3 Bayview Avenue

Posted by
Don Skinner

We, that is my parents George and Elsie Skinner, James Henry (Jim b’26), Donald (Don b’29) and Margaret Alice (Marg b’31), moved into 3 Bayview Avenue early in 1932. My parents had emigrated from England in 1926 and moved here after living in Hayberry Street, Crows Nest, Richmond Avenue, Willoughby and Gordon Street, Mosman. From the images in Google Earth both the front of the house and the aerial view of the back garden look very much the same now The house is just one room plus a hallway wide, with an open verandah at the front. The hall runs from the front door with 3 bedrooms opening off it and ends at the living room. The kitchen is at the rear and it had the usual single kitchen sink, double laundry sinks, a solid fuel copper for clothes washing and also for heating the bath water. The bathroom opened off the kitchen and the hot water was bucketed from the copper usually just once per week on a Saturday night. The toilet was outside the back door but unlike some older houses was not up the back of the garden. Both the gas and electric meters were penny-in-the-slot affairs, the former in the front bedroom and the latter on the kitchen wall.

The view from the front of the house took in the whole sweep of the harbour from the Quarantine Station, (it was not unusual to see a ship anchored off there in those days) Manly, Grotto Point right around to Castle Rock Beach with the bush coming right down to virtually the shore line except for Manly. In the late ’30s there were large bush fires further back and at night the sky line glowed from these.

The small park at the end of Beaconsfield Road was, in the 1930s, a rough piece of land around which the tram lines did a wide sweep to go down over Plunkett Road with a last stop at the cutting before skirting the bush to eventually emerge at the corner of Botanic Road and The Esplanade.

Household rubbish in those days was collected by the garbage men, “garbos”, who collected the rubbish from the rear of the house by emptying the garbage bin into a sack and then taking it out to the large horse-drawn dray, a very heavily built wooden, two wheeled cart. There it was emptied into the tray and picked over for bottles and anything else that was of use, into the appropriate sack hanging over the over the back board. Hawkers were also quite common selling clothes props to hold up the washing lines, bottlo’s calling out for old bottles, scrap dealers calling out for old iron or metal and probably others that have been forgotten. Milk and bread was also delivered from horse-drawn carts painted up with the logos of the appropriate companies. Bread came from “The Golden Crust” bakery on Military Road up at Cremorne and there was always the lovely smell of fresh-baked bread when one passed in the tram. The milkman dispensed milk drawn from taps on the back board of the cart into one and two pint lidded cans and then this was poured into whatever was used in the house.

In 1942 when the Japanese midget submarines entered the harbour we all sat under the dining room table wondering what was happening and hearing the occasional thump of explosions. Of course it was not until the next day that we found out what had happened. Soon after that Dad dug an air raid shelter in the backyard.

Late in 1942 we left Mosman and moved to Willoughby back to the very house in which I was born in 1929. My brother and I still retained our membership of the 1st Balmoral Scout group for many years thereafter.

(See also my comments on Balmoral and the Esplanade on the posting of Chris Borough in “Balmoral- A Village”)

Don Skinner · 31 July 2015

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