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My Younger Years

1945 - Born in Cohuna 6 weeks premature, a twin brother also. Transported to Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne and parents advised not to visit and we were not expected to survive. Parents didn't visit us until it was clear we would survive.

1949 - Moved from Cohuna township to dairy farm out of Leichville, Victoria

1952 - Parents bought a dairy farm at Finley, NSW

Attended Finley Primary and High Schools until Form 4 (Year 10)

Left school after Form 4 and worked on the farms of the Wilson brothers, where I levelled paddocks with tractor and large grader by use of natural eye. Also cut, raked and bailed hay on their farms.

Helped out on our dairy farm and proud to get up at 5am before the rest of the family, rounded up the dairy cattle and had them all milked by the time Dad got down to the diary.

I remember being bare footed and standing in warm cow manure in the winter to warm my feet as my parents didn't have the money to buy us gumboots etc.

I also remember having a bowl of broth from having boiling water poured over a teaspoon of vegemite and bread broken into pieces to give it some body. This was similar to breakfast, with a bowl of hot milk direct from our diary and bread broken into pieces and a sprinkle of sugar (still love the taste but haven't tried the vegemite broth though).

We milked about 100 cows every morning and night and on one occasion I remember going to a funeral in Melbourne with my parents. We had to milk the cows at 4am so we had time to drive the three and a half hours to Melbourne and be there in time for the funeral, and we then didn't get home till 7pm and had to milk the cows again.

I carted in hay bales by lifting them up off the ground and levering them up with my knee to throw them up onto the moving trailer. We later got a hay loader which made life a lot easier.

I trimmed the branches off fallen trees so we could cut up the trunk of the tree into fence posts. We would then built fences with those posts, drill holes in the posts to run wires through them to keep the stock in the paddock.

I watered paddocks where you would open a gap in the bank of the channel and once the water was nearly to the end of the bay, you would close that gap and open the one to the next bay. If it only took for example three hours to water a number of bays, you would then have to close those gaps and open new gaps for the other bays that needed watering. You might be doing this throughout the night too so continuous broken sleep.

We used to water ski on the canals by being towed by a vehicle which drove along the canal bank and on one occasion the driver took his eye off where he was steering and ended up driving into the canal. It was a big operation to recover the vehicle from the watery depths.

My Parents

Mother - Mary Jane (Nee MURPHY) Born 7/11/1916 Died 25/9/2006

My Mother worked at one of the local hotels in Cohuna in making up rooms each day after guests had departed.

During WWII (World War 2) my mother enlisted in the Australian Women's Army Corp and operated the search lights in Melbourne, scanning the skies for enemy planes..

Father - Andrew Robert McMURTAGH Born 1/4/1916 Died 9/10/1983

Father was a timber cutter and supplied timber to the Kraft Butter Factory at Cohuna. Then bought a diary farmer at Leitchville and afterwards at Finley. Retired in 1966 in Shepparton with his wife Mary.

Dad enlisted in the Australian Military Force during WWII (World War 2) but the war ended before he had the opportunity to be posted overseas. He was attached the the Australian Lighthorse Brigade which had been motorised and he was the driver of a brengun carrier.

I remember him telling me that every time he was given a leave pass from the Army for a number of days to travel home, he would steal a military motor cycle from the motor pool and ride it home and then catch the train back to base. Not sure what happened to the motor cycle (I believe there was more than one) as that was never mentioned.

I remember my dad telling me the story of when he was a kid he went with his dad who used a horse to pull timber out of the forest and then cut it up for fire wood.

Another story was when three dogs were chasing a kangaroo and they cornered it in a dam and when the dogs went into the water, the kangaroo held the dogs under the water and drowned them. One day he also saw a kangaroo grab a dog with its front paws, balanced on its tail and bring up the two back feet and disembowel the dog with its two long claws.

My Siblings

10/10/1940 - Michael James McMURTAGH

3/4/1945 - Brian Jacob McMURTAGH

My Education

1950 - Cohuna Primary School

1952 - Finley Primary and High Schools

1960 - Left school at completion of Form 4 (Year 10)

My Partner

1974 – Married Kimberly Sussan McKnox (25/12/1947) of Smith St, Mount Waverley, Victoria

My Children

5/10/1978 - Harriet Maree

11/10/1986 - Michael James

My Residence

  • Cohuna, Victoria
  • Leitchville, Victoria
  • Woolshed Lane, Geraki. NSW
  • Rathdowne St, Reservoir. Victoria
  • St Kilda Rd, Melbourne. Victoria
  • Melville Rd, Brunswick. Victoria
  • Bonview St, Reservoir. Victoria
  • Stawell Rd, Horsham. Victoria
  • High St, Glen Iris. Victoria
  • Bennett St, Mount Waverley. Victoria
  • Nelson St, Oakleigh. Victoria