My Mosman childhood - late 50s, early 60s

Posted by
Chris Wither
Streets
Military Road, The Crescent
Time
late 50s—early 60s

My first memories of life revolve around The Crescent and Military Road.

We lived above and behind the shop at 585 Military Road. Next door to the left was Mrs Mac who owned the antique shop and next door to her was The Dawsons second hand shop. Then there was the laneway, then the Council Chambers.

Down the road the other way I remember the Hardware store, then the jewelers, then the printing shop, then the fruit market where we used to climb the back fence and make cubby houses out of the fruit boxes. The fruit shop went to make way for a car park.

Going out the back gate and down the lane led to Edith & Buck Fields, my Grandparents. I probably spent more time there than at home up the lane. Out the front of “Gar’s” was The Crescent, across the road, Mosman Oval – now Alan Border Oval – where many a great hour was spent playing cricket with people that went on to play for Australia i.e. Alan Border and David Colley.

I can remember climbing up into the roof of the old Grandstand and catching pigeons. I can remember being up in the old score board on match day and helping out with numbers. I remember helping the old groundsman clean up after the game, being paid a couple of bob and heading straight across to Military Road, through the lane next to Alan Border’s house, turn left and into the icecream shop for a well deserved icecream sundae.

I remember walking all around Balmoral foreshore fishing, anywhere from The Spit to the Zoo, Me & my dog “Rex”. I remember sneaking into the army land on Middle Head and spending the day playing in the gun emplacements (now barricaded).

I think some of my best memories are of my childhood spent in Mosman even though we moved to Liverpool when I was nine. Being surrounded by family i.e. uncles, aunties, cousins. Being able to walk anywhere, as we did, without fear was just a great way to grow up.

Chris Wither · 5 April 2007

Your comment

Chris, I remember the area you’re relating to… on the other side of Military Road was the (existing) Fire Station, the printer’s name was Crossman and it was a sobre looking timber building which stubbornly survived long after it’s neighbours. I went to Mosman Public School and Ken Crossman was a class mate of mine, as was Anthony Kennard, (Kennards Hire), Bill Sands, (Sands Greeting Cards), Paul Delprat (noted fine artist and Principal Of the States most revered Art School). Ken went on to pursue a career in accounting and our paths crossed a number of times in the future.

On to Mosman High… notable names at High School, were the artist Ken Done, the 50s “Rocker” Barry Stanton and my good mate Jim Kewin who represented Australia in Boxing at the Perth Commonwealth Games.

Re Mosman Oval… the greatest playground in the world!. In the early days my pals and I spent many hours clambering monkey-like through the branches of the giant old-man fig trees, eventually being witnesses to construction of a state-of-the-art, fenced play area full of all things attractive to young children.

In later years, I would play junior baseball on a Saturday morning and rub shoulders with great ball players at the thrilling Saturday afternoon seniors games. Names such as Rob Leatherbarrow and Ian Craig – who would also go on to become captain of Australia at cricket), come to mind. In the winter I longingly watched Mosman Rugby Leagus Club (A to D grades), play arch-enemy Crows Nest. Notable at the time was the legendary Ken Irvine, who I got to know… he was always going to go on to great things, good looking and lightning fast!.

Another “claim to fame” I enjoyed was having an ice cream when the regular visit of the local Ice Cream Man, who was Ken’s father, came around.

Back to High School… at Mosman Boys Intermediate High School, sport quickly overtook studies!. In my final year I was fortunate enough to represent the school First Thirteen (Rugby League), which were undefeated premiers of the NSW Intermediate High Schools competition. A number of team mates went on to play first grade Rugby League e.g. Bill Cain (Norths) and Brian Norton (St.George/Norths) and in first grade Rugby Union – Phil Newton, Barry Taylor and Bruce Manuel (Northern Suburbs).

At that time, the girls and boys schools were separated by a timber fence, the girls colours (I think), were green, gold and navy blue tunics/hats and the boy’s wore grey suits with blue and white ties, pocket/crests. Students came from as far away as Chatswood and the bulging trams would off load it’s rowdy occupants outside of Lopez’ Fruit Shop.

Mister Lopez’ son, Domonique, (Dom), would later become one of “Mosman’s Finest” as an outspoken Councilor, then Mayor, of Mosman Council.

