Education in St. George: School Memories

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Interviewees: Pamela Samuels and Patricia Black
Date: 12 July 2017
Subject: Education in St George/ School Memories
Interviewer: Anna Mullen
Transcript: Various

For further details regarding this recording, you can find the recording in the Georges River Libraries Catalogue under Education in St. George: School Memories


Pamela Samuels [PS]
Patricia Black [PB]
Anna Mullen [AM]



This is an oral history interview with Pamela Samuels and her sister Patricia Black being conducted by Anna Mullen of Hurstville Library on 12 July, 2017. We are undertaking this recording at the library at Hurstville, a suburb of South Sydney which sits within the area of St George. This interview is part of a joint project being undertaken by a number of representatives from the Hurstville Museum Gallery and the Georges River Libraries and our primary focus for the project and our interview today is education within the St George area.

Biographical questions

So I’ve got Pamela and Patricia here with me and I’m just wondering shall we start off and – I’ll ask you What year you were born in?

PS: 1937.

PB: 1930 (laughter).

[00.48] OK and where were you born?

PB: I was born in South Sydney Hospital.


PB: …wherever that is. I don’t know I can remember that being told that.

OK and you grew up in what area?

PB: In St Peters.

St Peters OK and where were you born?

PS: I was born at the Royal Women’s Hospital at Paddington.

OK so when you moved into the area. Is that correct? You weren’t always living in this area.

PS: no not-

PB: always in this area.

So what age were you when you moved into the St George area?

PS: I was about 33.

Oh Ok.

PS: Oh, no I wasn’t. No no no.

PB: How old was Jane?

PS: She was turning six. I was about 36.

OK. So there are some other siblings?

PB: No just the two of us.

PS: No Jane is my daughter.

OK right now I understand (laughter).

PB: I was 42.

So you were 42.

PB: When I moved into Hurstville.

Oh ok.

[01:48] So where were you growing up mostly?

PB: St Peters.

So there is 7 years between the two of you?

PB: Just about 6 and 9 months.

Can you tell me something about your parents?

PS: They were the best parents in the world (laughs).

You can’t argue with that.

PB: I’ll say ditto to that.

OK what were their names?

PS: Mum, her name was Beatrice Avance Le Beau. Wow. We are French descent and my father was Cyril Albert Gordon Le Beau, the second his father also had the same name. Oh gorgeous.

[02:32] And what did they do for a living?

PS: Well my father was an importer of tiles and he was master wall and floor tiler.

And your mother?

PB: She was a machinist, a tailorless, she used to make for the girls at the Tivoli, not the Tivoli gowns but she had a couple of customers and she had one used to come special, as I was a little girl and I could remember, she had a shoulder that was half an inch shorter, you wouldn’t notice, mum used to have to pad that up. – Aww ok. – About half an inch would make a big big difference, you wouldn’t think that in life, but it did to this girl.

PS: And mum didn’t need a pattern – no she was quite talented, yeah – and if you told her what you wanted she would just throw it on the table or throw the material on the floor and she’d cut it out.

[03:21] Ok so she ran her business from home?

PS & PB: Yes, yes. Lovely.

PB: She was very good.

And so the period in which you were born that would fall toward the end of the 2nd World War and the post war period?

PB: Umm, ummm.

And what are your recollections of growing up in that time?

PS: I can remember all the black cardboard on the windows.

PB: – on the windows.

Aww ok for blackouts?

PS: Yeah and the trenches; they dug out big trenches in the park in the area, up near the school and there were these trenches for the children.

PB: air raid shelters.

[04:01] So you would have practice drills at school and home and –

PS & PB: umm umm yes yes.

but no cause to use them (laughter).

PS: Thank God! PB: thank goodness for that ay — yeh yeh.

And then with the end of the war what do you recall then? The post war period?

PS: That’s strange I can remember (laughs) it’s probably not relevant. When the war was over…the day that they declared the war was over all the people in the street were running up and down saying ‘it’s over, its over’ and I set myself up a little table out the front of the house [04:35] selling lemonade. – Oh lovely. (PS starts laughing)

Did you make any money? (laughing)

PS: I can’t remember.

PB: Suppose she drank it all herself (all laughing).

She possibly did.

PS: I don’t think so.

[04:46] Did you have family who were serving in the war?

PS: Did the Osborne fellow did he go to – ?

PB: Carly?

PS: Well that’s another story.

PB: He didn’t go.

PS: Carl didn’t go no.

PB: No didn’t go.

PS: Ethel’s husband did he go to war?

PB: Not that I know of.

PS: I don’t think so

PB: I was so young then but our great grandfather Le Beau, he was in the Sudan War.

PS: Our dad was sent to a foundry – an ammunition foundry to work – during the war, ok.

So what age would he have been? he would have been –

PS: Oh gosh, ummm, he was born in 1908. – So he was quite young.

Look at all of us trying to work out our maths! (all laughing) it was 1939 isn’t it so he’s about 30…he’d be about 31 or something when it started?

PB: I’d say he was about 20 when I was born, because they were very very young.

PS: You were born 1930 and he was born in 1908 well that’s 22.

Pre-school years

[06:09] And so what when you were quite young before you started your schooling do you remember your days? Do you remember what you did you know how you entertained yourselves?

PS: we used to dress up the pegs, the dolly pegs with little scraps – the wooden ones? – yep scraps of material that mum made and we played jacks.

Is that like knuckles?

PB: Yes.

PS: and hopscotch. We played with tiles didn’t we? (laughs).

PB: I used to have tiles, I didn’t have a tea set. I used to have all the little tiles all the different shapes and I used to play in the little tile shed when we lived in Hutchinson Street and I used to just play there, play all day. So we didn’t have what they have today.

PS Those horses, they call them horses in the building trade. – The carpenters’ horse.

PS: We used to get on those and pretend we were cowboys Yes (laughing) wild times.

PB: we used to play hidings and hopscotch in the street.

PS: Oh yes hidings and chasings.

PB: and hopscotch.

I’m not familiar with hidings is it —

PB: You count to 10.

PS: You hide your face and count to 10.

—hide and seek Ok.

[07:24] And what age did you start school?

PS: Well my mum said I started when I was 6 because I was so small and when she took me up to school to sign me in for school, I was 6, and they said bring her back when she’s 5.

A bit taller, right (laughing).

PS: So when did you start school? 5 I suppose.

PB: I started in 5 but I had a funny experience at school (all laugh).

Why’s that?

PB: Well my mum left my dad. – Aww ok.

PB: —and we were living with Grandma in Holmwood Street, Newtown and he used to come every night and sit with me in the gutter (all laughing). – As you do.

PB: —and I went to Camdenville School. My cousin Norma took me and I went to Camdenville School and I was in Kindergarten and apparently I was big for my age and I sat down on the floor in a circle, we were in a circle I can remember, and the teacher said ‘make the Harbour Bridge’ and of course I didn’t know how to make the Harbour Bridge – It’s still as plain as day and she went wack [demonstrates being hit on the arm/hand?]! –Ouch.

PB:I have never forgotten that that was the Harbour Bridge — the Harbour Bridge, the Harbour Bridge (all laughing).

[08:47] Let the record show that it’s a hand gesture.

PS: How do you do it? Aww like that PB: Like that.

PB: But the Harbour Bridge to me is a coat hanger it doesn’t look anywhere like it.

