The man who became the Furphy legend may not have been amused.GEOFF ADAMS August 19, 2014 3:04am
The man who became the Furphy legend may not have been amused.
Shepparton icon and Methodist lay preacher John Furphy had his water carts emblazoned with the declaration: ‘‘Beer and whisky are concoctions of the devil’’.
Now his descendants are naming a beer after him.
In the 150th anniversary year of the establishment of John Furphy’s agricultural manufacturing business, the Furphy clan gathered at a venue with a religious name — Noble Monks — to celebrate the launch of the beer.
It was just a few hundred metres from where the famous Shepparton foundry opened in 1878.
The Furphy Refreshing Ale flowing from the taps at Noble Monks was developed by the Little Creatures Brewery at Geelong, which has been using Furphy-made stainless steel tanks in its business for years.
Guests at last week’s launch heard head brewer Warren Pawsey remark that an invoice from Furphys was sitting on the desk while they were looking for a name for a new beer.
A discussion ensued with Furphy family members who gave their blessing to the use of the name.
Great-great grandson of John Furphy, Sam Furphy, said the Australian pastime of having a beer and swapping stories fitted with the Furphy tradition.
Descendant Adam Furphy is also aware of their ancestor’s strict Protestant background and the irony of the family name on a beer label, but agreed with Sam it was a natural fit with the story telling associated with the word ‘Furphy’.
Adam said Furphy followers might be aware of the strange ‘hieroglyphics’ on water carts of the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s that were actually outlines from Pitman shorthand, placed on the tank ends by John’s son, William, a teetotaller.
One of the original warnings was: ‘‘Water is the gift of God, but beer is the concoction of the devil. Don’t drink beer.’’
‘‘The message of temperance was quite stark and anti-beer but perhaps, thankfully, unlikely to have been understood by many of his customers,’’ Adam said.
He noted the message was later softened to: ‘‘Water is the gift of God but beer and whisky concoctions of the devil. Go and have a drink of water.’’
And this was where Adam decided to indulge in his own ‘Furphy’ storytelling.
‘‘It so happens that the early Furphys were neighbours with the local Shepparton brewer,’’ he said.
‘‘Not only that, but the brewer was a likely source of business for J Furphy and Sons.
‘‘This original message — despite being unrecognisable to most of the population — would have been a potential sore point between parties.
‘‘So it is perhaps possible that, following a friendly chat with the said brewer, the message was deliberately altered to ensure neighbourly commercial relations could continue to thrive.’’
John Furphy had a predilection for adding mottos to his water carts.
There was the ‘‘Good, better, best, never let it rest,’’ invocation, added to the carts in 1895, and much later the idea: ‘‘Produce and populate or perish’’.
So Andrew Furphy last week produced a new ditty at the launch of the Furphy drop: ‘‘Water, whiskey, beer; no need for any fear; the devil’s done the test; Furphy beer’s the best’’.
John Furphy pioneered Methodism in Shepparton and the first religious service in the area was held by the United Free Methodists in his cottage at the rear of the blacksmith’s shop in 1873.
In his 35 years with the Methodist Church in Shepparton he filled every office open to a layman.
A glowing tribute published in the Shepparton News in 1889 described, ‘‘a man who succeeds in business because from his honesty, attention and natural aptitude he has inspired his fellow men with confidence in his integrity, does more good for himself, for those around him, and for the town in which lives .
Four fire trucks are at a fire at Parsons Crt, Mooroopna.
In a day made for football at the sun-bathed Lavington Sports Club Oval the 2015 Yarrawonga Under 16 Pigeons showed their class with a comprehensive victory in the AWJFL Grand Final against Wodonga.
Gwen Ranson was presented with Life Membership of the Rodney Branch of the Country Women’s Association of Victoria by state president Machelle Crichton at the recent Goulburn Valley West Group conference in Stanhope.
TWO Echuca firefighters will race up 28 floors — dressed in full uniform — on Saturday to raise money for cancer research and treatment.
THE humble vanilla slice is widely recognised as an Australian icon.
Young Bombers pull off last quarter comeback to win under-16 premiership.
A leading union official certainly thinks so.
Berrigan public decides drainage works location
OUTSIDE the Locker Room is an event aimed at helping local sportsmen, aged 16-25, to understand and respond to problems and personal struggles outside the sporting arena.
Cobram Barooga leaders and tourism operators have welcomed the launch of a new tourism strategy focusing on events, which aims to attract more people to the Murray River.
Cancer claims one of its fiercest combatants.
Water allocations were increased in the Goulburn-Murray Water region today.
The News magazines are online - read high quality magazines in your time. Check in regularly for the latest editions.
Riverine Herald's well regarded locally produced magazines. They're now online, so you can read them whenever and wherever you like.
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.