— Brucey M · 6 May 2008, 03:52 · #

I love reading about your life during your chilhood. Not unlike the passing in my country, Argentina, going all time playin games, going fishing or climbing trees allways with shorts and barefoot.

— Jorge · 10 April 2009, 19:22 · #

Bruce M,
I know exactly where you are referring too. I lived at 74 Avenue Rd backing onto Wolger Rd and spent many hours in and around Mosman Oval. I used to go to the dentist Dr Cottee opposite the Fire Station. I now live on the Far North Coast and Dr Lisa Cottee, his daughter is an eye surgeon in Lismore who I know. I went to Maris Brothers in Military Rd and I think Dom Lopez went to school there as well (not entirely sure)
Peter Irvine ( Kens brother ) also went to school with me and both of us played rugby league and cricket together at Mosman Oval for the Mosman Collegians.
I also had mates who went to Mosman High… Paul Pringle, Charlie Dalrymple – Hay and Alan Banham.
Mosman… what a wonderful place to grow up in.

— Paul Wyatt · 11 June 2009, 00:10 · #

Chris Wither.
Jack Wither was associated with MJBA.John Bottle lived near.Postie Mann-Gilbert Whitley Aquarium-Caretaker- Council Chambers-WW1 Eng. Vet. ? Only son Killed WW2 Horsnall Boot maker.Down a bit Hamburger Shop.

— Jack (John) Cameron · 18 February 2010, 08:49 · #

I remember a lot of what you are talking about. My brother went to Mosman High. He is now 69. I am 63 & went to Cremorne Girls’ High.

— Marion Barnard · 10 July 2010, 11:45 · #

Christopher, you need to add a lot more to this. e.g. The Lane named after your mother's family name the fire service etc that connection would add a lot

— Marion Pithers nee Field · 4 October 2010, 17:01 · #

Bruce M,

As I type this I am looking at an old Photograph of “Mosman Intermediate High School 1st Grade Rugby League – Undefeated Premiers 1957”.

Your post is dated 6th May 2008 so you may never get to see this but perhaps some of our teammates of over 50 years ago will and it would be great to hear from them.

Bruce, in the photo I am sitting next to you with John Warner on the other side. I played played Junior League with Crows Nest D Grade in 1958 (we won the comp) alongside old Mosman School teammates – Bill Cane, Terry Dwyer and Barry Risk.

You mention the “bulging trams” and I have fond memories of those morning and afternoon trips. My primary school was Naremburn, as it was for quite a lot of students, and we would have to catch the “Balmoral Beach Double” which originated from Chatswood in the morning. Miss it, which was known to happen, and you were late for School and which did not always please the teachers. Other than Ron Smith and Les Peterkin two (2) teachers come to mind – “Basher” Barnett and “Ming” Ryan both were very skilled in wielding the cane. Something that would not be tolerated in this day and age.

Perhaps this has nothing to do with growing up in Mosman, still I do have memories of my three (3) years at Mosman Intermediate High School,so maybe that qualifies me place this post.

— Kevin Barrett · 6 October 2010, 17:19 · #

Bruce M,

Read your post with great interest, whilst not a true “mosmanite” I did spend three (3) years attending Mosman Intermediate High School.

I too, have very fond memories of those bulging trams, being one of the occupants having travelled from Naremburn on the “Balmoral Beach Double”.

I was one (1) of your teammates in that Mosman Intermediate High School undefeated premiers team and in fact still have the team photograph which we all signed on the back.

Your reference to the rivalry in the Junior League between Mosman and Crows Nest also revived memories of some good old times, I was fortunate to be part of the 1958 Crows Nest D grade side which also included school teammates – Bill Cain, Terry Dwyer and Barry Risk. We won the comp. that year and I could be corrected but I think our foe in the final was Mosman.

I found this website purely by chance and intend to refer to it from time to time as I find the contents very interesting.

— Kevin Barrett · 7 October 2010, 13:07 · #

My apologies for two (2) posts with basically the same comments. The second message was despatched after I determined the first 'did not go'.

