Pooh Reflecting

Pooh Reflecting
Pooh Reflecting

Friday, December 16, 2011

Nan and Pop

Lindsay George Arnold GOOD

I only ever knew one set of grandparents.  Dad's parents had died long before I was born - Grandpa (John Loring SULLIVAN) in 1934 in the Coramba Disaster and Grandma (Christina Ruby JONES) in 1947.  I am just guessing that I would have called them Grandma and Grandpa.  Mum's parents were my Nan (Beryl WALSH) and Pop (Lindsay George Arnold GOOD).  Nan lived until she was 93, and was a great grandmother to my daughter.  Pop died in 1965 when I was 12.  I therefore have lots of memories about Nan, but only a few about Pop.
Nan always looked the same, until the day she died.  A lovely homely, silver-haired lady.  She played the piano, which I always thought was special.  And what's more, she had a piano in her house and as children we were allowed (sometimes) to tinker on it. I learned to play Chopsticks and Good King Wenceslas on that piano.  Nan also had some purple carnival glass dishes in which she served jelly and icecream.  At her funeral I asked a younger cousin what she thought of when she thought of carnival glass dishes.  Her response - jelly and icecream.  The best thing about the icecream was that it was homemade - always tasted ever so much better than most bought icecream at the time.
Nan always wore a pinny, or apron, while she was cooking or doing the housework.  She also had her own special stool in the kitchen to sit on while she was peeling vegetables etc.  I think Mum still has that stool somewhere.
Pop - what can I say about him?  As an adult I now feel that I never got to know Pop as well as I would have liked.  I do know I adored him.  When I think of Pop, which I do often, I see him sitting in one of two places - in a chair right opposite the door into the kitchen, or in his shed talking to Mr. Waterhouse who lived next door.  Pop's shed was a mysterious place, full of gardening implements and paraphanalia and relics from the war.  Pop was an avid vegie gardener.  The house was on a large block and a good deal of it was given over to his vegie garden.  I think he grew flowers like dahlias and gladiolis there too.  The front garden was more Nan's domain.
I always feel that if I had got to know Pop better as I grew older he and I would have had a special connection.  But Pop didn't seem to interact with us much when we were children.  I remember one day when I was writing in my Memory Book (I wonder whatever happened to that book - I obviously didn't keep it) at the kitchen table and Nan told me that Pop would be very pleased to see how much trouble I was taking over my lettering and handwriting.  I can't remember whether Pop was still alive at the time, but I do know that he had the most beautiful copperplate handwriting, and I was so pleased that Nan thought Pop would be pleased.
Surrey Hills Railway Station
Pop worked for the Corps of Commissionaires when I was little.  I think he was a security guard at J.B. Were - a firm of stockbrokers.  He would walk to the Surrey Hills station every day and catch the train into the city.  I remember his lunch box - it was a black tin with two scottie dogs on the lid.  Whenever I see old tins for sale I look to see if I can find one like it.
Pop had some unusual habits.  One I particularly remember was his 'breakfast'.  It consisted of a raw egg in a glass, which he drank!  Yuck!

This is how I remember Pop - this photo was taken in later years.  And this is Nan dressed up as Miss Po-land when she was living in the retirement village in Sale.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

8 Shepherd Street, Surrey Hills

This is the address at which my grandparents lived while I was growing up.  I spent many happy times here, and loved the old house.  I can still picture what it looked like inside and out.  It was a very long block which went right through from Shepherd Street to the lane at the back (which appears to have been made into a road now.)
Next door at Number 10 was where Mr. Waterhouse lived in a flat - Mr.Waterhouse was Pop's good friend and the two spent many hours reminiscing in Pops' shed.  At Number 6 there were two houses with a common wall - just now I can't think of the names of the people who lived there.  I'll have to ask Mum to refresh my memory.  (She says the Durands lived right next door, but can't remember the name of the people who lived in the other house.)  On the opposite side of the road lived the Snells, the Serpells and the ?)
In Number 8 you entered into a central passageway, with Nan's bedroom on the right and another bedroom (which later became Aunty Eily's loungeroom) on the left.  The passage led to the loungeroom.  Beyond the loungeroom was the kitchen, and off the loungeroom was the third bedroom which was Pop's room.  Between the second and third bedrooms, with entry from both rooms, was the bathroom.  The kitchen had a huge walk-in pantry.  The door from the kitchen led to the back verandah which was enclosed and was the bedroom for my great grandfather when I was very little.  Later it had a section divided off at the end for an indoor toilet.  Prior to this modernisation the toilet was next to the wash-house in the back yard.  As far as I remember it was always sewered, unlike the loo at home which was unsewered for many years.  Pop's shed was behind the garage and wash-house.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Mr Grinpukel

Was watching a program called "Bush Doctors" today and they showed a man who had trodden on a nail.  Bill told me he had once had a nail go right through his foot, and that reminded me of the time I trod on a nail when I was perhaps about ten.  I remember that it happened in the front yard, and for some reason Mr Grinpukel was either coming to visit my dad, or just walking past (can't remember which) and he offered to remove the nail from my foot!  I don't remember if it hurt, but I do remember not liking Mr Grinpukel.  I wonder if that because he did hurt me, or whether I just didn't like him?  I have a feeling his name was Eddie.  In fact, it was.  I did a Google search for him and came up with this - Eddie Grinpukel.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Chocolate straws for milk

