St Patricks Day - 17th March
Friday March 17 is St Patrick’s Day, a day on which people in many countries celebrate the Patron Saint of Ireland with parades, parties and Wearing of the Green.
Irish people migrated to many countries and in Australia, although a few became bushrangers, most were great contributors to their adopted land and acknowledging St Patrick’s Day has been a long held tradition.
In 1902 the village of Smiths Mill, known as Glen Forrest since 1915, held a St Patrick’s Day Sports Meeting under the auspices of the Athletic Association. It was attended by the Acting Premier Mr Kingsmill, Leader of the Opposition Mr JL Nanson, and the local MLA Mr MH Jacoby, and about 500 people!
A very detailed description of the day can be found on page 3 of the Swan Express Newspaper dated Saturday 22 March 1902 accessible at trove.nla.gov.au. There were Log Chop events, Hurdle Races, Hammer Throwing in the morning before taking Lunch at the Hall. The lunch break was an opportunity for the politicians to make speeches, and in the afternoon there were races for girls and boys plus some novelty events. In the evening some 200 people attended the St Patrick’s Day Ball in the local octagonal hall to wind up a very enjoyable day.
While no photographs are available recording this event at the historical society, we do have images of other sports teams of that era. The popularity of local sports was proof that although the settlements were small and the residents worked hard, sporting pursuits were important to the quality of life.
Smiths Mill Cricket Club C1912
Smiths Mill Cricket Team with their families C1912
Local Aborigine known as 'Wangi' 'or Moonlight' in the Mundaring Football Team uniform