— Kevin Barrett · 30 October 2010, 12:55 · #

Mates from Mosman… To Kev Barrett.
Yes I remember you well, Kev – from memory you were the only “Bluey” with stand-out ginger locks, in the side.
We beat Jannali High 102 to nil and after being scared out of our wits when we met Newtown High, all decked out like, “Danny from “Grease”, with their Crew Cuts, leather jackets and old blue jeans. After 10 minutes we were ahead by (approx) 16 to nil… final score 76 to nil !!
I think we won the Grand Final, played at Chatswood Oval, by 45 to nil! versus Hornsby High.
Ron Smith was coach and Les Peterkin P.E. teacher…
yes, they could swing a mean cane, but somehow avoided hitting any of the first graders until after our Tuesday footie games… funny that!
It was a great sporting school area as at the same time, Mosman Marist Bros were cutting up their opponents with the likes of Kenny Irvine, The flying Segretos, and many more who went on to greater things with the “Bears”.

— Bruce M · 10 January 2011, 13:35 · #

Mates from Mosman … To Bruce M

Well Bruce there is certainly nothing wrong with your memory!!

Those lovely ginger locks have long gone and what little hair remains is a lovely shade of white.

Your comments jogged a few cells in my old grey matter and about the only games I can remember are two of those you mention. The ‘Dannys‘ from Newtown and that high scoring match against Jannali (if I recall correctly I was the only team member not to score!). I have absolutely no recollection of the Grand Final. I do seem to remember that Ron Smith would not let us have anything to eat before the game and during transit (tram/train) he gave each of us a quite large tablet to chew on which we were told was Glucose.

I still have the standard school reference signed by Headmaster S. Dixon, with a few additional comments which I guess helped me gain employment all those years ago.

— Kevin Barrett · 31 May 2011, 14:19 · #

I lived at 696 Military Road Mosman (next door to English & Saunders garage) from early 1950’s to about 1962. My father owned The Junior’s Toy Shop at 591 Military Road, opposite where we lived and about half way between the Town Hall and the fruit market. The best time of year was Cracker Night when my brother and I were given a shoebox full of fireworks to let off. The man who lived at the back of the shop was a Mr. Cave. I remember Horsnell’s Shoe Store and a few doors down the hamburger shop and the Chinese take-away. Opposite and next to the lane alongside the Council Chambers was the second hand clothing shop. I attended Mosman Primary School and remember being attacked by magpies from the fig trees on my way around the oval. My brother Ted also attended Mosman Primary School. My best friend at that time was Lorraine Field and I remember going to the Fire Station with her many times. We also attended Girls’ Life Brigade together at the Baptist Church in Melrose Street, Cremorne. Would love to know what happened to her. My husband, David Fayle, also attended Mosman Primary School and lived firstly in Hunter Road Balmoral and then Wyargine Street.

— Suzanne Fayle (nee Sawyer) · 30 January 2012, 15:00 · #

Well, Suzanne – I think I remember you from your father’s shop. Was the shop where Spit Records was? I certainly remember buying toys in a shop there and recall often being served by I guess your mother, you would often be in the shop. I went to Mosman Infants for the first couple of years of primary school and would walk home to Rangers Avenue via your shop. I can remember buying a battery powered electric motor there which I put into a model boat which then spent a lot of time in the water at Mosman Bay (between the old bridge and Reid park) with the rudder set for the boat to do a circle and hopefully come back!

— Michael Cooper · 2 March 2012, 11:21 · #

Michael, you certainly have the shop correct. My mum and dad worked in the shop until my father’s death. I would go there after school and loved serving the customers and wrapping their purchases. My dad also used to mend umbrellas and take dolls to the Dolls Hospital at Waverton to be repaired. Amongst other things we sold bits and pieces of Meccano and model airplane kits all of which were very popuIar back then.

I hope you got the boat to come back to you.

— Suzanne Fayle · 22 March 2012, 16:39 · #

Well Suzanne – Mosman is a small world and I do remember the balsa planes and, for some reason, the doll hospital (maybe because my next door neighbours were girls!). Lovely to make the connection and I certainly enjoy “reliving” my childhood by reading others memories. I am putting pen to paper as I type my memories, and yes, the boat nearly always came back – I recall once having to wade out to get it.

— Michael Cooper · 7 May 2012, 12:48 · #

I’m writing my memories, so I googled “Basher Barnet” as he was my maths teacher when I was a student at Mozzie High 1952/1955. I came across this site.
Basher was an ex pilot, and as I was fascinated with planes I’d follow him to the tram stop and annoy him with questions, untill he told me to get lost.
I turned that fascination into a career, flew all over the world and retired as a B747 Captain in 2000.
Unfortunatly, I was a bit of a nerd, hopeless at sport, so was never picked for any teams. I got over it, and went on to have a very happy and fruitfull life.