So is that something about concentrating or keeping the kids quiet or something?

PB: I don’t know what it was but anyway she said get up to the head mistress and I had to go up 3 steps I can remember being thrown actually thrown out of the class but I didn’t go up to the headmistress I went home.

Fair enough, I would too (PS and AM laughing).

PB:then mum came down and went off and I don’t remember if I ever went back to school or not (all laughing).

So do I ask which school that was?

PB: That was at Camperdown

PS: – no Camdenville.

PB: Camdenville. I am sorry there just off near Enmore.

PS: Near Enmore, near Enmore.

PB: Near St Peter Church.

PS: This is incorrect.

[09:40] Ok so primary school then how many years would you go to primary school for?

PS: Till 6th class.

6th class right and then what were the options available to you? You know the different schools? Because there were a lot of different types of schools at that stage weren’t there? So what where the options available?

PS: There was the Newtown – I don’t know what they did at Newtown that’s where they do all the umm – all the preforming arts, was it a preforming arts school then?

PS & PB: no, no, no.

PB: Just an ordinary school.

PS: Probably it was just a home science school for all I know.

So that was quite common wasn’t it that a lot of the schools that were made available particularly for the girls were the domestic science wasn’t it?

PS & PB: umm umm

PB: No co-ed were just—

PS: There were boys at Arncliffe but they were in a separate —

PB: They weren’t— no.

PS: When I was there there were girls — they weren’t in with the girls.

Secondary school

[10:39] Ok and when did you start your secondary school, which school did you go to?

PS & PB: To Arncliffe.

To Arncliffe, and that was the domestic — now I have got a little treat for you look what I found? This is a picture I believe, is that the same building? (AM shows an image).

PS: Yeah, yeah.

PB: That’s it, yeah yeah.

PS: Where did you get this, from State Library?

No it’s on google maps.

PB: Google.

PS: Ah right-cause. Because I contacted Rockdale Library but they said they didn’t have any photographs and they told me to go to the State Library.

Well it, this is a current photo so this building is still standing now.

PB: Lovely, but we never came into that street at all we never seen the front.

You came from the side?

PB: We’d came across the bridge and in the back.

What is it? It’s the corner of Avenal and Segenhoe Street I think.

PS: So we came in from Princess Highway.

Ah ok.

PB: Over the Bridge.

PS: And it was supposed to be a haunted house and when you went up the stairs they used to say it didn’t matter how many times you painted the walls the blood will still come through.

Oh my goodness!

PB: Terrible things just to frighten you I think.

PS: This room here —

Yes in the middle yeah at the top.

PS: I was in there in year 1 or year 2.

So when you say year your talking 1st year, ok.

PS: 1st Year now they call it — I visit with the grandchildren now and they call it and they are all year 1 to year 12.

But you’re talking your 1st year of secondary school.

PS: Yeah 1st year in there and shouldn’t say this on the thing but you can cut it –

[12:17] Oh please do (laughing).

PB: She’ll hold it over your head now.

PS: Miss Scott and she asked me a question one day and I said yeah and she said ‘stand up!’ and I had to stand up and she said ‘now say yes!’ and I said ‘yes’ and she said ‘now say Miss!’ and I said ‘Miss’ and she said ‘now say Scott!’ and I said ‘Scott!’ and she said now say ‘Yes Miss Scott!’

Put it all together

PS: I never forgot that! (laughs)

Fair enough.

PS: And yes, yes. So so—

So I don’t know what the’re doing here today but it’s still a beautiful building.

PS: It used to be a cooking school, it was downstairs

PB: Downstairs, you had to cook in twos.

So what was some the subjects that they covered or the areas they covered?

PS: Well for the first year, I did cooking, sewing; I can’t remember if the sewing continued, I don’t think it did. Then second and third year, I did shorthand and typing. And you did history and geography –

PB: All of those.

PS:- and physiology. Ok.

[13:29] So was it a similar curriculum when you (PB) started earlier?

PB: I did the cooking and sewing right through. I didn’t venture into what Pam did.

So they changed it over time somewhat?

PS: Maybe, yeah.

The subjects.

PB: I can’t think of much other than as I said we had to walk from the station, we won’t allowed to come around, we had to come up past the Catholic Church. Oh ok. and that you know, and some of the girls were very, very rude that they would say, “Catholic rats jump like cats, (all laugh) don’t eat meat on Friday” and I used to think ‘oh, cause I was very very quiet child yes and I think, “Oh my goodness-

PS: that would be the sister, who would probably do that.

[14:16] So (all laughs) what was the reason behind the reason behind having to walk this long, the road less travelled?

PB: I don’t know, we weren’t allowed to go the other way maybe because it was… …. the although that time when morning pubs weren’t open that maybe it was the pub or what. I don’t know but we had go up and then over around the Catholic School.

PS: The overhead bridge.

PB: Up the bridge along the way around but that was the way we had to go and maybe it had something to do the front near the-

PS: You didn’t have the boys did you?

PB: Maybe it was because of the front of the school here that we had to approach it that way to the back they might have worked. I don’t know but I always thought it was a longer way around and then we didn’t have- PS: but it was the safer way cause we didn’t have to cross –

PB: We didn’t have to cross.

Maybe that was the thinking behind it.

PB: Maybe that was it but we, that’s how we had to do it (something snaps) but and one thing we had, we stayed at our desk we didn’t move and our books were always there and that was your desk and you had the same seat (hands hitting table) all the time, we didn’t move.

[15:20] And then now the kids are carrying such heavy bags around.

PB: And they gotta pack up everything and go from one room to the other. It’s stupid isn’t it? And we had ink wells, we had- in the desk, yeah the old desks – the ink wells.

PS: What in high school?

PB: Yeah, I had ink wells.

PS: I can’t remember (laughs).

I remember years later coming across the desks that had space for the ink wells.

PB: Yeah, yeah and then the toilets never had doors on and never had a lid to close down. I could remember that cause I used to think, “Oh gosh, …………..” (all laughs) – It’s a long day, isn’t it? – but yeah, but i mean that’s silly cause I was very very shy.

PS: No, when you used the toilet so they don’t think-

PB: No, well I—

PS: we’re like camels, we hold on (laughs). We…………

PB: Terrible, terrible (PS laughs).

Good work (laughs).

[16:11] So would you each eat there? Would you sit down to eat or would you bring your own?

PB: We had no canteen in my day.

PS: We had a tuckshop.

PB: Did you?

PS: Yeah

PB: Oh, and then in Vanessa’s day – my daughter went there too and in her day she’s telling me the other night, she had- a lady used to come in to take the lunches only on the Monday and Wednesday but my children’s lunches were always packed and we didn’t have an assembly room, we used to have assembly in the play area. We never had a, and our sporting field was over there but they don’t even know it. I’ll have to look next time when I go on the train to see if it’s still there. We use to play Vigoro.

PS: Yes.

Is that like hockey? A little bit like hockey?

PS: Yeah.

PB: Yeah, yeah.

PS: Well, more like cricket. – Is it?

PB: I say cricket—

PS: Yeah

PB: only the- the base of the bat is sort of shaped.

PS: Yeah, yeah, no.

PB: Like that

PS: You hit it with the bat like cricket.

[17:09] So what else, how would you make up the week because presumably you would attend from like 9 till 3, is that right?

