Thinking Big

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 The Town Hall (now Reps Theatre) 2010 courtesy of Melody Annandale Thanks to Maureen Riley (nee Bowden) for contact

Thinking Big

At the very first council meeting, Dad presented his case, proposing that the municipality undertake maintenance for a swimming bath to be constructed with State Lottery funding, for which my mother and the high school headmaster had successfully petitioned. There being no seconder, the motion fell away without discussion.  He had five other motions that fell away.

Thinking Big

In his broad Scottish accent and schoolmaster intonation, Mayor Harry said “Cooncillors, as a rule, are wise and humble enough to sit back for their initial six months, learning what municipal affairs and procedures are all aboot, before presuming to tell the cooncil what to do. I suggest you do the same. Apparently, your fellow cooncillors think the same.”

If Harry thought Dad would be intimidated, he was in for a surprise. He retorted, “I am fully aware how the Council operates, having studied the Municipal Act and the Council’s rules of procedure. As for what Que Que needs and what I believe its citizens want, my ideas are fully formulated.  A six months delay to have them debated is not in Que Que’s interest. I will certainly not be silenced.”

Six months later, Dad presented his proposal again. What did Que Que, a little village, its narrow streets hemmed in by Mines on three sides and a Railway station on the fourth, need to attract industry to it?  The municipal area measured barely half a mile wide and less than one mile long.

A new dam was required if a proposal of a water-borne sewage scheme was to be entertained.  An adequate electricity distribution network was a must.  The town foreman was Dick Smallman, who used to own a garage.  His valiant efforts to add bits of wire to already overloaded overhead lines for each additional consumer simply could not go on.  Street lighting, Native housing, and road macadamizing, along with storm-water drainage, were in order, as well as the swimming bath and other sporting amenities, if Que Que really wanted to become the industrial hub of Rhodesia.

“I’ve worked it all out,” he summed up.  “A million pounds is what it will take.”

The chamber was silent.  The Councillors knew they could be held responsible for debts incurred if Municipal income fell short in meeting capital charges.

“You must be joking or have taken leave of your senses!” exclaimed Solly Aronowitz.

“That’s going a bit far,” soothed Al Davies, the chemist, as his eye ticked away.

Harry dispensed the proposal with an acerbic, “Aye, I don’t think we needing be wasting oor time with such wild and irrespoonsible ideas.”

Dad was still alone, with the gap widening. A new swimming bath was nowhere on the horizon.  Mom enlarged our paddling pool.

Thanks to both Melody Annandale for photograph and Maureen Bowden for the contact in Kwe Kwe.

9 Comments

  • Betty Goolsby

    Reply Reply November 19, 2010

    Diana, I always look forward to your final sentence (“and that’s the way it was”, by Walter Cronkite)…..with all the hoopla about making changes and putting in the pool, and so many negative people on the council, it is amazing that your dad didn’t lose heart and give up! But your mum, seeing the handwriting on the wall, just enlarged the padding pool…just like a woman to see what has taken place and doing her small part to improve things on her own. The Town Hall is darling and I am so glad that they put little theatre in it. Looking forward to your dad’s next efforts in getting things done! If that was your dad in the pool in blog 28….what a cutie!

    • Diana

      Reply Reply November 19, 2010

      Betty,

      Well what a compliment! Walter (Cronkite) is really something to aspire to. I think sometimes you see a vision and just keep plugging away at it, and it’s mystifying that others don’t see it as you do (usually self interest getting in the way). Yes, I agree, women are much more pragmatic. Thats a picture of Geroge Banfield and his little daughter Tess, in 1950, in Blog #28 Change. She is a year older than me and we became great swimming rivals. The pool was uniformly deep, with no life guards, so it was sink or swim and most of us learned to swim fast. Mr. Banfield became underground manager. Yes, a handsome guy. (picture courtesy of Tess). My dad looked like Harry Potter grown up…short, bald, round glasses…a most unlikely hero. (pictures in Blog # 8B When the Lions Roar at Night (Hunteen, Shooteen & Fisheen) and also in Blog #9 Goodness Gracious The Queen Mother is Coming to Town! (click older entries to see archives.)

      If you place the curser on top of a picture a caption explains the picture and gives credit to donors if they are not from our family archives.

      Diana

  • Andrew DAvis

    Reply Reply November 20, 2010

    Diana,
    Great story this week! What is the photo actually of?
    Just curious!
    I love how you captured the Scottish brogue!
    – Andrew

    • Diana

      Reply Reply November 20, 2010

      Andrew, Its the Town Hall where the council met, later converted to Reps Theartre. (All the worlds a stage really) perhaps appropriate. The picutres are qualified if you place the curser over the photograph. It’s difficult to do dialogue without overwhelming it. Glad you like it.

      Diana

  • admin

    Reply Reply November 20, 2010

    Ahh… thanks for the tip. I’ll also help add the caption below the photo! Thanks so much for the update!

  • Tess Harris

    Reply Reply November 20, 2010

    Love Betty’s comment about my Dad! Also good to see the caption under the photo
    is now visible to read. Another suggestion that would certainly help me to negotiate the blog – under Archives and the date – could we also have the subject headings to make it easier to return to previous blogs without searching each date?
    Have a good week.
    Tess

    • Diana

      Reply Reply November 27, 2010

      Tess,

      Yes, I remember your Dad was very nice looking, even with his hair wet! (George Banfield Blog #28 Change, November 12)

      I’ll work on the technical suggestions and see what I can do. Thanks for the advice, photos and documents you’ve shared with me. (learning all the time!).

      Diana

  • John Nee

    Reply Reply May 6, 2011

    Hi Diana

    I think that building ended up as the (Police) CID building when I was in QQ as a cadet in ’70. Paul Naismith and Jock Pirrett were the local CID officers. I see a couple of cops in the doorway… It was between Tadjudins and Desfontein’s auctions/Lucke’s Fishing and Sports Shop.

    • Diana

      Reply Reply May 6, 2011

      John,
      This building was bought by Reps and turned into a theatre at some stage. I have other pictures of the interior taken recently by Melody Annadale (still in QQ), so it became in reality the metaphor for the theatre and drama of Que Que’s local government with red curtain and all! Yes, the local Saturday morning market where produce was auctioned off adjoined the Town House. It was rather ramshackle as I recall, open air, with a corrugated iron roof. In my day Col Nangle was the auctioneer. I’m not sure who owned ‘the building’. The Town Clerk, Mr. MacIntosh, Engineers and so on had offices in the quadrangle there and Midro Press (Midlands Observer, weekly rag) was adjacent to it. I thought Tadjudins and all the Indian stores were on the Sby side of town beyond Globe Cycle Works. Prag Naran was the first Indian to set up shop on 1st Avenue (going up to the mine with St. Stephens Presbyterian at the top). He later became a councilman. I thought the Police Station was on the corner of 4th Street and Third Avenue opposite Stanley House, my father’s surgery. The Police station took up a block, the entrance facing 2nd Street. Do you have any pictures of it?

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