way out, you know, the back past Lady Davidson’s home. My parents had quite a big size property and they raised chickens and dogs and horses and cattle. And I had three older brothers. They were born before the war and then my sister and I were born after Dad came back and, but he couldn’t work any more. He’d been a doctor but
blown up in France. So they had this property and we lived on there. Had a wonderful free life, running round bare footed and snakes and lizards and what not. It was quite good. We quite really, quite enjoyed it. And then we moved after, I think I must have been about eight or nine before we came down to the city
and then we lived in Chatswood for a while and then out to Concord West. And went to school in from Concord West and by this time I was at high school. And I went into Fort Street and we went by electric train, which was a change after steam trains. Because from Turramurra we used to get, you usually came into town on a horse and sulky, then a steam train to Milsons
Point, and then a ferry to Circular Quay, and then a tram up to town. And that was you know, almost a day out before you started doing anything. But we only every came down usually Christmas to go to the Christmas things at Marcus Clarke’s or Anthony Horden’s and, or to, my father used to take us to shows. To the
Gilbert and Sullivan shows or any of the other lives shows that were on, which were good. A good introduction for future life, I think. And after we went through schooling at Fort Street, what’d I do then? Oh then I would’ve liked to go on to university but it wasn’t possible in those days,
and in my life then for I became a lady cub master at the cubs. But first of all I was a Bagheera and then I was Akela, and that’s where I met Mick. When I was about, just after I was nearly eighteen I met him and we belonged to the scouts’ younger set and to the church. We had a fellowship with the church
and we’d have a, well I think most of our entertainment was intertwined then between the scouts and the church because we all belonged to each thing, to the same things. Although the Methodists also joined in with the Anglicans, and we all went to the scouts and Mick was a cub master, a scout master, so that’s where I met him.
And so we, I sort of thought, I’d heard about this chap called Mick and then I heard of somebody called Leith, and I wonder if Leith, what he looks like? Might sort of be an improvement on Mick. But I found out it was the same chap, so I was stuck. So, and then of course, the war came ’39 and
Mick was working, and then in 1940 he joined the air force and the week after he joined up. I had said to him earlier I’d never be just engaged. It was married or nothing. So he didn’t like that idea, so he said, “Well, we’ll get married.” So then we had to confront our parents. Who at first my
father was much against it, but by the time the day wore on, that night when Mick threw his hat in to see if he was welcome, he said, “I’ve booked a hall. I’ve booked a cake.” I’ve done this, I’ve done that. He was all for the wedding. So that’s what happened. We were married in 1940. So it’s nearly 63 years we’ve been married in July. And
then Mick was on what they called the reserve. In those days it was air crew, called the air crew reservists and they had to do lectures and different navigation, all what he had to do. And then in the meantime I’d joined up with Mrs McKenzie’s
WT Office. She had a school for wireless telegraphists and we learned Morse code. ‘Cause I thought, well I’m sure women will be accepted some time. Although at the time the government said, “No women are going to be in the services other than the nursing service.” And then after Mick went into the air force in
early 1942, I’m sorry ’41, they did start the women’s air force and they took WT operators and cooks and stewards, I think stewardesses. And so we had to do pass our twenty words a minute and when we passed our twenty words a minute we were accepted into the WAAAF [Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force]. And
I was in the first fifty WAAAF joined up in, went for my test at the end of March but didn’t get called up until the 30th of April. And then the air force thought we were just wonderful. But we still had to do some more tests in Sydney and some of the girls went down to Melbourne
straight away. I didn’t go down to Melbourne till much later and they put me into a shipping comp [company] to do the shipping for sending the chaps overseas. And that was the wing commander and myself, and we had to do the secret job of not letting people know when boats, ships were going. And we would, a lot, the men, their berths, etcetera,
on the ships. And unfortunately one or two, one particularly the [MV] Oranje. That was when Jack Davies’ father was the captain of it, and it went down not far out of New Zealand and fortunately that was the boat Mick would’ve been on if they…but he didn’t go till the next ship. So
that was you know, something but we did know some of the chaps that were there. And then when he was going the Americans of course weren’t in the war but they allowed their [SS] Mariposa and [SS] Monterey to have servicemen in the air crew who were going to Canada to do their training, they allowed so many to go and…
But they had to be treated as private people, they weren’t treated. Nobody was supposed to know about this. It was all secret. Anyway, Mick went on the Monterey and I was able to put him in a decent cabin with two other chaps, and they had a state cabin to go on, and the wing commander asked me would I go down to see the boat off? And I said, “No, I couldn’t do that,” thinking it was a
