Hallett News with Brenda


Brenda Villis’ Contribution for June 2015 Hallett Newsletter


Members of the Bike SA’s Outback Odyssey Tour visited

More than 200 bike riders and even an unicyclist visited Hallett recently, setting up camp at our recreational grounds which they turned into a tent city. The array of twinkling lights from the vans, tents and ablution vehicles, looked amazing after the sun had set. Many locals snuck down to the oval to enjoy the spectacle as Hallett had really come alive!

The bike riders were participating in Bike SA’s biennial Outback Odyssey tour. An organiser indicated that this was the first time that the tour had fully sold out, which clearly shows that cycle tourism is becoming very popular.

Unicyclist, Lindsey Colla drew a lot of attention as he rode along on one wheel. This gutsy unicyclist was aiming to ride 900 kilometres to raise funds for Wheels 4 Life, a charity that helps to provide bikes for people who live in developing countries. An amazing effort!

In the evening, Hallett’s magnificent Hall came alive, with a buzz of chatter and laughter as the visitors enjoyed our hospitality. The large hall was toasty warm, thanks to the very effective heaters throwing out much needed warmth. The 200 cyclists and their supporters enjoyed a three course meal, catered for by the Terowie Citizens Association whilst the local Hallett Community and Sports Association, provided bar facilities.

Events such as this help to bring small rural towns alive, plus the visitors help to inject money into small communities with visits to the local businesses. Extra money raised will go towards further improvements to town development.  All in all a win win situation!

Mothers are so special: This story continues to show the role that Mothers have played and continue to play in the lives of their families.

Sincere thanks to Kevin Fahey for sharing extracts of his mother’s eulogy, which tells an inspiring story about his dear mum, Ralda, who lived until she was 85, passing away in November, 1997.


In 1930, Ralda Symonds, formerly of Jamestown/Spalding, married Thomas John Fahey.   They moved to a small property at Willalo, where Ralda lived until her heart attack in August, 1997.

Her early years were extremely hard, as first the depression and then the war made life very difficult. But through all the hardships and back breaking work: wash troughs, coppers, woodstoves, milking cows, raising chooks and turkeys, Ralda still managed a family of eleven children.  We can only guess the many trials and tribulations that Ralda and Jack went through in those very trying times, but through it all they remained happy and cheerful, with enormous love for their family.

We can remember as small children, all the swaggies and drovers who called, wanting bread or jam or a billy of tea. Never did they leave empty handed, such was the generosity of this remarkable woman.

Ralda after her marriage to Jack converted to the Catholic Faith and she had an unshakeable belief in God. She accepted her lot in life, because she was doing God’s work. Father Hughes, our Parish Priest when we were young, always said a person’s faith was learned at their mother’s knees and nothing could be truer in our case.

Ralda never had a lot of time for socializing, but went to School Welfare Meetings and always helped at the very successful Willalo Catholic Ball. It was also great when we had people come to visit, such as Nellie & Tom Brooks and their family, when we enjoyed sing-a-longs around the piano. Nelly Brooks was a brilliant pianist and could almost make the piano talk.

I don’t think any of the family will ever forget our Christmas gatherings, with anything up to 40 or 50 adults and children present:   the cricket games and general feeling of goodwill will always be remembered.

At the time of Ralda’s passing she was survived by her eleven children and their spouses (son-in-law, Ray Clark had passed-on) forty-five grandchildren, forty-nine great grandchildren and her sisters, Dorrie and Coral and their families.

Ralda was predeceased by her husband Jack, on 27th July, 1975, but remained at her Willalo home until her heart attack.  She enjoyed good health for most of her life, with only one major operation in 1984. Ralda was a very determined person, as anyone who witnessed her fight to try and regain health, could testify.Even after a massive heart attack, she could not understand her families concern for her and believed she would get better, but unfortunately this was not to be.

Losing Ralda meant the family had lost a mother, a grandmother, a great grandmother, a loving friend and an example to all who knew her. This world would be a better place if there were more people like Ralda.


Whilst typing this intriguing extract about life years ago for Ralda and Jack Fahey and their children, I was eager to discover what had happened to the eleven siblings and wish to thank Kevin and Mary for enlightening me.

