Bob Dylan wrote the song 'The times they are a changing' in 1964, and it only takes a quick search of the Lithgow Mercury on Trove to realise how things have changed.
Lithgow's New Year's Eve celebrations on 31 December 1931 though described by the Lithgow Mercury's reporter as 'quiet' are quite different to those we have seen in our city in the last few years.
Those Lithgowites who joined the huge crowds at Katoomba in the general hilarity of the New Year revels encountered foggy conditions on the highway.
Dances were held at the Lithgow Town Hall, Hoskins Memorial Institute and the Masonic temple in Mort Street.
The New Year's Eve session at the Theatre Royal, which began at 10 o'clock, was suspended just before midnight and the management passed out balloons and streamers.
A 'fast and furious' battle ensued, and the theatre was soon enveloped in paper ropes of many hues.
It was later said that the only persons who would not enjoy the sparkling interval would be the cleaners when they surveyed the debris.
The programmed film resumed and when the curtain closed the evening concluded with cheers and the singing of Auld Lang Syne.
The big crowds on Main Street were not as large as on Christmas Eve as many of the larger stores were closed, and the year-end shopping had been completed.
Parties in private homes continued till well into the night. The pulling off of gates, the upsetting of outhouses, the painting of fences, and larrikinism was almost entirely absent that year.
The Methodists conducted a Watchnight Service, thankful for the riches of God's blessing and expressed that 1932 would witness a more rapid return to prosperity, and an appeal of a spirit of amity and reasonableness.
Baptist pastor A T Whale preached from Psalm 91 particularly verse 4 at the New Year's Eve Service and urged his congregation to trust in God and seek protection under his wings.
Father Phelan celebrated mass at St Patricks at 7 am and 9am.
There was no special celebration at St Paul's. Hoskins Memorial Church did not conduct a watchnight service that year, nevertheless the bell at Hoskins rang out the new year, joined by the shrieking of whistles, particularly from the direction of the loco depot.
The Lithgow Mercury reporter wrote that is was considered in the past that the New Year revel was peculiarly a Scotch one, but if it is, Australians have proved apt copyists.
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