— Ken White · 22 October 2012, 16:41 · #

Suzanne – I knew the whole Field family well. I’m still in touch with a few and can tell you where Lorraine is. I saw her a couple of years ago. Email me and I’ll provide you with more details. My dad was the Minister at Mosman Baptist from 1969 – 1977. Regards.

— Lyndel Helm · 4 March 2013, 16:23 · #

I was looking at Mosman high stuff trying to remember if it was called mosman junior tech or mosman intermediate. My best memory was our music teacher Mr. duffy telling Barry Stanton to study harder as he was hopeless at music. Terry walden (now geelong)

— Terry Walden · 26 March 2013, 20:11 · #

Yes – it is really me – Les Peterkin , PE teacher at Mosman Intermediate High from 1954 to 1958. I remember fullwell those days as it was my first appointment as a teacher when I came out of college.
I was only 19 and a half and only 3 year older than some of the senior Students. It was tough to begin with .I was the sportsmaster at the time and Officer of cadets as well. I organised those “bulging” trams down to the Balmoral pool for swimming during the summer.
There were some really tough kids at the school.. One of them actually stole my car from outside my flat at Balmoral and I never saw it again. I wont mention his name but he eventually was caught and spent some time. But they were generally memorable days. I well remember the teachers mentioned above, my collegues, “Basher Barnett”, “ Ming the Merciless”, RonSmith , PeterPhilpott, Mrs. Story, many also forgotten.
I gave teaching away and became a successful potter. I live in Newcastle , and at age 79 I still enjoy a happy retirement.
-Les Peterkin . 17 August 2013

— Les Peterkin · 17 August 2013, 11:26 · #

Les Peterkin, now there is a name from the past. I was one of your students and well remember doing P E in the school playground and jogging around the two portables in the bottom left of the playground. Do you remember a fight between 2 students ( no names mentioned ). You let them sort out their differences in the morning recess and after that they had no more problems. Were you one of the teachers that used to lose their letterbox around Empire Day? I trust you are keeping well and I myself are also retired and living in Woy Woy. Other teachers were English teacher Miss Arnheim, science teacher Mr Pugh, music teacher Mr Duffy and the headmaster Mr Dixon. If my memory is correct Ming was the deputy head.

— Viv Moran · 26 August 2013, 21:38 · #

How wonderful to read these memories! I grew up in Countess street right opposite Lyndel Helm and family ( hello to you ! x) later moving to Tivoli Street. I remember clearly the shops along Military Rd, my first job was at the Spit Junction Cake shop..Mum worked at John McClure Real estate, next to the old Library..We bought groceries in brown paper bags..and not having a car we caught the “blue and yellow” buses everywhere!
I attended St Peters Kidergarten at Neutral Bay in about 1966,then Middle Harbour Primary School then Mosman High ,graduating in 1979.
We have had a couple of high school reunions which have been great fun. Some, not many of my friends still live in Mosman and I know other than for the traffic..I wish I still could. A special part of the world.

— Cathy Sutton · 30 August 2013, 08:56 · #

We also lived in Mosman maybe a little before some of your memories. My father had a mens hairdressing shop/tobacconist at 868 Military Road right next door to Lopez’ fruit shop. I went to Mosman Primary then in 1951 to Naremburn Intermediate High, finished my Intermediate Certificate in 1953. Played junior cricket and baseball in Mosman – many of the names are familiar, Bobby Leatherbarrow played cricket and baseball with me, Ken Irvine played junior baseball before his rugby league career. My aunty lived in The Crescent and we have many happy memories of Mosman in those early years. We moved to Countess Street about 1947 but I continued playing cricket and baseball for years after that. I used to work at Sydney Thomas Menswear in Spit Junction on a Saturday morning.

— Rob Stirling · 8 December 2013, 19:51 · #

What memories have come back from my time at Mosman High after reading contributions to this site. My best friend there was John Irland. I well remember the running battles between our English teacher, nick name Milf (I have forgotten his name) and Graeme Mac Flintoff. I was terrified of Ming but I sure tried hard at maths. I loved Basher Barnett, (probably because I never got the cuts from him). Basher could so easily be diverted into telling a war story that made learning fun. When I tell any of today’s young people about the duster throwing and 6 of the best in front of the class I get looked at in disbelief. Still I think most of us turned out ok with out becoming axe murder’s.

