Bay Street, Beauty Point
I believe that Bay Street for a small child was probably one of Best Streets in Mosman for offering an Insight into the Heritage of this Country and the Opportunity to Sample some of the Real Australia. I spent the years from Birth to my Later Teens [1939 to 1957] living at Number 19 Bay Street, which later became Number 75 Bay Street due the releasing of Bushland for Residential Usage [around 1950 something] further down the Southern Side of Bay Street. My home overlooked the Inner Middle Harbour, offering probably one of the best views that the Harbour could offer at that time.
Japanese midget subs
From Home I could look across the water to Sir Edward Hallstrom’s [Taronga Park & Silent Knight Refrigerators fame] Residence and Private Zoo at Fig Tree Point in Northbridge, I could see all the way right up to Cammeray, check out Cremorne Baths and the Boat Shed next door and watch any Sailing Craft on the water. Sometimes I would see the “Showboat” Ferry running people around the waters of Middle Harbour, and who could ever forget that Night in May 1942 when the Japanese Submarines entered Sydney Harbour.
Middle Harbour itself that night was ablaze with colours similar to a Giant Fireworks Display as the Patrol Boats ran around the Harbour dropping Depth Charges to protect the Landing Ship Tank Vessels and other Small Naval Craft moored up at Cammeray Bay. I watched all of this with Great Excitement as a Small Child because of the Beauty of the Flares and Searchlights that were appearing from everywhere around the Harbour during the Night and Early Morning. My Mother and I spent the next couple of days going down to Split Rock in Quakers Hat Bay picking up the Dead Fish which had floated to the Water’s Surface, and taking them Home to supplement our War Rations.
Growing up in Beauty Point
During my childhood days I used to frequent the Baths at Beauty Point, Cremorne, Balmoral and of course, The Spit, always keeping an eye open for Portugese Man-O-Wars and their stinging nettles. On one occasion a shark actually got into the Beauty Point Baths enclosure, and the Baths was closed for a short period. The Spit Baths were operated by Sam Hereford and his Family and they had a Daughter named Kim who, when she was about Three Years old she could beat most Adults at Swimming in the Baths. The Baths had Lockers which were above the water by several feet and you had to be careful that you didn’t drop any money which could trickle into the water below you. The Spit Baths were the Swimming Pool for North Sydney Boys High School Students along with, on the same day, Girls from North Sydney Girls High School. The Boys and the Girls swam in separate sections of the Baths with the walking jetty inside the Baths between them. After leaving Spit Baths I would then climb up the Spit Rocks Cliff Face to the Parriwi Park Area above and then continue on up to Central Avenue.
What a magnificent Street Central Avenue was, with its Ribbed Concrete Road Surface and the Great Steep Hill leading down to Bay Street. God only knows how many times I stubbed my Big Toes when walking in Bare Feet down Central Avenue. Central Avenue was also a really great area to Billy-cart Race down, along with many other Streets in Mosman. There used to be a Family named D’Arcy who lived Half-way down Central Avenue and they owned a Massive Great Dane Dog whose name was Mark.
