Mosman Voices - oral histories online


    Beryl Daley.

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 15th April 2002

    Eve Klein. I’m still very interested in how you got involved with the American forces.

    Beryl Daley. Then of course, the women had to get out, and when we got back to Singapore, Steve was in the Manchester Regiment and they were the fortress troops of Singapore. We had that time together, and then the British Army was getting rid of wives. I was not the only wife around, so I had to get out of Singapore and we had a week off, and we stayed at Raffles Hotel until the last two days when they didn’t have any more accommodation, we went up to the Seaview, which was quite an experience too. The women were coming out of Singapore when I arrived. The women were coming down from Japan and all the way down the coast from Borneo – flooded with women because of the danger of the Japanese.

    I was instructed that there was a plane leaving in two days’ time for Sydney and I had to be on it. Coming on the ship across from Madras, this is the way we came home, Steve was booked on a ship from Madras back to Singapore, and we decided that I would come with him down to Madras, and then after he was gone I’d find the nearest plane for Sydney.

    For the full interview click here.

    Alan Gamble

    Interviewed by Shirley Page on Date unknown

    Shirley Page. Would you like to talk about your time on Council once you got in? Which year did you get in?

    Alan Gamble. In December 1945. Because of the fact that I was an architect, it was not unnatural for me to become a member of the Workers’ Committee. I think the following year, I became Vice Chairman of the Workers’ Committee, and that was my principle role for the whole time I was in the Council. It was the practice of Council then when perhaps there wasn’t as many building applications before us, to inspect almost every application that came along. That meant that we moved about the community or the area of Mosman to a very great degree, and came to know it quite intimately. It also meant that over that period, I personally saw a great many changes in the nature of the physical Mosman. It’s (indistinct) of course, for most people who have lived here, but the earlier development of Mosman and most of the harbourside suburbs was about the major roads, which adhered to the crest, because of horse-drawn vehicles and so on. By the time the post war period came along most of the land – the houses at any rate, on the crest had been taken up so that the development began to increase quite dramatically down into the valleys and towards the harbourside. It also meant that with the greater demand for building space within the municipality, there was a great deal of subdivision on what had previously been quite handsome properties, as far as the area is concerned.

    In many cases, this meant the demolition of very fine gardens, which was a great pity. It also meant that we took a particular interest – perhaps ahead of most of the Sydney Councils in the remaining trees in the area. If I might jump ahead a bit, there was a time when the early town planning provisions, based on the English ones, made it possible for Councils to consider placing two preservation orders on trees within the municipality, on public property and on private. I remember making the first move in the Council to have the Council take advantage of this, and got no support whatever. In fact, many members of the Council were quite horrified that there should be any thought of restraining anybody from doing what he wished on his own land. So there was no support for that at all.

    At a later stage, came the Council’s own development of the Chinaman’s Beach area, and here, I thought was an opportunity for us to apply that provision. Again, the Council was not interested, and yet within very few years after that, almost every Council round about Sydney had applied that clause in the Act.

    Shirley Page. Were you in Council when the tree preservation order came in?

    Alan Gamble. Do I recall when it was? No, I’m afraid I don’t, but it certainly was quite some time before it was generally applied. It came in, in fact, nominally with the Cumberland County Council. It was then that the provisions of the British Act were incorporated in the local conditions, but there were lots of other provisions that weren’t immediately applied, because we had not at that time become attuned to the idea of corporate decisions of that sort. Anyway, it is a fact, as we all know, that it is really of considerable significance now, not only in Mosman, but elsewhere.

    Alan Gamble. But another important step that reflected the changes in the character of Mosman, of course, came when there was a demand for more flat buildings. It was, I think, in 1937, if I recall rightly, that there had been a zoning of Mosman to provide for flat areas in certain cases. Because of the fact that some flats had been built prior to that, there were what we called non-conforming flat buildings in places that where formally the plan said that there should be no flats. But then we devised a scheme, because of the demand for bigger and bigger flats, we devised a scheme, which limited the high-rise buildings to the ridges, and there was a great deal of controversy about this. It happened, although we did provide in our initial interim plan that there could be quite tall buildings, because of stricter regulations required – fire regulations and lift provisions – what did happen in fact, was that very few buildings went beyond eight floors, because once you got beyond eight floors then the requirement became much more strict and more costly. So that, whereas, we had provided theoretically, for quite high buildings on the ridges, they tended to be limited to eight floors. We did devise a scheme also for providing – even though they occurred on the ridges they didn’t occur in a continuous stream. There were areas set aside for high-rise on the main roads, but not going beyond the block of two, then they jumped to the other side of the road, so they didn’t have a concentration of sort of canyons of flat developments.

    Shirley Page. You talked a bit about Chinaman’s Beach and the way it has developed. Can you give me an idea of what it was like before it was developed and how you remember it?

    Alan Gamble. I’m not sure that I can actually remember the Chinese working in the market gardens there, but that’s, of course, how it came by its name. It is now an extremely attractive area, but there were some quite unpleasant swampy areas in the middle of the land, and it was when the Council took over two quite large estates there that it was able to give thought to the development of the whole area, and there was a good deal of earthworks undertaken by the Council. The actual reforming of the contours of land, and in my view it was done very nicely by the engineer at the time. It has, as most people know, a very attractive quality now, and the actual subdivision was done in quite an imaginative way, so it was a fortunate thing.

    There was quite a bit of opposition to the Council’s acquisition of it. There was a bit of land that was landlocked and it couldn’t have been developed without Council being involved, but it was a fortunate thing that there were two major estates there that Council were able to take over. And incidentally, there was a value put on one of the blocks of land, the largest one there, of about two thousand pounds, and this was perhaps the most expensive block of land that anybody had ever heard about in Mosman. (laughter) I shouldn’t guess at that because that could be ascertained quite clearly, I guess.

    Could I just say a word or two about the Mosman Art Prize? This came about in, I think, 1946, at the suggestion, first of Keith Cowlishaw, the then Mayor who proposed that the Council should set aside each year a certain sum of money to purchase works of art. He was quite a collector himself. I made an additional suggestion that instead of simply purchasing pictures we should conduct a competition and award prizes, but retain the prize winning pictures, and so that was the start of the Mosman Art Prize.

    I think we handled it rather well from the beginning because at that time there were few artists certainly, working professionally, but we did get an immediate response from very well established people, and the manner in which we conducted it over a period of years was such that we continued to get the support from the very good artists. This was evidenced by the fact that on occasion we would find that artists had marked the selling price of their pictures at much higher figures than the actual prize money, which demonstrated that they regarded the Mosman prize as something worthwhile. It was, indeed, the first – perhaps not the first – of the municipal art prizes. I should say that the Albury Council in the same year as the Mosman Art Prize was established, conducted a similar competition just a bit ahead of us so that we weren’t strictly the first. But as far as I’m aware the Albury Council did not continue with its competition, but Mosman has continued, I think, with a lapse of only one year ever since that time.

    Audrey Lenning, Patricia Harris & Beryl Randall

    Interviewed by Donna Braye on 1 November 2000

    Donna Braye. Perhaps you could say something about the Bradley sisters and how they….

    Audrey Lenning. …..yes, well they moved to Mosman in the late 1940s from Neutral Bay and they lived in Iluka Road which adjoined Ashton Park overlooking Taylor Bay, and they used to take their dog for a walk twice a day – one sister in the morning and the other in the afternoon, and sometimes Stuart Graham who was another founding member went with them. All being interested in gardening – at the entrance to Ashton Park they would occasionally pull out the odd weed, and then they noticed that where they’d been pulling out weeds, native plants were coming in and taking their place, and they thought – aaah! So they started getting serious about this and so they were more or less weeding twice a day for however long it took to walk the dog. This was the start of their interest in bush regeneration.

    Beryl Randall. Was it not that birds were disappearing that really alerted them to the fact that the native habitat was disappearing. Was not that their original…..

    Audrey Lenning. …..their original interest when they came to Iluka Road was in the bird life and particularly the superb blue wren.

    Donna Braye. Is that why at the bottom of the brochure, it says, ‘And it’s all because of the significant blue wren’.

    Beryl Randall. Blue wrens were there but they were fast disappearing because the food blue wrens eat was not there. I’ve just recently been down to Mosman1 and there were lots of blue wrens in the bush up there, and we don’t see them in Sydney anymore.

    Patricia Harris. When did they start doing bush clearing in Ashton Park?

    Audrey Lenning. Round about 1966/7, June and I used to go for a morning walk with whoever was walking the dog, because my daughter went to the kindergarten next door to them, and I’d drop her off there and go into the Bradley’s and walk round with them. So it began as early as that, and then Mosman Parks and the Ashton Park Association decided on Saturday day mornings they’d have weeding bees. So we started off on Saturday mornings weeding. In the course of doing that, it was possibly Joan who said, ‘You know this a rather negative thing’. We had weeders at work and people would come along and ask what we were doing, and wherever we went we put this wooden board up. We talked about it – we were doing something positive, we’re trying to re-establish the native bush. What would we call that, we’re not weeders, so one Saturday morning while we were having a break we came up with this term, ‘regenerating’. So we altered it to read as ‘Bush Regenerators’.

    1 Beryl meant to say Narooma.

    Barbara Williams

    Interviewed by Gerald Christmas on 10 May 2006
    Subject: ,

    Barbara Williams. On another page there is something about the Garden School, which was my first school because we lived just around the corner. It was run by the Theosophical Society – a very unusual school – it was of course a kindergarten and classes were out in the garden – my mother thought it was good for my health to be outdoors. Every morning at assembly we had to think a beautiful thought, as a small child this worried me. I said something about the roses in the garden and the Principal Miss McDonald, and I remember Miss Arnold as well – said, ‘that’s wonderful Barbara’ because I was only five or six, so I stuck to roses (laughs) at kindergarten.

    Every morning at assembly music from the Lohengrin Opera was played every morning because they believed that if you prayed or thought hard enough some knight in shining armour would come and fight your battles for you – anyway something would settle your problems. I think this made me fond of music and opera – I loved the music and I still do. We also had a lot of eurhythmics and marching – dancing outside, but it was a very cold, damp building and if it wasn’t a fine day being inside was very dark and dreary.

    Barbara Williams

    Interviewed by Gerald Christmas on 10 May 2006
    Subject: ,

    Barbara Williams. I remember going to that theatre – the one for the coming of Christ. The man who ran The Tivoli had something to do with it.

    Gerald Christmas. Do you remember shows at the Amphitheatre?

    Barbara Williams. There were comedy shows and ballet.

    Gerald Christmas. Was this open to the public?

    Barbara Williams. Oh yes, and everybody took cushions and rugs. A private bus took people to the Amphitheatre. At the age of seven I thought the shows were marvelous.

    Gerald Christmas. Where did you sit, at the back or the front?

    Barbara Williams. (short passage unclear) there was a little cavern that we went to at Edwards Beach with our rugs and cushions. Only in the summer I think. I was delighted with the coloured costumes and the music.

    Gerald Christmas. Do you remember when the flats were built there?

    Barbara Williams. No, I was overseas then. After it finished as an Amphitheatre I think it became a health resort, people were buried in the sand all over the place, just heads popping up, it was supposed to be good for arthritis or something.

    Gerald Christmas. I see, so being buried in the wet sand was good for you.

    Barbara Williams. Yes, it was a forerunner to a Health Club.

    Gerald Christmas. Was this an idea of the Theosophical Society?

    Barbara Williams. I don’t think so, the Amphitheatre was still there, and on the ground floor you could see exercise places.

    Barbara Williams

    Interviewed by Gerald Christmas on 10 May 2006

    Barbara Williams. I remember walking to the Spit with my mother we’d go down Parriwi Road to Ferguson’s boatshed in the afternoon where there was a fisherman named Bob and he used to keep his fish in crates so you could pick out which fish you liked and that’s the only way my mother would buy fish. I think it’s still called Ferguson’s boatshed.

    Bertha Blackman

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 15 July 2002
    Subject: ,

    Eve Klein. So we’re talking about 1922/24. What sort of childhood did you have?

    Bertha Blackman. It was happy because there were so many children. Esther Road had big holes of black dirt and even a horse and cart had to find its way to bring the bread and the milk. You couldn’t drive a car over that road. Later on the Council cleared it and made a good road. It’s all in this book; I’ll show you what it was like. We knew everybody all the way up that street and up Raglan Street and we were in the first house in Esther Road. On the opposite corner in Raglan Street was a vacant block of land and they built a big shop which is now the fish shop.

    My middle brother became a butcher, he did his apprenticeship at Pistola’s when he left school and he married the girl that lived at the back of us, Joan Everett. They were children at school together. So he had that corner place as a butcher shop. Next to that are flats and Major Cousins – a very lovely gentleman he was a POW in Japan.

    Next to that was The Astor that had a dance hall on the top and I had my 21st birthday there. Next was a little weatherboard place, Castray was the name of the lady, Jacky Castray was the boy, then there was the drain, then there was a shop, then there was Happy Land picnicking ground and that was owned in the first place by Backcoller and they owned the big shop on the corner.

    People took it over and called it Braemar and I had my wedding reception in Braemar. All round the edge of the park were little alcoves with tables so people could come straight off the wharf and you could have your picnic, and Happy Land dance hall was a big weather board place and it was at the back.

    Eve Klein. Were dances on every Saturday night?

    Bertha Blackman. They had all kinds of affairs there.

    Bertha Blackman

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 15 July 2002

    Eve Klein. Where did they go fishing?

    Bertha Blackman. Down at Balmoral where the Peggy’s Rocks are .. well the Peggy’s Rocks had big slits in them, so you dropped a piece of meat down on string, you had your net ready, and that’s how you caught the lobsters, because we could get lobsters then. We could get anything; I can tell you, all the fish, the naniguys and the bream, the Taylor etc.

    Eve Klein. Were you able to eat it during the week?

    Bertha Blackman. They were always catching fish and they’d bring it home, and they even caught blue crabs off the wharf with a bit of meat on a piece of string.

    We had to pay tuppence to go to the baths – one side near the wharf was for the ladies and the other side was for the men, and you couldn’t swim in the men’s one until the bell rang after lunch, and then the ladies could go in with the men, but you weren’t allowed to go in with the men until then because they only had black v’s on here. (laughs)

    Bertha Blackman

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 15 July 2002

    Bertha Blackman. Mr Butterfield lived in The Sunshine Club opposite Joel’s boat shed, the Council built that for the poor children of Sydney that came from Balmain and the other working class areas. They brought those children over once a week on the ferry for a day out and gave them lunch and sweets and then they’d take them back home.

    There were a couple that came from England on the way out – he’d been a soldier in the war, and she had a little baby boy while he was away and it died, so they were on their way to Australia when the Depression struck. They were expecting a baby and what bit of money they had they lost.

    They asked St Clements Church for help and they set them up in the center of the Sunshine Club which had a huge room that was the kitchen, they closed in one side and the ladies from St Clements Church got a cot for the baby and a bed for the mum and dad. They could use the kitchen and they would come across to the boatshed for milk and bread, which is how they knew me.

    Beryl Daley.

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 15th April 2002

    Beryl Daley. Yes, well Hitler was moving across Europe, and every day we would come in and have to check what country had fallen overnight to the Nazis, and cut our cloth accordingly. I didn’t go straight into that job, I was put into a typing pool at first, and then, of course, some of the women in charge recognized my shorthand skills and so in no time I was doing the minutes for Lord Lloyd himself. It is very interesting reading about it at this distance now.

    For the full interview click here.

    Beryl Daley.

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 15th April 2002

    Eve Klein. So you were nursing, and how did you become involved with the American side of things.

    Beryl Daley. Suddenly I had a letter from Australia House, and they were looking for escorts for a shipload of children. They’d finally succumbed to the demand for – of course, Australia, Canada, South Africa – all saying: ‘Let us take the children’ because London was being badly blitzed by this time.

    I had this letter from Australia House, they were looking for people with the qualifications I had – nursing primarily, I suppose amongst them –for the Ambulance, and I was getting cables all this time from home. I’d get a cable one day, because our shipping was being sunk in the Atlantic, and I’d get a cable from home: ‘Catch the first ship’, and then the next day I’d get another one: ‘Stay where you are, it’s safer on the land than on the sea’ – you know, this kind of tripe. Australia House was looking for people with my qualifications, which I had by this time, and I had teaching experience too. They were looking for escorts just like me to bring this first shipment over. So we sailed in June 1940 in the Polish vessel The Batory had escaped from Gdynia Harbour in Poland and had dodged the Germans in the North Sea, and like everything else, any aircraft that came from Europe, any pregnant women that came from Europe England was just a mass of refugees. It was an exciting time.

    For the full interview click here.

    Beryl Daley.

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 15th April 2002

    Beryl Daley. We were 11 and a half weeks zig-zagging across the oceans of the world, because we zig-zagged. We left in convoy and the convoy went from Liverpool halfway across the Atlantic, and the biggest portion went on to the North American continent, and then we turned down mid-Atlantic, zig zagging all the way, especially after the Naval convoy had left us, you see. We came into the African Coast, Sierra Leone – I can remember the place – anyway, just for water, I imagine. We went out to the mid-Atlantic again and came down into Cape Town. We were 13 and half weeks getting to Australia.

    For the full interview click here.

    Betty Alexander

    Interviewed by Brian Leckey on 6 February 1992

    Betty Alexander. …the war had finished. During that time, you got mixed up with charities. You were always doing something for somebody, but it was a very awful time actually, because – well then I got a temporary job at the Zoo, because I had to come back nearer to home. That had an interesting aspect. I had to write the certificates and post them out for the giraffe that had to have tea rations. You wouldn’t believe it, but the animals there – the orangutans had to have a rice ration, and they all had to have their little certificate things to get their rations.

    Betty Alexander

    Interviewed by Brian Leckey on 6 February 1992
    Subject: ,

    Betty Alexander. I don’t know if the Council owned that house; I suppose they must have, or rented it. It was a very strange place on the corner there.

    Brian Leckey. I can only vaguely remember it.

    Betty Alexander. Yes, I can only vaguely remember going in there and nearly breaking my neck on the stairs.

    Brian Leckey. I remember a big flight of stairs in the two-storied building.

    Betty Alexander. Yes, you went up, on this shaky wooden floor bit, up on the top. I can’t remember too, but I think I gave up going there. And they were all in there with their blue and white uniforms. Ginghams they were. She was a great girl for the uniforms. Anyhow, there was all this hoo haa about ‘Boronia’, and Mrs Godwin owned Boronia. Now Boronia was a lovely place. I don’t know whether you’d remember it.

    Brian Leckey. I do.

    Betty Alexander. It had a lovely big tennis court at the back.

    Brian Leckey. It had massive camphor laurel trees along the front.

    Betty Alexander. Yes, it was a lovely home, and of course, when you bought it, you bought the ghosts too. There was a ghost that was supposed to be walking around; but it had a lovely matt-rose window, as you went in the front door – it was a charmer, and the people that came out for bridal photos – mannequins. You’d go to work and you’d never know – the Children’s Library would be full of damsels changing, and then they’d go out to the front veranda and pose, just so, and that was always a very interesting aspect, but it was a very beautiful building. However, it was very bad for a library in a way. I don’t think the Council were very thoughtful about – that it was a complete women’s outfit. My job involved filling the kerosene heaters, and I thought that was a bit poor. They were quite heavy to lift in and out, however, it was that or shiver.

    Betty Alexander

    Interviewed by Brian Leckey on 6 February 1992
    Subject: ,

    Brian Leckey. You mentioned last week something about Godwin’s ghost . Can you tell me about Godwin’s ghost?

    Betty Alexander. Not very much, never having personally met he or she, but there was this great theory that ‘round about New Year time, or midnight, Mrs Godwin’s ghost did a little walk of the building. There were ample, lovely verandas there in the front for it to appear, but very seldom could you get anyone to stay in at closing time. Everyone was very sure that they weren’t the last one in the building, and very hurriedly got out. Whether Mrs Godwin’s ghost was ever met by anyone, I don’t know, but it had plenty going for it.

    Brian Leckey. What was the problem with the ghost? Did it cause creaky floors or doors?

    Betty Alexander. Well, every time you heard anything, someone would say: ‘Mrs Godwin’s ghost’. I don’t know who would know the origin – except these things grow and start from nothing.

    Brian Leckey. Were there any other incidents involving Boronia that you remember?

    Betty Alexander. Well, there was a very funny incident when they decided to make a film called The Purple Jacaranda. They wanted it done over the weekend, so they arrived and they wanted the librarians, but their idea of the librarians was that everyone had to have a bun on the back of the neck and spectacles to give the impression of a librarian. Well, that was their impression. They had drapes up at the windows – these purple curtains made of net. I think it may have been called The Purple Jacaranda because there was a jacaranda tree out at the side. For some reason they had to have a black cat in it. So they all arrived – black cat and all, and the library was closed, so they must have had special permission. Everyone was fluttering around and the ones who were on the desk had to feature spectacles and their hair back in a bun on the neck, looking very much the old time librarian. Anyhow, it went on for quite some time and it was suitably filmed; it took two days to film – Saturday and Sunday. I think when it finally went to air it only lasted a couple of showings, and was then relegated to the attic. It was not successful at all. But the major thing that they did was to leave the cat behind.

    Betty Alexander

    Interviewed by Brian Leckey on 6 February 1992
    Subject: ,

    Brian Leckey. What do you think have been the greatest changes in Mosman in the long time that you’ve been here?

    Betty Alexander. Well for the worst, the traffic. It has completely ruined Mosman. When we first came to Mosman many years ago we were very impressed with the old people and the old dogs that used to wander across from Spit Junction. You could go zigzag, cross-ways – it didn’t matter, you could have a little chat in the middle of the road, and it was very pleasant. Nobody hurried. Speed had never been heard of in Mosman. Its layout lent itself to a garden suburb, which it isn’t now.

    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.

    Betty Kennard

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 5 March 2001
    Subject: ,

    Betty Kennard. Yes it was. We were quite comfortable, we had help in the house and for some of the time we had a car. That was before The Depression. There were other children around and we played things like marbles, and all those usual childish things. We played with hoops, and we could walk all the way to my grandmother’s still bowling the same hoop. That was to Redan Street across Military Road. I remember a camp stand at the top of Prince Albert Street, I don’t know for how long, and I can’t remember ever going in it. I suppose other people have told you about the men coming round calling: ‘clothes prop’.

    Eve Klein. No, can you tell us something about that?

    Betty Kennard. They were itinerant salesmen, and the man would go along the street, calling ‘clothes prop’, and he had these long stakes that people used for clothes props.

    Eve Klein. Did your mother buy from them?

    Betty Kennard. I don’t remember her buying from them. She probably offered them a cup of tea if they came to the door.

    Betty Kennard

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 5 March 2001

    Eve Klein. What other deprivations do you recall?

    Betty Kennard. We lived in a small house in ‘The Grove’, only two bedrooms, and my mother didn’t have a washing machine, though I don’t suppose anyone did in those days, and we didn’t have a refrigerator, we had an ice chest. My father was quite inventive, he made a big netted basket which fitted into the copper and rigged it up with a pulley to lift the washing out of the copper, and it ran along to the tub, and put hot washing into the tub where it was rinsed.

    Betty Kennard

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 5th March 2001

    Betty Kennard. Interviewed by Eve Klein 5th March 2001

    Subjects:, First World War , Work

    Eve Klein: In which way did you spend the weekend?

    Betty Kennard. We swam quite a lot. We belonged to the Balmoral Beach Club from early on, and on a hot evening, sometimes my mother would pack up an evening meal and we’d go down in the late afternoon, and my father would join us and we’d have a swim and have our meal at the beach club on an outside table. That was very pleasant.

    Eve Klein. How does Balmoral compare with now?

    Betty Kennard. There were still a few sand hills. I think I remember it being built, but that would be when I was very young. We used to go for a swim with my grandmother, and we could go from Redan Street in the tram.

    Eve Klein. Can you give me an impression of your grandmother?

    Betty Kennard. She’d had a big family and the family still lived in this old family home in Redan Street and my grandfather died – I don’t remember very much about him, just a quiet little white haired man. I think he was very old. I had four aunts who didn’t marry, and I think because they were young at the time of the First World War when so many men didn’t return, is the reason why there were so many unmarried women. Some of them were very enterprising ladies. One was a business lady. It was she who persuaded my father to come back to Sydney. The oldest one was a great Anglophile and went to England during the First World War to be of help. She was a masseur and she worked in hospitals, and after she came back she was instrumental in starting the School of Physiotherapy in Sydney.

    She did great battle to get this going and to get it recognized with doctors who didn’t think much of Physios. She was also very interested in travel and she spent a lot of time in London. She worked for a travel firm called Pitfords, and I suppose she was the forerunner of tour guides because she used to take people on trips around the continent. Sometimes she came back and lived in the old home, but sometimes she lived independently.

    Eve Klein. And they all lived in Mosman did they? Was their name Kennard too?

    Betty Kennard. No, they were Armstrongs; these are my father’s sisters. The boys married and there were 10 grandchildren. But these four sisters didn’t marry, so that was the oldest one, aunty Eadie who started the Physio School. Aunty Lot was the business woman. Aunty Nell worked in the Department of Public Health; she didn’t branch out, or do anything so ambitious. But the youngest one, aunty Glad went to New Zealand to do a University course in Domestic Science, which she did at Otago University because that was the only University that had a Domestic course. She worked for big firms, as a welfare officer, for Anthony Horderns, and she worked at Hordern Bros. and she did catering on a large scale for their dances and balls.

    Betty Kennard

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 5th March 2001

    Eve Klein. After you worked at the Commonwealth Bank, what made you leave?

    Betty Kennard. I left to get married. If you were married you automatically left, you weren’t employed anymore if you got married. I didn’t mind that.

    Eve Klein. Was your husband also a Mosman person?

    Betty Kennard. No.

    Eve Klein. Did you continue to live in Mosman?

    Betty Kennard. Yes we did. For the first eight months we were in a rented house in Parriwi Road, a house that belonged to people who had gone to England. I would look across to the other side of Chinaman’s Beach and see how sunny and warm it looked, because Parriwi Road. lost the sun at lunchtime. We then rented a little two bedroom house in Hopetoun Avenue where we lived for 15 years. We lived there for so long because of the Second World War, and we weren’t able to build the house we wanted to build, to have more accommodation for our four children.

    Eve Klein. What did your husband do?

    Betty Kennard. He’d previously spent many years in the country, in the bush. He was English, but his brothers had started a wholesale, hardware business and wanted his bookkeeping experience and his little bit of capital for their business, so he came back to Sydney. They were building up that business when we got married, and that went on for a good many years.

    Eve Klein. What was life like for you as a young married person?

    Betty Kennard. I was a very privileged person I think. I thought I needed help when I had one baby, and I did have help. My husband had a car that he used for work, it wasn’t available for me to use, but I played tennis with friends. I was a very conscientious mother taking the babies to the clinic like we did. There were lots of young mothers with young children around where we lived, so I enjoyed their company, and I had a very pleasant life, but then the war came.

    Eve Klein. We’re talking now about 1939.

    Betty Kennard. My eldest child was born in 1938.

    Eve Klein. What was it like when war broke out?

    Betty Kennard. My other son was born in 1940 when things were very different and the war was going very badly. It was a terrible time. One week France would fall, the next week it would be Norway. Britain was being bombed, and then there was Dunkirk. It was a time of great trial and uncertainty for our country.

    Eve Klein. Was your husband affected by the Second World War?

    Betty Kennard. No, because he was 15 years older than me, and he was too old to be in the army, but he was in the Police Reserve. We didn’t use the car much because we didn’t have petrol. He had a motorbike and those were the days of the black out, and he’d get around on this motorbike with a very dim light. If we went out at night, I’d be on the back of the motorbike because we didn’t have the petrol, and I didn’t have the help I was used to having, and of course we had food rationing, and life got much harder. But we weren’t really deprived. Our food and clothing coupons were always quite adequate for my needs.

    Betty Kennard

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 5th March 2001

    Betty Kennard. We built our own home only four doors from where we had rented. That was after the war. We had to wait until the restrictions were lifted to allow us to build a house big enough for a family of six. It was a very difficult time to build because materials were hard to get. My husband would watch the paper – we did get some face bricks, but then he’d see some second-hand bricks advertised, which would be bought and had to be cleaned. Some friend was able to come up with a bit of timber, some friend had a stove that he’d bought before the war –everything was very hard to come by, and workmen were very independent. At one time my husband was working on the stone work on the land where the builders were building the house, and he came home, and he said: ‘I’ve been sacked. The work-men think they’re being spied on’. They wouldn’t have him working there. It took a year to build the house.

    Betty McGlinchy

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 13 August 2000

    Eve Klein. Talking about wartime, is there anything that stands out in your mind during that time? You’re now what age?

    Betty McGlinchy. I’ve just turned 72. I was 11 when the War broke out. I did the Leaving in 1945, so I was at school all through, of course. It didn’t make any difference at school really.

    Eve Klein. Were they all women teachers?

    Betty McGlinchy. Yes, an all girls’ school, and all women teachers, we didn’t have any men. The only man we had was a handy man; I’ve forgotten his name, but I remember Doogle the dog. We had air –raid – oh yes, it was quite funny. We always had trenches and things like that. Every now and then we had the air-raid drill thing, and we all had to rush and crouch in the trenches and just hope it hadn’t been raining. The boarders were in a room under the double storied classrooms. They were worried about the boarders of course, but we were just in the open trenches. We had to have a dilly-bag thing that we wore over our shoulders and we had it with us all the time. We had to have it beside us in the classroom. When we played tennis, and when we changed ends, we had to carry it from one end to the other.

    Eve Klein. What about when coming home. Did you also carry that home?

    Betty McGlinchy. Not when you went out, or anything private, it was just in the school you did. In it, you had a little bit of chocolate and two shillings and things to put in your ears etc. Miss Wilson, the headmistress discovered once that I’d spent my two shillings and eaten my chocolate, so every now and then she’d come round the playground at lunch time, and she’d say: ‘Now Betty let me have a look at your air-raid bag’, and it would be gone again.

    Eve Klein. What else was in that air-raid bag?

    Betty McGlinchy. I mainly remember the chocolate and that. When it had happened several times mum just replaced it. Mum didn’t mind, I suppose she’d have done the same thing. Anyhow the last thing was – when we were thinking we were going to be – you know people were evacuating from the Japanese – we were going to be invaded. She said: ‘Betty you are going to be in a lot of trouble if you don’t have any money on you, because if the Japanese invade us, you won’t have any money to get on the tram to go home’. That amused me no end.

    Betty McGlinchy

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 13 August 2000
    Subject: ,

    Eve Klein. Where were you shopping then?

    Betty McGlinchy. In Mosman Junction.

    Eve Klein. At Mosman Junction, which is Spit Junction…?

    Betty McGlinchy. ….no, no not Spit Junction.

    Eve Klein. Down the other end near Raglan Street?

    Betty McGlinchy. Redan Street runs parallel to Military Road at Mosman. A big hill.

    Eve Klein. What sort of shops did you have there?

    Betty McGlinchy. I remember Moran & Cato’s were the grocer shop, and their specialty was three penny paper bags of broken biscuits. We had cake shops that had ordinary cakes. Jam and cream sponge was a shilling, and a cup cake was a penny.

    Eve Klein. Could you get almost everything in the one center?

    Betty McGlinchy. Everything was delivered. No, there were no supermarkets.

    Eve Klein. In that one area? You didn’t have to go to North Sydney for anything? And when you say they were delivered, how did your mother do this?

    Betty McGlinchy. Once a week on Saturday mornings, the Virgonas the fruit shop – a well known family in Mosman – to do with the Orpheum originally, they delivered the fruit and vegetables. My mother once complained they were charging her for apples and oranges that was more than she’d noticed they were at Spit Junction. He said: ‘But Mrs. Souter you have to realize this is Mosman – that’s Spit Junction’. Snobbery was rife.

    Betty McGlinchy

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 13 August 2000

    Betty McGlinchy. Not really no. Redan Street was fairly quiet. During the War the tanks and the army lorries used to come trundling along the street and we’d all rush out to have a look.

    Eve Klein. Going where?

    Betty McGlinchy. I don’t know. Going to Georges Heights to somewhere. They wouldn’t tell you.

    Eve Klein. Not to Balmoral base there?

    Betty McGlinchy. No, they could have gone down Raglan Street there was no need to go along there. I don’t know what they were doing. If you’d have asked they wouldn’t have told you, it was all secret. Everything was secret. Any movements like that – well it was just happening but you didn’t ask. The beaches were a mass of big chunks of concrete and barbed wire, but to sort of go down to the beach you just walked around it.

    Betty McGlinchy

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 13 August 2000
    Subject: ,

    Betty McGlinchy. My main social life was around the Mosman Musical Society. I started doing ballet as soon as we hit Sydney.

    Eve Klein. Where did you do ballet?

    Betty McGlinchy. Mavis Sykes in Mosman. And from the age of five or six, I didn’t stop doing the shows until I was 37. I had a break while I was at school because I got sick of it all. Got sick of the exams and everything else, and from about 14 to 18, I wasn’t doing it, but for the rest of my life I was doing ballet.

    Eve Klein. So what were you doing for the Mosman Musical Society?

    Betty McGlinchy. The ballets. It started up again after the War, about the middle of 1946. I ran into one of the girls on the train that I used to go to ballet with, and she said they were starting a Mosman Musical Society; Mavis Sykes was looking for people who had done ballet. They wanted ballets, we did you know, the old ones, ‘Oklahoma’, and ‘Paint your Wagon’, etc. We used to do the ballets. But I was also doing classical ballet. I did Royal Academy exams. I did the Advanced; I didn’t do the solo, that was as far as you can go. But I also taught ballet for Mavis Sykes for a few years

    Bob Moylan

    Interviewed by Rosemary Christmas on 5 February 2001

    Bob Moylan. The Mosman Musical Society had been going since 1900, and that was in 1935, and they did wonderful shows. Three a year, and they had an Australia-wide reputation because a lot of their artists went to J.C. Williamson’s and Leo Packer, and Molly Brown, and a lot of lovely people that got into The Firm and they worked professionally in J.C. Williamson’s shows.

    One little girl –I can’t remember her name, but her brother was in the Air Force, and she was in a show called The Girlfriend, and that was at the Theatre Royal in 1942. I was on leave and I took my father to see this show. Marie Ryan her name was – a lovely artist. She was picked from the Mosman Musical Society’s chorus to go into J.C. Williamson and play the lead in The Girlfriend. Not many people know that.

    The show I started off with was Hit the Deck, a British musical based on the Royal Navy, and we had to be sailors in the show. A friend of mine Bill Cross, he joined the Air Force the same time as me, and he went to England and unfortunately he was shot down over Germany at the age of 23 in 1943. He was one of my many friends that lost his life through the war. Bill and I were in Hit the Deck, The Student Prince, The Desert Song – wonderful shows.

    Mosman Musical Society was a wonderful society because they went from 1900 until – well in 1941 they finished playing at the Orpheum Theatre because most of the chaps had joined the services, and there was nobody left there to…..

    Rosemary Christmas. it didn’t continue during the war years?

    Bob Moylan. No, it didn’t continue during the war, but the girls joined concert parties and then went out and played at different camps – the army, navy and the air force bases, and did shows. After the war it got going again. Bill Bergstrom and myself and Mavis Sykes, who was the ballet mistress – a well-known name. In this house now we’re making a broadcast about Mosman and the Society. They had a meeting and we got going. By October 1946 we had the Musical Society going again at Mosman Town Hall. We had no money to pay for the rent the first night, but the Council said we could pay later on. Anyhow, it was a big success; we played there for about two weeks, on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights for about two weeks. That was our first effort at re-establishing the Mosman Musical Society, because they closed during the war.

    Rosemary Christmas. What was your part in it?

    Bob Moylan. I was in the chorus. Much later on they gave me a character role, I loved doing character roles, and I played in different shows, like the General Birabeau and The Desert Song, and The Student Prince, and I was in the chorus. There was a part I would love to have played, it was Tony the waiter, but I was a bit too big for the part – a friend of mine did it, because he was much smaller and I helped to tutor him in the part, because it needed a lot of pathos and understanding. It was only a small part, but it meant a lot in that beautiful show, The Student Prince.

    Rosemary Christmas. Yes, there’s quite a lot of interest in the old musicals, they should all be available for people to see.

    Bob Moylan. The Mosman Society is still going, but because with no Town Hall, they have to play at the Mosman RSL. They’ve been very good. On the first floor they’ve got an auditorium, they put up a bit of a temporary stage, and recently I saw a show they did – very good – very well – The Boyfriend. I played in that at the Orpheum Theatre with a different company after the war, with Bill and Fay Donaldson, they were both associated with J.C. Williamson, but they did a lot of amateur work too, helping different ventures in Mosman.

    The show I was very happy to be associated with was Lindsay Bird’s production of The King and I. It was the first production in Australasia, in the Cremorne Orpheum Theatre – the Sydney Light Opera Company – Mary Cullen and Russell Smith, and Betty Cheal – a wonderful cast. I was in the show but I’m not taking any credit for that, I very happily played Sir Edward Ramsey, the British Ambassador. I’ll always remember it – beautifully done. On the opening night they had – J.C.W and an entrepreneur from Sydney interested in the show and they remarked on how well it was done, because it was played in a very fine theatre, the Orpheum. There was a professional orchestra with about 15 or 16 in it.

    It cost us quite a bit of money to put it on, but we did that show for the Mosman Private Hospital – it was called All Saints Hospital in those days, it is now the Mosman Private Hospital in Ellamatta Avenue I think.

    Bob Moylan

    Interviewed by Rosemary Christmas on 5 February 2001

    I started work in 1931 shipping newspapers, I was 15 then and getting 15 shillings a week, and I managed on that and with that I was able to give my mum and dad something, and go to the pictures, which was at the Southern Cross Theatre in Neutral Bay, or the Kinema Theatre in Mosman for a shilling on a Saturday night in the front stalls, or if you took a girlfriend you might spent 1/3 or 1/6d and something to buy a chocolate. The fare into town on a tram and a ferry was only 2/6d a week.

    Brian Woolley

    Interviewed by Sandra Blamey on 16 May 2001

    Sandra Blamey. Did you fish?

    Brian Woolley. No. I was never a fisherman person. None of us seemed to do that really. The main thing was our billy-carts and push-bikes.

    Sandra Blamey. A home-made billy-cart?

    Brian Woolley. Yes. It was made out of a box, a couple of wheels and we were always repairing it. We used to race down the roads – never had to worry about traffic – they had to get out of our way when we were coming down. On our push-bikes, quite often a group of us would go up to the corner of Medusa Street and Spit Road., and we’d race down Spit Road and as we got round the first corner we were going that fast we had to take our feet off the pedals. The main aim was to see how close to the middle of the old Spit Bridge we could get to before we had to start pedaling again. We would quite often put our feet on the long side of the tram and get a free ride up to the top. It was the ones that had a foot-rail along the side of it, and the conductor would walk up and down, and sometimes he’d come down and look at us and warn us and say that if we fell off it was our fault. We’d then either go home, or we’d have another race.

    Brian Woolley

    Interviewed by Sandra Blamey on 16 May 2001

    Sandra Blamey. Do you remember the war years here?

    Brian Woolley. Yes, I remember the war years in Beauty Point, because all the street lights had guards on them. The light would only be reflected on to the road, so it couldn’t be seen from a plane. All the cars had headlight guards on them. You had to have your windows masked by tape, so if they were broken they wouldn’t shatter and a lot of places had to have air-raid shelters in their backyard. You always had to have alternative power in case there was a blackout – that or gas, or something like that.

    Sandra Blamey. What did you have?

    Brian Woolley. We had electricity, so my parents organised a battery section of lights so that if they went out we would always have light. We weren’t worried about food, because you could always have tinned food or something like that. Because it was a two-storey house – underneath the back part there another small light and a low room – that was considered enough for us to be using as an air-raid shelter if we needed to do anything.

    The neighbours across the road had an air-raid shelter built into their lawn, so that was always there if you needed it. Around 11 o’clock all the street lights went out and they didn’t come on until the next night, so they didn’t go for 24 hours a day. Wardens would often come round to check up on you, and they were there in case any help was needed.

    Brian Woolley

    Interviewed by Sandra Blamey on 16 May 2001

    Brian Woolley. During the war-times when a lot of volunteers went into the city to do the camouflage nets, I had about 50 or so of these big Huntsmen spiders, and I used to keep them in little jars, and periodically I’d let one out into my mother’s cooking bowl and I’d grab the web and wind it on to a cotton reel. When I’d got a number of these cotton reels, and when mother was going into the place with the netting, we’d take that in, and that was my effort for the war, because they used that spider web for putting across the lenses, because it was very fine, strong and sticky, and they could put it across the lenses for the weapons and all the rest of it. So that was my war effort.

