Mosman Voices - oral histories online

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.