I was born after WWII. We lived in a reasonably modern home at Shalimar built by my father. We bathed in a tub in front of the fuel stove, caught rainwater to drink and the toilet was at the end of a long, wooden path. Mum used a copper for washing, and the clothes line was propped up with tree limbs. Dad had a large garden and the chicken run was enormous.
I had an older brother Dee who was delighted to have a real live toy. He would pile boxes high to see if I could balance and push the billy cart taking note at what speed I hurtled out. After a head x-ray and a cut mouth, grandfather bought him a dog. I dreaded gathering the eggs – I was terrified of the rooster, but like a knight in shining armour with his lance Dee would precede me and joust with the rooster while I made haste to get the eggs.
My earliest recollection of my baby brother was the nurse placing a small face in my arms. He was very shy preferring to hide under mum’s skirt and had an imaginary friend who he played with every day. But Dee and I looked after him, we would take him fishing, tie him to a tree just short of the water’s edge and bait his hook so he could fish too.
We travelled to Taree Public School in the red baron bus driven by Lorenzo Pappalardo with Maisie Philps as conductor.1 It was a long journey with pick up and drop off at Black Head on gravel roads. We had the best of two worlds, living on the Wallamba and having access to Sydney. Needless to say, Dee, Me and Three are still living the dream near Wallamba.
Bus Song (Penned by Taree High students and sung to the tune of “Along the Road to Gundagai”)
There’s an old-fashioned Ford, made of rubber, tin and board along the road to Taree High
The spark plugs are missin’ the radiator’s hissin’, the oil tank just run dry
There’s water in the petrol and sand in the gears and she hasn’t seen a garage for over 90 years
Oh you oughta’ hear her roar when she’s doing half of four along the road to Taree High
Oh my Lord, oh my Gord her comes Pappy in his Ford along the road to Taree High…
Author: Marilyn Boyd
1 John and Neta Oram, Maisie Philp 1919-2013, The Fig Tree: Journal of the Manning Wallamba Family History Society, Taree, No 133: February 2015, http://manningwallambafhs.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/February-2015.pdf