Significant Buildings
Back to Clyde Hall Jubilee, September 1978

by John Campbell, Editor of “A Clyde History” 1978
Often when one reads a local history that has been prepared for a "Back to" celebration, the picture often remains incomplete ‘What did actually happen on the day?’ This report is an attempt to describe the events of the day and the outcomes of a marvellous celebration-The Back to Clyde, September,1978.

In anticipation of the events of September 28 the Back-to committee and enthusiastic supporters set out to prepare Clyde for action. A significant undertaking was the clearing of the large area in front of the hall, a daunting task. Fallen timber, bottles, tins, wire etc were removed so that the area could be mowed for the first time, the first time ever that is, and a valuable carpark was created. What a pleasant sight it was to see such a neat area in the centre of the township.

The enthusiasm to prepare the township soon spread- roads were graded, gravel laid, street signs were erected, nature strips were mowed and trees pruned. Catering, displays, competitions and the parade had all been well organised for the day.

Un-characteristically, September 28 was a magnificent, warm day and by early afternoon the streets of Clyde were busy with people and traffic. An amazing sight. The township had seen nothing like this before.

The Public Hall and Mechanics Institute had been carefully prepared for the occasion, with colored flags and strings of colored lights decorating the outside. Outside the hall, at the front, a dais had been erected for the occasion. Above the dais on the hall a large 50 indicated the jubilee occasion. A marque and a vegetable stall were dotted among the numerous seats of bales of hay and provided an atmosphere appropriate to the occasion.
Throughout the afternoon a public address system provided pleasant music and interesting announcements further adding to the excitement of the gala occasion.

The vegetable growers of Clyde contributed to the operational cost of the celebrations by donating the proceeds from their vegetable stall and at the same time reminding us that that the local land use has changed from farming, as remembered by many of the Back-to visitors, to market gardening. Mrs Joan Reid, was introduced by the master of ceremonies Mr. Don Round. Mrs. Reid spoke on the "good old days" referring to the many changes that have taken place in the district over the years. She praised the hall committees for their collective achievement over 50 years, and congratulated the Back to Clyde Committee for their efforts. Mrs. Reid then declared the celebrations officially open. Mr Albert Hopgood spoke on behalf of the hall committee and recalled some of the many problems that had faced the committees over the years. He also recalled some of the more important occasions that had been celebrated in the hall over the years.

The official celebrations commenced with a parade led by the Pakenham City Brass Band with vintage cars, a vintage fire truck, the Clyde Fire Brigade truck, ponies, show horses, jinkers, carts, decorated bicycles and a modern St.Johns Ambulance vehicle all made the parade most interesting.

At the end of the parade a book prize was awarded to Michael Miller for the best school project about the township of Clyde. The book "Melbourne's Yesterdays" was awarded by Mr. J. Campbell who judged the competition. After this presentation Mr. Albert Hopgood, with characteristic good humour, judged the best decorated bicycle.

At the Fire Station afternoon tea and an evening meal was served to many appreciative visitors. Displays at the fire station included photos of old residents, district houses and familiar locations. Maps, aerial photographs, letters and photos relating to family histories were also on display.

Through the day the Primary School, Uniting Church and Post Office and General Store were open for visitors who wished to reminisce. In the hall a display by the Cranbourne Historical Society had been organised. The display included letters, photos, maps, clothing and many other interesting items related to the early days of the Cranbourne Shire. In conjunction with this display Mrs. E. Knowles gave a demonstration of spinning.

At the General store, and in the evening at the hall, a continuous display of photographic slides with recorded commentary proved of great interest to visitors. The display prepared by Mr. J. Campbell showed parts of Clyde in the 1950's, Fire brigade activities, Back to Clyde School, and features of the district.

The evening highlight was the dancing in the hall. The music of the Blue Skies Band encouraged the enthusiastic dancers to ask for more. The balmy evening made it a pleasure to stand outside and talk to old-timers and listen to the music, and the sounds of people enjoying themselves coming from within the hall. I'm sure those sounds would have brought back memories to many of the Back-to visitors who had experienced dances in the hall in many years gone by.

The evening, in fact the whole day, passed too quickly, and at the close of the celebrations all the Back-to visitors went their various ways with many old memories refreshed.

  In addition to the memories rekindled by the Back to Clyde the township was to benefit in other ways. The generous support for the event allowed over one thousand extra dollars to be distributed to local organisations such as the Clyde Fire Brigade, Klyde Klub, Hall Committee, Cranbourne Historical Society, Recreation Reserve Committee, School Mothers Club and St. Johns Ambulance. A small fund was also established to allow the preparation and distribution of this supplement. (“A Clyde History”)

The occasion also saw the printing of the first history of Clyde. Over 150 local students were each presented with a copy of the booklet to encourage an interest in local history and to help them remember the important occasion.

Amazingly some playground equipment now stands in the area cleared for the carpark, a pleasant outcome for the efforts of a few.

Many photographs, and a short movie film were taken during the celebrations. New information was uncovered, new contacts were made. In short, the Back to Clyde 1978 has become the basis for the centenary celebrations of 1989.
Ed. 20/10/81