Mosman Voices - oral histories online

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.