Mosman Voices - oral histories online

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.