Wednesday, 30 March 2016

'Old Ashes' An Unconventional Individual

'Old Ashes' Cyril Sainty photo from Melksham (1996).

Many remember the man with the wheelbarrow from the 1950’s who collected ashes from the boilers at the old power house in Maryborough (on the corner of Tooley and Kent Street) (Tinana:bridging the gap, nd.)
He also collected scrap metal and bottles. Melksham (1996) remembers him walking past his house early in the morning cracking a whip and letting out a wild yell. Other people remember that children use to torment him until “he would chase them with his fist in the air scowling or he would make a high pitched sound with his nose using his fingers.” (Audrey Court as cited in Buchanan, p. 54, 1991)

Audrey Court (as cited in Buchanan, p. 54, 1991) tells us that Old Ashes' real name was Cyril Basil Fleetwood Sainty and that he was born near Hobart in Tasmania, Australia in 1901. She states “When he was about fourteen years of age, Cyril and Daphne, his sister travelled overland by horse and cart from Melbourne to Queensland with their aunt and uncle and four cousins.”

Melksham (1996) claims that forty years prior to his death Maryborough had a branch of what was known as the Round Table Debating Club and he was a member and was a very good debater.
Others recall Dr Aldridge visited him often to check on him out in the bush where he lived.
He died on the 4th September, 1976 at the age of 75 in his little tin shed at the back of Tinana School (Audrey Court as cited in Buchanan, p. 54, 1991).
Do you know any more details about this man?

He was a Maryborough Icon that many remember and we would like to know more about him.

Buchanan, V. (1991). Sunbury. [Maryborough, Qld.]: Sunbury State School Centenary Committee.
Melksham, D. (1996). Every Town Has its Colourful Character The Way We Were. Maryborough Chronicle.
Tinana: bridging the gap - a special promotion, brought to you by The Maryborough Herald, (n.d.). One of Tinana's most colourful characters.
Tags #Maryborough #Frasercoastlibraries #oldashes #localhistory #qldheritage #tinana

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the memories. I do remember Old Ashes. As a child I was wary of him and only ever observed from a distance. Sometimes we'd pass each other walking as that was our mutual mode of transport. We never attempted to make eye contact or converse and I don't recall he smelt bad.
My wariness was based on rumour, from other children, grossly exaggerated about what he'd do if he caught you and how much he smelt and the like. I did see children tease him, calling out and running up near to him. I used to feel sorry for him. How intriguing that he was on the debating team. There is a similar character on the Gold Coast. He has been wheeling his barrow in Southport for decades and used to travel past the Gold Coast Hospital very early each morning. We moved location to Gold Coast University Hospital in 2013 and I've not seen him for several years. We used to pass each other as I walked to work. He never made eye contact or spoke, but I was never afraid of him. There was a rumour he'd been a professional. I would love to know more about both men. The fact that I was not afraid of the one I encountered as an adult tells me I never feared Old Ashes and never saw nor felt anything to justify fear with Old Ashes.