Thursday, May 7, 2015


Beehive is being set up in Newcastle Street; there are lots of willing and very able helpers and now, apart from the Opportunity Shop, they have their first job to do - collating and packing newsletters for a duplicating firm.

Excerpt from 'THE CLOCK OF TIME' by Gertrude Ruston.  (pp 223-225)

"Our Board of Management was now operating satisfactorily and we were most fortunate in obtaining the services of Mr Geoffrey Court, LL.B, as our Hon. Legal Adviser.  He soon whipped the constitution into shape, and remained with us as our most loyal colleague until business took him to the eastern states.  His place has been taken by Mr David Maloney, LL.B., an equally valuable officer, whom I have known for many years, and who is the son of two wonderful colleagues and friends of mine.

A strong appeal was made through Service Clubs and other organisations for any items of furniture for which people had no further use whether in food condition of in need of repair, and we also sought bikes or bike parts which might be cluttering up the shed.

The response from the public was marvellous but we had difficulty in arranging carting of the goods.  However, the various Apex Clubs kindly arranged to pick up things in their areas at weekends, and I attended at headquarters on Saturdays or Sundays, when required, so that I could receive the goods they had been kind enough to collect for us.

There were times when we had to hire a small truck for urgent collections and the late Miss Elsie heath used to drive it for us, often with Mr Eric Folks as her offsider.  What wonderful people they were.

Next Mr Jack Stewart, an old friend from the Churches of Christ, kindly acted as our carrier.  In addition to fetching and delivering goods to and from the workshop, he was responsible for setting up a wonderful exchange service between the Churches of Christ Welfare Department, then conducted by Mrs Peg Eaton, and our blossoming furniture section.  We repaired article for them without charge except for new parts, and in exchange received items from them for whey they had no use.

We were dismayed when Mr Jack Stewart moved to Mount Barker and, for a time, were quite at a loss when goods were offered to us which we could not collect.  We again approached the Apex Clubs and they assisted where possible at weekends.  I waited at at the workshops to take in the goods and gave them a cup of tea which was always welcome.  In addition to donations which were expected, they sometimes fetched in quite good articles which they had picked up from the tip.  Arranging dates and times with donors and Apex members was not easy, and frequently entailed numerous telephone calls.

Broken down furniture soon became saleable when taken in hand by Mr Ernie Bowers and other handymen under the watchful eye of our Supervisor, Eric Folks.  Meantime we established a section for the repair and rebuilding of old bicycles, and it was to the credit of another of our early volunteers that this was established.  Mr Bill Tickner, who had been a 'bus driver in England, came out to Australia hoping to carry on driving a 'bus here.  However he was over the age limit and, despite considerable experience in heavy traffic, he was not accepted.

In due course he came along to Beehive Industries and offered to take on the bikes, as he had always repaired his own machines and those of his family.  In a short time we had a thriving section and started to gain a reputation for reliable repairs and secondhand bikes.  Mr Tickner was with us for a long time but eventually became to ill to carry on.

Along came another worker, Mr Angus Stewart, who had served his time with Malvern Star, and he took over the bike section.  Angus spent some time in charge of the department and, as it grew, he took in other helpers.  Anno Domini catches up with us and Angus has been obliged to retire, but these good friends are not forgotten, and the work they started carries on.

By this time the workshop area had become chock-a-block and very difficult to manage, so Mr Folks and I decided we needed expert advice on planning.  Mr Frank Cross, our President, obtained the help of Mr Hodgkin, and he straightened it out for us on paper, leaving us to shift everything to its allotted spot.  I remember Mr Folks turning up one weekend and shifting a colossal amount of furniture in order to make a start, whilst I planned the moving of partitions.

In due course we had things in workable shape, with painters in a section where the paint would not annoy others; carpenters and their tools in another spot, the bicycle shop in a corner, and the upholstery and sewing machines in a separate place, made by moving a partition.  Mr Folks, the workshop Supervisor, had his own small office.

The old furniture awaiting repair was transferred to a back verandah which was covered in and ran alongside the shop.  Our elderly men were not fit to move much of the heavy furniture and we therefore purchased a small machine for the purpose.

It was only after we had everything re-arranged that we realised how much we owed to Mr Hodgkin."

There is much more of the Beehive story to tell.  New work is coming in, new premises are needed and I will continue telling it until mum eventually retires and takes herself off on a well deserved, but not uneventful, holiday.


  1. I wonder as I read, whether the people who retired because of age or poor health were older, or in more discomfort than she was. I suspect not.
    The skinny one's mother did 'granny sitting' in connection with her church. The grannies she visited, and took out were frequently ten years of more younger than she was.

    1. I think in many cases EC the people were younger than mum but there were many that were not in the best of heath.
      As with your ma-in-law many older people seem to retain the ability to care for those younger than themselves. Perhaps it's the mothering instinct that makes them carry on.

  2. What a lovely story this is. I have so enjoyed it. Thank you Mimsie.

    1. Thank you Denise. It is growing to a close but there are more ups and downs before the story is fully told.

  3. God bless the Mr Hodgkins of the world, for they bring order from chaos. I can well imagine how much easier it was for the workers once different stations had been organised for each section. a bit like my seasonal rearranging of my pantry.

    1. I often think I could do with a Mr Hodgkins in my life!!
      I love your likening the rearranging of Beehive to that of your pantry. You obviously don't need a Mr Hodgkins as much as I do. (*:*)

  4. Hari OM
    I can only continue to marvel at the efforts!!! As EC said, there was definitely a stamina in that generation which some how skipped we younger ones!!!

    Thanks for your comment on the MenU post... the series is taking on a life of its own, but I started, so I will finish &*<>... It is certainly engaging folk in conversation which is most enjoyable! YAM xx

    1. I think even today there are many people that work for the benefit of others but more in continuation of what was set up 'back then'.
      I try to read every word you write even though at times you lose me a little. Still very enjoyable though. xx

  5. What a snowball of generosity! I look forward to seeing how the Beehive organization can benefit the community in the future.

    1. I wonder if folk were more generous then than they are now? Life was slower then and people maybe thought about others a little more than many do today.
      Beehive Industries has continued on and is still is there for people who need it.