PB: Mhmm.

So you would cooking, sewing and sport and what else did they put into the day?

PB: Just have Maths, English, History, Geography and whatever—

PS: We, I had physiology.

PB: And we did have- what was he? The minister use to come up I think—

PS: Scripture.

PB: Scripture on a Thursday or a Friday, I know that but that was only about an hour I think–

PS: Only once a week.

PB: We use to have that, yeah and different things.

[17:48] And how PB: that’s about all who made the decision for you, did your parents decided or you wanted to attend this school or?

PB: I just went where I was told. Okay.

PS: I kicked up a stink cause I — (all laughs)

PB: That would be right.

Do tell (laughs)

PB: That would be right.

PS: ‘Cause I wanted to go where my girlfriends were going – Which was where?

PS: To Arncliffe

PB: Arncliffe

But that was also a domestic science size as well was it?

PS: Well that’s where we, we-

Oh no, no, no, no, but then- oh ok, I see.

PS: I went with my girlfriend—

I was confused if there was a Bexley one, yeah

PS: No because they wanted me to go to another high school. My parents but I said no. And I’m very sorry now.

With different times because it wasn’t, what was the school level of thinking for you?

PS: They wanted to send me to Sydney High. Yeah didn’t wanna go.

PB: Didn’t wanna go.

But did you, you went on and did further study is that correct?

PS: Oh, I only like to real estate (cup hits against table) which meant you studied different subjects like law and different things you know and—

(18:59) And where did you study?

PS: Only at the TAFE.`

And was that much later or was that a continuation or after?

PS: That was no, no- and then I did a lot with computers too.

So now I’d love to ask you about- the music and fashion and the culture at that time cause there was a lot of changes taking place. Do you remember how you spent your spare time? What were you doing? Were you catching up with friends outside of school time or where you-

PS: We weren’t allowed to go out, were we? (laughs).

PB: No, I was going to say that (laughs).

What? (laughs)

PS: We weren’t even allowed to go to the movies on a Saturday afternoon.

PB: Sometimes I’d lie to mum and say “will you do the front bell and clean up” –

PS: Yeah, clean up.

PB: and I’d say “could I go with Shirley Newton”, my friend who lived across the road and she’d say “No, no, no” and then about 4 o’clock in the afternoon she’d say “Oh, you can go now. Well the movies would be over”.

PS: Yeah, she’d-

And why was it, was it just overprotective or-

PB: Must have been overprotective, I don’t know.

PS: She did exactly the same to me. Four o’clock— you can go now (laughs)

PB: Although you- but you were more lenient you would go into Banjo practice and skating and do, did things more than I did, I wasn’t allowed.

PS: I suppose I was a little bit more defiant, you know.

PB: And we had-

Second child (laughs)

PS: because – they get away with everything.

PS: So I was asking mother then you ask your mother and she’d say “no” and she’d say “ask your father” and you’d say “no” and backwards and forwards.

[20:42] Sorry.

PB: We used to have a, a picnic every year called the ‘sunshine picnic’ and they’d all meet in the park. I don’t know what might have been a 100 kids or less you know when you’re young and I used to stand and because we used to live next door to the park and the- (PS laughs) I’d look through there and think “oh gee, I wish I could go” (PS laughs) and they used to get a little bag with a bit of fruit, you know everything before they got on the bus. I used to watch that 2 or 3 years running and thought gee I loved to be there. (Voice change) No, you don’t go there, no (PS laughs). And the floors at school, I can remember being as cold as cold – Oh yeah. That there was no air conditioning and the floor boards some of them were like that part, you know that the draft would come straight up through the rim of that part to-

And teachers keeping all the windows wide open (laughs) to air the place.

PB: Oh yes, in those days germs germs.

PS: But then you say to skating, I wasn’t, they said I couldn’t have skates. (PB: noise of agreement) and so I saved threepences in a beer bottle till I had enough money to buy skates and I went to the pawn shop, the second hand shop and bought skates.

Snuck out (laughs).

PS: (laughs) No I didn’t sneak out, no. And then I got permission to go –

PB: To go

PS: Yeah.

[22.00] So you were earning pocket money, or something—

PS: Oh maybe, I didn’t, I don’t know.

PB: I don’t know.

PS: I can’t remember getting pocket money every week though.

PB: No, no I don’t think —

PS: Mum used to just give you her purse with what was in it – And she’d send you to the shop-

PB: Shop.

PS: And she’d say – Keep the change.

PS: Get whatever you like, when—

Oh okay.

PS: Buy what you want, if you wanted an ice cream or a chocolate or something – (PB: noise of agreement) – Mhm – you were allowed to buy what you wanted.

Oh so you did get out sometimes (all laugh).

PS: Just to the shops!

PB: Only to the shop! (PS laughs) You’d be timed then- get back (PS laughs).

[22:33] So when you, when you finished with the schooling, the idea behind it was to find work- in this, in that area sort of working out of other people’s homes? Was it to prepare you for your own married life? Or what was the idea?

PB: No, I – Well I went to hairdressing college – Oh ok. Rondoli, I think it was, that was in Gowing’s building Yes. on the corner of George- on the fifth or sixth floor, Mhm I’m not sure, yeah. That’s where I went and I can remember we used to practice on each (chuckle) other’s hair- (laughs, PS laughs) and this, cause they were hot, you know the rollers- the rollers in those days, and this particular girl.

PS: Is this for a perm?

PB: Yeah. And she put one on here [curler in hair] and I said ‘It’s hot!’ And I had- I don’t know how I survived it, right through- right through, burnt right through and, actually managed to pull it off, but I had this big mark- Blister. And I thought my hair would never grow back. I had the whole (laughs) piece of the hair out but—

Didn’t let her play again! (laughs)

PS: No.

PB: No! No. But that was, that was, it there and I met a girl- they were very wealthy, they were from a farm called ‘Hope’ and she had a sisters called Faith and Charity. (PS laughs) d and sister was going to a big ball in the country somewhere where they lived, and I had to go in with her to Grace Brothers it was called in those days (Sound of agreement) – I think, I yeah-

PS: Yeah, Grace Brothers

PB: Grace Brothers, it was called. And um, try on all these- she said I was about the size of her sister and I had to try on all these lovely gowns.

PS: Gowns.

PB: And I thought that was a thrill- Yes. (Laughs) (PS laughs) for me to try them on. I thought oh just what I like! A movie star! (PS laughs harder) (Laughs) You know.

That’s where it all started isn’t it! (laughs)

PB: Yeah. And then she bought, a frock for her sister and then it must have been posted up. (Sound of agreement) But she was um, I’d say well she must have been in her forties or something and she was doing this course, you know because she looked but, but I thought ‘Oh you’ll never get married you’re too old.’ (Sound of agreement) (PS laughs)

You know how when you’re young (PS continues to laugh) Yeah, yeah, yeah Cause I’m only young, and I think- and I thought but yeah. But she was a lovely girl. Yes so—

PB: That’s how I started—

[25:13] PS: I went to Sydney Technical College, after third year. And, to do the secretarial diploma

Oh okay, so you’d started doing something in that domestic-

Yeah I forgot to tell you that- before.

You mentioned it once before to me when we were speaking, and I—

PS: And I went- I worked for Benjamin Hobson. In Rigney’s Building, 147A King Street.

