Rosemary Christmas. When you were a girl, what do you remember about going to the beach perhaps?
Patricia Beaumont. Yes, we went to the beach. I wasn’t able to stay at the beach very long because I had skin that burnt very quickly. At Balmoral, on Sirius Cove, they had a shark proof net there. You could only swim when the tide was in. The tide brought in all sorts of things including some dead rats and all sorts of terrible things. But we lived just above the top of that. We used to run down the steps to Sirius Cove and we had picnics down there.
There wasn’t very much money after my father died. We caught a tram to Balmoral, and went down the very pretty way – down almost like a small mountain. And then when we went down to The Spit, we were occasionally taken down to Narrabeen to pick raspberries, or blackberries, and when we got to The Spit we went over in a punt, and also on a punt to North Sydney, to the city too. There was no bridge.
Rosemary Christmas. Could cars go on the punt?
Patricia Beaumont. I think they did, well they must have, to get to the other side. The punt would have been a commercial size, oh yes it would have to. They may have had a punt especially for vehicles, I don’t know about that, but I know we went over in the punt.
Rosemary Christmas. You mentioned the Esplanade. It didn’t exist at Balmoral.
Patricia Beaumont. No, it wasn’t called that, it was called Ryries Parade, and it was a dirt road, and a lot of those homes and units built there now, they were very small unpretentious semi-cottages. Worth a lot of money now, of course. There are not many left, they’re all pulled down.
Rosemary Christmas. And the Mosman Town Hall existed in the early days.
Patricia Beaumont. The Mosman Town Hall has been altered three times. The first time, I think it was wooden, the second time – the opening was in Military Road – it was brick. The last time, it is as it is now – well I mean, there’s no Mosman Town Hall, I think it is a disgrace.
Next door to the Rectory was a little wooden cottage that went on to Raglan Street, and it was the lamplighter’s cottage. It was there for some time, and then it was taken by a member of Mosman – a well known resident, up to Warrimoo in the mountains to his country home, and the house has been there for about 30 years now. A brick place being built where this lamplighter’s cottage was.