THE SYDNEY BOTANICAL GARDENS WITH THE CARTER KIDS ON THE BRONZE LIONS.
CAMPING IN COWRA OUT WEST
AT THE BYRON BAY LIGHTHOUSE
1961 WITH SANTA IN THE CITY. I THINK I MUST HAVE DECIDED THAT I WAS TOO OLD FOR SANTA’S KNEE IN 1961.
Memory doesn’t serve me well for these times. I have some kind of internal body memory of routines and safety and a good life. Everything seemed to be in place for my childhood. Camping trips out west during the year in our tent. Urunga at Christmastime. Outings around Sydney with our cousins. Nana and Poppa’s house on Sundays.
I also encountered hints of things that ” could happen”. We camped one night near a dry river bed in Cowra and along came an old local who warned us to move higher in case of a “flash flood”. I have been wary of “Flash Floods” ever since.
I got that one wrong. 1960 has a mass of images and I have posted them in slideshow because it seems to have been a year with some variations on the usual routine thrubbing of my childhood.
For some misguided reason we took our annual holidays in Harrington instead of Urunga. It was generally thought to be not a successful change and we didn’t repeat that mistake in later years. Not at all. I do remember being out in the water with Susan and staying longer than we were meant to but delighting in the freedom and the sand and sun and salt.
It was also the year that too Dad to Canberra on a building project leaving us in Belmore with Mum. I remember finding a letter in the bedside tables he had made for them. He missed us all and arranged for us to come to Canberra and stay in a cabin on Black Mountain rather than be separated.
I think that would be the first year that I saw snow. It was also the year that I was IQ tested and on being found to have a ” high intelligence” was sent to a special school. It meant leaving Belmore North Public which was just up the street from our house and going to Enfield to the Opportunity Classes. That involved a bus trip. It was a very isolating experience for me. We were definitely seen as oddballs. The other class there was what they call the OM classes for people with ” low intelligence”. The two lots of us were on the local school grounds and we were outsiders.
It also seems to be the year that we went to Queensland for the first time. Perhaps Dad had changed jobs and there was a building project up there as well. I am not sure now but we surely did some travelling.
In the background were the cousins and aunts and uncles and Nana. I wonder when my Poppa died. It was somewhere round this time as well.
I shall soon be heading into tricky territory. Up till this point , my brother has carefully catalogued all the images in his accurate and detailed way. Soon we enter the wilderness of my memory combined with a large mass of unsorted pictures. 1959 – I don’t appear so often. Susan and Jon do and the Bell cousins make an appearance with our Nana. The Bells went to live in the USA for a time. On Long Island, thereby becoming family legends of mystery and magic. There were 6 Bells. That’s because Auntie Nita was a Catholic and we ALL knew that Catholics were a little more frivolous than we Methodists and Presbyterians, even when it came to the numbers of offspring.
My cousin, Margaret Bell Lopez, tells me of a saying of her mother’s, the said Nita Savage Bell. I never get it quite right but I truly love it.
It goes something like this and maybe Marg will correct if for me.
“Come in. Sit down. Put that handbag down and stop standing there like a Protestant.”
OUT THE BACK AT BELMORE IN SUNDAY SCHOOL CLOTHES
WITH COUSIN NEVILLE AT BELMORE
ON THE FRONT LAWN AT ROSEBRY
IN SCHOOL UNIFORMS ON THE BELMORE FRONT VERANDAH
Life was very much like the TV series of the WONDER YEARS. Handmade clothes and toys. Cousins and siblings.We also went to Belmore Methodist Church Sunday School each week – with hats on.
I hit the bigtime in 1957 as a flower girl in pink. My mum’s family had 4 children. 3were in a batch. Jack, Jean and Joyce and then years later came the baby, Betty Bell. My grandmother, Jessie Sarah, seemed rather dour to me and intimidating to many but she was rather frivolous with naming her children so it seems to me and none of them had middle names which is another curious rebellion against tradition. When Auntie Betty Bell married Uncle Roy Burton, it was a big thing in the family. I thought I was rather lovely at the time and I still do.
I am going to add some more photos while I have them because there are going to be a whole lot of years in the 64 where there are not a lot of images. Probably. My mother and sisters’ albums may well have more than I recall. We have all been camera mad forever.
For 1957, here are the others.
MY POPPA BELL WITH AUNTIE BETTY
THE CARTER BOYS AT ROSEBERY. NANA AND POPPA BELL’S HOUSE.
BESIDE OUR UTE IN BELMORE. DAD BUILT THE CANOPY ON THE BACK.
IN GRACE BROS STORE IN SYDNEY AT BROADWAY. SUSAN AND ME.
I had a childhood embedded and secured in traditions that developed in our family. One of them was the Easter Show. We lived out in the Western Suburbs at Belmore and once a year, at Easter time, we drove in our covered ute across to Randwick in the East for a day at the Royal Agricultural Show. Dressed in our very best and ready for an entire day out.
The Easter Show meant fine old buildings and farm animals. It meant showbags and excitement and celebration. Rows and rows of cars were parked on the grass and we lined up in long queues to get in.Through turnstiles. I found turnstiles very thrilling. And then inside, it all began. Fairy floss and clowns and toilets overflowing with water. Music and people yelling. It was a very wonderful place, so it was. THE SYDNEY EASTER ROYAL AGRICULTURAL SHOW.
Michael Berrell: I visited the Easter Show with my parents 1978 thru 1982. We always went on the Easter Saturday. I used to have nightmares after visiting the Police Exhibition. They always had photos of crime scenes including some grisly murders and one year a mummified hand of someone who was lost in the desert. It was always in a caravan with a blue light on top. Loved the toffee apples (always used to throw away the apple after licking off the toffee) and even though I was and am chronically afraid of heights used to ride the flying fox from one end of the show to the other.
1955 and the baby brother weighed in at 11 lbs. Our weights remained a source of pride in the family along with the double brick house and the curly hair and chubby cheeks. I started school at Belmore North Public School. Just up the road from home. Mum made all our clothes and we wore Curlypet in our hair. Dad kept right on building homes and Mum kept right on sewing and cooking. I do believe we were a very happy family.
LYNNE DRESSED UP AGAIN, I seem to have had some fine bonnets and frocks. 1954 – Dad worked all week. We still went to Nana and Poppa at Rosebery on weekends and if we were lucky, visited the Carters in Lakemba. We also went on picnics to the outskirts of Sydney and swung on swings.
AND THEN AT THE END OF THE YEAR – it was time for URUNGA and sun, sand and sea. And the swing park out the front of the OCEANVIEW HOTEL where Mum and Dad had their honeymoon in 1948.