Mosman Voices - oral histories online

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.