The depression probably had little effect on day to day life in the Towamba Valley. Those who relied completely on wages would have struggled as many men felt personal shame in having to collect the dole which for many, was a last desperate measure. Valley families were already used to relying on their skills for preserving food and 'making do' and possibly felt less affected by events in the outside world than those in large towns and cities.
November 30, 1894
* Wyndham is a progressive place midst these times of depression. There isn't an unoccupied cottage of any size or kind at the present time, and our butcher's shop is about to have a rival which will then make two of that order. There are two hotels, two stores, two blacksmith's shops, two bootmakers, and now we are about to have two butchers.
May 1, 1896
* Despite the bad times our little village is still going ahead. There is not an empty house to be had in or around Wyndham. In one usually unoccupied house, owned by Mr. Grant of Mogilla, there are four tenants. Our mines are flourishing and our stores also .... We have now three butchers in our midst and are shortly to have a baker in the person of Mr. George Robinson of Towamba...
'Magnet' August 23, 1930
UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF GRANT
One of the largest and most earnest meetings held in Towamba was that which was held on Wednesday night to protest against the action of the Imlay Shire in trying to procure the reallocation of the grant of £800 from the Towamba-Rockton Road to the Bimbaya-Candelo and Candelo-Wyndham Roads. Among those present were Messers J. T. Mitchell, C. Elton, G. Arnold, J. T. Dickie, H. Beasley, J. Love, B. Love, O. Love, W. Love, O. Smith, A. Smith, A. E. Alexander, R. Doyle, A. Binnie, R. Brownlie, E. Clements, G. Farrell, T. Gait, C. Logan, K. McLeod, A. Clements, J. H. Beasley, T. Legge, J. McLeod, E. Umback, I. Parker, J. Walters, J. W. Dickie, A. Beasley, F. Arnold, C. Clements, E. Carragher, C. P. Browne, Mr. J. W. Dickie was voted to the chair.
The chairman on opening the meeting said that though possibly there might be some who had not yet seen the 'Eden Magnet' of last Saturday, would read the report in that paper of the action taken by the Shire Council in dealing with the grant of £800 for expenditure on the Towamba Road. The report was as follows:
" The Local Government Department advise that the Economic Council for Relief of Unemployment had made a grant of £800 for expenditure by Council on work on Towamba-Rockton Road subject to specified conditions. The president said he considered the money should be spent on more important roads. He solicited a corroborative course from the other councillors, expecting Councillor Goward, who considered it unfair not to spend at least some of it on the road for which it was granted. Councillor Hart said there were not many who travelled that road and Councillor Allan thought the money should be spent in more populated places. Resolved on the motion of Councillors Allan and Robertson that the Department be asked to reallocate the grant of £800 on the following basis: £500 for Bimbaya-Candelo Road and £300 for Candelo-Wyndham Road."
When the utterance of the president, Councillor Nicholson was read, feeling obviously ran very high. There were exclamations of 'He ought to get out!' And 'He knows nothing of the rights of ratepayers whom he is seriously misrepresenting.' The chairman said he had always found the members of "A" and "B" Ridings reasonable and fair minded men but when the president threw this £800 at them he did not blame them for grabbing it for their Candelo Road. Councillor Nicholson not only cut the ground out from under the feet of Councillor Goward, he left a prejudice against this road that will make it a very hard matter to get a grant for it again. He had cruelly and callously betrayed the ratepayers in this end of the shire. Mr. Ben Beasley was unanimously elected secretary by the meeting. Mr. Arthur Binnie said he endorsed every word the chairman had said and he feelingly moved that the following telegram be sent to Mr. W. W. Hedges MLA, and the undersecretary for Local Government.
" That residents of Towamba, Pericoe and Rockton strongly protest against reallocation of grant £800 for Towamba-Rockton Road. Letter of protest following. Residents request that no reallocation be allowed."