— Terry Walden · 28 February 2014, 15:48 · #

I attended Mosman Girls High School from 1957 – 1960 but I remember it was called Mosman Domestic Science High School. It was separate from the boy’s high school which was next door.
I recall a teacher called Miss Skelton, history I think and a maths teacher called Miss Silk. Also remember some other students, Pam McKenzie, Christine Lee, Sally Thompson, all who have probably changed their names by marriage.
Anyone remember me ? Love to hear from you !

— Roslyn (Walden) Brazier · 29 April 2014, 19:20 · #

WOW,, just clicked on to see what has happened since my first post & can’t believe the response. Unbelievable how one little nostalgic moment can inspire so many great memories for so many people. So many people mentioned that I knew although mainly thru older brothers.
To Suzanne Fayle, Lorraine Field is one of my cousins mentioned in the first post @ you probably spent so much time at the fire station as our Great Grandfather was the 1st volunteer fire chief of Mosman and the tradition has been kept alive by numerous members of the Field family over the years, ergo the lane behind the fire station being named Field Lane.
My family is still in contact with members of the Leatherbarrow family who get plenty of mentions.
Once again, great to see so many memories inspired by one person reliving his long lost past.
reminiscing

— chris wither · 3 November 2014, 18:40 · #

Brian White I had 3 wonderful years at Mosman Intermediate High…1951 to 1954..school captain 1954 lived at 687 Military Rd, opposite Almora St. I remember all the teachers spoken about here plus a couple..Basher..Bill Barry.. Harwood..Pugh.. Ryan ( Ming)..Max Quirk..Russ Shipley..Duffy…and of course Les Petekin who tried to teach me fencing. The vice captain 1954 was a guy by the name of Khalid Rauf Bashir, anyone know what became of him ?
I would like to hear from anyone about Mosman. I also was a 3rd Mosman Bay sea scout and played league with Mosman Rugby League
D and C grade before moving to Manly. I am now living at Paradise Point Qld and would love to hear from anyone from the GODS.

— Brian White · 10 February 2015, 10:40 · #

Hey Chris,
It’s David Colley here. I was born and bred in Mosman and had the great pleasure and honour to develop and evolve my early life and cricket career in a great place in the 50’s,60’s and 70’s.
David Colley.

— David Collet · 20 February 2015, 16:29 · #

Hi Some of you mention the Field family. Are they the same family who worked for Sturrock and Sons in Mackie Lane, Mosman. I was an apprentice then and I remember Buck and Ernie Fields. Same ones? I started with them in early 1955. Left Mosman Inter_High 1954.

— Brian White · 30 March 2015, 15:31 · #

Alan Chambers here, with sisters Margaret, Alison and Sue lived in Hunter Road at Balmoral, remember the Fayles well at the end of our street and of course Dave Colley. I was there from birth till 21 and with my mates the Tregear brothers, Garry Sundin, Chris Hauge, Mark Howard ran riot with pristine Balmoral and the surrounding bushland [now all gone to housing] as our playground. Father, Keith was an alderman, mayor and local real estate agent and my mum was Norma. My wife went to Queenwood, which was almost inevitable as the back gate was diagonally across the road from our house. The Milk Bar on the corner of Mandalong Road was “The Hang’ with the Balmoral gang lurking about looking tough but were awesome to us little fellas, especially Terry Farrant, Sid Pacullio and others. I went to Balmoral Infants and still keep in contact with many from there.