PB: King Street.

PS: And I was in there- just an office on my own with the boss (Sound: Glass placed on table) – Mhm.

PB: All day!

(All laugh) What would mother think?! (All laugh)

PS: Yeah! What would she think?

PB: What’d she think?

PS: He used to look at himself all the time in the mirror!-(Amused) Oh okay. And he had black, straight black hair and it looked like- he must have been real … in … those days… (talking on top of each other, unable to understand) – Coloured within, yeah.

PB: But it could have been—

PS: Oh but he used to be worried! He must have only been about forty and he was so worried! (voice change) ‘Is my hair going grey?!’ he’d say (chuckle) I’d say No! (all laugh)

[25:49] So what age did you start- Did you work as a hairdresser?

PB: Uh yes I did. I worked in Kogarah for Irene Stewart. Okay. And it was upstairs, over the top of Coles and I think it’s a big Chinese junk shop now. Possibly yes.

PS: Yeah, that’s at Coles.

PB: And I had to go up the stairs, yeah. And I used to—

So at what age would you have been when you started working?

PB: Uh, I’d have been about- maybe I was, about sixteen and a half? Maybe seventeen?

Cause it would’ve been an apprenticeship, would it? The hairdressing?

PB: No. No. No. And I had ah um, I was doing a perm, one of these perms- Or helping with the perm. You didn’t, you weren’t in charge of anybody’s hair- (Noise of agreement) You tizzied and washed and you whatever. And um- I had a blackout, and I was out for about an hour. And they didn’t know whether it was a fit or whether I’d … … So mum just pulled me out of there because – BANG. Dealing with a hot- (Noise of agreement) heat.

PS: See the- the perming machines in those days were- Like a big piece over the head or?

PB and PS: No, no, that was the dryer

PS: But the big, they had perming machines and they had all those hot rollers—

PB: Like uh, like a peg. Okay. How it open and shuts, all … …

PS: You couldn’t touch it! They were so—

PB: And they were red hot! And you’d put them on, and of course they’d have a rubber underneath it and that. So uh, that finished that. But I used to do a few, I had a few customers, I used to do at home.

PS: Yeah.

PB: Like on the weekend, but uh not perms. Okay. I’d only do sets and things, you know. But have a dry—

PS: Well you did do some perms. You used to bring in the boys and perm the boys hair! All in the front! (laughs)

(PS laughs)

PB: (voice change) Oh! A lady—

(Continued laughter by PS and AM)

I’m all ears!

PS: She did!

PB: Ah- Louie they used to call him. He had red hair and he came in, to see Dad. Dad used to have a lot of friends—

PS: That was, the father wasn’t it?

PB: Yes. He—

PS: Mr, what was his name?

PB: He lived in um

PS: Max something? Mac—

PB: In Lackey Street. And he was there and I said- Could I just, experiment with your hair and he said yes. He had red and— Very obliging. I permed it. Oh! Yeah and- (PB and AM chuckle throughout dialogue) and his wife- (voice change- humour) she got in touch with mum saying ‘I’m gonna kill her!’ (All laugh) She didn’t like the outcome! (Laughs) I thought it looked good.

PS: That, friend of, I can’t remember his name at the moment.

PB: Porky

PS: The one that used to bring all the chocolates

PB: Yeah, oh I can’t think!

PS: The good looking one, I liked him! (laughs with AM)

PB: But he was mine! (laughs)

PS: You know and his mate?

PB: Yeah I know who you mean. Um—

PS: You know who I mean? Sunny? Not. No Sunny. PB: Son— uh I don’t know. I can’t think of his name.

PS: I used to eat all his chocolates and I got fatter and fatter didn’t I?! (AM chuckles) (PS laughs)

PB: Yes, but yeah. Patricia was getting the boys! (PS laughs) I was getting the boys left, right and centre. (All laugh)

PS: She did! Yeah.

Isn’t it funny how popular the perm was!

PB: Yeah, but uh I was in big trouble there, when I did … …

PS: We forgot to say too, when mum and dad were separated—

PB: Yeah

PS: She came back home. Yeah, they were. But only for a short (PB and PS together): time.

PS: And that’s when I came on the scene.

PB: She came on the scene. Oh okay.

PS: When she came back.

[29:16] Yeah, cause seven years is quite a long time, isn’t it?

PS: Yeah. That’s but they—

PB: In those days

PS: Weren’t separated, separated.

Oh I know, but even still.

PB: In those days with no pill. I know. You know, that was a good break! (PB and PS chuckles) That’s right yeah. So—

PS: And she said she didn’t have any more children because of the war. Until, til I came along. But I don’t know if that’s true. (PB noise of agreement) I don’t know.

And so when you went onto the Technical College- what did you want to do? You wanted to find the —

PS: Uh, I wanted to- part of the course was comptometry. And I wanted to do comptometry, but my father insisted that I do book-keeping. Right. And I hated book-keeping, but I had to do what I was told.

PB: She used to do all his books.

(PS and PB laugh).

[30:03] Now, Comptometry, this is kind of a predecessor to the computer isn’t it? Or for organising it?

PS: Well, I think it was more like— adding machines/collating.


PS: Some sort of adding machine, I think. But probably did collate, you know. Yeah. Yeah so

[30:19] So it was quite a good job to have wasn’t it? It was quite an important role—

PS: Yes. to have within an office environment?

PS: My husband’s sister, Judy, was a comptometrist. Right. But I hadn’t even met him back then.

PB: Yes, they used to have the thing you used to speak into, remember?

PS: Oh that’s a dictaphone.

PB: Dictaphone, but that had something to do with—

PS: That was a different thing all together. Yeah, you know- when I did corrective work for Corrective Services for Vanessa that time- they gave me a dictaphone. And uh I hadn’t used one before (Noise of agreement) cause I always did my own dictation. Yeah.

PB: Yeah Okay.

[30:56] So, okay- now we’re getting- you’ve had a lot of different jobs! (All laugh) You’ve gone down lots of paths haven’t you?!

PS: Not— No? Well, I’ve done—

Cause you’ve studied the real estate as well, but was that much later?

PS: Oh yeah, late in life! I did that cause my daughter- she qualified to go to Teacher’s College and there were no jobs for teachers- at the time. Still the same now I think!

PB: Yes. Terrible! Yes. Yet, a great need for them!

PS: So she deferred. And then she- the situation hadn’t changed so she deferred again. And I said, well look- let’s go to a real estate course and do that. And I’ll set you up in a business and um- I’ll be in the background and help you all I can. And that didn’t happen. She stayed in the bank. And she’s still working in the bank. Oh okay. Yeah. And yeah, but what did I do? I did door to door selling—

What were you selling?

PB: Oh some party—

PS: (voice change) Selling ladies underwear! (all laugh) With two big suitcases! I must have been- mad!

PB: What was that called?

PS: I must’ve been crazy.

PB: I can’t think the name—

PS: And then I did In Style.

PB: In Style! That’s right. That was selling parties. You know— Oh okay. You had the parties in those days!

PS: And I did— but I worked first with my secretarial job for Ben Hobson. And then I worked with Peter Lloyd and Fred Sutton in—

[32:29] Now is this sort of in your late teens? This was when you were doing this?