very secret thing. Then Mick tells me all the women knew all about it and they were all down there. But I couldn’t have, it was about five o’clock in the morning but apart from that, no, I couldn’t come at that. I thought that’s too much, too hard to take. And so he set off, then I went down to Melbourne to get my rookies. And then from rookies I changed
over, I didn’t want to do WT then and then I went into fighter sector, and we did our course and then we worked underground in Sydney. First of all we came up to Bankstown and we were at Bankstown for about two months working there and we were working and by this time the Americans had come into the war and
they were sending their pilots out. Which was supposed to be all hush hush but everybody knew they were there. I mean how can you tell? There were thousands of them wandering around that they weren’t there. That we had to teach them the geography of Australia ‘cause they had no idea about anything of Australia. I mean as far as we were concerned we were some little
island way away from America, and they really didn’t want to be there. So we were stationed right on there at the aerodrome. We were right on there beside the hangers, which was pretty scary when we were doing our fighter sector work and plotting. Some horrible accidents happened there. And then we were moved into town and we worked underground.
You know the Mitchell Library? We worked underground just outside where the Mitchell Library is now. There were eighty-seven steps down and eighty-seven steps back. It was one of the where the eastern suburbs railway was going to go through and this part, just one of these tunnels, just wasn’t used. So it was made into our working area and we had no
water, no toilets, no anything. And we were stationed at the Metropol Hotel and the Yanks were all there. And we were up on the fifth floor which was guarded very much by the, the guards were always on duty to make sure the Yanks didn’t wander up our way. But we had to eat their food. At four o’clock in the morning. We went on shift
at five and came off at six or went on at six at night and came off at five in the morning, and at four o’clock in the morning they expected us to eat a chocolate cake with scrambled eggs, a piece of fruit salad and maple syrup over the whole lot. Well, that was a bit more than we could take, just so. And a friend of mine who, we shared
a room together, we rushed out on our next day off and bought a little billy can and one of those, a little fire that you put kerosene in, no methylated spirits, I mean we’d got into trouble, and those biscuits from David Jones and that was our breakfast and we thought that was much more appetising that this other stuff we were supposed to be… And then when at night we came off we
had their meals again, we sort of moved some of the food around so that we didn’t have to eat some of it. And then you’d have you know B B and J – bread, butter and jam. And the jams were always in these dixies and you’d go through it to find out you might have six types of jam. Instead of cleaning them out each day they just put another tin of jam on top. So you either had, you might have quince jam at the bottom
and raspberry jam and plum jam. It was you know you’re guess as to what you were gonna have on your bread. But we managed you know, it was all fun. But our work was very, very difficult. Mainly because we were down underground all the time and we would be doing the plotting of all the ships.
It was mainly for the shipping so we could send the aircraft out on strike and they would either convoy the ships or we were looking for submarines. And when we found the submarines they’d have to go out. And unfortunately, I don’t know whether you’ve read about it, but we lost a lot of shipping up the coast and mainly the local shipping. You know, that went from Sydney to Byron Bay to
Lismore, Murwillumbah down the coast. And because they were small ships and unfortunately one of them, a very close friend of mine, her father was the captain of one. The [MV] Ukai I think it was called, and he was lost at sea,
which was very unfortunate. And by this time I was a corporal. I was allowed to sit up on the poop, what we called the poop deck, it was up on top. And I had to tell the girls where to move the plotting table, where to move all the things too. It was, although hard work, we did enjoy the company of each other and I
think that meant for so many of those girls, we were all girls, are still friends and that’s where we cemented that friendship. Because we lived so closely and worked so closely we’ve sort of all had over our life lots of sadness, lots of happiness but we were able to be together and I think that’s
meant so much today. When particularly one of our friends happened to leave us we are all greatly affected. And I think that’s, I think I’ve always felt I was closer to some of these than even my sister. Because we had so much time together and lived together and worked and played together and went everywhere. And then as time went by, I, then
was on duty the subs came in the harbour. And I had the boom across the harbour and I felt there was something funny going on and we heard this. We could pick this up on the radar. Anyway, the American captain said I wouldn’t know the difference between a fish and a submarine. Between a shark and a submarine.
