Christmas Day in Eucla, 1898

Tarryn Lawrie
Thursday, 27 October 2022

25 December 1898. The forecast for the annual Eucla Christmas tennis match was a roasting 47 degrees. Luckily, however, a cool south-easterly had set in for the holiday. The town's entire population watched as 2 local teams played doubles, with all competitors putting in 'solid good work'. Excellent volleys brought applause from the crowd and by the final round the spectators were 'properly wound up'.

Evening entertainment

Following a long day at the match, the bachelors from Eucla telegraph station shared a Christmas feast. At 8 pm the Christmas concert at the Eucla hall opened with Mr Weller singing 'Tell her I love her'. After a poem recital, a banjo duet was compelled to encore before a ten-minute interval. The Eucla Orchestra played for a time before there was a lively step dance to the banjo. A performer in a 'bewitching' female costume was summoned for an encore before the concert officially closed. Thanks were due to the Ryan family for lending their piano for the festivities.

Eucla Recorder

This account of a memorable Christmas Day in the small community on Western Australia's south-eastern border comes from the Eucla Recorder. This newspaper was published monthly by the staff of Eucla telegraph station, who with their families formed the majority of the town's population. Perhaps because of its isolation, the small community was close-knit. They kept busy with social events. These included local sojourns to sights such as the Albala Kurroo cave, as reported in the Recorder's pages.

Local weather reports, sporting news and the occasional ghost story also kept readers in the remote town entertained. Advertisements promoted local business, such as the Eucla Dental Institute, which offered painless, extraction free services.

Sadly, the Eucla Recorder's days of chronicling life in the town came to an end in 1900, reportedly due to a lack of interest.