Moore Jesse

As Remembered by Ray Owen

Another well known district character was Jesse Moore. His history in the district goes back much further than that of Alec Mitchell. I first knew Jesse Moore when he worked for my father and as was the custom in those days, he usually hired people or workmen on a basis of wage and keep and Jesse lived in one of the outhouses around the place – first of all in my grandfather’s tailoring workshop. He was very keen on dancing and sometimes he would walk to Kalamunda to dances down there and he had a push bike and used to ride to those places like that. They didn’t have any local dances in those days because we didn’t have a suitable hall.

He left my father’s employ and worked for eight years for Mr. Albert Annetts and stayed there until after the outbreak of the war – the Frist World War. Jesse enlisted and was accepted by the Army. Why he got through we don’t know, because Jesse was a fairly short man, he was bandy legged and pigeon toed. He had a bit of a squint in one eye, but they accepted him and he went overseas to Egypt. I think over there, probably the glare and the sight of sand and whatnot, he had trouble with his eye and I don’t think he ever was first line service, but the Army made use of him until he was discharged later on.

He took up land under the war service land settlement. He was in Pickering Brook Road, possibly the nearsest to where the Central Cool Store is now. He worked very diligently because he had long practice in clearing land and planting trees and looking after them. Some of the mill people used to laugh at old Jesse working away there, “Poor old Jesse, not getting anywhere,” because it was a slow process, To keep the pot boiling he got a job when Smailes and Weston’s mill started at Pickering on some of the land where the golf course is today. Jesse got a job there removing the saw dust from under the benches and carting it out by wheelbarrow. They didn’t have any other means to shift it then. Carting it out to the dump and with that extra finance he was quite successful in establishing his orchard and it was a credit to him. It was mostly citrus and it was certainly a creit to him. Jesse surprised everyone, even in his late years, by bringing home a wife and they lived happily there for ….. I say happily – I think his wife wore the pants and kept Jesse in order. I say, quite happily there. until he retired (must have been) in the late ’30s I think. He retired and went and lived in Perth.

But Jesse was well known when we started the local dances, particularly at Carilla because with his experience in dancing over many, many years as a good dancer, he was appointed MC and judge for the fancy dress dances. And because Jesse probably had limited education, his speech wasn’t always sound English, but he usually made people understand what he wanted. One of the amusing incidents I remember was during the parade for the judging of the fancy dress. Firstly they paraded round in couples and then they spead out down the hall, divided, and came back in twos and fours passing the three judges. Old Jesse stopped the dance and got up on the stage. He said “WHAT I WANTS TO KNOW IS THIS. DO YOUS WANT ME TO MARCH YOUS AROUND IN SINGLES OR IN COUPLES OR I WILL SPLIT YOUS UP THE MIDDLE?” On another occasion at Kalamunda, Jesse was fairly strict in his conduct at the dances, and some of the menfolk down there took umbarge at his treatment of them, and they were becoming rowdy. So Jesse stopped all the dances and he got up on the stage and told them, “YOU MAKE NO HERROR. I’M IN CONTROL HERE. IF I NEED IT I CAN GET HELP FROM MIDLAND(meaning from the Police).” Anyway he controlled them quite all right.

He was well known. I think his name was, J. D. Moore – Jesse David Moore. He’d been here so long that his name goes down in history.

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