Anyway, what happened later was he was very uptight about and I had written all this in my logbook. And he wanted my logbook and I wouldn’t give it to him. So I rang the Eastern Area which was at Point Piper and the AOC [Air Officer Commanding] sent down and wanted my logbook. And they took it away
and this American captain wasn’t seen again. Disappeared, so we don’t know what happened, but we guessed. We also had a horrible experience one night where one of the chaps went berserk. One of the captains had a gun and he shot all round the table, and so I had to yell out to the girls to get under the table and stay
there. And I called the MPs [Military Police] and they came in and took the captain away. But there were marks all round the table and all up in the dais where I was, but it was a perspex, so it didn’t get broken. And I’d put the chair up on top of the thing so he couldn’t climb up the ladder, but it was quite a frightening experience we had. But well, that was part of life.
We know what the other chaps were going through much worse than what we were because so many awful things’d been happening at the time. Particularly in Europe, and then up in the Islands, so we felt well, we were just having a little bit of what they experienced, but only a tiny fraction. But also when we were at the Metropol, one of the girls heard a noise
like Morse code, she called me in and we found we could hear this Morse going on. So I had to, I was the only one who could read it, so I had to climb up out of her window up into the two deck part and they called, the Yanks came in and they had torches and searchlights and I had to take down the reading and it was all in code.
Anyway, we discovered later it was somebody sending messages to the Japanese. I never knew who he was. Never found out because it was just after that I was called up, and it was after the incident with the subs I was called up to Point Piper and I thought I’m being batted. I didn’t know what I was being called up for, and the Group Officer Stephenson was there and the air vice marshal
was there and I thought, “Gosh, you know, I suppose they’re gonna chuck me out.” And they asked me all questions and at the end of it they said, “Just sign this, we want to you go down for you to be an officer.” I sort of said, “But I didn’t apply, I didn’t want to be an officer.” And they said, “Well, I’m sorry but you’re going down onto the next course.” So I went down on the next course to Melbourne. And did our four-five
weeks’ course. We were at stationed at the university at Melbourne. Melbourne University, and the… After the course, it was quite a strenuous course I found. We had to learn quite a lot of things that we didn’t know about. We had no idea where we were going after it of course.
And then when we’d finished I was chosen to go onto the operations room of course. I was told that although mostly people with mathematics degrees and university degrees were picked for this course. And I said, “Well I’m only an ordinary leaving certificate person. I’m not very clever in any of those things.” Anyway, I was sent on the course and there were eighteen men and myself
did the course. I was the only woman. And I’d found that two other women had done it previously but they were very highly graduated women. But I did the course, it was also in Melbourne. We did all the navigation aircraft reconnaissance shipping reconnaissance everything that dealt with operations
all the men you know, they were all so clever and I just felt that well, I was going to be sort of outdone by them. I came top in quite a few of the subjects which were new to me but I did work hard to do them. And we were stationed, the men were in barracks but I had to live out because they didn’t have anywhere for a
woman to be on the course, so I had to find some accommodation out of, away from where we were doing our training. But I soon found that they soon found it for me. But you know, it was hard living there because it was a big old residence that had been taken over by the government and a lot of the people living there were families, that, they were refugees from various countries,
and I was the only servicewoman there and it was very hard. They’d want to ask questions of what you were doing and of course I’d say, “I’m just working in an office and I don’t do really very much.” And if they asked you anything you had to say, “Well, I don’t know about that.” No, I hadn’t heard about that, and you just
couldn’t, you know. You acted so dumb that they must of thought golly, if that’s what the people are like running the war then who’s going to win? But it was just very, very hard to talk about anything, and so I got to the point of just going straight to my room and forgetting about meals. Just thinking well, I just can’t face that any more. Well, we eventually finished the course and I was told
I was being transferred to, I was going to go to Townsville which I was quite excited about. But when it came to there were two men and myself. The two men went to Townsville and I went to Eastern Area, at Point Piper. So I went to do operations room there with one other lady who worked there too. She did on one shift and I was on the other and most of our shifts were six o’clock
