Monday, 4 November 2013

Remembering my Dad on his Birthday


My Dad, Victor, would have been 92 years old today. Today is the first birthday we will have without  lots of fun and cake :) with him. But he of course is still in our hearts.

My sister and I have been sorting through old photos and I have been busily scanning. This one, taken when he was a teenager, I felt was worth restoring....and how could I not show his beautiful blue eyes:)









Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Pop Archie and his animals

I have begun scanning old family pics. I thought this might be an appropriate place to show them and continue to tell the history of my family - my father's family in this case.

This is a blow up of a tiny b&w, probably taken with an old Brownie Box camera. This is the house where my father lived briefly - I think before he went to live in the orphanage. I remember this old house. The man in the picture is my grandfather, Archie. I also remember his dog, Stumpy...but  I don't remember the horse...just stories about the beloved animal. I do remember very well the extra strong mugs of cocoa he made for me as a treat...and his Hoadley Crumble Bars!



My Pop...Archie and his beloved animals.

I played with this pic too....you can see   at  my other  blog LorikArt

Sunday, 24 February 2013


In Memory of my father
Victor Charles  4.11.21 - 18.2.13






My father loved this music.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Happy 91st Birthday!

We celebrated my father's 91st birthday today. Imagine! 91..not 21! The little hand sneaking  some cake topping belongs to one of his great-grandsons, Matthew.




Sunday, 22 July 2012

A life on the road - "bumming it"

At the age of 14 my father left Burnside. By now he had gained a basic school education and work experience in  the school's own dairy farm. He loved to work there and very much looked up to the farmer who ran it. He also made many friends and considered he was well looked after. Afterall, many at that time, the era of The Great Depression, didn't even have enough to eat or a warm place to sleep.


Working in Dairy.
After he left Burnside  he was employed at a poultry farm where he also lived in a shed with  the other workers. The poultry farm was one of many in the Ryde area of Sydney. He remembers it as being near a big cutting which today is close to  the intersection of Epping and Lane Cove Roads in North Ryde. Definitely no poultry farms out there today - just suburbia and a very busy traffic intersection in the middle.

Vic lived with his sister Grace and her family for a while at Enfield after the poultry farm but soon found himself homeless again and sleeping under a bridge at the local brickworks. No doubt he had a lot of company there. He then worked as a labourer in various jobs before he made a big  decision. He was going to return to his birthplace, Hobart, Tasmania. Quite a decision to make when you had very little money but I suppose the good memories were strong enough for him to overcome any fears. And remember he was really just a  boy.

He got as far as Berrima where he slept under the what is now the famous historic Berrima Bridge. There was quite a community of people living under and around that bridge. He managed to survive by doing odd jobs for local farmers on that trip, but also by scavenging fallen fruit at orchards. Big dogs made fruit collecting quite scary. He has one memory of a woman who was particularly good to him. He knocked on the door of her farmhouse to ask if she had any jobs that needing doing. Unfortunately she didn't but instead invited him in and made him a huge sandwich using half a loaf of bread. He took that sandwich back to his bridge home and shared it with four others.

Berrima Bridge. Not sure when the addition was made but
shows it's setting well.

Berrima Bridge. Pity about the gap in between to let the rain
 through. Berrima gets pretty cold too.

It was at nearby Mittagong where they heard about the outbreak of World War 2. He immediately turned back to head for Sydney to enlist. It meant a stable job - food and shelter. He said that there were hoards of people sharing the road on that same trip - all "on the bum" as they used to say, heading back to Sydney to be "saved" I suppose by the war.

Hallelujah, I'm a Bum!

Hallelujah, I'm a Bum! is a popular song which was sung at this time. I remember it from my childhood too - not sure who was doing the singing! According to Wilipedia "it is an American folk song that responds with humorous sarcasm to unhelpful moralizing about the circumstance of being a hobo.

The version published in 1908 goes:
Why don't you work like other folks do?
How the hell can I work when there's no work to do?
Refrain
Hallelujah, I'm a bum,
Hallelujah, bum again,
Hallelujah, give us a handout
To revive us again.
Oh, why don't you save all the money you earn?
If I didn't eat, I'd have money to burn.
Whenever I get all the money I earn,
The boss will be broke, and to work he must turn.
Oh, I like my boss, he's a good friend of mine,
That's why I am starving out on the bread line.
When springtime it comes, oh, won't we have fun;
We'll throw off our jobs, and go on the bum.

Halleluha I'm a Bum sung by Harry McClintock. 1928


And Woody singing Hobo's Lullaby






Footnote: You can read more about life at Burnside, including the dairy farm at the where you will find aural histories by others who spent time at Burnside, here.

Friday, 11 November 2011

The Burnside Menu

 My father and I made our weekly visit to Bankstown for lunch today. His lunch consisted of  grilled chicken and greek salad followed by ice-cream and mocha. I asked him what would be a typical meal at Burnside. His answer was bread. What was on the bread? Dripping of course. And breakfast? Porridge with milk and brown sugar. I think I would have looked forward breakfast but certainly not lunch. Nor dinner, or "tea". Usually they ate stew every night. What was in the stew? Stuff! But even boring stew was much better than the dreaded tripe.

Bread and Dripping. Photo E2BN Cookit


Recipe from Cookit

• Roast the beef or pork
• Lift the beef or pork from the tray
• Let the juices in the tray cool and solidify. You will have a jelly like meat substance at the bottom and the soft fat at the top
• Remove the soft fat, which is dripping
• Place in fridge until it is needed

On cold bread or toast
• Spread the dripping on the bread
• Add a little salt and pepper


Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Update on the coincidence of the teachers

Burnside Orphanage Entrance

Remember I mentioned a teacher at Burnside that was very popular with the children, including my father? And remember I said that I later met him as a beginning Art teacher? His name was John (Jack) Debron. John Debron is someone that many, many people will never forget. Another, lesser, coincidence is that on Day 1 of  my course at the National Art School, Darlinghurst  we were chastised by our  first teacher of the day for not coming to class prepared. Not an art material to be seen! Her name was Jean Isherwood, a fine artist, who at one time was married to John Debron.

And of course another teacher at Burnside was later to become my father-in-law!