My backyard in Witt Street, Tea Gardens is a place I remember well back in the 40s.1 There was no preschool so I spent plenty of time making cubby houses with empty chaff bags hung around under the tank stand. I also wiggled under the house to explore. We relied on tank water, therefore we also had a backyard ‘dunny’ and luckily a back lane for the pan man to access.
A chook yard came in handy but canny foxes dug under the fence requiring a barrier of wire mesh or tin to be extended below. The chook droppings were good for the veggie garden, another handy feature with our town being rather isolated in those times.
With an elevated tank stand, a ‘Southern Cross’ windmill and a spear point to take advantage of bore water the garden was safe. In the forties many food items were scarce due to the war so that is possibly why we had a cow and calf. After milking, the cow was allowed out to roam around the town, more fertiliser for gardens! A separator was used to gain the cream. Butter was made and the cream went well in the sponge or scones.
Although electricity arrived in 1939 people kept the fuel stoves they were familiar with. How things have changed! The big wooden box our Kelvinator arrived in became a beaut doll’s house, that was in 1943. The ice chest was no longer needed.
Author: Anne Johnson (nee Ringland)
1 Dungog Chronicle, 28 May 1946, 3; Daily Telegraph, 21 September 1947, 4.