|HARKAWAY - IN THE FOOTHILLS OF THE DANDENONGS.
This hilly place, 5 minutes from Berwick, was settled approx. 1844, as more open land down below had already been taken by early run-holders and squatters.
The majority of early settlers were Germans.
All appear to be exceedingly poor, but willing to work hard. They had no money nor time for building anything more than a timber slab house.
MEMOIRS OF HARKAWAY
by T.H. (Bert) Wanke, Powelltown.
It’s a hundred and twenty odd years,
Since the settlers first came here to toil.
At Harkaway, and make a living
By clearing and tilling the soil.
Privations those brave settler suffered,
Though hardworking, honest and poor.
Built their homes out of daub and young wattle,
Shingle roofs, and hard earth floor.
On Sabbath days they would all gather,
And to God they would always give praise,
In the church that they built with their labour,
With money that others did raise.
Then as the community flourished,
Some prospered and others did well,
With offerings and their meagre savings,
They bought and erected a bell.
The bell tolled for worship each Sunday,
Which to them was their day of rest,
For miles they did come to the service,
Dressed up in their neat Sunday best.
The cemetery is close to the churchyard,
As the custom when someone did die,
The bell would be solemnly tolling,
As the hearse and the mourners passed by.
Father Time in his stride has marched onwards,
Those grand old folks have gone,
But some daughters, sons and grandchildren,
With these memories do still linger on.
The church where they all went to worship,
No signs of it now can be found,
But the churchyard and all its surroundings,
To us folk is still hallowed ground.
Standing high on its poles in its glory,
Still proud and defiant, the bell,
Is a relic, and still in its grandeur,
If it could talk, Oh, what tales it could tell.
Like the cemetery’s guardian Angel,
The bell, its lone vigil does keep,
Like a sentinel guarding and watching,
O’er the graves where the pioneers sleep.