MAJOR PLAYER: Although he had come down in the world, John Healy still played an important role for the people of Dalby.
MAJOR PLAYER: Although he had come down in the world, John Healy still played an important role for the people of Dalby. Contributed

Man of many roles left his mark on early Dalby

THE old water carrier came down the street with his horse 'Magic' hauling a two wheeled cart with a water tank on board.

He was heading for the public well that was in Cunningham Street near the Church of England. He could be heard coming as he eloquently expressed his happiness in his native Galway accent.

"Hoo! Tiddle-tum tiddlety, Tiddle-tum tiddlety tiddle tum Tee,” he sang.

John Healy was well known in Dalby as he had been around a good while, but sadly he had come down in the world but that didn't mar his happiness

He had become the landlord of the Royal Hotel in the early 1860s. He must have been popular as he nominated in Dalby's second municipal elections and top scored becoming mayor. It was his only year as mayor but he did another year in council. In 1866 he advertised in the paper:

"St Patrick's Day in Dalby - John Healy, the landlord of the Royal Hotel, is determined that the day devoted to the Patron Saint of the Sons of the Emerald Isle, shall not by any means pass unnoticed, and has already commenced preparations for celebrating the 17th March, by a grand supper and ball (under distinguished patronage). Stewarts will be appointed as last year.”

At some period John was appointed chief magistrate. It was said he had a sterling good nature and was brimming over with goodwill to all.

He was on the bench when some fellows were hauled before him on an alcoholic misdemeanour. He addressed them: "D'y moine me now! Oi fine ye foive bob, si oi do, 'an pay up loike a man”.

"Now git ye away doun t' Ann and tell her to loan ye foive bob. Don't come before me again, or oi'll make it warm fur ye.”

Ann was his wife who was working down at the hotel and probably these men had been patrons there.

Such was the style of a pioneer magistrate in Dalby during the 1860s. Healy the Magistrate added "tell her to give ye a dhrink, too, an' some breakfast”.

The years took their financial toll on the versatile Irishman and he ended up as a water carrier which didn't seem to perturb him to any extent. Finally his stock in trade was a very old tank with holes and still older dilapidated cart pulled by an ancient horse. However when 'Magic' died of old age, they said John's heart died with him. The local citizens replaced the horse but it could not revive him.

John Healy died in July 1909 and was remembered well by those who knew him.


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