My Home was at the Apex of Bay Street, Right at the Top of the Hill with the Even Numbered Houses in Bay Street about 80 Feet Below and Accessed to us by a Fantastically Built Giant Multi-Storied Wooden Staircase which as a child I used to run up and down while on my way to places such as Quakers Hat. I used to sometimes go Fishing on the Quakers Hat rock, but never on a Windy Day because the Rock Sand would really sting you badly as it swirled around the Rock. You also had to be careful when jumping out onto the Quakers Hat because of the turbulent water which surrounded it and the barnacles on the surrounding rock areas. When I used to go swimming at Beauty Point Baths I would walk past the Home at the Northern Bottom End of Bay Street, of a Truly Great Man named Stan McCabe, the Former Australian Test Cricketer. Whenever he would see me walking by he would always say Hello, and I used to go to his Sports Shop at Spit Junction [Just into Military Road on the Mosman Side] whenever I had some money for Sports Gear. I also used to see the Radio Personality Bob Dyer shopping for Prizes on his Show, around the Spit Junction Shops, especially the Electrical Retailer located just near the “Kings” Picture Theatre. You could always tell when Bob Dyer was around by his distinctive Grey Willys Station Wagon with its Varnished Timber Framework. He lived with his wife Dolly in a flat at Balmoral early on but later moved to a House at Number 10 Bay Street on the Southern Side, a Home which boasted a Croquet Lawn, a Tennis Court, Harbour-side Baths complete with a Boat Shed and Boat Ramp among other things. Shortly after moving to his new Home he had a Swimming Pool built in his Back Garden Area so I brazenly asked him one day if I could use his Harbour-side Baths instead of walking all the way over to the Cremorne Baths. He agreed, provided that I didn’t use it if he had Guests. He used to keep his Boat, “Tennessee II” mainly on his Boat Ramp when he wasn’t using it, and I believe he had it serviced by the Halvorsens who had a Boat Shed in Middle harbour at Cremorne.
As a child I used to walk from Bay Street up to Medusa Street and catch the 236 Bus at the Bus Stop directly opposite the Entrance Lane to the Dairy Farmers Dairy, and travel either to Mosman Primary School, where my favourite Teacher was Miss L. Baxter, a great educator and a mean thrower of blackboard dusters, or on non-school days I would relish sitting in the Top Front Seat of the Double-Deckers and being exhilirated out of my mind when the Bus travelled down that Steep Musgrave Street Hill to the Wharf Dropping-off Point. Who can remember Empire Day and what it represented to a Primary School student, and who can remember that daily glass of milk in the Primary School Ground before commencing Class for the day? My class used to walk up to the Newly-opened Mosman Public Library regularly on one day during the week and I would select such great books as “The Jungle Book” by Rudyard Kipling or “Bib ‘N” Bub” stories.
The Ferries to the Mosman Wharves always had something to show for their Passengers then, Sights such as the Mast of H.M.A.S. Sydney, the Bows of H.M.A.S. Sydney, the Naval Reserve Fleet moored down at Athol Bay, with warships such as that Mighty Big County Class Cruiser, H.M.[A] S. Shropshire berthed there, and of course the Cannons that were to defend New South Wales against Attack from the Russians during the Crimean War.
Mosman Bay itself was a Fantastic Area to visit with the Beautiful Reid Park adjacent to the Ferry Wharf, and of course, at Low Tide you could walk out onto the Mud Flats at the Bay among those thousands of Soldier Crabs, who covered the Mud Flats in Blue with their shells, and you would come to realise why the Whalers used Mosman Bay for Flenching.
After 6th. Class at Mosman Primary School I received a Scholarship to attend the First Public Schools’ Co-Educational High School Classes at Fort Street Girls’ High School for Two Years, the School being located above The Cut and adjacent to Sydney Observatory.
Once again I learnt more about our Country’s Heritage when I used to Watch the Ball Drop on the Observatory Tower Pole and I would hear a Cannon on Fort Denison acknowledging when the Ball had Reached the Bottom of the Pole. This was of course was to notify Lady Macquarie, Wife of the one of the Former Governors, that it was One O’clock and Lunch-time and she should leave Her Chair on the Harbourside to attend for Her Meal at Government House.
I had to travel to Fort Street by Tram which I used to catch in Parriwi Road after walking down those magnificent Wooden Stairs from Spit Road. My dog “Scotty” used to wait for me in Spit Road opposite the Stairs in the afternoon after School and walk with me all the way home to Bay Street.
I would often get off the City-bound Tram while going to School and walk across the Bridge to save the One Penny Bridge Toll so that I could get a Bag of Broken Biscuits at Spit Junction on the Way Home or a Bag of Lollies which I would eat while I walked Home to Bay Street and upon meeting my dog, share them with him.