    Sandra Blamey. Is that right?

    Brian Woolley. One time, for some reason or other half a dozen of these spiders got out of their jars, and she said that for the next month, every time she’d get up in morning and walk down, she’d hold her hand in front of her, because across the doors and the stairs were these spider webs, and these Huntsmen would be all building their webs all around the house. I don’t think I was very popular for that reason.

    Brian Woolley

    Interviewed by Sandra Blamey on 16 May 2001

    Brian Woolley. We use to go to the cinema.

    Sandra Blamey. Any memorable pictures that stick with you?

    Brian Woolley. Well, we saw so many; we used to go to a theatre where Mosman RSL is, we had permanent seats there every Saturday night. There was one at Spit Junction where we went every Friday night, and then the Rex Theatre where Country Road is – we used to go there every Wednesday.

    Brian Woolley

    Interviewed by Sandra Blamey on 16 May 2001

    Brian Woolley. I suppose we used to go to the Zoo, and we had rides on the elephants. They had big things on the top of them and you walked up on the elephant and you’d go for a walk around with the elephant. And they had little trains that as children you’d hop on, so we must have gone to the Zoo.

    Sandra Blamey. I suppose the children in the neighbourhood may have tried to sneak into the Zoo.

    Brian Woolley. I suppose they could have, because there was no security. 40 years ago when I went in, all you had to do was just walk through. We used to go through the side gates – not the main entrance gates – and walk down to the ferry.

    Sandra Blamey. You’ve got a connection with the Zoo now with your banana leaves.

    Brian Woolley. Yes, and also my sister some years ago, she sponsored me as a – scroll – is it a scroll? The animals that have become a bit extinct – anyway she sponsored me for that. I’ve renewed it this year and you get about four tickets, as a member.

    Bruce Cormack

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 4 December 2000

    Eve Klein. From your point of view, do you recall any deprivation at all, during that time?

    Bruce Cormack. No, absolutely none. It was a great time to be in Mosman, to be at school. I remember continually battling with my mother who would force me to wear old tan sandshoes to school when I knew a lot of kids there were privileged enough to go to school in bare feet, but I was never allowed to.

    Eve Klein. Why did they go to school in bare feet?

    Bruce Cormack. Times were tough. Mosman was far from being the overall affluent place that it is today. It was quite different. There were workers in the small workers’ cottages.

    Eve Klein. Do you remember rationing?

    Bruce Cormack. Oh, very much. I can remember being absolutely delighted when my brother was born towards the end of the war, because I knew very well that this meant more butter and more sugar and a couple of eggs. He was born at 6am in Mosman, and at 9am my mother was giving me the shopping instructions and first on the list was to go and sign up for the new ration coupons. Yes, I remember rationing very well.

    Bruce Cormack

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 4 December 2000

    Bruce Cormack. I spent a lot of time in the Mosman/Mosman. When we came back in 1942 – back to Mosman from Parkes, we were in Rickard Avenue, and there was a back gate and a track, and you could get from the back of our house straight down to Sirius Cove. Sirius Cove at low tide made a marvelous mini-golf course and between three of us we had one and half golf clubs and two balls. We played a lot of golf at Sirius Cove at low tide. We used the rocks, we used to fish, we’d walk around the rocks there. Unfortunately, we offered ourselves as shark bait – in hindsight – a little too often. We’d find floating logs of wood and you’d paddle them around the bays. We went through the old canoe phase, and we literally lived on the water, and we walked on the bush tracks. Bradleys Head and Ashton Park were our back yards, as much as our own back yards, and over the hill to Balmoral where we did our serious swimming. We usually walked over the hill down to Balmoral and hung on to the penny to get the tram back up the hill again. We were early inhabitants of the Bather’s Pavilion when it was indeed the Bather’s Pavilion.

    Bruce Cormack

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 4 December 2000
    Subject: ,

    Bruce Cormack. We used to do the most ridiculous hair-raising things in billy-carts on the steep hills of that part of Mosman. It was the hill that was the problem not the cars. In fact, in the early primary days, there was still a lot of horse traffic and we would occasionally rush out with wooden fruit boxes and shovel up horse manure, which we would endeavour to sell. The other thing we used to sell, of course, was newspapers. The butcher shop in Mosman during the war was desperate for newspaper – that was a good source of income. And the first paid job I ever had was delivering ice, and the ice was in a horse drawn ice cart that came from the Glacier Ice Company, which I think was up at Cremorne Junction at the time. I used to pick it up along the way towards Prince Albert Street, and deliver ice. I still remember how big and heavy those blocks of ice were, throwing them into ice chests. Everybody in Mosman lived 50 steps up from the road.

    Eve Klein. Did you have an ice chest yourself?

    Bruce Cormack. Oh yes. The big job was to be responsible for emptying the ice-chest, that was if you were not fortunate to have a hole drilled through the floor to let it leak away.

    Bruce Cormack

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 4 December 2000

    Bruce Cormack. ... but I was just going to mention a bit about the cricket. We got our first radio and we bought it from Mr. Ferris’s radio shop who was in Middle Head Road, opposite the Buena Vista Hotel, and Mr. Ferris almost invented the first Australian home grown car radio. The Ferris radios. He did it in the back of the shop up there. Prior to that when my parents wanted to listen to cricket, my father would bring home this giant army radio set – God knows how he got it home. They erected it out in the back lawn at Lennox Street. They erected huge aerials and listened direct on a short-wave; they’d just take a couple of blankets out there and spend all night out in the backyard listening to cricket.

    Bruce Cormack

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 4 December 2000

    Eve Klein. Do you remember going to the pictures?

    Bruce Cormack. Oh yes I do. We went to four theatres. There was the Kinema in Mosman, which was the theatre beautiful and was very Art Deco in the mid ‘30s – very, very swish. It is now the Mosman RSL. That’s where I saw Errol Flynn in Robin Hood for the first time. They used to have an afternoon of cartoons, which was great stuff. Really, one of the objectives of the part-time weekend job delivering ice, was to earn enough money to, not just go to the movies, but to sit upstairs at the movies, or buy an ice cream – the mock ice cream – Polar Frost, you’d get better value for those. If you could earn a shilling for half a day’s heavy work, it was money well earned and then well spent in the same day.

    Bruce Cormack

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 4 December 2000

    Bruce Cormack. … After the Kinema, I don’t know what you call it, but just below the Fire Station in Military Road, was what used to be the Mosman RSL; and before that it was the Rex Theatre. They used to show old movies and old black and white movies, in the old black and white days. I remember my grandmother loved going there because they used to serve a nice line in the tea and scones at the matinees upstairs. I can remember my mother taking me to – it was one of the rare times I was taken to the movies in the evening, and we saw The Lost Horizon. From memory, it had somebody starring like Ronald Coleman, and at that time Ronald Coleman’s sister lived in Mosman up at Effingham Street, which is a nice little piece of trivia. But I remember having nightmares for days after we saw this one hundred year old man or this two hundred year old man in the movies.

    Eve Klein. How old would you have been then?

    Bruce Cormack. Well, we were in Lennox Street – seven or eight, possibly. When the school went out, every now and then, like on Empire Day, we would be let out and we would be taken to the movies, where we would sing patriotic songs and be shown patriotic movies. In those days we always went up to, what was then called The Kings Theatre at Spit Junction; it’s still the theatre at Spit Junction. A couple of hundred kids would all pour out of Mosman Primary and march up to the Kings Theatre – that was always interesting because we had a half holiday after it.

    Charles Rosman

    Interviewed by Nancy Johnson on 26 June 1996
    Subject: ,

    Nancy Johnson. So your father bought a boatshed was it?

    Charles Rosman. No, it was a fellow that had the land here. All the land in this area was a grant by the government to a chap named Harnett. This was part of it here. When he went to Harnett about buying land, and he told him this that the fellow that had the shed here was only paying ten shillings a week, it wasn’t dollars in those days – and he owed one hundred and sixty pounds. When my father bought the land he said: well what are we going to do? I’ve got to earn money with it, and this fellow said: he couldn’t pay much as a boatshed, because they didn’t get much for boats in those days. He said that if my father built him a new boatshed – a good sort of boatshed with slipways, he would pay him one pound a week. My father said ‘yes’, and he built the shed and when it was within a couple of weeks of being finished the fellow said ‘oh I can’t pay that, I’ll only give you the ten shillings’. My father said ‘no you won’t, I’ll take it on myself’, so that’s how he came to be in the boat business. He was an energetic chap and he started as a hobby building small boats, and that’s how he came to be in the business. He died on the 1st August 1914; the day Germany declared war, the First World War. It sticks in my mind a bit.

    Anyway I stuck with him and worked with him building the boats, and I got to be a boat builder, the same as a lot of others. That’s how I started in boats. When he died he had two ferry boats, one carried 35, ‘The Regal’ and another one called ‘Regina’ carried 55. When he died I was of course, the man of the house. I was nearly 16 then, in 1914. So I’ve been my own boss, more or less, all my life. Mother took charge of the shed, storing boats in the shed and that, and I did the work.

    Charles Rosman

    Interviewed by Nancy Johnson on 26 June 1996
    Subject: ,

    Nancy Johnson. The ferries you started here, did they run to the city?

    Charles Rosman. Yes, of course, there was no bridge. I used to see four ferries in Mosman Bay loading to go to the city; this was the busiest part of the Harbour, except Milsons Point, where the bridge is built of course, now. There used to be one each side of the ferry at Mosman, one ready to load, and another one empty, and as soon as it went it started to load, and then another one would come in and take its place.

    Nancy Johnson. Were they owned by other ferry operators?

    Charles Rosman. No, all owned by the one Sydney Harbour Ferries.

    Nancy Johnson. That was all Sydney Harbour Ferries. Was that the Government Ferry Company then?

    Charles Rosman. No, a private company. They used to have one at the next wharf loading there, and then one down at Musgrave Street loading too, all at the one time as one would one moved out of the one wharf, the other one was coming in, and started loading there too, and they all went to town.

    Nancy Johnson. It would have been the quickest way of getting there then.

    Charles Rosman. It was the only way. There was no Cremorne in those days. I remember when Cremorne Wharf was built; there was no ferry wharf there for many years.

    Nancy Johnson. Was that the one at the Point, or the old Cremorne?

    Charles Rosman. That’s Cremorne, this one is known as old Cremorne.

    Nancy Johnson. And that one was built first was it, old Cremorne?

    Charles Rosman. The one here that we know now as old Cremorne that is a new one. When I was only a few years old – do you know where the Yacht Club is? A bit further along, about 100 yards? That used to be the ferry wharf. The ferries in the early days were paddle wheelers. They found that to turn around from that wharf, to turn round to go to Musgrave St they had trouble turning round, come over and turn in. So they did away with that wharf and it was turned into a place where they had billiard tables there and a combined boatshed and that sort of business there.

    Nancy Johnson. Your ferries when you started those they were all timber when you started?

    Charles Rosman. Yes, but they gradually got from the smaller ferries like 35 and 55, and my father had one half built when he died that carried 150. ‘The Rex’ was the name of it. It was half finished when he died. It is a long storey.

    Nancy Johnson. That was ferrying passengers?

    Charles Rosman. Yes, picnics and that sort of thing. We used to get a lot of Sunday School picnics from Concord, or Cabarita, Five Dock, Gladesville – we’d go to Balmoral Clifton Gardens, or Clontarf. A lot of boats used to go there, but people eventually got moved because a lot of those that used go there had drunken parties – picnics. They’d have two or three 18 gallons of beer, and they’d all get very drunk and noisy, and they used to finish up at Clontarf because it was a good wharf to pick up, and plenty were drowned and there was a baths there.

    Charles Rosman

    Interviewed by Nancy Johnson on 26 June 1996

    Nancy Johnson. Back to your ferries. Did you build any of them out here?

    Charles Rosman. They were built by a man at Cronulla, near La Perouse there. I finished up with ‘The Royale’, it carried 300 passengers, and ‘The Radar’ she carried 250, and then ‘The Regal’, 150 passengers. Of course they were more out of my line because they took nine months to build – you know, double-deckers and that sort of thing. In my early days engines were running at only 10 or 12 horsepower, they finished up with engines of 300 horsepower. Out of my line.

    Nancy Johnson. I believe ‘The Radar’ had some timbers in it from an old warship.

    Charles Rosman. She was built just after the 1st World War. Of course, such a lot of our men went away to the war, and well – didn’t come back, timber getters and that. You couldn’t get timber, and she had 13 different sorts of timber in it, built from anything at all. Some of the seats were walnut, some were oregon, every timber you could think of. She was already built, ready to go into the water, the engine leads were in it, the seats, everything there, but no deck. They couldn’t get any timber for the deck. Beech is the best timber because when it is scrubbed it comes up nice and white, just like white wool. The builder went out into the bush where they cut it, it comes from up Taree way somewhere, and he’d get it cut the way he wanted it to suit the boat and load it on to a lorry. When the lorry would come out the government would grab it. That happened three times. So the boat was ready to go in the water for six months. A chap rang me up; he was dismantling one of the war ships. The warships have steel decks and they have timber on top, about three inches thick. This fellow rang me up from Drummoyne and he said that he was dismantling the boat and he said there is a lot of teak in it, but of course a lot of it is worn, the edges cut off it all round, top and bottom. He said that a lot of it was like brand new timber. So I rang the builder that was building the boat and told him and he went up there in a speed boat and bought the lot within a quarter of an hour, and that’s how she finished up with a teak deck. One of the only boats in Sydney that had a teak deck because teak comes from Burma – it is hard to get. It only grows in Burma. One of my granddaughters is called Radar, she’s living in one of my flats at the moment, she’s about 22 now. She’s named after a boat.

    Charles Rosman

    Interviewed by Nancy Johnson on 26 June 1996
    Subject: ,

    Charles Rosman. After the 1st World War, all the return soldiers that came back used to get deferred pay and it amounted to about a thousand pounds, or round about that. You could get a good passenger boat, say carrying up to 100 passengers for around about a thousand pounds in those days. It would be 15 or 20,000 now. Of course, a lot of the returned soldiers got them and the Harbour was very busy on weekends with picnic parties and all that. That’s how that came about . They gradually worked down, and in the finish there was only three of us left. The others had all gone broke, or went into a different business.

    Nancy Johnson. Only three ferry services?

    Charles Rosman. Yes, there was only Stannard, Nicholson and myself left.

    Charles Rosman

    Interviewed by Nancy Johnson on 26 June 1996

    Charles Rosman. When I started to get sick, about six or seven years ago they sold a running fleet – three of them running, and they were often came into the bay, they had a big sign on top ‘Rosman Ferries’.

    Nancy Johnson. The sign is still there?

    Charles Rosman. Yes. They’re still carrying on and doing good business because they’re a different type of boat to most of the boats that are built now – they’re built of steel, or aluminum and that and they make a lot of noise in the boat itself. A wooden boat is comparatively quiet, you can hear yourself talking.

    Nancy Johnson. It absorbs the sound I suppose.

    Charles Rosman. They’re still doing Harbour cruises.

    Nancy Johnson. I can remember going on ‘The Radar’. The Harbour cruises, that was a long time ago.

    Charles Rosman. She’s a fine boat. She has been renovated a lot, French polished and all new seats. She still has the same engine in now, as when she was built. It was looked after pretty well.

    Clifton Haynes

    Interviewed by Zoe Dobson on 24 February 2004

    Zoe Dobson. There was a movie theatre there too.

    Clifton Haynes. Yes, called the Kinema – where I used to go with my parents every Saturday night and the charge for adults was 1/6d a seat, but you had to book your seat for the Saturday night performance. Before the show started they had an orchestra, and often they had a guest artist. There were always two movies, two gazettes and other news items of the day.

    Zoe Dobson. Did they have the boy selling the ice creams?

    Clifton Haynes. Yes and the sweets. When that theatre was burnt down they built another lovely theatre there called the Mosman Kinema which is now the local RSL. At Spit Junction there was another theatre called The Australia where the Greater Union Theatre is now. On any special function day as pupils from the Mosman School we would all go to The Australia Theatre where they would sing all sorts of songs and they would show educational films on that day.

    Clifton Haynes

    Interviewed by Zoe Dobson on 24 February 2004

    There was another theatre, the Anzac Hall which is still there today and it had several name changes, the last one being The Rex. So we had three theatres in Mosman that all ran concurrently.

    Clifton Haynes

    Interviewed by Zoe Dobson on 24 February 2004

    Clifton Haynes. After the war I won a scholarship from the Sydney Conservatorium for singing and while I was there I appeared in several productions of scenes from operas and from there I joined the Mosman Musical Society in 1947.

    Zoe Dobson. Was this quite an established group?

    Clifton Haynes. Yes, there were a couple of shows they did after the war but I was in the next one after that and I was in 55 different musicals. I did three shows with Ed Deveraux who later on played the part of Skippy and then went on to England and did other shows like Guys and Dolls. With Eddie Deveraux I did Belle of New York, Vagabond King and No No Nannette. I only left the Mosman Musical Society in the late 1970s because it was a stage when I was doing shows like Desert Song three times; Belle of New York twice, Wildflower twice and also working a little with the Borovansky Ballet and with the Italian Opera chorus in 1947.

    Clifton Haynes

    Interviewed by Zoe Dobson on 24 February 2004
    Subject: ,

    Zoe Dobson. You were with the musical society at its vintage time?

    Clifton Haynes. Yes – from say the 1940s to the early 1970s and it was then when the Mosman Musical Society lost a lot of their patrons; but at the early stages to get into Mosman as a visitor to the theatre you really needed to know somebody. We were always having difficulty with the Fire Brigade at Mosman because we had people seated in the aisles.

    Zoe Dobson. Where did you perform?

    Clifton Haynes. At the Mosman Town Hall, but I performed there before the Mosman Town Hall was altered for stage productions and then it was revamped in later years and I was there right up until the time when the Mosman Town Hall took over the hall and later on it was used as offices.

    Clifton Haynes

    Interviewed by Zoe Dobson on 24 February 2004
    Subject: ,

    Clifton Haynes. I remember the Amphitheatre well as a child. I remember when it was built and I have a picture of that. It was built by the Theosophists and these people lived in Clifton Gardens in a big home called ‘The Manor’. The Amphitheatre was built like a Roman Coliseum for an Indian who was coming here by the name of Krishnamurti. The people in Mosman paid £100 a seat to sit on this concrete platform structure. Krishnamurti was supposed to walk through the Heads to the Amphitheatre. He met a lovely girl on the ship coming out and I think they went off and got married and he never arrived at the Amphitheatre.

    It then became a picture house, a concert place and it also became a mini golf course. I remember going there to watch a Shakespearian play and one gentleman named Walter Kingsley who had a very impressive voice used to sing there. One day I was swimming in that tidal pool in front of the Amphitheatre and there was a huge octopus that had been left in the pool. I rushed up to Walter Kingsley and I told him to come down and have a look at the octopus. He came down all right and he brought one of the swords he was using in the production and pulled the octopus out with his sword.

    I can remember the place becoming very dilapidated and the Sisters of the Holy Grail took it over. I think they were bought out and it is now a large block of flats.

    Zoe Dobson. Did the Sisters take it over in the 1940s?

    Clifton Haynes. Yes, I don’t know that they ever conducted anything from there but they took up residence there for a while because there was a residence under the stage of the Amphitheatre. Several times when I went to see plays you could see that the walls were become very damp and it didn’t look like the safest place to be in.

    Zoe Dobson. Was there much interest in the Theosophists in Mosman?

    Clifton Haynes. Yes, they sold a lot of these seats for 100 pounds because I can remember seeing on the seats many of these little brass plaques. But as soon as it was completed Krishnamurti who was to come here and perform many wonders just didn’t arrive.

    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.

    Dallas Dyson

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 6 August 2001

    Eve Klein. Prior to that time what were houses mainly built from? What materials was he using?

    Dallas Dyson. Oh in Mosman – bricks. It was an ordinance in Mosman Council. It was obligatory – well in my time you couldn’t use weatherboard. You could initially but…..

    Eve Klein. …and then during the war was there sufficient material for building?

    Dallas Dyson. No, you really had to scratch. As a matter of fact when we built this house after the war there was insufficient – I had to go to get tiles for the roof. An Italian ship had put into Circular Quay filled with tiles because they were so short, and I had to hire a man to bring a lorry and I had to physically put every tile I wanted on the lorry one Saturday morning and I finished about two o’clock in the afternoon. A man came along and I paid him for the number, and the same thing happened with timber. I had to go up to the Blue Mountains where a man had a mill and I got timber for the roof.

    Eve Klein. Which years would that have been?

    Dallas Dyson. These were post-war years, 1946/7.

    Dr and Mrs Dwyer

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 30 November 2000
    Subject: ,

    Dr. Dwyer. I was born in Mosman in Simpson Street, near Whiting Beach Road. at the bottom end of the Zoo. My recall was, as a young boy – a young fellow just getting up and moving around, was going swimming at Sirius Cove – that was the outstanding swimming spots for the few locals that there went down from Bradleys Head Rd. down to the water at Sirius Cove. Otherwise, going along the tracks down near the water where the ferries were coming in, and also of course, nearby was the Zoo, which was a great place for young boys to get into mischief.

    Eve Klein. When was the Zoo actually moved to Taronga…?

    Dr. Dwyer. ….I only knew it was there.

    Eve Klein. Did you go to the Zoo very much?

    Dr. Dwyer. Oh yes, often, we used to climb over the fence, starting often right down at the bottom end near Sirius Cove – that side.

    Mrs. Dwyer. The end of Major Street.

    Dr. Dwyer. Yes, and we would climb over, or we’d have little catapults and we’d ping the bisons who were down there. We’d occasionally climb over there, and then we’d go round to the front of the Zoo – I always went on Sundays, because they had the brass bands. These kids – all boys in those days, would sit on the ground sucking lemons, which made it impossible for the poor men to stop. (laughter)

    Dr and Mrs Dwyer

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 30 November 2000

    Eve Klein. And you as a child went to school in this area?

    Mrs. Dwyer. There was a little school in Bradleys Head Road called Orana, a private primary school. It was run by two ladies called Miss Hudson and Mrs. Sanders. It was a dear little school that ran to 4th class, I think. It was a very happy beginning to my schooling.

    Dr and Mrs Dwyer

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 30 November 2000

    Dr. Dwyer. We went for this approach of building a house on a vacant block, rather than buying a house that had already been occupied by someone else, simply because you got very little financial help if you were buying a house that was already in existence. You got very little assistance from the banks, whereas you got much higher assistance if you were building your own. For people to be building their own house was pretty unusual at the time – in Mosman certainly.

    Eve Klein. And it was not developed at all.

    Mrs. Dwyer. The road was not built.

    Eve Klein. There was no road, and so how did you gain access?

    Mrs. Dwyer. There was a bit of a mud track.

    Dr. Dwyer. Yes, but otherwise you were up the top….

    Mrs. Dwyer. …..which is down the steps….

    Dr. Dwyer. This is the front of the house….

    Eve Klein. ….the Victoria side. So what was here, any other houses at all?

    Dr. Dwyer. No. On the top of the road, there were some houses.

    Eve Klein. So you were actually the first….

    Mrs. Dwyer. ….at this far down we were the first, and then the road went in fairly quickly afterwards, and then all these other houses followed the road.

    Eve Klein. How did Mosman compare to other suburbs you visited. How did you feel about Mosman? What were the advantages?

    Mrs. Dwyer. The water.

    Eve Klein. The view of the water, or just the access to it for swimming?

    Mrs. Dwyer. Access and the view. I remember Brian saying: ‘I want some sky’.

    Dr. Dwyer. After dear old Oxford where the air was pretty black and wet and cold, we missed the sea enormously. I wondered at the end of the years I’d been there, which were all post-graduate, and I had to make up my mind where I was going to continue to work, I came home. I just wanted to get some sun, I couldn’t stand anymore of the English winters, but I loved England, and I loved the people.

    Eve Klein. When you returned was it comparatively easy to get your family established and everything underway?

    Mrs. Dwyer. Well it’s never easy – small children are never easy.

    Eve Klein. Yes, but financially and the area, was that conducive? Did you find there was access to what you wanted, shopping etc?

    Mrs. Dwyer. Oh yes everything was there, except I didn’t have a car, Brian took it to work, so that made it rather difficult. I had things delivered quite a lot, and my mother was very helpful with shopping.

    Eve Klein. So you got about in trams?

    Dr. Dwyer. Yes, trams still.

    Eve Klein. Still trams?

    Mrs. Dwyer. I can’t remember when the tram stopped.

    Dr. Dwyer. I’m not too sure either, I must say. I think there were still trams.

    Mrs. Dwyer. But not down here. The biggest challenge in those days actually, was what sort of a house you were going to build on these sorts of slopes because in those days Mosman was built mostly along the ridges, and these very precipitous blocks were considered to dangerous to build on. We looked around for a long time for an architect whose work we liked and fortunately, found one. He was sympathetic to the fact that it was a precipitous block, and sympathetic to the fact that we had no money. He was enormously helpful – he was a very great architect – Sydney Ancher – Ancher, Mortlock & Murray – that firm. He used to build houses that were dug into the rock, as opposed to houses that were up on poles, and this was dug into the rock.

    Dr. Dwyer. And flat roofs.

    Mrs. Dwyer. Yes, and which linked, of course.

    Eve Klein. How soon were you in your house?

    Mrs. Dwyer. A year or so.

    Dr and Mrs Dwyer

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 30 November 2000
    Subject: ,

    Eve Klein. You were talking about the Amphitheatre; where was that located?

    Mrs. Dwyer. At the northern end of Balmoral until it was replaced, post-war with that enormous red block of flats. The Amphitheatre was rather beautiful; it was almost derelict when we knew it. The only time I knew of it being used was in connection with my own parents, they belonged to a group of friends who had been organised by the Belgium Consul General who lived in the Spanish bungalow in Kirk Oswald Avenue, Balmoral Heights. He was mad about theatre and he’d organised an amateur theatrical group, and they put on French plays to raise money for The French and Belgium Benevolent Fund. This was in the 1930s. There was one performance in particular of Athalie that was to have been played there but they were washed out on the first night. That was the problem with the Amphitheatre, it rained, but the second performance was successful, they did that on a beautiful moonlight night, I gather.

    Eve Klein. How long had the Amphitheatre been there? When was it erected?

    Mrs. Dwyer. I think it was in the twenties. It was always there in our lifetime.

    Dr Dwyer. It was built by the Theosophists – waiting for Jesus to come through the front door sort of thing.

    Eve Klein. How often was it used?

    Mrs. Dwyer. Very little, because of the weather.

    Eve Klein. How long did the theatre company run?

    Mrs. Dwyer. They went on for about 15 years, perhaps until Mr Chagall went away.

    Eve Klein. It attracted good audiences?

    Mrs. Dwyer. Yes, even Vice-Regal ones sometimes. They played once at the Mosman Town Hall, I know, and other times at the Conservatorium in town – various places and the rehearsals were great fun.

    Dr and Mrs Dwyer

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 30 November 2000
    Subject: ,

    Mrs Dwyer. There was no library. There were two ladies – about University age perhaps, very dedicated who lent out some books.

    Eve Klein. Who owned something?

    Mrs Dwyer. No, this was the first communal one. There were private lending libraries. There were a number of them around Mosman. One of them was called ‘Homecraft’ – Mrs Booth, she also sold pottery..

    Eve Klein. That was in the 1940s?

    Mrs Dwyer. In the 1930s.

    Eve Klein. Did you have the need for any facilities?

    Mrs Dwyer. I would have loved the library that’s there now. I felt very deprived because we had books of our own but we didn’t use libraries for children’s books at all, they weren’t available.

    Eve Klein. When do you recall using the library?

    Mrs Dwyer. Ever since it has been there for my own children, we used to go there and bring back mountains of books for them, when it was still in Boronia.

    E. Abercrombie, with Madge Dwyer

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 1 February 2001

    Mrs. Abercrombie. Another thing I thought of, when I was coming home from town one day – it was very close to Christmas.

    Eve Klein. When would this have been?

    Mrs. Abercrombie. I don’t know what date it was, but you might remember – it’s not that long ago. It was very hot and I decided when I got to Martin Place that I’d post some letters, and they were Christmas cards, and then I thought – well I won’t go home on the ferry, I’ll get on the bus and go that way. When we got to Spit Junction, Mary Maxwell’s son Robert was on the bus, as well, and it must have been pretty near to Christmas because we were both coming home early for some reason, or other. When we got to Spit Junction, the chap said: ‘you’ve all got to get off; we’re not going any further’. We got off – nobody said anything – there weren’t many on the bus, and I still didn’t know what had happened. I walked around the corner into Clifford Street because you know how you can cut round that way and through that lane and come out in Awaba Street over here. There were people sitting out there – elderly people in dressing gowns who had obviously been having an afternoon sleep. And that was the time that funny ‘Willy Nilly’ thing came – the first one. It was unbelievable because when we got out of the bus nobody knew anything about it. But apparently, it did do a bit of damage at Cremorne.

    Madge Dwyer. It did a lot of damage here.

    Mrs. Abercrombie. And when it came down – the first block of units on the corner of the lane there, these people were sitting out on the brick fence that’s still there, and a police constable was talking to them. ‘What on earth has happened’, I said. ‘There’s been some sort of a ‘willy willy’, they said, and it swooped down and it took the top of that building and those people were quite terrified.

    Eve Klein. When would this have been?

    Mrs. Abercrombie. I can’t remember. That’s why I’m asking you Madge.

    Madge Dwyer. I remember it quite well because they had trees in Warringah Road that fell over and caused the gas to leak, and the electricity. Boats were flying in the air….

    Mrs. Abercrombie. ….but the amazing part was, people in Beauty Point didn’t know it had happened.

    Madge Dwyer. It just slipped through.

    Mrs. Abercrombie. When I got in there, I said: ‘what on earth’s happened?’ and the policeman told me. He said: ‘oh it’s worse down towards the beach’. I thought, oh, the top of the house, and my husband was in Townsville on business; he used to go up to all the sugar mills and things. I walked down here, but I didn’t come down the main road, I came through this way, you see, and I didn’t see the damage that was done in Spit Road. When I got down here, I thought, oh thank goodness the house is all right. A nephew rang me as soon as I got in – he said: ‘are you all right?’. I said: ‘yes, I’m all right, but there’s damage up here’. Now, of course, as news leaked out, two friends of Stuart’s were over on Spit Hill coming home from surfing. Up here between Stanton Road and Clifford Street, more on that side than on this side, the windows of the units had been blown out and the curtains were flying out of the windows, and these friends of Stuart’s could see it over at Spit Hill. They said: ‘what’s wrong?’, they thought an explosion had happened.

    Madge Dwyer. Yes, people thought it was an explosion.

    Mrs. Abercrombie. They thought it was an explosion because of the way the curtains were blowing out.

    Madge Dwyer. Someone I know saw a toilet roll coming down, and they thought an aeroplane had crashed.

    Eve Klein. Was this in the 1970s, do you think?

    Mrs. Abercrombie. It would have been earlier than that, because my son is 54 now, and they were surfing when they were 15, 16, 17, but they kept it up for a while.

    Madge Dwyer. Thirty years makes it…

    Eve Klein. ….1970.

    Mrs. Abercrombie. It could have been Christmas 1969. I’m not sure about that. But anyway, I remember – there was no damage round this part here, your place and that.

    Madge Dwyer. No, we had a concrete thing laid on the open veranda area, and it was just fresh concrete and it all washed down to the bricks. It hadn’t set enough.

    Mrs. Abercrombie. I believe down at Chinaman’s Beach, I don’t think this is a true story, but one chap was mowing his lawn and he could see this thing coming, so he put his lawn mower under a bush, and he reckons he’s never found it since. (laughter) That might be true, I don’t know.

    Madge Dwyer. There were dinghy boats flying around.

    Estelle Clancy

    Interviewed by Sandra Blamey on 21 March 2001

    Estelle Clancy. We did well, but then we didn’t know anything else either. If you got a plain biscuit, you were more than happy. I can remember when Kellogg’s Cornflakes came out. Mum bought a packet – great extravagance, and I think I ate most of them myself. They were a change from porridge, I suppose. But it was exciting because you had so little that everything was exciting. We were never hungry, and we played active games and read. You could play before school on the big playground on the gravel. And that was rather nice too, because on that – I don’t know what you would call it, as well as gravel, I suppose you’d say shards or something, but there were lots of pieces of little broken crockery, and they made wonderful tores for hopscotch. Some of those games are still going. I see at Middle Harbour they’ve got hopscotch drawn on the ground, well we drew ours with a stick in the dirt, and we played things like ‘Cockylora’, which is sort of a chasing game, and ‘What’s the time Mr. Wolf?’, and another game I’ve never found children playing was called ‘How many eggs in the bush, bush, bush’?

    Sandra Blamey. How did you play that?

    Estelle Clancy. Well there were lots of gum nuts around, and you’d put them in your hand, and suppose you had ten, you’d then show you had ten. You’d put your hands behind your back and you’d fiddle around. It was up to you how many – you might not even know yourself until you looked, how many you had in one hand and how many in the other, and you’d bring your closed fist down, and your partner had to guess how many eggs were in your right or left hand. There maybe nothing. If they guessed too many, they had to give you what was too many, and I guess if too few, you had to give it to them. It was a good counting game. You’d put out your hands and say: ‘How many eggs in the bush, bush, bush’. It was just a nice little game.

    And then of course, there was ‘Oranges and Lemons’ and skipping with enormous ropes, and you’d run in, one after the other. We played ‘rounders’ – I think we were stopped after somebody made a magnificent hit, and broke a window about two streets off. Apart from the boys, we had no competitive sport at all. There was district football and cricket. My brother George – the one that died, played in a very historic match up there. He was a very good cricketer. During one match, it was so hot that the wicket keeper sat on a block of ice.

    Estelle Clancy

    Interviewed by Sandra Blamey on 21 March 2001

    Sandra Blamey. How did you meet John?

    Estelle Clancy. We were both invited to the party of a man called Jim Ferguson. I wasn’t first on the list by a long shot, I think he went through all the other girls at the party before he ended up with me. He had a furniture shop at Spit Junction, and he had a factory across the road at Spit Junction, making furniture….. It was a big factory. How many people have gone through – the fact that there was a tram shed up there in Spit Rd?

    Sandra Blamey. I don’t know, tell me about that. Where did it come from, the city?

    Estelle Clancy. I don’t know that it was even used as that when we were there. It had been – because we lived in Clifford Street, and if you were to go through our side fence and through to the next place, and then into the second place up from us, you would end up in this large open space, which had apparently, been a tram shed. Later on a little Post Office was built there. There was a chemist shop built on it too, eventually. The big shed that was there for repairs or something, became the furniture factory for quite some time.

    Sandra Blamey. Did he have many people working for him?

    Estelle Clancy. Yes, a number, I can’t remember – maybe four or five people. But they made beautiful furniture. John designed a lot of it, and it went to the country and overseas. In the end I think the government took the land back, and then the shop we had across the road – we had two shops, and the Bank won the case about taking that one back, and then a few years after that the other shop was burnt down. So it went a bit sadly, really. But it was good in its heyday.

    Estelle Clancy

    Interviewed by Sandra Blamey on 21 March 2001

    Estelle Clancy. We’re talking now about 10 Clifford Street. Each of the houses in the street had tennis courts. It was a big backyard when they eventually – of course, we had to give up the tennis court because the kids needed the ground to play on. During the war, all those places had night-lights for night tennis. When Japan came into the war, we were not to show anywhere that could guide – what rubbish, and so the night tennis finished. My father who was busy, as the Head of the 9th Division at this time said: ‘Bloody stupid, anybody flies down there and sees the moon shining on Sydney Harbour, they won’t have any trouble finding their way around’. Anyway, it did end the night tennis, and the courts became a rather overgrown place and the kids would have to put in an offer on how much we would have to pay them to cut the grass. They learnt not to under quote.

    Garrie Felsted Wells

    Interviewed by Zoe Dobson on 24th July 2003

    Garrie Felsted Wells. Yes, I think I was very aware that most of my school friends’ parents owned their own house whereas we rented so I felt that they were definitely more superior to my family because they had money to spend to buy a house. I think too I was then also conscious of being at a private school and there was a difference there with the way other people would talk to you. The other thing I noticed too was that there were certain areas of Mosman where the white collar people wouldn’t dream of living. I think that is a social comment. For instance where I live now the people in Military Road thought they were far superior to the people that lived on the Ourimbah Road side.

    Zoe Dobson. And you were on the right side of the road.

    Garrie Felsted Wells. Yes, and you shopped at Mosman, you didn’t shop at Spit Junction, and all the mothers wore hats and gloves. It was a very English background I suppose and also rather proper. I think in a way you looked at other families who were probably having a lot more fun than you were because they weren’t so strict and so rigid in their social contacts.

    Zoe Dobson. Of course both your parents being English too, so did your mother maintain that sort of….

    Garrie Felsted Wells. ….yes, definitely.

    Zoe Dobson. And just being English she would have been accepted wholeheartedly wouldn’t she.

    Garrie Felsted Wells. (laughs) I guess so.

    Zoe Dobson. What about Mosman itself, the shops etc and the personalities.

    Garrie Felsted Wells. I can remember Radford’s the delicatessen which was very popular and then there was Mrs. Booth’s shop which started off its life actually, I believe, as a tearoom and then she put in a library and it ended up being a very nice china and glass shop with a library at the back of it. As a teenager I went to work there with her dusting the shelves and doing things.

    Zoe Dobson. Because they were private libraries only in those days weren’t they.

    Garrie Felsted Wells. Yes, although I can remember the children’s library starting in Parrawee Road; that was in my school days. It was just a little lending library at the back of the shop that was quite popular. I was always in and out of the shop as a child because there were always pretty things in the window. I had a holiday job there which I loved. Mrs. Booth was quite a well known person in Mosman because if people wanted wedding presents and things like that they would go there because there again the only place where you had big shops was in the city, so you would have to go across by ferry into town, or you would look for something a bit different and a bit special so you’d go to Mrs. Booth’s.
    There was Pistola’s the butcher, and Tony Lopez the greengrocer. I remember the elder Tony going home to Italy to bring his Italian wife back who of course was the mother of the Mayor of Mosman, and how excited everybody was when the bride came back. It must have been very, very hard for her because she spoke very little English. But it was a lovely shop and we always got our vegetables and fruit there.
    I remember Northern Suburbs a very big grocer shop with a big island in the middle and they put the money and the docket into the air thing, pull a cord and it would go upstairs somewhere. It was a really big shop.

    Zoe Dobson. Was it only groceries or was it haberdashery as well?

    Garrie Felsted Wells. I don’t remember. I think they had wine there but I’m not sure. There was actually a funny little shop near Mrs. Booth’s which was a wine bar. Sometimes there would be people sitting in the gutter early in the morning when we were going to school (laughs) so that was rather off-putting, and there was the Buena Vista Hotel. I would get on the tram at the top of Raglan St. and there was Jewkes and Vespa the two chemists. One on Jewkes Corner is still there I think and Mr. Vespa was along towards where the tram stop was near Avenue Road. There were two tram stops, there was one near Jewkes Corner, and the other one was on Avenue Road.

    Zoe Dobson. You mentioned that you went to Mr. Cornforth’s School.

    Garrie Felsted Wells. Before Mr. Cornforth’s I went to live at Whiting Beach Road and that was one of my good memories – that was 1940 and 41. They were dredging Athol Bight so we were pretty sure something big was coming into Athol Bight and of course eventually the Queen Mary came in, so that was very exciting, as children, watching all that happening.
    It was very exciting to be allowed to go into the Zoo. You went in the top gate and you came out again at the top gate, they saw you going in and they saw you coming out, you could ramble in the Zoo very happily for quite a long while, and of course we used to go down to the dungeons on Bradley’s Head.

    Zoe Dobson. While we’re still at the Zoo – I think you said you went to get some sugar and things and therefore you didn’t have to pay to go in.

    Garrie Felsted Wells. You didn’t pay and if you told the lady your mother wanted some sugar from the tearooms or something, as long as you went out by same gate and she could see you were going home they let you in and out, so that was good.
    At the end of 1941 we moved house and we went to live in Stanley Avenue. In 1942 I left Winona at the end of second year. I wasn’t doing very well at school and I think my mother felt that when the Japanese came into the war that they might bomb the Harbour Bridge so I went to Mr. Cornforth who ran a Coaching College in Stanton Road Mosman. I enjoyed that very much. I found it was a lot easier – I went back to the beginning of things. I went back to learning French right from the beginning again and I remember being very cross with him one day and I said, ‘it’s all right for you you’re good at maths’, because I was hopeless at maths. He said, ‘it’s because I’m not good at maths that I’m able to teach maths because I can explain it to you’, which was very true.

