TAPE 1 SIDE A
Mrs Murphy, your family has a long association with Tea Tree Gully. I believe your grandfather arrived here in the 1800s. Can you tell us about that?
Well, I don't remember him arriving really, but I don't remember him much really. I was young when he passed away. I was in my teens, I think. I'm not quite sure. Anyway, I never had that much to do with him, but I can just remember little pieces of what we used to do. I used to help him and one thing and another. (laughs) I used to help him with things.
He was a butcher?
Oh yeah. Yeah. He was a butcher and then my Dad took over and then my brother took over, and then we sold out—my brother and that sold out. And then my husband took over for a few years and our son Bruce for awhile. We sold up and Bruce went to Mount Gambier and we stayed here. (laughs)
What would be really fascinating is to learn about Ellis House. Do you know the building called Ellis House? (See Photograph and Description to Identify this building . No 1368 N.E. Road)
Well, what I've been told, you know, the Ellis's house was built with some of the top half of the flourmill. That flour mill used to be a three-storey place and they took the top off and built the Ellis's house next to the mill, and we lived in it. That was my home. I grew up there.
Your parents lived there when you were born?
Oh yes. My parents lived there.
Who built the house, do you know?
Oh, I suppose there was builders around. I knew a few names of the builders around, but whether they, you know, built them——. There was a Mr Avris(sp) and Mr Neal and a Mr Caskie(sp) did all, you know, buildings then. But whether they did it or not I wouldn't know. But the home's really old, really.
It was built for your grandfather?
Yes. My grandfather built it for his wife and she didn't like what it was like so she wouldn't go and live in it. So she went back up in the old homestead. That was the other side the mill. And she went up there and stayed 'til she got sick and then Grandpa came down and had a room in our home and stayed there 'til he passed away.
You moved out of Ellis House?
No, I didn't move. No, we didn't move out of it. See, the home the other side of the mill, up the top side, that used to be Grandfather's home. He lived up there and he brought his children up there, but Grandma wanted something a little bit better. The place up there was getting a bit run down and she wanted something better. Of course, he had to build this one down where we was living. But she was never satisfied with it. There was just something wrong with it. It wasn't just what she wanted. (laughs)
No, apart from that it has been my home—my Mum and Dad and brother and sister. We lived there all our lives 'til we got married and went out to work.
It must bring back some memories when you see it?
Oh yes it does! We had a very busy life, you know, in them days. There was always something to be done. You know, having cattle and horses and whatnot to be round. They had to, you know, be fed and get them ready for the cart. You know, Dad had carts in them days, horse and cart for take the meat around. We had, you know—we'd always get up and help get the horses in and harness them and that. We never had a dull moment, really.
If I did sit down, I tried to learn the piano, but that's as far as it got. It'd be 'Where's Madge? Where's Madge?'. 'Oh, something's out, better go and get it.' And there was never any time, you know, for much. There was never a dull moment around our place really. (laughs) No.
Who played the piano at your house?
Well, my mother was a pianist. She learnt to play the piano and she could sing a little bit. She had a fairly good voice. But only just social. And then, my sister and I were both taught music, and June learnt a bit better than I did. Mum reckoned I was too heavy. I played the piano too heavy and June was just soft. But I sort of never had the time then to carry on. I liked the piano. I wish I could have kept it on really. But work came first. (laughs) Yeah.
You were born in December of 1914?
Your parents were living in Ellis Cottage but you were actually born at Magill where your mother's people were?
Yes, where my mother's people were. Yeah.
I guess that was what happened then. The women went back to their mothers to have their babies.
Oh yeah, well they did I think, then. Well, I suppose it was—you know, there was a nursing home close handy there and Mum went back there and had me. But the other two she had in Tea Tree. She had June in the—oh, what do you call it? Henry the Eighth, they call it now. But we called it the ole shop. (laughs)
The restaurant, you mean?
Yes, yes. And Dick was born in a nursing home down at Tea Tree Gully. It was called Kirkham's(sp) Nursing Home.
Where was that, do you know?