PS: Yeah, and then I worked for Wright Stephenson. They were a big firm from New Zealand. I worked for them- And uh this was all before I was married. Yeah.

And what, you would be living at home at this stage then? PS: Yes. And what were you, by this stage you’d be going out a little bit and- to dances and such—

PS: I was going to the dances- like I’d come up to Rockdale Town Hall- on a Tuesday night, they had a dance up there. And you’d meet up there- Johnny Raper and um and all the old St George footballers— Right. Were in there at that time. And I used to go to- to Strathfield. To Vic’s Cabaret at Strathfield (PB laughs) Oh okay (laughs)

PB: The older Albert Palais at the—

PS: No, went to the old— that’s the old—

And did you go out together or there was a big age difference?

PS & PB: Nup. Nah. No.

PS: No, she was sort of getting married when I was— When you were out on the town! I finished in about 1951. And she was getting, when’d you get married?

PB: Uh 1952. Okay.

PS: Yeah, that was when I started at college.

PB: Yeah, yeah. That’s it.

[33:46] And where were you living then- in 1952? Where did you—

PB: In St Peters. In St Peters. Still at home with mum. Okay. Next to the park.

Right, and when you married, you moved at all?

PB: Just across the road. Okay. (PS and AM laugh) Handy! Dad owned the properties. About five houses— Well, how many?

PS: You only paid about two pounds a week.

PB: Two pounds– but that was, I was only thinking about that the other night. That was a good, wage- in those— not a good wage but a good rent

PS: Rent

PB: Two pound.

PS: Yes, if I could backtrack to that, to school. Yes. We talked about the teachers. I had Mrs Hetherington, and you had Mrs Hetherington.

PB: Yes, I had the same

PS: We had the same—

PB: Well Pam- Vanessa—

PS: Miss Outen?

PB: No I had a Mrs, Mrs Walker, that’s it.

PS: No.

PB: Only two I remember, but Pam had- Mrs um, was it Mrs Cate- her names Casey now- She was at Tempe High School.

PS: No, that was not me. That was Vanessa.

PB: Yeah, she’s retired now. But she had her but she was another name before with her first husband. You know.

PS: Yeah but—

PB: But she’s, she’s retired. They’ve all- I mean all my—

What do you remember of them when they were teaching? Were they kind, were they s—?

PB: Oh, I had a terrible teacher (PS and AM laugh), in Primary school—

Another one?!

PB: Primary school. And she had red fingernails and I used to be (voice change) fascinated with these fingers. And she only did it with a pencil but oh she used to hold ya … … right across, and oh it used to hurt but (PS laughs) I got that because I was- during the war I was-that’s another story. I was away, um- at Woy Woy, with my grandma. I had to mind, Grandma. Don’t ask me why! I had ah, very very sad. (PS laughs, comment indistinguishable ) And I was up there, and when I came- I was in the Catholic school, which was the church, right. There were- I can remember, I counted- there were twenty-seven children. And we had- uh, every class was all there and you just- I don’t think we learnt anything! No. And the priest- cause aunt had the hotel- and that I’d have a bottle of port, in my suitcase every Friday. (laughs) Anyway, I—

[36:00] Oh, to bring back or something?

PB: I wasn’t catholic and I had to learn Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is — and you couldn’t do anything in there and when the priest came from Gosford (Noise of agreement)

PB: …over you could sing anything in the church Roll out the barrel or anything you like cause he gave you permission and lit the candles. Ok.

PB: Then I don’t know how long I was there then I was moved to I don’t know whether there was a falling out with the priest or what (AM laughs) but I was moved to the public school. Right.


PB: And then I had just a very mixed up and then when I came back- home.

PS: I was there.

PB: Yeh (PS laughs).

PB: But when I came back home Joyce brought me that was Aunty Dessie’s step daughter brought me home and I can remember they had a lovely new white leather lounge with burgundy, mum had and I could remember sitting in there and I didn’t want to let go of Joyce’s hand.

‘Cause you had been away for so long.

PB: Yeh I didn’t want to be home. Yeh

PB: Sad.

PS: Awe don’t cry. (AM and PB anguish and laughter).

PB: No but it’s terrible isn’t it.

PS: But that aunt, that aunt that owned the hotel if you were a Catholic, she was a Catholic if you were Church of England; she was Church of England…

PB: Whatever you were, Presbyterian, Methodist, anything. Right.

PB: Business, Business

PS: Business Yeah.

PB: Yeh but I’ll never forget that and I came back and of course we had Missy here and at school they called me around – got me out of class to come around I think she was in Kindergarten and she’s coughing and coughing her lungs up and I thought well what do they expect me to do yes and that you know but she had um whooping cough right oh dear (PB sighs) very very bad terrible and she still suffers now with Asthma.

[37:52] From it? Yeah.

PS: But it’s not so bad now, it’s pretty good under medication.

PS: No more running through driving through red lights to get me to the hospital. Ohhhh really.

PS: Not anymore. I have a little few notes we are getting back tracking again-

Yes that’s OK

to the high school we had to have a fashion show at the end of the year if you made a frock you know.

[38:21] Well I made a frock right and half of it was done by my mum because I’ve got no idea what so ever how to sew and um and on the day that we had to go to school and parade around in these frocks I said ‘no way’ (AM laughs) and I stayed home that day (PB giggles).

You were shy or was it because you were shy?

PS: Oh it was a shocking dress and I was (AM & PB laughing) no glamour puss you know I was fat.


PS: Yesssss.


PS: Anyway um that was OK and then when my daughter went to school she asked me to help her sew this skirt and I took the hem up for her and she took it to school and the teacher, the same teacher said ‘Awe darling’ she said ‘you only tacked it you haven’t hemmed it’ so that’s my sewing (AM & PS laughing and heckling).

[39:21] That’s because your mother was so good at it you didn’t need to be.

PS: Well she wouldn’t let us use the machine because she thought we would run the needles through our fingers.

PB: I did right through.

PS: But, but you can sew.

PB: Oh yes.

PS: She can sew but I’ve got no idea I can’t even thread the needle now.

PB: I’m flat out threading the needle now myself?!? (All bust out laughing)

I am too (laughing).

[39:49] I wanted to ask you…did you have something else?

PS: [Section deleted from transcript.] I used to get bullied when I’d come across that bridge there was this horrible fat girl (AM laughing) she used to bully –

PB: pleasantly plump I told you to use that word.

(Laughing) Now you’re in trouble.

PB: Pleasantly plump was the word. PS: Pleasantly plump girl.

[40:14] Who wasn’t so pleasant.

PS: Well this plump girl, forget the pleasant, she just disliked me immensly she hated me.

PB: It’s awful isn’t it?

PS: I don’t know why I didn’t do anything to her; I hated to go to school. I was so relieved, when she — she was in a higher class I was and I was so pleased when she left.

PB: Terrible isn’t it?

PS: I could go to school.

It is and it happens now too.

PB: Awe it’s terrible the bullying today.

PB: Well I got on the wrong train one day and I went to Turrella—and I got to Turrella and I thought oh I panicked I got to get out and I got out and I thought oh I got to get home I didn’t go to school that day (laughing).

[40:58] So you were making your own way with the public transport? To school?

PB: Oh yes yes yes on the train you had to go do that yourself.

PS: And that Miss Scott there was um a strike, there must have been a train strike, and we stayed home and she was very irate with us, she said you could have walked to school from St Peters to Arncliffe.