  • Oldest sister, Tess, still lives at Spalding and now lives with her daughter, Rosemary. Tess and her late husband, Ray Clark, raised four children.
  • Second sibling, Joan married Jack Bunfield and they lived in the Spalding area, where they raised their four children. Joan and Jack are now both deceased.
  • Third sibling, John, married Cathy Hollitt and they still live in the home that they moved into after they married.Their children, Josie, Liz, Danny, Margie and Bernie all attended the Hallett Primary School and then completed their secondary education at the Burra Community School.
  • The fourth sibling Mary married Phil Connell and they now live in Adelaide. They had six children.
  • Fifth sibling, Pat Fahey married Patrick Maloney and they live in Bordertown. They are the proud parents of five children.
  • Kevin Fahey married Mary Seal and they are still living in their home in Alfred Street, opposite the Hallett Hall.   They had six children, Michael, Anne, Gerry (Nikita), Gabe, Amanda and James, who attended the Hallett Primary School and then moved onto the Burra Community School to complete their education.
  • The seventh member of the family, Brian (Jacky) married Marlene Baynes and they live at Willalo. Their children, Ian, Diane and Christina also attended the Hallett Primary School and then moved onto the Burra Community School.
  • The eighth sibling, Maureen married John Connell, who is now deceased. Maureen lives at Strathalbyn and is the proud parent of two children.
  • Ninth sibling, Colleen married Pierre Verneeren and lives at Gawler.They had three children.
  • Bert Fahey married Elsie Verneeren and they live at Willalo. Their children Adrian, Darren, Justin, Mark and Luke also attended the Hallett Primary School and then moved onto the Burra Community School.
  • Youngest sibling, Leon married Julie Fetherstonhaugh. Their children Anthony and Ben attended the local Hallett and Burra Schools. Sadly Leon passed on, in 2013.

Years ago many couples had large families and one can hardly comprehend how difficult it must have been through the depression and war years to survive. But survive they did and these families have all gone on to build fulfilling lives.

Mick McCabe:   Locals were saddened to hear that a former Hallett identity, Michael Vincent McCabe, had passed on, whilst living at the Burra Hospital, aged 92 years. He was the loved husband of the late Dora.  Due to some of his antics in his younger days, Mick was known affectionately, as ‘Midnight Mick’.  When the McCabe’s moved from station life in the north, to Hallett, they lived in the corrugated iron home near Meers’ Garage.  Later moving into the smaller cottage, where Bob and Hazel Statton lived, opposite the Railway Station.   Mick was a real character, who loved to chat to all the locals at the letter boxes and in the shop and he enjoyed attending all the local events where he really enjoyed feasting on all the delicacies on offer. Locals will all remember Mick’s erratic driving and I wonder how many times we held our breath as we witnessed many near misses on the busy Barrier Highway, between Mick in his old yellow station wagon and passing motorists!  Mick’s only sister, Margaret Kelly lives in Jamestown and our heartfelt sympathy and love goes to her and her family, on the loss of a loved family member. Mick was also a dear friend to Helen Radford and her family.

In Mick’s Eulogy read at his funeral service in St. Joseph’s Catholic Church at Burra, a special thank you was conveyed to the staff at the local Burra Hospital for the many years of loving care that Mick received. He was always very appreciative of this.

This is another story of a very determined gentleman who should have moved into aged care many years before he did, but bless him, he was happy in his own home. Vale, Mick!

Welcome to Angus James McKenzie – Heartiest congratulations to Jo and Scott on the arrival of their precious baby son, Angus. New grandparents, Heather and Brian Guthrie are on cloud nine and Uncle Graham and his wife, Jenna, all from Clare, are also celebrating this happy news.  Jo lives at Curlwaa, near Wentworth where she has been teaching.

Welcome to Otto David Webster – Congratulations to Bec and Ashley Webster, of Roxby Downs, who have welcomed their second child Otto on 31st May, weighing 8lb. 14 1/2oz.  Big sister, Elsie is very excited to have a new playmate. Proud grandparents, Jenny and Tony Brooks, of Hallett and Angie and Neil Webster, of Burra, are also celebrating the arrival of another precious grandchild.

Happy Birthday – A former local Brian Richards will be celebrating his 85th Birthday on 19th June. The Richards now enjoy living in a retirement village, in Pt. Elliot and Brian still plays social bowls. As their daughter Christie now lives in Perth, Brian and Marlene enjoy frequent flights over there, to enjoy precious time with her.  It is great that Brian and Marlene receive the Hallett News as they like to keep up with what is happening up here in the north.

Emma is engaged – Congratulations to Emma Mattey and Matt Sharkey, who have announced their engagement. Emma is the eldest sibling of our local Mayor, Peter Mattey and his wife Jacqui, who live out at ‘Franklyn’, near Terowie. Evidently Peter Mattey purchased Mount Cone when it came on the market years ago from Matt Sharkey’s grandfather. So the names of Sharkey and Mattey were linked long ago!

Congratulations to Nadia and Danny – Heartiest congratulations to this young couple who have purchased their first home in Hallett – the home that the Longford family lived in for many years. Danny is a shearer therefore the local farmers will be happy to hear that he will be remaining in Hallett, with Nadia and their two littlies.

Walshy returned – Recently locals who were attending a function in Burra noticed a very familiar face in the crowd.There was immediately a lot of whispering and smiles as word soon past around that the ex ‘Wild Dog’ Publican, had returned. It was certainly lovely to see Peter Walsh again as he was so much part of our Hallett community for many years, as the mine host at the Wildongoleeche Hotel.The sing-a-longs, dancing in the bar, the laughter, will all be remembered by those who were lucky enough to enjoy Peter’s hospitality.