Classic liners in the Harbour
Often when I was walking across the Bridge I would stop about half-way across to watch the liners such as the P&O Vessels Himalaya, Orion, Orontes and Oronsay berthing at Circular Quay, or the Trans-Tasman vessel Wanganella going under the Bridge before berthing at Darling Harbour. You could see the Sunderland Flying Boats bouncing along the Harbour as they took off from Rose Bay, and you could also see the might of the R.A.N. with their vessels parked over at Garden Island and seeing all of this you could really grasp the fact that Sydney Harbour was so important in those days to the development of our Great Country. I can also vividly remember seeing the QANTAS Lockheed Constellation aircraft flying over Sydney. There was no Sydney Opera House then.
Other incidental things that were of note to a small child in that era were that “Smiths Crisps” in those days came in a Greaseproof Clear Bag with the Salt encased inside the Bag in a Twist of Cellophane, and further up Military Road from Spit Junction was the “Mynor” Drink Factory at Cremorne Junction were they made the “Gi” soft drink and just a little bit further up was the “Orpheum” Picture Theatre, and even further along Military Road was the Tram Depot at Neutral Bay.
After leaving Fort Street I attended North Sydney Boys High School in Falcon Street, North Sydney until my Family moved to Victoria in 1957 where unfortunately, I lost all my Photographic Memories of Places such as Beauty Point Baths, Mosman Primary School Classes and other Mosman and Surrounding Areas Memorabilia during The Ash Wednesday Bushfires at Mount Macedon in Victoria in 1983.
Bay Street for me was a Fantastic Starting Point to Swimming Areas such as Chinamans Beach, Balmoral, Wy-Ar-Gine Point, Edwards Beach, Clifton Gardens, Cremorne, Beauty Point and The Spit. I used to walk around the Rocks at Balmoral and then around the Wire Fence at H.M.A.S. Penguin to walk along the Jetty and talk to the British Submariners who, with their T-Class Submarines [H.M.S. Thermopylae, H.M.S. Telemachus among them], were moored there while conducting Exercises in Australian Waters. H.M.A.S. Penguin always had a beautifully manicured Front Lawn and Garden area. Balmoral itself had the thought-provoking “Coliseum” under Construction, which reputedly was being built for a Visiting American Evangilist.
While at Mosman Primary I became a Member of the 4th. Mosman Sea Scouts located down in Mosman Bay and later, Thanks to the Generosity of Mosman Council in Providing a Scout Hall in Parriwi Park, I became a Member of the 1st. Beauty Point Scout Troop at their newly constructed Scout Hall at the End of Upper Spit Road in Parriwi Park.. We left a Time Canister Buried outside that Scout Hall shortly after it’s Opening.
Bay Street and it’s surrounding areas were supplied by Deliverers with their Horse and Cart, people like the Milkman who used to pour his Bulk Creamy Milk from a scoop into a container outside your door, the Ice-man who used to put a Block of Ice into your Refrigerator/Ice Box, the Baker who used to deliver that Beautifully Fresh High-Tin Loaf of Crusty Bread along with other Bakery delights, and an old and thin Chinaman who used to ply his Haberdashery Trade from his Horse and Cart around the area. All of these people were great characters to a growing child.
Who can ever forget the House Boats that where be moored down at Pearl Bay, or watching The Spit Bridge Opening Up and Closing for Large Vessels, and watching the VJ’s [Vaucluse Juniors] with their Spinnaker Sail Billowing out in front of them while sailing outside the Middle Harbour Yacht Club on a Sunny Day. Sometimes for a bit of an adventure I would row from Balmoral over to Crater Cove on the Middle Harbour side of North Head and spend the day fishing and swimming there. It really was a Paradise because of the Beautiful Beach Area and the fact that you were sheltered from any winds by the Great Headlands that surrounded the area. The water in Crater Cove was always calm, except of course on stormy days.
At the Rear of My Home and directly opposite in Central Avenue lived Mr. J. Arnold, His Wife and Family [Son John] and he was the Accredited Diplomatic Consul for the Caribbean Island of Dominica and he used to carry his DC Badge proudly on the Front Bumper Bar of his Black Dodge Motor Car.
