Penwortham Day celebrations

Penwortham Day was celebrated on Sunday, November 5.

The day commenced with residents and friends of the Duke family assembling at the intersection of Morrison Road and the Riesling Trail.

Special guests also in attendance were Frome MP Geoff Brock and Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council Mayor Allan Aughey.

In 1924 local Penwortham identity Tommy Duke asked the Premier Sir Henry Barwell for a rail stop to be proclaimed at the 84-mile mark of the southern end of Penwortham.

Sir Henry with no hesitation granted the rail stop.

Next morning Tommy went to the 84 mile stop and when the rail car came into view, stepped onto the railway line and held up his hand.

The guard on the train was amazed and indicated that this was an offence.

Tommy merely remarked to him that if he wished to pursue the matter any further he could take it up with the Premier and proceeded to take his seat.

This unique story was retold by Tommy’s grandson Kevin Duke on Sunday.

A story board at the site and corrugated iron artwork of ‘The Hold Up’ man created by Mt Horrocks Historical Society member David Spackman is there to be enjoyed by anyone travelling on the Riesling Trail.

Following this an ecumenical church service “Celebration of Penwortham’ was held under the old Two Up Tree.

Reverend David Thompson led the service and recounted some of the early history of church services in Penwortham.

Prior to the building of St Mark’s Anglican Church, villagers would gather beneath this gigantic tree to plan their future in the new land.

John Ainsworth Horrocks the founder of Penwortham also used the tree to hold church services on the Sabbath.

Local identify Leo Faulkner recounted that often after the service, while the women prepared lunch the men would enjoy a game or two of Two Up.

A lookout was posted up the tree to watch out for the local policeman coming over the hill from Clare.

After the service a lunch was enjoyed by all under the shady trees near St Mark’s.

Two Up was discussed but not played as no one volunteered to climb the tree to keep a lookout.