We were doing our shopping this morning, and I bought some condensed milk so I could make some mayonaise.  On the shelf opposite the condensed milk I spied something else from my childhood that appears to have been resurrected - flavoured straws for milk!  According to the web, they were 'invented' in Australia in about 2006, and called Sippah Straws - but I certainly had them in the 60s.  Can't remember exactly what they were called, but I know that as a special treat we were given one to take to school so the school milk tasted nicer.
Now, school milk (this link is specifically about Queensland, but it seems it was a Commonwealth scheme, so was the same in all states) - thereby hangs another tale.  Somebody had decided that children needed extra nutrition, so every day we got to drink 1/3 pint of full cream milk.  Trouble was, the milk sat outside, often in the sun, from when it was delivered to when we were issued with it at morning recess.  Strangely, although it was usually warm rather than cold no-one ever seemed to get sick from it, and we all drank it.  The use of the wonderful flavoured straw (which from memory had a felt-like "wick" inside the straw, through which the milk passed and became flavoured) certainly enhanced the experience.  Milk monitors used to collect the milk for each class and then distribute it to the students.  Once a month (or was it weekly) we also received an iodine tablet - this was because it had been determined that in our area there was a lack of natural iodine, which is needed for brain development.  Once the use of iodised salt became prevalent we no longer received the tablets.  Apparently it is becoming a problem again, because a) people are using less salt and b) the salt they ARE using is often non-iodised, rock salt or salt flakes etc.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sugar on lettuce

Brother John rang Mum the other day - question, did we put sugar on lettuce when we were kids?  In short, the answer is YES!  And boy, did it make lettuce taste yummy.  As well as putting sugar on lettuce on a salad plate we also used to sprinkle the sugar on the lettuce leaf and roll it up and eat it in our fingers.  This writer obviously has similar memories - but I'd question her assumption that sugar on lettuce was her mother's invention. 
The other thing we did was to make sugar rolls - fresh white bread with butter, sprinkled with sugar and rolled up.  Yummy!  This writer is one of many I discovered on the net who has similar memories, although most seem to be of a traditional sandwich with two slices of bread - we used one slice and rolled it up.  But it had to be fresh white bread.
This one also reminded me of mayonaise sandwiches which I also used to love.  Mum made her own mayonaise, as I did for many years too, but it wasn't an egg mayonaise.  Rather, it was made with a tin of Nestle Condensed  Milk, some powdered mustard and an indeterminate amount of brown malt vinegar.  Mum always used to make it in a tupperware container and the trick was to pour in the milk, then add the mustard powder and fill the container with vinegar.  This gave the right proportions.  She then used a long handled teaspoon to slowly mix the milk and vinegar.  Absolutely yummy mayonaise!  And delicious when spread on a slice of white bread and butter!
Might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb I suppose - the third thing we did with sugar was to put sugar and lemon juice on pancakes - a favourite Sunday night easy tea, often eaten in front of the open fire in the loungeroom.
And while I'm at it, another favourite Sunday night tea in the loungeroom was scones and jam and cream, or crumpets and honey toasted on the open fire.

More Sing-a-Longs

While we've been away, I have had songs running through my head when I've thought about singing while doing the dishes.  As well as the ones mentioned in my previous post I still remember the words to:
Mona Lisa, (Here's a video of Nat King Cole singing Mona Lisa) -
Some Enchanted Evening and Happy Talk as well as a host of others from South Pacific, and The Girl That I Marry.  Oh, there were so many more, I could go on forever.
We always had music in our home, although no-one played any instruments.  The record player and the radio were on more than the television ever was.  Dad belonged to the World Record Club and bought lots of records, especially Gilbert and Sullivan, Rogers and Hammerstein and other musicals, as well as bands and other instrumental recordings.  Consequently I have a very wide ranging taste in music.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Drying The Dishes

When we were kids my brother and I had to take turns drying the dishes.  Dad would wash up, and John and I took turns a week about to dry.  Dad used to make out that we were on duty in a ship - when he was ready for us he would whistle like a bosun does when someone comes on board - only he didn't have a Bosun's Whistle.  But the thing I remember most about drying the dishes was that we used to sing all the old war songs - I still love them to this day.  Some of the titles I remember well are: Daisy, Daisy Give Me Your Answer Do - as a medley with Two Little Girls In Blue and Bicycle Built For Two; It's a Long Way To Tipperary; You Belong To Me; Goodbye; Show Me The Way To Go Home; Bless Em All; Lili Marlene; We'll Meet Again; and White Cliffs Of Dover among others.
This is a video of a Vera Lynn singing White Cliffs of Dover.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Toy Train

Last night I was watching Bargain Hunt and I saw a memory from my childhood.  It was a Hornby (or maybe not) Tin Clockwork Train set.  I have searched the internet for a photo, but can't find one exactly the same.  Mine (although if the truth be told it probably belonged to my brother John) had a black steam engine, a coal tender (also black?) and a red and a green carriage with silver /grey roofs.  It might have also had a smaller guardsvan, I'm not sure.  I loved that train - to the extent that I feel extremely nostalgic every time I see one similar on television!  Wonder what happened to it?  This image is the closest I can find to what 'our' train looked like.  From memory though the cabin of our engine was higher, and the engine and tender were both black.  How I wish it was still around.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Baby is 35!

