born after the war, two weeks after my father returned from overseas (Balikpapan,
Borneo) and New Guinea. I let my mother know I wanted to 'get out' about eleven p.m. and
arrived screaming at 4.20 am. at Roslyn Private
Hospital at Arncliffe, on a Tuesday morning. Mum said I looked like a
very red, skinned rabbit and she has not been able to eat this flesh since
that time. My parents had their first tiff on the way to the hospital
over names. My Dad wanted to call the baby Shirley, 'yikes
Dad what were you thinking?' My parents settled on Carol and Anne as a second name, before they
reached the hospital. Anne L M Montgomery's "Anne" books
and had always intended to use that name for her first girl.
in my grandparent's home until I was 20 months old and then moved
into converted unlined Army huts, that had been used by the U.S. during
the war as a hospital, at Herne Bay (now) Riverwood. There was not much
room, no privacy and we would hear a lot of conversations, quarrels and
children screaming in the next door units as, well as those surrounding
us. It was fortunate that our hut was much closer to Punchbowl and
located on Punchbowl Road.
We were registered with the Housing Commission and eventually moved into
our first home in Legge St. Lakemba, around 1949.
I was not a good baby, extremely
restless at night keeping the household from a good night’s sleep. I did
not put on weight, as decreed by the clinic sister. I did not take
to anything else but breast milk and today I still hate milk. I seemed
like quite fat baby from pictures, and that was my dad's nickname for
grandparent’s home, I was surrounded by a loving aunties and uncles. I guess I was rather spoilt but do not feel that this harmed me in
or Herne Bay as it was known old army huts, I often played with children from the
complex, out the front of the hut, in the dirt. There was no fencing, so
careful watching was always done. There was a swing and a see-saw for me to play
on. Simple fun.
I started getting very bad earaches from abscesses in
the middle ear, when I was about three. Usually at night, I would wake up
continually, screaming with the pain. After they broke, I would have a
disgusting discharge for about 10 days. My father found this hard to take
because he had to get up very early, to go to work. I was taken to
Dr and a specialist and was given ‘radon’
treatment but I’m not sure if this is the right name. The specialist put
something up my nose that looked like a thermometer and left it there for
some time. We have no idea what this did for my ears .Eventually, I had to have my adenoids and tonsils out, before I started
school in 1952 and from then on I gradually got over this complaint.
early age I was able to walk fast keeping up with adults. During family
illnesses of around 8 weeks Ii stayed with my dad's brother and
I stayed with an Uncle and Aunt. My Aunt Zillah was very surprised at how
fast I was able to go and keep up with her because she was almost six foot
tall and had a rather large stride.
At about age three, I developed a need for
things to be tidy. My main ‘obsession’ was evident, when I went to bed.
I would pull the bed clothes up under my chin and peer over the top
insisting that someone better help me straighten up every little tiny crease on the
bed. Then I would turn over and go to sleep, leaving wrinkles and creases
When I was little and we went visiting (which I
always enjoyed), I would go to sleep when I was tired, on a pillow on the
floor or anywhere else, as long as I was near the action. I did not cry
or play up when I was woken to go home and my parents really appreciated
this. I was taught never to touch any hosts ornaments or belongings and
therefore, I was always welcomed.
my wonderful grandparents in Ramsgate, using 3 buses during holidays and
weekends was a real treat and joy for me. Grandma
was very easy going and let me do many things that I could not do at
home. I was allowed to play with my Aunt Anne’s costume jewellery, makeup,
clothes and I really loved clopping about in her high heeled shoes. She
was loving and kind too and did not seem to mind. I often picked my
grandfather's flowers much to his annoyance and he would growl to anyone
that was in earshot but because he loved me, I was never forbidden to do
this and kept it up.
Grandma was not a good cook but she patiently
taught me the basics and from then I loved cooking. I consider myself now
to be a good, inventive and adventurous cook. She was the one who taught
me to knit. In fact all of my home skills I got from my grandmother.
Soon after I started school, I had trouble
identifying words with similar spelling and came home with some real
clangers. I remember saying 'that the teachers had a ‘starve’ room, where they
ate, sat and talked. Another time, I mentioned that Comfortable Brown had
come to the school to talk about safety. I called Funeral Parlours,
Funnel Parlours. Another time, while travelling on a bus I saw a mentally
impaired lad and whispered to gently “ That boy does not have all his
When I was old enough, my grandfather took me to the
Royal Easter Show a few times. He took me
everywhere, never minded how long I liked to look at the exhibits and
bought me lots of bags. Once, when I had eaten too much and went on some
ride, I vomited, much to his displeasure. However, apart from a bit of a
growl he did not give me a bad time over it.
recall hiding under the bed when I was naughty, & waiting for my dad to
come home to give me belting. I don't recall he ever did though?
raised in the fifties was fun, but looking back now, times were tough and
hard.. The life we had, was only what we knew but we did
cherish the things that we had.
remember walking from Lakemba to Earlwood to see my Uncle and Aunt. It was
a very long way but I did not mind. My parents separated when I was nine and divorced when I was
eleven. However my
Dad was able to see
me when he wanted.
I recall during
these years going to the
pictures every Saturday afternoon and I really loved all the musicals that
I saw. Singing in the Rain, Annie, Get Your Gun, Carousel, Oklahoma.
started school, I played class rooms, teacher play acts with myself. We
listened to the radio, the Davis Cup, Blue Hills, Guess What, When a Girl
Marries for entertainment. On Friday night when Dad would sometimes come home with
We left Lakemba in 1958 and moved to Hurstville to the home I still
and the Mickey