Saturday, November 03, 2007


(Our writers' group decided to write legends based on our local people and shire.)

There is a story told of a Clifton character and a drinking mate Leo Bange. It was returned Services League night and Leo the local branch President had come in from Back Plains in his car. He stopped at the Arms Hotel on his way and met a local lad Called Wavey G……. and he was known to like his ‘wee drop”.

Soon Wavey left and went home for tea. Then Leo retired as he must get to the meeting, but Alas! His car was not to be found. After discussion with the Arms publican, Bill Hawkshaw, it was decided that the culprit could only be Wavey who had taken the car.

Leo and Bill visited Wavey who became perplexed and absolutely swore it was his car in his driveway, but Leo said,” Well Wavey, what’s that car in your garage? Wavey turned, looked surprised as now he had two cars. It is not know what happened after the discovery. Perhaps they all had another ale together.

This happened because Wavey had walked to the pub, Leo left his keys in the car, both liked an ale, and the legend is they owned identical cars.

By Althea Rhyl Bell..Clifton © …The tale was told to her by Joffre Bell

THREE LEGENDS by Althea Rhyl Bell

(Our writers' group decided to write legends based on our local people and shire.)

Clifton is a country town in ‘The Big Paddock’ as bus drivers call the Darling Downs to tourists when rain has fallen and the fields are emerald green and other times the crops growing make it look like a patchwork quilt.

In this town are found a number of ‘hardcases’ like all small country towns where everyone knows each other. There is a story from yester year that tells of a grave digger and local Shire Councillor called Dan N……who attended a meeting to discuss and pass the construction of Clifton’s first public toilets.

When Dan was asked his considered opinion, he replied,” What is wrong with the Bottle tree outside the National Bank!

Another legend is of the Club Hotel in the early nineteen hundreds which was leased by Mr. Overton Benjamin Bell, Senior and his good wife Annie, a redhead, a talented pianist, and a fine cook. The hotel was very popular with the commercial travellers, the greyhound racing fraternity, and rifle shooters who sort the many quail among the long grasses.

One night a band of revellers challenged each other to visit a supposedly haunted house in Catherine Street. On arrival at the darkened destination, each waited for someone else to enter first, and for awhile there were no brave adventurers. Finally a local lad, Alf Ernst came forward and then made his way down the Queenslander’s gloomy hallway. He would show his mates!

Alas! One of the Suraswaki lads threw a tin bucket behind him. The clatter resounded and Alf stopped dead in his tracks, and for an instant shook, gave a loud scream and bolted off home to safety. It is said by Joffre Bell who recounted the story, that his mates never let him forget his ghost experience and hurried disappearance.

The third legend is that in Australia’s history the Chinese came looking for gold in the Clifton, Leyburn and Pratten areas as they had done in California and theYukon. The Chinese were industrious workers and could withstand hardship .Often they became a town’s market gardeners.

We know they came to Clifton, as when the sewerage trenchs were being dug the Reverend Wilfred Tomlinson found in the subsoil of his duckyard a small brass statue of the Buddha. Today it can be seen in the Clifton Museum.

Althea Rhyl Bell, Clifton ©