I used to go, along with Friends, on a Saturday Afternoon to the 43 Serials and a Feature Film held at either the Mosman “Hoyts” Theatre or the Neutral Bay “Southern Cross” Theatre, both located in Military Road at either side of Spit Junction.
Sundays I spent attending St. Luke’s Church Of England where I was Christened, even trying out for the Choir as a youngster, and on Sunday Nights my Family crowded around the Radio in the Lounge Room to listen to the “General Motors Hour”, then it was off to bed. Each day after School I had to pick the Vegetables for Tea from our “Veggie Patch”, Check the Hen House for Eggs, and on Sunny Days bring in the Washing off the Line. Do you remember those enormous Clothes Line Poles? While waiting for Tea, I had to do my School Homework, because I had to be in bed by eight o’clock. One of my Favourite Snacks was having a Sandwich made of Fresh Bread and Beef Dripping after Tea, and of course during the War Years we ate a lot of Tripe.
Saturday Morning I used to walk with my Back Pack up to Favaloro’s Fruit & Vegetables Shop, located on the corner of Spit and Military Roads, directly opposite the Mosman Hotel, and after fully loading my Back Pack Up I would then walk home where I received my pocket money so that I could go to the “Flicks” that afternoon.
The Spit Junction Shopping Area during the mid to late 1940’s was a place of wonderment to me with places such as Whittle’s Hardware with old Mr. Whittle, the Washington H. Soul Pattinson Pharmacy with its Large Decanters and Bottles full of Coloured Liquid, Mr. & Mrs. Thames’ Newsagency on the Spit Road side and Moran & Cato’s with it’s seemingly Mile-high Wall of “Arnotts” Biscuit Tins on the Left-hand side of the Shop as you entered, and their numerous Flying Foxes.
The Shopping Area was also an area of harsh reality to a small child with the “Six O’clock Swill” at the Hotel Mosman, with patrons spilling out onto the streets on the Hotel corner, and sometimes while travelling to School in the morning, seeing a drunken male lying in a Street Gutter, these things all of course I suppose being part of your “Growing-up” period in life.
If I needed Medical attention I would go and see Dr. Twomey [or his partner Dr. Toohey] down in Military Road at Mosman itself. My Aunt [Mildred Pearce] used to work at the Spastic Centre nearby so occasionally I could travel back home with her as a companion..
Bay Street was also an excellent Starting Point to catch the Buses which travelled along Spit Road such as the 144 to St. Leonards or the 150 to Palm Beach, and these provided excellent Sight-seeing Day Trips for a Young Adventurer. For a Hobby in those early days I used to collect Red-Back Spiders, Funnel-Web Spiders and my favourite, the Trap-door Spider, because their Trap-door Entrance in the Ground was so hard to find, they were a real collector’s item. The Bushland surrounding Bay Street was prolific with a lot of forms of Australian Wildlife from Kookaburras to Blue-tongue Lizards and often on a Fishing Trip down to Split Rock I would return Home covered in Ticks after walking through the Ti-Trees along the way. And who could ever forget the noise from the Cicadas when they were around.
There was always plenty of opportunity to learn about our country within the Boundaries of Mosman, from the inhabitants, the native flora and fauna and the memorabilia which was located throughout the Suburb. Other residents I remember from Bay Street include Mr. & Mrs. Avis [son Colin, daughter Mary] and Mr. & Mrs. Thompson [daughter Judith] who lived at Numbers 77 and 73 Bay Street respectively. Further down Bay Street in the Odd Street Numbers were the Peters family[son Harry], the Dargans [son Jimmy], and the MacPhersons. Then at the other end of Bay Street on the Beauty Point Road side were the Harkness family [son Colin] and on the other side of the Street next door to the McCabes were the Timony family [daughter Fran].
Now it’s your turn
The house that I called Home is now gone. but the memories of those happy times still remain, so I would like to encourage everyone who reads this story to become a Historian themselves, put finger to the keyboard, and enter their own tale about their Street and their Life in it, thus becoming part of the Heritage for the future inhabitants of the City of Mosman, and indeed, possibly for the future generations of our Great Nation.
