Ten pound pom

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I came to Australia in 1970 as a ten pound immigrant. Not a Pom mind you. I am from Scotland. I was 21.

I lived in various locations. Campsie. Lakemba. Newtown. Parramatta. Cronulla. But I eventually found myself living in a bedsit in Gladstone Avenue in an old cottage. It was called Gladstone Cottage and was directly opposite the school.

There were about six rooms rented out and at the end of the hallway were six tiny little kitchens.

I worked in a factory in Caringbah. I was a foundry worker and did 12 hour night shifts.

The travelling was murder. A mile walk to the station at Carinbah. The train to Circular Quay. The ferry to Mosman and then the bus to the top of the road. Monday to Friday I just worked, ate and slept. But it was worth it for the weekends.

I shopped at a Safeways store in Military Road.

And then there were so many beautiful places to walk to. Balmoral Beach was just down the hill. The zoo was a lovely stroll… And the Avenue seemed like a little bit of a UK suburb transported halfway across the globe with the gardens and hedges.

Except there were beautiful birds in the trees and the grey skys and rain were missing for most of the time.

It wasn’t all lovely. The cottage had rats. And I had a visit from a large, black tarantula one night too.

I moved to a small flat at the top of Raglan Street with a great view of the harbour – even though it was only three stories high. 143 Raglan Street. Opposite Bustra Estate Agents.

I remember walking through a little lane there on my way to work one evening. All the householders were out in the street looking up into the trees and there was a deafening sound emanating from there. Cicadas, apparently.

I loved it. Mosman will always live in my memory. Thanks.

Eddiebhoy67 · 19 November 2008

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Nice to read your letter Eddie, i used to be postie for Raglan Street and i still walk around my run in my head, lovely but hard, my knees are very bad now and i wonder if the loads carried by the postman did the damage? the people were a joy to talk to, Frank Healy, Mr Minnet, all lovely folk, so thanks Eddie for the blast from the past, now im in dear Old Sussex, Terry

— terry brown · 13 May 2009, 08:48 · #

hello Terry, If you were a mail man around Raglan street do you remember a house called tasso where the Reed family lived would love to hear your memories.

— Helen Reed · 28 June 2009, 02:49 · #

I left Australia when I was 12. That was in 1972. Not a day goes by without me thinking of “the good old days”. I lived next to Bustra’s Real Estate, I can’t remember the street number (mayebe it was 96?), but it was at the right of Bustra’s (seen from the front). I do remember our telephone number though: 966678! As a child of Dutch immigrants, my twin brother and my sister went back to the “old country” Holland when homesickness became too much for my mother. Once back in Holland, my parents divorced and after 5 or 6 years my father returned to Australia and became a very good cook. Nowadays he happily lives in Launceston with his Aussie wife Sue. The rest of us still live in Holland.
I do miss Australia though. The smell, the weather, the streets and houses, the gum trees, crap, I miss it all.
Special places for me are:
Balmoral beach: that’s where I learnt swimming. Mosman warf: that’s where I used to go fishing with my twin broter and our friend John Maruicie (or something like that).
John Mauricie’s place. His parents had a grocery shop and once in a while we’d go to Paddy’s Market real early in the morning. That was always great!
As a “true catholic” I attended to Sacred Heart Primary School. Back in those days it was still custom to hit the kids if they were “disobedient”. And could those nuns swing! There was one teacher though I really liked: Mrs. Ling. She was Irish and sweet. After Sacred Heart we went to the Marist Bros. across the road. There was one teacher: Mr. Charles Wright, who was a real mean bastard. I still can’t believe that a bloke like him chose to teach children. His answer to everything was the cane… a genuine bastard. Brother John and brother Thomas on the other hand were nice blokes, they still used the cane (Brother John used the blackboard ruler), but not in a sadistic manner as Mr. Wright. Basil on the other hand…
Oh well, lots of memories, good ones and no that good. I would love to have a reply on my writing. Some names I remember:
John Maurici (or something like that) from the grocery.
Peter and Chris Ryan: they had a swimming pool.
Stephen Sutherland
James Hutchings
John Neville
Michael Thomas (he once wrote a letter)
Andrew Johnson
Stacey Plumb
Jennifer Moffat

— Robert Tholen · 2 August 2009, 00:53 · #

You must have delivered my mail! the world has become a much smaller place. But back then there were no computers or e-mail. My Mum sent me the Sunday newspapers from Scotland, — The Mail and The Post — and they took two weeks to get to me. But I looked forward to getting them. It kept me in touch with Scotland and I felt less isolated. I would come home to find them sticking out of the little box for number 11 set in the wall by the street entry to the flats. So thank you for those deliveries. I remember one day reading the two week old news and deciding to have a “sickie.” Walked down to Balmoral Beach with my girlfriend and a bottle of wine. Climbed up onto that prominatory which splits the beach in two and down into a little hollow, just big enough for two. The sun shone and sparkled on the sea. We drank our wine and watched the gulls diving for fish. As my friends in the factory used to say, “Never waste good sickie on being ill.” It was a lovely day and will live in my memory always. A good Mosman memory.

— Eddie Griffin · 13 April 2012, 01:49 · #

Thanks Eddie, they were lovely days, hard of course but then life was, glad I helped get your memories to you, take care, Terry.

— Terry brown · 24 October 2013, 21:47 · #