How can that be? 35 years ago, yesterday (14th September), I spent a considerable number of hours in labour while my daughter made her appearance. She took her time about it, because I had felt the first stirrings the night before while her father, Reg, and our friend and boarder Lance, and I played one of our usual games of Canasta.  On Tuesday 14th I had an appointment with my doctor - Dr Roger Johnson, a GP, but also a gynacologist and obstetrician - who greeted me with "Are you still here?" because he'd been away on leave for nearly a month (I think) and had expected I would have long been delivered of my bundle. (As it was, I was technically 6 weeks overdue by this time.)  On examining me he decided that I had been in labour, but things had come to a halt so he was going to admit me to the Dandenong Hospital later that afternoon. (The hospital looked a little different in those days.)
Once admitted I was prepped and put to bed.  I slept for a while, and was then given a sleeping draft because nothing was happening, and I was to be induced in the morning.  But about 2 a.m. I woke because I had gone into active labour again.  When  nothing remarkable had happened by the morning Dr. Johnston still induced me and everyone was telling me I'd have my baby by lunch time.  Well, she finally made her appearance at about 8 p.m. that night!  She was late arriving, and has been known to be late ever since!
I can still remember as if it was yesterday the moment she slipped from me!  It was a wonderous moment - although it also resulted in a number of stitches.  These were apparently so finely done that the nurses had to show each other what a good job had been done by my doctor!  I felt like a specimen in the zoo.
I spent a week in hospital, as was common practice in those days, and was facing another week because I was anaemic.  The alternative was to have a daily iron injection for a week.  That was what I chose as my Mum was coming down to spend the first week at home with us.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Victor Borge

When I was a kid I remember dad playing Victor Borge records.  I loved them.  He was so clever and so funny.
Later, when I was working as a Curriculum Consultant someone somewhere played Borge's Inflationary Language as an example of Maths in everyday life!  It was brilliant.  I searched everywhere for a CD version of Borge but couldn't find one.
While we were in Merimbula last time we went into a little second-hand shop in Tura Beach and lo and behold there was a video of Victor Borge, including Inflationary Language.  I had to have it - especially at $2!  When we came home Jim transferred it to DVD for me.  It is so funny.
Here's a video of Inflationary Language.

I've added this video of Phonetic Punctuation which is equally funny.

I could keep adding lots more, because it is all funny, but these will do, even though they don't exhibit his piano playing skills.  If you want to see more check out the other videos listed in YouTube.
Can't help it - I just had to add The Minute Waltz as well.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Riding An Elephant

Yesterday I had the District Nurse here to flush my Port - she brought a student nurse with her, who originally came from South Africa.  We were discussing native animals and the nurse asked the student if she had ever seen an elephant (among other animals) in the wild.  She replied she had, but to answer another question, had never ridden one.  I said I had - at the Melbourne Zoo.  When I was a child I clearly remember having a ride on the elephant.  An internet search provided the following information:
The Royal Melbourne Zoological Park received its first elephant in 1883 from Calcutta, a year after opening an institution modeled after the London Zoo. The female Asian elephant, named Ranee, died 21 years after her arrival. The zoo’s most famous elephant, Queenie, arrived in 1902 and gave rides for more than forty years until she killed a keeper in 1944 (possibly by accident). The following year she was put down by zoo management due to a food shortage stemming from World War II. In 1962, the zoo discontinued elephant rides. The two oldest residing elephants at the Melbourne Zoo, Bong Su and Mek Kapah, arrived in 1977 and 1978, respectively. They would remain together until the import of three juvenile females from Thailand in 2006.
Elephants at the Royal Melbourne Zoo
It may be that I had a ride on Betty or Peggy.  These were two baby elephants who arrived at the zoo in 1939.  Betty died in 1973 and Peggy in 1988.


(Click on this image to view a video of the baby elephants)

I can't find a photo of either of these elephants giving rides, but here is one of Queenie.  I remember that when I had a ride we sat in a seat just like in this photo.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Sunday School Picnics

Thinking of the "Robyn Rae" reminds me of Sunday School Picnics.  I may be wrong, but I seem to remember one involved the "Robyn Rae", although I'm not sure how as not everyone would have fitted on it.  Most picnics seem to have been held at Mossvale Park near Mirboo North.  We sometimes went in a furniture van - although that seems a rather precarious way to travel.  My good friend Pam Ratten and I used to climb a tree - perhaps this one - and pretend it was The Wishing Tree from Enid Blyton's stories.
There were also three-legged races, sack races, potato races, egg and spoon races to be enjoyed.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The "Robyn Rae"

Can't mention the Shillings - Harry, Iris, Peter, Wendy and Robyn - without mentioning their boat the "Robyn Rae".  Unfortunately I don't have a photo of "Robyn Rae" - named after Robyn, and Wendy Rae.  She was moored in a berth beside the Raymond Island Ferry.  Not sure how big she was, but she was a metal boat, painted aqua blue with red trim if I remember correctly and as well as the Captain's cabin had sleeping berths for about 8 other people in bunks aft.  We spent several holidays on the boat at Paynesville with them.  I well remember a trip to the Grange, where we caught lots of eels and I lost my sunglasses off the jetty, shrimping with nets from the marina jetty, swimming near Progress Jetty, trawling for skip-jacks.  I also remember Harry broke his arm one day when he was doing something to the engine.  I know we used to have some photos or slides - goodness knows what happened to them.
The jetty at Ocean Grange

Josie the Joey

Not really our pet, but we once babysat (or should that be roosat) for our friends the Shillings.  They were caring for an orphaned baby wallaby, and when they went away we looked after Josie for a couple of weeks.  She was gorgeous and it was so special to have her in our back yard.  Eventually Josie was taken to Healesville Sanctuary where she lived out her days.