Very interesting story. My father used to love tripe. I hope a lot of people support your page. I didn’t grow up in Mosman, otherwise I would have gladly contributed. I will tell other people about your page. Thanks Lisa
I really enjoyed this story as my grandfather built a house and lived at the corner of Orlando Ave and Calliope St – the house with an observatory – he was an amateur astronomer. This would have been in the early 1900s. Several years ago I noticed that the dome of the observatory had gone.
watch this space for earlier history of beauty point
and memories I was born at 28 beauty point road
in 1930 & lived there for 60 years with my mother
my parents built number 28 in 19287 . noeline maclean
Hello Maudlin and I hope you’re not really, maudlin that is. I thoroughly enjoyed your memories and I just know that everyone who grew up in Mosman, especially at the time about which you wrote, would have real reason to treasure the memories that were made. I see you are a little older than me, but we do share school time experiences with Miss Baxter and Mr Webb. We do not share exam results quite as well though and it seems you were a better student.
You mention a John Arnold who was a class mate of mine in kindergarten in 1946, does that sound about right to you? Also Jimmy Dargan was a mate of mine for a while during my teenage years. Judy Thompson was one of my favourite people too. I remember her as a bubbly teenager and I have photos of both her and Jim in their younger years. We attended the Mosman Congregational Church and Youth Club together in the 1950s. Your mention of Bob Dyer reminded me that he and my dad were well aquainted as Dad worked at Radio 2UE and was responsible for recording many of Bob’s radio shows and also the TV productions when “Pick a Box” moved to television. I remember Bob and Dolly’s home in Bay Street and I believe he also moored his boat “Tennessee 2 in the bay right near his house.
All wonderful memories and thank you for writing about them.
Maudlin, I really enjoyed your story about Mosman, where I lived from 1940, aged 8, to 1949 and where I
experienced many of the things you wrote about. I went to an opportunity class at Fort St, then North Sydney Boy’s High and spent a lot of time at Balmoral, where I met my dear wife, Adrienne. It was a great place in which to grow up and your reminiscences gave me a great deal of pleasure. Many thanks.
I grew up in Mosman from 1966 – 1975. I loved Balmoral Beach, and spent a lot of time at the historical libary. There was a fish and chip shop just up from Gurrigal Street, that my friend and I used as kids. It is fascinating to see these old photos and have enjoyed reading your memories of Mosman. Raglan Street holds a lot of memories for me and our escapades as kids at Balmoral Beach. My family and I lived in Clifford Street at one time as well as Wunda Road, Vista St and Earle Street. Thankyou for you for sharing your memories.
Oh, my friend, you have almost written my story!!
I found your wonderful memories of the Mosman I knew because I am currently producing a video of my life for my heirs so they will have a taste of the simpler, uncomplicated life that you and I obviously shared. It’s amazing just how many of your experiences I also had and they strongly resonate with me. I lived in Ryries Parade on the Middle Harbour side of Cremorne and I suspect we may be around the same age and that I may know you from North Sydney Boys’ High School. Perhaps you would like to drop me an email and we’ll see eh?
I am most interested in your fascinating story, as I also grew up in the area, living from 1939 to 1957 in No.2 Pearl Bay Avenue. This house was resumed in 1967 when the retaining wall supporting Spit Road collapsed into our backyard and in order to rebuild and widen Spit road our house had to be demolished.
The entire bushland area around Pearl Bay and in Parriwi park was a playground for myself and friends from the district.
In the summer months,much of our time was spent swimming at the old Spit Baths, kicking footballs and hitting golf balls down at the Spit Reserve.
I would love to know if someone could give me directions (web sites or whatever) as to where I can obtain photographs of the old Spit Baths.
Again Maudlin, thank you for your wonderful tale of old Mosman.
