Mosman Voices - oral histories online

Betty Alexander

Interviewed by Brian Leckey on 6 February 1992
Subject: ,

Betty Alexander. I remember when Norman the jeweler first opened; they came from when Mr Norman was on Avenue Road; a funny little shop that looked more like a house front – he was a very amusing gentleman. They were a very nice family. They moved from Avenue Road up to – another lady lived there too, called Olive Mackey, who I think owned the land; she sold baby clothes and would have been there for years and years and years. She finally sold out to Norman. That was opposite Mandolong – then we’re getting into the very nice Lauriston Hospital. That was well supported: it was a very good hospital.

Brian Leckey. Where was that located?

Betty Alexander. Dr Elliot Smith was on the corner, and I think it was next door to – there may have been a house in between – I don’t know, but it was on the left hand side. The northern side.

Brian Leckey. So it was on the northern side, not far down Military Road?

Betty Alexander. Yes, very handy. Mosman was really well equipped because there was Dr Tibby – he was further up from Dr Elliot Smith; it was well catered for. Spit Junction was a very compact suburb. Opposite the Council Chambers was a lovely grocery shop, called Cole. I can’t remember what preceeded it. He had one of those divine things when you cut the cheese, it went on a revolving board, and the cheese was cut in slices and you were always passed a little taste. Really old-time shopping; he always wore a large white apron. I don’t know why he gave up – ano domini, I’m not sure about that either.

Mosman seemed to have everything. As you continued up the street we had a very good florist called The Gay Florist – a Miss Davidson, she was there for ages, and most helpful, you couldn’t have found anyone nicer. Then we crossed over the road and you came to Minty’s, right at Spit Junction. These were all at Spit Junction.

Brian Leckey. What did they serve?

Betty Alexander. You name it – except ironmongery. There’s a funny little story about him in The Mosman Daily, I don’t know whether you ever heard it. We’ll let that temporarily slip by, for the moment. But there was so much at Spit Junction. As you proceeded down Spit Road, of course, there was the illustrious Claude Whittle.

Brian Leckey. His son was an Alderman on the Council many years ago.

Betty Alexander. But Claude was an absolute delight. You had to go in the shop front, and you had to go out backwards because there was no way of turning round. He had a lovely black cat that was always sitting on the couch, and he was always telling you that it had just been to the clinic, and had its temperature taken – it was just a wonderful cat. It would parade up and down, in between, over the dockets and the pots and pans; but it was a fabulous shop, you just could not move. It had everything. If you asked him for so and so, he’d say: ‘Just go ‘round, turn right, and I think somewhere around there you might find it’, and that was the general instruction. He was a delight. But whether Spit Junction just had this collection of very interesting people, I don’t know, but Mosman Junction, I think was a bit more austere. They weren’t new people; there was a chemist that had been there for ages and ages.