Mosman Voices - oral histories online

Julie Kerner

Interviewed by Eve Klein on 7 February 2001
Subject: ,

Eve Klein. Looking back on life at that time what other differences were there in behaviour, mentality and so on that you found when you came in the first years to Australia, and perhaps even things that one had not experienced that were part of the Australian psyche. What sorts of things were there?

Julie Kerner. Mostly I remember that we were dressed differently, and also when I had my shop the ladies were always dressed – everything had to match. If you wore pink, or pale blue, or whatever, or navy – I mean black was out of the question, nobody wore black, but whatever you wore you had to match everything. If it didn’t match you didn’t buy it.

Eve Klein. So if you had navy shoes, you would buy a navy dress? And something would have to tone in all the time. Do you think this was universal, or was that just an Australian thing?

Julie Kerner. I think mostly it was universal. But we were very isolated here. I mean the fashion in Europe was always a least a year ahead of what we had here, at least a year ahead. I remember very vividly in Martin Place when we came via Wynyard, the men wore satchels, the European men – a hat and they wore three-piece suits. You wouldn’t go into town without wearing a three-piece suit and a hat of course, and the satchel. When you walked up Martin Place – I remember I was down in George Street and I looked up and there were the long overcoats that the men wore, and you could pick them out. Oh yes, there goes one of them; there’s one of us. (laughs). We didn’t know them, but they were so obviously dressed differently.

Eve Klein. And the Australian men had completely different workbags didn’t they? The carpetbag type that they used to have.