in the morning till nine. Pardon me. Nine o’clock in the morning till six o’clock at night, and then the next shift was six o’clock at night till nine o’clock in the morning. So one was a short shift and one was a long shift. And we did that, we’d do the six till the, nine till six for a week then have a day off and then you’d do the six till nine for a week and have two days. But one
day you slept and one day off. But sometimes if things were going wrong you didn’t get your day off, you had to go back to work, because quite often we’d have a lot of... There again we were doing all the shipping up the coast well then round the whole of the eastern [sea]board, we were sending the men out on strike up as far as Bundaberg, from then on Townsville took over. But we operated
from Bundaberg down to Point Cook and we’d send the ships out with convoys we’d convoy. The only ships we didn’t convoy where the HMS Queen Mary and the HMS Queen Elizabeth because they were far too fast for subs [submarines] to catch up to them anyway. But all the other shipping we had to convoy and we’d send the aircraft on the
strikes or out on convoy and then if anything happened to one of the planes you’d sort of think, “Oh, I hope it wasn’t my error.” Because one second when you went back you could be sixty miles out when in your degrees and you’d sort of check everything to make sure no, it wasn’t your fault. It was just unfortunate that something happened to the plane. But
not through your giving them the directions. And so it was just a most amazing work. And we really did enjoy it once we got into the thing. At the same time they were short in the, I’ve forgotten. The intelligence room, which was next door to us, and so I
helped out or started helping out in the intelligence section as well and so they sort of classed me as being in operations and intelligence. And we would get all the cipher, would send all the codes and we’d have to break codes and get the information out and sometimes it was pretty horrifying some of it. Particularly when I knew some of the
girls that were their boyfriends or their husbands or people we had met. It was often hard to take. Because I suppose we were still reasonably young and never come across some of these things in our life. So we…. Sorry.
But fortunately things got better and then in 1944 in July, July 1944 it was coming up our wedding anniversary on the 13th of July and I thought oh, it would be wonderful if Mick was home. He’d been, he was still over in Europe
and then on the 8th of July I was on duty and we got this red message came in from Amberley and the AOC was in the room and we thought, “Oh, what’s on, what’s happened with Amberley?” And he handed the phone to me and he said, “This is for you.” And I said, “For me?” It’s a red message. And it was Mick. He’d
just arrived in Amberley. And he said they’d asked him to fly a Liberator home from New [York], from America. And of course, he’d never flown a Liberator, he’d only been on Catalinas. And I said, “But how did you get there?” He said, “Oh we landed.” And this was on a Friday afternoon, and he said, “We thought we’d catch the train and come down to
Sydney.” But two things. They said, “No, you’ve just come from overseas after all this time, you’ve got to have an X-ray and a medical. You can’t leave the base until you’ve had your X-ray and your medical, and that can’t be done till Monday morning.” Because they stood down over the weekend. And so he and they…and his second one was they couldn’t catch the train because the train didn’t go until the next day, they’d missed it. It only went ten or eleven o’clock in the morning,
and that was it. So the AOC said, “Well, you’ll have to go to Brisbane and meet him.” And I said, “But how can I?” And he said, “Just a minute.” And there was a plane going to New Guinea he said, that was going up from Melbourne. He said, “I’ll stop it in Sydney, take you up to Brisbane and you can meet your husband.” So he sent me out in his car to Mascot. I had nothing, just my
uniform. No toothbrush, no anything. And he sent me out and the plane stopped and they took some man off and put me on the plane. It stopped at Brisbane, it wasn’t supposed to, took me off the plane and a chap met me and took me into Brisbane in a truck. And in the meantime Mick was to get into Brisbane. And he said, “Where you gonna meet your husband?” And I said, “Well I told him, the GPO [General Post Office] Brisbane.” Because
Mick had never been to Brisbane. He didn’t know Brisbane. I didn’t know that much of. I had been to Brisbane because I did some other work there which I haven’t told you about. And the chap said, “Well, look you can’t, I’ll go round and pick him up.” He said, “I’ll know him because they’re all Negroes that meet at the GPO and I’ll know your husband being in air force uniform.” And so he brought Mick round to the truck and that’s where I met him.
