Mosman Voices - oral histories online

Margaret Ewart and Garland Churcher

Interviewed by Eve Klein on 27 December 2000

Eve Klein. She’s just going to comment on the life in Mosman during the war.

Garland Churcher. Well it was busy with war things. Masses of canteens were opened, big ones and little ones. I went to a small one in Mosman. Always busy, always somebody there. I made nets but they invited me to stop because I had funny thumbs that made knots in the nets. So I then did bandage rolling and I went to a Dr Balls – I think his name was, and he taught us First Aid and all about the eyes and if you got something in your eye, and all that sort of business – what to do. It was quite a good light medical history. I suppose life was busy doing….

Margaret Ewart. ….you didn’t notice the shortage of food.

Garland Churcher. You couldn’t get much tea or something like that.

Margaret Ewart. But you were on ration books.

Garland Churcher. Yes, we had ration books, but mother must have dealt with all that. It didn’t make any difference to me. I was married then of course, but…

Eve Klein. ….was your father still working then?

Garland Churcher. Yes, he was.

Eve Klein. Could he get supplies for building?

Margaret Ewart. Oh no, you could only do essential works when there’s a war on. He got hit by two wars really. But still we were lucky, we weren’t affected terribly by the war. Our parents were I suppose, they had worries, we didn’t have a worry in our heads, did we? We always had plenty of food, and clothes etc.

Garland Churcher. Mother was a great gardener. She had chooks….

Margaret Ewart. ….we had tremendous orders when we were all at home eating and she knew the greengrocer very well and she got him to save all the spotted fruit instead of throwing it out and she’d bring it home and we’d go through this box peeling apples and coring them and getting the spots out and then she’d stew them up and then she’d take them to people she knew who were having a very hard time, because it was quite shocking for some people. One of our friends, he had been the china and glassware buyer for Grace Bros, and he immediately lost his job. He was used to going overseas and buying etc, and there he was left with two children and no income. I think he was going to the markets and buying cases of fruit and going round his friends and selling it. So these people that mother knew who were having a pretty torrid time, she’d take them jars of these fruits that she’d stew up.