— Alan Chambers · 27 September 2015, 12:52 · #

Hi Anyone from Mosman Intermediate High 1951 to 1954 or The Spit swimming club…Harry Hay and Sam Herford were the coaches

— Brian White · 19 October 2015, 15:22 · #

I attended Mosman Inter 1956 1B 1957 2B 1958 3A lived Lane Cove at the time bus to Crows Nest then tram to school always last compartment occasional missiles (fruit ) exchanged with oncoming trams . Ingles ( carrots ) history teacher, ??? (titsy )french teacher , Mrs Orb at tuck shop .David Barrucluf was school captain .Ron Float ,Brian Kent are other students I can recall. Visited school in 2008 re
50th,, the framed photos photos which hung on the wall up in the library
nobody at school knows whereabouts Cheers Mal

— malcolm taylor · 7 November 2015, 10:49 · #

I was born at 45 Wolseley Road Mosman and used to hang out at Balmoral. I remember Hunter Street with my good friend Barry Aylwin and the Fayles at the top of the street. I used to work with John at Victor Dekyvere @ Co and then Richard (RIP) and Leigh (RIP) David and Stephen….Mrs Fayle died at the good age of 105. Down on the other side were the Carriers….I was friends with Michael and next door was Steve James. Then over the lane in Mandalong St was Peter Sunley and then upstairs over the milk bar lived David Love.
We used to go collecting birds eggs from the nests up in the National Park at Georges Heights.
I attended Marist Brothers Mosman with John Cody, Geoff Hicks, Michael Roberts, Dennis Moulton, Tony Lopez, Jimmy Vote and Barry Aylwin.

— Peter Rolfe · 22 November 2015, 15:06 · #

Hello Peter Rolfe. Like Peter, I remember the Carriers, Love’s, Alywins, James’s, Sunley’s and the Chambers as well as John Boutagy (corner Almora – Boutagy’s Milk Bar) the Riddles (Riddles Milk Bar on corner Mandalong & The Esplanade), John (Jumbo) Boddam-Whetham and Bevan Williams (Hunter Rd).
We lived at 29 Hunter Road from about 1953 until we moved to Wyargine Street around 1960. Mum (Kit) passed away in 2010 aged 95 (unfortunately she didn’t make it to 105).
Ours was a great childhood with many friends and a terrific area to grow up in. I have bumped into Peter Rolfe a few times and still see Jumbo and John Boutage regularly.
David Fayle – 28/12/15

— David Fayle · 28 December 2015, 12:13 · #

attended Mosman Domestic School 1953-1956. Anyone to share
memories. My best friend was Rae Gauvin (she is still my best friend)

— Lynette Sealie(Thompson) · 22 February 2016, 10:34 · #

I was looking for photos from our school on the web and found a 1959 Athletics photo with many people I remember well Geoff Shaw, Greg Hyde his dad was Frank Hyde, Mario Bellantonio ,Kerry Castle, Kenny Hatten, Frank Portelli, Angelo Serio, Colin Coulton I think all these guys were in my class. Geoff Hicks and Denis Moulton left our school and went to Joeys.My last year was 1960 and I can’t find any photos from that year. If anyone reads this I am living in Park City, Utah. I am still skiing but perhaps not as fast as ten years ago. If anyone knows Peter Atkins (Sarge) please email me.
Best Regards to anyone from our school days,
John Longmuir

John Longmuir · 30 March 2016, 05:13 · #

Hi if you’re the same Chris Withers I remember ,you may remember me. I left in 1960 I seem to remember you, bob and Ron, sorry surnames escape me sitting together and mucking about as much as possible. We also had a classmate who was very fat, very loud and very funny I think his name was Carpenter; also an extremely tall boy called Peter possibly six foot two with glasses. Any photos from that time would be fascinating. Left Aus in 1967 now in London. Good luck if anyone remembers my name

— Barrie Crawford · 20 December 2016, 02:44 · #

Another name springs to mind a lad called McGrath, him, Bob, yourself and me in 3b 1960, hope this means something to you, regards Barrie

— Barrie crawford · 20 December 2016, 06:42 · #

Hi all
I attended Mosman Home Science School in the late 50’s. I remember our Headmistress was a Mrs Rosenthal. I also remember friends Cathy Baxter, Judy Kelly (who I believe was killed in an accident overseas) and Marilyn Hart also Barbara Alderdice who always topped the year every year, no one could beat her. I also recollect our art teacher Mrs McGillchrist who lived in Medusa Street not far from where I grew up in Pursell Avenue.
Dianne Grey

— Dianne Hobson · 19 March 2017, 11:45 · #

John Dickenson
Attended Mosman HS 1961-67
School Captain 1967-lived at KIRRIBILLI fond memories of my School Days……Mary SUTERS …. English Teacher….what a great support for me…..

— John Dickenson · 22 May 2017, 14:51 · #