Avid Wandearah collector adds another milestone to his belt

Wandearah’s Dean Jacobs has added a new honour to his huge collection of items amassed with his late wife Gwen.

Mr Jacobs was guest-of-honour at his 90th birthday party hosted by the Broughton Plains Heritage Society at the Wandearah Hall on October 28.

He has been a member of the society since it was formed and his family were pioneers of the district. More than 100 attended the afternoon-tea celebration.

Society chairman Jack Keain read a history of Mr Jacobs’ life touching on his hobby.

For years, Mr and Mrs Jacobs gathered more than 8000 pairs of salt-and-pepper shakers, 528 clocks, 228 coathangers and more than 1000 bottle-openers as well as tools, bells, dolls and prams.

The couple were foundation members of the society and, although Gwen died in 2011, Dean still supports the group’s activities.

Mr Jacobs has spent the past 18 months living in his shack on the beachfront at Fisherman’s Bay.

He loves looking at the water and chatting to the locals who pass by.

He still finds time to attend the odd garage sale, often finding treasures to buy. Born on October 31, 1928, Mr Jacobs was the fourth child of Edith and Ernest Jacobs. All the children’s names started with the letter D.

The family lived on a small farm in River Road across from the Jacobs’s butter factory.

The young boy started his education in 1935 at the new Wandearah North School in North-South Road.

He didn’t begin classes until he was seven years old because he had to wait for the school to be built.

The school was shipped to Wandearah in sections of about six to eight feet long.

Some of the local men worked with a couple of carpenters from the education department to assemble the building and, as a child, he helped when he could.

As was common at the time, he only finished primary schooling and then he left to do odd jobs on neighbouring farm for landholders such as Hurtle Roberts, the O'Shaugnessys and Ivan Vanstone. He did various jobs at harvest and hay time. He remembers bag sowing – his top score was 429 bags in a day.

He went pea-picking at Telowie, but his main income as a young man was rabbitting with the prey being sold to Brock’s Freezer, five kilometres to the west, farther along Freezer Road.

He was a cricketer for Wandearah for 12 years. He is the last person alive to have played cricket at Riverside which is just south of the Broughton Rover on what is now Hayden Bentley’s property.

Mr Jacobs was an opening bowler with plenty of stamina.

He began his football career in 1946 at the age of 18 years old for Wandearah. He retired from the game at 52. One memorable match was at Yacka when he was full-back and kicked his team's only goal for the day after he had a short run in the forward lines.

At the age of 48, he played only three matches for the season, but was named runner-up in the best-and-fairest count with the winner playing every game.

He was a keen ballroom dancer at Wandearah, Butler Bridge, Mundoora, Port Pirie and Napperby.

One night at Mundoora, a girl asked him to dance the ladies’ choice. He didn’t know her, but a friendship developed and eventually she became his wife in 1957 when he married Gwen Hornby at Port Broughton.

His marriage meant retirement from cricket so he took up tennis to be with his wife.

His tennis career lasted for more than 40 years until he retired at the age of 69.

Mr Jacobs retired from football at the age of 52 and from tennis at 69.

In that time, he played for teams including Wandearah, Pirie East, Nurom, Crystal Brook, Port Germein and Risdon Uniting as well as twilight and seniors tennis.

Mr Jacobs became an accredited netball umpire and held the whistle for more than 30 years. He recalls umpiring in the Broughton League and being not very popular with opposing teams including Snowtown and Redhill, but that was all part of the fun.

He started the basketball association in Wandearah in 1951 with friend Jack Fenwick who worked at the waterworks depot at Cockey’s Crossing.

That year, Mr Fenwick asked Mr Jacobs to work at the depot for a couple of weeks. This somehow turned into 37 years’ employment.

He worked at Cockey’s Crossing for four years then moved to Port Pirie to work for 16 years before joining the Crystal Brook depot for another 17 years until he retired in 1988.

Mr and Mrs Jacobs lived opposite the Wandearah North School and raised three children, David, Maxine and Andrew.

In 1983, the couple bought a house in Three Chain Road, Port Pirie. At the age of 59, Mr Jacobs retired from the waterworks followed by Mrs Jacobs’ taking over a recycling shop, in Anzac Road. She would buy and clean the stock for the shop and Mr Jacobs would serve the customers. He met many interesting characters and has many interesting stories to tell.

Heritage society chairman Mr Keain thanked Mr Jacobs for his contribution to the district. Mr Jacobs told guests that they were invited back for his 100th birthday and that he planned to live until 104.