    Zoe Dobson. There were a lot of different little private schools around Mosman weren’t there?

    Garrie Felsted Wells. Yes, there was Orana in Bradley’s Head Road which was an Infant’s School I suppose, and then the Garden school in Stanton Road. I remember going to a fete and they were all doing sort of Greek dancing out on the lawn.

    Zoe Dobson. Do you remember the Principal of any of the…

    Garrie Felsted Wells. ….no I don’t, I just know there were two elderly ladies that ran it. I think it was certainly for young ladies. And then there was Killarney too at the end of Heydon (sp) St. and Daulton (sp) Road. It was a kindergarten coming from school. They all had uniforms, but I can’t remember much about the Garden School except it was well known at that time.

    Zoe Dobson. In a private house?

    Zoe Dobson. Do you remember the Japanese submarines?

    Garrie Felsted Wells. Yes, I remember very vividly the night they came in because my dad was by then a warden and we had a trench in the back garden and my mother was in the trench with the dog and the family silver, which wasn’t worth saving anyway, and I was wandering round watching all the searchlights and listening to all the noise. And I remember my mother calling out when my father came back to see if we were OK and saying, ‘tell that child to come down into the trench’ (laughs). I wasn’t at all interested in going down into this rather dank sort of slip trench in the back garden. I was much more interested in watching the searchlights.

    Zoe Dobson. You had no fear.

    Garrie Felsted Wells. No, none at all, but a few days later – I was at Cornforth’s then. We went to school in the morning and he wasn’t well so we all had the day off. We went round to Taylor’s Bay and watched them bringing the submarine up that had been sunk in Taylor’s Bay. We watched them bringing it up out of the water which was quite an impressive thing.

    Garrie Felsted Wells

    Interviewed by Zoe Dobson on 24th July 2003

    Garrie Felsted Wells. Yes, I went to Wenona in 1934 when I was seven and I’m still friends with some of those girls. There are a small group of us who meet every couple of months and have lunch together. It was a very happy time there again at school. School days made a big impression. It’s the fun things I remember with joy.

    I remember walking round to Cavill’s Baths which was quite a long walk to learn to swim. And walking right to the southern end of Balmoral Beach and then up over to the baths. I remember Mr. Cavill being rather fierce and tying a rope round my middle and pulling me into the deep end, and boy did I swim. But that was a bit off-putting I must admit. I was a bit frightened then.

    Garrie Felsted Wells

    Interviewed by Zoe Dobson on 24th July 2003

    Yes, and you shopped at Mosman, you didn’t shop at Spit Junction, and all the mothers wore hats and gloves. It was a very English background I suppose and also rather proper. I think in a way you looked at other families who were probably having a lot more fun than you were because they weren’t so strict and so rigid in their social contacts.

    Garrie Felsted Wells

    Interviewed by Zoe Dobson on 24th July 2003
    Subject: ,

    I can remember Radford’s the delicatessen which was very popular and then there was Mrs. Booth’s shop which started off its life actually, I believe, as a tearoom and then she put in a library and it ended up being a very nice china and glass shop with a library at the back of it. As a teenager I went to work there with her dusting the shelves and doing things.

    Garrie Felsted Wells

    Interviewed by Zoe Dobson on 24th July 2003

    Garrie Felsted Wells. Yes, there was Orana in Bradley’s Head Road which was an Infant’s School I suppose, and then the Garden school in Stanton Road. I remember going to a fete and they were all doing sort of Greek dancing out on the lawn.

    Zoe Dobson. Do you remember the Principal of any of the…

    Garrie Felsted Wells. ….no I don’t, I just know there were two elderly ladies that ran it. I think it was certainly for young ladies. And then there was Killarney too at the end of Heydon St. and Dalton Road. It was a kindergarten coming from school. They all had uniforms, but I can’t remember much about the Garden School except it was well known at that time.

    Garrie Felsted Wells

    Interviewed by Zoe Dobson on 24th July 2003
    Subject: ,

    Garrie Felsted Wells. Yes, I remember very vividly the night they came in because my dad was by then a warden and we had a trench in the back garden and my mother was in the trench with the dog and the family silver, which wasn’t worth saving anyway, and I was wandering round watching all the searchlights and listening to all the noise. And I remember my mother calling out when my father came back to see if we were OK and saying, ‘tell that child to come down into the trench’ wasn’t at all interested in going down into this rather dank sort of slip trench in the back garden. I was much more interested in watching the searchlights.

    Zoe Dobson. You had no fear.

    Garrie Felsted Wells. No, none at all, but a few days later – I was at Cornforth’s then. We went to school in the morning and he wasn’t well so we all had the day off. We went round to Taylor’s Bay and watched them bringing the submarine up that had been sunk in Taylor’s Bay. We watched them bringing it up out of the water which was quite an impressive thing.

    Garrie Felsted Wells

    Interviewed by Zoe Dobson on 24th July 2003

    Zoe Dobson. Were you aware of the Depression in your younger years and did it affect your father’s employment at all?

    Garrie Felsted Wells. Yes it did and as a rubber planter there was a rubber slump and that was one of the reasons they didn’t go back to the East. I can remember very vividly when I was only about five sitting in St. Vincent’s outpatients with my mother to see a doctor and the nuns saying to her, ‘you’ll have to go home and come back tomorrow’, and my mother saying, ‘I can’t afford the tram fare tomorrow , I’m going to stay until I see a doctor’.

    When we’d seen the doctor we went home through Anzac Parade and there was my father with a gang of men working on the roads and that was a great shock and surprise to me to see him with a pick and shovel with all these men working because he was fairly cultured English gentleman I suppose. According to my mother they did have dole cards but he always managed to get work and so they didn’t have to use the dole cards.

    Gretchen Dechert

    Interviewed by Zoe Dobson on 15 August 2005

    Gretchen Dechert. After that I went to the St Hilda’s Church of England Grammar School up near the Zoo. That school was started by the four Sisters of Tippy Arnold who started the Boys Preparatory School in Shadforth Street. There was Miss Isabelle Arnold, she was the headmistress. She was plump and her other sister Miss Hetty was plump and they taught in the school, and the two skinny Miss Arnold’s they kept the boarding house school boarding part. We always thought that was wrong, the fat ones should have kept… anyway.

    We played tennis in what is now the Mosman Private Hospital. At that stage I think it was called the ‘Ellamatta’, and the car park was where the tennis court used to be. But of course now it is all huge buildings. It had various names, it was ‘All Saints’ and then Mosman Public, and now it’s Mosman Private.

    Gretchen Dechert

    Interviewed by Zoe Dobson on 15 August 2005
    Subject: ,

    Gretchen Dechert. Yes I went to Balmoral a lot, that’s where I learnt to swim. When I was a little girl my father threw me in off the end of the wharf and dived in after me of course, but I learnt to swim there. And that part down there where The Watermark is, that oval had grown out of the tip. It was a smelly place, you never went there, and just opposite The Watermark there’s a sort of cave and my mother always told me I must hurry past, because a man lived there. I don’t think I ever saw him he must have been hiding in the bushes there.

    Gretchen Dechert

    Interviewed by Zoe Dobson on 15 August 2005
    Subject: ,

    Gretchen Dechert. Oh yes, and I remember the Star of the East, the Amphitheatre. That was when Christ was to walk through the Heads. We were overseas so I didn’t see it.

    Zoe Dobson. I don’t think he arrived, did he?

    Gretchen Dechert. Later on they only had sing-songs there in the evening. They sat on the cold concrete. I think they took cushions, which was wise.

    Gretchen Dechert

    Interviewed by Zoe Dobson on 15 August 2005

    Gretchen Dechert. I also remember the day the bridge was opened. My father had seats and we sat right in the front row. He didn’t want to go, he stayed at home and listened to it on the wireless, but my mother and I went. We sat there and we saw the man coming on his horse and cutting the ribbon.

    Zoe Dobson. Where you were you sitting?

    Gretchen Dechert. Right on the front…

    Zoe Dobson. …on this side?

    Gretchen Dechert. No, on the other side, and we thought that was a bit strange but we didn’t take any notice. Then somebody else tied the ribbon together and it was properly cut and so on. When we got home my father in great excitement said, ‘oh, did you see it all, what was it about?’ We said, ‘what are you talking about?’ and then he told us what had actually happened, we had no idea what was going on. In our curiosity we just watched everything and a man came on a horse with a saber…..

    Zoe Dobson. …so there wasn’t any actual drama.

    Gretchen Dechert. We thought it was just part of the ceremony in our stupidity.

    Hazel Maclean

    Interviewed by Yolande Pierce on 31 January 1989

    Yolande Pierce. Well I guess around here there weren’t too many….

    Hazel Maclean. ….well there was nothing. When I was living here as a child, there was nothing whatsoever. The last house was at the end of Medusa Street, almost facing, there was a house, which was a dairy, and that was the back of beyond there, and there was another dairy – you know? along Spit Road there’s a car salesroom, well that used to be a dairy.

    Yolande Pierce. Were they large properties?

    Hazel Maclean. Oh, fairly large. It was fresh milk from the cows, it wasn’t just delivered there, the cows were there.

    Yolande Pierce. Was that delivered to you from those local dairies?

    Hazel Maclean. Oh yes, everything was delivered, milk, bread, vegetables. The post-man used to bring the letters right to the front door. Jimmy Crouch, he was the post-man for years and years and years. Just about everything was delivered. We had the same greengrocer who called, oh for 20 or 30 years he came round, and they’d come in with a great big basket with a sample of everything that they had on the carts, and you’d choose what you wanted.

    Yolande Pierce. They’d bring it to the front door with a cart.

    Hazel Maclean. The back door, oh not the front door, it was the back door, right the way round the back. I can’t remember his name, but he was a bonzer chap too. But you’d choose what you wanted and then he would go out to the cart and measure out what you wanted and bring it all back again.

    Hazel Maclean

    Interviewed by Yolande Pierce on 31 January 1989

    Yolande Pierce. Well during the Depression, did life dramatically change for your family?

    Hazel Maclean. Well, it changed rather dramatically for me. We had a really tough time all through the Depression, but not as bad as some people had. Down in Pearl Bay there were the camps for people who couldn’t get housing, and in the cliffs at the back they erected sheets of iron in front of the caves. I never found out how they managed for water, but those people were there for years. There were about five families that lived down in Pearl Bay in caves, and they were always very neatly dressed, and they were clean, but how they managed, God only knows.

    Hazel Maclean

    Interviewed by Yolande Pierce on 31 January 1989

    Hazel Maclean. And talking about the dairies, when we were kids we always had a Collie dog, you’ve seen those photos. You see the gate there – well two steps down, the back door place was lower than the street and when they’d take the cows past, a lot of them used to go out further to Station Hill. This particular Collie had been raised on a farm and the cow that they had then was Polly, and as kids, we’d see the drovers coming along with the cattle. We’d hide down here behind the gate, and when they were right in front of us we’d just open the gate ‘here Polly’, and of course Nell would dash out and the cattle would go everywhere. There was much swearing from the drovers.

    Hazel Maclean

    Interviewed by Yolande Pierce on 31 January 1989
    Subject: ,

    Yolande Pierce. Do you remember the Theosophist Temple down at Balmoral Beach in its heyday?

    Hazel Maclean. Oh yes. In its heyday.

    Yolande Pierce. I believe there used to be concerts and all sorts of things there.

    Hazel Maclean. And the big home that the Theosophists lived in, afterwards it was all sub-divided, and the other part that I remember vividly, I don’t know whether there’s any people alive now that would remember it, and that was the camping ground at Balmoral. Do you know where the Balmoral Beach Club is? Well, at the back of that was this area there for campers. They had carted old tram cars down there, and people converted them into – caravans, more or less.

    Yolande Pierce. Was this after the trams had finished?

    Hazel Maclean. Oh, no, no, no, the trams were going for a long time. They were discarded trams, and some English friends of mine, a lass that I went to school with, they had one down there and I used to spend weekends with them down there. It was in the sand dunes at the side of the Balmoral Beach Club.

    New speaker. That was still there – that was there….

    Hazel Maclean. ….oh, it was a different one to what it is now. Somewhere we should have a photo of that old Balmoral Beach Club. But there were these sand dunes at the side and behind it, quite deep sand dunes they were, with leafy grass on top of them, and the old dressing sheds – that was not Balmoral, it was Edwards Beach. They were to the left of Balmoral Beach Club.

    Yolande Pierce. And people used to camp in these old trams?

    Hazel Maclean. Yes, and they had tents. It was a fairly large area, but the trams actually made a caravan with small compartments in the front where the driver sat was made into the kitchen part, and the other part was the living part.

    Hazel Maclean

    Interviewed by Yolande Pierce on 31 January 1989

    Hazel Maclean. Oh, we had so many theatres to go to in those days – local theatres. Between Crows Nest and Manly we had 13 theatres that we could go to in that area without going to the city or anywhere else; and then in the city there were stage shows – the actual theatre, not a picture theatre, we had about 10 theatres in the city.

    Yolande Pierce. Were there any stage theatres in Mosman?

    Hazel Maclean. No, other than the Mosman Musical Society because that was going way back then.

    Yolande Pierce. How often did you go to the theatre?

    Hazel Maclean. You’d probably go twice a week. Other than that into the city to the live theatre, it would depend on what was on.

    Irene Kertez

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 8 November 2000
    Subject: ,

    Irene Kertez. They came to me, but I said in Botany I can’t teach, they had children and in-laws etc, etc, and we had one room. He said: ‘That’s not a problem, I find for you accommodation’. He got at Parriwi Road – it was a beautiful big house, it was a house and a big garage and a big garden. The house was divided for four flats. On the top, we got a flat and another family got one, and down it was an office for a news paper man, and he get the first Mosman Daily type of something. I’m talking now from 1951. And the other flat was a guy who had two monkeys, no children. Two chimpanzees – they were eating with them, they went to the toilet etc, etc. It was just fun to see them. They handled the monkeys like children. And then they were friends of the real estate man.

    Jean Hill

    Interviewed by Rosemary Christmas on 14 April 2003

    Rosemary Christmas. So you three girls would play games?

    Jean Hill. We played a lot of tennis because people had courts. I started tennis first at St Hilda’s when I was nine and they used to hire a court where the Mosman Hospital is now. We would trot up there and play, so I started quite young at tennis. I was never very good. I played only social tennis, there was always some little club that I joined and played with. I continued playing until in my early 70s actually, but by then as the rest of the club was also in their 70s they were getting hip replacements etc, so the whole thing fizzled. I haven’t played since then.

    There were several courts in our street, we’d either know the people or we could borrow the court, we didn’t have a court ourselves but there was a lot of tennis.

    Jean Hill

    Interviewed by Rosemary Christmas on 14 April 2003

    Rosemary Christmas. Would you drive into the city?

    Jean Hill. No, we went by the Zoo ferry, which I’m very fond of actually having travelled on it for years. My father used to catch the Zoo ferry; he was a member of the ‘friends of the Zoo’ or something, and we would walk down with him into the Zoo, have a look around and then go home.

    The bottom of our street was part of the Ashton Park – you know – bush, and we played there quite happily and nobody worried about us being molested or anything like that. We built cubbies down there etc, and there was a path through from the bottom of the street to the entrance of the Zoo and we’d walk through that to go down through the Zoo with my father, so we knew the Zoo fairly well.

    Jean Hill

    Interviewed by Rosemary Christmas on 14 April 2003

    Rosemary Christmas. Were you happy to do law, you didn’t have any other ideas? In a way law was prepared for you.

    Jean Hill. Yes it was. I used to work in the office in the school holidays sometimes so I knew all about it. They had an office in Galston House in Pitt Street and they used to have processions in Pitt Street and we’d go into the office and have a wonderful view.

    Rosemary Christmas. Was that Firm very big in those days?

    Jean Hill. Not at all, it was never very big, just about four partners. I think small is good, these big firms worry me because you don’t seem to have the same rapport with the people there and you get pushed on to someone else. I always liked to do my own thing.

    Rosemary Christmas. In those days at law school you’d have been probably a minority were there many other women?

    Jean Hill. In my first year I did arts law. I went to University in 1937/38.

    Rosemary Christmas. So there were quite a few women solicitors coming through?

    Jean Hill. They disappeared, in first year law I think there were 10 women compared to about 100 men, but by the time we got to the final year there were only three of us left. Lee Huntley was an alderman of Mosman Council and she was in my year.

    Rosemary Christmas. When you graduated did you have any ideas of doing something else like going to the Bar or anything like that?

    Jean Hill. (laughs) No, no. I’d been in the office as an article clerk and there I was – I was now a solicitor so there we were. No I was not an ambitious type.

    Jill Edwards

    Interviewed by Gerard Christmas on 28 August 2002

    Sirius Cove and how it has changed, because it was a dump and there was a big storm water pipe that ran right down beside the track. ‘We’ll meet you down at the pipe’ we used to say. At the end of the pipe, where it obviously just went into the harbour, and you’d often see rats running around the dump, but that’s now all been grassed over and it is a beautiful park down there. But there was always a net across there so that we could safely swim. You wouldn’t catch me swimming in the harbour for quids, because sharks could get you.

    Gerard Christmas. Were there any incidents at Sirius Cove then?

    Jill Edwards. They’d seen sharks, but we had the net and in high tide it came right up to the top of the net in king tides, over Christmas and New Year. There was a little beach there, and there was a rock and when the tide came in, if you could swim out to the rock, you’d made it.

    There was a very interesting woman named Mrs Kerr, who used to sit down there and she used to knit. She always wore a black swimming costume with a sun visor on. Her skin was like leather. She basically taught us all to swim and then she’d look after us all, so our parents weren’t worried that we were down there without supervision because Mrs Kerr was there.

    Gerard Christmas. What did she knit?

    Jill Edwards. I don’t know. I can remember her rolling her own cigarettes in a funny little tin. She’d get the tobacco out of the tin and put it into the cigarette paper and then she’d push something on this tin and it would roll into a cigarette.

    John Carruthers

    Interviewed by Trish Levido on 15 February 2006
    Subject: ,

    John Carruthers. He bought the residue of the land from the association after they ran out of steam, they didn’t sell the last two houses on the eastern side….

    Trish Levido. ….of your house.

    John Carruthers. On the western side … they hadn’t sold Nos 7 & 9 at Quakers Road.

    Trish Levido. They were the only two blocks that were left then.

    John Carruthers. They were houses and the gap between 9 Quakers Road, and what is now 67 Bay Street. That’s the last one that sits down on the western side, and my father bought the rest of the land from the association at some time, I don’t know some time in 1926 or something like that.

    Trish Levido. As an investment.

    John Carruthers. Well, we built this house on it in 1935.

    Trish Levido. What was the number of the block that he built the house on?

    John Carruthers. It’s now 50 …

    Trish Levido. …it was changed to 50 Central Avenue.

    John Carruthers. No, it was always 50 Central Avenue. They started to number them from the top to the bottom, they didn’t number those, they all had place names, they named the houses. We were ‘Lecindra’.

    Trish Levido. That was the name of the house.

    John Carruthers. Yes, in Central Avenue and it didn’t have a number that I know of anyway.

    Trish Levido. How many houses would have been around in this street when you were called ‘Lecindra’?

    John Carruthers. Not a great deal, a big gap between our house and Central Avenue on the southern side. There were five vacant blocks.

    Trish Levido. Nothing at all from Spit Road to the bottom of the hill.

    John Carruthers. From the bottom of the hill to our place was all bush.

    John Carruthers. After he came back from the war he worked in the Limbless Factory in Surry Hills. My mother didn’t work and they lived at Clovelly at that time. He became interested in these houses here after Charlie Avis who also worked there, he was an amputee, had a leg off too. He went there and he bought the first house, which is now No 77 Bay Street. I don’t know when Charlie came in, but it was some time before we did, we came here in 1922.

    Trish Levido. And so they became friends when working together.

    John Carruthers. Yes, and also Mrs. Avis was my auntie’s sister, so there was a family relationship as well as being a friendship.

    Trish Levido. Do you know what year it was when he moved here?

    John Carruthers. We moved here in 1922

    Trish Levido. Going back to the big house that you currently live in, do you have any idea of what your father would have paid for the original cost of the building?

    John Carruthers. £2000.

    Trish Levido. Why did your father decide to build the big house when you were already living in one of the ten weatherboard houses further up the road?

    John Carruthers. Well, he wanted to improve himself I suppose. They had some spare money….

    Trish Levido. ….did he inherit any money do you remember?

    John Carruthers. No, he didn’t inherit any he saved it up he was a very thrifty man.

    Trish Levido. Was he a handyman?

    John Carruthers. No.

    Trish Levido. So he paid a builder to come and build the house, he didn’t do any of it himself.

    John Carruthers. De Putron was the architect.

    Trish Levido. Violet Peters said that all of the houses were De Putron designed houses.

    John Carruthers. That’s right they were all the same.

    Trish Levido. But your house wasn’t it was it.

    John Carruthers. No, it was slightly different over there.

    Trish Levido. Because of the design of the house, because of the Lot?

    John Carruthers. No, because the addition they put on, this verandah on the side, which was different.

    Trish Levido. This verandah that we’re sitting in now?

    John Carruthers. Oh no, this house hasn’t changed.

    Trish Levido. The house that we’re in now at 50 Central Avenue was that designed by De Putron?

    John Carruthers. Yes.

    Trish Levido. If you took me on a mental walk through the houses could you tell me what they were like?

    John Carruthers. I have a small drawing here.

    Trish Levido. That’s wonderful.

    John Carruthers. They’re all basically, a little square like that and they all had an open … they were later closed – a little verandah on that side and the kitchen was there, the toilet there and there was a dining and lounge room together. Then there was a small hall with bedroom 1 there, and bedroom 2 there, and they had a verandah there, but our house ‘Lecindra’ had this extension on the side, which is a small kitchenette in addition to the kitchen. We used to eat in the kitchen.

    Trish Levido. So the kitchen was like a dining room.

    John Carruthers. It was a kitchenette with an enclosed verandah along the side here.

    Trish Levido. Violet told me that a lot of people used to sleep on the verandahs that was their bedrooms and the children slept on the verandah.

    John Carruthers. All of us slept on the verandah we slept out there. My brother and I both slept on the verandah. It was fairly wide and enclosed in glass.

    Trish Levido. So about two or three meters wide or only 1 ½ meters wide?

    John Carruthers. No, no it would have been about three meters wide.

    Trish Levido. So it had a wall around the lower half?

    John Carruthers. No, this was an enclosed verandah. A little bit at the front was open and then another verandah here, which in our case was open but the others were enclosed and that’s where the kids used to sleep.

    Trish Levido. So where was the bathroom – that’s the toilet?

    John Carruthers. There was no toilet because it was an outside toilet, no I’ve got that wrong that’s the bathroom.

    Trish Levido. That’s a bathroom where it says toilet on the map it’s actually a bathroom. So the bathroom mainly consisted of a bath and a basin, and you had an outside toilet.

    John Carruthers. I haven’t been in any of the others except Avis’s, also I’ve been in Roberts the next one to Avis’s.

    Trish Levido. So this is No 50.

    John Carruthers. No, that’s not No 50 this is ‘Lecindra’.

    Trish Levido. What number was that?

    John Carruthers. There was no number, just Central Avenue. It’s now No 5 Quakers Road.

    Trish Levido. And you think that this design would be the same in all those houses.

    John Carruthers. Yes because the next one down from Avis’s was the same as Avis’s.

    Trish Levido. The same design – now when you say Avis’s do you have any idea of the number of Avis’s.

    John Carruthers. Yes, Avis was No 77.

    Trish Levido. The same design as No 77 Bay Street.

    John Carruthers. Well, it’s now 77 Bay Street.

    Trish Levido. Do you remember if the houses were all the same plan and the same layout, so they were a reasonable size house because they all had at least two bedrooms, plus the verandahs.

    John Carruthers. It wasn’t very big that verandah….

    Trish Levido. ….in the other ones, this one was a reasonable sized one, yours was bigger.

    John Carruthers. Yes, ours was much bigger.

    Trish Levido. So he would have paid to have than enclosed verandah with the little kitchenette on it.

    John Carruthers

    Interviewed by Trish Levido on 15 February 2006

    Trish Levido. So you didn’t get to go on the tugboat because Violet actually said that she had been on the tugboat. Now Hazel McLain had some connections with the Medusa Dairy. All I’ve got is to ask you if you knew anything about a Hazel McLain and the Medusa Dairy. I’ve since found out that the Medusa Dairy – there’s something where the Medusa Dairy is there’s either a foundation that’s still left there or you can actually see some part of the Medusa Dairy.

    John Carruthers. Well the house where they separated the milk is still there and there’s a little bit of an alleyway that goes back to where the large shed they had that they used to put the cattle in.

    Trish Levido. So they’ve still got the milk- separating shed.

    John Carruthers. Well, it’s a house now.

    Trish Levido. Yes, it’s been converted into a house, but that was where the actual separating shed was.

    John Carruthers. It’s where the dairy was, yeah.

    Trish Levido. And it’s like a battleaxe block of land then is it?

    John Carruthers. It’s a long narrow block of land like that, and there’s a road or a lane on the southern side that goes down which was the grazing area for the cattle on top of this hill.

    Trish Levido. How many cattle are we talking about?

    John Carruthers. No, but there were a fair few and I used to milk them.

    Trish Levido. And did you take the milk can down to the dairy to get the milk everyday?

    John Carruthers. That’s still there I think, they used to dispense the milk down there.

    Trish Levido. Yes, when they’d actually separate the milk out and sell it directly from there. Did he have a horse and dray to carry the milk carts?

    John Carruthers. Yes, Paul Stevens, the second house up there, Mr. Stevens he had several carts.

    Trish Levido. Was Mr. Stevens the actually milkman?

    John Carruthers. He carried the milk for the Mosman dairy.

    Trish Levido. So he would have had the horse and dray that actually carried it, but he wasn’t the milkman.

    John Carruthers. Yes, he was the milkman.

    Trish Levido. But he didn’t actually milk the cows did he?

    John Carruthers. No.

    Trish Levido. It was his business to sell the milk.

    John Carruthers. Yes, he carted the milk for the Osborne’s.

    John Carruthers

    Interviewed by Trish Levido on 15 February 2006

    John Carruthers. No one I knew had a bicycle, but billy carts, yes.

    Trish Levido. There was something in the wheels of the billy carts that was valuable.

    John Carruthers. Yes, they had ball bearing wheels – Rolls Royce.

    Trish Levido. Because they were expensive to buy.

    John Carruthers. We didn’t have any ball bearings.

    Trish Levido. And did it make any difference to have a billy cart with them?

    John Carruthers. Well, I suppose so.

    Trish Levido. You didn’t know because none of the other kids had ball bearing wheels.

    John Carruthers. A small wheel in the front and two little wheels at the back.

    Trish Levido. Did you carry anything in the billy cart, or did you just use it to get around in?

    John Carruthers. I just used it race it down the hill until my brother broke off his front tooth so billy carts were gone then.

    John Dansie

    Interviewed by Susan Kelly on 7 March 2002
    Subject: ,

    Susan Kelly. Can you tell me about some of your early childhood experiences, using this area as a playground and what you remember?

    John Dansie. Yes this headland between Sirius Cove and Mosman Bay was our playground. If we weren’t fishing off Musgrave Street Wharf catching yellow tail and leather jackets – that’s the new Musgrave Street wharf – the original one was further south on the point by about 150-feet. The evidence of the old wharf is still there, the timber is still in the sandstone down opposite Clifford number one.

    If we weren’t down there fishing we’d be tearing around the Curraghbeena Park over the road here on the western side of Sirius Cove. We used to play cops and robbers, and there was a set of swings there. We used to have huge bonfires when Empire Day came around on the 24th May each year; we dragged sticks and all the loose timber and stuff out of the bush and people would bring out old bed-heads and any old timber that they had, and we’d have a huge bonfire on Empire Day with plenty of crackers and things. That was 50 years ago.

    John Dansie

    Interviewed by Susan Kelly on 7 March 2002
    Subject: ,

    John Dansie. As I’ve told you Sue, in the park there are some old sandstone steps. There are two sections – the bush or the park – there’s three and a half acres there in the reserve, or 1.4 hectares. Curraghbeena Road, which cuts through the park is access to the subdivision at the bottom where those waterfront homes are down there. That was constructed in about 1910 I would say, probably by the Mosman Council, but the stairs that I found in two sections, I didn’t realize until a few years ago, obliterated about 150 to 200-feet of the stairs or path that went down to the foreshore of Sirius Cove.

    In other words the road followed the same grade as the stairs in that section. Those stairs were constructed, I estimate in about 1885 to 1890, possibly by the council, or possibly by people who were active over at Curlew camp on the eastern side of Sirius Cove.

    We uncovered those stairs, as boys in the 1950s, and over the last 50 years they’ve become quite overgrown. Only recently I put together what the significance of those stairs were. They were part of the pathway that led down to a jetty in the middle of the park’s foreshore boundary, and from there they used to row across to the other side to Curlew camp, which was the camp where the artists – Arthur Streeton, and Tom Roberts etc, lived. It was a pretty famous part of Mosman now, so these stairs, which I’ve re-located, have a tremendous historical and heritage significance in Mosman.

    Susan Kelly. Would you like to tell me something about the construction of the steps and your opinion of the sandstone?

    John Dansie. The sandstone obviously, was cut from the rock on site. In larger boulders where the stone has been broken off to form the stairs – I can show you plenty of locations where big chunks of stone are missing from big boulders where they’ve taken the stone. In those days all they had were picks, crowbars, gads, hammers and chisels and shovels. It would have been a lot of hard-yakka, and they built the sandstone retaining walls and these stairs.

    John Dansie

    Interviewed by Susan Kelly on 7 March 2002

    Susan Kelly. How do you remember the head of Sirius Cove yourself?

    John Dansie. It was a rubbish tip where all sorts of rubbish were dumped. In those days bricks, builders waste, plus vegetation and big piles – there were fires going all the time, they were always burning off rubbish and things. That was so, up until – I think the retaining walls around Sirius Cove must have been constructed somewhere in the mid to late 60s, which is really only 35 years ago, and then they made quite a nice playing area. We used to go down there swimming a lot.

    In Sirius Cove I can remember from just about where the low tide limit is now, there was a net stretched right across the bay. It went from one side to the other – we always swam at high tide because Sirius Cove was a nice swimming area. But unfortunately, whenever there was a southerly all the rubbish from the south side used to blow across, catch on the net and at low tide it was a disgusting sight – papers, sticks, twigs, plastic and things used to hang on this net and it was removed I think, at about the same time as they constructed the retaining wall and built the nice area that’s down there now at Sirius Cove. I can remember a very old set of timber framed swings in the actual sand. As the tide came in you could jump off the swing into the water.

    John Dansie

    Interviewed by Susan Kelly on 7 March 2002
    Subject: ,

    John Dansie. In the lower part of the Curraghbeena Park, or the bottom bush, as we used to call it, between the road and the high water mark, there is one area where there’s a big cave formed by some sandstone boulders and we had a cubby-house in there. You could go in to about 10 or 15-feet – it’s still there. Go into this cave and we cleaned it out and we thought we were like the phantom – we had our own little skull cave kind of thing, and we had a lot of fun down there. We’d take our comics – Heckle and Jeckle and Mighty Mouse and all that stuff. We used to hide our comics in there, and our cigarettes.

    John Dansie

    Interviewed by Susan Kelly on 7th March 2002
    Subject: ,

    Citizen of the Year for 2014 John Dansie is a true Mosmanite. Born in the local Mena Hospital he shares some wonderful memories of living and growing up in the picturesque harbourside suburb. John’s pride in and love of Mosman is apparent as he tells of finding an old mattress, some fence palings and his attempt to row across the shark infested Sirius Cove; he describes the sandstone cave he and his mates used as a cubby house; he recalls catching Yellow Tail from the Musgrave Street Wharf, playing cricket and the all important social event the Empire Day bonfires. John also describes rediscovering the hand hewn steps carved out of the sandstone in Curraghbeena Park which had been used by the artists who frequented the Sirius Cove artists’ camp across the bay.

    John Dansie. My date of birth is the 21st July 1942, so I’m 59 – I’m nearly 60. I’ll have a big party in July this year, and I live at number 20 Raglan Street Mosman. My mother lives next door at number 22 Raglan Street Mosman, and my sister lives a couple of doors at number 16 Raglan Street Mosman.

    Susan Kelly. How long have you lived in this area?

    John Dansie. I was born in Mosman at Mena Hospital in 1942. As a little boy I went to Mosman Infant’s School in Belmont Road, which is adjacent to the Mosman Bowling Club, as you know. Then I went from Mosman Infant’s School to Mosman Primary School on the corner of Avenue Road. In 1955 I went to Newington College at Stanmore where my father went as a boy, and I used to catch the ferry from Musgrave Street to Circular Quay and we’d catch a tram from Circular Quay up to Wynyard, and we’d catch the train from Wynyard out to Stanmore. That’s prior to the Cahill Expressway being opened in 1956. Then we’d catch the train straight from Circular Quay.

    Susan Kelly. Can you tell me about some of your early childhood experiences, using this area as a playground and what you remember?

    John Dansie. Yes this headland between Sirius Cove and Mosman Bay was our playground. If we weren’t fishing off Musgrave Street wharf catching yellow tail and leather jackets – that’s the new Musgrave Street wharf, the original one was further south on the point by about 150-feet. The evidence of the old wharf is still there, the timber is still in the sandstone down opposite Clifford number 1.

    If we weren’t down there fishing we’d be tearing around the Curraghbeena Park over the road here on the western side of Sirius Cove. We used to play cops and robbers, and there was a set of swings there. We used to have huge bonfires when Empire Day came around on the 24th May each year; we dragged sticks and all the loose timber and stuff out of the bush and people would bring out old bed heads and any old timber that they had, and we’d have a huge bonfire on Empire Day with plenty of crackers and things. That was 50 years ago.

    As I’ve told you Sue, in the park there are some old sandstone steps. There are two sections – the bush or the park – there’s three and a half acres there in the reserve, or 1.4 hectares. Curraghbeena Road, which cuts through the park is access to the subdivision at the bottom where those waterfront homes are down there. That was constructed in about 1910 I would say, probably by the Mosman Council, but the stairs that I found in two sections, I didn’t realize until a few years ago, obliterated about 150 to 200-feet of the stairs or path that went down to the foreshore of Sirius Cove.

    In other words the road followed the same grade as the stairs in that section. Those stairs were constructed, I estimate in about 1885 to 1890, possibly by the council, or possibly by people who were active over at Curlew camp on the eastern side of Sirius Cove.

    We uncovered those stairs, as boys in the 1950s, and over the last 50 years they’ve become quite overgrown. Only recently I put together what the significance of those stairs were. They were part of the pathway that led down to a jetty in the middle of the park’s foreshore boundary, and from there they used to row across to the other side to Curlew camp, which was the camp where the artists – Arthur Streeton, and Tom Roberts etc, lived. It was a pretty famous part of Mosman now, so these stairs, which I’ve re-located, have a tremendous historical and heritage significance in Mosman. They’re undisturbed, they are as they were and they’ve been preserved by the fact that no one has been down into the bush for the last 50 years. Kids of today don’t play in the park as much as we used to because they have other activities such as TV and computers, and what have you. They don’t go out as much.

    Susan Kelly. Would you like to tell me something about the construction of the steps and your opinion of the sandstone?

    John Dansie. The sandstone obviously, was cut from the rock on site. In larger boulders where the stone has been broken off to form the stairs – I can show you plenty of locations where there are big chunks of stone are missing from big boulders where they’ve taken the stone. In those days all they had were picks, crowbars, gads, hammers and chisels and shovels. It would have been a lot of hard yakker, and they built the sandstone retaining walls and these stairs. These are big steps, probably four or five or six-feet, or up to a meter and a half long in today’s language. It’s not just a track; it’s a really well made path down to the foreshore. It would have taken several months, depending upon how many were involved to build this track down to the foreshore.

    We located the original map produced by a Mr. F.C. Lane who incidentally, was a famous Olympian. I think he was a sculler or a swimmer. Anyhow, it showed a track coming from Musgrave Street up and over the ridge and down through Curraghbeena Park to the foreshore where they used to row across in a boat to the Curlew Camp, which was very active around 1890, right through to about 1900.

    Taronga Zoo wasn’t formed until 1911 so that area over there around the eastern side of Sirius Cove and Whiting Beach where Taronga Zoo is now was a real remote kind of Hernando’s Hideaway. It was a good isolated place for these bohemians to live – as they were then referred to. There were a lot of fun and games; they had their own billiard tent and a cook over there, and it would have been a wild old time.

    Susan Kelly. In your day when you remember it, how was this pathway used?

    John Dansie. When we first located it, as boys, it had been disused for up to 50 years. We decided to uncover them and it was like a buried treasure – like finding the pyramids in the jungle. We didn’t have the strength or the tools that we have today – we probably did it with our bare hands. We pulled all the rubbish away from the stairs and exposed them right down to the foreshore. Now it is so overgrown down near the foreshore that I can’t even – well I’m not going to try and chop through it, but I think the heritage grant will allow us some money to get some people to clear it to the foreshore. I uncovered most of the stairs last year, about six months ago. The steps were very well made and they are very, very well preserved in the park.

    I believe that Curraghbeena Park is the oldest dedicated park in Mosman. I know it was proclaimed as a park for recreation purposes on 2nd September 1887. It was surveyed in 1884 when the alignment survey of Musgrave and Raglan Streets were carried out. As I said, there’s three and a half acres of bush land there and it was originally an allotment in the whaling allotments. The whole of this Point was subdivided into whaling allotments. I think there were ten allotments fronting Sirius Cove and Mosman Bay because the whaling station was established at the head of Mosman Bay in 1840. That’s why there’s a tidal high water mark around this peninsula, unlike Cremorne or other areas of Mosman where there’s a 100-foot reservation between the property boundaries and the high water mark.

    In the top area of the park, adjacent to Raglan Street is a cleared area of grass where we used to have our bonfires. There used to be a white post (indistinct) rail fence running right along the western boundary of the park from number 21 to number 17. There was only one set of swings; big sturdy pipe framed swings that we used to play on as children, sitting where the sandpit is now, in between those two big box brush trees, and we had so much fun on those.

    We used to play cricket in the park. There was a power pole at the corner of Curraghbeena Road – a street light power pole, which was our wicket and we used to play cricket there, as children. We’d run along where the concrete footpath is now and we’d slam the ball all over the park, but to see a car – there weren’t many cars using the street in those days.

    It was a bit of a rubbish dump too, I’ve carried out bags and bags of bottles and stuff that had been hurled into park over the years, and I’m hoping that we’ll get a lot more attention to this park because it seems to have been the forgotten relative, regarding parks and gardens around Mosman. For example Sirius Cove, I can remember taking – that was a rubbish tip, we used to take rubbish down there 50 years ago. It’s all in-filled now and it’s a beautiful reclaimed area, as is Reid Park and Balmoral Oval – that also was a rubbish tip when I was a boy. But this is a magnificent park, which has been neglected for a long time.

    Susan Kelly. From your experience in the RTA and from your experience watching your father, can you tell me something about the construction of sandstone steps?

    John Dansie. They were generally big, huge boulders – floaters that were located in the area, and you would get on top of them with a pick, then you would put a row of chip marks in a line where you wanted to split the sandstone, then you’d drive in steel gads, one at a time. These gads would be about 300ml – 30 centimeters, a foot apart. You hit one after the other – bang, then bang, then bang and you’d work along these gads with your sledgehammer until you would split off a big piece of sandstone. You could bust up a huge boulder as big as a car in a few hours if you had the right equipment – picks and things.

    Then you’d look for the grain in the sandstone, because it would always split along a seam, and then you could shape these sandstone blocks into steps. You could generally manhandle a big piece of sandstone, like you still see in the sandstone curbs around Mosman. I often look at those and think how they were made and how much effort was used to manufacture those sandstone blocks that are in curbs around Mosman and the city.

    Those steps over through Curraghbeena Park, are a real treasure. They would have taken a long time to build and they were built with a lot of care. They are still there in excellent condition, as is parts of the retaining wall.

    Susan Kelly. You said your father constructed on his own some substantial sandstone steps.

    John Dansie. Dad worked for The Maritime Services Board, as I told you, and he applied for a lease over an area below the high water mark at the western end of McLeod Street in Mosman Bay. In 1950 approximately, about the same time as I was a little boy, dad constructed from the cul-de-sac at the western end of McLeod Street some sandstone steps all the way down to the foreshore. It’s fairly steep and it was quite rugged. As you know in those days when they subdivided they would just get a map of the area and get a set square and a straight edge and everything was north, south, east, west orientated, and in many cases it was physically impossible and impractical to build roads following the gazetted and dedicated alignment of the roads.