We always had a pet of some sort when I was growing up.  I don't think I can remember all of them, but I do remember Tiny the dog.  She was a stray that we adopted - a long-haired terrier of some sort.  I don't remember that Tiny was particularly a barker, but Mrs. Milligan obviously did because eventually we had to have Tiny put down because Etta complained about her barking.
Mrs. Evans next door always had cats, and we had at least one of the kittens - a trio of kittens were called Whiskey, Line and Soda - I think Whiskey became ours, but I'm not quite sure.  Then there was Coconut, a white kitten.  When we had Coconut we also acquired a miniature dachshund cross which we called Ruff - Coconut Ruff!  This was Ruff a few days after we got her - we went to an Aquatic Carnival at the Hazelwood Pondage.  This photo was taken by the photographer from the local paper.  I also remember that Ruff got very brave and chased a horse that day!
This was Ruff when she was older and a bit bigger.

We also had a rosella (I think) in the aviary beside the playhouse.  And at various times we had budgies.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Young Adult Fellowship!  Oh, how one longed to turn 13 so you could join YAF.  This was the Church youth group, but you had to be 13 to join.  How I envied Pam Ratten, because her birthday was in May, and I didn't turn 13 until the August.  YAF was run by the minister, Brian Dowsett - can't remember if other adults were involved.  We had film nights, discos, games nights - can't actually remember what else we did.  It was held on Saturday night in the Church Hall, unless we went somewhere else. We also went on camps, but can't remember if they were YAF activities or just Church activities, the former I think.  The camps were at Banksia Peninsula on the Gippsland Lakes.  I always thought it was called Camp Banksia - but from the little I can find on the net it seems it may be called Camp Cormorant.
I dearly remember the outdoor altar on the banks of Lake Victoria - particularly one beautiful dawn service on Easter Sunday, where we were joined by kangaroos.  I also remember a trainee minister who was with us on one camp (can't remember his name though) who said Grace for one meal - "Heavenly Pa! Ta! Amen."  Wish I could find a photo somewhere, especially of the altar.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Yallourn Hospital

I was born in the Yallourn Hospital - there wasn't one in Morwell in 1953.  I used to show Susan where I was born on our way to visit her Nan - and pointed to the Open Cut Coal Mine which eventually swallowed up the Yallourn Hospital.

I don't ever remember seeing the hospital myself, even though we went to Yallourn often when I was a child.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Going back in time now.  When I was about 6 I guess I began ballet lessons.  Actually, it was ballet and tap at first, but I soon gave up tap and just learnt ballet.  I can't remember how long I went to lessons but it was a couple of years.  I loved it, so don't know why I stopped.  My teacher was Marie Morden, and although she also lived in Morwell the lessons were held at Kernot Hall in Yallourn.  We had concerts here too.
Kernot Hall, Yallourn
I remember that Marie used to say she could always tell how far up we raised our legs when doing one position because she could see the trail of coal dust up our opposite leg.  I used to travel to Yallourn with Marie.
Aunty Joan paid for my lessons, despite living in England.  She was a dancer herself.

My First Job

When I asked Mum and Dad if I could go on the Geography excursion to Broken Hill I was told I could, but I had to pay for much of it myself.  That meant I had to get a Saturday morning job.  Dad knew Mr Norman Sharpe, owner of Sharpe's Emporium, an institution in Morwell.  Before I knew it I had a job.  It paid less than $2 for 3 hours work - 9:00am to 12:00 noon.  Dad made up the pay to $2 each week, and that paid for my trip.  I didn't spend a penny of my pay before I went away.  I think the trip cost about $40 all up.
Sharpe's!  What a place.  According to the Morwell Historical Society - * Sharpe's Drapery Store - Established in Commercial Road in 1924, ceased trading in 1984.  I began work there in 1963, about mid-year I think.  I spent some time in the Men's Wear Department, some in Haberdashery, but most of my time in the Ladies' Underwear Department.  One of the jobs for all the Casuals on Saturday morning was to unload Mr. Sharpe's car when he arrived with new stock - especially shoes!  Boxes and boxes of shoes which immediately went on sale for $2 a pair.  Over the years I had numerous pairs of shoes from the Saturday morning arrivals!  I'm sure some of the stock in the shop had been there since 1924!
This from the Morwell Historical Society newsletter of April 2009:
Latrobe Valley Express
18th May 1966
Over $120,000 has been spent by Mr. Norman Sharpe, proprietor of Sharpe’s Emporium, Morwell, in reconstruction and re-fitting of the department store in the last six years.
The latest renovations, which cost $40,000, have given the emporium situated in the heart of Morwell’s commercial world, a modern display window front plus extensive interior alterations.
To mark the “new look”, Sharpe’s are conducting a special opening day sale, commencing next Wednesday, May 25.
On the opening day the eldest of the Sharpe brothers, who helped establish the original Gippsland store at Sale 50 years ago, will be in attendance.
The Sale business, which was sold only eight years ago, preceded the Morwell store by nine years.
In the 41 years which have followed, Sharpes Emporium has progressed with the times.
“With the $120,000 I’ve spent in providing better facilities and display room since 1960 I could have bought all the land in Commercial road in 1925”, Mr Sharp recalls with a grin. In those days the price was around £5 per block.
He started in a small shop with one lad and a girl as assistants, eventually purchasing adjacent premises from a saddler and a grocer.  Today the Emporium, which boasts a wide range of mercery at extremely competitive prices, employs a permanent staff of 45.
Mr. Sharp says he is able to provide the valley with bargain prices because of both a long association with the trade, and the fact that he is in daily contact with manufacturers and fashion houses.
He spends two days per week in Morwell, where the store is under the management of Mr. Albert Robinson. Mr Sharpe and his family were closely associated with a store in Northcote known as “The Beehive” and today is closely associated with Norman’s in Bourke Street Melbourne.
Sharpe's Emporium, Morwell - 1970s
Before I began work in the shop I remember it used to have a unique system of sending cash to the cashier in the office.  This was a a sort of flying fox arrangement where the money and docket was put in a tube and sent whizzing away overhead to the cashier who would send back the change if required.  We used cash registers by the time I worked there.
At the end of my first year in the store I was offered a holiday position, so I worked full time for the six weeks of the school holidays.  It may have been longer as I remember that if we had a job to go to we could leave school a couple of weeks earlier than the end of term.
Previously Norman's Corner Stores, Bourke Street
At the end of Form 6 I was in a quandry, because Mr. Sharpe offered me a holiday job in the office of the Morwell store, or a shop assistant's position in his Melbourne store.  Although I would have loved to work in the office, I opted for the Melbourne position.  By this time I had become a personal friend of Mr. Sharpe and his driver Max.  I often used to get a lift to Melbourne with them when they returned after the shop closed at lunchtime on Saturday.  I would go to Melbourne to stay with friends and return on the train on Sunday night.  When I was working in the Melbourne store Max used to take me to lunch at different hotels around the city.  I didn't realise it at the time, but I think he was courting me - whereas I only saw him as a good friend.  Norman's Corner Stores was on the corner of Bourke and Russell Street in the city.  It was several floors high, and each floor was a different department.  I worked in the Ladies' Wear department.
Norman's Corner Stores, Bourke Street