PB: Hm nice old walk.

PS: yeh she was a horror.

PB: If anybody had a day off at school—I think it was terrible the way they’d stand them up and say ‘what do you think you’ll melt? You’re sugar, you’ll melt in the rain?’ ‘Nobody melts in the rain’ they would say that you know, but I never had the day off, because we were lucky– we weren’t so much at Arncliffe it was a big walk at St Peters school I never missed a day. Like when I was there but I didn’t come back till 5th class, late 5th class, you know so I sort of all mixed up.

PS: She was leaving primary, she was only there one year when I started.


PB: So I went it must have been into 6th class and moved on.

PS: And she used to come over as I didn’t want to go to school, did I?

PB: No.

PS: I was one of those kids who cried all the time.

[42:17] Do you have teachers that you remember that you thought were quite inspirational? Or that you remember with fondness?

PB: I do in the infants but no so much in high school. Miss MacDonald, I don’t know whether you’d of had her? Gloria had her and I had her.

PS: No I didn’t have her.

PB: She was very, very large lady and she had boobs out here Yeah and we used to like cause in those days, we used to have to get the tea and coffee, and Miss Paddle, did you have Miss Paddle?

PS: No, no, no.

Clean up the teacher’s staff room

PB: Yes, but this particular teacher, we all watch her have morning tea, she used to put a cup and a saucer, rest the saucer on her boobs, and then the cup. (AM: laughs), you know teachers on playground duty.

PS: I can do that on my stomach. (laughter)

PB: That’s nice… .. (laughter)

That’s lovely. (laughter)

PB: Leave that one out, delete that (laughter).


PS: Of course, I’m six, seven years behind. I had Miss Brennan, who was the Head Mistress, in infants, then I had Mr Nolan, Headmaster in 6th class. I was always late one day a week, because I went to learn (PB: Piano, she had music lessons), up to Professor Phillips for the piano, and I used to dread coming back, because my shoes were squeaking, and he would say the same thing every time, “she hasn’t paid for her shoes” (laughter).

[43:59] So there’s a big difference, your experience was more within the war, and you were the post-war, and you seem to have had a lot more opportunity to do extra curricular kind of activities, is that right?

PS: This one here, she used to sing in the Eisteddfods.

You kept that a secret. (laughs)

PB: I’ve got eight cups, Wow and three medals, three gold medals. Congratulations.

PS: And when I came along, the lady who was teaching her

PB: Mrs Robinson

PS: I was just too late, and she moved away, so I missed out on that. But she used to sing ‘In My Sweet Little Alice Blue Gown’.

PB: For my Grandma, I can remember Grandma—

PS & PB: (chanting) When I first wandered down into town—

PB: (continues) We were both proud and shy, as I felt every eye. (laughter)

PB: But Grandma, I can remember my Grandma, like when she lived in Pearl Street Newtown, and I’d come back and she’d say sing that for me, and I’d have to do all the actions for Grandma, ‘sweet little’ – she loved that song. Yeah, well they were the days, down at the railway, the Eisteddfod down there, it’s still there, I don’t know whether—

PS: And you got a silver watch for –

PB: Oh yes – getting first prize or something.

PB: I got a Swiss Watch, I’ve still got it, but the wrist band’s only about that big and I’ve got that at home in a box, of course it doesn’t work now, but you know, but Vanessa says “Why don’t you sell it and see if you can get some money for it?” (laughter) I said when I die, you can sell it.

PS: It’s a keepsake.

[45:46] Do you know what I wanted to ask you, was now it’s a bit of a jump, but what are you doing now? Picking up your lifelong learning.

PS: Well I’ve been all through the grandma bit, minding the grandchildren, and bringing them to family history, whatever, and we have travelled together, we’ve been all over Europe. Just the sisters, not the husbands, just the sisters, and I’d love to go back to Europe, but with the terrorists and things, it’s a bit – I know, it’s a bit scary, isn’t it. But I’d still go, I’ve got no one to go with now.

PB: I think I’m too old now, to travel.

Where do you want to go to?

PS: I want to go to Picardy, in France. Okay. It’s a little town in France.

And is this where your family came from?

PS: Yeah, yeah. (PB: Mmmm we missed it, when we were there.) And I want to go back to Venice, and I want to go to Milan, and I want to go to London.

PB: London Bridge is falling down.

She’s got a shopping list! (laughs)

PS: If I could do those things, I would be happy. But other than that, I’d love to go to Canada, I’d like to go to Ireland and Scotland, but they are the things that I would like to do, and that would make me happy.

PB: I’d love to go back to Europe, but I have a sick husband, and the minute I’d walked out the door and he’d have a stroke or something, I couldn’t take— he’s 88, I can’t take the risk of leaving. It’s a long distance. He’s very very- relies on me too much, but-

PS: I am caught up with the family history and the computer club, I’m the President of the computer club.

You’re the president of the Family History as well?

PS: Both, yeah.

[47:36] So I was reading on that one, it’s thirty years now, the family history. Well last year. Is that right?

PB: Last year, yeah yeah. That’s the photos I just handed out.

PS: Yeah, took you long enough to get those. (laughter)

PB: No, I’ve had them, I’ve had them forever, and I was just looking through photos of the babe- I’ve got three great grandchildren (Wow) and I was just looking through the photos and there they were, and I thought “oh, goodness me” and that’s why I’ve been trying to get Adele Rosemary to get – – but I bought them in case she did come back, she had a breast off, one of the ladies, but she’s alright. I brought them today because I thought she might be here today, and that’s why I handed three of them and Carmel I gave her one, and she said, “Oh good, that’s great, people take photos for you all the time, but you never get them”. I said, you’ll get them, but it’s when you’ll get them.

Better late than never.

[48:33] PS: And the other thing that Pat’s doing now is that she’s minding her great granddaughter on a Friday, every Friday.

How old is she?

PB: 15 months, That’s busy. I’ve been minding her for about twelve months, I think.

AM: Mhmmm

PB: (Gasps) Busy?

PS: She’s a shocker (laughter)

But you love her, right? (laughter)

PB: I love her to pieces, she’s a darling, she’s into everything. It’s that age. Like there’s corners on tables, my husband’s got – tennis balls sort of thing? no, everything’s boarded up for her, everything’s padded and then the chairs are turned back to front, she only comes on a Friday, and the house is just, – it’s not what you expect at this age. I like things in their place, you know. And then the playpen comes out, and she helps him put it out, Oh gorgeous. It’s one of these plastic ones, and then he goes out to the garage, we’ve got three boxes of toys, a high chair and a walker, they come in. And he just goes like this with the boxes, and just tips them, and I just you know— And then she goes to the fridge and then she looks at the fridge and she looks at you and she says “cheese”, “cheese”, she wants a bit of cheese, but she’s a good eater, but it’s full on, you know, the other day we’re changing the nappy. (laughter) It was up the back and everywhere, they have these nappies, you know these—. (laughter) (PS: that’s just… …) Can we delete it?

AM: It’s nothing I haven’t experienced. (laughter)

PB: Ohh, it’s terrible.