    As you know there are plenty of areas around Mosman where there are streets that are separated by vertical sandstone walls.

    Susan Kelly. Was your father able to do these steps on his own?

    John Dansie. Oh yes. You could quite easily build a set of stairs and cut sandstone blocks on your own with, as I said, steel gads, probably a 14-pound sledgehammer, two or three big crowbars, shovels and a good pick.

    Susan Kelly. How big were these steps that your father built in size and distance compared to the Curraghbeena steps?

    John Dansie. The ones that dad built were slightly smaller. They were about three-feet wide, whereas these ones in Curraghbeena Park going down to the Curlew Camp, those stairs down there in some places would be five and six-feet wide. They are magnificent sandstone steps. It’s certainly not a track through the bush; it was a very well, purpose-built pathway to the foreshore to get access to the jetty on either side. There were jetties on either side of Sirius Cove where the boats would tie up and transport people to and from the Curlew Camp.

    Susan Kelly. What would have made it logical for people to build the steps, because of the lay of the land and the swamps and so on?

    John Dansie. There were no homes around the area in those days, the only home I know in 1884, which I’ve seen on the alignment plan was Duncraggan up on the corner of McLeod Street where number 40 is now, and it’s a tragedy that that was demolished, as is number 17 where Abbotsford was. There was another home called The Nest, above Mosman Bay, where Harnett lived – he was the first Mayor, and on the ridge probably around Middle Head Road or Bradley’s Head Road, there might have been one or two sandstone mansions, but Mosman was an area that was just kicking off – it was just growing.

    North Sydney Council were very reluctant to allow Mosman Municipal Council to establish – I think it was about 1883 that MMC was established. The head of Sirius Cove would have been a boggy, old ooze of black mud at low tide, and there was a creek running down from up where Magic Road comes down into Sirius Cove – there would have been natural watercourse there. It was a long way from Curraghbeena Park by track; you could not get around to the Curlew Camp – there might have been a foot track, but they were was a sensible, practical shorter distance to go straight down to the waterfront of Curraghbeena Park. Across the bay would probably be only about 200 meters and you could wave to each other, or call out and then they would row across, pick you up and you’d go to the other side.

    Susan Kelly. What’s the water frontage and the drop off like, from the Curraghbeena side?

    John Dansie. From the northeast corner of Curraghbeena Park where the first private land starts is very deep water. There are five water frontage allotments there – this subdivision was done in about 1810 or 1811, I remember from the plans. There were ten allotments, five facing Raglan Street, there was a road in the middle called Curraghbeena Road and there were five on the eastern side of the subdivision, which had deep water frontage – very deep water, because even at low tide the sandstone drops straight into very deep water – there’s a very deep hole there and you can’t walk around it, even at low tide. Therefore you have to swim around to the head of the bay, or walk by track around to the top of Sirius Cove.

    To get from Curraghbeena Park, around the Curlew Camp by track, in those days would have taken you probably three or four hours. In those days it was just an overgrown wilderness. There were no formed roads – there were no cars; everything was done by horses.

    Susan Kelly. How do you remember the head of Sirius Cove yourself?

    John Dansie. It was a rubbish tip where all sorts of rubbish were dumped. In those days bricks, builders waste, plus vegetation and big piles – there were fires going all the time, they were always burning off rubbish and things. That was so, up until – I think the retaining walls around Sirius Cove must have been constructed somewhere in the mid to late 60s, which is really only 35 years ago, and then they made quite a nice playing area. We used to go down there swimming a lot.

    In Sirius Cove I can remember from just about where the low tide limit is now, there was a net stretched right across the bay. It went from one side to the other – we always swam at high tide because Sirius Cove was a nice swimming area. But unfortunately, whenever there was a southerly all the rubbish from the south side used to blow across, catch on the net and at low tide it was a disgusting sight – papers, sticks, twigs, plastic and things used to hang on this net and it was removed I think, at about the same time as they constructed the retaining wall and built the nice area that’s down there now at Sirius Cove.

    I can remember a very old set of timber framed swings in the actual sand. As the tide came in you could jump off the swing into the water. It was good fun. On the eastern side there was a huge storm water pipe, which was probably constructed in the 40s. I think it was at least 6-feet diameter, because we used to walk, what we though was a long way, but it was probably only a few hundred feet – up this concrete storm water pipe on the eastern side of Sirius Cove. I’m quite sure that storm water pipe is still there, as a culvert that’s bringing the water from that catchment area. The catchment area of course, is from the ridge right up to Prince Albert Street up to – well it’s the whole of that Sirius Cove area, from Raglan Street up to Mosman Junction and around to Prince Albert Street, all drained into Sirius Cove.

    As I say everything was dumped down there. I can remember one time we found an old mattress (laughs), and Paul Jusher and I found this old double bed mattress, so we thought we’d be sailors. We got on this old mattress with a couple of palings and we started paddling it out into Sirius Cove. We probably got about halfway down the bay and the bloody thing sank (laughs), and we had to swim for our lives off this mattress. But they were the things that we did as kids.

    As you know Cliff Gentle has photographs of the warships tied up to the wooden wharves in Sirius Cove. During the war big ships were moored in Sirius Cove, and the sandstone wall below number 17 they said, cost about six thousand pounds to construct at the turn of the century, and it was a magnificently constructed sandstone wall. There was a bath house there built above the swimming pool, and you could row in through the wall into an area behind the sandstone seawall and the saltwater baths were in there.

    Now it’s all just been filled up with rubble that was shoved down the hill when they built number 17. But I can remember as a boy, very clearly that beautiful – and Cliff Gentle has photographs of the bath house, or the boat shed that was built above the pool. It would have been a magnificent sandstone mansion of a gentleman’s residence in those days. That was Abbotsford, which would have been constructed somewhere about 1895 to 1900 and it was demolished, bashed down in 1965 to make way for this ugly great tower that’s over there now – number 17.

    Susan Kelly. Can you tell me about this pathway from the ferry wharf that is named after your father?

    John Dansie. This is remarkable. In the publications by Rob Sturrock (Pictorial History of Mosman, volumes one and two) I saw a map, which shows a foot track from Musgrave Street wharf up and over the ridge to Sirius Cove. The sketch said how to get to the Curlew Camp by road and water. This of course, was some time after the pathway between Musgrave Street and Raglan Street was named after dad. I do appreciate the councilor Don Lopez suggesting, and having that pathway named after my father – The Charles Dansie Walk. That pathway I believe would have been where the access track to Curlew Camp came from Musgrave Street wharf. There are still some old sandstone steps in Musgrave Street that are still there, which I’m sure was part of the track from Musgrave Street up and over the ridge to Sirius Cove.

    Musgrave Street wharf was built by Richard Hayes Harnett and his endeavours, as a real estate agent to open up Mosman. The only other wharf I know of would have been the sandstone pier over at Bradley’s Head where they used to bring sandstone by rail up to make the fort. That was probably about the same time, in the 1880s. So between Bradley’s Head and Musgrave Street there was nothing except virgin bush – Taronga Zoo – nothing – it was all bush. Maybe, as I said there was an occasional sandstone residence, or mansion on Bradley’s Head Road, or Middle Head Road, but it was scattered development around Mosman in those days, and access was either by water from Circular Quay, or by horse and cart along the ridge from North Sydney.

    This track named after dad was in recognition, I know of my father’s (pause).
    Let me just tell you more about it. Dad used to look after Musgrave Street; he did all the maintenance of that area between the two roads. It is a divided road where you come off halfway down Musgrave Street – dad used to always maintain it – as I did after he died, cut the grass, look after the trees, and dad planted those jacarandas down there. There used to be two big palm trees down there, and he used to have a lovely little garden. He always kept the streets swept so they were nice and clean. The same thing up here in Raglan Street, he used to always keep the place nice and tidy, and that pathway was named after dad.

    That’s been a bit of sore point too, because that pathway named after dad was an undedicated piece of private land. Part of the original grant to William Edward Wilson, and the owners could never be traced. The properties butt onto the laneway and it was a public used private pathway and only recently have I been able to get the council to realize that they have to do something about formally acquiring that pathway and converting it from an unidentifiable, privately owned piece of land to a public thoroughfare. The council has spent money there sealing the road, putting in steps – there’s a street light in there – it’s one of the gray areas. It’s finally going to be sold. I’m quite sure that that was part of the track that went through Curlew Camp.

    Susan Kelly. Can you see any sandstone there that….

    John Dansie. …..yes you can Sue. I think I showed you. The steps at the bottom when you come into Musgrave Street were old and very worn. Sandstone stairs get a belly in them from people walking up and down them. They were replaced down the bottom, probably about 15 years ago, but in the middle section the old sandstone stairs are still there in pretty good condition. In some spots there’s been a concrete capping placed on the sandstone where it’s worn, and the old sandstone stairs are still there. They were probably constructed at the same time as the stairs going down through Curraghbeena Park.

    There’s a storm water pipe running from the drain – there’s a sump halfway down where the properties drain into a storm water pipe running down through that pathway. I’m quite sure that pathway leads down to Sirius Cove.

    Recently, Donna Braye has written to Caroline Hinchcliff at Port Douglas who is a descendant of Mr. Lane who was the fellow at Curlew Camp, to seek permission to get the memorabilia and artifacts from the Art Gallery that are in store over there, which have photographs of Curlew Camp, and the map is over there, and even an old shopping list. And the rules – the rules of Curlew Camp are kept there – we’re trying to get those back to store them in the Mosman Library. I went over with the former Mayor Peter Clive and located those and I’ve told Virginia Howard, and (indistinct) and Donna Braye about them, so that’s something that will hopefully be brought back to Mosman soon.

    As a boy I didn’t even know Curlew Camp existed; it’s only now that I’ve found out that when I was surveying the country in 1990 they had the centenary of the Curlew Camp and it was a big thing. There was a bronze plaque over there on a rock where the Camp was and you can still locate the sandstone block that has ‘Curlew 1890’ cut into it.

    That’s why Curraghbeena Park is a very historical park and it is part of Mosman’s heritage, but as boys we lived over there all day. We’d have our breakfast, we’d run over there and play in the park. We called it the top bush and the bottom bush because they were separated by the road that was constructed through the park, and that road by the way, is an unsurveyed, undedicated road that severs the park and all it does is give access to those private properties at the bottom.

    It was cut through the park – you’d never get it done nowadays, it would be like the Snowy Mountains Authority, you’d never be able to put a road through a public reserve to give access to five waterfront properties. It would be unheard of, but it has never been dedicated, and there’s no survey plan of Curraghbeena Road running from Raglan Street down to the southern boundaries of that subdivision.

    In the lower part of the Curraghbeena Park, or the bottom bush, as we used to call it, between the road and the high water mark, there is one area where there’s a big cave formed by some sandstone boulders and we had a cubby house in there. You could go in to about 10 or 15-feet – it’s still there. Go into this cave and we cleaned it out and we thought we were like the phantom – we had our own little skull cave kind of thing, and we had a lot of fun down there. We’d take our comics – Heckle and Jeckle and Mighty Mouse and all that stuff. We used to hide our comics in there, and our cigarettes.

    Musgrave Street Wharf used to have a boot-maker, a newsagent and a grocery shop under a big terracotta gabled roof. It was a big area with a shelter shed and there were public toilets down there. We used to buy cigarettes in packets of 10 or 20 in the late 40s and 50s and you’d get a packet of 10 cigarettes and we’d hide our fags (laughs) in the cave, and we’d go down there. I can still remember the smell of tobacco, it’s a craving smell, you’d never get rid of if you ever smoked. Then we’d be sucking on lifesavers like mad on the way home so your parents wouldn’t smell the cigarettes on you, but we had a lot of fun down there in those days in the bush.

    No children go down there now; the little ones play in the sandpit, but the younger boys don’t go down there; they’re still playing with their computers or TVs nowadays.

    Susan Kelly. What was the fishing like in Sirius Cove.

    John Dansie. Fantastic. Sirius Cove in those days – I can remember reading a book by Vick Coppleson called ‘Shark Attack’ in the 30s, somewhere between the abandonment of Curlew Camp, and when I was a young boy someone was taken by a shark and killed in Sirius Cove. That would be documented somewhere else. The book mentioned someone being killed by a shark in Sirius Cove. But the fishing was great.

    As a boy in about 1950 I used to row our dinghy from 1950/52/53 – 50 years ago I used to row around from our boatshed in Mosman Bay and I’ve have a drum – in those days it was a five gallon drum, which is about a 20 litre drum now. I’d have a landing net; I’d have my gumboots on and a stick, and at low tide I used to walk around through the sea grass, and as you disturbed blue swimmer crabs – they put their nippers out to arm themselves and you’d see them. You’d come up towards them with a stick, you didn’t come behind them with the net, and I used to catch up to a dozen beautiful big blue swimmer crabs, which I’d put in the drum and bring them home to dad, and he’d put them in the big boilers and we’d eat them.

    In those days there were no moorings in Sirius Cove. There might have been a couple down the far northeast corner near where the green scout shed is. There were also a couple of moorings in the deep water off the western side where those five deep-water properties are. Other than that there were no other moorings in the bay, and I used to drift around in my little dinghy and I’d catch very good flat head. The old dusky flat heads – almost black on top with a creamy/white belly underneath, and I’d catch four or five of those and bring them home.

    I was a bit of a rebel because I’d rigged up a setline on several occasions. I’d lower a brick over the end of the dinghy and about every six-feet I’d put a big hook with a yellow tail on it. I’d catch the yellow tails off Musgrave Street Wharf and then I’d put 20 hooks on them. I’d drift down the bay putting out these 20 hooks – probably about 150-feet long, and then at the end of the line I’d lower another brick over and I’d get a tiny little piece of cork about as big as a cork from a wine bottle, and I’d just have that floating there. No one would know it was attached to a fishing line and I’d leave that down overnight, and then I’d row around the next morning – I’d locate my cork, because I’d take a mark off a rock, or line up something, and I’d then pull up the line, and then I’d pull up the brick, and as I pulled in the line I used to catch up to a dozen great big flat head, real beauties they were.

    Occasionally you’d have a big Port Jackson shark on there, or a (indistinct) shark or a stingray – I’d never put those in the boat. They used to frighten me, but I’d cut them off with a big knife and away they’d go, but the flat head were beauties and you had to get them the next day otherwise octopus and crabs would kill them, because they couldn’t get away – they were hooked.

    I lost my setline. I went down to pick it up one morning and I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t there, someone must have pulled it up. That night I went over and the next night, and the Italian trawlers used to come into the bay at nighttime and they used to trawl the bay, and that’s how I lost my setline.

    But they can’t trawl Mosman Bay, Sirius Cove, or any of these bays now because of the number of moorings in there. Consequently, the fish stocks would be improving, but I believe from the late 60s when I left Mosman and went into the country area for a while, up until probably the 70s and 80s – over that 20 year period Sirius Cove became one of the most polluted bays – if not the most polluted bay in the harbour because Taronga Zoo had a pipe outlet running from the – I don’t know whether it was the cassowaries or the bison’s, or the tigers, or the lion’s cage into Sirius Cove and underwater it used to discharge into the bay and that’s how Sirius Cove became so terribly polluted from the Taronga Zoo pumping this stuff into the Cove. I don’t think they can do it now, but that’s how Sirius Cove became polluted. But you could catch terrific fish in the bay.

    There was a very deep hole off the western shore between properties number 1 and say number 15 – along where Cliff Gentle’s little boatshed is, and up towards where the big sandstone seawall is – there’s very deep water there where those moorings are now, and it’s a great breeding area for bream. I could anchor there and I could catch half a dozen good bream up to a pound in size – red and black bream. There’s a deep hole there; it’s shallower on the eastern side, along the Curlew Camp side – there’s a deep hole along the whole of the western side, and on the eastern side it rises up towards the sandy area.

    Mum’s father used to walk down to Sirius Cove and walk around to near where the Curlew Camp is and he used to catch good flat head using strips of raw red meat. The fishing was excellent in that bay and in Mosman Bay, as a boy. But it was badly polluted by Taronga Zoo, as well as where Athol Bight is, between Tarango Zoo Wharf and easterly around below the aquarium. That used to discharge into the harbour there. Anything that was under the water was just polluted.

    Susan Kelly. I was wondering if the artists at the camp might have taken advantage of the abundant fish.

    John Dansie. I have no doubt that they would have. You could walk down and just throw a line in and catch a fish in those days quite easily. There was very little pollution. An indication of lack of pollutants is the growth of oysters around the rocks. As a boy we could get a good feed of Sydney rock oysters without fear of pollution, but it was in the 1960/70/80s where Sydney Harbour became a rubbish tip – a sewer. I can remember the ferries going back to the Quay and fellows sweeping everything – papers, cigarette cartons etc would be swept off the boats into the harbour.

    I can also remember fishing off Sydney Heads, probably only about a mile or two off the Heads, and seeing these barges being towed out by tugs and the guys rolling off these big 44-gallon drums of toxic chemicals that would just sink to the bottom. God knows what was in them, some sort of acid or toxic waste, but the sea and the harbour was a rubbish tip in those days. It’s good now that it’s been cleaned up, and as a consequence oysters are growing back around the foreshore. In the mid 80s to the mid 90s there was no evidence of oysters anywhere around Sydney Harbour, but now around Mosman Bay there are glorious oysters growing. I’d have no hesitation eating them myself now.

    Oysters are like canaries in coalmines; if a canary snuffs it, you don’t go in because of the gas. It’s the same thing with oysters. It’s a good indication of the quality of the water that they’re surviving

    John Schenker

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 13 December 2000
    Subject: ,

    Eve Klein. We were just talking about trading hours during the 1940s, and the fact that a mixed business and a milk bar could open on a Saturday and a Sunday in the afternoon, but not sell groceries. For instance on Saturday night, was there a big trade then?

    John Schenker. Tremendous – from the picture show.

    Eve Klein. When you say ‘tremendous’, it all would have happened at interval, or after the show?

    John Schenker. Yes, entirely. The shop was packed and people spilt on to the footpath. I and another boy carried a tray with chocolates and ice-creams into the theatre. My parents held the shop by themselves, very often with the assistance of one of our friends nearby – they were packed. Our window was dressed by McRobertson’s Chocolates, they made big display cases of chocolates made from plaster. Would you believe the number of times people opened them while the shop was packed and pinched a box of chocolates, which they obviously must have taken into the picture show and got a bit shock when they bit into them.

    John Schenker

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 13 December 2000
    Subject: ,

    Eve Klein. What was the swimming instruction like?

    John Schenker. That was outside school, it had nothing to do with school.

    Eve Klein. You didn’t go swimming with the school at all?

    John Schenker. Yes. But I was taught swimming at Balmoral baths hanging from a belt around my waist and suspended from a crane. I was hanging in the water and I practiced my swimming movements down in the water, but I couldn’t sink. They made sure of that, and I thought it was damn good. It was excellent.

    Eve Klein. You went often to Balmoral Beach?

    John Schenker. Not often. I went mainly to Bondi Beach where my friends were, but occasionally I went to Balmoral. I had a morbid fear of netted beaches, or pools, because Council knows they’re shark proof, I know they’re shark proof, but does the shark know. I was dead scared. I was there the year when a little boy was taken by a shark at Balmoral on the un-netted side of the beach. On the right-hand side of the little projecting island that goes out, and that only increased my fears.

    John Steel

    Interviewed by Rosemary Christmas on 10 May 2000

    John Steel. My grandfather arrived in Mosman in 1891 and set up what was Mosman’s first grocery store. It was really a general store, and it became the oldest established grocery store in Mosman up until about the 1950s when it was then shut down and sold off and became the BP Service Station on the corner of Cowls Road and Avenue Road, which is still there.

    John Steel

    Interviewed by Rosemary Christmas on 10 May 2000

    John Steel. …and of course, you had a ferry service in those days, although there was no tram service at that time going down to Mosman Bay. He tells me he used to have to walk down, and there were no banks in Mosman, so he’d have to walk down and leave a lantern in the hedge down there – get on the ferry and take his takings to the city to bank. Then would have to come back, pick up the lantern and walk up the hill.

    John Steel

    Interviewed by Rosemary Christmas on 10 May 2000
    Subject: ,

    John Steel. But I do remember that in the period just before, and after, The Second World War there was a large amount of shops along Military Road. They really had no one in them, although they did have a lot of people living in them after The Second World War because accommodation was very hard to get and people did live in them. But as far as businesses, you might say – from the area where Mosmania – right through to Spit Junction – there was a real drudge in the market, you couldn’t give that real estate away at that time. There was just nothing in there and lots of vacant shops. An odd shop or two, but really that area was pretty depressed; surprisingly, when we look at it today, but it was a very depressed area.

    John Steel

    Interviewed by Rosemary Christmas on 10 May 2000

    John Steel. My memories of the war years were building an air-raid shelter. We built an air-raid shelter and actually used it twice.

    Rosemary Christmas. Where was that?

    John Steel. This was in our back garden. It was against a very strong wall that my father had built, and I remember digging it out with him, and then we covered it over with – they were rounded tops and then covered with sandbags and covered with lots of things. We went down steps on one side and came up the other side; it had two entrances. We had water down there and medical equipment and some food. We used it twice during the war. The first time was when Sydney was bombed by a Japanese bomber, and the air-raid sirens went off and we went down there, and the second time was when the midget submarines came in.

    John Steel

    Interviewed by Rosemary Christmas on 10 May 2000
    Subject: ,

    John Steel. Well this is really during the war years. I remember, we were talking about Balmoral beach earlier on. I remember Balmoral was completely wired against the Japanese invasion, and gun emplacements were put on The Esplanade. That was certainly very difficult, although they would have barriers, which were removed and you were allowed to go through them to swim, but it was barbed wire right along the whole beach. You can’t imagine what it was like with sandbag emplacements along there with guns and so on. It was well fortified against any Japanese attacks. I also remember the first spitfire flying over Mosman school. Britain, I think, sold to Australia some spitfires and the first one came out, and I remember it flying over Mosman school. Also, of course, The Queen Mary and The Queen Elizabeth and many other famous ocean liners coming in and out of Sydney. We used to go down to Bradleys Head, and watch them move in and out of the harbour. We also entertained British sailors off aircraft carriers later in the war when the British fleet came out and helped in the Pacific War.

    John Suhan

    Interviewed by Trish Levido on 27 July 1981

    Trish Levido. What did you do growing up in Mosman? What would you say were the highlights?

    John Suhan. I was one of those people who had a crack at everything, not very successfully perhaps, but I can remember playing organised sport, we’d play cricket at places like Rawson Park and even Reid Park when we were very young because there wasn’t a full sized ground by any means. Things people don’t let their children do today, for probably good reasons – from the age of eight I can remember going over and playing against schools on the other side of the harbour, out at the eastern suburbs. The school would hire a boat, and we’d set off from Mosman Bay – go across to Rose Bay, walk up to the ground, play our cricket or rugby, come back on the boat and disband at Mosman Bay. Apparently, these days children don’t go anywhere without parents, but we, from the earliest of age – I did mention in my history that at one stage I went to school up at Killara in the 1930s. In the daylight, I admit, I’d come home from Killara to Mosman at the age of nine. Catch the train to Chatswood station, Balmoral Beach tram to Mosman Junction, and walk to Clanalpine Street. I know people with children of 15 and 16 are apprehensive of them traveling anywhere. Life has certainly changed.

    John Suhan

    Interviewed by Trish Levido on 27 July 1981

    Trish Levido. What was your favourite childhood occupation?

    John Suhan. I think I was torn between the lures of Hollywood at the Mosman Kinema Theatre. I can remember going to the first show they ever put on in the new Kinema, which is now of course, the modern R.S.L. building, and it was Paul Robeson and Sanders of the River. I think that was in 1936, but after that the – I used to say I was going off to the cricket, but I’d go to the matinees. I was really enthralled by the adventure sagas of Hollywood in that era, I was drugged on it, and when I was old enough to go at night, which wasn’t that old, perhaps 11, or so, I’d even do both the matinee and then the evening show, which my parents thought was only one.

    John Suhan

    Interviewed by Trish Levido on 27 July 1981

    John Suhan. The other attraction in those days was grade cricket. I thought they were heroes, and of course, we did have people like Stan McCabe playing for Mosman, and I was attracted to Mosman Oval, or Rawson Park to watch the grade cricketers, because you’d even have people like Bradman coming across and other famous cricketers playing in that era.

    John Suhan

    Interviewed by Trish Levido on 27 July 1981
    Subject: ,

    Trish Levido. What would you say that you played with most?

    John Suhan. I was very lucky living in Clanalpine Street, within 100 yards it surrounded Sirius Cove, which of course, was even more open then, than it is now – I mean there is a complete Reserve from the Cove right round to the Zoo Wharf. In those days we’d play stalkings and some of them had Daisy air rifles, and we had bulls-eye competitions and catapults. There was a lot of activity in that area. Sometimes we’d scale the Zoo wall and have a look at the animals in the lower cages and scale out again. Great scalers, weren’t we?

    John Suhan

    Interviewed by Trish Levido on 27 July 1981

    Trish Levido. Mosman shopping?

    John Suhan. Yes, I can remember when G.J. Coles put up a very big department store, which is now gone – it was about opposite the Kings Theatre roughly, at Spit Junction. In those days there was nothing over 2/6d. They’d sell you a pair of pyjamas by charging you 2/6d for each side, or top and bottom. It was quite amazing what you could buy for 2/6d – incredible.

    In those days the delicatessen made their own rissoles and brawn and all sorts of marvelous things that of course, mass production in the supermarkets just destroyed. I think it was Friday night closing in those days, before the war. There were no supermarkets, but the grocers had this thing they used to put on the floor, I just can’t name it now, but it was made on a slide, and they’d race up and take the tin of peaches off the wall and they’d slide back to where you were.

    John Wilmot Roberts

    Interviewed by Trish Levido on 15 December 2005

    Trish Levido. Do you remember going to the cinema?

    John Roberts. Oh yes, the two cinemas, one was the Kinema and the other one was the Australian, which is on the corner of Clifford Street at Spit Junction.

    Trish Levido. What was the Kinema?

    John Roberts. Kinema was the name of Hoyt’s Theatre. Cinema with a K instead of a C in it, I don’t know who owned it in those days, I think a family called the Keelings who lived at Clifton Gardens, owned the Australian.

    Trish Levido. Which one did you prefer?

    John Roberts. The Kinema, it was more modernised. It had been burnt down and rebuilt.

    Trish Levido. Was it open air?

    John Roberts. No, but it had comfortable seating and more modern at that stage.

    John Wilmot Roberts

    Interviewed by Trish Levido on 15 December 2005

    Trish Levido. What businesses do you remember in Mosman?

    John Roberts. On the corner of Clifford Street and Spit Road opposite the Australian Theatre was Crossman’s refreshment shops where we went at interval to buy ice creams and then I can remember that their son set up a printing business and used the back of the premises and that’s where the clubs like Balmoral Swimming Club and Mosman Rugby Club would have their ball and dance tickets. One bought tickets to go to a ball in those days to present at the door when we arrived. Mr Crossman’s son became a chartered accountant he lives just down the road, and he has sons so I actually knew four generations of Crossman’s.

    I remember a jewelry shop down at Mosman Junction near Avenue Road. Carny’s jewelry shop, he was Vice President of the swimming club, and some of his silver cups were prizes.

    I can remember Adams cake shop at Spit Junction and Pittorino’s greengrocery shop at Spit Junction. I can’t remember the name of the produce store, three sisters ran it. They supplied bird seed and corn etc, not green groceries. And yes of course there was Lovell’s Bakery. I didn’t have much occasion to go into the drapery shop.

    John Wilmot Roberts

    Interviewed by Trish Levido on 15 December 2005
    Subject: ,

    John Roberts. They were down at Balmoral, Mrs Tilly’s and then later, on the corner of Mandolong Road and The Esplanade Mr Ford set up a business there, then further on past Hunter Park on the corner of Almora and The Esplanade was a refreshment shop, and that was Dave Smith. Now Dave Smith was the Australasian heavyweight boxing champion around about the turn of the 19th century. When he retired from boxing, he was known as ‘Gentleman Dave’ because he was a gentleman and Mrs Smith was a very fine lady, and they set up this refreshment room there. Dave Smith became an Alderman on Mosman Council, he used to give boxing lessons to us boys, so we would go to his shop, the boxing lessons were held at the Balmoral Baths.

    Trish Levido. Tell me about a refreshment shop?

    John Roberts. There are tables and chairs where you can have a cup of tea, or an ice cream sundae, or you could go to the counter and buy ice creams in a cone or soft drinks, and you could buy cakes and biscuits. And of course there were Eskimo Pies, they were ice creams coated with chocolate on a stick.

    John Wilmot Roberts

    Interviewed by Trish Levido on 15 December 2005
    Subject: ,

    Trish Levido. What year was this?

    John Roberts. Around about 1951, I was 32; I think my first born was just a baby.

    Trish Levido. What did you have to give up to be a volunteer at that stage? Were you doing other things on the weekend?

    John Roberts. I should have been at home with my wife and my new baby. I think it was unfair on my wife. I’m glad I did what I did but I regret not being with her for only one day of the weekend.

    Trish Levido. This went on for some time.

    John Roberts. For about 15 to 18 months, every Saturday afternoon, every weekend.

    Trish Levido. You must have become quite close to a group of people who came from all different backgrounds.

    John Roberts. Yes, there were some new Australians there, it was a wonderful get together, and then at the end of the Saturday afternoon John Begg always provided a couple of bottles of beer.

    And the little community of Mosman Hospital expanded and then its company was formed, and then the final opening day arrived. There was quite a big gathering up there from Mosman.

    Trish Levido. Who owned it at that stage?

    John Roberts. The Church of England, they paid out the lady who owned it and they carried the expenses. As I said I was not involved in the formation of the company or whether it was held in the Church of England Property Trust or who had the control over it. I only know that it got to the point of directors and then sadly like so many voluntary undertakings when fruition came and success was achieved then people wanted the power and the rights, which split it, and I know the ladies set up a delightful little verandah ward for the babies.

    You can imagine all the ladies in Mosman were making curtains and bedspreads etc. When the power struggle started I can remember some of those on the opposite side were saying John Begg’s drive and passion in getting this hospital going with Frank Hugh Moir was because John Begg wanted his patients to have their babies there, because John was quite competent in obstetrics although he was a General Practitioner. He was practicing at Crown St Women’s Hospital where he was doing a tremendous amount of work in infertility. It may not be medically true but according to John a lot of the young families after the war – the returned servicemen had difficulty starting families, and he did a tremendous amount of work on that matter.

    Trish Levido. And the work took 18 months?

    John Roberts. Yes, and we volunteers did most of the painting, inside and outside as well as the guttering and demolishing the chimneys.

    Trish Levido. Who bought the materials?

    John Roberts. I don’t know, but I guess this was all part of the 35,000 pounds they were trying to raise.

    Trish Levido. And this is a picture of all the work. This is you climbing the ladder and there were no safety harnesses in those days.

    John Roberts. No, and the ladder was under the gutter above that window.

    Trish Levido. Mmmm – scary stuff. Were there any accidents?

    John Roberts. No. I have no knowledge of any volunteers having any serious accidents.

    Trish Levido. How many hours did you put into the work?

    John Roberts. (voice faint) I can’t remember how many volunteers there were actually.

    Trish Levido. You were married when you volunteered, were there any women volunteers?

    John Roberts. Oh yes, as I mentioned John Begg’s wife invested a lot of work and effort. The ladies painted, mostly inside and they cleaned the area.

    Trish Levido. Do you remember how you got the squatters out?

    John Roberts. That was a tremendous legal effort because they had to go through the proper legal procedures, serve eviction notices on them. I was not involved on that side of it.

    John Wilmot Roberts

    Interviewed by Trish Levido on 15 December 2005
    Subject: ,

    John Roberts. Yes, quaint old days and there’s something documented in books about Balmoral – the Amphitheatre played a small part in my youth.

    After the Theosophical Society stopped using it, after the date had expired, a musical company took a lease and they put on musical-style shows. The entrepreneur was Humphrey Bishop and the main singer was a baritone, his brother Walter Kingsley – his stage name I assume. It was musical hall-style entertainment with a chorus line and singers and comedians, mainly on Friday and Saturday nights in summertime of course, and it was very beautiful except the seats were just concrete steps so people mostly took rugs or cushions. That could be a very lovely evening especially if you got a balmy summer evening and maybe the moon coming up over North Head. That faded out after a couple of years.

    Trish Levido. Was the Amphitheatre ever used by anybody else?

    John Roberts. No. Not as an amphitheatre. A Catholic order acquired it and used it as headquarters or a retreat of some nature, and in due course it was demolished and that huge block of flats was built. I can remember going around the rocks towards Wyargine Point to the north of the beach, some industrious young men set to in the early 1930s and there was a natural formation there to form a pool and they set about building a rock pool around there, not very large but shark-proof, it was known as ‘The Frazzle’.

    Joyce Robinson

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 24 April 2001

    Joyce Robinson. I can just remember the bad flu that was in 1919, just after we moved back here. My aunt and her family were living in the house next door to us. My mother, my father and my brother all went down with it, and my aunt, her husband and two children went down with it. But Aunty Lou looked after me. All I can remember about it is her taking me through a gap in the fence between the two, and I had to wear this white mask, because I was only four at the time.

    Joyce Robinson

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 24 April 2001

    Eve Klein. We’re just talking about Woolworth’s and how Mrs. Robinson saved money in those days.

    Joyce Robinson. It cost 3d on the ferry, and I’d get the tram to the Quay. I’d walk back to the ferry after work, and so that was 10d a day; six days a week. I used to give my mother five shillings a week. You could have a lay-by in those days for a shilling a week – I’ve forgotten the name of the firm now, but you could get what they called a ‘cash order’, and you paid that off at about a shilling a week. It would be a cash order for about three pounds, but you could buy yourself a new frock, or a suit, hat shoes and handbag.

    Eve Klein. Where did you purchase these things usually? Where did you go to shop?

    Joyce Robinson. All the shops in the city. David Jones, Farmers, McCathies, Hordern Bros, McDowells, and Ways, and there were so many shops to choose from.

    Eve Klein. Where did you usually shop?

    Joyce Robinson. McDowells was always the best for materials. Ways for gloves; McCathies for lace, and June, the millinery – you’d go there for hats, where they just had the basic hat. You’d get the trimmings elsewhere – the flower, the bows etc, and you’d put them altogether.

    Julie Kerner

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 7 February 2001

    Eve Klein. What brought you to Mosman?

    Julie Kerner. We met a gentleman on our passage from England to here. He was a Swiss Consul, and he gathered up all the young couples with their children at the top deck and gave us a little account of what life in Australia is like and what the suburbs are like, and what he suggested would be the best place for us to start our living in Australia.

    Eve Klein. What did he base his attitude on? Why did he recommend this area?

    Julie Kerner. He used to live in Mosman, so he could recommend it, and he suggested that we should rent a large house and join up with another family who had children about the same age as I had – I had a daughter of two years at that time – and rent an old house, which were available, quite a lot in Mosman because it was just before the war.

    Eve Klein. Which year was it?

    Julie Kerner. 1939. Lots of houses were vacant because the people went from here, more into the center of Australia, they didn’t want to live on the coast. So that was possible and we found a house in Awaba Street.

    Eve Klein. At that stage how was your English?

    Julie Kerner. School English.

    Eve Klein. Could you get by?

    Julie Kerner. Oh yes.

    Eve Klein. Your husband was doing what at that time?

    Julie Kerner. He had nothing. He didn’t do anything. But as you talk could I speak English – yes – I had a very strong accent and I haven’t lost it, but imagine a Scotsman and he had a very strong accent and I thought he arrived just at that time as well. I asked him how long he’d been here, and he said – 70 years.

    Eve Klein. Where had the ship actually come from?

    Julie Kerner. We boarded it in Southhampton, but it was a Dutch ship, The Aluron (sp) and of course there were lots of migrants like ours, who were called refugees because we were feeling Nazi Germany.

    Eve Klein. When you arrived in Australia what quantity of possessions and so on did you have?

    Julie Kerner. We had clothing.

    Eve Klein. You didn’t have furniture?

    Julie Kerner. No, but luckily we did get our furniture almost nine months after we arrived here, and that was very lucky because we got quite a lot of furniture, which was handy for us.

    Eve Klein. So you knew you were coming to Sydney and what did you expect?

    Julie Kerner. No, we actually had our ticket to Melbourne, but the ship came to Sydney first and we fell in love with Sydney – the harbour and the climate and just Sydney. We just loved it from the minute we got here, and we didn’t ever go to Melbourne again.

    Eve Klein. You had the option of getting off in Sydney. Did anyone help you with your accommodation and organizing yourself?

    Julie Kerner. The Society of Friends were very, very helpful. They helped us with accommodation; they visited us often and they helped us an awful lot, and they helped my little daughter a lot too.

    Eve Klein. In which way?

    Julie Kerner. Well they took her to the meetings and they took her out on Sundays to little picnics. They were very kind to children.

    Eve Klein. So where was your first home that you settled in here?

    Julie Kerner. The very first place that we spent in Sydney was at Kings Cross, and it was the hottest day for 41 years.

    Eve Klein. Which month was that?

    Julie Kerner. It was so hot, it was January. We arrived on January 6th, 1939, and it was unbelievable. Whatever you touched was so hot – anything metal just about stuck to your skin. My little daughter didn’t know what was happening and she kept on saying that she wanted to go home. She didn’t like this terrible heat, and of course there was no way we could do anything about it. And then we very soon we looked in Mosman to find something, and we found an empty house in Awaba Street, near Military Road at the top of the hill.

    Eve Klein. And you rented that. How many rooms did you have at that time? How big was the rental?

    Julie Kerner. It was a big house, an old family home and we joined with another family who had two daughters. We had one bedroom and they had two bedrooms and we shared the rest of the house.

    Eve Klein. How did you manage financially and with the neighbours and so on?

    Julie Kerner. The neighbours were very helpful and friendly. Financially – well we had to have a certain amount of money in the bank, otherwise we wouldn’t have been allowed into Australia, so we lived on that. My husband couldn’t find a position at all because it was fairly soon after the Depression and lots of Australians were out of work. So he had no chance of getting anything. Luckily, because I was a milliner, I could start straight away and I found a job in the city first, and then in Mosman.

    Julie Kerner

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 7 February 2001

    Eve Klein. So how long did you work as a milliner in the city?

    Julie Kerner. The city job – I was so unhappy in the city working there under pretty awful conditions in one of the arcades in the city, so I left that job and started making hats at home. I then took a hatbox and I walked around Mosman to the dress shops and asked them if they would be interested in selling my hats. And they were.

    Eve Klein. They took them on consignment did they?

    Julie Kerner. And they took them on consignement. Yes, and one particular lady was very pleased. She did very well, and she asked me would I come and work there.

    Eve Klein. How many dress shops would there have been in Mosman in 1939?

    Julie Kerner. About four or five.

    Eve Klein. In Mosman and Cremorne. Did you go as far as Neutral Bay?

    Julie Kerner. Look, it’s so long ago, I can’t remember, but I remember a few of the shops. All of them practically were interested.

    Eve Klein. What did those shops stock?

    Julie Kerner. Mostly dresses, only dresses.

    Eve Klein. Aimed towards a particular clientele? Any age group?

    Julie Kerner. Yes, middle-aged of course.

    Eve Klein. Would you say that every woman wore a hat in those days?

    Julie Kerner. Oh definitely. Hat and gloves. They had beautiful shopping baskets at that time, and the ladies carried the baskets and bought little bits of goods, and they shopped, I guess every day because they couldn’t carry a lot. They wore hats and gloves and sun umbrellas.

    Eve Klein. Would they have had a variety of hats?

    Julie Kerner. Oh yes, lots of hats, because you wore different hats for different occasions; particularly to the races and so on, or going shopping in Mosman for shade. But that part didn’t last very long because I then started working at the shop in Mosman, and she let me have half the shop part, and I had my own business then.

    Eve Klein. Where was that?

    Julie Kerner. That was opposite the Buena Vista Hotel.

    Eve Klein. It was a dress shop, and she allocated you half of it.

    Julie Kerner. She started with having my hats and then she asked me work there.

    Julie Kerner. Did you actually have a set up of sewing machines and so on in the shop?

    Julie Kerner. Yes.

    Eve Klein. How many hats could you make in a week, or in a day?

    Julie Kerner. Oh in a day – none. I did it all myself, I had no person to help me, but I also helped the lady so it was very good.

    Eve Klein. Where did you get your millinery supplies from?