It was a sad day when Mr. Sharpe died, and even sadder still when his children sold the Morwell store.  They had a massive sale - but they had taken all the quality stock back to the Melbourne shop so that all that was left for the sale in Morwell was outdated items that no-one really wanted.  As I said, I'm sure some of it had been there since the store opened in 1924!  Norman's Corner store in Melbourne operated for some time, but it too has now gone.  Looks like it is now a Hungry Jack's!

Scroll to page 61 of this document to read some interesting facts about Norman's Corner Stores as a Heritage Building.

Geography Trip to Broken Hill

In Form 4 we were given the opportunity to go on a bus trip to Broken Hill as a Geography Excursion.  Not sure how long we were away.  I think my geography teacher then was Ross Hartnell - although he may have been my Form 5 and / or 6 teacher.  I think we went to the Wimmera, then to Broken Hill.  I remember Mallee scrub, and the mine at Broken Hill.  The bus driver was Bluey - and believe it or not he was the driver when I later went on a bus trip to Western Australia when I was at College.
At Broken Hill we went for a drive out to Silverton to see Mrs. Alfonso's Felspar mine.  I remember we drove along dry creek beds for some reason -  but we got stuck and had to reverse back and continue on the roads.
We also went to Mootwingee Gorge where we saw some Aboriginal cave paintings.
Here is a link to some beautiful pictures of Mootwingee Gorge.
Mootwingee Gorge
We also went to the Opal mining town of White Cliffs - much of which is actually underground.  Very desolate.
White Cliffs

I really enjoyed the trip.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Morwell High School

Well, I wouldn't have believed it - hardly a mention of it with any information on the web.  Did find this picture.
If I had $1 for every time I've walked through these doors I'd be rich!  The room on the right was the needlework room, and on the left was the Home Economics centre.

I started at MHS in 1965.  The Principal was Mr Ivan Theodore Maddern.  I believe his headstone may read thus: Hus of Elsie (nee JONES); father of Marian, Dorothy & Philippa; 2nd son of Esther (105) & David (106). "Educator, Esperantist, Historian - A man ahead of his time"  I would agree.  He was a controversial man with many ideas ahead of his time.  For instance, he introduced a Study Day - can't remember at what year level it came into force, but it meant we only had lessons on four days a week, with the fifth day for private study, homework etc.  He also thought examinations were abominable and an unfair way of assessing students' abilities.  So I had no exams until I got to Form 5 and 6 when we had to sit the State exams for Leaving and Matriculation.  Our assessments were cumulative throughout the year.  But he was a very authoritative man with some decided ideas about what was acceptable and what wasn't.  I remember one male student a couple of years ahead of me who had long hair.  After refusing to have his hair cut he was expelled.  It was two years later that Laurie returned to complete his schooling.  He was then in our Form 5 class.  Ivan T also had firm ideas about boy / girl relationships.  The school captains lost their positions when he saw them talking to each other (they were an 'item' I believe) outside her house one weekend.  I still have a copy of a letter sent to all parents 'explaining' how important the matriculation year was, and how parents were NOT to expect students to do chores around the house, nor allow them to socialise as these activities would detract from their studies.  He also decreed that girls were only allowed to walk to and from school with their brothers - no other males.

John Murfett

Some of the other teachers I remember (most fondly, some less so) were Elsie McMaster, Ian Fry, Madmoiselle Harney, Peter Caplan,  Sue Smith (? Art Teacher), Glenys Hartnell and her husband, Sally Milner, Max Alvin, John Murfett, Peter Pickburn, Mr Creagh, Mr Withoos, Mr Winkler, Mr Day, Mr Clemens, Mr Traill, Mr Edmonson, Miss Benjafield, Mrs Lawrence, Mrs Dennis, Mrs Cafiso and Mrs McLaren.  I still keep in touch with Glenys Hartnell, now Glenys Warner.  We met up at a Principal Accreditation Program - she was being accredited as a Vice Principal in a large secondary school, I was being accredited as a Principal of a small rural school, but we undertook the same program.

