I've had a sad life, but
you’ve just got to overcome a lot of that
and think of the good things,
not the bad things.
Oh, my Dad?
He was only a little boy
when they came out
and the family settled in Heatherton.
And there was nothing there.
Dad cleared his block
and started farming on his own,
and then he met his wife
who'd come out to see her sister,
who had married
another one of the Brownfields.
When I went to Heatherton School.
‘Walk all the way’.
We had to walk from here...
We had to go round up the main road.
That was a road to Dandenong...
Like that and turn corners
and go up right about...
Our farm was here,
we walked along there and up
and up and round till we got to school.
That was our walk.
And then our walk home at night,
and little me
when I first started, could hardly
walk, you know, going to school.
And it was a long way.
Sometimes they’d have to get the horse
and get me in the jinker
to take me to school because I was five,
you see, and I used to be so little, you know.
Norma was all right.
She was older than me.
That was my only sister, of course.
Dad had to milk the cows.
He couldn't come.
Mum would come and pick us up from school.
Sometimes, not every day.
Oh, when you think of it,
it was a lot of work.
And she had the housework to do.
Then she helped Dad in the shed sometimes.
Although he had one boy to help.
At the back of our house, we had a shed
and that’s where the boys that worked
for us lived.
But all their dirty clothes came over
to the laundry, which was opposite.
Mum used to have to feed them;
Mum had to do all their washing as well.
You know, I think of what she did.
Then if the boys didn't turn up,
she have to help Dad
because there was no power then.
Nobody had power, electricity.
Just ordinary light,
kerosene light on the center of the table.
And then you had tea at night.
That's all we had, candles to get to bed
Just a white candle with a candlestick.
We had those around.
I think we’ve given those away.
I mean, they were antiques.
It’s amazing what I have gone through in mine.
And ones before were worse off.
But till electricity came
and then everybody was laughing, you know.
We had light all the time.
I remember Norma and I just going around
and flipping on all these lights.
It was just so good.
Oh look, you know,
unless you've been through it,
you just don't know the value of lights.
funny to look back on those days.
You think, “Oh,
we didn't do that, did we?”
No, we had little jobs
to do when we were growing up.
We had to feed the chooks
with wheat every night.
Oh, dear, those were the days
but we hated doing it.
And of course, when we were growing up,
we didn't have all busses
to pick us up at the gate
and all that jazz.
First of all, we had a jinker.
Funny to look back
now, they get in the car and go.
But we had to get the horse and get it all
ready, put the seats in the back for us
so that we could enjoy our picnic.
When we were on
the farm, we used to always
have parties and things like that.
We all kept together more.
I had about ten good friends.
We used to go out together
and the people down the road had a farm
and they had a big lorry.
And on holidays we’d all get in
the back of this lorry.
They'd put seats around and we’d
go for picnics.
We had lots of fun,
really, and went to the beach and take sandwiches
and we'd sit up on the back of this truck,
you know, it was really lovely
I’d be in my teens
when my sister was killed.
And she was older than me
and she was walking along
the wrong side of the road
because she always walked that side
because certain drivers
would pick her up and bring her home.
We knew everybody, you see.
Cheltenhan and Heatherton.
And we knew the people who were going
and she was getting...
She was at the wrong side of the road
so that she could
hop in the car and get a lift home.
And this other chap came cross
and went right across the road
and killed her.
Yes, they put her into hospital,
Alfred Hospital in Melbourne,
but she never came out.
She had a broken leg and an arm, I think.
He was driving very fast, but
he said it wasn't his fault,
it was, you know,
it was just a thing that happened
and he couldn't blame.
It was a foggy night
and he just couldn't blame anyone,
and he got off.
But he was a neighbor
and we couldn't do anything else.
And so that was...
Dad forgave him.
And after that, he sold the farm.
He couldn't keep going much longer.
I really felt that I had to look after
Mum and Dad.
I think that‘s when it really started.
I mean, I was just an ordinary girl
and I was the second one.
Norma was the eldest.
And I think I sort of realized
then that I was
sort of, would have to think a bit more.
I think it hits you like that.
It's hard to explain,
but it does
alter your life when you have a death in it.
And we moved into the city.
my Mum got sick after that.
She had cancer
and she's gone in 12 months.
So that was a bad time.
So that left only me to look after Dad.
I mean, he couldn't manage on his own.
And then when it was time for me
to get married, I mean, I'd met Jack
and, you know,
I knew it was the right one.
got on very well with my father.
And when it was time
to engage, I said, “I can't marry you.
I've got to look after my father”.
He said, “You don't have any worry.
He’s coming to live with us”.
And that's what happened.
A group of us used to go in on the train
to the concerts in the town hall
and other places around.
That was our night out.
So we met on the station
and off we went as a group.
And then when Jack was home on leave
he'd be joining them with his sister
and I'd just catch up.
I never thought anything more about it,
but apparently, he must have
got a liking for me or something.
I don’t know, it was so long ago.
But he'd go back to
work again and then go away over to
He had two or three ops there.
he wanted to, all the time he was away,
and he wouldn't
ask me out each time he was back on leave.
He'd come as a group
but never make any signs
that he was interested in me at all.
And I just treated him as one of,
that we went out with all together.
And then all of a sudden
he got me at the station to come home
and he said, “I'd
like to walk you home tonight.”
And I said, “Oh, yes, but it's a long way.
You've got to go that way.
And you live the opposite way”.
Anyhow that’s how it started.
And that was the first
that I really realized that he liked me.
He took my arm and that's all.
He didn't want to kiss me
and, you know, hug me.
Nothing like that at all.
He just wanted to talk to me.
And that's what he did and asked me
would I go out with him.
You see that’s about all I can tell you.
Brunswick is Melbourne.
A suburb of Melbourne.
That's where Jack worked.
So they built a house for us.
The council did, and we lived in that
until we came up to Canberra.
It was 12 months we lived at Hotel Acton
while we were looking for a house.
And we saw this block up
on the next street up from here.
So we got a builder.
He wasn't a very good builder,
but there weren’t builders around;
not a lot of people,
you know, building houses.
Oh, he made some terrible mistakes.
He put a window where the
door should have been
and things like that.
qualified builders in those days.
But then of course, the family grew
and we didn't have enough bedrooms.
We walked around looking for a unit
or another house in this area.
And so this was for sale
and it was only two years old, this house.
So I said, “Oh, that's quite a nice spot”.
And it was quiet,
not like now with traffic going both ways.
Look at this one too.
It's lovely, isn't it?
It's still my home
and I think I'll live in it
until I go.
Oh, that's our photo
from Depot Beach.
I've had lots and lots of holidays
there with the kids. Yes,
three girls and one boy.
Nowadays they fly down and fly home again.
And it’s so much easier.
They’ve got a decent road.
Oh no, it's good.
It's good to have things modernized.
It's gone ahead but I don't want it to go
ahead any longer, any further.
Oh well, that’s been an exciting morning!
I've been listening to myself talk.
I didn’t know what I'd have to do.
I was starting to beginning
to wonder, “What on earth
would I say?”
a lot of memories all these things.