It is disappointing that the planned Reunion Dinner to celebrate, the Hallett Football Clubs (HFC), A Team Premierships in 1955 and 1957, has been cancelled. A number of factors possibly contributed to the cancellation – the age of these gentlemen now and distance. Numbers have also been depleted as some players have already passed on – we are talking about 60 plus, years ago!

Members of the 1955 HFC Premiership Team were

Forwards: Ashley Phin. Mostyn Seigert. Laurence Sullivan

Half Forwards: Harold Prior. John Honan (v.capt). Charles O’Connor

Centres: Frank Brooks. Gowan Armstrong. Ray Knight

Half Backs: Cletus Furst. Joe Furst. Don Longford

Backs: Bruce Honan. Brian Brooks. Leo Furst

Rucks: Alan Dawes (capt). Bob Scott. Neil Prior

Reserves: Ken Deer. Alistair Murray

Grand Final scores – Hallett 12.13 def Burra 8.8 – This match was played at Leighton

Members of the 1957 HFC Premiership Team were –

Forwards: Mike Brooks. John Brooks. Cliff Warrior

Half Forwards: Harold Prior. John Honan. Barry Prior.

Centres: Ron Hillman. Keith Warrior. Rodney Dodd

Half Backs: Cletus Furst. Joe Furst (v.capt). Mostyn Seigert

Backs: Neville Markey. Brian Brooks. Neil Prior

Rucks: Alan Dawes (capt). Ashley Phin. Laurence Sullivan

Reserves: Athol Tiver. Charles O’Connor

Grand Final Scores – Hallett 5.13 def Booborowie 2.10. This match was played at Hallett. 

Well done, Sophie!

Hallett’s very own, Sophie Millington and some of her friends participated in the Jodi Lee Foundation’s annual fundraiser, The SA Hiking Challenge, on 22/23 May, which raised $36,000, towards this year’s Bowel Cancer fundraising target.   The participants hiked 80kms over two days through the Northern Mount Lofty Ranges, which commenced at Peter’s Hill, north of Kapunda and finished at World’s End, near Burra.   No doubt there were some very sore legs and lots of blisters!

Sophie’s group called themselves, the ‘Collinsville Collective’ and live in the mid north and Adelaide area.   Some local lasses in the group were Jo Piggott, Brooke Stockman, Bec Schell, Shona Simpson and Jodie Quinn.

Prior to the long hike, this enthusiastic group also held a Cocktail Night at Wild Saffron in Clare to further boost funds.

It is heartening to hear of the efforts of this young group, as many locals will remember, the late Margaret Brooks’ battle with this insidious disease, which is such a silent killer.

Sophie and her friends need to be commended for their dedication to raise money for Bowel Cancer awareness.   Hopefully people are getting the message – to have a simple Bowel Cancer Test.   These tests are saving many lives.

Thank you to Felicity and Bob  Martin’ for sharing these stories  – Following on from the story about the Costello family, by a strange coincidence, Leanne, daughter of Hallett’s former headmaster, Joe Costello, had also pursued a career as a teacher and taught the Martin’s daughters, Sarah and Katie, at the Nairne Kindergarten.   Leanne was evidently a wonderful and caring teacher and much loved by preschool families and was coincidentally the first person to obtain one of Felicity’s art works.   Leanne visited the old Hallett school a few years ago and was very surprised to discover the Martin’s living in her former childhood home. Leanne filled the Martin’s in on which rooms her family had slept in and where the old fireplace was, in the former kitchen, which kept the whole area warm.   What a small world!

Ye Olde Hitching Post – Shortly after moving into Hallett the Martin’s uncovered a rotted old gum post lying near their side fence, on Julia Street.   Still barely attached was an old bolt with a hitching ring.   What a find!   After the hitching ring was given some TLC it was fitted to a new gum post and now stands proudly in the front garden entrance, to Felicity’s Old School House Gallery.   Congratulations to the Martin’s for rescuing this treasured piece of history.

Keep Sunday, 9th August free  to welcome the Car Rally Crews and enjoy a FREE lunch –

The Historic Rally Association, will be holding a touring road event, which promotes older style car rallying, and will be stopping off at Hallett on Sunday, 9th August.  Appproximately 100 – 120 Drivers and their Crews will be visiting and are looking forward to enjoying a community BBQ lunch, which is being generously donated by AGL.

Locals are invited to set up stalls (crafts and produce), as the Car Crews are evidently happy to make purchases as a way of saying thank you to the locals for their hospitality.   Stall hire is – $5, for a Card Table size.

This community event will give locals an opportunity to enjoy a BBQ, have a look at the rally cars and maybe purchase some goodies.  All in all it sounds like a pleasant event to relax and veg out for a while whilst catching up with a few of the locals.



About Michelle