1855-1980 Accidents, Fatal Farm and Riding deaths

1871 Boy Drowns in Clyde North

1887 Farmer Robbed in Melbourne

1890's Ellinor-A Girl's Story

1892 Death of a Clyde Jockey

1894 Rescued by his Brother

1904 Accidental Shooting of Farmer

1908 Breach of Promise

1912 Life in Clyde-Keith Escott

1916 Killed in a Gravel Pit

1922 Sad Story of a Clyde Blacksmith

1930 Murder Suicide

1944 Fire Destroys Houses



Clyde North School 118

Clyde North Hall


History for Students

Clubs and Organisatons


Stories and Inquests
1910-1912 Life in Clyde North. Keith Escott's Story

From England to Clyde, Victoria
We went on to a property at Clyde in mid 1909, fresh out from England, Father and Mother and seven sons. All except the youngest had been born in Australia. We were in England from 1905 until 1909. when my father had to return to a better climate for health reasons (he lived another 50 years!). Without any previous he decided to go on the land.

At this time there was little of the use of lime or anything else except superphosphate. The land grew beautiful wildflowers but there a constant fight against bracken, sorrell and rabbits - thousands of them. We boys trapped them for their skins the carcasses (of no value) were cooked for the fowls.
Father was the first farmer in the district to install the new-fangled milking machines.

On the ship coming out he had met one Gillies, a co-inventor of the L.K.G. (Lawrence. Kennedy, Gillies) milking machine. These were worked by steam expelled from a wood fired boiler, creating a vacuum. At times the suction would drop off and so would the milking machines! However they were moderately successful although the cows had to be stripped by hand afterwards. As was the custom of the day, we boys helped with the milking before and after school.

My experience at Clyde School No 118
In England it had been customary for us to wear a bowler hat and cane to church, while at school we wore an Eton collar and tie, jacket, knickerbockers and long socks. We had attended an English Prep School, run by a Cambridge graduate. At the age of ten. dressed in my English school uniform, Clyde was my first experience with a small country State School - and in particular with Thomas Archdall Twyford. the Head - and only - Teacher. He was probably then a man of about fifty, although being bearded he looked older to us. He had a grown up son and a young daughter still at school.

Homework was not a very onerous affair, but there was some. When correcting it, it was the Head Teacher's custom to write his full signature, T. A. Twyford, across the page if the work met with his approval. but only his initials if it did not. Consequently from time to time a pupil would complain "Please Sir. I should have got TWYFORD but I only got TAT".

Keith Escott in 1910

Photo courtesty Barbara White

Winter at Clyde School
Another custom, in winter, would be for two boys to go out into the nearby bush to collect kindling to start the fire. This was a prized occupation as it meant missing an hour or so of class. The first boy at school would make an application on behalf of himself and another. I only made it early once and found the dignified Head in undignified attire milking the cow. Waiting until he had finished the milking and arisen from his stool, I approached, hand in air "Please Sir, may Frank Funston and I make the fire?" "Yes, if you don't take too long. I was told this was the invariable answer.

Summertime at School
The summer of 1911-12 must have been very hot, as T.A.T decreed that on any day that the temperature reached 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the school we were to go home. That seemed to happen on numerous occasions. We also started to spend our lunchtimes at the top dam on our property, perhaps half a mile away 'having a quick swim and returning in time for school. Unfortunately one day young George Robinson jumped off a sort of diving board we had rigged up and very nearly drowned as he couldn't swim at all. We got him back to school in some sort of order, but after that we were forbidden to leave the school grounds and had to find more local entertainment.

One of these pastimes was to get a bent pin, attached to a long piece of cotton, bait it with a portion from our bread and dripping, sandwiches, and endeavour to catch the Head Teacher's chooks. After two chooks stupidly swallowed the pin and subsequently mysteriously died one of the girls told on us and this sport also forbidden.

Beginings of Clyde Township School
Later, another school was started at the railway station and we duly became Clyde North. It was then that T.A.Twyford, once a week, would set off in his buggy to inspect the other school. On these occasions Mrs Twyford would look after the school, mostly taking singing. We young brats would give her a terrible time putting wrong words in songs and generally misbehaving. Nevertheless she must have had some gift as I can still remember most of the songs and the tunes. She had no piano or other musical aid.

It was a small school, possibly about 30 pupils, so Thomas Archdall Twyford could not have been very ambitious in his chosen profession. It had been there a long time, I think the number was S.S.118 and the centenary was held years ago. I had accepted an invitation to attend. but unfortunately was prevented from doing so. The building was pulled down a few years ago and I thought it a great pity. It was quite a landmark, built of solid brick, and although the school itself was only one room there was an attached teacher's residence

The Famous Clyde Cricket Team
Clyde at this time had a very good Cricket team and won the premiership of the Dandenong and Berwick District Cricket Association three years running. Until about ten years ago there was an honour board in the hall adjoining the school. This commemorated the event and showed the leading batting and bowling averages, pride of place going to Alec Duff with a batting average of well over a hundred. if my memory is correct. Others were Guy Hobart, Harold Hunter and Clarence Twyford (a son of T.A.T.).

Church Connections
Alex Duff was related to the earlier Rev. Alexander Duff of Cranbourne and the family are still, I think, at Cardinia. We are connected by marriage, one Minnie Duff married my father's older brother. The Gason's of Church of England fame are also connected. Canon Gason, his son the Rev. E.I. Gason of St Johns East Malvern, and grandson Rev. John Gason of Geelong.

Entertainment in Clyde
Most of the farmers at Clyde were cow-cockies and very hard up, so there was little in the way of entertainment. An occasional concert was held and the same locals usually sang the same songs or rendered the sane recitations, with varying skill. At least twice there was a travelling picture show and once we made it to Gus St Leon's Great United Circus at Cranbourne. For some weeks thereafter we boys made efforts to copy some of the acts.

Names I Remember
Names remembered at the school were Hardys (Hardys Road is still there), Funstons, Robinsons and Ridgways. The storekeeper was called Forrest and neighbours close to our farm were Sykes, Manks, Picken, Heffernan, Gates, Wherrett, Lineham, McKay, Hunter, Thornell, Brunt.

Editor: This letter was written after the old school building at Clyde North was knocked down and before the jubilee celebrations of the Clyde Public Hall and Mechanics Institute in 1978.

Check out the 1910 School photo to see Keith's brothers