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Written by Rod Kennedy, Ulmarra, New South Wales, AUSTRALIA

J. Short in 1900 built a slaughter yard on the corner of Donaldson Street in Brushgrove (Grafton, New South Wales, AUSTRALIA) and killed an average of 24 bullocks a week. The majority being shipped to Sydney Markets, the quarters were put into calico bags made by Mrs Short and the rest of the meat was salted and sold around the island by Mr Short using a spring cart for his delivery service.

In 1904 he built a butcher's shop and an adjoining residence. Lit by carbide lamps and using carbide for refrigeration, this shop was considered to be the most up to date outside the city. His slaughterman was Ted Inman, previously employed at Ramornie Station, who could take off a bullock's hide in the twinkling of an eye and in speed to dress a bullock was only surpassed by Jack Slack, who once completed the whole of the operation in 3'/2 minutes.

The Bridge refrigeration plant was powered by a Tangye engine. All types of small goods, bacon, spiced meats and hams were produced. Mr J. Short purchased the famous corned beef recipe from Ramornie Station for ?25. The resultant corned beef was sold in 100lb lots locally and sent by ship to Sydney in one ton lots. When the rail link to South Grafton was completed the shipping of meat ceased. Mr Short later built a boat to convey his own meat to Sydney. Ernie Short, a son, worked for his father in the butcher shop until it was sold to Mr Stone.

His memories of these years are many and varied. As a small boy he helped to catch the "Chooks" from the Co-op at Hendersons to be loaded on Sydney bound ships. Henderson's employed 16 people.

As a young man around 1920 he was the proud owner of a Harley Davidson motor cycle and vividly remembers the Gas Light Handicap Races held on the Triangle. The tracks were roped off and lit by carbide lamps. Many good runners came from far and wide to compete for the money prizes. The starter was Mr Daley who owned a gun and between the races "Tug-of-War" events were held.

In later years the Triangle was leased by Mr Russell and corn and other crops were grown there. Now it lies unused.

Brushgrove did not have a fire brigade and over the years houses owned by Mr McNally on River Street, and Mr Tom McMahon on Clarence Street were burnt down, as was Harrison's Store and Mr Short's Butcher Shop. Mr Jack Kearns remembers being in Church with his parents when Harrison's burnt.

Everyone ran from Church with buckets of water and tried unsuccessfully to put out the blaze. Later re-built it became Peter Sandilands Confectionery and Ice-Cream Shop.

The villagers could buy all their requirements locally, although sometimes when bad weather held up the supply boats from Sydney, food ran low. Ensby's Store in Woodford Street sold Drapery and Groceries using a horse drawn spring cart for deliveries around the island.

Henderson's Store in River Street indented their goods direct from England and Europe. The cargo arrived by ship in iron tanks which were later sold to farmers.

Mr Short lives at Tucabia with his daughter and family. Now in his 80's he paints pictures (the Pullen River Boats are his favourite subject), turns local timber on his lathe, producing beautiful bowls etc., and makes and repairs furniture. Never an idle moment.

(Mr Ernie Short has been of invaluable help to us in our research and we give him our thanks for the information supplied.)

Written by Rod Kennedy, Ulmarra, New South Wales, AUSTRALIA

Linked toErnest John SHORT

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