Owen Wilfred Keighran
- Born: 30 Oct 1914, Bendigo, Victoria Australia
- Marriage (1): Muriel Annie Bull in 1938 in Bendigo, Victoria Australia
- Died: 18 Jul 1995, Swan Hill, Victoria Australia at age 80
- Buried: Jul 1995, Swan Hill, Victoria Australia
Commenced at Lake Boga Primary School in 1920.
THE DEPRESSION - AN INTERVIEW WITH OWEN KEIGHRAN by Donna Keighran, Year 12,
Swan Hill High School 1986.
During the 1930's, Owen Keighran lived with his family. Their home was
situated about 2 kilometres south of the township of Lake Boga on the Murray
DID LIFE CHANGE MUCH IN LAKE BOGA DURING THE DEPRESSION?
Yes. Life was very different during the depression compared to what it was
WERE YOU AT SCHOOL DURING THE DEPRESSION?
I had just started working. I did anything that was around at the time. I
left school at 13. I had to do whatever I could.
I SUPPOSE THERE WEREN'T MANY JOBS AVAILABLE.
No. There was no work around.
WHAT ABOUT FRUIT BLOCKS? WERE THERE MANY FRUIT BLOCKS GOING?
Yes, there were fruit blocks but they were worth nothing.
DID ANYONE HAVE CARS IN THE AREA?
f you had a car you were considered to be a king. You lived like a king.
It was mostly either a pushbike or a horse and cart. Mostly it was a horse
They used to come in from Fish Point. There were no cars out there. All
horse and cart. They'd come in and get their things from Lake Boga.
BEING SUCH A LARGE FAMILY, HOW DID YOUR MOTHER MANAGE TO FEED ALL OF YOU?
Well, Dad was alive then. He had a job on the pumps. Lalbert pumps. He
used to go way out to Canny Ridge out at Lalbert. On a horse and cart. That
was until he bought a car. But mostly horse and cart.
e used to go out fishing, about six or seven of us in a horse and cart.
Hangin' all over it.
DID THINGS IMPROVE TOWARDS THE WARTIME?
Algie and them used to go out to Fish Point during the depression. They
used to dig out the rabbits before he went to the war. That's why he had to
go to the war. There was no work. Yes, things did start to improve.
WERE THERE A LOT OF PEOPLE FROM LAKE BOGA THAT WENT OFF TO THE WAR?
There was no work. You had to do what you were told to do. Either that or
go into the Army. If you knocked back work, they put you in the Army. It
suited some people to go away at the time, because there was nothing really to
keep them at home.
WAS EVERYONE IN THE SAME SITUATION DURING THE DEPRESSION?
Almost everyone. Muriel's (his wife) father used to go out digging in the
channels, contracting and camping out for weeks on end. He used to dig out
channels. There wasn't much else to do around here. There was no money on
the land. A lot of farmers walked off their land.
DID FARMING IMPROVE DURING THE WAR?
During the war and just after was alright. There was more work and more
money around. One by one, people began to use cars again
WHAT ABOUT SUSTENANCE AND WAGES AT THAT TIME?
Yes, there was a little bit of sustenance. It wasn't much though. The
young blokes never got any sustenance.
As for wages, the average labourers wages were 8 shillings for 6 days work a week.
Times were tough weren't they!
Everyone did everything they could just to get by. There were swaggies
along the road, every day of the week. Gee it was good to see them though,
coming up the road. Poor cows, walking for miles. How"d you like to set off
from here to Kerang draggin' a bag and billy behind.
HOW DID YOU CONTRIBUTE TO KEEP THE FAMILY GOING?
There were times when we didn't have any money at all. We used to have to
catch a rabbit for a meal. We used to skin 'em. Couldn't sell them for a
while, then the rabbiters would come through the town. We used to get
sixpence a pair.
We used to go by foot with a lantern and go all the way around the back of
Hayes' house and keep going around the back of all the houses around the other
side of the lake there. We used to walk all that way.
Old Bill Lethlean used to walk from Boga school to Tresco and back each day.
We used to come out home, when there was a dance coming up at the hall. If
we wanted some money, we'd go out and catch some rabbits just to go to it.
Muriel used to sell eggs every once in a while to make a dress. She'd take
them into Moran and Cato and get sixpence a dozen. Sometimes I (Muriel) used
to walk out from the farm into Boga pushing the pram in. I even used to ride
the bike into Swan Hill very often.
During the depression there was no Secondary School system, so everyone had
to walk after about 12 or 13. This of course had its advantages and
disadvantages, We were probably needed more at home making money to keep us
going than we were at school anyway.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON ABOUT THE 1930'S
DEPRESSION? HOW WOULD YOU SUM IT UP?
Life was extremly tough during that time. Things were crook!
Noted events in his life were:
• School: Lake Boga Primary School, 1920.
• Birth registration, 1914. 1914/28446
Owen married Muriel Annie Bull, daughter of Bull and Unknown, in 1938 in Bendigo, Victoria Australia. (Muriel Annie Bull was born circa 1920.)
Noted events in their marriage were:
• Marriage Registration, 1938, Victoria Australia. Marriage No 1938/13627