The motion was carried unanimously. Mr. J. T. Dickie said he was astounded at Councilor Nicholson's action in this matter. Such representation of ratepayers was incomprehensible. He moved that Mr. Browne and Mr. C. Logan draft a telegram also the petitions to be circulated for signature. That was carried. Mr. Alf Alexander said he did not want such representation. It would be far better to depend on the generosity of other Councillors. He moved that the secretary write and ask for the earnest cooperation of the Bibbenluke Shire Council in trying to get the £800 reinstated for the Towamba-Rockton Road. Seconded by Mr. T. Doyle and carried. The chairman thanked all present for their attendance and regretted that people had to turn out on a cold, wet night in order to put up a fight for their rights. With thanks to the chairman, the meeting closed.
'The Sydney Morning Herald'
16 June 1932
RELIEF WORK NEAR EDEN.
* Imlay Shire Council intends to spend its unemployment relief grant of £1500 on the Kiah to Lower Towamba developmental road. Already 47 men have been engaged for the work. This road will serve the country on which was grown the maize which won the R.A.S. trophy in tills year's maize growing competition for the South Coast.
BASIC WAGE 1935
The basic wage for a working man, £3/8/6.
To rent a room in Paddington, 10 - 12 shillings per week. This was for a single room occupied for sleeping and eating by husband, wife and children.
A man working as a cleaner earned £3/15/9 and with endowment for four children, £4/4/11 pence.
'Magnet' March 16, 1935
WORK FOR UNEMPLOYED
Shire Relief Conditions
(excerpt) On and from Monday, March 4th, it was stated, all men employed on emergency relief works throughout the state would be paid at the rate of 1/8½ an hour, an increase of approximately 2 pence an hour, while margins for skill will continue to be paid as heretofore. ( approximately 15 shillings per day for a common unskilled labourer - about £4 per week. Author.) All male applications must have the following qualifications to establish eligibility for employment; (a) Aged 21 years or over, (b) Unemployed: unemployed for at least two weeks prior to application and registered at the State Labour Exchange seven days or over, (c) Domicile: enrolled on a state electoral roll, N.S.W. division for 12 months, and be a resident of the locality of work for three months or over.
Unless track travellers can comply with the above qualifications, it was stated, they will not be eligible for employment under the scheme, as it is not desirable that this state should provide relief works to attract workers from other states. It is to be definitely understood that the employment of men on relief works must be subservient to the needs of local industries and national works undertaken by the government as relief works are only being undertaken until the unemployed can be re engaged in their rightful industries and that when other employment becomes available, relief works must be released for such employment by the council.
'Magnet' March 30, 1935
* A number of local ex soldiers propose visiting the city for ANZAC day celebrations.
'Magnet' May 4, 1935
* Mr. Arthur Beasley who took part in the ANZAC March in Sydney, returned during the week. He met many Towamba and Eden friends.
'Magnet' December 14, 1935
Amended regulations to operate immediately.
Mr. Hedges M.L.A., has been advised by the Minister for Labour and Industry as follows:-
In reply to your personal representations on behalf of men unemployed on relief work and resident in your electorate, relative to the permissible income regulations, I desire to inform you that the amended regulations as approved by Cabinet will operate immediately and new books of instructions have been forwarded to issuing officers.
The amendment regulations will provide for the following:-
1. Single men, widowers without dependents and married men without dependents are to be regarded as separate units for the purpose of determining income.
2. The wages or earnings only of the applicant and/or wife are to be included as income.
3. Additional work hours are to be granted to parents in respect of children between the ages of 14 and 20 years - previously the additional hours only applied to children between 15 and 20 years.
4. The first twenty shillings of military and/or widow's pension are to be excluded in calculating the family income. Previously the amount excluded was fifteen shillings.
'Magnet' July 18, 1936
* At the meeting of the Returned Soldiers' League at Candelo last week it was reported that with the support of the League, Mrs. Sawers, widow of the late Peter Sawers of Towamba, had been successful in her appeal for a war pension.