After all that time it was wonderful. We didn’t know where we were staying but they’d arranged that for us to stop in a hotel in Brisbane for two nights, so that was good. I’ll leave Mick to tell the story of that. And then when he’d passed on we were to come down on the train, and on that I
was section officer by this time and when we got to the station the guard said, “Section Officer Flight Lieutenant. She’s a woman.” I said, “Yes, I’m a woman. We’re married.” “Oh,” he says, “That’s what they all say. No you can’t, not in my carriage. You don’t share a cabin in my carriage.” And I said, “But look, we are married.” “No,” he said. So Mick still had only had American dollars,
so handed him a few American dollars and he allowed us to stay in the cabin together in the sleeper. But that was in 1944 and it wouldn’t happen today I can tell you. It’s, so that was our homecoming and he was back for our fourth wedding anniversary, which was really something. And he then, we knew he was going to go up north again.
He was going up north because he was getting his discharge. And I said, “Well, look well you mightn’t get back a second time mate. You’ve got back once, we can’t expect everything.” I said, “Let us have a child and at least I’ve got something. If you don’t come back, I’ve got something to live for.” So we decide that and I became pregnant and I got out of the
air force not till the November 1944, because they didn’t have a replacement for me, so I had to wait till somebody could take over from me and then I got out. Mick was away up north then till 1946, and Peter was born 1945 and then it was rather sad because
although he didn’t know it, I got a cable the day after Peter was born saying he was missing. But I thought, “Oh no, can’t be.” It was two months later ‘cause Mick had been doing some special work away and he got back to base and he knew he had a son, and then later on after Mick got out ’46,
we were able to start married life again. It was just wonderful and our married life went on and we had two more children after that. I didn’t go to work, I looked after the children, brought them up right through our life till... They all wanted to go to university, so I looked after them. Got food for thought or thought for food, I was never sure which. But eleven
o’clock at night one’d want something to eat and then he’d go to bed at twelve, then I’d hear his shoes falling on the floor. They were never put away. And then our daughter would wake up at five to study. She didn’t like night study, she liked morning study, so I’d have to be up and making tea and chocolate and what not for them. But that was what they chose to do and that was what we wanted.
So we very happy that they all picked a career and it’s a very good life. I did a little bit. I decided I wanted to do something, so I started a travel agency and it wasn’t... We’d by this time we were living in Connell’s Point and they, there was none around and so I started it, and ‘cause we had travelled a bit and I knew quite a bit
and it grew so successful that after about five years I just sold it because it was too much for me. And I was employing four girls by this time, so I sold it and decided that it was just a little bit in my career. I didn’t do anything wonderful other than being a wife and children, a mother to the children.
And then the three of them were all married and now we’re Darby and Joan again and we’re living up here. I have to have a break.
she was a bit older she didn’t want to be just a lady at home, which was expected to be in those days. She had six brothers and one sister and the sister of course was aunt, was always very good at embroidery and that. And she was the lady but Mum didn’t want to be the lady like that, she wanted to go to university. But in those days this was before the 18th, no
before the 1900s, she had to go to Ireland to Dublin University and there were only three women there, Trinity College. And she went to university there much against her parents wishes but that’s what she wanted to do. And when she graduated she wanted to be. She graduated as a matron for a hospital, and even worse she travelled to America which was also a dreadful thing in those days.
