THE journalistic world in general, and the Victorian Press in particular has suffered a distinct loss in the death or Milner Macmaster, who was the victim of a sad drowning accident at Wangaratta last week.
News of the tragic event reached Mrs Macmaster, at Frankston, last Sunday night, and she with her daughters immediately departed for the northern town, arriving there at midday on Monday.
The coronial enquiry disclosed the fact that on the day of the fatality, Mr Macmaster left his apartments to keep an appointment to dine with Mr John Bowser, M.L.A., the editor of the “Wangaratta Chronicle”.
His way to Mr Bowser’s residence, lay along the banks of the King River. At a point where a suspension bridge crosses the stream, it is presumed that Mr Macmaster, owing to failing eyesight took a wrong turning, and in the gathering dusk, lost his footing on the treacherous river bank.
During his short residence in Wangaratta, (he was touring the northern towns), Mr. Macmaster had practiced his journalistic calling, having secured the services of a local typist to operate the machine which Mrs Macmaster had forwarded on to him some weeks previously.
He was a great worker, and turned out an amazing amount of “copy” every day.
Incidentally, he brought under the notice of his northern friends the claims of Frankston as a seaside resort, and had succeeded in interesting many of the residents of the inland centres in the various properties he had for sale.
His letters home were bright and hopeful, speaking of improving health, and increasing fitness to undergo the operation which specialists had declared was necessary to preserve his eyesight.
Rev Mr Ingram, Mr Bowser and friends he made in Wangaratta spoke of his cheerful demeanor and keen interest in his work.
It was pathetic that at this stage of his winning fight for health that Fate should step in and write “finis” to his labors.
His business affairs were found to be in perfect order and important documents together with a substantial sum of money were found in the clothes he was wearing at the time of the accident.
Mr W. E. Watkins, Presbyterian Minister, of Frankston who accompanied Mrs Macmaster to Wangaratta, conducted the burial service, the internment taking place in the Wangaratta cemetery.
Many friends were present from various parts of the State and many beautiful wreaths were received and placed on the grave.
Mr Macmaster was a man of brilliant parts and held a high place in the world of letters.
He was associated with Dr W. H. Fitchett on the “Daily Telegraph” and later occupied a position on the “Age” literary staff in association with Mr Benjamin Hoare and the late Mr Alfred Deakin.
Up to the time of his death he retained a valuable connection with the leading journals in this State and New South Wales and carried out the journalistic work in connection with Stott’s Correspondence School right up to the last.
He contributed to papers and magazines as far apart as the “Cairns Post” and the “Huon Times” in Australia, the “Westminister Review,” the “Glasgow Herald,” the “Times of India” outside the Commonwealth.
Mr Macmaster was an Englishman, his mother being one of the Milners of Yorkshire – Lord Milner’s family.
During his residence in Tasmania, where he made his home for a few years for health reasons, he was closely associated with the late Dr. Mercer, Bishop of Tasmania, in carrying out reform work.
His was a perfectly lovable disposition. He was a big man in ideals, principles and attainments and possessed the humility of a big man to a striking degree.
During his residence in Frankston he took an active interest in local affairs, was on the committee of the Agricultural association and a member of the board of management of the Presbyterian Church.
He founded a branch of the Caledonian Society in Frankston and worked whole heartedly for the advancement of the district in which he lived.
Realising that his failing eye sight would be a handicap in connection with his journalistic work, Mr Macmaster established the Bay Estate Agency in Frankston, which business will in future be carried on by Mrs Macmaster.
THERE was a dance held on Saturday last by the Somerville Football Clubs (seniors and seconds) in aid of the Accident Funds for both clubs.
Had it not been for the young people this dance would have been a farce.
Why is it that some people do not patronise a fund that is necessary to every football club?
AT the meeting of the Council of the Shire of Frankston and Hastings held last week Cr Oates moved that the question of completing the road between Frankston and Dandenong be reopened.
He pointed out that £18,000 had been expended on this road by the Country Roads Board, but owing to a blunder a small part near Frankston boundary had not been constructed.
The unmade part was only about 25 chains in extent, but it could not be negotiated by motor cars and rendered the rest of the road useless.
He had interviewed the shire treasurer, Major MacPherson, who was also the shire banker, and had ascertained that the Council could be financed up to £800 to complete the road provided that repayment was made in January next.
The Country Roads Board had assured the Council that the money would be available in January, so that there now appeared to be no reason why the work should not be proceeded with at once.
In reply to the president, Lieut Col. Lazarus (Shire Engineer) said the chairman of the Country Roads Board had assured him that the Council could proceed with the work at once if it so desired.
Cr Mason seconded the motion, and produced an offer in writing from Contractor Finch, offering to carry out the work at schedule rates, with a charge of 6s 6d for carting, and to accept payment at the rate of 50-50.
The council would therefore only be called upon to pay about 4 per cent interest until January next.
Cr Latham supported. He had voted against the motion at last meeting because there was no definite scheme advanced for financing the job.
Cr. May felt it would be a reflection on the Council if they did not go on with the work. It was a duty they owed the traveling public.
The position had been brought about through the blunder of a responsible officer.
Cr Jones said there was a notion on the books that no more contracts be let till existing works were completed.
Cr Oates: This is an extension of a contract. The president thought the road could wait till the summer months.
Cr Armstrong was in favour of the motion. The road was through sandy country and would be impassable in summer.
Cr Walker said that satisfactory financial arrangements having been made he was in favor of proceeding with the work.
Cr Wells said that with an overdraft of £8000 he could not see how the council could finance the work. They were continually sitting on the door step of their banker. Contractor Finch’s offer might afford a way out.
From the pages of the Frankston and Somerville Standard, 12 May 1922