100 YEARS - JUNE 21st 1987.
Mr J. S. Anderson fondly known as "Saddler" on account of his occupation is fondly remembered by people still living in Sandford today, as one of its best loved and popular pioneers.
An avid reader from childhood, as a young man he saw the need to install in the minds of the children of early Sandford, the knowledge that he had acquired from books, and from which he derived so much solace and pleasure.
In 1868 he established his business as a saddler and harness maker in premises directly opposite Gibson's Livery stables. Gibson's Livery stables is thought to be on a site formerly occupied by the McGuinness family, and which at one time was owned by Charles Pretlove.
Mr Anderson was a member of the Board of Advice for the South Riding to the Shire of Glenelg, the Sandford Common Committee, the Rifle Club, and a foundation member of the Ancient Order of Foresters, and the Sandford Cemetery Trust.
"Nicholls Hall" situated on the corner of the paddock opposite their general bluestone store was the earliest venue of entertainment in Sandford. Racing became firmly established at Sandford in the early sixties of last century, and Adam Lindsay Gordon, Billy Trainer, and Ned Gorry, father of the crack light weight jockey of the eighties, Ted Gorry, were some of the early jockeys in the cross country steeplechases. After the races, race club balls were held in Nicholls Hall. It was in Nicholls Hall that J.S. Anderson established his Library on February 16th 1885. Well stocked by Mr Anderson, Nicholls Hall became a popular meeting place, and the Penny readings eagerly sought after.
J.S. Anderson's years were the era of the horse. On the big runs like Runnymede, Sandford House, Merino Downs, Trevallas Downs and Cammais, he was a familiar figure, always welcome, repairing and replacing harness for the stables wants. He is probably best remembered for his love of the British Empire and the welfare of the children of Sandford State School. Empire Day was a red letter day for the Sandford children. J.S. Anderson would arrive with a bountiful supply of his conversation follies, extolling the long and fruitful reign of "Victoria the Good". It was on the Golden Jubilee of her reign on June 21st 1887 that he planted the commemorative oak.
Four children Phillip, James, Annie and Nellie were born to a long and fruitful marriage. Phillip followed in his father's footsteps as a saddler. James inherited his father's love of a horse, and whilst Licencee of the Commercial Hotel in Horsham owned and trained Windlestrae a Casterton Cup winner, in 1924. Nellie was a gifted pianist, and Annie (Mrs Rowan), who lived with her father and daughter Melba in a shop near the Commercial Hotel in Sandford, was a well known dressmaker of the day.
From the benefits of his Penny Readings, Mr Anderson was anxious to further the education of the Sandford populace and the children. He had erected, at his own expense, a building known as the "Reading Room" at the rear of the Mechanics Institute which was still standing till recently. He also played a major part in the erection of the Sandford Hall. The tradition of well-being and care for the community was to again come to the fore when J.S. Anderson's grand daughter, Mrs Ral Egerton had her popular store in Sandford's Main street.
One part in the way of life in Sandford that will never be forgotten, will be the service provided by J.S. Anderson's grand daughter's husband Mr Ral Egerton, by his Studebaker Bus. On week days there were regular trips to Casterton for shoppers. On Saturday nights with dances and picture shows prevalent in Casterton, the Bus would make several trips to Casterton for the entertainment. Mr Tom Anderson also provided a great service with his Hire Car.
Today, one hundred years on, the magnificent English Oak planted by J.S. Anderson, is a living testimony and monument for the descendants of this grand old man, who played such a prominent part in Sandford's formative years.