And she was in Philadelphia for quite a while as a matron of a hospital and after that, after awhile she decided she would go down to Argentina and she went down there. According to her father, she lived amongst the, not Aborigines, but the natives and she was a matron there for quite a while. So
she spoke many languages. She spoke about seven different languages altogether. She could speak Dutch, French, Russian, German, Spanish and whatever the Argentina was, a mixture of their native language and Spanish. And then worse than that she decided she’d come to Australia. I mean well this was almost Australia, where was it?
You know, some little place miles and miles away and she came on one of the first steam ships from Argentina round the Cape, down to Melbourne. And she was there just a short while and met my father. Well, my father had, he was actually educated in India because his father was an ambassador in India and he
had joined the Indian Army as a doctor and then he came to Australia too. Don’t know why, never heard why he decided to come. And they met in Melbourne, then they were married. And both were a lot older than what Mick and I were when we were married, and then there were three boys, then the First World War came and Dad joined up. And he went to France in early
1915. No, he didn’t go to Gallipoli, he went straight to France. Anyway, he was blown up in France and came back and he could never work again, and Mum never worked either but they sort of always looked after anybody around the area. Anybody had a sore toe or cut themselves they knew where to come when. So that’s how we sort of
knew everybody in the area, I think. But when we lived at Turramurra there it was very sparsely populated. We, as I said miles out of Turramurra station and all the friends around were all boys, there were no girls. I was, when I was born, I was the first girl around the area. And when I was about five, we always had dams for water,
and my brothers decided, they all stood... I thought they were going to drown me. And they all sat around the edge of here about six of their boyfriends and threw me in the water, and I thought they just want to drown me, they want to get rid of me ‘cause I’m a girl. Anyway, I spluttered and squashed and that’s how I learned to swim. And that’s apparently what they were going to do, to teach me to swim. I had to be thrown in the water. But
then we used to go down to Bobbin Head, never knew there were sharks in there before. There were oysters around, we used to gather the oysters and they, that’s where I learned to eat oysters. And they used to, we used to swim in the in the river there at Bobbin Head. Then suddenly somebody found a shark so we were forbidden to swim there. But it was just you know, you never thought of these things you just
did them. And I had to do them because I was only the boys and if I didn’t do them, I’d be called a sissy. So that was how and you played cricket with them, you played football and that was sort of just part of your life. My eldest brother went to Sydney Boys High from there. He used to catch the train. He used to walk down get a bus to the station Turramurra station and he’d
go into town by steam train and then ferry and then tram out to Sydney Boys High, and he did that for five…till he passed his leaving certificate and then went to uni [university]. And he was an engineer a mechanical engineer and then afterwards he decided to go into the ministry. And he then
went to Moore College and then he went to India as a missionary, so it was just a different life that he was. The other two boys went to Sydney Tech [Technical] High. George went to Sydney Tech High and he used to do the same thing until we moved to the city and then it was course much easier for them to go to school. Same for us, I came down when I first started school
from Turramurra, I used to have to go by bus to Turramurra station, I caught a train to Hornsby station and walked the whatever it was a mile I think to school. And you know we never thought five, nobody ever took you, you just went on your own and you came home on your own. It was never thought of when you think of today you know, how the children are taken driven to school and picked up and driven home again. It just was
one of those things. And once I thought I must apparently missed the bus, I thought I was going to walk home. I knew the way. You go by the way the bus went. Well of course the bus went much further way than what you would go normally. And they were all out looking for me and couldn’t find me. Anyway, apparently the local minister found me and took me home. And I got into trouble for being so stupid. But it was just
a natural thing to do to follow the bus route. It wasn’t till later on I learned that buses don’t go straight. They go A B C D no A, A to D. And then I went through high school at Fort Street, got my leaving certificate. And I would’ve liked to have gone on, I did do a short
course at university, I was going to do one in psychology I think. That was at night time and then I worked for a little while in the public service because my father said, “You must be in the public service, it’s the only place a woman can work.” And then when I joined up from there and that was my young life.