    Julie Kerner. In the city. I had to go regularly once a week to the city. At June Millinery – that was a very well known place because people also made their own hats or dresses and so on, and they could buy all the pretty flowers and things to embellish the hat – accessories and so on. They bought it at June Millinery.

    Eve Klein. And so you would buy yourself a supply of accessories and the mould, did you have a mould?

    Julie Kerner. Oh yes, I had everything like that, but what was the most interesting part of it .

    Julie Kerner

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 7 February 2001
    Subject: ,

    Julie Kerner. …but what was the most interesting part of it – in those days the refugees weren’t allowed to go into town in anyway they liked. They had to inform the police station what transport they were going to use to get into town, and I chose the ferry, which I enjoyed immensely. Every time I went it was a great adventure for me. If I wanted to go by Wynyard or any other way, I had to go to the police station and inform them that on that day I will not travel this way, I will travel another way.

    Eve Klein. Because you were enemy aliens?

    Julie Kerner. Yes, we were enemy aliens.

    Eve Klein. How did that affect your husband?

    Julie Kerner. Well that was very difficult because he had to look for jobs and he couldn’t tell which transport he had to take and we weren’t allowed to use a private motorcar. We couldn’t have afforded any anyway.

    Eve Klein. What other restrictions were imposed on so called enemy aliens or refugees?

    Julie Kerner. Mostly that we weren’t free to travel wherever we wanted to.

    Eve Klein. Wasn’t there any restrictions on the use of the radio, as well?

    Julie Kerner. Yes there was. Yes we had to tell what sort of things we had. We could listen to the radio.

    Eve Klein. Was that an event that occurred every time you went into the city – that first you had to go to the police and say you were going in?

    Julie Kerner. No, if I went by ferry that was all right. I had permission to go into town by ferry.

    Eve Klein. Were the police friendly?

    Julie Kerner. Yes they were.

    Eve Klein. They were compliant – right. Did you have any sort of reaction from neighbours or so that you were an enemy alien, or an immigrant?

    Julie Kerner. I don’t think they really knew what an enemy alien is , or an immigrant was. There were so few. In Awaba Street we had not much rapport with neighbours, but when we moved away – after about a year, we moved into Mulberry Street, also in Mosman, because the family that had the two children, they also moved. We separated. They moved into an old home in Middle Head Road, we moved into a tiny little flat – no a house in Mulbring Street.

    Julie Kerner

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 7 February 2001
    Subject: ,

    Julie Kerner. My business – well that’s quite interesting. I stopped of course, this selling hats in the other shop. It was in Middle Head Road and I said to the lady that sort of let me have half of her shop, I said to her, ‘Look, there is so much, we have such a big clientele now, and I’m working here for just little bits of money, how about if we start another shop at Spit Junction together, and we’re partners?’ And she said, ‘No, it isn’t interesting for me, I would like to stay here’. I said, ‘Well then I’m very, very sorry, I appreciate what you did for me, but I have to start on my own, I need more money’. So I rented a shop at Spit Junction.

    Eve Klein. When would that have been?

    Julie Kerner. That was – it is hard to remember. I know I sold my shop at the end of the war. It was early during the war because I had my shop for about four or five years.

    Eve Klein. And what address was it in Spit Junction? The shop you took over in Spit Junction was the Freemason’s building was it?

    Julie Kerner. Yes, that’s right.

    Eve Klein. And the Freemasons were upstairs?

    Julie Kerner. No, they were downstairs. The entrance was rather big and there was a milk bar – no coffee shops in those days, but at the milk bars you could buy your lunch there. The milk bar was on one side of the entrance and my hat shop was on the other side.

    Eve Klein. How long did you have that hat shop?

    Julie Kerner. I had it right through the war. You couldn’t buy any imported stuff, and I sold at that time, other things as well. I had somebody making dresses for me and I sold a few dresses, but that was a sideline. I sold belts, and gloves and accessories as well.

    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.

    Julie Kerner

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 7 February 2001
    Subject: ,

    Eve Klein. What did you do in the early days for entertainment? What did you do for music because you loved music so much?

    Julie Kerner. Well we had the ABC of course; it was on all the time. In Newtown – I’ve forgotten exactly where it was, but there was opera that came from Europe….

    Eve Klein. …..the Elizabethan Theatre….

    Julie Kerner. …..yes, that’s right, so we had that; we could go there. Then Musica Viva started – no, we had plenty of music, and also at home again – like in Europe you have people coming to your home, musicians coming to your home and you have little concerts at home, well that was here too. A number of families opened their house and had musical afternoons and so on.

    Doctor Holmes, for instance – Lennie Holmes, he had his surgery in Military Road and he was a Quaker. Because we were befriended by the Quakers we were introduced to this part in Military Road, and he had musical afternoons and special parties arranged. They were very, very helpful to all the refugees. They came from Neutral Bay and from further, and gathered at Doctor Holmes’ place. That was really a fantastic thing to be able to have that support.

    Eve Klein. So that was soon satisfied – that cultural element of Australian society was soon available to you.

    Julie Kerner. Oh yes. There were lots of Australians that were interested in it, so we could mix with Australians there. It wasn’t just the refugees.

    Eve Klein. What about other forms of entertainment? Did you go to films?

    Julie Kerner. Yes, there were films, and of course the news in the films was terribly exciting because we kept very interested on how the war went on, and when we saw the soldiers fighting in the newsreels, it was so emotional, and we were so wishing the Australians – because the Europeans couldn’t go to fight in Europe, so all these young Australians were there and I felt for their mothers and their families. It was very emotional.

    Lola Toohey

    Interviewed by Zoe Dobson on 28th November 2005

    Lola Toohey. Because of the real estate situation being so unfavourable he bought a general business at 525 Military Road which was called McGregor’s and had for a long time been a family-run business and my father made the cakes, pies etc. After we’d been in it for a while my father had employed four chefs and there were about four or five of us behind the counter selling cakes and sandwiches. He used to put in the advertisement: ‘the sponges are so light they fly to Melbourne’, because people would buy them and send them down.
    He got out of that and then he went into real estate again and bought quite a large holding with a friend of his, a Macquarie St specialist. He bought this holding out at Liverpool, and there was an estate there called Green Valley which was taken over by the housing commission for absolute peanuts.

    Lola Toohey. Well I went to the Garden School and they had you dancing in little taffeta dresses and you would do Eurhythmics about three times a day. There was Miss Arnold and Miss McDonald, they opened the school.

    Zoe Dobson. What were they like?

    Lola Toohey. Oh, very kindly, nice ladies, it was a nice atmosphere there really. It was at 30 Stanton Road Mosman, a Theosophical group. This group was responsible for building the Amphitheatre overlooking Balmoral. I gave the photos of the Amphitheatre away just recently to an accountant friend of mine who is very interested in these sorts of things and he was delighted with that because it shows the Amphitheatre and Krista Murta (sp) was involved with this.

    Zoe Dobson. Wasn’t he the one that was going to come through the Heads?

    Lola Toohey. No, Jesus was supposed to come through the Heads. But a big block of units stands now where that Amphitheatre was.

    Zoe Dobson. What do you remember of the Amphitheatre?

    Lola Toohey. Not very much except a lot of people gathered there to see this walking-on-water episode which never happened. The Miss Arnolds used to teach us this Eurhythmic dancing and they tutored in Esperanto too. They were from the Order of The Star of the East, the group responsible for building the Amphitheatre, so they were heavily involved in everything that was going on around that area. The Garden School was quite a nice, old substantial building.

    Zoe Dobson. What was the significance of teaching Esperanto?

    Lola Toohey. I have no idea my memories of it are vague. The predominant memories was meeting my mother along the street who was coming to collect me and I had run away from school, because they’d served me boiled potatoes in their jackets which I thought was absolutely appalling, so I decided I’d had enough of this.

    Zoe Dobson. This was for lunch was it?

    Lola Toohey. Yes, everyday, I didn’t care for that at all so I left them with their potatoes.

    Zoe Dobson. Was that your reason for leaving the school?

    Lola Toohey. No, but they could see that I wasn’t happy there and when my uncle came over, he was teaching at Middle Harbour School and that worked in much better because I would go to school with him and then come home in the afternoons with him. Everything was more congenial I suppose you could say.

    Louise Crisp

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 14 August 2000

    Louise Crisp. The other thing I remember was a lovely old Chinese man who used to bring ginger and he had a dray, which he pulled himself, filled with pots of ginger. Grandma said to him: ‘That is too heavy for you to bring, I’ve got a shed in the garden if you want to put it there’. So he used to park it there and his ginger, and come on Saturdays and sell it. When he was very old, I remember he visited us one day and he said: ‘I’m going home to China to die’, and he gave my grandmother a beautiful ceramic pot filled with this luscious ginger, and I’ve still got the pot.

    Eve Klein. That was in gratitude for her assistance.

    Louise Crisp. Yes, because she just thought it was too much – too heavy for him to pull. And she was a self appointed RSPCA person in the name to check the horses, and she would make men stop and she’d see if there was any chaff caught in their teeth because she said that would hurt them. She made sure that all the leather straps were on properly, and not too tight. They were quite nervous. I think she actually said she was from the RSPCA or something, but she loved the animals.

    Louise Crisp

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 14 August 2000

    Eve Klein. Can you recall the differences, say in the 50s, to your first recollections of Mosman? What would have developed?

    Louise Crisp. Things were very easy in a way – shopping-wise because my mother rang the grocer, or I did, and it was delivered. The fruiterer delivered, and the bread and milk and everything came, so we really didn’t have all these parcels and things to carry.

    Eve Klein. It was regular delivery, and weekend deliveries?

    Louise Crisp. Oh absolutely, it was wonderful and they were so nice, the people. They’d even pop things in the ‘fridge for you. Eddie was the man at Spofforth Street, who used to give us the groceries.

    Eve Klein. Was there much development on Military Road in those days?

    Louise Crisp. Not really.

    Eve Klein. So one used one’s local fruiterer and grocer? Do you recall if one shopped around for good prices, as much as one does now?

    Louise Crisp. No, no you’d just ring up and hope that it wasn’t too bad.

    Louise Crisp

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 14 August 2000

    Eve Klein. Do you recall the war at all?

    Louise Crisp. I do, I was a little girl at school and I remember the teachers talking about it to us, and my parents speaking about it. At school, we were all issued with a little canvas bag and in the bag was a rubber-nose peg for the gas, and there was a little rubber tube that you were supposed to bite hard if you were frightened, or if you had some problem. I was amazed at that, and there were a few little biscuits and a little drink and things in this bag. They made little trenches at the school with sandbags. The whistle would blow and we had to learn to quickly get into those. In Cremorne in this Kareela Road, nearly every house had sandbags piled up at the front. Of course, there was the wardens’ post and all our families manned the wardens’ post.

    Eve Klein. How was that organized?

    Louise Crisp. That was around here in Iredale Avenue and there were phones and you had to go, and the men used to do things like paint all the edges of the steps with white paint so at night people wouldn’t fall. They’d go around and make people have dark shutters down, or blinds down, or paper stuck on the windows so the enemy wouldn’t see the lights from the houses. I always remember the day those submarines came in and my parents did not wake me up. When I went to school the next day all the children were talking about the noise and everything. I didn’t hear any of it, because I had a good sleep through it, and it was quite all right.

    Eve Klein. Did your parents and your grandmother and so on, have any great concern and fear?

    Louise Crisp. They didn’t seem to. A lot of people in this street sold their houses and went to live in the mountains, or somewhere else, but grandma and dad said no, they were staying where they were, and it would be all right. But there were many, many houses here for sale. That I do remember.

    Eve Klein. Do you remember any services being limited, or food?

    Louise Crisp. Yes, we had coupons and we could only have a little bit of butter and a little bit of chocolate. All the children saved silver paper, and we made great big balls of it, for the war effort. You picked it up wherever you would see it in the gutter, or anywhere else. Even now when I see silver paper, I have a longing to pick it up and save it.

    Eve Klein. A legacy left over. Do you recall any hardship at school? Or with a private school was that not a problem?

    Louise Crisp. I don’t. I really don’t. I think some people were very nervous and one of my girlfriend’s dad was a German wool buyer and he was interned and we found that quite hard to understand. And then I know my husband’s family had a lovely Italian man that stayed during the War. I don’t know what you’d call that, but I suppose he was a prisoner in a way, but they just loved him and he made ropes of spaghetti always in the weekends and he worked hard on the farm. When the War was over my father-in-law and mother-in-law went to visit his family in Italy, so it was a friendship rather than anything else.

    Louise Crisp

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 14 August 2000

    Eve Klein. What sort of dangers, or worries were you warned about when you were a child? Anything to do with snakes or spiders, or people?

    Louise Crisp. Only if perhaps – you didn’t ever accept sweets from a stranger. I remember daddy saying that to me, and you never accepted a ride from anyone that you didn’t know really well. I felt it was quite safe really. Oh, and there was a lovely old man that lived on the pathway going to Mosman, in a big cave. I think that could have been a bit frightening, but he was so nice. He always waved to us when we went to school and he boiled the billy, and that was his house.

    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

    Margaret Broadfoot and Ken Hooton

    Interviewed by Trish Levido on 5th March 2008

    Trish Levido. What was the name of the house?

    Ken Hooton. ‘Peradeniya’, named after the Peradeniya Gardens in Colombo, arising because my grandfather traveled annually back to England to get goods for the store.

    Trish Levido. What was the address of the house?

    Ken Hooton. No 2 Queen Street Mosman.

    Trish Levido. Which is now?

    Ken Hooton. It was bought by the nuns from my mother, who inherited it down the line, and it is operated as a school with a tennis court, where we now play sport on. The vegetable garden has a Kindergarten built on it.

    Trish Levido. What is the name of the school?

    Margaret Broadfoot. Blessed Sacrament School.

    Margaret Broadfoot and Ken Hooton

    Interviewed by Trish Levido on 5th March 2008

    Ken Hooton. The other neighbour was Gilot – Maurice, Henri, and Pierre, French people. They were in Prince Albert Street 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.

    Margaret Broadfoot and Ken Hooton

    Interviewed by Trish Levido on 5th March 2008
    Subject: ,

    Margaret Broadfoot. I think Arthur had a motorbike when he started working. He did an engineering trade’s course at TAFE, and then he became a draftsman at Cockatoo Dock. He was tool maker, and he was a fitter & turner too. He maybe did a few tech courses but he got the motorbike so he could drive to Greenwich Wharf, leave his bike there, and get the ferry across to must have been during the war.

    Margaret Broadfoot. Probably yes, and he of course, wasn’t permitted to join up.

    Trish Levido. Why?

    Margaret Broadfoot. Because he was in a protected industry.

    Margaret Broadfoot and Ken Hooton

    Interviewed by Trish Levido on 5th March 2008

    Then there were the Warres. Mr. Warre who became the Mayor and during the war he opened a section of the basement in his house for people to do camouflage knotting. Mum and I used to go over there quite often and do this. We thought it was quite fun.

    I don’t know whether it was through Mr. Warre or someone else, but mum and I did sew and knit quite a bit and we did the graft of the socks that were made by machine and we grafted the heels and the toes.

    Margaret Broadfoot and Ken Hooton

    Interviewed by Trish Levido on 5th March 2008

    Ken Hooton. That brings me to Clifton Gardens, which was a round thing, quite deep and then they annexed a bit more on the north by putting the shark-proof net across to the jetty. That was all in one piece, and there was a lovely pontoon … you had to swim out to the pontoon and you could sun bake on the pontoon. The water was absolutely magnificent then, notwithstanding that it was on the harbour. We all used to go down there.

    Margaret Broadfoot and Ken Hooton

    Interviewed by Trish Levido on 5th March 2008

    Ken Hooton. And Carney the fruiter, his was the first shop near the police station before they went further down. It was a little old general business where they sold ice creams and lollies, bread and butter. the very first shop in Middle Head Road on the left hand side near the Buena Vista.

    Margaret Broadfoot. Do you remember Mr. Herman, he said that I walked very straight, he was the bootmaker.

    Ken Hooton. There was Gapper who sold shoes. And the fellow who had the menswear shop, at the top of Almora Street.

    Trish Levido. Is there anyone left other than Lovell’s Drapery?

    Ken Hooton. There was Mr. Lyon he was a client of mine he was the other draper, Lyon & Company. He was in Spit Road round the corner.

    Ken Hooton. There was a lolly shop run by two elderly spinsters, Longley & Rugg that was next door to the haberdashery in Prince Albert St, before it turned into Military Road. They sold Musk sticks, Minties, Jelly Babies, Ruggles etc.

    Margaret Broadfoot and Ken Hooton

    Interviewed by Trish Levido on 5th March 2008

    Ken Hooton. Grandpa had a telephone and the number was 6, we weren’t around, that was earlier in piece, then it became 1006, then it became xm1006, now it’s 99691006, and my friend Jim Moore’s, he had 1007.

    Trish Levido. Before we had landline telephones in our homes we used to have public telephone boxes and they were scattered all around the suburbs. People would go out and ring in the public telephone box. Where was yours?

    Ken Hooton. I think there was one on Pat’s corner, but there would have been one down in Mosman Junction.

    Margaret Ewart and Garland Churcher

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 27 December 2000

    Eve Klein. She’s just going to comment on the life in Mosman during the war.

    Garland Churcher. Well it was busy with war things. Masses of canteens were opened, big ones and little ones. I went to a small one in Mosman. Always busy, always somebody there. I made nets but they invited me to stop because I had funny thumbs that made knots in the nets. So I then did bandage rolling and I went to a Dr Balls – I think his name was, and he taught us First Aid and all about the eyes and if you got something in your eye, and all that sort of business – what to do. It was quite a good light medical history. I suppose life was busy doing….

    Margaret Ewart. ….you didn’t notice the shortage of food.

    Garland Churcher. You couldn’t get much tea or something like that.

    Margaret Ewart. But you were on ration books.

    Garland Churcher. Yes, we had ration books, but mother must have dealt with all that. It didn’t make any difference to me. I was married then of course, but…

    Eve Klein. ….was your father still working then?

    Garland Churcher. Yes, he was.

    Eve Klein. Could he get supplies for building?

    Margaret Ewart. Oh no, you could only do essential works when there’s a war on. He got hit by two wars really. But still we were lucky, we weren’t affected terribly by the war. Our parents were I suppose, they had worries, we didn’t have a worry in our heads, did we? We always had plenty of food, and clothes etc.

    Garland Churcher. Mother was a great gardener. She had chooks….

    Margaret Ewart. ….we had tremendous orders when we were all at home eating and she knew the greengrocer very well and she got him to save all the spotted fruit instead of throwing it out and she’d bring it home and we’d go through this box peeling apples and coring them and getting the spots out and then she’d stew them up and then she’d take them to people she knew who were having a very hard time, because it was quite shocking for some people. One of our friends, he had been the china and glassware buyer for Grace Bros, and he immediately lost his job. He was used to going overseas and buying etc, and there he was left with two children and no income. I think he was going to the markets and buying cases of fruit and going round his friends and selling it. So these people that mother knew who were having a pretty torrid time, she’d take them jars of these fruits that she’d stew up.

    Margaret Ewart and Garland Churcher

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 27 December 2000

    Margaret Ewart. Well it was our beautiful sand dunes. To spoil it with that cement structure was shocking. The same as we hated when they built that monstrosity there, they’re in too. The bathing pavilion, we thought that was the ugliest thing we’d ever seen. But it was the dressing sheds in those days and you had to have dressing sheds. But we didn’t like the look of it.

    Margaret Joan Holmes

    Interviewed by Margaret Holgate on 17 November 2000

    Margaret Holmes. The other thing was the influx of the refugees from Hitler that came to Mosman during the 1930s.

    Margaret Holgate. What dates would that be?

    Margaret Holmes. As I said earlier on, we started to have our own home here in 1935, so it would have been after that we started to have a Club – about 1937, I think. We started to have a Club for – we called it ‘the 50/50 Club’ because we thought 50% of the members would be old Australians, and 50% would be what we called, new Australians then, or reffos, as they were called, refugees from Hitler. We wanted to help the new Australians to get to know some local people. I don’t quite know why so many refugees came to Mosman. Actually, my husband was one of the people who sponsored some quite well known Austrian medical people. I think they might even have been medical Professors, they were very high up medical people who had wanted to come here and practice to get away from Hitler, and my husband and other Drs had sort of sponsored them, because we felt they needed to be helped to get away from the persecution that was going on. So some of them had actually come to live in Mosman, but as well as that there were simply dozens and dozens of refugee people. Would you like me to tell you anything about them?

    Margaret Holgate. Yes I would, and they all came to Mosman? I don’t mean all, but a lot of them.

    Margaret Holmes. A great many came to Mosman. I suppose, once one or two had come…

    Margaret Holgate. ….were they all ages, families or…

    Margaret Holmes. ….no, well yes, they were all ages. I think I’ll just tell you about a few that I remember well. There was a Professor Freidlander and his wife. He was a medical Professor from Germany, not Austria actually. They had a home in Mosman. These people mostly seemed to have some money. They’d been able to get out some money, I don’t know how, and a lot of them had brought items, like Persian rugs. Now the Freidlander’s in their home, they had layers of Persian rugs on their floor, not just one rug, but perhaps two or three and even had a Persian rug draped over the sofa, or over the piano, or something, because this was the kind of thing they could bring you see?

    Margaret Joan Holmes

    Interviewed by Margaret Holgate on 17 November 2000
    Subject: ,

    Margaret Holgate. Could you tell me a bit more about how it was in Mosman during the war generally?

    Margaret Holmes. Once the Japanese threat came, we had to prepare our homes for air raids. All the windows had to be stuck up with tape, and all the glass in the cupboard doors had to be covered with mosquito net that just stuck on. It was the very devil to take it off afterwards, I can tell you. Up in the roof we had buckets of water placed and buckets of sand in case a bomb came and hit your roof, and then when my husband was called up and had to go to the war himself….

    Margaret Holgate. ….when was that?

    Margaret Holmes. That must have been in 1942 or so. He thought he’d better build an air raid shelter built for me and the three children, so we got a construction person to build this air raid shelter in the backyard, which was supposed to withstand a 1,500pd bomb if it fell on it. It was a beehive shaped thing; it was on the surface and it had a tiny door that you went in through and no windows. It had a concrete floor, and the whole thing was supposed to be totally bomb resistant. As well as that everybody had dug trenches in their backyards, which filled with water every time it rained. We used the shelter once, and that was when the Japanese submarines were coming into the harbour. In the middle of night about 2am I think, the air raid sirens went off, and I and Jessie, who was our nice ‘help’ then, got the three children out of bed and put on warm things, and rushed downstairs, and went into the air raid shelter and crouched there terrified until the ‘all clear’ came. I can’t remember how long we were in the shelter, but of course, the Japanese submarines were destroyed. They did sink a ferry I think that was carrying some troops. But that was the only time that we ever had to use the air raid shelter.

    Margaret Joan Holmes

    Interviewed by Margaret Holgate on 17 November 2000

    Margaret Holmes. A small grocer’s shop – there weren’t any Supermarkets whatsoever.

    Margaret Holgate. Were there many grocery shops in Mosman, or only two or three?

    Margaret Holmes. Most of my groceries I got just from a little grocer nearby.

    Margaret Holgate. Did he deliver?

    Margaret Holmes. Well he would have, yes, if I had too much to take in my basket. We had a fruiterer a few shops along from me. Spit Junction had several draper shops. There’s just Lovell’s there now, which used to be Minty’s. Around the corner was a rival, Line & co, there were two there, so if you couldn’t get it at one you could go to the other.

    Margaret Holgate. I can remember those. There was a Coles wasn’t there?

    Margaret Holmes. That’s right, there was a Coles along there, but it wasn’t the kind of Supermarket that they have now.

    Margaret Holgate. I don’t think they sold food in those days. It was a sort of sixpenny store.

    Margaret Holmes. A little odds-and-ends sort of shop it was. And then there was a beautiful chocolate shop, Kerslakes that made the chocolate on the premises. The most wonderful chocolate you could imagine. And Mr Whittle of course, well he’s a chapter in himself. The Post Office at Spit Junction used to be on the other side of Spit Rd. It was where The Garrison is now. Mr Whittle was just opposite it, where the Post Office is now. That was a most wonderful hardware shop you could possibly imagine, stacked from floor to ceiling with every conceivable kind of thing needed. He was wonderful. There was not this multiplicity of flower shops, and that kind of thing. I can’t recall any actual florist shop. There were quite a few bootmakers that did shoe repairs. There were watch makers.

    Margaret Holgate. People used to have things mended didn’t they? They don’t anymore.

    Margaret Holmes. And then you had the kind of people who came round to your home to mend things, we had a scissor man who used to come about twice a year. He would sharpen all your knives and sharpen your scissors and screw up anything that had got a bit loose. Then there was the man that came and mended chairs, or other things. He’d re-seat a cane chair if it had worn out, or he’d put new little things on the bottoms of the legs to stop them scratching the polished floor. He used to come about twice a year. There was always some odd little thing for them to do. And the clothes prop man – calling out ‘clothes prop’. He had these long wooden boughs from the bush, straight boughs with a fork at the end carried over his shoulder and if you wanted a new clothes prop you’d buy one from him.

    Margaret Holgate. There were no hills hoists at all?

    Margaret Holmes. Oh no. They were quite a new thing later on.

    Margaret Holgate. A great Australian invention actually.

    Margaret Holmes. The dressmaker was another thing. There were lots of little dressmaker shops where you could buy the material and have her measure you and make up the dress for you, or the children’s clothes, if you weren’t making them yourself.

    Marion Harding

    Interviewed by Marlene Reid on 20 July 1998

    Marlene Reid. How did you become involved in business?

    Marion Harding. I didn’t become involved in the business until many years later. It’s rather interesting how the business became established. Mr. Harding had been working with Grace Bros, and Beard Watson’s, and some of the very big stores in Sydney, and he had thought of retirement several times, but Mrs. Harding couldn’t bear the thought of having him home so she encouraged him to stay on as long as he was able to. It was voluntary retirement in those days; you didn’t have to go at 65 or 70. The war came and of course, there was a shortage of men in business, as there were in the industry, and he was approached by a firm by the name of Buckingham’s. They asked if he would stay with them until the war was over, when the young men were returning to fill the positions. He agreed to do that, and of course, Mrs. Harding was delighted, because she still had her precious days to herself to do the things that she wanted to do. Not many of the ladies want their men home really, do they, they like to have time at home on their own. So he agreed to stay on at Buckingham’s and then as the young men were returning she was then well aware that he would be retired and he would be home under her feet. She must have given a lot of thought to this and she decided that if they bought just the simplest, starting-off bedroom suites, and young men would be coming back from the War, and they would need simple furniture, nothing too elaborate because they didn’t have a lot of money. So they set upon a plan – and as he had the contacts in the manufacturing industry – they had the plan of setting up a little store inside the house. I don’t know whether Mosman Council would have approved of this.

    Marlene Reid. Where was the house?

    Marion Harding. They had lived in Cross Street, but they lived in Milton Avenue, and she was well aware of the fact that the neighbours would not like a movement of furniture in and out of Milton Avenue, so she sacrificed that house and she moved to Cowles Road I suppose there’s a saying that the neighbours in Cowles Road wouldn’t be quite so fussy, I don’t know.

    Marlene Reid. Do you remember who the neighbours were?

    Marion Harding. Yes I can remember some of them. But anyway, they started this business in Cowles Road and they did a roaring trade, they were selling more than they could accommodate in the house so they moved to a tiny little shop front on the corner of Spencer Road in Cremorne, and established Harding’s Furniture there. It was in the days when it was difficult to get a telephone, so he didn’t have a phone to start off with. I’m cross with her for lots of things she did, but I admire her for this. If ever there was a phone call or a message she would beetle up Glover Street, or up Lindsay Lane at the back, and round into Spencer Road to take the message to him, and then take the message and ring the people back – she used to do things like that.

    Marion Harding

    Interviewed by Marlene Reid on 20 July 1998

    Marlene Reid. Were some of the people that were in business in Mosman at that time, similar to any of the people that are there now?

    Marion Harding. Lopez, the greengrocer is still there. That’s probably one of the very few, but there were some wonderful businesses. The Whittles were in Spit Road, and they’ve been there for quite a long time until the disastrous fire and they decided they’d not continue in business any longer. Then there was Horsnell’s, a very big and lovely shoe shop. They were in Military Road, opposite the Town Hall, and they had the second generation. Mr. and Mrs. Gould, she was Miss Horsnell’s daughter – she worked in the shop with her father, so that was another generation of two generations in the one business. The Vespa’s were a big chemist shop. Dear old Mr Vespa, he was a lovely old gentleman. He was down at Mosman Junction and then his son Peter was in Military Road, but further toward Cremorne Junction from where we were situated. It’s been a development, but just across from Bardwell Road, halfway up the block from the corner of Bardwell, that’s where he was for many years. Then there was Jewke’s, the chemist – that later became Mallam’s. They moved from the Raglan Street corner to the middle of Mosman shopping centre. And there was Minty’s. Minty’s is now Lovell’s. And there was Mr. and Mrs. Minty and Julian, he was a bachelor. They had similar stock to Lovell’s, but a little bit more comprehensive. Then there was Line & Company also, and that’s where the shoe shop is. Arthur Dick bought that from Ted Line; (then) Arthur Dick brought the business; he then moved; Arthur preferred to play golf. Didn’t want to run a drapery store. He closed down – the premises belonged to Ambrose Ceaser, he was not the person who was very strong in the Chamber of Commerce – that was Ceaser’s Menswear.

    Marlene Reid. I remember that – it’s where the bike shop is.

    Marion Harding. Yes. Ted was a bachelor and he married very late in life, and moved into a unit in Muston Street.

    Marlene Reid. Were there furniture people there too?

    Marion Harding. Yes, there were other furniture people. We had quite a bit of opposition, but that’s good because it keeps you on your toes. And after all Mosman was big enough – Mosman, Cremorne, and Neutral Bay, and right up the beaches we had clients. But there was Ray Farquhason do you remember them? He was a manufacturing upholsterer, and Robert Lombard was more an interior decorator – that was a beautiful store. He had beautiful lampshades, and I gathered some ideas from Robert and I think he used to come and look through my window and gather some of my ideas too.

    Mary McKenna

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 28 February 2001

    Eve Klein. Could you describe the walks your father took you on when a child.

    Mary McKenna. He would say that we’d go to so and so for afternoon tea this afternoon, and away we’d go, and we walked all over Mosman, he knew people because of the family connections. His two sisters had lived here, well three of them actually. Aunt Agnes who was a daughter of the Manse in the Presbyterian Church and she had quite a lot of contacts, and he met these families over the years, so he’d take me up and show me how the other half lived, virtually.

    Eve Klein. Did you visit them?

    Mary McKenna. Oh yes, yes.

    Eve Klein. In those days did one have to make an appointment, like one does now?

    Mary McKenna. No, we just dropped in at afternoon teatime, and they’d welcome you in and I was sat up and treated like a lady, given all the beautiful crockery and I just automatically thought everybody else did this, but they didn’t. I remember one instance – Madeline Netters used to live in Holt Avenue on the corner there, and my father thought it would be nice for me to go and see someone playing the harp. So we went around there, and she was with the orchestra at the time, and I went in. I always remember this room that was full of pictures of hands, and he persuaded her to play the harp for me.

    Miss Jessie Hutchinson and the Sydney Nursery School, Belmont Road Mosman

    Interviewed by Trish Levido on 10 December 2009

    Trish Levido. Robert, am I correct in saying that your great uncle was a Doctor Doak?

    Robert Hall. Yes, my great grandfather.

    Trish Levido. He was your great grandfather was he? Yes, ok.
    The house called ‘Alma’ which is at 114 Belmont Road and subsequently became the Nursery School, was built as a residence by a Frederick Smith in 1896 and he had originally listed it as a residence in 1897. The builder (Frederick Smith) moved there from Blues Point as an old man. Frederick Smith was a Councilor on the North Sydney Council. He was with the Masons and he was also a JP. He had four sons and three daughters and in 1914 he sold the home to a Doctor Frank Doak. Doctor Doak had a lot of connections with Mosman. He was a doctor for Mosman, in other words his surgery was in Mosman and various location, which we will get into.

    Robert Hall. They were tin gates I remember and there was also a separate one where you could walk through. You asked Helen what did we think of it – there were plenty of trees in there and I don’t if it was the effect of Enid Blyton’s books, but it was a bit of a mystery place because old people lived there, and we weren’t meant to actually go there. This might have been after I went on to Primary School. We were told that there were plenty of spiders in there. To young people I think it was a bit of a mystery.

    Helen Taylor. It was really dark – you know when we lived in Glover Street and we used to go into ‘Warrender’ and climb the trees. We did all sorts of things, hiding etc. It was quite bushy. Some parts of it I didn’t like. I remember when Uncle Gordon lived upstairs. There was Jennifer, Carol, and John and Julie.

    Trish Levido. ‘Warrender’ was the name that you knew as ‘Alma House’. And that was what the house was named by. Can you give me a profile of what Miss. Hutchinson was like as a person? She was very unusual wasn’t she?

    Robert Hall. She was slim, and to me she was always grey. She often wore a smock. Even when we used to visit her she often wore that because she was always doing things in the garden. She was always kind. She didn’t have a big smile but she always had a smile for you. She’d often chuckle, a bit of trait I think, of the Doak’s and Hutchinson’s. She was a very kind person, and she’d listen to you. You could tell she was an intelligent person because she always wanted to hear what people had to say. She always let people say things. A very patient person, which is a great characteristic of anyone I think.

    Trish Levido. When you two children went to the Nursery School how many other children would have been there at the time?

    Robert Hall. 20 at the most, but I’m guessing.

    Helen Taylor. I was going to say 20. There was a little table where we had our lunch. She converted – I don’t know what it had been – but into a bathroom and we all had our own towel and washer. (indistinct) was car. Instead of having name tags mine was a car.

    Trish Levido. Helen, did she set the school up because she wanted to live there and run a business and have an income, or do you think she ran it because she just wanted to be a teacher?

    Trish Levido. Ok, presumably she went to university as a young girl, and then she decided after she’d gone to university that she wanted to travel, but to give even more meat to the bones, as they say, she was an unusual woman in that she was – this was the suffragette movement and she also had an interest in woodworking. Do you remember anything about the wood working?
    Helen Taylor. If she wanted something she’d find a way to do it, and she would build things.

    Trish Levido. Give me an example of what she would make. Would she make chairs and tables?

    Robert Hall. Yes, and I think she made a lot of the stuff at the Nursery School, not all of it. But she certainly could repair anything.

    Trish Levido. And then she came back from the US and then she decided she wanted to build something like a Nursery School. And she approached – this is only from my readings – she approached some of the Baby Health Centers to get pupils. They thought it was a good idea to start up a Nursery School.
    Helen Taylor. That’s the sort of woman she was. If you want something so you go to the Baby Health Center and find out things.

    Helen Taylor. The parents of the people there were doctors, lawyers, etc, and had houses with water frontages, and there were the Wall’s, they were Communists. There were more alternate-type people who wanted a different education for their children. There were richer people who thought it was a good thing to do.

    Trish Levido. What were your favourite things at the Nursery School? What do you remember doing?

    Robert Hall. Play was always a great thing, so times haven’t changed. Our children have those things at primary school now.

    Trish Levido. What was the best thing about the Nursery School?

    Robert Hall. There was always something outside and we loved the Jungle Jim, which in those days was very close to the fence in Belmont Road. It couldn’t be seen from the house, and it would not be allowed today.

    Helen Taylor. And the people that tumbled all the way down….

    Trish Levido. …..there must have been lots of scrapings and scratches and people breaking bones and things like that.

    Robert Hall. No one seemed to worry though.

    Helen Taylor. You could run free, that’s what I remember when I was younger. When we got older we were going down to…..

    Miss Laurie Mullens

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 7th March 2002
    Subject: ,

    Miss Mullens. I started nursing when I left school but I got an infection and my mother was advised to take me away, she said the little ones get through all these things and you will find your daughter is being involved in lifting and helping etc., so we stopped that. I then went to business College and got various jobs through them, starting off with Felt & Textiles and I worked for Irish Linen that imported materials, and Wakefields, the Oil Company. That was a very nice job – a new building in Ultimo and we had nice quarters, a rooftop kitchen, showers, toilets, and lockers. When Lord Wakefield died he ordered that every employee throughout the world received a week’s wages for each year of service.

    Eve Klein. After which length of time?

    Miss Mullens. Over six years I think.

    Eve Klein. In those days do you think your involvement in work was pleasant?

    Miss Mullens. Yes it was.

    Eve Klein. What made it pleasant?

    Miss Mullens. I was in a pleasant atmosphere with people that were agreeable. At Wakefields – it was during the war – we girls had little evenings for the sailors when the British fleet was here and they said, ‘whatever money you can manage to acquire, we will double it’, and so we hired halls in the city and had dances, and also I made a life-long friend of one of the sailors. He was an electrical officer and we still correspond. When he went back home after the war he had a daughter he named after me.

    Miss Laurie Mullens

    Interviewed by Eve Klein on 7th March 2002

    Eve Klein. Did the Second World War affect your life?

    Miss Mullens. Yes that definitely did, and I joined the NES a voluntary organisation, we were ambulance drivers and in the event of any problem we were supposed to have a fleet of laundry trucks – I think it was that we were going to use.

    Eve Klein. And you already had a drivers’ license. Were you put into use for this?

    Miss Mullens. We were trained and we learnt how the engine worked, and we used to go round to North Sydney Oval once a week and sleep in the dressing sheds. We had a rostered day and we went to work from there – it was women only.

    Eve Klein. Did people enroll in this did they offer their time for it?

    Miss Mullens. My mother was a warden and would attended meetings at the Church at Canrobert Street, because when the alarm went off when the Japs bombed Rose Bay, my mother went to the wardens’ post and I walked to Military Road to get a lift to North Sydney, and the ‘all clear’ went, so that was all right.

    Nancy Phelan

    Interviewed by [talk at Mosman Library] on 28 June 1990
    Subject: ,

    It’s a very strange experience for me because people keep coming up and saying, ‘do you remember me I was at school with you’. But actually our family connections go back a very long way, I don’t live in Mosman anymore. I just realised the other day that this year 1990 is 100 years since my mother and her sisters, and their friends used to come over to Mosman to picnic when they were young.

    The girls were all living at home and they were all hard up. The boys were mainly law students at university, and they used to sail over or row over and picnic in Mosman Bay and they actually came round the Spit. They used to go for long bushwalks there was an electric launch that went to Clontarf there were all sorts of things going on.

    Anyway, they all liked it so much that quite a few of them when they married each other came to live here. Ethel Turner married Herbert Curlewis and came, eventually after several other places, she ended up in Warringah Road. My future mother and father got married and came to live in down in the Spit, John Noonan who was a law student brought is wife and baby over to Mosman to live, there were quite a few of them that gradually came over here because they liked it so much.

    By the time I was born it was starting to be a suburb but it was still very unspoilt and the part that I lived in was the Spit of course down in Cyprian Street, and it was really untouched. We did have trams that went down the Spit Road, well actually it was called the Spit Road but you call it Parriwi Road, but that was about the only real high tech thing that we had. The trams were absolutely hilarious, I suppose a lot of you can remember them but they were very high and they sort of groaned and screeched and they were freezing in winter and every now and then the pole used to fall off the line and crash down onto the roof.

    Nancy Phelan

    Interviewed by [talk at Mosman Library] on 28 June 1990
    Subject: ,

    That was one of the frightening things in my childhood, but of course Parriwi Road itself was a rather perilous place because every time it rained we used to have a landslide and if the road used to fall down there were some beaches down below, I imagine you all know the part I’m talking about, between Cyprian Street and the Spit there were all these little beaches, which were very hard to get to and if you got onto them and didn’t get off in time the tide often used to come up and you couldn’t get away.

    I remember there was a girl who used to take us out on afternoons when we were kids and she took us down to one of these beaches once, of course my mother would have had a fit because the tide came up and the only way we could get out was to climb up Parriwi Road and there’s this total landslide going on, boulders were falling down. Anyway, it finally got so bad that they had to make another road, which is what we called Upper Spit Road, which of course is now called the Spit Road, and that was made as an alternative traffic route going down to the Spit.

    The Spit was just exactly that, a spit, it was nothing, it was just a long spit of sand. The tramline went along to the end and there was a beach on each side. The tram went to the end, and there were little boatsheds, and there were dicky wooden buildings – I think there was a boarding house there.

    Nancy Phelan

    Interviewed by [talk at Mosman Library] on 28 June 1990
    Subject: ,

    Beauty Point was just bush. There was a dairy there, and the milk used to come to the diary at dawn in a cart in those great big metal cans and you put out the billy, and they’d put the money out too, which you wouldn’t do these days. It was really very rural and it wasn’t until quite late in the day that people started cutting up land and building houses up there in Beauty Point.