[50:08] PB: She’s a pet, but yesterday morning, her mother, who only works three days a week, she rang me and said she was going over to Natalie’s to see the other two great grandchildren over there in Oatley, would I like to come, and I thought, oh, goodness gracious. You’ve had your fill. (laughs) No, I went, but just there at Oatley they’ve got a Coles, and I thought, I’ll get over there and pick up a few things, which I did, but we were only there for about an hour and a quarter, because Miss Tilly had to have her sleep, you know, we had to get home for a sleep, but the three of them together, oh my goodness me, the little one, she’s seventeen months and it brought tears to my eyes, she’s beautiful, she’s there and she said to Tilly when she went, “Goodbye Tilly”, the size of her, she talks.

PS: She’s gorgeous

PB: Oh, she’s been talking since she was about fourteen months old, but I think it’s because Jacob’s three. Older siblings, yeah. They’ve got to keep up. Oh yes, and “goodbye Tilly”, she said.

[51:07] So you’re also, are you also involved with Family History?

PB: I just come along, for the ride.

Right. And the Computer Club?

PB: No, no, no, I’m not in that, no.

No, okay.

PS: No, but she has an iPad.

PB: I’ve got an iPad, and I’m on the internet, but when it tells me it’s available.

What was the motivation behind that? Setting up the Computer Club?

PS: Computer Club?

That was your project to start, is that—?

PS: No, no. Oh, okay. Actually, George Thompson and his wife, Marie, they were members of family history, well they only came more or less to sticky beak, I think, and they were there for a short time, and then George had a meeting over at the Senior Citizen’s Centre, and it took off from there, under the umbrella of ASCCA, which is the Australian Senior’s Computer Club Association. I think, actually, Computer Clubs are phasing out now, because we had 300 members at one time, and we’re down to 170. So they’re all up to scratch now. (laughs). And I’ve heard of different ones closing down, you know. But there’s lots to learn, there’s still lots to learn, you know. I know, I know. I remember going to Tech for computers and the teacher said “I know that much, and there’s that much to learn”.

[52:38] But you’re conducting the classes, is that correct?

PS: I do video editing on a Friday morning, I teach that on a Friday morning, but we have a camera group, which I’m involved with, and we have assignments for that, we have to take photographs and bring them back, and we do have speakers come out for our camera group, but we have basic computing and we have a technical class on a Monday.


PB: It’s very very very very involved and busy. But look at today, we only had sixteen members there today.

PS: It’s falling away, because –

PB: It’s falling away, and nobody’ll take part-

PS: they can do it all at home, on the computers.

[53:26] Exactly. But still, there’s something to be said for sharing it as well, sharing your finds with somebody else. We’re coming to the close, is there something else you wanted to mention?

PS: Oh, I don’t know, what about your milk at school?

[ 53:42] PB: Oh that was in…

PS: That was primary school Mhm

PB: Primary school. Uh we used to have little quarter pint bottles. And the cream was thick on them and I mean I love milk and a lot of them wouldn’t have it cause it was hot- Warm. We didn’t have fridges or anything. And I used to look forward to that milk. I loved my milk and I still love my milk.

PS: And I hated that milk- Of course!

PB: Of course. The opposite. (AM laughs)

PS: I loved milk but I wouldn’t, no way! I wouldn’t drink that milk, left in the sun!

Sitting out in the sun!

PB: But Dad used to call me the ‘Eatless Wonder’ but all I lived on was fruit and milk. Okay. And when I got married I was in a shock because as I was cooking things I had to eat them didn’t I. But I can remember, sitting up at the table next to my dad and mum’d had a baked dinner and–

PS: Passing the pumpkin. Just not interested. And he’d put his hand there like that and take my pumpkin. Oh she’d have gone off! Yeah. So and dad would eat it for me.

PS: See back in those days, on a Sunday, you’d have your baked dinner.

PB: You did your washing Mondays and –

PS: And you’d have your apple pie and cream.

A big lunch.

PS: And then– Was it a big lunch? Or?

PS: Yeah. And then in the night, she’d do the what’d ya call it?

PB: Bubble and squeak.

PS: Bubble and squeak. The vegies left over– The left overs. I don’t know how they did it! And then she packed you lamb sandwiches on Monday.

PB: And I could never understand, like…

PS: How could you do that?!

PB: During the war, they had closed shutters on the shops you know. They had to close them at six o’clock and it was- And that shop there was a fruit shop and that was a mixed business but that fruit shop couldn’t sell anything that that other shop sold. It was very very good. And they had to put these wires up at six o’clock on certain things and uh I could never understand- Shirley Newton and myself used to go up six o’clock in the morning cause the shop was open up to Macs, (Not McDonalds), it was. And he’s always have tin of red salmon, like during the war. And that was like getting a million quid! (PS laughs) But anyway- but I could never believe I open a tin of salmon now or Bob and me and I can never get how mum used to make sandwiches for Pam and Dad, myself for lunch. Or how she could spin that tin of salmon out. (knocks on the table) It’s the time. I cannot spill out, maybe I’m a little heavy handed with it.

PS: Yeah

I remember my grandmother telling me to rub bacon grease, you know she used to rub bacon grease on her fingernails, (PS and PB: Yes) you know as a moisturiser. (PB: Moisturiser)

PS: She [PB] used to come home and have bread and dripping! She loved it!

PB: With pepper! Pepper on it!

PS: She loved it! Absolutely, I couldn’t come at that– (All laugh)

PB: Maybe that’s all I had at Woy Woy to eat! (All laugh)

PS: Now, you know what I used to have? Uh, I think I put butter on it. Bread and butter in hot sauce.

PB: Dad! You got that off Dad! Dad used to have that!

What, when you say hot sauce, like a spicy sauce?

PB: Pick me up!

PS: No, not the Pick me up. Holbrooks- Holbrooks.


PB: Just hot sauce? Yeah?

PS: Hot sauce. Yeah.

PB: Well we used to go in, meet Aunt um, the one from Woy Woy that had the pub. And she’d take us to Cahills), that was a restaurant, a big flash restaurant. And mum’d say, ‘If you ask for a tomato sandwich, I’ll kill you!’ She used to say. And I’d sit up and say, ‘I’ll have a tomato sandwich.’ (All laugh)

She’d pinch you under the table!

PB: And I had tomato sandwich every day of my life at school! You know, tomato, tomato. And it used to be all sloppy and that but that’s what I had, that’s what I liked. And two chocolate montes. Every day. That was it.

[57:16] PS: Going back again, in Primary – you didn’t have to wear school uniforms. No. No, not back then.

PB: I did. I always –

PS: Oh maybe at the Catholic School. PB: No, no, no, I wore it at St Peters, but you didn’t. You had a lovely little velvet frock on. PS: No, I don’t remember. I had the brown tunic and a mustard coloured jumper.

PB: Hm.

PS: No, that wasn’t compulsory.

PB: And up until when I was at Tempe School what I have left 20 years or 27 years I retired at 60, ah it wasn’t compulsory even then. And they – it was a terrible thing, they stand you up on the stage there, and say ‘you are not in uniform, ah you go home and change and get into a uniform’, and I found out that it wasn’t even compulsory. No.

PB: Even 20 years ago to force children to have that. And one boy was up one day and he said ‘but it wasn’t dry Sir, it was in the wash’, and I felt –

Yeah he has got one uniform you know, cause had to ….. and you could hear everything at assembly and I thought that was terrible.

