Memories of Willaston 1944-1955

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Fast Facts
Type of thing Personal
Date made or found 1944
Place made Willaston


We came to Willaston when I was 9 years old, in 1941 about February, we lived in a Double house, owned by Mr.Perce Gwynne in Drury street, and in the other half of the house Mrs. Brown (an old lady lived. These houses came out to the footpath so we had no front garden. I thought this house was quite "posh" as it had wall paper in two bedrooms, lounge and dining room. The kitchen was off an enclosed verandah that had an underground tank, so we had a good supply of rain water. There was a huge currant grape vine trellised over the full width of the house at the back. The vines gave us beautiful shade, the grapes were good to eat, but leaves made a mess, when you are a child you don't think of the mess.

There was no air-conditioning in the house, so the vines helped with that too. The bathroom was an iron building outside, then joined to that was a brick toilet (bucket type) and the laundry joined this, and was also an iron building. It had a wood copper (built in) and Mum learnt how to make home made soap in this copper.

There was another yard beyond the house yard, (with grape vines along the dividing fence) and this yard went behind Mrs. Brown's yard too, so we had plenty of space. We had five orange trees and we kept fowls. This bottom yard joined Veale's on one side and Mr. Gwynne’s garden which supplied plants, flowers and vegetables for his shop in Gawler. Ron Veale worked for Mr. Gwynne.

Dad dug an air raid shelter in this bottom yard; it never had a roof and thankfully never had to be used.

The Kimpton and Lodge families lived on the hill beyond Gwynne's garden (not at the same time). When Neil Kimpton lived there, he got polio and in those days they tried to keep people from crowds, so lots of activities were cancelled or held outdoors.

I often took the rent up to Gwynne's home which was across Paxton Street, on the hill, and joined the Methodist (then)Church. His home faced the street behind us in Burrows street. From memory I think the rent was 15 shillings a. week. My brother, Don and sister Valerie were born while we were living in Drury street. Betty was 5 when we came to Willaston and when we went to school, we walked past Veale’s home, Dave Window's home [which was set back in his block] and then we passed Veale's cow paddock. We cut through a lane by Morgan's shop and Post Office, and on the other side was the Keith family home. Mr. Keith was a returned soldier and mended shoes. Maris Keith was a friend of mine, and I knew all the family, and later Don and Max Keith were great mates. June Sanders was also a great friend of mine, and later after my marriage, her sister Ila was a very good friend to me until her death. I learnt to ride June's bike and then her brother Ron's, and fell off a few times, and tried to go through a fence once.

We got our groceries delivered from Hogben's shop, and Mr. Reg Window was storekeeper and later some one whose name I can’t remember, but had a son Grantley. Later I think Kevin Symes delivered the groceries. The Hartshorn family lived on the corner opposite the shop (across Paxton Street) and across the main street was Mrs. Scott and across from her was Rix's bakery.

I remember one day while walking through the parklands, where the tennis courts and bowling green is now, I got swooped by a magpie, and boy that hurt. I was on my way to enter a pet (I don't remember which one)in the Gawler Show, which in those days was on a Thursday, and we got a holiday from school, and later when I worked was a half holiday. One year Dad entered a Christmas pudding in the Gawler Show, and won first prize, and was very pleased with himself. His second attempt was not so successfull, and was his last. Mr.& Mrs. Lally had a fruit & veg shop next to Hogbens at one time, and then Spencer Turner's butchers shop. The rooms between that and the hotel were the Willaston football clubrooms, and after I was married I came there to card evenings, held to raise money for the football club. These evenings organized by Mrs Siostrom (Gary’s mother). Miller's butcher was next to the Willaston bridge and across the street Ward's shop where the best milk shakes were sold; also fruit, vegetables and lollies.

I used to go to the pictures on Saturday afternoons, which were very modern for me, after coming from the small country town where we had lived. It cost 6d (sixpence) to go and I had threepence to spend. I went by myself sometime which can't be done safely now.

While at primary school some of my teachers were Miss Mara, Miss West, and Mr. Clark taught grade 7; later went into Parliament. Mr. McCarthy taught year 6, and Mrs.Bennion Grade 5 (she travelled to Gawler each day on the train). Some of the head masters were Mr.Hansberry, Mr.Barbary, Mr. Michelmore and we had assembly in the yard once a week.

I went to High School on Lyndoch road, which is now the Lutheran Primary School, and I always walked. The Wasleys "bus" passed me and the Freeling "bus" was driven by Mr. Wasley. We called them a bus, but were really like a covered truck-not the comfortable ones the children have today. While I was going to High School my Grandfather died, and I used to go and stay with my Grand-mother to keep her company at night, and do my homework by lamp light.

When I left school I worked for Herb Gwynne a brother to our previous land-lord, because by this time we had bought the home where Grandmother had lived, because she had remarried. The Gwynne brothers had shops next door to each other, and my boss was a men's hairdresser & sold cigarettes etc, sporting goods, gifts etc, I worked there until I married in 1955. When I started work hair cuts were 3/3, cigarettes 10 for 10pence or 10 for 1/11 and tobacco 2/3 for 2 ozs.

In my teen years I played tennis and basketball (now called netball) for Willaston Methodist, where I went to Church and Sunday School, and taught Sunday School too. We had Sunday School picnics on Labour Day and travelled on Ron Sanders snr. cattle truck, with the sides up, sitting on hay bales.

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