    Up there also, further along towards Warringah Road towards the junction there was a place called Twilight Homes. It was fully of dotty old ladies (laughter) and they used to get out and they used to get into trams, and there was one we loved, our favourite. Her name was Miss. Bessy Boyce. She always told you her name, she said, ‘I’m Miss. Bessy Boyce’. She was a gentlewoman, I think she was related to a bishop or something, she was very genteel, but she used to get in the tram and tell everybody that she loved them. When the man helped her off the tram she’d say, ‘oh, thank you God, oh thank you dear, I love you, I love everyone’. She’d do this all the time, she was absolutely sweet, and so I loved Miss. Bessy Boyce, in fact I put her into one of my books, ‘Home is the Sailor’, I used bits of her there because she was a marvelous character.

    As a matter of fact there were some marvelous characters about, people didn’t sort of … they weren’t trying to conform they were just being themselves you know. Life was very simple and nobody was trying to keep up with the Jones’s. So there were a lot of characters about and I loved watching some and sort of eavesdropping and watching and listening.

    There was a mad boy who lived down the road. He was called ‘mad Dibby’. Of course we wouldn’t call them a mad boy these days you’d say something more tactful. He lived down at the lighthouse, there was a lighthouse, which, I think is now called ‘Rosherville light’, it’s a big snappy, flashing light down below Parriwi Road and he lived down there, and he was very picturesque. He had a very peculiar mother. I don’t think she was the full quid either, every time she saw my sister or me she used to scream out, ‘oh, the little girls have got loverly ‘air, they’ve got such loverly ‘air’. (laughter)

    And then there was a character called ‘Sonny Strange’, a man with a purple face, he lived down on Chinamen’s Beach in a sort of shack and we used to see him weaving his way down the hill you know, across our gate and my mother didn’t approve of him at all.

    He lived down there with a lot of very colourful ladies, and they used to scream in the night (laughter) and there were all sorts of things going on.

    Nancy Phelan

    Interviewed by [talk at Mosman Library] on 28 June 1990

    And then there were some people who used to come and spend the day outside our front gate, they were a family and perfectly well behaved there was nothing weird about them, but my mother made up her mind that they were Portuguese – rather romantic but she loved sort of embroidering, and the father was rather small and very dark. So she’d come in and say, ‘those Portuguese are out there’, and they’d come and bring sandwiches and they’d sit all day – you see there was no road down to Chinamen’s Beach it was just a bush track. They’d sit there outside our gate and he would paint, he was painter.

    Of course my mother loved that because she loved painters and writers, and she would say, ‘oh, the Portuguese’ that she loved so much. Of course it turned out that they weren’t Portuguese at all, his name was James Jackson, (laughter) and his wife’s name was Dora Tovey. (laughter) She ended up living up the road in a commodious fashion.

    Nancy Phelan

    Interviewed by [talk at Mosman Library] on 28 June 1990
    Subject: ,

    As I say there was no road down to Chinamen’s Beach, there wasn’t even a footpath, you just sort of went down and crawled up and then later on they cut a big slice off our garden and cut down our cypress trees to make the road. We hated the road, we hated it, and then cars used to go down – that was the beginning of cars going down to the village. The road didn’t go down to the beach it went down to the covered steps, there were stones steps cut in the rock, and we went down the steps. I remember that very clearly. They were always covered with sand and there was a very strong smell of lantana, which was always encroaching on the steps.

    When you got down there, there was just nothing, it was just the beach. The only place down there was the Armitages’ place, it was called ‘Shellcove House’, a lovely old stone house with fields round it, and Mrs. Armitage had a cow and there were lovely smells, and wood-smoke and milk scalding. The first time I ever smelt this wonderful rancid scent of the datura tree the one with big white bells on it and a marvelous scent.

    We used to go there a lot but we were a bit frightened of Mr. Armitage he was rather short tempered, he used to shout at us, but we loved Mrs. Armitage she was at school with my mother actually. She was very big, and she had a very sweet smile and when she laughed she shake all over. (laughter).

    Nancy Phelan

    Interviewed by [talk at Mosman Library] on 28 June 1990

    Then of course, you see, we had two grandmothers living in Mosman and masses of cousins and uncles and very peculiar aunts. I might tell you that I’m happy to say that many of my mother’s family were extremely eccentric and my father was a great eccentric, so there was never a dull moment in our family life.

    Nancy Phelan

    Interviewed by [talk at Mosman Library] on 28 June 1990

    …but as I got a bit older I began to become a little restless and I began to realise there was another side to life in Mosman, another character of Mosman.

    Now this is where I have to come clean and say that I went through a very definite period of loathing Mosman and the absolute epitome of everything I hated was the Spit Junction. I simply hated the Spit Junction. Nothing ever happened there, it was so dull, and there were all these ugly little buildings and these overhead wires. It was so boring and there were all these little shops, there was Bridgeman’s – I’m not knocking the shops but this is how a young teenager is feeling. There was Bridgeman’s the drapers, there was Kerslake’s sweet shop, they made wonderful chocolates and coconut-ice, I do remember, it was a cake shop. Noaks’s the butcher, you could smell the suet as you went past, and there was sawdust on the floor.

    There was Whittle’s and Horsnall’s,‘Okay Boots & Shoes’, (laughter) two very jolly little men behind the counter. Of course there was nothing like a delicatessen, just the Ham & Beef shop. And there was Moran & Cato and McIllwaraiths.

    Noreen Powell (nee Carroll)

    Interviewed by Mary Lou Byrne on 13 September 2012
    Subject: ,

    Interviewer: Today is 13th September and I am interviewing Noreen Powell, Jack Carroll’s daughter.

    Let’s go back and talk about family history, where your father came from first, etc. Your father Dalton Jack Carroll came from New Zealand at the age of 10 but his parents remained in NZ.

    Noreen Powell: His father was here and he was bedridden. We don’t quite know what with but he was bedridden, living down at Balmoral with his sister, and the sister Ellen Leahy was a very dominating person and she decided to look after him so she brought him over with the two boys and left the mother in NZ. In those days you didn’t ask why. Now it would be that stolen generation because she picked the boys up, one 10 and one however old Sid was, and brought them over here.

    Interviewer: Was that house right on the beach?

    Noreen Powell: Yes, right on the beach at the northern end of Balmoral Beach. There used to be the amphitheatre there and two doors from the amphitheatre.

    Interviewer: Was that their house?

    Noreen Powell: Yes, and the house is still there, so it must have been well built. The amphitheatre’s gone.

    Interviewer: Did their mother come out eventually?

    Noreen Powell: She got a job as a stewardess on a shipping line that just went between NZ and Australia, and she got a job on that so she could come over and see the children, but she didn’t come here to live for many, many years. She’d go backwards and forwards.

    He died in about 1934, I think, and we don’t know what he had but there was a photo of him down at Balmoral in bed with a bottle of beer in his hand, which I’d assumed he was too drunk to stand up, but subsequently we find it could have been MS but of course it wouldn’t have been diagnosed then; or he could have needed a hip replacement and they didn’t do that, so we never knew. It was only later on when we found other members of the family had MS that we think maybe that’s what he had.

    Interviewer: Ellen was looking after him – where was Ellen’s husband?

    Noreen Powell: He was here, too. Beautiful home, beautifully built, beautiful timber floors and architraves, a parquetry flooring which was beautiful.

    Interviewer: Was that Wyargine Street?

    Noreen Powell: No, it was The Esplanade, because it was right at the end of The Esplanade and then you went down a little track to the right and it was just tucked in there, but I think the address was The Esplanade. Don’t ask me about the number. It’s still there.

    Interviewer: On the beach, called Oriana?

    Noreen Powell: That’s right, that’s the one.

    Interviewer: Did they build that house?

    Noreen Powell: I don’t know about that but Ellen owned that house, owned all the land and there’s a little park next door to it and then there’s the Beach Club and then there was a big solid block of flats. She owned all that. She donated the land to the Beach Club. My father started the Beach Club and she donated the land for that. She was a very wealthy lady and very locally minded.

    Interviewer: Was she independently wealthy?

    Noreen Powell: I think it was probably from the real estate. I don’t know where she was born or where he was born. I have no idea. Irish descent.

    Interviewer: Do you think your grandparents split up then, when the children came out here?

    Noreen Powell: No, because then she came over here when she retired from being the stewardess on the shipping line and she lived in a unit that her other son owned at Rushcutters Bay. In her later years, she was 79 when she died and she lived with us for probably six or eight years before she died.

    I was young and you don’t ask questions; you just accept all these things. Now, of course, stolen generation and these kids’ dad was sent off to – he won a scholarship to Grammar and they called him an apostrophe because his name was spelt with the apostrophe and he didn’t like that so he walked out and took himself off to Fort Street.

    I don’t know where Sid went but Sid left home quite early. He couldn’t stand Ellen Leahy bossing him round, so he left home very early, but he was very good to his mother, too, and he looked after her as well, and Dad did.

    Interviewer: Just the two boys?

    Noreen Powell: Just the two boys, yes.

    Interviewer: Sid did work at the real estate agent early on?

    Noreen Powell: Yes, but for a very short time and then he started one or worked for one at Bellevue Hill, I think it was, and then he started one over there after the 1st World War.

    Interviewer: You said he was killed in a car accident?

    Noreen Powell: Yes. That would have been in the 40s. I’ve got all that history; I wonder what I’ve done with it. I’ll dig it out. He drove between two trams out in the Eastern Suburbs, he’d been out with his mates, and of course you could drink and drive then, and he was a very good driver but a bit wild, and he turned right between two trams, so he was sandwiched there and killed instantly.

    Interviewer: You knew him then?

    Noreen Powell: Oh yes.

    Interviewer: Were he and your father close?

    Noreen Powell: They were different. They were still mates but not all that close, I don’t think. Sid went to war and Dad wanted to go but Ellen Leahy wouldn’t let him. She said, No, you’ve got to stay here and help. Her husband was dead then. You’ve got to help me run the estate agency; you’re not allowed to go. And Dad always resented that in a way, but she had him under her thumb and he just did what she said and she said, You’re not going to war, and he felt awful about that, as you can imagine. So Sid went to war and came back and couldn’t stand it and went to live in the Eastern Suburbs to get away from it all.

    Interviewer: Ellen Leahy didn’t have any children of her own?

    Noreen Powell: No, she didn’t.

    Interviewer: When your father was first in Council 1915-17 and then he was defeated in 1917, and she asked him if he got in and he said no, and she said, That will do you the world of good, young fellow.

    Noreen Powell: Yes, that would be her. I was terrified of her. She was a very formidable lady.

    Interviewer: Did she stay in Mosman for the rest of her days?

    Noreen Powell: Yes. She died in the house down at Balmoral. We had nurses and things, and she died in the house. I was about ten, so about 1940 she died, round about.

    Interviewer: That’s about the time your father took over the real estate agency.

    Noreen Powell: Yes. I think he was working for it then.

    Interviewer: You mentioned the Beach Club.

    Noreen Powell: She donated the land.

    Interviewer: I read two conflicting reports about the Beach Club, to do with the ladies’ membership.

    Noreen Powell: They didn’t want ladies in it. They fought that.

    Interviewer: One version said your father resigned over their admission and the other one said he resigned because he thought they should be members.

    Noreen Powell: No, no, he didn’t want them.

    Interviewer: Then they said they had to make him a life member. Then I read that Ellen Leahy was the first ladies president.

    Noreen Powell: There’s that lovely photograph in the Beach Club of the founders on the ladder.

    Interviewer: During WWII Jack had English servicemen billeted at home?

    Noreen Powell: Yes, always. My brothers were at boarding school at Joeys so my mother – she won the war, she made pyjamas, she did everything to help win the war, and she said she’d fill the beds up because the boys were at boarding school, she’d fill their beds up with English servicemen. We kept a record of that for many, many years. We got them all to sign a book and they wrote the nicest notes, and we’ve got a photograph which I’ll show you of a man, an Englishman wrote and said, Could we take a photograph of the view from the house at Balmoral? Which we did, and sent it to him, and his letter was published in The Daily. Dad had it published in The Daily. An artist, who was quite a well known artist at the time, said he’d like to do a painting for him rather than a photograph, so he did the painting and Dad liked it so much he said, Would you do one for me? so that’s hanging in my lounge room.

    Interviewer: Who’s the artist?

    Noreen Powell: I have no idea. I don’t think he even signed it, but he donated it and we sent it off to England to this fellow, and when Mum and I went to England in 1951 we made contact with two of them, because they kept coming back. They were in the British Marines out here and every time they’d get leave they’d be back to Sydney and filling up those beds. It was great. We used to have dances. The local Red Cross Juniors ran dances in our place and we’d move all the furniture out and all these English servicemen would come. They had a place up at Middle Head where the English servicemen would come on leave and they’d come down and Mrs Gale used to play the piano and they’d all dance there. That went on pretty well the whole of the war. It was just the servicemen, whoever was on leave here, and the Red Cross younger set. They loved it, you can imagine.

    Interviewer: You joined in?

    Noreen Powell: Yes, but I was very young. They weren’t interested in me at all but I loved it. They were such nice fellows, too, and they were young. These two that we saw in England, they were 18 when they were sent out here. They were sent out here after the war had more or less finished in Europe. They used to drive the barges between the landing barges on D-Day. They used to drive those barges, aged 18, drop the troops off, go back to the ship, get another load, drop them off, under fire the whole time. Just 18 year old kids. It was just incredible. They were great boys.

    Interviewer: Was your father in a voluntary corps during the war?

    Noreen Powell: No, I don’t think so.

    Interviewer: Up at Rawson Oval, the Drill Hall there?

    Noreen Powell: That’s where the British servicemen were on leave and Dad used to do the cooking for them. VDC. Voluntary Defence Corp. Dad used to cook and he used to use up all their rations. In one night their rations for a week, of butter and eggs, would get used up: We’ve got to feed these boys!

    Interviewer: Your father was a great collector – he started collecting because he noticed some things were wrong in the Lands Division?

    Noreen Powell: Probably, yes.

    Interviewer: Your mother Eileen – did you know much about her family? Did she grow up in Mosman?

    Noreen Powell: No, she was born in Nimmitabel, which is down in snow country. She was the second eldest in her family. Her father was a school teacher but he also had a business in George Street, up from Broadway, I suppose Petersham it would almost be. He was Ernest Cairnsdale. She was one of eight; she was the second eldest. The younger ones were born in Sydney. I think, I don’t know whether it’s still there but if you’re cutting the back way past the Children’s Hospital and you hit Parramatta Road, if you look across, somewhere to the left I think it is, you’ll see on one of those old buildings it will be Cairnsdale and something engraved in the top of the building. It was there for many years; whether it’s still there or not I don’t know.

    Interviewer: What sort of business was that?

    Noreen Powell: I don’t know, but I know he wasn’t a school teacher; he was a school teacher in the country, Nimmitabel, but he wasn’t a school teacher in Sydney and he had this, I suppose it was a mixed business.

    Interviewer: When they moved to Sydney, did they come to Mosman?

    Noreen Powell: They came to Mosman, Bradleys Head Road, 61, and Mum went to St Vincent’s and then – I don’t know where the boys went. There were two boys. She went to St Vincent’s and her sisters went to St Vincent’s till the last two and they went to Ursuline College, wherever Ursulines are. The boys went to Joeys, that’s right.

    Interviewer: When she left school, she worked in the Commonwealth Bank, straight after school?

    Noreen Powell: Yes. I think she could have been either late 20s or even 30 – no, late 20s when she married.

    Interviewer: She worked opposite the real estate agent where your father worked.

    Noreen Powell: At the Commonwealth Bank branch there.

    Interviewer: How did they meet?

    Noreen Powell: I have no idea. I can’t tell you about that. They didn’t tell me. I didn’t ask.

    Interviewer: They would have got married in the 20s?

    Noreen Powell: 1924 – May, they were married.

    Interviewer: She actively supported various charities?

    Noreen Powell: Yes. Mainly during the war she was with the Red Cross and anything else that was winning the war, she was in it. It was mainly Far West when they started in the 1930s. Drummond started the Far West Home at Manly and I think she was Mayoress at the time and she started the committee to raise funds for them because they got no government support for many, many years. That was her main one but during the war she also worked for the Red Cross and she collected, I used to do it with her, for the Prisoner of War Association, going from house to house collecting money. She was very active during the war.

    Interviewer: They were married in 1924; then Bill came along and Pat and then you. So you had two older brothers. Do you have an earliest memory of your family?

    Noreen Powell: We were living in 20 Awaba Street, only for a few years, and then Dad built the house in Wyargine Street. It was part of the land that Ellen Leahy had. Hers was on the beach but then it went through to Wyargine Street and he built the house there in 1934.

    Interviewer: Do you have memories of that?

    Noreen Powell: I can remember that quite well. I can remember the friends I had round there, the Copes and different people. Mum used to play tennis up the road, in a house up there. I can remember trivia, little things. People named Cope lived next door and they had two girls. One was my age but the elder one was a very good, she wrote a book on poetry, I’ve got it here, and beautiful artwork in it, little fairies with wings and meticulous artwork, not just big things, but beautiful, and she went on, Gwen Cope, to be quite a famous author and then they moved, we moved away and then they moved away, too. I can remember different people up there.

    Two of the people up the road used to work at the Far West with Mum. One was Fielding. She moved then to Beauty Point, Elsie Fielding, and her son is still around, and daughter-in-law. I see them around Mosman. Daisy Ward. There was a group of them. Mum rounded them all up and made them work for her pet charities. One was Nock, she moved up to Stanley Avenue, from Nock & Kirbys, they were there. They were all on that same side of Awaba Street.

    Interviewer: Your mother played tennis in Awaba Street.

    Noreen Powell: Yes, that was across the road, and little bit further up. I can’t remember those people.

    Interviewer: Did you play with the girls around there or did you play with your brothers?

    Noreen Powell: I was too young for them; they weren’t interested in me. I used to drive them mad. I was very annoying. They were in the Scouts and the Cubs, and I annoyed them so much one day, when Mum and Dad were out at some official thing, Pat tied me to the clothes post and left me there, all day, and he went off with his mates. I can remember that very well. He came home about two minutes before Mum and Dad and untied me. That was at Wyargine Street.

    Interviewer: Did the boys get on together?

    Noreen Powell: Yes. Bill always did what Pat said. Pat was the younger of the two but he was the leader and Bill just did what Pat said, all his life, and was quite happy to do that. Pat was always the leader of the gangs.

    Interviewer: Were they closer to your father than you?

    Noreen Powell: Yes.

    Interviewer: Did they go off to boarding school at high school age?

    Noreen Powell: They went later. In those days it was four years’ high school, and I don’t think they were at Joeys for the four years, but I couldn’t be sure of that. Joeys would have records of that. They repeated their Leaving because they weren’t 18 and they couldn’t join up for the war, so they had a gap year till they could join up. They were only 17 so Dad sent them back to Joeys and they did their Leaving twice. Had a lovely time then.

    Interviewer: Did both of them go to war?

    Noreen Powell: Bill did. Bill was in the Air Force. Pat failed the medical, which was a bit of a joke, but they didn’t want people – that was 1944-45, they didn’t want new people then and he’d had pneumonia when he was young and to drain the fluid off his lungs they put a hole in his back, and so the scar was there. So when the Army medical doctor saw the scar he said you’re not fit, but his little friend, Paul Royal, whom they used to call Runty Royal, he got in and that was a blow to Pat who was so fit, captain of the Firsts at Joeys, rowed in the eights and very fit. He didn’t get in and Runty Royal did. Don’t put that in. Runty Royal died in a car accident many years ago, but his family are still around; they mightn’t like that.

    Interviewer: Do you remember moving from Awaba Street to the new house?

    Noreen Powell: Yes. It was much bigger, I thought. Looking at it now, I went over it a few years ago, and my bedroom which I thought was very big is so small they knocked the wall down between my room and my brother’s room next door and it’s still small. It was lovely. It’s a lovely place.

    Interviewer: That’s 2 Wyargine. Balmoral must have featured strongly in your childhood.

    Noreen Powell: Yes, and in those days I suppose there weren’t that many people around, you knew everybody your age. They might go to different schools but you knew them all. You caught the bus to school and you knew them all.

    Interviewer: At the weekends would you get together with them, or after school?
    Noreen Powell: We used to go down to the beach a lot, of course, being there. We weren’t members of the Beach Club. Dad gave it away I suppose early in his – he started it and then bowed out. I learned to swim there and I only took up a membership a few years ago. I learned to swim with Clem Morath. His theory was you put them on the ground and they did their strokes, and they kicked perfectly, and then you put them in the water and they did the same thing, just took off. It didn’t work like that. We just sank to the bottom.

    Interviewer: Tell me about your mother and collecting money.

    Noreen Powell: It was a Prisoner of War fund which she ran, with all the other things she ran. Looking at it now, I suppose I was 10 to 15 during the war, we used to go door knocking and she’d go up Wyargine Street, Stanton Road, Burran Avenue, and I’d go Edwards Bay Road, The Grove and Awaba Street, that way. I was only young, just with a piece of paper and a pencil, no receipts or anything, and ask them to donate to the Prisoner of War fund.

    It started because one of the neighbours in Stanton Road was Roger Cornforth’s mother and Roger was a big Wallaby, a great big, a very good footballer, Rugby player, and he was a prisoner of war with the Japanese. She used to hear from him for a while and then they stopped hearing. All her friends were getting letters from their sons and she didn’t hear and she couldn’t work it out, but what they found out later was the Japanese were starving them, these big ones, to see how little they could live on, and when Roger came back he was so weak and so badly affected he was never really the same again in a way. He was just an awful mess, and so Mum decided they’d start collecting for the Prisoner of War fund. That was how it all started, with his mother. They just collected all this money. When you think of it now, sending a 12 year old or 13 year old round knocking on doors, it wouldn’t be safe these days.

    Interviewer: Do you remember much about rations during the war?

    Noreen Powell: Yes. We had a very good butcher who used to give us a few extra coupons for meat when we were having the servicemen. He was at Spit Junction, opposite – is the hotel still there? it was opposite that. He was very nice and very good to Mum, giving her extra rations for the servicemen. Then somebody’s daughter, one of our neighbours, got married and so they scrounged a few more clothing coupons to give her a nice dress to get married in, things like that. It went on for quite a while.

    Sugar was rationed and eggs and butter. Meat was the hardest one, and clothes, but the meat seemed to be the biggest problem.

    Interviewer: Do you remember the barbed wire on Balmoral?

    Noreen Powell: Yes. You had to get through that to get into the water. It was on the beach, on the sand. It was rolls and rolls of barbed wire, but every so often they’d have a gap and you could go through that gap to go swimming.

    Interviewer: Was that put there after the Japanese?

    Noreen Powell: Yes. I can remember the day when the Japanese came because my father was sitting out on the front doorstep, smoking, and he had the attitude that if they’re going to come they’re going to come, so I’ll just sit here and have a smoke and wait for them. The young Englishmen couldn’t understand him doing that because in England the Germans were never going to come, we’ll never let the Germans in England, and here’s Dad sitting there: Well, if the Japs are coming they’re coming. He wasn’t very popular for that attitude.

    Interviewer: He would have been mayor when you were very young.

    Noreen Powell: Yes, 1934 wasn’t it. I think the Harbour Bridge was opened in 1932 but he was mayor in 1934.

    Interviewer: Did you see much of your father?

    Noreen Powell: He used to take me out, on Saturday we’d go and buy chocolates for Mum as a treat and he’d go to the pub with all his drunken mates at the Mosman Hotel.

    Interviewer: Did he work on Saturdays?

    Noreen Powell: No. Nothing was open on a Saturday, no shops were open, and then later on they were open till 12 o’clock on a Saturday, but estate agents weren’t. He didn’t work on the weekends at all.

    We’d buy Kerslakes Chocolates, which was opposite the hotel there. I used to sit in the car and have to wait for him, clutching the chocolates, while he was in the pub, and then we’d take them home, as a peace offering, I think.

    Interviewer: Was your mother into dressmaking?

    Noreen Powell: She was not. She made pyjamas for the war effort. No, she didn’t dress make. She would mend anything but she wasn’t a dressmaker, not at all.

    Interviewer: Your school time – you went to pre-school?

    Noreen Powell: Kindergarten, that was at 12 The Grove. It was only a short time, probably 12 months, and in 1937 or 38, I went to St Bridget’s in Wudgong Street, next to Cardinal Street. I went there only for 12 months and then I went round to Kirribilli to Loreto.

    I don’t remember very much about The Grove. I can remember going there but I don’t remember what I did there. St Bridget’s I would have been – I was looking over some of Dad’s letters, which are very interesting. He went overseas on a mayoral tour with a lot of other mayors from around Sydney and one of the things, he got very homesick and one of the things he said, Oh, you tell me Noreen started school, I can’t believe that she’s old enough to start school, and he was sad that he wasn’t there for it. But in those days, of course, you sent by ship and it was a very comprehensive tour. It was England, it was Europe, Germany, he thought Hitler made wonderful speeches, he listened to one of his speeches and that was very impressive. Then he went over to Canada and America, so he was a way for a long, long while and he wrote, he kept a diary of it all. It was a local government tour.

    So how long I had at the kindergarten I can’t remember but it wouldn’t have been more than 12 months.

    Then I went to St Bridget’s and they were Mercy nuns and we had a real tartar of a nun with a feather duster that she whacked you with. I was not happy there so I went to Loreto, in 1938. All the Mercy nuns had a name for being a bit like that. They were a pretty tough lot. They were in the country mainly but there a few schools down here of Mercy nuns.

    Interviewer: Was discipline at home harsh?

    Noreen Powell: With Dad it was, yes. Mum was too busy but I think with Dad he didn’t tolerate noise or fighting and Bill was an awful tease and he’d tease me and I’d yell and Dad would yell and whack you. He had a short fuse.

    Interviewer: Bill was a stirrer?

    Noreen Powell: Yes. Very quietly so.

    Interviewer: Did you get on better with either of your brothers?

    Noreen Powell: They didn’t take much notice of me. I was too young. I was four years younger than Pat and five years younger than Bill, so they didn’t really want to know much about me. I suppose I was spoilt, too, by Mum. By Dad later on.

    Interviewer: Did you have dolls?

    Noreen Powell: Oh, yes. And I used to have friends over a lot from St Bridget’s. I kept that friendship up for many, many years with a girl whose husband was the manager of the bank. He was moved round and she was moved all over the country, and I used to go and stay and she used to come down to my place, for many, many years. She was Genevieve Gwyther. I’ve never heard of another Gwyther. I think it might be Welsh. She lived in Raglan Street, but down the harbour end of Ragland Street. There was a bus that went from Balmoral to Musgrave Street. There still is, I suppose, in a way, so we caught the bus to each other’s places, when we were at St Bridget’s. She stayed at St Bridget’s and then they moved to the country.

    Interviewer: Did you catch more buses than trams?

    Noreen Powell: I used to catch the bus, yes, because the bus stop was right outside our door in Wyargine Street, so you’d catch that to Spit Junction and then catch a tram to school. One of those old trams. There were trams along Military Road, not buses. I guess really buses along Military Road only came when they pulled the tram tracks up. You couldn’t have both, could you? I don’t know, but the roads weren’t that big.

    Interviewer: You were happy to move on from St Bridget’s.

    Noreen Powell: Oh yes, I loved Loreto.

    Interviewer: Did you know anyone when you went there?

    Noreen Powell: I had cousins there, but not really. I’m still friendly with all those girls, after 65 years.

    Interviewer: Was it much different from St Bridget’s?

    Noreen Powell: The nun at Loreto, she was so kind. She was gentle and she was kind, and we had this Irish parish priest and he used to come with lollies in the playground and you had to jump over his walking stick. Every so often he’d whack you as you went over, so of course we didn’t like doing it much but you had to do it if he said to, and then he’d give you a lolly. Father O’Brien. He was the parish priest for Cardinal Street.

    Interviewer: Is that where you’d go, Sacred Heart?

    Noreen Powell: Yes.

    Interviewer: Church was quite a big thing in your family?

    Noreen Powell: Yes, we all went to church on Sunday. For the business Dad had a car. A lot of people didn’t have cars for private use but he had the car and then when he stopped taking us to church my brothers would be driving. Bill would always drive us up the road to Cardinal Street. I think Clifton Gardens wasn’t built till –

    Interviewer: I think it was about 1928.

    Noreen Powell: We were in the Sacred Heart Parish. It was all divided up, and then later on they built Beauty Point and we went into Beauty Point. Almora Street, I think, was the cut off from the Military Road right down to Balmoral. Everyone on that side was Beauty Point and then on this side it was Clifton Gardens and then on that side it was Cardinal Street. I don’t know what the boundaries are now.
    We had the first nuptial mass in Beauty Point. There wasn’t a church there; there was just a house.

    Interviewer: That’s where you got married?

    Noreen Powell: Yes. Lovely old English house. But that’s many years later.

    Interviewer: When friends came over, what would you do?

    Noreen Powell: Mainly at my place it would be the beach because a lot of my friends from Loreto came from the North Shore.

    Interviewer: Did you ever go to their places?

    Noreen Powell: Oh yes. The same thing now – board games, Ludo and all those sorts of things, Monopoly, and card games, we played a lot of that. Colouring in and all the things the kids do now.

    Interviewer: Were there school dances?

    Noreen Powell: Yes, later on, in Intermediate, school dances with Aloysius boys.

    Interviewer: Any romances?

    Noreen Powell: Gus Nossal, strangely enough. He lived in Clifton Gardens and he used to catch the tram and all the Aloysius boys could sit on the outside of the buckjumper tram, as we used to call it, and the Loreto girls would be on the inside. He would sit on the outside and get his friend to pass notes to me on the inside, on the way to school.

    Interviewer: Did you pass notes back?

    Noreen Powell: I suppose I would have. I don’t remember. My cousin was an Aloysius boy, too.

    Interviewer: Did you go out with Gus?

    Noreen Powell: No. He had a brother, Fred, who turned out to be a journalist. There were three boys and I can’t remember the third one, but they lived in Clifton Gardens. The girls on the North Shore used to meet at the railway station and they’d work out their favourite boy was catching the 12 minutes past 8 train, they’d all wait, let the trains go and they’d get that one. It hasn’t changed. They’re still exactly the same. One of my friends wasn’t allowed to wear lipstick, I think she was probably late school age, 15 or something, and she’s still a past master at putting lipstick on without a mirror. She says, I had so much practice when I’d walk outside the door and going down to the train, I’d put my lipstick on. I don’t know about school uniform but she can still do it perfectly because she says, I had so much practice, because my mother wouldn’t let me wear lipstick.

    Interviewer: You finished school when?

    Noreen Powell: 1947 – that was the Leaving Certificate. I scraped through with four subjects, just made it.

    Interviewer: What did you do when you left school?

    Noreen Powell: I went to the tech and did dressmaking.

    Interviewer: Is that what you always wanted to do?

    Noreen Powell: No, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a sports teacher and my mother wouldn’t let me because I had fair skin and she wouldn’t let me out standing in the sun all day, so I wasn’t allowed to do that. I didn’t want to work in an office, which most of the girls went to secretarial, typing, shorthand, so I went to East Sydney Tech and North Sydney Tech to do dressmaking and then just sort of muddled along. I was no great dress designer, nothing brilliant. I made a living out of it. It was only friends and neighbours. I had enough work and I used to do it from home. So it was a pretty uninteresting life, really, till I made up my mind what I wanted to do, and I still haven’t.

    Interviewer: You had a social life?

    Noreen Powell: Yes, I don’t think anyone worked – they were receptionists for dentists or doctors or bashing a typewriter or something. Very few went to university, very few of my school friends went to university in those days.

    Interviewer: If you’d done the sports teacher thing, would that have been university?

    Noreen Powell: I wouldn’t think so. There was Bjelke-Petersen, which supplied the sports teachers for schools: tennis coaching and netball coaching, so you’d go and work for them. It was an institute, so that’s probably what it would have been.

    Interviewer: What did your mother do?

    Noreen Powell: She couldn’t do anything. She had to go back and they were going to foreclose, sell us up in a fortnight’s time, but we got a buyer. We had 60 pounds over.

    Interviewer: Did you go out at the weekends, on Saturday nights?

    Noreen Powell: I can’t remember dances so much. Parties. A lot of parties and a lot of local movies. If you had a boy he’d ask you just to the local movie. A lot of parties up and down the line, catching trains. My brother Bill was very good at picking us up at North Sydney station and driving all my friends home to their various places. Pat wouldn’t do it.

    Interviewer: Did you drink much at the parties?

    Noreen Powell: No, we didn’t. I can’t remember drinking till I went away on a holiday, when I was about 19 or 20, with my sister-in-law. We went to the Hydro Majestic up there and they started to drink then. We didn’t drink as much; girls didn’t drink as much in those days as now, and the boys only drank beer.

    Interviewer: Which cinema did you go to?

    Noreen Powell: The Kinema. Mainly the Kinema. I don’t know why, because there was one at Spit Junction as well, but not further than that; just local ones and you’d walk up the hill and you’d walk home.

    Interviewer: Where did you shop?

    Noreen Powell: Spit Junction. Dad used to take us which was wonderful. They started Thursday night shopping and otherwise Mum would just carry everything, on the bus. I don’t know how she did it. She never drove. She couldn’t because Dad would have the car at work, to start with, but she never learned to drive. None of her sisters, only her youngest sister drove. No mothers, when I think of it, I can’t remember any of my friends’ mothers driving. It is strange. You don’t think about it now.

    Interviewer: You said it was unusual your father having the car.

    Noreen Powell: Yes. There wasn’t petrol during the war so it was only for business that you would drive, that you would have a car.

    Interviewer: What was the real estate business like during the war?

    Noreen Powell: A lot of empty places, because a lot people moved away, moved up to Springwood and places like that. There were a lot. He always made a living, quite a good living from it. They used to have Monday as collecting rents day and he would need the car for that. He would go round to the houses to collect the rents. A few years afterwards they would come into the office to pay it. Why they didn’t do it then, because he wouldn’t have had much petrol, why they didn’t make them come in then and pay their rent I don’t know.

    We’ve got some very nice paintings which you’ll see in the hall of people who couldn’t pay their rent so they’d give them a painting instead. He was quite popular and quite famous for a while but I think he’s gone out of vogue now, the fellow Young, and there was a very good one called Tebbutt and Tebbutt paintings are worth a lot of money now. We’ve only got one. He rented a place in Mosman and couldn’t pay the rent so he gave Ellen Leahy a painting. I remember seeing a painting of Tebbutt’s for sale many, many years ago, before I was married so 60 years ago, and it was something like 200 pounds which was a huge amount of money then. It would be interesting to find what they’re worth now. Young, who painted the horses that I’ve got, which I love, he was quite popular. They go in and out of vogue, don’t they; they’re popular and then they’re not popular. That’s how you work out how much they’re worth. He was worth quite a bit at one stage. I don’t think he’s worth anything now but the paintings will still just hang there.
    She had a lot like that who couldn’t pay their rents, round about the 1930s. She got a lot of things in lieu of rent.

    Interviewer: Did you have many holidays with the family?

    Noreen Powell: A big holiday was going to Canberra. That was really big time and it took three days to get there. I can’t remember when that was. Primary school or was it after? I don’t think it was after the war. We stayed at Berrima the first night and went over the jail, and then we stayed at – oh, it was dusty and horrible and dirty, it was dreadful, and it was hot. It was Christmas holidays.

    Then we went to Canberra and we stayed at the Cotter River because the man running the tourist part of the Cotter River – don’t ask me his name – he used to be on the Council with Dad. Dad was a great camper. We had a trailer with the tents on and the rucksacks and things like that. He’d pitch the tent. Yes, it took us three days to get there and three days to get home.

    We pitched the tents mainly in camping grounds – Goulburn, that’s the place I was trying to think of. It was dirty and dusty. I can still remember it; it was horrible.
    The Cotter River was beautiful. In Canberra we went over the War Memorial, did all those things that people are still doing now. So that was the big one.

    My maternal grandparents had a house at Bowral and we used to go down there. We’d go with other cousins to Bowral for holidays and that was good. That was when I was young; that would be primary school days, too – earlier, probably five, six, seven, something like that. I’ve still got photos of it.

    Interviewer: Did you camp a lot or mainly the boys?

    Noreen Powell: Mainly the boys. Mum didn’t like it, so I was never encouraged to do it, and I loved it. I loved camping. I used to go with Dad and some school friends when I was much older, when I was 16 or 17, we’d go down to The Basin and Dad would take us down. He’d do the cooking and we’d go swimming. I just loved it but I wasn’t allowed to love it when I was little. It wasn’t for girls.

    My brothers loved camping, too. Bill had all his tent and he used to take his family. We’d go up to Willowtree, we had an aunt up there, and we would camp. It was a big house, plenty of room, but we would camp, just our family.

    Interviewer: Were you a bit of a tomboy?

    Noreen Powell: Probably, yes, more so. I don’t know that kids go camping now. Mum hated it and Dad loved it. He used to pitch his tent in the backyard down at Wyargine Street, all over Christmas. The tent would be up then and he’d sleep out there and we’d sleep out there if we wanted to, with friends. He just loved it.

    Dad was a great organiser. He had boxes that fitted in other boxes that fitted in something else that turned out to be a stool to sit on. A place for everything and it was all very neat and tidy.

    He had a tent made and then he had what he used to call a pup tent, which Bill and Pat had, because they were the favourites. They would just fit their stretchers; two stretchers would just fit in this pup tent. The rest of us would have to go in the big one.

    Interviewer: Where was your dad living at the beginning of the Beach Club, in 1914?

    Noreen Powell: He would have been on the beach there, wouldn’t he, with Ellen. It would be interesting to check out the families of all those people – you’ve seen the photo, haven’t you, on the ladder? I think one of the Burkes – who told me that? they turned up, somebody Burke. There were two Burkes.

    Interviewer: They’d be in that Beach Club book. Do you remember much about birthday parties when you were little? Did you have them at home?

    Noreen Powell: Yes, always at home. My mother would make birthday cakes, rainbow cakes, which you probably had. Christmas cake was always at home.

    Christmas later on was a cast of thousands because my brothers went in the Sydney-Hobart race and so the people would come to start the Hobart race on Boxing Day and they’d come over to us for Christmas dinner, and sometimes stay. Some of them came from New Zealand, I think. That was after the war. I don’t know when the Hobart race was started, but it’s not that long. It’s post War, certainly, so Christmas was always big.

    Interviewer: It was quite a social house.

    Noreen Powell: Yes, it was.

    Interviewer: Tell me about the Red Cross dances.

    Noreen Powell: They had this younger set, the Red Cross younger set. Your mother would remember. There were church younger sets, too, when kids left school, to keep them together. This was a Red Cross one. I can still remember some of the girls from that.

    I don’t know what else they did, apart from coming to our dances. They used to entertain the British servicemen during the war and I suppose after the war it was just disbanded.

    Interviewer: Your house was big enough?

    Noreen Powell: Yes, it was, and the rooms opened into each other. There was a huge entrance vestibule and then dining room, lounge room and a closed in veranda, and then you could come round and you’d have all these dancers going around. We used to move all the furniture out to have all the dancers going around. You often wonder how many romances began there, whether they ever married any of them.

    Interviewer: Was that younger set from around Mosman?

    Noreen Powell: Mainly I would say Mosman, Cremorne, Neutral Bay probably, that area. It would be interesting to find out. There were some ladies named Northcott that lived down at Cremorne and I think they could have been spinsters, there were two or three of them in a big house down on the harbour side of Cremorne and they seemed to run the Red Cross.

    The Red Cross was going for a long while. That aunt of Ellen Leahy, who got the award, MBE or whatever it was, for her work with the Red Cross and the Mater Hospital, that was what she got it for, so it was run for a long while, long before the war, and then I suppose the younger set was a subsidiary of it during the war. I’m sure the Red Cross would have a history of it all.

    Interviewer: Did you ever go to dances at the Barn?

    Noreen Powell: Yes. It was a bit rough. It all depended, I suppose, what era it was. It was there for a while. Then I think they stopped them, didn’t they, because they were damaging it. It was a historical building and it was getting damaged.

    Interviewer: Did you ever go into the city to nightclubs?

    Noreen Powell: No. When I was older – Princes and Romanos, yes. And the Hayden, that was another one, because that was open longer than Princes and Romanos, till about five o’clock in the morning. I think the Hayden was in Martin Place but don’t quote me on that. Downstairs, I know.

    At that stage that I was going to them, I was driving. We had the car. I suppose I didn’t drink so I could drive.

    Interviewer: After you left school, did you have any romances?

