Mosman Voices - oral histories online

Margaret Broadfoot and Ken Hooton

Interviewed by Trish Levido on 5 March 2008

Ken Hooton. The other neighbour was Juilette, Maurice, Henry, and Pierre, French people. They were in Prince Albert St, but they adjoined us. Henry was my age so I saw a lot of him. The other interesting neighbour was Anthony Datitilo Rubbo the painter. We didn’t see much of him. We knew he was there, but in the backyard he had one of those things that were called ‘stink pots’ by boys. It let air into the sewer, those big tall…..

Trish Levido. ….oh, the towers, they’re like a metal column.

Ken Hooton. Being boys and they being towers, we had to hit something at it – rocks. Eventually we finished up landing rocks on Rubbo’s studio. Once or twice he came in to complain and I hid in the cupboard, I remember that. But on one occasion he must have got the message through and I was taken over there to apologise. He was very charming.

Ken Hooton. I was taught by a French lady, Madam Parmontia (sp).

Trish Levido. Where did you learn?

Ken Hooton. In those little baths at Mosman where there was a men’s’ baths and a lady’s baths. The women never went into the men’s baths because they wore trunks which were much briefer than girls’ bikinis these days. They were very brief. I was taught in the lady’s baths because Madam wasn’t allowed into the men’s baths.

Trish Levido. How old were you?

Ken Hooton. About 10.

Trish Levido. Where were these baths located?

Ken Hooton. You know the Watermark – right there.

Trish Levido. And they were divided.

Ken Hooton. There were separate dressing sheds of course, but I remember those very, very brief trunks that were made out of cotton, and they were tied at the lowest