Kimberley in 1945 was a small town equidistant from Deloraine and Sheffield, connected to each by poorly maintained gravelled roads. There were three shops, one with petrol, a baker, a butcher, a two teacher school, two churches, one catholic the other protestant, both well attended, and public hall where dancing was a popular and regular event. The hall was built on the site where an old pup once stood (I have heard it was burnt down in suspicious circumstances). The district also supported badminton and tennis clubs .
The community was very civically minded. A very active CWA. Football and Cricket on the ‘Rec’ as it was called.
Kimberley’s other claim to fame was their hot springs. They were undeveloped, covered in weed and blackberry and difficult to access.
The railway station was the hub. It was also, the post office and I think, the telephone exchange in earlier days. Most of the freight came and went by rail. All stock were freighted out by rail. The ‘Armitstead’ cattle were herded from the property along the roads and down the main street of Kimberley to the railway yards, before loading onto railway trucks.
Kimberley today has many more people, but has no shops, no school, no hall, one Church, no railway station, very good sealed road connections and developed Hot Springs.
Sir Barry Blyth Holloway, who I knew very well and played with as a boy was born and lived in Kimberley until he moved to and later became a politician in the Papua New Guinea Government. He is buried in the Church of England churchyard.
I can remember when the war ended. It was a time for celebration. The community organised a gathering on the Rec. Everybody in the district turned up to a huge bon fire and an effigy of ‘Tojo’ was thrown up on the fire. There were fireworks and dancing and shouting and waving of arms and generally great frivolity.
The war was over!!