs. Eime (Blyth) d. Mrs. Aird (Blyth).

Miss Eva Tilbrook (Clare) d. Mrs. Robinson (Burra).

Final.—Mrs. Eime d. Miss Eva Tilbrook.

Trophies were presented, the donors being Mrs. J. D. Gilchrist and Mrs. Fred Knappstein.

All who played and the visitors also expressed themselves much pleased with the arrangements, and an enjoyable time was spent all round.

Afternoon tea dispensed each day by the Clare ladies was much appreciated.

Clare's Christmas (1889)

Christmas Eve in Clare passed off satisfactorily. Some of the business places were decked with flowers, evergreens, and Chinese lanterns, and Main street presented a most animated appearance.

It is years since we saw such a large number of happy people promenading the thoroughfare. The business people did a thriving trade.

The night was calm and cloudless and very pleasant, though rather warm.

An impressive midnight service was held in the Catholic Church, and it was well attended.

CHRISTMAS DAY (1889). Christmas Day, as is customary in Clare, was unattended with any special demonstration, with the exception of the musical and literary competition in the Wesleyan Lecture Hall.

Services were held in most of the churches, and appropriate discourses delivered.

The day was very hot and oppressive.

A cricket match was played on the Oval between the shop-boys and the lads attending the Sisters of St. Joseph' school, while some of the adults practised vigorously.

The shop-boys won their their match.

Lawn tennis was indulged in by a few enthusiasts, and the Clare baths were well patronised.


There being no amusement of any kind advertised for Christmas evening, the Reverend Albert Stubbs stepped into the breach and conceived the happy idea of having a young people's musical and literary competition, which took place in the Wesleyan Lecture Hall.

Dr. Bain started the proceedings by playing an overture.

Mr. W. Kelly, J.P. (Mayor), occupied the chair, and in a happy, practical, and humorous address commended Mr. Stubbs for his push and energy in initiating the affair.

There were five competitors for solo music — Misses F. Beckmann, L. Stubbs, L. Carrigg, D. Saunders, and F. Saunders.

All the young ladies played very nicely indeed, and the judges (Miss Smith, Mrs. Hodge, and Dr. Bain) awarded Miss F. Saunders first honors, the piece she played being ' The Last Waltz,' by Tito Mattei.

Christmas and the Holidays at Clare (1923).

Saturday, December 23, was one of the worst days experienced in Clare for some years.

A strong northerly gale raised clouds of dust, and it was not until about four o'clock in the afternoon that the wind lolled, end better conditions prevailed.

From then on into the evening residents of tbs outlying districts steadily made their way into the town, and by 8 o'clock Main street was well filled by a throng of happy people, the children making night hideous with the usual instruments of ear torture dear to them.

The business places did good business during the evening, in many establishments the proprietors being bard pushed to keep up with the demand for their wares.

About 10 o' clock the gale commenced again, and soon all dispersed to their homes.

Sunday, the 24th, was a nice day, but on Christmas Day rain commenced to fall, and continued intermittently throughout Tuesday.

This prevented outdoor games and sports cf any kind, and the sports in connection with the City Athletic and Cycling Club had to be postponed. This was a great pity, as a special train from Adelaide was well filled, end numbers of people from the surrounding districts came into the town for the occasion.

The track on the oval was unfit to ride races upon, and the committee had reluctantly to postpone the sports.

The Blyth Brass Band, which had been engaged for the occasion, played a number of selections on the balcony of the Clare hotel during the afternoon, and the music was much appreciated by the listening crowd.


My wife and I spent five days in Clare;

We came away with desire to live there,

As I from asthma was quite free,

During whole time, which went merrily.

We spent many hours at the Bowling Green,

Watching the games amidst lovely scene;

Hills well wooded both near and far.

To us old Clare is a shining star.

I wonder more folk from Adelaide Do not visit Clare,

who money have, made,

As it is like a country shopping city,

With well-stocked windows and very pretty.

On New Year's Day in the afternoon,

We sat on seats in shade that was a boon,

Watching cricket match which was not tame. . .

For who-ere they were, played a very good game.

Big hitting was frequent; oft ball to fence went,

The fielding was smart, as keen as scent,

I feel it my duty to boost up Clare

Intending again to spend a holiday there.

The town is supplied with electric light,

So out-door games are played at night.

One thing needed is deep drainage, I thought;

Which would sure help more homes to be bought.

Another need is the naming of the Streets,

Then one would know the streets one meets,

Another is a reservoir water supply,

But these three may appear before I die.

Poem: Christmas At Clare (1937).

The bottle-brush glows like an altar light's flame,

And the apricots ripen and fill,

Goldenly gleaming 'neath skies of high noon,

Like the gardens of old-time Seville.

From the dome of St. Michael's the Angelus falls,

'Cross the whispering song of its pines,

And afar Wolta Wolta lies wrapped in the trees,

Girt by stretch of brown grass and green vines.

Gay holly hocks flame above picket and hedge,

And the seeded pods crack eerily,

While cicadas shriek and the parakeets scream

'Gainst the pink of a tamarisk tree.

And a whirr of wild wings cleaves the gum-shaded air

'Bove the river-bed stony and dry,

(Near the Stepping Stones set by our fathers of yore),

While the northwardbound traffic rolls by.

There's dust to the east where the Hill River wheat

'Mid the thrum of the thresher falls low—

'Gainst the olive's dull green its golden spears gleam,

While the hay lorries ply to and fro;

And the Christmas Bush whitely gleams out in the hills

Shedding fragrance—like incense —afar,

While the anthem-filled breezes that eddying pass,

Breathe the spirit of Manger and Star.

ON Monday, Dec. 26, the annual Christmas Carnival will be held at Clare Swimming Pool, commencing' at 1.30 p.m.

There are 13 events on the programme. Entries close this Thursday, Dec. 22, and entrants are reminded of the closing date. A dance will be held the same night.

Messrs. B. S, Edwards and G. Darmody are Carnival Secretaries.

Mr. J. H. Richardson is Patron, J Mr. Les Haysman is President; and Mr. M. S. Woods is the general secretary.

Chief events will be

  • the Mid-North Open Championship over 100 yds for men, and

  • the Mid-North Open Ladies' Championship over 66 yds, and

  • an open Teams Relay should provide, as it always does, very active and widespread competition by country and Adelaide competitors.

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