OMG! Where do I start this is being written with a lot of emotion and lovely memories for my dad who passed away 12th March 2011 aged 78” Richard Lewis” who was a Mosman boy, he had 2 sisters Trixie and Jennifer who both grew up in Mosman.I have really happy memories of visiting my nan in Ourimbah Rd,next door to the shop on Bond St,nan has been dead since 1992 but all my childhood memories are going to nans place and the xmas stories and sitting on nan’s front verandah watching traffic go down Ourimbah Rd.
I remember hearing all the stories about my dad’s uncles living down The Spit in fishing huts “uncle Gog and Reggie” and all the old photos of the family having a wonderful times fishing, swimming and rowing .I loved the stories about my great great grandmother “Kitty” and her sister Gertrude Francis being Champion rowers and scullers ,and now their photo sits proudly in the Maritime Museum.
My dad’s family all came from the Mosman, North Sydney and Cammeray area.. they are the Lewis’s and the Francis’s .
One of my best memories is walking down Congewoi Rd to Tommy Giles Boat Shed and mum and dad hiring a boat and going up Middle Harbour fishing for the day…. hated walking back up the stairs from Tommies .. but what a beautiful place.
I have written this in the memory of my dad who loved Mosman and what it offered him growing up, the fishing ,swimming, boating and fun days and most of all his family.
Love you dad.x
I read with interest the article written by 'Maudlin' regarding Beauty Point and how he lived at 75 Bay St. We have lived at that address for the last 9 years with our two boys attending Beauty Point School. It really is a great place.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading your memories of Bay Street and the local area. My mother and her sister grew up in number 49 Bay Street, Winifred Sands (Nott) and Patricia Plimsoll (Nott), my grandfather started the first bus run around the area or so I’m told. Mum has since left this world but Aunty Patti is still with us. I remember with very fond memories the stories mum would tell us about the area and how she would walk around the local for miles to get anywhere area.
Wow! has that brought back some happy memories. I lived in 86 Bay Street (formerly No 64) from when I was born in 1944 to about 1971 and my mother continued to live there until 1989. I also recall Miss Baxter as my teacher in fourth class at Mosman Primary School. Prior to attending Mosman Primary, I was one of the first intake of pupils in Beauty Point Infants School and our Head Mistress was Miss Fishman and the only other teacher was Miss Wood.
It was a wonderful place to grow up.
I lived at 7 Mitchell Road Mosman and was also a first student at the opening of Beauty Point Infants. I was also in Miss Wood’s, Miss Fishman’s and Miss Baxter’s Classes. I would love to get into contact with Ian Kilpatrick (whose comment I’ve just read), he was my friend and I greatly missed him when he left Mosman Boys Primary to go to a private school after 4th class.
Hello Debbie Anglish (Nee Lewis) 28th March 1911 21; 49
I have been looking for you for a long time. Trying to compile Grandma’s Sculling Record to be placed on the Mosman Wall of Fame Gertrude Lewis (Gertie)
Can Mosman Memories please pass this email on to Debbie Anglish.?
Thanking you from her Grandson Dennis Francis and Evelyn
I lived at 16 Botanic road from very young to 1953 When I married and went overseas with a new wife. One memory which still embarrasses me is that myself and a couple of mad mates used to go to Narrabean lagoon and swim and search for unexploded hand grenades which soldiers used to toss in to see what fish they could get. The pins wouldn’t pull out and we would dive down and collect them!Talk about stupidity! I took a couple home and hid them under the house. I took one to the police station and gave it them..to their horror! Resulting in me being pulled out at school and made to suffer through a severe tongue lashing by a sergeant in front of the whole school!
I had no idea there was still one under the house until somewhat recently when the house was being rebuilt, and it was found and even more excitement! I hear they called in the Bomb Squad to remove it!
When behaving more sensibly I built a VJ and sailed with the club. As a Cub Scout we used to meet in the bottom of the Amphitheatre, courtesy of Krishnamurti!
Thank you for more of our memories – you have corrected a few faulty images in my mind of my childhood in Mosman. Great work!