Mosman Voices - oral histories online

Dallas Dyson

Interviewed by Eve Klein on 6 August 2001
Subject: ,

Eve Klein. Now we’re talking about the 1930s and you were then about 12 years old. Did it affect your schooling?

Dallas Dyson. Yes.

Eve Klein. In which way?

Dallas Dyson. I think with the Depression all around us, and the distress, my parents had enough to worry about, other than worrying about me. I didn’t voluntarily rush into learning and you could say – well that was as much my failure as anybody else.

Eve Klein. But it wasn’t actually encouraged, or insisted upon because there were so many other things to worry about.

Dallas Dyson. No, because there were so many other worries.

Eve Klein. What about your brother and sister did they have any more education than you did at that time?

Dallas Dyson. My brother, no, but I think my elder sister did.

Eve Klein. Mainly because the emphasis was not so much on girls to be working?

Dallas Dyson. That’s true, but I just think my sister was more motivated than I was. I’m sorry – also there were lots of things that I as the elder son undertook, with my parents in distress. I can remember I ran a vegetable garden, which I liked but it took time that I should have been putting into study, but it was necessary because of the distress of the family. I even built parts of the old house we had to move into so to make it a little bit more comfortable.

Eve Klein. Where was that?

Dallas Dyson. This was at the head of Julian Street. It was unformed; there was no footpath – that’s all gone now.

Eve Klein. What else was in the area at that time, in the early 1930s? Were there other houses?

Dallas Dyson. There was no house in the immediate vicinity. There was a track leading down through bushes to an old house down the bottom where people lived, who in those days, the 1930s spent quite a bit of their time either being drunk, or asleep. Some of those people caught fish or prawns out in the bay, which is just beneath us and sold them outside the Mosman Hotel at Spit Junction.

Eve Klein. Just sold them to passing trade?

Dallas Dyson. Oh yes, I’m sure some of the other contributors to your thesis have mentioned that catching prawns round in Red Hand Bay was quite the thing, and they were sold from a big wicker basket up in Spit Junction.

Eve Klein. Going back to your vegetable garden, did you actually sell those vegetables to others?

Dallas Dyson. No, they were mainly failures because of my ignorance. They improved as time went on, but they were mainly failures, or if they weren’t they were used by my mother.