Some things haven't changed -

The following letter was sent to the editor of the ‘NQ Register’ on 11 June 1914 by John Castles who wished to complain on behalf of several passengers about the bad behaviour of some people on the rail service from Townsville. (John Castles was a carpenter who built several of the early residences in Home Hill including that of the first manager of Coutts Ltd, Thomas Arthur Bishop and his wife Elsie May nee Turner. The house was built in Fifth Avenue.)

On May 27 I journeyed to Townsville and back by train on business, and when I was returning, noticing the second-class carriages crowded, I stepped into what are commonly called 'dog boxes'. Inside, I noticed there were two of our police force stationed somewhere on the Ayr line. Some joking started between the police and some men who had been indulging too heavily. Tales were told and one of the men tried to recite, and the language was certainly not 'best selected.' but no ladies or children were present.

On arriving at the half-way house, Cromarty, I refreshed myself with a cup of tea, and seeing the next carriage with plenty of room, I stepped in, being much cramped in the other. There were men, women and children therein, but those same fellows made their appearance here with more grog in their possession. As soon as the train moved off, one began to sing and turn somersaults in the carriage, throwing his legs over passengers and breaking a drinking glass he had in his pocket. He then started chewing the glass, was asked to throw it out, but would not, and kept on chewing until the blood began oozing from his mouth.

One lady fainted through seeing it. There were gentlemen and ladies attending to the lady in a fainting fit, and her young daughter was screaming and other babies crying. The lady was brought to, and the conductor called to remove these men who had been the means of the trouble. The glass chewer left the carriage, leaving his hat. The police came along and asked the other drunk to leave the carriage, but did not insist on him coming out. I handed the hat to the police and said.' These men have been causing trouble.' One lady with a baby left the carriage, and when the train started, the other drunk began using insulting language, throwing a lady's hat out of the window, also insulting others. One lady hit him in the face because he was making himself too familiar, and after being set on by all about the hat, he gave the lady a pound note to compensate her for her loss. He alighted from the train at Brandon.

Everyone was appalled at this behaviour. I ask, when are husbands and fathers going to put a stop to this class of men mixing with their wives and families and insulting them whilst travelling on our trains?

This is part of the Home Hill Chamber of Commerce History Website.


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