Local Identities

Roy Oglethorpe Hayward

Mr. Roy Oglethorpe Hayward, commonly known as “R.O.” to his many friends in the South-West, has one ambition; to play a good game of bowls as long as he lives. His only regret is that he can’t play golf and tennis any more. Mr. Hayward’s interests in life are looking after his five-acre property “Riverton” at Harvey, meeting his old cobbers on Saturday morning and playing bowls on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. During the 45 years he has been in Harvey, Mr. Hayward has been a member of so many different organisations he can’t remember them all.

Educated in South Australia, and attending the Roseworth Agricultural College he came to Harvey in the beginning of 1903—and has been here ever since. “Stupendous! that’s the only word for it,” he says regarding the growth of the township. “When I first came here produce had to be carted to the station on wooden sledges drawn by horses, and, believe me, it was tough going. The first crop of fruit that I took to the station I had to wheel each solitary case up by wheel barrow.

PRESIDENT OF OLD CITRUS SOCIETY From 1910 to 1917 Mr. Hayward was president of the Old Citrus Society, which we know today as the Harvey Agricultural Society and was president of the latter from 1930 to 1933. From 1916 to 1923 “R.O.” was president of the Harvey School Board, while foundation member of the old Harvey Tennis Club and president of the Bowling Club are only some of the various positions he has held. He talks reminiscently of the days when he was a Justice of the Peace and how he had to ride on horseback to the Court House which was in Yarloop, a distance of eight miles.

GREATEST HONOUR “My greatest achievement was when I was made hon. life member of the Harvey Agricultural Society. I think it is a great honour as only four people have that honour bestowed on them and only one other is living; he is my lifelong friend Mr. K. Gibson [sic, Gibsone]”. Harvey was originally owned by Dr. Harvey and Mr. Hayward’s father, Dr. Hayward, who planned to make it a second Mildura. It was decided to cut the land into ten acre sections for people to grow oranges, but in 1912 the Government brought in irrigation and that stopped the idea of a Mildura project.”

STILL LIKES WORK Even though he has retired Mr. Hayward likes work; up just after six each morning to milk his cow “Whisky,” tend to the fences and scything the grass. ‘There’s only one trouble,” he says, “I can’t do as much as I used to.” His constant companions are Susie and Dixie, his faithful dogs. “Where ever they are I won’t be far away,” he chuckled. “Everything has changed so much from the earlier days. Why we used to dance all through the night until it was time to start work again!” With a twinkle in his eyes he tells of the time he and one of his friends changed everybody’s babies. “You see, it was the custom to bring the babies along to the dances and put them in a row along the hall; well, we got together and changed the babies—some people didn’t know the difference, and took home the wrong nipper. We weren’t too popular for the next week or so,” he concluded. Mr. Hayward has three sons, who are doing well for themselves, and two daughters attending school. His three sons all have children of their own and as he says, “That makes me a grandfather as well as a bowler.” Hayward-street is named after his father and Roy-street is named after him—his first christian name—a fitting tribute to one of Harvey’s oldest pioneers, who came here when it was nothing but bush and timber, and has watched its growth from the infant stage to the prosperous township of today.

From ‘Know Your Neighbour’ series in the Harvey Murray Times on 15 October 1948 by BJF.