I remember being allowed to go home on the day Man first walked on the moon, so we could watch it on TV as there was only one TV in the school library and we wouldn't have all fitted.

In Form 4 I went on an excursion to Broken Hill.  More of that in another post methinks.

Esperanto!  As stated on Ivan T's headstone, he was an Esperantist, with grand ideas about the value of the so-called International language.  I still remember the first line of Waltzing Matilda - Kai lee kantis kum lee kushas apud billabong - not sure of the spelling though.  Just found this on the net - my line doesn't appear exactly as I remember it (should be the line "And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled" - although on reflection billy boiled and billabong are two different animals!)
Gaja vagabondo kampis apud bilabong
kie la Coolabah ombris por li
kaj li kantis atende gxis bolos en la billipot
Vi vagas valsa Matilda kun mi

Venis sxafido por trinki en la bilabong
kaptis vagulo kun gxoj` plena kri`
kaj li kantis sxovante la sxafon al la mangxosak`
Vi vagas valsa Matilda kun mi

Aperis farmisto sur pursanga al cxeval
Venis gxendarmo unu, du, tri
"Kies bela sxafo, tiu en la mangxosak"
Vi vagas valsa Matilda kun mi

Tuj la vagoulo saltis al la bilabong
"Vi vane kaptas vi min," diris li.
Kaj fantomon vi auxdos pasante cxe la bilabong.
Vi vagas valsa Matilda kun mi.

A.B. Paterson
Trad. En Esperanto: Ralph Harry
 Here's an audio version. 

Trouble was, Ivan had to cajole other teachers into taking the classes - he taught them the lesson one day,and they taught it to us the next!  We had one text book, and we began at page 1 in Form 1, and began at the same page 1 in Form 2.  It is the only subject in which I ever 'cheated' - as did most of the class.  Sorry Ivan, but we thought it was a bit of a joke.  It was a compulsory subject in Form 1 and 2, in Form 3 if we took French we also had to take Esperanto.  In Form 4 I opted out of French because although I enjoyed the subject I didn't particularly like the teacher - but guess what, that year if you didn't take French you had to take Esperanto.  I was finally free of it in Form 5.  But in four years we only ever used the one text book, and always started from page 1!  It was a small tan coloured soft covered book.
Learn more about Esperanto here.

Another innovation of Ivan's - for which I bless him - was his belief that everyone should know how to type.  In those days once you got to Form 3 you began to specialise depending on which direction you were heading.  For those (usually girls) wanting to go into commerce such as the bank or as secretaries they took the commercial subjects like typing and shorthand.  Those wanting to go into the professions took the professional subjects like English Literature, Geography, History etc.  But we all got to do Personal Typing.  We weren't expected to become proficient touch typists, and only had one lesson per week instead of many like the Commercial classes but we were taught the correct fingering and could attempt speed tests if we wished.  I remember I achieved 25 words per minute.  I don't use all the proper fingering, but I am not a hunt and peck typist, and do use both hands.

In those days we had Prefects who had certain responsibilities, but also privileges, such as the Prefects Room where we could store our books and go for quiet study when we had a free period.  I was a Prefect, and still have my badge in a box in the spare bedroom.  Also have my prefect ribbon that was sewn onto our blazer, and my school badge.

Adult Baptism

I've already mentioned the Church of Christ.  This Church played a big part in my growing up.  I went to Sunday School every week from a very young age - not sure when I started.  Mum, and possibly Dad, taught at Sunday School too.  Then we went to Church for the rest of the morning.

Mr and Mrs Armstrong are the first minister and his wife that I remember.  Her name was Dot, his name was Don????  They had three children I think.

I think they were followed by Brian Dowsett and his wife Margaret.  Brian was known as "Big Red" because of his red hair and he was rather tall.  They had no children when they arrived to take up the ministry, but children followed later.

It was during Brian's ministry that I made my decision to follow Jesus - in the Church of Christ babies aren't baptised or christened.  Rather people make their own decision to follow Christ.  This is (was) done as part of the evening service.  The Invitation hymn was sung and if there was anyone in the congregation who was ready to make their decision they went to the front of the Church.  I was probably a bit younger than most as I was only 11, but it was a big decision for me, and I meant it as sincerely as anyone else.  I was baptised by immersion on 12 April 1964.  The Church had an immersion pool located in the vestry behind the Church proper - there were sliding doors which allowed the congregation to view the baptism.  The floor was removed during the day of the baptism, the pool was filled with water which was then warmed in preparation for the baptism that evening.  The minister and the person being baptised wore white robes, just like in this picture.  Mum and Dad gave me my own copy of the Church Hymn Book on the occasion of my baptism.  After baptism one was able to take communion.

This was the Invitation Hymn on the night I made my decision.

All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

    I surrender all,
      I surrender all.
    All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
        I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken;
Take me, Jesus, take me now.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel Thy Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power,
Let Thy blessing fall on me.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Now I feel the sacred flame.
Oh, the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory to His name!

After Brian and Margaret the Minister was Mr. Pavey (Peter?).  Can't remember his wife's name.  From memory they didn't stay long, but I can't remember who replaced them.

