Mosman Voices - oral histories online

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.