On January 15, 1930 an article appeared in the Daily Telegraph with the headline ‘Moonshiners in mountains fined 300 pounds’.
Brothers Thomas Humphries, 64, and Edward Humphries, 74, of Kangaroo Valley were convicted of “moonshining’ at Robertson Courthouse.
Police had arrested the pair on December 24 in the mountains where they were running a still.
The newspaper reported “the still was located in a cave on the side of a wild gorge, accessible by dizzy climbing down ladders. Over the mouth of the cave leapt a waterfall”.
The Humphries were well known figures and their mother, referred to as ‘Granny’, was the oldest person living in Kangaroo Valley at the ripe old age of 104.
When police followed the brothers to the still, they found Edward carrying a double-barrelled shotgun, the boiler three parts full and more spirits in a keg.
The men told the court they were making the spirits for their own use, but were not selling any. Magistrate Soame remarked “If they kept it to themselves, they were going to have a pretty good beano, then”.
In court they pleaded guilty to three charges which included, having made and had in custody illicit spirits, namely rum and of having been in possession of an illicit still.
The pair were fined 150 pounds each and immediately produced 100 pounds to pay as deposit.
In truth the brothers had two stills in Kangaroo Valley. The one police found was above Dodd’s Lagoon, the other was further up the Kangaroo River.
Following the court case, Granny told a friend about what had happened and said “something terrible has happened, the boys have got caught and I’ve only enough stuff to last for two more years”.
Two years later Granny died at the age of 106.