    Noreen Powell: Yes, of course you did! We don’t talk about that. We all had boyfriends but not like this day and age. I think they were probably students, university students or something like that, and also we married very young. I was the last of my group to marry and I was only just 24. Most of them married at 21. It was a different era.

    Interviewer: Your brothers’ friends?

    Noreen Powell: No, I was too young for them. They weren’t interested. I might have been but they weren’t. They all had different – not Pat so much; I think Pat was more into the Rugby club and the surf lifesaving club, too busy with that. He didn’t have a lot of girlfriends, but Bill did. Bill was very popular with the girls. He was working at the real estate agency.

    Pat was a builder. He couldn’t go to the war and so Dad got him – Robbie Sturrock who was a builder in Mosman, he got him to take him on and he did that. Bill got a scholarship for university but he stayed on.

    At the end of the war, they let the servicemen who’d been fighting out first, and people like Bill, who never went out of Australia, he did his training as a navigator but never went out of Australia, so they stayed in longer to let the others come out. I don’t know if he started university but he didn’t want to study then. I can’t remember what he was doing. I think he might have done 12 months and failed hopelessly, because he was having too good a time.

    So then he went into the estate agency with Dad, not that Bill wanted to. I think Dad said, well you’ve got to do something, if you won’t do any work at uni. He was very bright, Bill, he was very clever, but just wouldn’t work, couldn’t settle down. But that worked out all right in the end.

    Mum was always disappointed because she thought he could have done engineering. He did one year civil engineering and failed.

    Interviewer: When did you meet Frank?

    Noreen Powell: I met Frank – they started night classes down at the Mosman school. Pat was married first and then Bill was married and Judy was pregnant and she had a miscarriage. The doctor said, you’ve got to find some interest now, they’ve started a night school, do something over there. She didn’t want to do anything and she said, oh you come too, so we looked at lampshades and dressmaking and all these things and then the Sydney Fencing Club was starting an offshoot. We’d never heard of fencing; we didn’t know anything about it, so we said, let’s do that.

    So we started that and Frank was a member of the Sydney Fencing Club. They used to come out and teach us at Mosman. Judy became pregnant and left, and I was still there, so that was where I met him. He was in the war, he was in the Merchant Navy because he’s English, and he had come out in 1947 in the Merchant Navy. In those days, in the Merchant Navy, you had to sign on for a round trip. If you were in the Royal Navy you could take your discharge here and his brother was in the Royal Navy, took his discharge here. Frank wanted to come out and join him but he had to do a round trip back to England so they were all jumping ship, naturally, they didn’t want to go back.

    Steve his brother had joined the Police force at this stage and he said, if you just stay here in Sydney and jump ship, I’ve got to put you in and that won’t look very good back home, so he lent him some money and he went over to New Zealand and he jumped ship in New Zealand. There were so many of them jumping ship they couldn’t put them all in jail, so they just put them on 12 month bonds.

    So he was on a 12 month bond in New Zealand and then came back to Sydney, which worked out all right because there was nothing at home for him. He left school at 12 in England because all the schools in London were closed and the students were sent to Canada or Australia or the country. His parents said no, if we’re going to die we’ll all die together, so they kept them in London and there was just nothing, no schools, so he had nothing, he worked at the post office and didn’t do anything much till he was 16.

    Then he put his age up and got into the Merchant Navy. So he had no schooling at all from 12 on, and there was nothing. All these servicemen were coming back to England – no jobs. England was broke and so he just had to get out.

    So Steve came and joined the Police force. Frank wanted to join the Police force but he was colour-blind so they wouldn’t have him. He went and worked on the roads. He’s always been lucky. He had a mentor who said, you can do something better than this, and he sent him back to tech to do his intermediate and matriculation. So he was lucky there.

    Interviewer: Who was he living with in Sydney?

    Noreen Powell: Various places, just boarding places. Wherever his girlfriend was. He’d be living in Enmore and he’d have a girlfriend at Pymble and then he’d be living somewhere over here and he’d have a girlfriend over there, so he moved round a lot. When I met him he was living with his brother Steve at Beecroft. Then he boarded in Prince Albert Street till we were married.

    There were a lot of boarding houses round there – not boarding houses as such but just people letting off rooms in their homes. It wasn’t an official boarding house; it was just the Misses Jones and he used to board there, had a room, that was all. That was on the high side of Prince Albert Street, probably near Thompson Street, somewhere there. The Misses Jones were maiden ladies.

    That would be the 50s. We were married in 1956.

    Interviewer: When did the Mosman evening college start?

    Noreen Powell: I have no idea when they started. It would have to be 50s. I gave up fencing once I caught Frank. I was never any good at it anyway. It was different. All my friends married boys from Riverview or Aloysius.

    I can remember when we got engaged and Mum was talking to one of her friends. She said, Arlene, how can you let your only daughter – you don’t know anything about him, his parents in England – and of course in England in those days you couldn’t hop on a plane and fly, you just didn’t go, and they were horrified that her only daughter – and my mother’s answer, which I thought was just great, she said, No, I don’t know any of his family but I know Frank and that’s good enough for me. I thought that was great of her.

    Frank didn’t go home to see his father die and then by the time he went home his mother had lost the plot, so he never really saw them – he didn’t go home for something like 20-something years. When we were married we couldn’t afford it, and then all of a sudden he got homesick and it happened. He was really homesick; he wasn’t just bunging it on. It was 1970 so that’s a long while after the war, isn’t it. He just had to go home.

    There again, Mum was very good. She said, Well, I can understand him wanting to go but does he have to go right now? Because it was a difficult pregnancy with Richard, I was about eight months pregnant, and my father was dying. Dad went up to heaven on the 5th July and Richard came down on the 8th. But he just had to go. It was just one of those things.

    His mother, I don’t know whether she knew him or not. He said at times she probably did, but he saw his sisters. He was the youngest of six. He had another brother who was over in England; they were all in England then, so he caught up with all the family and nieces and nephews.

    It was one of those things; he just had to go, but it wasn’t a convenient time. He came back a couple of weeks before Richard was born but he couldn’t settle. He was away for five weeks and he just couldn’t settle. I was huge with being pregnant and he just couldn’t cope with five and a half kids and a pregnant wife. It was all too much for him. We all had to hang in there.

    I remember one of his friends saying, Just hang in, Noreen, just hang in, he’ll be all right, and he was. It wasn’t the easiest of times. There was a gap between Sally and Richard. We managed. We’re still here.

    Interviewer: You organised the wedding?

    Noreen Powell: Yes. All our weddings, all the receptions were in Wyargine Street: Bill’s and Pat’s and mine. In those days you had nuptial masses and so you had to fast and the priest had to fast, so the latest you could have a nuptial mass was 9:30 in the morning. Pat and Shirley were married up here and Bill and Judy were married at Clifton Gardens, but we’d just started the parish down there, Father Tozey was the priest, and so we had the first nuptial mass. There wasn’t a church there but it was a beautiful house. It was a lovely garden, great big garden, and at half past nine in the morning, looking out straight through the Heads, it was just magical.

    So we had a nuptial mass down there and the reception at home.
    With Bill’s and Pat’s and mine, you just got caterers in and they weren’t huge weddings, probably 70 or 80, they weren’t huge.

    Interviewer: He didn’t have family here.

    Noreen Powell: He had his brother and some close friends. Bill and Pat married, Shirley’s father died in the war or at the end of the war, very suddenly, he was quite young, and her mother didn’t have a lot of money. Judy’s family had separated, her parents had separated, so her mother didn’t have a lot of money. So you just had small, no frills weddings. We were all brides.

    Interviewer: Did you have a honeymoon?

    Noreen Powell: Yes. We went up to the Blue Mountains. We didn’t have a car. Bill drove us up and left us there. I suppose he came and picked us up; I can’t remember. We had a week up there. I don’t know where Bill and Pat went for their honeymoon. Somebody went to Queensland – Pat and Shirley went to Queensland.

    All the weddings were like that. There were certainly no overseas honeymoons. That’s what you were used to. It worked out well; we’re all still married.

    Interviewer: After you were married, you lived in Upper Avenue Road?
    Noreen Powell: Yes, we had a flat and it was hard to get anywhere. Bill and Pat shared a house, which was awful, with some strange lady down in Middle Head Road, when they were married. They had the back of the place; she had the front. Just one bedroom. There were just no vacancies.

    Bill had a flat in Avenue Road, just down from Leahy’s, but that was very small, too. They were lucky. Pat eventually bought a place in – no, he didn’t, he rented, in Middle Head Road for a while and then they bought a place down in Raglan Street.
    Frank and I, after much climbing and being nice to the landlord, we got this flat at 49 Upper Avenue Road and it was a block of four. We were there for quite a long while and it was all right when we had one, two, three children, but when we were there with the fourth that landlord did not take kindly to that and he got very difficult. We rented a place that my aunts owned in Middle Head Road, a semi, and we rented that for a while.

    Then we bought in Want Street. The block at 49 Upper Avenue Road is still there. I went over it the other day to have a look. It’s right on the junction of Upper Avenue Road and Avenue Road. There’s a halt sign. If you look up you’ll see it. I think it was 91 steps. There were steps going up this way, steps going up that way, and then you got into the building and we were on the top so there were another 20 steps.

    It was a big deal going shopping with the stroller and bags everywhere.
    Do you remember Jackie Murphy? Do you remember the Murphys?

    Interviewer: Christine Murphy?

    Noreen Powell: Yes. They lived next door and they had a car, so they were very good to us. Not so much shopping but I think then, of course, Jen started school with David and I used to lie in bed: How am I going to push the stroller and pull the pram? Just before Therese was born we got the place in Middle Head Road and that was marvellous, so we survived that, too.

    Then we had Want Street and then we grew out of Want Street. We had Richard and he was in a bedroom with two girls, two sisters, and that didn’t work out. We just didn’t have anywhere to go, so we came up here.

    Interviewer: Did the place in Upper Avenue Road back on to Somerset Street?

    Noreen Powell: Yes. There was a house behind us. Our block didn’t go right through to Somerset. There must have been a house behind us.

    Interviewer: Then you rented in Middle Head Road.

    Noreen Powell: 121 Middle Head Road, just down the bottom of Effingham Street. We were only there for about 18 months. There again, Dad organised this house in Want Street. They’d let it off in a flat at the back and there was an alcoholic lady living in the back and the woman in the front, both by themselves. But you couldn’t get rid of people. You couldn’t put them out, if they paid their rent. We owned it but we couldn’t put them out and it went on and on and on.

    Eventually they said the only thing you can do is physically put her out, which we had to do. It was awful, it was dreadful. We booked her into a hotel in Manly and paid for that for, I think, a fortnight. She had family. She had a daughter and a son; she didn’t have a husband. We told her what we were going to do and she took no notice, so we had to put all her things out one day. It was dreadful, it was terrible. Poor Frank, I felt sorry for him.

    But the son said that was the best thing that happened to her because she wouldn’t move. He said, I’ve been trying to get her to move. We had a place for her, we had somewhere for her to go, and she just dug her toes in and wouldn’t do it.
    Then we were left with the alcoholic in the back. Eventually, I’ve forgotten what happened to her.

    Interviewer: Was she renting?

    Noreen Powell: We couldn’t accept rent from her because once you accepted rent she was entitled to stay, so we couldn’t accept rent from her. I don’t think she was there for that long. I can’t remember. I was too busy. eventually she moved.

    Interviewer: Did your father own that house?

    Noreen Powell: No, he just advised us to buy it. Mum lent us a bit, Dad lent us a bit, and we bought it. It needed an awful lot doing to it. We had to rebuild everything, but Frank took long service leave a couple of times and did a lot of the work himself, the bathroom and things like that. He did a lot of the work down there. Just finished it and this one came up for sale, so I said, Guess what, I’ve found a new house. I think he could have cried. He said, I can’t believe it. The kids didn’t want to leave, but we were going to go up in the roof because it had a high roof and Bill said, you’re not adding any value to your house, and it had very little land. He said, you won’t add any value, it’s just a waste of money, and it wouldn’t be easy because we’d have to forgo a room downstairs to put the staircase in.

    Then this one came up. Mum lived opposite and she heard about it, so we bought this. None of them liked it but once we moved everyone calmed down. They all said, Oh, it’s great, and now they love it.

    Interviewer: Was that all in the 1960s?

    Noreen Powell: It would have been. Richard was two, so it was 1972 – he was 18 months or so, so say we moved here in 1971. Then we started all over again, knocking out walls, digging up floors. We had to do it. This room got added on. This was a veranda and the kids used to play out here all the time, falling over each other. Pat did all this for us, so that was good. Now I can’t bear to move.

    Interviewer: Your mother was close by.

    Noreen Powell: She was in Effingham Street, right opposite, number 4. She and Dad moved when I got married, from 56 Wyargine, and then Dad died from over there and then Mum died from there. She died two years after Dad, so 1972, 1973, something like that.

    Interviewer: You were still pretty close to them once you got married?

    Noreen Powell: Oh yes. They did babysit. Not as good as your grandmother. I was always very envious. She would mind you while they went on holidays. Mum would mind them during the day but not at night and not on holidays. She was older than your grandmother, I think, and she said she couldn’t cope with that. I was always very envious of Jill. Oh, it must be lovely having a break from all the kids!

    Interviewer: When your father wrote all those books, was he in Effingham Street?

    Noreen Powell: No, it was long before that. It was when we down in Wyargine Street, because I remember they were still paying off the bank loan and Dad was having these books printed, paying to have them all printed, and Mum used to say,
    Can’t we pay our debts first? but no, it had to be done, and she could see all this money going into his history books.

    Interviewer: Did he do this at night, after work?

    Noreen Powell: Yes, he had his own little room down there, he’d bash away on the typewriter, which I told you I’ve got out there. I spoke to Rowan about it and Rowan said, They can have it on loan. He said to remind you that when the history of Mosman photos, when Dad gave them to the Library, they’re on loan. Now I didn’t know that. I think it’s a permanent loan but Rowan said he can remember Pa saying and then Bill said the same thing to the Library: They’re on loan. We don’t want them back. Where would we put it all? I think that’s probably a good idea. Also, you don’t want it cluttering up the place, so it’s there.

    Interviewer: If we’re doing an exhibition we can put a bit of paper in there and say this is what the books were typed on. Do you want to talk about the children, Blessed Sacrament – you enjoyed that, didn’t you?

    Noreen Powell: Oh yes, and the nuns, Sister Augusta whom we still see. It was great. I think it still is a very good school, I’ve heard. Then they went to Loreto. They’ve all still got their friends from there. They walked to school from Want Street. Therese – I can remember a car running over her toes. She was walking to school with Anne and at the hotel, I still can’t work out how the car ran over her toes but they couldn’t stop because he had to get his wife to the ferry in case she missed the ferry. So I brought her home. They weren’t broken; I took her up to the doctor and they were badly bruised.

    I think I put them over the road there and then they’d walk up. Before that, when we were in Middle Head Road, Tim was the only one at school and I’d put him over the road here and he’d go into Mum’s and then she’d put him over the road down there. Then of course when they went to Loreto there were buses. Tim went to Marist Brothers, so that was a bus, too.

    Interviewer: Did you do any of the sewing classes?

    Noreen Powell: I used to do that in Sally’s era (after you) with – she had a daughter named Jackie – Turner. Sally’s a long way behind you. Somebody Turner, the mother. She was a very good sewer, she was great.

    Interviewer: Parents got involved with things. I remember Frank doing working bees.

    Noreen Powell: Oh yes, they all did that. Peter Moorehouse used to run the working bees and Frank ran them for years. Do you remember Frank Keaney – they used to mend things. Frank Keaney was a great fixer and he used to mend things in the Convent. They used to do things and then they’d get the grounds all ready for school, when the school started.

    They used to paint fences, I think. The fathers had very busy – your father probably came, too. They used to work hard down there. Of course, it’s a different era now. The fathers are more wealthy and they donate the money to get people in. When the nuns were there, they were a fantastic lot.

    You lived in the best era, I think. After that it sort of fell to pieces a bit.

    Interviewer: You applied to be an air hostess – when was that?

    Noreen Powell: It was with my friend Marie McManus who went to Monte. She was a country girl and we both applied and we both got knocked back and we couldn’t understand why. It would have been before I met Frank, wouldn’t it. I’d left school. Her aunt, she was a lot generation, too; her parents – it’s a long story but she was brought up by two maiden aunts who were fantastic women and one of them had a very big job in a timber company but she also had friends in ANA which was where we applied. She was a Tier. She had friends in ANA and why where these two girls knocked back? They said, because they were Catholics and they would want to go to mass on Sunday morning and this would throw the whole system out. They only had a few Catholics there.

    We found out later on and Marie went off and got married and lived in the back of Bourke. She was Marie Hall then.

    You wouldn’t say it now, but I could see their point. Judy was an air hostess with ANA for many years and she said, yes, it did cause problems because the roster was set and they’d say, Sorry, I’ve got to go to mass on Sunday morning. There were no Saturday night masses.

    Interviewer: Thank you for your time. That was lovely.

    Pat Gardiner and Laurie Huby

    Interviewed by Zoe Dobson on 21 May 2007

    Laurie Huby. I’ll start from Edward’s Bay Road, which was in McAdam Road. It became concreted over time. My father, whilst we were living there decided to have built a block of flats at 28 Stanton Road, a three-storied block of flats and it seemed to be built over a period from 1924 to 1925, those figures can be corrected, but from my memory that’s fairly right. I have memories of climbing up through the bushes and rough ground up to the Garden School. Now, the Theosophists, a religious organisation, owned this school and were responsible for the building of the Amphitheatre, and this was a large complex at the bottom of Stanton Road fronting Edward’s Beach Balmoral. I was about four years of age when I was sent to the Garden School because that was almost next door. I’d go through the bush where the flats were being built and prior to reaching five years of age I then went to Mosman Public School, Infants.
    The Garden School is worth a mention in that it consisted of one very large two-storey building surrounded by lawns and trees. Their curriculum, as judged from my ancient memory seemed to be quite odd. The two Principals were also odd in my opinion. Miss. Arnold and Miss. McDonald, and their aim mainly consisted of watching lanternslides of Greek Gods, dancing out on the grass and the lawns, and ancient plays, you know, like the Iliad, and we learnt about Ulysses.

    Zoe Dobson. And you were only about four and a half.

    Laurie Huby. Yes, Ulysses from the Trojan War when he went to Ithaca and so on. It was very helpful in later life. No time appeared to be devoted to formal subjects, and these were the seniors, I think they went to something like the leaving stage, and learning was taken up with archery, javelin and discus throwing, tennis, canoeing and play-acting. The only pupil of note that I can remember was a girl called Shirley Anne Richards. We made it into the Australian films.
    I’m uncertain when the school was demolished and Glen Carrin Avenue was put through the whole estate. I would say that would have been in about 1937.

    Zoe Dobson. They had a particular dance didn’t they?

    Laurie Huby. Yes, rhythmic dancing, I don’t know what that means but they all seemed to be dressed up in bedding sheets – crazy stuff.

    Zoe Dobson. You remember the amphitheatre.

    Laurie Huby. Yes, the latter part of the amphitheatre was when they didn’t know what to do with it. The Theosophists expected Christ to come through the Heads, but he didn’t, and so it was a nothing place for so many years until they let it out to show-people. On the weekends you could see vaudeville acts, plays, and all sorts of things.

    Pat Gardiner. Yes, all the shops seemed to be a Spit Junction in those days. The butchers and McIlraill’s (sp), and Mr. Whittle – Whittle’s Hardware, he was quite famous. I think he was there for about 40 years. Everybody went to Mr. Whittle’s, and there were the two Miss. James’ who had a Garden Store; grandpa used to buy all his plants there he loved gardening. And there was a Mr. Davy who had a Ham & Beef shop, we used to go there.

    Laurie Huby. On the top of Stanton Road there was a butcher on the corner, (indistinct) was the butcher there in my day.

    Zoe Dobson. That’s the little group of shops at Parrawi Junction.

    Pat Gardiner. No, at the top of Stanton Road.

    Laurie Huby. Going into Stanton Road was a parking lot and there were four little shops, the butcher, the grocer, a fruit shop, and Mr. Ball was the one who sold cakes and lollies.

    Laurie Huby. There used to be fruit trees everywhere and I can remember my sister and I were going down, away from Stanton Road, probably down Tivoli Street somewhere, and we went into one empty house that was for sale. We stole the fruit from there. Some neighbour must have told on us because the policeman came down and gave us a very long lecture. The policeman was generally known as ‘Long Tom’, he did everything in Mosman. Even when the trams were there he’d stand at Spit Junction intersection throughout the five o’clock rush, and he’d organise the trams down Spit Road. So the policeman was probably well known to us anyway, but we were nabbed, stealing fruit from an empty house.

    Laurie Huby. In the early part of the Depression there was Old Ned who lived in a cave just off our block at 28 Stanton Road, and you’d see him in the caves down at Balmoral Beach too. That’s all we knew about Ned, there were all sorts of tales about him, an academic – all that sort of thing. But that wasn’t uncommon because Chinaman’s Beach got its name, it wasn’t Rosherville Beach as it is now, it was Chinaman’s Beach because of the Chinese Gardens on the flat down there.
    There were a lot deadbeats and people out of work trying to eke out a living and building little sheds to live in. You didn’t know much about them they kept to themselves, probably a bit ashamed in a way.

    Empire Day bonfire; Garden School

    Ours (bonfire) was just off Stanton Road, which was a council common. There wasn’t a lot of fuel or big trees around but the garden School had a paling fence that went down our side near the flats and was mostly covered by low bush like tea tree. We used to peel the palings off the fence and take them over and put them on our bonfire.
    There seemed to be one male teacher in the Garden School who assembled the pupils and as a ritual, they came every year and took the palings off our fire and put them back on the fence. We then had to go home, find newspapers and any other timber or rubbish, and re-build our fire for the nighttime.

    Patricia Ann Rae Dale

    Interviewed by Susan Kelly on 14 October 2002
    Subject: ,

    Patricia Dale. We spent a great deal of time in the bush being right opposite the Zoo . My elder brothers tell stories about how they used to climb over the Zoo walls and spend a lot of time. My father was a member of the Zoo and we had sort of free tickets. He used go down to the ferry every day through the Zoo and had lots of bird companions that he would talk on the way and we spent time in the Zoo.

    My brothers I believe in the Depression times used to go over and raid the fruit in the gorilla cages and then mother would wonder why they weren’t hungry for dinner. But I myself spent a lot of time in that bush. We used to walk to Clifton Gardens and swim. We used to catch the tram down to Balmoral and spend a huge amount of time at Balmoral, I belonged to the swimming club, nothing has fancy but we certainly occupied ourselves very fully.

    Patricia Ann Rae Dale

    Interviewed by Susan Kelly on 14 October 2002
    Subject: ,

    Susan Kelly. How did the war change your experiences as a child?

    Patricia Dale. I can remember the soldiers being camped between us and the Zoo and the searchlight being there. I was in the house the night that the submarines came into the harbour and we all got under the table in the hall, we had an attic there and a hall and stairs, we had the big kitchen table there and we all got under that. We had gas masks and in sorts of pouches that we had to carry to school and there were trenches in the Mosman public school yard.

    Patricia Ann Rae Dale

    Interviewed by Susan Kelly on 14 October 2002
    Subject: ,

    Susan Kelly. Your memories of your early school days in Infant and Primary School?

    Patricia Dale. In those days the Primary School was down where it is now in Belmont Road near, I can’t remember that street half way along there. It wasn’t quite as big a grounds because there was a Hospital there known as Meena Hospital which has been demolished and they took over that ground, but the infant’s was there and that was up to third class. At third class we came up to main school on Military Road and was there until 6th class.

    My two memories of the infant’s school there are two things I remember was in 1938 the 150th there was the anniversary of the settlement of Sydney or Australia and there was a huge do as school children at the Sydney cricket ground.

    Every school had been preparing for this and some schools were dressed as koalas and others as magpies, others as wattle, others as wheat, others as wool and we at Mosman were gum nuts and we had these costumes made out of crepe paper. The bodice parts were a sort of a muddy green and the bottom was flared pink and we had little gum nut hats.

    The other thing I remember is that there used to be a man who came around every now and again from a place down at Curl Curl where they had a home where children from the bush could come, Stewart House. We had to pay a small amount of money and he turned on a magic show. I can remember that quite clearly. Apart from that I don’t remember much.

    I don’t remember much about those years except the arrival of a large number of Austrian refugees to whom we as children as children are are, were horrible – absolutely horrible. And they all went through High School with us and now I go to concerts with one of these girls and I see a number of those girls I went to school with right through from kindergarten to the end of High School, I see them quite regularly and we often wonder why we still persist with Liz who drives us mad every now and again, but we’ve all got guilty consciences about the way we treated them.

    Susan Kelly. Were these refugees from the war time?

    Patricia Dale. No they escaped just as Hitler took over Austria before the war and they were all Jews, most of them settled in Mosman. This particularly friend of mine, they lived in the Crescent.

    Patricia Ann Rae Dale

    Interviewed by Susan Kelly on 14 October 2002
    Subject: ,

    Susan Kelly. Did you travel by bicycle?

    Patricia Dale. I never had a bicycle, I’m not sure whether the older ones did, or not, it was either walking or the tram. My aunt in David Street and my grandmother had cars. My grandmother had a car with vases in the back I remember. We’d always go in that car to another aunt at Roseville every Christmas and we would always go in that car. In latter years my aunt had more modern cars.

    You asked me about shopping, I remember every Christmas my aunt would go into the markets in the city and buy cases of fruit and we’d go with her in the car. And earlier at Christmas time my brothers would go in to the markets and they’d come home with a live chook or some other kind of fowl which would then be dispatched in the backyard. My mother was a wonderful cook and the boys used to do the axing.

    Patricia Ann Rae Dale

    Interviewed by Susan Kelly on 14 October 2002
    Subject: ,

    Susan Kelly. You mentioned delivery of goods by horse and cart.

    Patricia Dale. Oh yes I remember that vividly. The bread and of course milk came with a horse and cart as did the ice, and we as children used to follow the iceman round and get him to pick bits off and give them to us to suck.

    On a few occasions I remember quite clearly horses bolting and carts going everywhere, which brings me to the subject of horses. At the bottom of Whiting Beach Road, if you go down Whiting Beach Road and round the corner there was a gate in there to the Zoo and inside that gate was the Zoo knackery. At night you’d hear the clump of old horses coming up Prince Albert Street and going down to the knackery to be slaughtered for the lions.

    That was a very common thing, and while I’m on the subject of the Zoo, quite frequently monkeys would escape and there would be the great chase by the keepers and everybody else, and they come through and they’d go between the houses fronting Prince Albert Street and Bradley’s Head Road. They’d eventually get caught, and the other thing about the Zoo – you could always tell when a southerly was going to come up on a hot summer’s day because half an hour before the southerly would hit Sydney the peacocks would start squalling and the gibbons also.

    Patricia Beaumont

    Interviewed by Rosemary Christmas on 28 March 2001
    Subject: ,

    Rosemary Christmas. Do you remember the war years? Did that affect you at all?

    Patricia Beaumont. Yes, the Second World War, well yes. Rather a strange thing happened. I remember when the submarines came into the harbour and they shelled Rose Bay and broke windows, and a few more came in, and it was announced. The house next door to ours – my family home was in Raglan Street. and the home next door built a bomb shelter big enough for the neighbours either side to go in. When we heard this explosion, we were told to fill the baths with water and go under the table, or wherever you could. Well we went in next door. When I went in with my mother, my brother was away at the war, and I said: ‘I don’t think I turned the tap off, I’ll go in and do it’. I had done it.

    Patricia Beaumont

    Interviewed by Rosemary Christmas on 28 March 2001
    Subject: ,

    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.

    Paul Metzler

    Interviewed by Donna Braye on 18 February 2000

    Paul Metzler. Where we lived, so you can get a picture of the street outside, was in Prince Albert Street on the corner of Lennox Street. As far as I was concerned, I went up the flat street to the Zoo nearly every day or I went down the steep street to Sirius Cove, nearly every day, I thought.

    Donna Braye. Was Lennox Street a dead end? It was a cul-de-sac?

    Paul Metzler. It was the steepest street I’d ever imagined. It ends and then you went down a bank. I suppose there were steps cut in it; there are steps there today, but it was a steep thing, and then you were at Sirius Cove.

    Donna Braye. And that’s where you went swimming?

    Paul Metzler. There was a shark net, in the days of fear of sharks in Sydney Harbour. There was a shark net, but it was so far out that at low tide the whole thing was sand, as far as the shark net, so it went right out to the Point there. There was no stone wall, there was a stream that came in, and I thought the stream had made Sydney Harbour.

    Paul Metzler

    Interviewed by Donna Braye on 18 February 2000

    Donna Braye. Did you go to school in Mosman?

    Paul Metzler. My sister went to school at Miss Yarnold’s. My sister was two years old than I. She went to Miss Yarnold’s – the big house is still there in Bradleys Head Road. From our house you went just up Thompson Street to Bradleys Head Road, turned left and a couple of houses along – there were big mansions along there – one of the mansions was Miss Yarnold’s school for girls and young gentlemen up to the age of eight. That’s where she went. It’s a sad tale – I did go, but I could hardly call myself an Old Boy of Miss Yarnold’s because I only lasted half a day. They had to bring me home at lunchtime.

    Donna Braye. You just didn’t like it?

    Paul Metzler. Well that’s what my parents said: ‘What was the matter?’ and mother had all the sympathetic questions. ‘Didn’t you like it dear? Was it something else dear? What’s the matter dear?’ My father, pretty impatiently said: ‘Come on, what is it?’ And I said: ‘Well they made me sit next to a boy called Stafford’. And I thought that was a hard name and I didn’t like it. So you can see what sort of a sharp young man I was. No logic, but there was always a reason.

    Paul Metzler

    Interviewed by Donna Braye on 18 February 2000

    Paul Metzler. …..but he may have made quite a lot from investments, because those wool buyers, I wouldn’t say young wool buyers, but they’d be early middle-age, they were part of Mosmans’ well-off people. They were the Continental wool buyers. Dutch, German, French and Belgium, and they were a community. They all entertained each other. There’d be plenty of cigars and beer, and they all lived in very good houses. I don’t say they bought them, they may have just rented, but that house of ours was a beauty – two storeys and a cellar beneath it, and oh yes, they lived well. So they were all very well-off people. I don’t know if they were well-off because they had good salaries, or if they had invested it and were well-off. My father may or may not have had some money – probably did, but my mother had the income from her father’s settlement on her.

    Paul Metzler

    Interviewed by Donna Braye on 18 February 2000
    Subject: ,

    Paul Metzler. Oh yes – we all walked in those days. Except you didn’t walk up to shops, the shopkeepers delivered.

    Donna Braye. Really? In horse and cart?

    Paul Metzler. Oh yes, so I knew the baker boy, and the butcher boy, and all these grown up people. But Clifton Gardens – yes we walked there too. I have a couple of memories of that – one memory is that they had a German picnic there, so it must have been after the War – 1919. I remember the German picnic, which was absolutely super. There were people everywhere instead of just our household – people everywhere, and running races and skipping for the girls, and the cream cakes, and oh, it was heaven – I never forgot it.

    The other thing was that we used to go there – there were the baths there – not the baths there now, there was a giant circular swimming baths. The only circular swimming baths in Sydney, and you see it in old galleries and things – I’ve got a picture of it. And if you go to Clifton Gardens now, about opposite where the telephone box is and walk straight toward the water you will see a big sandy dip, like a sandy ditch – that aimed straight at the old Clifton Gardens circular baths. And as well as being circular it was terribly deep just out there – very dark water, and it had the highest diving tower in Sydney. I used to be in the shallows with Minnie and Dot, I suppose, and my father would dive from this high tower with his beautiful swallow dive. I thought he was swooping out to land on us, but swooping out apparently, then he sort of straightened and went down like a dart into the water and I thought that was marvelous, and I would be a tower diver when I grew up.

    Peter Lovell

    Interviewed by Trish Levido on 6 January 2010
    Subject: ,

    Peter Lovell. Fish, yes, off the wharf.

    Trish Levido. Was fishing different then to what it would be now?

    Peter Lovell. The fish were plentiful. I had a mate, Richard Boyle, who was a real keen fisherman. He had all the right gear I just had the typical line or a little rod and reel.

    Trish Levido. On a cork?

    Peter Lovell. Sometimes you used a cork if you were going for garfish, but mainly just mackerel, tailor, most of which we threw back, brought a few home for the cat to eat. Occasionally you’d get flathead, but it was mainly more for pleasure rather than for eating.

    Peter Lovell

    Interviewed by Trish Levido on 6 January 2010
    Subject: ,

    Trish Levido. Did your father buy the Lovell’s business?

    Peter Lovell. No, he bought Minty’s, a general drapery store on the corner of Spit and Military Road, directly opposite Vista Street. We used to look straight down Vista Street. He bought that from the Minty family in 1963. It was a drapery shop. Minty’s I believe had it for somewhere between 30 or 40 years before us. Julian Minty was the person my father bought it from but his father bought it from a fellow originally by the name of Bridgman. So the business had been going for well over 100 years and has had three owners in that time. Bridgman was mainly a milliner which is hats of course.

    Trish Levido. What period was this?

    Peter Lovell. It would have had to be purchased from the time the buildings were built in Mosman. The original Bridgman’s was two shops with an archway between the two of them, and later on, I don’t know whether Bridgman did it or Minty’s did it, but the archway was bricked up and one half became a Ham & Beef shop, delicatessen, and then they extended the shop backwards, not quite into the lane because there was a garage and staff rooms behind. Minty’s was 26 foot wide at the front and 10 foot 6 inches wide at the back and it was doglegged. It had a straight side and you used to come down and then turn. It was 10 foot 6 inches wide at the back.

    Peter Lovell

    Interviewed by Trish Levido on 6 January 2010
    Subject: ,

    Peter Lovell. He looked at quite a few stores in Randwick, Sutherland, and Gladesville. I remember going out to look at them. But that one was close to home, we were living at Balmoral at the time. He bought the house when they moved from the country. The Robert Reid’s business folded, the whole chain, he could see things were going wrong. The management wouldn’t listen to him. He tried to tell them what was happening but they wouldn’t listen so he decided to go out on his own. He’d worked long enough for other people to make money, so may as well make some money for himself.

    Trish Levido. And that’s why he decided to buy himself a drapery store.

    Peter Lovell. Yes, he’d been in that game since he was 14.

    Trish Levido. Did he like it?

    Peter Lovell. I think so it was the only thing he knew. He worked in it well into his 80s. He’d been in retail all his life. He started his working life as a 14 year old working at Wynn’s at Newcastle as a ticket writer. He then became a window dresser, then a merchandiser, and then a department head, that how he ended up in Cootamundra. It was after the Depression and before the war. There was a company called Cohen’s where he took a job there as a department manager. Then the war broke out, and after the war Broodland’s, a country store sold out to the Robert Reid group and they approached him to become the store manager. So that’s how he ended up working for Robert Reid, and then ended up in Sydney.

    Peter Lovell

    Interviewed by Trish Levido on 6 January 2010
    Subject: ,

    Peter Lovell. I’d be often seen riding down Military Road on my pushbike with a pair of blankets sitting on the handlebars. We were delivering and we also had a buttonhole service. The lady who did the buttonholes for us lived in Neutral Bay. I used to ride there three times a week to deliver and collect the buttonholes.

    Peter Lovell

    Interviewed by Trish Levido on 6 January 2010
    Subject: ,

    Peter Lovell. We also used to do neckbands for people that did knitting who couldn’t put the bands on, or if it was a cardigan they couldn’t do the casting of the buttonholes. We had a lady whose husband was in the army. She lived at the army headquarters in George’s Heights. I rode out there twice a week on my bike with the knitted garments and she had a machine, and that’s how she made money, doing knitting for people on this commercial machine.

    Peter Lovell

    Interviewed by Trish Levido on 6 January 2010
    Subject: ,

    Peter Lovell. No, I just took it for granted because I had several mates at school that also owned businesses up there and that was the normal thing for them. There was Sidler’s milk bar and Anthony used to work with his father there. It was directly opposite the old library, which is now Boronia House. The entrance gate was Sidler’s milk bar. It wasn’t the only milk bar we had three in Spit Junction. One around the corner, Saltze, just past the bookshop and there was one over in the old King’s Theatre complex before it was demolished. I had another mate Tom Petrov and his parents owned the fish shop in Spit Road.

    Peter Lovell

    Interviewed by Trish Levido on 6 January 2010
    Subject: ,

    Trish Levido. Did you like the whole idea of Bridge Point development?

    Peter Lovell. Yes, we pushed very hard for that because without Bridge Point Spit Junction would have died.

    Trish Levido. What was behind your store then?

    Peter Lovell. It was a car park. My father, Ted Caesar, Ted Lyons, Ken Comdon, and John Whittle formed a committee and pushed to get that car park built, which is where Bridge Point is except for the street.

    Trish Levido. So it was just a flat level car plot for all the people to park their cars.

    Peter Lovell. There were houses – Mosman Council bought it but the retailers paid for it on a levy on their rates for so many years. I still have the original papers. It was bought by the retailers, and entrusted to the council to maintain it, but it was so long ago I can’t remember the exact wording. But they pushed and got that, then we had somebody who wanted to build a retirement village over it, and we fought that, which was a hard battle.

    Richard Neville Hughes

    Interviewed by Nancy Johnson on 24 July 1996

    And then there was the ice cream man in later years came down, and he had what was like was like a Roman chariot, he had a chariot seat it was only about this long and a horse in the shaft. Each side, like there was a step up the back and a middle compartment where he stood, and on each side there was ice cream in ice containers on each side. You would step up here and ordered what you wanted, a cone or a briquette and he did a wonderful business there.

    Richard Neville Hughes

    Interviewed by Nancy Johnson on 24 July 1996
    Subject: ,

    Neville Hughes. … And of course there was the Cremorne pictures – old Mr. Lane, who lived in Avenue Road down on the left-hand side, near about opposite where Keston Avenue is. He built the Cremorne Theatre where the Caltex place is now. Not where the Orpheum is, on the corner of Cabramatta Road and Military Road. He built that. It was the only picture theatre in Mosman at that time. It was there for many years. I think I don’t know when the pictures were removed to the Orpheum. Anyway getting back to picture theatres where the RSL Club was vacant land, and every year the circus used to come – it was a vacant block. Also I remember the old ABC where the Bank of NSW is now in Spit Road that was the picture theatre, old ABC that was a picture theatre. They had one serial ‘The Clutching Hand’ every Saturday that of course would always finish up as the climax was coming. The seats were just wooden forms and it had a canvas roof, it only had a canvas roof on. Then on the opposite corner was the old ‘Australian’ where Sizzlers is now.

    At one time it was a skating rink there one time, one time for a while. I’m not making this up; I’m very clear in my memory about these things. The ABC there was a picture called ‘Quo Vadis’ on, and at The Australian opposite, on the opposite corner, there was a picture called ‘Cleopatra’, the same type of thing, anyway dad took us to see ‘Quo Vadis’ but we couldn’t get in, it was full. We went across and saw ‘Cleopatra’ at The Australian.
    There was a picture show opposite the Mosman Hotel, Brady Street. There is that block between Brady Street and Cowles Road, there used to be a tyre place there, and I think Mr. Eldridge had a second-hand place there too. Do you remember Mr. Eldridge at all? He was an Alderman, I think. Well he had a second-hand place there, but before that there was a picture show, The Lyric, I think it was. When we were at school, I was in the higher class I think, it must have been 1915 because there was a picture there called ‘Scot’s Expedition to the South Pole’, and the classes at school were picked out to go up to see this picture, we formed up and went up and we saw this picture, but afterwards it became this tyre place at the back, and then a second hand place, the tyre place which I think is still there.

    Nancy Johnson. The pictures back then silent movies?

    Neville Hughes. Yes silent movies. – The Lyric, or The Lyceum, I think it was the Lyric. I don’t know how long it was there for. What else was there round there? Next to the ABC theatre in Spit Road was Cox’s Billiard Saloon, I remember Cox’s Billiard Saloon.

    Richard Neville Hughes

    Interviewed by Nancy Johnson on 24 July 1996
    Subject: ,

    Nancy Johnson. How did you get in and out of the city when you went to work?

    Neville Hughes. From Holt Avenue, Dad and I used to walk down what we called the gully, you’d cut across the vacant land opposite where we lived and past where The Rangers was, down Brierley Street, and down that gully and we came out at Reid Park and then got the ferry. There was quite a bit of bush down there then, and as a matter of fact we used to play ‘Bobby’s and Bushies’ where there were a couple of rival gangs. One came from up the other gully, up towards Steel’s Store up there, and we were down in the Cremorne end. Also there were a mob of larrikins, they lived in Parriween Street, they were called the Parriween mob, and they were real roughies, they were. We didn’t have anything to do with them – we were a cut above them. Oh dear it was so funny.