PS: Pat used to manage the canteen at Tempe High School. Ah ok. And also –

PB: I had um, Sydney Grammer School: Sydney Grammer School: I had ……., yeah. I was in the food business. Pam was the educated one, I was in food where you make the money. (All laugh).


PB: Everybody has got to eat.

PS: You had the same education. (All laugh).

PB: and then I worked at um Enmore School for a while. Oh ok. with …… where I had the other two and we had a business, um Woolen Mills, remember.

[59:21] PS: Yeah, we had the canteen together.

PB: We had the canteen together.

PS: We had a kindergarten.

PB: We had a kindergarten with 28 children –

Busy women.

PS: yes we –

PB: and we had another – oh and I had the – I used to work for Audrey Stone, The Globe, and the I took the Globe over, the Globe women mills, I took the canteen – and came to work and then Mr Fitzgibbons, I had to make his lunch and all the crust had to be cut off and sandwich …….and nobody else was allowed to make that sandwich, I had to make them. That’s what Audrey said when she left to make it, nobody else has to make his sandwich, but –

PS: and she made you count the finger buns and count cakes before she went out with the trolley through the factory.

PB: Yeah.

PS: And, you know she might – she knew she new she had 5 finger buns she could take an order for 5 finger buns, you know, (laughs). (All talking at once). Eat all the finger buns. (all laugh).

PB: And she had cigarettes and everything there, but –

PS: but, well I just to have a little – at school they are lot stricter than they are now and most of them had corporal punishment Yes. And if you were even rude to a teacher or didn’t do your homework you could get a cane, but I never got the cane.

Boys and girls?

Or just the boys?

PS: Boys and girls, yes.

PB: But you had to stay behind.

[1:00:56] They phased out the girls at one stage, didn’t they, earlier than the boys.

PS: Well, Jill would have gotten the cane.

PB: Did she.

PS: She was a year older than me, because she repeated 6th class, yeah. I think she did get the cane from Mr Ward.

Is that your friend?

PS: Yeah. She’s passed away.

PB: She passed away. God love her.

PS: Yeah. But um, we didn’t have remote control things and battery toys and like the kids do today.

PB: And we had to cover all – when we were in high school, cover all my books with brown paper. Yes. and put a design on the side, you know, a pattern.

PS: She used to do that for me. (PB laughs). I am not very artistic. (all laugh).

PB: Just different little things….

PS: Mum used to make dolls for me, she go out and buy big cubie (?) face and cheek stuff for the dolls,

PB: because you couldn’t get dolls when we were young and during the war and things like that, but mum used to make her dolls.

[1:01:55] Because they did a porcelain face

PS: Yeah, and then she’d get um an old stroller or an old pram, like doll’s pram and painted up and put the canvas on it for me.

PB: she was very very good.

Do you know what I remember, looking at the Centenary at the Brighton Le Sands Public School and all the kids came in with their dolls for the photo time. PB: Yes. PS: Yes. PB: That book I brought in today.

PS: and we didn’t bring in photos because we’ve got some from primary.

PB: I haven’t got any.

PS: But, from St Peters Public School, but not showing how I looked like when I was in high school.

PB: Well, I have one from infants, and like now they go off if they have 20 students in the class, and I count 39 that was at St Peters in infants school, or primary. Yeah, I’ve got Betty in it. And that’s the only photo I’ve got but I think that was on account of me switch here and switch there and then back that is the only photo I have got – I lied if I had more, but I don’t know, I don’t even remember having that one taken.

PS: I was in the flute band too.

PB: Oh yes.

PS: at school.

PB: Banjos and flutes.

Be one woman show. Couldn’t you the banjo– (laughs)

PB: and piano. she learned piano and then she got a piano. Dad bought her a piano for her birthday. And I always wanted to learn the piano and then of course along comes Pam and she can learn the piano and have the piano. (PS laughs). And what was said to me, ‘a piano that’ll be gone’. And I thought, ‘a piano gone piano, a piano will never be gone, but he had the funny ideas and funny ways. Hmm.

PS: He bought that first piano, it had a wooden frame and when the weather changed the tune of the piano when out of wack you know.

[1:03:54] So your parents were born in France or they born here?

PB: No no, Australians. PS. No. PB: Mum was born in Dubbo.

Right ok.

PS: We go back to 1640 and I can go back further, but I can’t prove the information that I’ve got. Ok.

Thank you so much, you’d think you didn’t have anything to say, but you certainly filled the hour (laughs),

PB: but we didn’t talk about school, was it?

We did talk about, and we went back and you covered some more again, so that was good, when you visit the teachers and –

PS: We had the uh, quite other things, like, I’ve got here that the boys played soldiers.

[1:04:36]. Which boys?

PS: The toys were handed down from other – older children.

PB: Yes that’s right. Yes.

PS: And make things out of bits of wood, and string and nails.

PB: you played with sort of nothing in those days. But when you are at school like now it is different, the teachers are out before the students, and we used to be kept back, or you’d say, ‘oh right, if you talked in class, write 500 lines.’


PB: Yeah, and stay after school.

PS: Yes.

PB: But now, there is none of that. No. The teachers are not dedicated because they are out sort of first.

[1:05:23] PS: This here says that air-raid practice was a normal part of school life. Children run to the trenches –

PB: See well I do, but we had Mr Cross next door when we lived at Orange Grove. That was a town south out of Woy Woy. And, he was the air raid warden and I can remember him coming and knocking on the door (knocking sound on the table) and saying to grandma ‘Darwin’s been here’, and grandma said, ‘get under the bed’. (PS laughs). It is a long way from Darwin. (All laugh) When we were frightened we were in this big big house, all on her own – well it turned into a private hospital later on. That’s how big it was. Wow, ok. And in the night just the two of us and grandma and myself, and oh dear.

PS: And now the thing is they put, I don’t know how you gonna put this all together, it’s a bit here and a bit there. That’s alright. It’s all good.

PS: There was great emphasis on how you held your pen –

Oh yes. And not being left handed too.

PB: yeah, well my son, which Robin’s dad, … …. she went to um Summer Hill Special School, she was left handed and she wanted to be a teacher, and in those days they wouldn’t let you be a teacher because you are left handed. I am left handed. Right. But in those days, –she is a teacher now, but you even go in to the bank and I am amazed that people, there is more left handers than right. There are so many. You know, and I think, but my daughter is left handed, her husband, she is divorced, was left handed, the two children are left handed, and I am left handed, Bobby’s father was left handed, I thought oh well I didn’t, but my two boys are right handed, but little Tilly is sort of – we don’t know at the moment.

PS: You know that thing was, we didn’t have television, No. And we used to sit on a Sunday night and listen to the Lux radio. Yes. And then all through the week we had Dad and Dave and Martin’s corner.

PB: yes.

PS: and the Search of the Golden Boomerang-

PB: Boomerang (both laughing).

PB: Well, I used to get in and watch – listen to a movie, because my husband used to work for um, the race course. He was a penciler for the bookie, ah ok. taking the bets. and I used to get the kids to sleep and I used to get in and I – oh had to be in bed by then, but I had a small bottle of coke (all laugh). On a Saturday night, that was a big day out. That was a treat.

[1:08:11] PS: We don’t we not –

PB: We are ….. two well girls.

That’s fair enough.

Alright. I might we finish that one

PB: Alright. I just thank you so much, ok.