although she was a very clever woman. A lot of people were you know quite friendly with Mum. I know she read a lot. And we always read a lot and she insisted that we all read, you know. I suppose from about the age of ten I was reading detective novels and whatnot. Because we used to have a library woman, used to come round and
she’d, Mum used to take six or eight, every, she’d only come fortnightly and we just read all those books. But she did have quite a good circle of friends. I think she instilled in us that good friends were the mainstay of your life. You must always have friends and I think that was
one of the main things we thought about her. She was a very stubborn woman. She could very independent especially in later life she was very independent. After my father died she was you know, you couldn’t say, well how bout doing this or that? If that didn’t suit her, “No way.” She wanted to do her thing,
especially later on when she died. It was she had moved up to Lawson and she’d lived in Lawson for a number of years, and we used to go up every fortnight up, my sister used to go the other fortnight. And Mick’d do the gardens help with the gardens and we put hoses out because the bushfires, and they had one came right up close. And I used to say, “Well, look just go straight up the town, don’t wait to be rescued because somebody might
come and they might get killed and they might have a family you see, so.” Anyway, she was, the church were very good with her. But Mum knew everybody in Lawson and everybody knew Mum and we had insisted she always get a cab up the town not to walk up because she lived way down. You know, way down Falls Road, a long way down and a rough road, I can tell you. But this
particular day she had rung, was coming down to Sydney and I was going to meet her. And she had walked up to the street and the taxi driver said, “You didn’t… You’re daughter will go crook on me, you didn’t ring me and tell me you were coming.” And she turned around and said to him, “I just feel so well, I’ll never need you again.” And with that she dropped
down dead, just right on the footpath there. It was right outside the hotel. And fortunately a car was coming by and a lady doctor was in it and she got out and pronounced Mum dead. But when she had her funeral every shop in the town, even the hotel closed. And my mother would never have been inside a hotel or anything. We were never allowed to have drink in the house
or play cards or anything. So it was really amazing thing that they did for Mum. I mean that’s how they thought of her. So I thought, “It was a wonderful gesture for Mum.” I still, when we drive past there, the pedestrian crossing isn’t there now, but I can see it, and I know that’s
come back. Some had, some were fiancées boyfriends, there were quite a few were married. Some had army chaps too and couple I know had navy chaps. Quite a few of them had navy boyfriends or husbands, so most of us. I don’t know of anyone at that time who had a boyfriend out of the services.
If they had a boyfriend he was in the services, whichever one it was. But it seemed to be maybe some of them joined up because of that or it was because they had people away or going away. We did have a few marriages, had some funny marriages, we had to attend, that we attended to because the chaps were become engaged. One girl in particular Stella,
she and her husband Apples, we’d never known his right name. But they came from down Batlow way and they owned big properties down there, and they were going to have this big wedding and that was on the following Saturday. And he rang up on the Monday morning, “I gotta…will you marry me tonight? I won’t be here for Saturday.” And
she said…but I may have mentioned before that Monday night was panic night, so what do we do? So we were on duty, so I went and saw the madam and I said, “Well look Stella’s getting married and the minister can only marry, won’t marry her after seven o’clock at night and you gotta be there.” And the only one we could find was this Anglican church at Arncliffe. So she said, “Well all right, who’s going?” And so I told her, “I picked out,
four of us could go.” And we’d be the attendants. And Apples and his best man had come down to the hotel, Metropol, and the best man dropped the ring and it went down the grate, so they had to pull the grate up out from the gutter to find the ring. And we all had to make a dash for the train to get the train to Arncliffe then up to the church and I think we got there at, five to seven
we had the wedding. And then we said, “Oh well, what about supper or something?” And so we all came back into town and there weren’t always a lot of places that you could go to but we found a funny little place called the Diablo Inn, down under the thing. We played a few records and that was their thing, and then he had to be back in camp by twelve. He was out at Ingleburn, so we said, “Well go on, you better
go now.” And she went in the train with him to Ingleburn and we said, “We’ll cover for you. Don’t worry about getting back till morning.” Anyway, the next day he was gone. But he did come back, it was two and a half years later. So that was good but that was all really. And we just went in, we came from work. We didn’t have to change you know, we couldn’t put on any make up. We couldn’t put on a fresh collar or anything.
We all just had, just went as we were. So it was quite a funny wedding. And we had a few like that.