    Sylvia MacCormick

    Interviewed by Trish Levido on 9 January 2008

    Trish Levido. Now did you ever see the lady living in the cave down at Rosherville Reserve?

    Silvia MacCormick. Oh yes that character. Yes Al and I became quite friendly with her.

    Trish Levido. Did you, tell me about it?

    Silvia MacCormick. Oh well there’s nothing to tell really. She was very eccentric.

    Trish Levido. Did she live in the cave all the time or did she have a home as well?

    Silvia MacCormick. No, I think she lived in the cave for all the time. When I say, well we used to occasionally see her and talked to her but she didn’t want to really talk to anybody much.

    Trish Levido. Where was the cave?

    Silvia MacCormick. At Balmoral.

    Trish Levido. Did she used to live in the cave at Balmoral?

    Silvia MacCormick. She was there, yes.

    Trish Levido. Did you ever see her cave?

    Silvia MacCormick. No.

    Trish Levido. You just knew that she….

    Silvia MacCormick. …no I just knew that she was living in a cave.

    Trish Levido. But she was an odd character to look at.

    Silvia MacCormick. Oh she was ….yes the poor old thing, yes. She didn’t really want to talk to anybody she was sufficient enough unto herself.

    Ted Pethebridge

    Interviewed by Sandra Blamey on 6 March 2001

    Sandra Blamey. What did your father do for a living?

    Ted Pethebridge. My father started off as a shipwright, and during the Depression of course he was out of work and he had to more or less take, either the dole or two or three days a week working. He became a house painter he used to do painting and paper hanging. He was a very good paper-hanger actually.

    Sandra Blamey. And your mother, did she work?

    Ted Pethebridge. No my mother didn’t work except during the Depression years which she had to do some ironing and washing etc, to help keep the family going.

    Sandra Blamey. What do you remember about the Depression when you were growing up?

    Ted Pethebridge. Well during the Depression years as I started to realize, I was four years of age when we first moved Balmoral, when I started to realized that our family was struggling through the Depression, well then I found that the family were struggling, I then started to try and help as much as I could to help them.

    Sandra Blamey. What sort of things did you do?

    Ted Pethebridge. Well as I quoted before, I used to gather bottles, I used to work in butcher shops and help with the baker and do little odd jobs as much as possible around the place.

    Sandra Blamey. And you didn’t always get paid in cash.

    Ted Pethebridge. Never in cash no. Only just by, from the butcher I’d get some sausages, or some other things, and the baker a loaf of bread from him, which in those days was a big help.

    Sandra Blamey. Did you have brothers and sisters?

    Ted Pethebridge. I had two sisters and one brother. The eldest sister died quite some time ago now and also I lost my brother, when I lost my wife about five years ago.

    Sandra Blamey. So you all grew up together in the house in Esther Street. What do you remember as part of that family?

    Ted Pethebridge. My mum was a great person, she was a great cook, and she used to cook beautiful things like cakes and pastries, and baked dinners. We always had our baked dinner of a Sunday that was a natural thing with most families in those days. Even though we were poor, we were still able to have our baked dinners. But to live we also had in Balmoral or Middle Harbour in those days there were lots of fish, and we used to live on a lot of fish, so that was a great help to the family.

    Sandra Blamey. Did you catch fish yourself?

    Ted Pethebridge. Well my father, who was a shipwright, he built me a beautiful canoe, and at about eight years of age, I used to go out into Middle Harbour and catch fish practically anywhere. And there was always lots of fish on the table.

    Ted Pethebridge

    Interviewed by Sandra Blamey on 6 March 2001
    Subject: ,

    Ted Pethebridge. There were several kids in the neighbourhood, and we used to play our cricket, because the roads weren’t built then, there were a lot of asphalt roads, or clay roads actually, and some asphalt roads. We used played cricket and football down where the promenade is now – that was just an open grassy spot there and we used to play football along there as kids. And you mentioned there was Happy Land, a great big area of land, and a chap called Fred Scarsbury came along and he bought that and turned it into tennis courts, and then he formed the Balmoral Beach Tennis Club was formed.

    Sandra Blamey. Now where on the beach exactly is that located?

    Ted Pethebridge. Straight opposite, towards the southern end on the Boulevarde, [Ted means The Esplanade] right on the Boulevarde, and there was a great big guesthouse on the corner of Botanic Road, and the Boulevarde. That was named Braemer Guest House. They rented rooms out for people to live in, and of course the Happy Land was right alongside of it – a great big area there.

    Sandra Blamey. What are your memories of Happy Land?

    Ted Pethebridge. Well when the people used to come in, they used to set up different sorts of stalls and raffle wheels, and all sorts of things, and of course the ferries used to come in from the Quay, right round to Balmoral and then the crowds used to come in and go into Happy Land and have their picnics. They used to have their little running races like we’d normally do on ordinary picnics ourselves.

    Sandra Blamey. Was it open everyday, or just on weekends?

    Ted Pethebridge. Mostly only weekends, because the ferries never used run during the week then.

    Sandra Blamey. You spent quite a bit of time at Happy Land?

    Ted Pethebridge. We used to go there and play, yes. It was a great place to play in.

    Sandra Blamey. How long did it exist for?

    Ted Pethebridge. Oh that I couldn’t tell you exactly.

    Ted Pethebridge

    Interviewed by Sandra Blamey on 6 March 2001

    Sandra Blamey. Do you remember anything in particular about school days? Did you enjoy school?

    Ted Pethebridge. Oh yes. School days were very good, I had a lot of mates that I made in my school days, but I was sorry to leave the school, but they were all very envious of me because anybody that got a job in those days was enviable, because of the money coming in even though it was only 7/6d a week, it was something. They had good sporting days; I played football in bare feet mind you, because we couldn’t afford football boots. They had athletic days and cricket, and a lot of people who learnt to play cricket and football through the school and football, later on became champions. On Fridays they used to march from the school, Friday afternoon – that was their sports day, they used to march from Mosman School down to Balmoral Baths and they had a school band. The school used to march behind the hall right down Raglan Street, and they were very proud to be marching behind the band in those days.

    Sandra Blamey. Did they raise the flag at your school?

    Ted Pethebridge. I’ve got a feeling they did, they used to have the flag, the same as when they went up to one of the halls, I think it was Mosman Town Hall for Empire Day, and they used all think this Empire Day was a wonderful day. They loved the Empire then.

    Sandra Blamey. Singing ‘Land of Hope and Glory’. We used to have crackers

    Ted Pethebridge. That’s right. And we had fireworks, and all that sort of thing.

    Ted Pethebridge

    Interviewed by Sandra Blamey on 6 March 2001
    Subject: ,

    Sandra Blamey. You mentioned the Musical Society.

    Ted Pethebridge. They were a great society. They put on beautiful shows over at Mosman there, and to see one of their shows you had to book in early to make sure you got a seat. They used to have it in the Mosman Town Hall, and also down at Cremorne where the Cremorne Theatre is, there was a big hall on top of there, and they had some of their shows there as well. A lady named Mavis Sykes was the lady who taught the girls how to dance and all that, and arrangements, and another person helped her with the arranging of the shows they put on. They were beautiful shows, they were terrific, and so popular you had to book in to see them.

    Sandra Blamey. During what years would this have been?

    Ted Pethebridge. Way back, well before the war, during the Depression years. Some of those chaps who used to sunbake at Wyargine Point and built the rock pool were very athletic. They used to do a lot of this dajet (sp) dancing for the Mosman Youth Society where they balanced these girls in some of the shows. I couldn’t tell you the exact day but well before the war years.

    Sandra Blamey. Are there any shows you particularly remember?

    Ted Pethebridge. They used to put on lots of good shows. I can’t remember them all, but there were musical comedies and musicals. They had some good singers, and the girls were very good dancers. One of one of the very good things of the Musical Society was that during the war they used to go round to the various units or services and entertain them. I don’t know how far they traveled I think they used to go right up not to the northern parts of Australia. I don’t know if they went overseas, but they were very popular, and that was all voluntary.

    Sandra Blamey. How much did it cost to go?

    Ted Pethebridge. It wasn’t a lot of money, in those days, to see these shows, but they never got paid, it was voluntary, and very professionally done. They were very good Mavis Sykes was the main person and would go down as part of the history of Mosman.

    Ted Pethebridge

    Interviewed by Sandra Blamey on 6 March 2001

    Sandra Blamey. You mentioned the war years and being in service.

    Ted Pethebridge. I was in the Infantry in the services – I became a Sergeant.

    Sandra Blamey. Did you enlist yourself, or were you called up?

    Ted Pethebridge. Originally, we were called up in 1940, that was when the Great War started when the troops were going to the Middle East that was when we were called up. They asked us if we wanted to transfer from the call-up services to the AIF, which we did. I was in the army for four and a half years, so it was quite a long time.

    Sandra Blamey. Where did you serve?

    Ted Pethebridge. We served mostly around Sydney until we were trained and then some of the fellows they asked anybody in the parade ground to step forward if they wanted to volunteer to join the AIF, and the others to stay. The ones that stayed then transferred to Port Moresby, and I had to take a big batch of them up to the Atherton Tablelands near Cairns where they were trained I was up there for a little while.

    After they were trained I then took them to Port Moresby, and then I came back and joined my unit again, and then after that our unit went up to a place called Canungra, which was a Jungle Training Camp. It was known as the greatest Jungle Training Camp in the world. It was very tough. After we were there for a couple of months – our unit was then going to move on up to New Guinea, and on the day that we were all packed and ready to go, they came to me and said: ‘You’re staying’. And I said: ‘Why?’ They said: ‘You’re going to train other troops coming through’. I said: ‘I don’t want to, I want to go with my mates that I’ve been with all the time’. ‘Oh no, this is the orders, and orders are orders’, so I had to stay and train other troops coming through. My unit then went up to New Guinea, and I was still there when the war finished. So that was my story about my part of the war. It was a very tough training school. It was hard on people who had to train the troops coming through because they had to do the same things, over and over again. You weren’t just in the one camp all the time, you used to go up through the jungle and spend a couple of weeks out in the jungle to teach them how to look after themselves. It was very rough country. It was very hard on you but still, that was my part of it.

    Sandra Blamey. Were you there when that plane went down in that valley near Canungra?

    Ted Pethebridge. I think I remember the story of that.

    Sandra Blamey. Were your war years happy years for you?

    Ted Pethebridge. Oh yes. The only part I wasn’t happy about was when I was broken up from my unit to stay there and have to stay. Well you can’t do anything about it. . I asked a couple of times to join the unit again, but they said: ‘No, you’ve got to stay’. Unfortunately, for me, that I did several Army Schools, which I went to and some of them were for the small arms, to learn about all the small arms there were, etc, and the others were a tactical section where you learnt all the army tactics. Therefore, I got good passes in those, which was why I was more or less pushed into these other things.

    Terry Forrest

    Interviewed by Zoe Dobson on 16 October 2003
    Subject: ,

    Terry Forrest. In 1937 my father who was involved in the meat business ostensibly, purchased a shop at number 6 Spit Road Mosman. We moved from Vaucluse to come and live at what was then called number 62 Bay Street Beauty Point. It has since been re-numbered to 84 Bay Street. The house is still standing almost and last time I saw it almost completely unchanged.

    In those days there were very few roads and you have all heard of the dairies and horses around Beauty Point. The concrete road only came down to our house in Bay Street and all the other roads around were unmade at that time. Our house was adjacent to what we used to call the bush which was of course vacant land next door. There was a stone wall down the drive which I vividly recall being the source of a number of snakes. My mother had a 4/10 gauge shotgun which was used to some effect on the snakes. …. I have a feeling it might have knocked a few possums off too, they were prolific and they lived in the roof quite often.

    Terry Forrest

    Interviewed by Zoe Dobson on 16 October 2003
    Subject: ,

    Terry Forrest. When I mentioned the change of number of the house – that was because Bay Street stopped well short of Pickle Road, it was then extended subsequent to Pickle Road. In that bush there also during the war which was quite heavily timbered or scrubbed there was an elderly couple living in a cave with a galvanised iron lean-to at the back of the cave, probably living free on a block of land worth millions of dollars today, living there free. We used to call them Sloop, and Mary. We got into a lot of trouble because we used to throw rocks on the metal roof and get chased away out through the bush by Sloop.

    Another interesting character was a man whose name I can’t remember, that lived in Central Avenue. I can recall because you will remember that there’s a huge sewerage operation up near Primrose Park, well that had been suspended and the oysters that were growing around the rocks at Beauty Point were very much in demand.

    I don’t think those two things go together, but anyway this guy used to walk around in sandshoes or bare feet and get the oysters that had floated off the rocks – they called them ‘floaters’ and were buried in the mud. He’d take them away, open them, put them in little jars and take them up to the Hotel Mosman and sell them. I’m not too sure that everybody who bought them knew where they came from, but they were pretty good oysters – and big oysters when you got them out of the mud they were big oysters.

    My parents regularly ate the oysters off the rocks but there was always this problem associated with the fact that the old sewerage farm was alleged to be leeching out toxic waste. So they are a few of my recollections of Bay Street and Beauty Point.

    Terry Forrest

    Interviewed by Zoe Dobson on 16 October 2003

    Terry Forrest. The other thing was, that after they built the road and that beautiful storm water drain, it ran down alongside my friend’s place, Terry Burrough who lived on the other side of the road. We decided at one stage to try and communicate via morse-code. We found out that you only needed one wire and a couple of batteries and two morse-code sets – what they call earth return electric currents, which worked.

    So we dragged the wire outside his bedroom window and used a hammer and chisel to break a hole on top of the storm water pipe, got a little kid to crawl up and get the wire and take it across the road to the other side of the reserve and then we pulled it out and draped it through the trees round to my house through the bush. It worked beautifully. Except one day it rained like mad and Terry’s father wondered what this water spout was outside his bedroom window. Of course the water came down the pipe and came out of the hole and so we were disconnected.

    Terry Forrest

    Interviewed by Zoe Dobson on 16 October 2003

    Terry Forrest. In 1943 there was a big change in the hierarchy of Mosman because a Priest came there called Father Cusack who changed the scenery a little bit. Anybody who has had anything to do with the Catholic Church in Mosman will realise that he was a very, very outspoken person who to me alienated a number of people but his piety and enthusiasm were absolutely undoubted. But I have a feeling that the Marist Bros – and I don’t know about the Nuns – but the Marist Bros were quite beholden to him for their tenure of the school. . . . He was ultra conservative, absolutely and I have a feeling if the Bros, and it is only a feeling, and it is probably important that I tell you this, that if the Brothers stepped out of line they would have been told to pack their bags and go and he would have found some other organisation to run the school.

    Zoe Dobson. So he was very autocratic, what with connections to the hierarchy?

    Terry Forrest. I wouldn’t think so. . . . He achieved a tremendous amount in that Church. There is no doubt about it. You never see the Church today as packed as it was then. He had everybody frightened to death of eating meat on Friday, or the girls coming to Church without long sleeves. If you were a minute late he had no trouble controlling that because the first thing he did when he came there was to buy this huge chiming clock and hang it on the wall outside his Confessional on the right-hand side of the Church so that when Mass was due to start at 6.30a.m. the clock chimed, ding-dong, 1,2,3,4,5,6 and he marched on to the alter and if you came in late he’d stop, turn around – because in those days of course Mass was said to the back of the congregation, but it didn’t seem to worry him, he had eyes in the back of his head if you came in late. But he had us all scared to death I can tell you.

    Zoe Dobson. How long was he there for?

    Terry Forrest. Until he died.

    Terry Forrest

    Interviewed by Zoe Dobson on 16 October 2003

    Terry Forrest. Yes I was a child at that time. I used to ride my bike down from Beauty Point to the Spit, but it was always easy to come home because all you had to do was wait for a tram or a double-decker bus to come along the Spit and you pedal a little bit fast, not too fast, and hold on to the back of the tram or the bus and get a ride up the hill. This was before Spit Road was widened and particularly the double-decker busses which were notoriously underpowered went up at probably a fast walking pace. The trams were a little bit more dangerous because they were a double toast rack tram so you had to be careful that your bike wheel didn’t get caught in the tram track.

    Terry Forrest

    Interviewed by Zoe Dobson on 16 October 2003
    Subject: ,

    Zoe Dobson. A strong sense of community.

    Terry Forrest. I think that has always existed in Mosman because of its boundaries are almost all water and I think that exists wherever there’s an enclave, but certainly Beauty Point had a wonderful spirit. That was brought about by the war bringing people close together, by the fact most people used public transport. During the war of course they all went up to the Stokes’ place on Beauty Point Road. All the women went up there to make nets and sew socks and balaclavas and so on, so the women were a good team of people.

    The other thing about Beauty Point was having that baths, which was the so called Progress Association arrangement. That brought everybody together because at the beginning of summer they had a working bee. All the people turned up. Everybody turned up for the meeting and they all sat on the rocks and all the kids played and sand, and everybody got stuck into it with buckets, brooms, hammers etc, to fix up the path and we all swam down there. So I think that is probably the pity of destroying those sort of amenities. But you see it again. I went down to Balmoral Beach this morning and ran into three or four people whom I knew, who go for walks or whatever.

    Thelma Afford

    Interviewed by Nancy Johnson on 14 August 1996
    Subject: ,

    Thelma Afford. I trained as an art teacher, only in art that is in Adelaide I trained. Then I got 12 months off and went to Melbourne and then became involved with a costume designer who couldn’t put down on paper his ideas. And so he’d explain what he wanted and loose his temper very often, and I would put it down on paper, which was a wonderful experience and that gave me my love of theatre designing.

    Nancy Johnson. So you made a really good team.

    Thelma Afford. It was a wonderful experience. Oh yes I went to Melbourne. I trained as an art teacher in Adelaide and then I got 12 months off and went to Melbourne and Melbourne had a worldwide theatre man called Pierrre Fenary (sp) in Melbourne. He was very short tempered and couldn’t put down on paper what he wanted. It was a wonderful experience to just have this well-known costume man describe what he wanted and then to put it down on paper for him. Then I went back to Adelaide to do more teaching.

    Nancy Johnson. You came from Adelaide then to Sydney did you?

    Thelma Afford. Yes. Sydney was having its Centenary and I was brought over to do the designing for the clothes.

    Nancy Johnson. So you were starting to make a real name for yourself.

    Thelma Afford. Well there wasn’t much being done, very little with theatre designing in those days and as a matter of fact up there are some of those early designs.

    Nancy Johnson. They are wonderful sketches. Did you draw them? They were your own drawings?

    Thelma Afford. Oh yes. Always. I’d have to put down on paper what I wanted. It’s only a fair thing for a production of any sort not to just say: you do what you want, which is very seldom occasionally happens, but not very often. I did most of the buying of materials and colour of it, what I knew what I wanted it to look like. As a matter of fact I had hundreds of these designs, up until a few years back, I mean about up to 20 years ago, and that’s all I’ve got now of that. I gave the Mitchell Library here has a large number and Brisbane has a lot. I gave some to Adelaide, and as a matter of fact, she came over here.

    Thelma Afford

    Interviewed by Nancy Johnson on 14 August 1996

    Thelma Afford. Max died 40 years ago. Things just happened some how or other. I was always lucky, when I was worried about anything or something, it would happen. Queenwood across the way, when Max died, decided to introduce art into the school, and it is just around here, and they offered me a job of teaching art there, so I did. I felt everything was pretty hopeless with Max dying.

    Nancy Johnson. Was your father still alive then?

    Thelma Afford. No, both of them had gone.

    Nancy Johnson. So I was very lucky, they wanted an art teacher to introduce into the school. It was a time when the government was really keen on art being introduced into the schools, and for the first time there were exams for history of art. So I taught there for about 15 years I think.

    Nancy Johnson. And were you still doing costume work on the side?

    Thelma Afford. Oh yes, Yes. Then I decided I would go away again, and so I had 12 months on my own roaming around Europe, which was wonderful. I went to all the galleries I wanted to go to, and it was marvelous.

    Nancy Johnson. Theatre too I suppose.

    Thelma Afford. Yes, oh yes. Then I came back.

    Nancy Johnson. Did you go back to Queenwood then?

    Thelma Afford. No, I didn’t want to. I enjoyed it there very much but I didn’t want to continue teaching. Round about this time, I seem to feel I’m right in saying this, TV was introduced and so I did some designing for the ABC.

    Valerie Lhuede

    Interviewed by Trish Levido on 6th November 2009

    Valerie Lhuede. We moved – getting to the Pearl Bay Estate, dad had bought the Pearl Bay Estate in the 30s and had an auction sale in the whole area including waterfront blocks. Nobody wanted to buy them so in the 1940s he decided to build a house. That’s what I’ve written down here – from thereon yes.

    Trish Levido. He was called a spec builder.

    Valerie Lhuede. No, no this was our own home, a beautiful large home in 21 Pearl Bay Avenue right on the waterfront, so that’s where he lived from that time onwards. My father had died in 1965 and I looked after my brother’s children and my mother. They didn’t all live with us, mother used to come and stay. And then my brother and I had a falling out. He decided that I shouldn’t be living in the house.

    Trish Levido. Even though it was your family home.

    Valerie Lhuede. Yes, and partially mine, but he was jealous, and so he said, ‘you’ve got to go’, so I said, ‘ok’, and I walked down the pathway and on the waterfront was the houseboat, which my father had given me as a present in 1960.

    Trish Levido. We’ve got to go back, when you arrived in Mosman how many houseboats were there and how did they get there?

    Valerie Lhuede. The background of the houseboats goes back to the Depression. If you can imagine, people didn’t have anywhere to live and they tried to find the cheapest place to live. The actual Pearl Bay Estate that dad bought was called ‘Happy Valley’ because everybody lived in the bushes they had little shanties and shacks and everything including caves, old cars, tents, anything. They were all shacked up in this little ‘Happy Valley’ down on the waterfront and they lived in boats so that was how you had the houses and the boats in Pearl Bay.

    Trish Levido. But a houseboat isn’t a boat and it’s not a house, it’s a combination of both.

    Valerie Lhuede. Some of them were actual boats and the Maritime Services Board as it was then, registered the houseboats so they could be either, like mine, a proper barge with a house on it or they could be a boat.

    Trish Levido. So who built the barge?

    Valerie Lhuede. Well, the barge is a real piece of history. His barge was actually a proper barge, a vehicle ferry. It used to take the vehicles across the Spit before there was even a bridge. Eventually they built the first bridge over the Spit and then eventually they built the second bridge. But prior to that they had – I mean it was a barge, not a ferry but a flat topped barge.
    Harry Ryan who presumably bought the barge somehow or other and in 1910 he put a little house on it and took it to Pearl Bay and anchored it there.

    Trish Levido. Why Pearl Bay?

    Valerie Lhuede. Pearl Bay is a beautiful bay, you’re facing north so you’ve got the sun, you’ve got the cliffs around you, Beauty Point shelters you from the westerlies and the other cliffs are behind you, it is an absolutely delightful place to be with a view across to the Spit, and in those days there was a tram that went from the Spit to the city so you could walk round the waterfront and get your tram into the city. It was a very convenient place to live.

    Trish Levido. How old are you at this stage when you fell out with your brother?Valerie Lhuede. In1936 dad had the auction sale, so I was 23.

    Trish Levido. How many blocks of land did he have?

    Valerie Lhuede. 21.

    Trish Levido. He developed the area in as much as he put the services into the area.

    Valerie Lhuede. To start with, it had been sub-divided, and in Depression of course everybody lost their money and all the sub-divisions went bung and so he had bought this ‘Happy Valley’, which nobody wanted. I don’t know what he paid for it but it wasn’t very much I’m quite sure.

    Trish Levido. Where did the actual area of ‘Happy Valley’ start, and the streets.

    Valerie Lhuede. Pearl Bay Avenue was the Avenue that the blocks were on facing the waterfront, they connected up to Beauty Point Road and Beauty Point had been sub-divided by Sir Arthur Rickard in the Depression and he went bung I think at that stage, anyway he didn’t ever finish the road and the road in Pearl Bay Avenue was completely overgrown when dad got it. The lantana was as high as me.

    Trish Levido. Can I take you back to when you were living on the houseboat? How many houseboats were there in Mosman at that stage?

    Valerie Lhuede. The houseboats originally – I don’t know how many there would have been but I’ve got photographs here I can show you afterwards. There were literally hundreds – that was in the Depression, but as time went on the Maritime Services Board became very, very fussy and they gradually said, ‘no, you can’t have this or that houseboat’. And so by the time I went down to live on the houseboats there would have been about seven I suppose, and of those seven there are now four left. There’s one over the other side. No, there are three left. Maureen Young is fighting in the Supreme Court I believe, to try and keep hers.

    Trish Levido. Are they numbered, like 1,2,3,4?

    Valerie Lhuede. Mine was H.B.3 the third one ever to be registered in Sydney Harbour.

    Trish Levido. There was one that was done up that was in the paper about 15 years ago, and beautifully decorated.

    Valerie Lhuede. That was probably H.B.19 that was Muriel and Alan Thistlesthwait’s. Muriel stood for council and she’s still my friend.

    Trish Levido. You were a very exclusive little group weren’t you?

    Valerie Lhuede. Well yes, but we always had to fight for them. Mosman Council wanted to get rid of them and the neighbours were very divided.

    Trish Levido. Why did they want to get rid of them? What’s wrong with a houseboat, why is it any different to a boat as far as the council was concerned?

    Valerie Lhuede. The council had various different elements in it and some of them were pro-houseboats, others were anti, and we had a real war. We formed the Pearl Bay Progress Association.

    Trish Levido. When was this?

    Valerie Lhuede. In the 1970s.

    Trish Levido. The council was putting so much pressure on you to get rid of you, only four little houseboats. Perhaps they wanted to discourage houseboats.

    Valerie Lhuede. Quite a lot of them had been derelict, even mine was when I started, and I did it up. It was almost a tradition that the people up top didn’t want houseboats down below. If you have a look in the archives you’ll find a real war, should they go or should they stay.

    Trish Levido. How did the council work out what to charge you for rent?

    Valerie Lhuede. Originally, they didn’t charge us rates and that was one thing that Muriel Thistlesthwaite did, she stood for council and she said to me, ‘I think we’d better offer to pay rates’ and we did. We offered to pay the minimum rate and that has gone up and up and up.

    Trish Levido. Because the council says that you’re a boat.

    Valerie Lhuede. At that stage you didn’t have any control over them it was all under the MSB.

    Trish Levido. Did the MSB want to get rid of you two?

    Valerie Lhuede. Not really, no they were quite happy, providing we did what they said. We had to comply with the rules and regulations. Every year the occupants of the houseboats had to be inspected by a marine surveyor and he had to say that we were suitable to stay and keep afloat.

    Trish Levido. So that you were actually waterproof, what is it like to live on a houseboat, why is it different from living on a boat?

    Valerie Lhuede. I was about to write that down. It’s a unique experience. You are living in your own home. The water is underneath you there are fish and birds, you look out the window, and the view is constantly moving. You get to know the sea and all its moods. You get to know the fishermen and the fish. It’s an absolutely wonderful experience. I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.

    Violet Peters (nee Philips)

    Interviewed by Trish Levido on 12 September 2006
    Subject: ,

    Trish Levido. You are of particular interest to the library because you grew up in what we call the soldier settlement. What do you remember and what was the address?

    Violet Peters. 15 Central Avenue Mosman, I was about two then.

    Trish Levido. Was the house already built when your parents took you there?

    Violet Peters. Yes and my father cemented all the paths.

    Trish Levido. The paths leading down from the street?

    Violet Peters. Yes, back and front, our house was in the middle of the block and there was a big frontage. We had a beautiful garden of flowers, orchids, dahlias and a vegetable garden down the front.

    Trish Levido. That block of land went all the way from Central Avenue down to Bay St.

    Violet Peters. The back entrance was in Central Avenue and the front was in Bay St. There was a lovely green weatherboard house in the middle which my husband maintained until he died.

    Trish Levido. What can you tell me about living in Central Avenue?

    Violet Peters. It was quite unique really – Beauty Point. Apart from the houses which had been built for us the whole place was bush at the front and everywhere.

    Trish Levido. Was Bay St a road?

    Violet Peters. No, we had a dirt track down the front of Bay St.

    Trish Levido. And that dirt track came off Spit Road did it?

    Violet Peters. No, we’re down the front in Bay St at the water. Up the back – there were practically no houses there in Central Avenue and Medusa St. Where the little school is in Medusa St there was no school, it was all bush as well. I used to spend my childhood running around in the bush in both those streets.

    Trish Levido. OK, so we’ve got you growing up here, of your earliest memories how many people were living in the houses around you?

    Violet Peters. Plenty of children; Avis up the top which is number 77 now. There was a mother and father living with a soldier and two boys and a girl – three children.

    Trish Levido. He was an English soldier was he?

    Violet Peters. Mr. Avis, yes, and then Mrs. Robins, she was a war widow but she remarried a man named Stevens. She already had five Robins’ children but then they had two girls so there were seven there.

    Trish Levido. Then we come round into Central Avenue and we have the house of the Carruther’s.

    Violet Peters. Well they had three children, John, Peter Keith and Margaret.

    Trish Levido. And then we had a block of land and then we have the new brick house where there’s more land.

    Violet Peters. There was Mrs. Scott up on the….

    Trish Levido. …..we haven’t got to the weatherboard house yet, was there anybody living in the weatherboard house when you first lived in Bay St? Billy wouldn’t have been living there then.

    Violet Peters. We were the first people living in those houses.

    Trish Levido. So why would Billy have been living in the weatherboard house, he couldn’t have been when you first lived there because he was 10 years younger than you.

    Violet Peters. They were always up there. What year did he tell you he went into the brick house where we are now?

    Trish Levido. I can’t remember I haven’t got the sheets with me.

    Violet Peters. They were all up in the weatherboard house.

    Trish Levido. They started in the weatherboard house then, – right OK, that’s fine. And there were three children there?

    Violet Peters. Yes.

    Trish Levido. So there were lots and lots and lots of children.

    Violet Peters. Oh lots of children and we used to play in the streets because there was no traffic, we had billy-carts and everything. The boys used to shove the girls around in billy-carts up and down the dirt roads.

    Trish Levido. Did you all play on the tennis courts or weren’t they built then?

    Violet Peters. Eventually, when the tennis court was built, yes, Mrs. Avis and myself, we played tennis down there. I must tell you that our houses, after they were built – I believe they were made of excellent weather board, whether it was pine or not, I don’t know but the man that bought my house said what wonderful timber was in our houses. The verandahs back and front were not enclosed, so our mother had ours enclosed back and front.

    Trish Levido. Why did she have it enclosed?

    Violet Peters. Well the beds on the front verandah which were useful in coming ages after I grew up and had my son. We had a bed on the back verandah eventually too. My grandfather used to sleep there and he died there.

    Trish Levido. And lots of the houses would have done the same?

    Violet Peters. All built the same.

    Trish Levido. And they all enclosed their verandahs like your mother did?

    Violet Peters. I think they improved them, yes.

    Trish Levido. They were weatherboard houses were they Vi, or bricks?

    Violet Peters. Oh yes, the green weatherboard.

    Trish Levido. Can you describe the house when you walked into it?

    Violet Peters. Facing the harbour we had the front verandah which my parents enclosed, then coming into the house we had a bedroom each side and a long hall right down the center; a fairly large lounge and dining room and then into a very big kitchen. We never took the chimney out of that house and it had a fuel stove which we never removed it was still there when I left. There was the back verandah off that and then my father had two rooms built on the back so my sister could come up from Adelaide because she was having a difficult marriage, so it finished up having about nine or ten rooms I suppose.

    Trish Levido. In your early childhood you mentioned that your father was very strict. Can you expand on your parents’ marriage, was it a happy marriage?

    Violet Peters. Not particularly, it wasn’t terribly happy; he had health problems because he lost his leg in the First World War in France.He had these moods and he could turn very moody at homes at times.

    Trish Levido. Wasn’t he one of the Rats of Tobruk?

    Violet Peters. No, that was my husband.

    Trish Levido. Were you frightened of your father, or just nervous of him?

    Violet Peters. I was very nervous of him. He was terribly strict but to give him is due, people would say that he was a good father. I can remember having to sit while he showed me how to read the time and do up my shoes. I was never allowed to go to bed until eight p.m., regardless of how tired I was. I was in dread of my father actually, but I used to lye down on the kitchen floor on the lino, or out on the back verandah and I was so tired I felt like going to sleep there, but he’d turn round from the kitchen table and he’d say, ‘you can go to bed now’. He was a bit cruel, so I had to go to bed then but I wasn’t allowed to go before.

    Trish Levido. Have you any idea why?

    Violet Peters. It was to do with his neurosis from the war. He was buried for a long time before they dug him out and put him on the stretcher to take him to the hospital with a broken leg, but they let him slip off the stretcher and it injured his leg beyond repair and he lost it. He had an artificial leg. Finally he was on a pretty good level, but he was difficult.

    Violet Peters. Do you know that those people only paid 300 pounds for the land and the cottage?

    Trish Levido. So that was land and cottage?

    Violet Peters. Yes, it took her most of her life until she died to pay it off. That’s why she wanted us to go on living at home. After Harry went to the war I put all my stuff in storage – because my husband was wonderful at maintaining the home and my father even loved him. Harry painted that place and looked after it so my dad didn’t have to do it then.

    Trish Levido. So that’s what went to paying back the house.

    Violet Peters. The business after she paid the house off, I suppose.

    Trish Levido. For how long was she paying off the house?

    Violet Peters. It took her years and years. The way money was in those days you only had to pay such a little bit off, it took most of her life to pay off the 300 pounds. I remember distinctly when she told me she’d finished paying it off. I’ve got all those papers in that file.

    Trish Levido. Tell me about the house, your mother was pleased to have the house? Were there a lot of houses around at that time?

    Violet Peters. Only our weatherboards – about nine or ten; it was all bush everywhere. I heard there were Aboriginal drawings down on the waterfront on some of the rocks. I never saw any Aborigines but I heard them talking about them, that they had been there, maybe they moved out when we moved in. We probably scared them out.

    Trish Levido. What did your father do after the war?

    Violet Peters. He was a lift driver in the city, a manual type of lift, he could do that.

    Trish Levido. He could pull the lift up and down do you remember where he was working?

    Violet Peters. In one of the big stores in the city I can’t remember which one. It was in the middle of the city where are lot of the big shops were.

    Trish Levido. And he continued to be a lift driver until he died, how old was he when he died?

    Violet Peters. 63, and he worked right up to when he died. He had heart trouble and he died in the car at the wheel on Glebe Bridge somewhere. He was dead before a bus hit him and cut the car in half just about. I’ve got a picture of that too.

    Trish Levido. Why is there such a discrepancy in the names, why is he called Wainwright Philips?

    Violet Peters. The same as with my mother, there was a bible that my father’s mother gave to him when he went to the First World War. I think that’s the name his mother had put on the bible.

    Trish Levido. Wainwright or Philips?

    Violet Peters. James, Wainwright Percival Philips. My daughter-in-law has had all the trouble in the world in London trying to get through registrars. She thinks she’s got the right person but my mother’s got herself down as Florence Rosetta. In those days it wasn’t terrible important you could readily change your name. I think it’s because everything was so lax you know. From when we went to school we had to write our correct name. Both mum and dad seemed to have fiddled theirs a bit.

    Trish Levido. Can you tell me anything about this plaque? What is your earliest memory of it?

    Violet Peters. When I walked from the front verandah to the harbour, there were three or four stone steps going down to the front garden, it was placed by the side of the steps.

    Trish Levido. Why was it there?

    Violet Peters. I don’t know you’d have to ask the stonemason or the builder. It was attached to the house you see before the garden was put in.

    Trish Levido. Because it says, ‘Private J.W. Philips’…..

    Violet Peters. ….the plaques were on the foundations of the cottages.

    Trish Levido. So every single house had one of these plaques.

    Violet Peters. I think each one where there was a returned soldier. Huntington’s have got one in their home. They called their house ‘Perone’ and I think that’s the name on their stone. Don and Robin live there now, theirs is the only weatherboard still there, and they’ve put planting around it.

    Trish Levido. Is theirs number 21 Bay St?

    Violet Peters. I was 71 they must be 69.

    Trish Levido. What’s their last name?

    Violet Peters. Huntington’s were there. I knew they had a stone, but Don and Robin excavated and had rooms underneath for their two children, whether they still put the plaque on their wall I don’t know, but we were interested in asking where they were keeping the plaque and the young man who has since worked there, he said that certainly it is there. They put it down in the front they knocked down the wonderful (phone)….

    Trish Levido. Were these special houses when they were built in any way, seeing they were built by the Voluntary Workers Association?

    Violet Peters. They just loved all the soldiers, they had been to war and came back and they’ve done their bit and they were limbless.

    Trish Levido. Do you know anything about anybody else in the houses, were they all limbless, or were they war widows?

    Violet Peters. Two of the war widows remarried men here.

    Trish Levido. Vi, we start off with number 77 Bay St which was Avis.

    Violet Peters. He was a limbless soldier.

    Trish Levido. That was him, his wife and children?

    Violet Peters. Yes, his original wife with two boys, and a girl.

    Trish Levido. Then we move to the next house along which was the (overtalk)….

    Violet Peters. …..Mrs. Robins, she was a war widow, her husband was killed in the First World War, and she had five children. She married Mr. Stephens who was not a returned man at all and they had two children. Tibbett’s were in there for a short time, he was the brother of Mrs. Robins and somehow or other she got him that house, the family paid rent and they were gone again.

    Trish Levido. Who was in the house after the Tibbett’s?

    Violet Peters. Harry and Edna Thompson, they did away with the end of the house looking over the harbour and he had half bricked that, he was going to do the whole cottage. He was not a returned man. He served in the Air Force for a short time during the last war.

    Trish Levido. So your father was a limbless soldier.

    Violet Peters. Harry my husband was a Rat of Tobruk he was away for six years.

    Trish Levido. That was the limbless soldier and then again your husband was in the war. Let’s move to the Huntington house.

    Violet Peters. He was a returned soldier, he was wounded at I think at (indistinct) Peronne because that’s what they called the house. They were there practically as long as I was in mine because Vera was born in 1921 in that house next door to me. They were first in there too. I was first in there by a few months I think.

    Trish Levido. Levy – they had one child, was he a returned serviceman?

    Violet Peters. Yes he was a returned man but his wife, she was a Mrs. Carter first of all and she was a war widow from the First World War, and then she met Levy. He was a widower and they had this little Jewish girl. He was a returned man and he had a damaged heart. Her first husband never came back from the war.

    Trish Levido. Then we move around the corner to Central Avenue and in the house we’ve got Billy Carruthers, who was the dad?

    Violet Peters. He was a limbless soldier too.

    Trish Levido. Then we’ve got a block of land and then we’ve got the weatherboard house. Who was living in that house?

    Violet Peters. Billy hasn’t lived in that brick house for too many years I can tell you.

    Trish Levido. You mean in his father’s house?

    Violet Peters. Yes, it was his father’s house.

    Trish Levido. Who was living in the weatherboard house before Billy?

    Violet Peters. There was the man and the mother and the three children, Keith, Billy and Margaret.

    Trish Levido. They were in the weatherboard house first.

    Violet Peters. Yes with their legless father.

    Trish Levido. So they started off in that house and then they moved down to the corner later on when he sold the weatherboard house.

    Violet Peters. They came back down to my places….

    Trish Levido. …..towards your houses?

    Violet Peters. Yes, he’s built this big brick one.

    Trish Levido. That was just land before he built that wasn’t it? OK, was there anybody on other side of where Billy lived? Who was in the other weatherboard house?

    Violet Peters. There were two weatherboard houses but I don’t know the people – they were obviously renting because people used to come and go in those two, I didn’t know them at all.

    Bay Street, Euryalus Street and Central Avenue

    Violet Peters (nee Philips)

    Interviewed by Trish Levido on 12 September 2006

    Trish Levido. …tell me about the man that lived in a cave.

    Violet Peters. I remember seeing him walking up the big central avenue. He had a long beard and a big topcoat and bag slung over his shoulder. He was there for years.

    Trish Levido. Do you think he came home from the war and lived in the cave?

    Violet Peters. I don’t know. He might have just been a drop-out [and never recovered from the war]. I think he was found dead in that cave.

    Trish Levido. Where is the cave?

    Violet Peters. It’s down behind where Billy lives down on the water’s edge.

    Trish Levido. Below where the tennis court was, below Bay St. On the water’s edge there’s a cave and he lived in there?

    Violet Peters. Yes, he was there all the time when I was little.