Mosman Voices - oral histories online

Mary McKenna

Interviewed by Eve Klein on 28 February 2001

Eve Klein. Could you describe the walks your father took you on when a child.

Mary McKenna. He would say that we’d go to so and so for afternoon tea this afternoon, and away we’d go, and we walked all over Mosman, he knew people because of the family connections. His two sisters had lived here, well three of them actually. Aunt Agnes who was a daughter of the Manse in the Presbyterian Church and she had quite a lot of contacts, and he met these families over the years, so he’d take me up and show me how the other half lived, virtually.

Eve Klein. Did you visit them?

Mary McKenna. Oh yes, yes.

Eve Klein. In those days did one have to make an appointment, like one does now?

Mary McKenna. No, we just dropped in at afternoon teatime, and they’d welcome you in and I was sat up and treated like a lady, given all the beautiful crockery and I just automatically thought everybody else did this, but they didn’t. I remember one instance – Madeline Netters used to live in Holt Avenue on the corner there, and my father thought it would be nice for me to go and see someone playing the harp. So we went around there, and she was with the orchestra at the time, and I went in. I always remember this room that was full of pictures of hands, and he persuaded her to play the harp for me.