Do I still go to Church?  In short - no.  The Church of Christ in Morwell was very special - everyone was very friendly, and they made newcomers very welcome.  It was just part of what going to Church meant.  When I moved to Geelong to go to teachers' College I went to a Church of Christ there - expecting things to be the same.  I don't know how many weeks I went, but no-one ever welcomed me, spoke to me, or even acknowledged that there was someone new in the congregation.  I continued to go to Church when I went home for the weekend and holidays, but not in Geelong.  My experience in Geelong made me wary of trying again in another Church, so after my marriage I stopped going to Church regularly.  There are times when I feel I would like to go again, but so far I haven't done so.

I was married in the Church of Christ in Morwell, by the then Minister Donald Thomas.  And my first husband's funeral service was conducted by the minister in 1990 (whose name escapes me.)

Playing School

From a very early age I wanted to be a teacher.  I guess it must have started after I actually went to school, but I know that a lot of my games revolved around teaching my dolls.  I was in 7th Heaven when Maisie and Harold Fullarton moved into Livingstone Street.  Harold was a policeman, and he boarded with us for a few months when he was first stationed at Morwell.  His wife Maisie was a teacher, and she joined him, at the end of the year I suppose and they moved into a house further down our street.  I used to visit Maisie all the time to talk about teaching.  She showed me what a teacher's Work Program looked like, and I used to write up my own programs just the same.
The playhouse was the perfect place to play school.

I only briefly thought about being anything other than a teacher - when John was talking about going into the Navy I thought that sounded rather exciting too.  I was in Form 4 at the time, and seriously investigated the Navy as an option.  But I also applied for a Teaching Bursary and decided that if I got a bursary I would be a teacher, if I didn't I would join the Navy.  Needless to say I got a bursary for Form 5, and another for Form 6 so I went to Teachers' College.

As a bursary recipient I was obliged to apply for each and every course that would lead to a teaching career.  In those days, Primary Teachers went to teachers' College, while those aspiring to be Secondary Teachers went to University.  There was no way I wanted to be a Secondary Teacher, nor got to Uni, so I only applied for a place at Teachers' Colleges.  I figured that if my marks weren't good enough to get me my first preferences then they wouldn't be good enough to get me a Uni place anyway, so why waste time (and money?? can't remember if there was any cost involved) applying for Uni places.

I obtained a place at Geelong Teachers' College - but that is for another post.

Sunday, July 31, 2011


I think everyone who knows anything about me knows that I am a Pooh aficionado.  I have loved all things Pooh since I was about five years old when my aunt Joan sent me, from England, a set of four books - Winnie-The-Pooh, The House At Pooh Corner, When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six.  I think they came at different times rather than as a set, but I loved them all.  The first two are the A. A. Milne stories, the others are the poems.  I think the poems were my favourite.  It helped that Mum and Dad bought us a record of the When We Were Very Young poems - I learned my favourites off by heart.  The record came from The World Record Club, and this was the cover.  I still have it, and when I work out how to use Jim's analogue to digital record player I will record it as an mp3.  One of my very favourite poems was Vespers - it goes like this:
Little Boy kneels at the foot of the bed,
Droops on the little hands little gold head.
Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares!
Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.

God bless Mummy. I know that's right.
Wasn't it fun in the bath to-night?
The cold's so cold, and the hot's so hot.
Oh! God bless Daddy - I quite forgot.

If I open my fingers a little bit more,
I can see Nanny's dressing-gown on the door.
It's a beautiful blue, but it hasn't a hood.
Oh! God bless Nanny and make her good.

Mine has a hood, and I lie in bed,
And pull the hood right over my head,
And I shut my eyes, and I curl up small,
And nobody knows that I'm there at all.

Oh! Thank you, God, for a lovely day.
And what was the other I had to say?
I said "Bless Daddy," so what can it be?
Oh! Now I remember it. God bless Me.

Little Boy kneels at the foot of the bed,
Droops on the little hands little gold head.
Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares!
Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.

Another favourite was The King's Breakfast.  It goes like this:

The King’s Breakfast

By A. A. Milne

     The King asked
     The Queen, and
     The Queen asked
     The Dairymaid:
     “Could we have some butter for
     The Royal slice of bread?”
     The Queen asked
     The Dairymaid,
     The Dairymaid
     Said, “Certainly,
     I’ll go and tell
     The cow
     Before she goes to bed.”
     The Dairymaid
     She curtsied,
     And went and told
     The Alderney:
     “Don’t forget the butter for
     The Royal slice of bread.”
     The Alderney
     Said sleepily:
     “You’d better tell
     His Majesty
     That many people nowadays
     Like marmalade
     The Dairymaid
     Said, “Fancy!”
     And went to
     Her Majesty.
     She curtsied to the Queen, and
     She turned a little red:
     “Excuse me,
     Your Majesty,
     For taking of
     The liberty,
     But marmalade is tasty, if
     It’s very
     The Queen said
     And went to
     His Majesty:
     “Talking of the butter for
     The Royal slice of bread,
     Many people
     Think that
     Is nicer.
     Would you like to try a little

     The King said,
     And then he said,
     “Oh, dear me!”
     The King sobbed, “Oh, deary me!”
     And went back to bed.
     He whimpered,
     “Could call me
     A fussy man;
     I only want
     A little bit
     Of butter for
     My bread!”

     The Queen said,
     “There, there!”
     And went to
     The Dairymaid.
     The Dairymaid
     Said, “There, there!”
     And went to the shed.
     The cow said,
     “There, there!
     I didn’t really
     Mean it;
     Here’s milk for his porringer
     And butter for his bread.”
     The Queen took
     The butter
     And brought it to
     His Majesty;
     The King said,
     “Butter, eh?”
     And bounced out of bed.
     “Nobody,” he said,
     As he kissed her
     “Nobody,” he said,
     As he slid down
     The banisters,
     My darling,
     Could call me
     A fussy man—
I do like a little bit of butter to my bread!

Here is a Wikipedia reference to the book When We Were Very Young and one to Now We Are Six

I have quite a collection of Winnie-The-Poohs now.  My favourites are the classic Poohs rather than the Disney ones, although I love Disney's Eeyore.  Probably my favourite is this one - a Gund Classic Pooh.  I actually have two - not sure where I got the first, but the second came from a second hand stall at a market in Portland and cost me all of $5!  Susan also sent me a lovely classic Pooh from America when she was there.

Church of Christ

I always went to Church when I was growing up - in fact did so until I went away to College at 18.  In my teen years I often went twice - once in the morning because it was the main service, and once at night because it was more informal and I really enjoyed it.  Mind you, all services at the Church of Christ were more informal than anything at the Church of England or Catholic churches.
This photo was taken in April 2000.  It is just as I remember it.  To the right of the Church was the Hall.  At some time in the 70s the two buildings were joined with an extension that connected them, and provided indoor toilets and a modernised kitchen.
I believe the building is now a private house, since the Church moved to another location.

This article about the Church came from the Morwell Historical Society newsletter of June 2003:

Meetings were initially held in the Scout Hall led by Mr. J. G. Shaw. The Shire
Council approved plans in July 1950 for the construction of a new church building. 
The site selected was near the corner of Church and Winifred Streets, diagonally opposite the site of the “La Mode” clothing factory.  The final service conducted at the Scout Hall occurred on Sunday, 2nd. November 1952.
The Winifred Street Chapel was officially dedicated on Saturday, 8th. November 1952, the service which began at 3.30 p.m. was led by Mr. W. W. Saunders, President of the Victorian Churches of Christ.  Also in attendance were Canon Phillips (Anglican Church), Rev. G. Williams (Baptist Church), Rev. R. Hunt (Methodist Church), the Shire of Morwell was represented by the president - Cr. Alan Hall.
The Chapel was built by the congregation. 
The honour of turning the key in the door went to two stalwarts of the church, Mr. E. H. Reid and Mrs. C. Blucher.  After the dedication service a special Tea was held at the Town Hall from 5 p.m.   A special service of “Praise and Thanksgiving” began at 7 p.m.  The guest speaker at this service was Mr. E. L. Williams, M.A., principal of the College of the Bible, which was located in Glen Iris.
The church hall was officially opened on Sunday 27th. November 1955. 
The hall was also built by volunteer labour.
Source: “Morwell Advertiser”
The Historical Society also had this article about the 40th Anniversary of the Church on a 2005 newsletter.  I remember each of these people from my childhood.  If I remember correctly Sue Lacey came to the Church on my wedding day to see me married.


I was one of the lucky ones - I went to Kinder.  This was located in Vincent Road near the corner of Churchill Road.  because it was so close I remember being allowed to walk to Kinder by myself.  I used to go down the lane, then over Churchill Road to the empty paddock on the other side, then across the paddock to the Kinder.
I loved doing paintings on big sheets of butcher paper held up on easels - just like these two girls.
 I also remember the Wendy House corner, where we dressed up and played House.  It wasn't exactly the same as this, but did have wooden cupboards and appliances.
The Kinder was next to the Infant Welfare Centre, where Mum used to go with us as babies for our check ups.  I remember going there once and playing with the toys while Mum was talking to the Sister with John.  When it came time to leave Mum asked me what I should say - meaning, thank you for letting me play with the toys.  I clearly remember saying "Thank You", and then attempting to take the toy I had in my hand away with me.  I can't exactly remember what it was, but have vague recollections of it being something made of tin cans and wood.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Li'l Bruvver

Not so little any more!  John Loring SULLIVAN was born on 27th July (I won't divulge the year in case he is sensitive!).  I was about to turn 2.  Mum and Dad took me to Nan's place for a couple of weeks while they had, and settled in with, the new addition to the family.  Apparently I didn't want to know them when they came to collect me.

This is one of the earliest photos of John and I together.  It was taken in our back yard.

This is one of the latest photos of the two of us together!  At least I can say I have more hair again now (because it it slowly growing back) - but so does John because his beard is growing back.  He had shaved it off to raise money for the Leukemia Foundation.  No more on top though!

The Kitchen

As I write one post it often makes me think of something else - this time, talking about the strap reminded me of our kitchen.  It was a typical 50s kitchen, with multi-coloured cupboard doors, a sink below the window, formica bench tops, and table and chairs just like in this photo.
We had shadow boxes just like this one (not sure if they were in the kitchen though - more like the loungeroom) and appliances and cannisters just like these.  Our cupboards and drawers were painted different colours.  But the fridge was pretty much like this one.  And we ate in the kitchen, not a dining room (or loungeroom as so often happens these days).  I only remember an electric stove and oven, but perhaps when the house was first built (which wasn't long before I was born in 1953) there was a wood stove, because I seem to remember that the oven was in an alcove under a chimney.  I'm sure there was a chimney because I remember the day a bird got into the kitchen via the chimney, frightened John and he (literally) had a fit - biting Mum's finger as she tried to keep him from swallowing his tongue.
Eventually Dad recessed the fridge into a cavity made into my bedroom, so that the door was flush with the wall and the fridge itself didn't protrude into the kitchen.