Do you know where the St Agnes Shopping Centre is? Well, it was down in there. Yeah. It was just in——. They had, of course, a lovely big, old home and the head nurse did a bit of nursing. I think just for the nursing mothers. My sister had a Mrs Gilmore come round. She was a nursing sister and she went around, you know. A lot of people in them days had their babies home. Yeah.
Do you remember your sister being born?
(pause—recorder turned off—siren)
You were a horsy person right from a young age?
And your mother used to drive a trap?
Yes, she drove a trap. You know, in them days there was no motor cars about then. So she drove the trap, you know, down to see her parents. I think that was about the only place she did drive. You know, we didn't go out that much. There was never any time to go about.
What's your memory of life in Tea Tree Gully, say up to age ten? Lots of people around?
Oh, lot of——. Well, it all depends what you'd call 'lots' really. There was quite a few people around. In my day we knew everybody. Everybody was more or less related to one another, you know? I think it was a pretty good life, really, you know? We were easygoing and we never got into trouble. We never got roused at. (laughs) You know, we never got into mischief, you know, that sort of thing. There was never any time to be getting into mischief. There was always something to be done. And Dad was very good to us. I couldn't grumble about my life, you know?
You went to school at Tea Tree Gully?
Oh yeah, I spent all my schooldays at Tea Tree Gully. Yes. Yes.
That lovely, old school.
Yes, it was just one big room, you know, and there was sort of a shed part on the back of it. No, no. A Mr Walters, he was there all the time from the time I went from Grade 1 right up to Grade 7. He taught, and in them days there wasn't any young teachers to teach like one and two and three. He'd take someone out of Grade 7 who was a little bit smart or something and they'd give us a bit of reading and spelling or something.
You were all in the one room?
Yeah, all in the one room. One room. Yes.
How many children would have been in that room?
I'll show you the photo. I got a school photo while I was in—when I went to school. There was quite a good few. A lot of kids went to school.
And just the one teacher?
Yeah, just the one teacher. When I got up into five, six and seven I think it was, his wife, she was a sewing teacher. She used to come in, I don't know, once a week or twice a week, and give us sewing lessons. Little bits of material we'd have and she'd show us the different stitches, what to do. And—no, that was very good, you know.
You said that the restaurant now—what is it? Prince Henry or something?
Henry the Eighth.
Henry the Eighth. That was your home and a shop?
Yes. Like I say, my mother lived in that when they more or less first got married. Well, they lived in that old Stevenson's—well, Ellis's hut <cottage> for awhile when they first got married.
You call it something else, do you?
I always was told it was Stevenson's hut—house. He built it.
But then of course later on, this got changed around. It's Ellis's. I supposed we lived in it more than what Stevenson did really.
And she was in that there for awhile. I don't know how long. And then they went to Northfield. They had a butcher's shop down there and I don't know how long they were down there. And then they came back and they went into the restaurant—in the shop part. They lived in the house part and the shop was run by Grandpa then and after awhile we shifted around into the other homestead. You know, where I was brought up there.
And the shop was just a butcher shop?
No. The home part—our home right on the end, or facing the front, there was a big room and that was turned into a butcher's shop. It had a cellar underneath and we had to always, hot nights, Dad would say 'Come on, I want someone to pass the meat down to me'. (laughs) We had to sort of take it off the hook and he'd be downstairs under the cellar there and we had to pass it down. And then things grew a bit bigger—it wasn't big enough, then the frigeration came in then and then we had the frigeration where it was put over in the mill. It was a big room in the mill then and we had, you know, the shop went over to there.
Yes. Progress then. Yes. I think why we had to—we sort of sold out—the abattoirs stepped in. You wasn't allowed to kill your own. See, we did all our own killing and that, and then abattoirs stepped in. 'It wasn't hygiene enough' you know? So they stepped in and that sort of mucked things up a bit so we, I think that me brother Dick, he said 'Well, get out'. And he went one. And my husband sort of worked there, but he stopped him, but we took another couple of other shops, but we never did no more killing from there.
No, as I say, going back and saying about killing, there used to be quite—the abattoirs would have quite a few strikes. They'd go on strike and we had three or four butchers come from town up there to do their killing.
Oh. What happened to the hides? Did they sell the hides?
The skins, the hides.
Oh yes, yes! When they skun the sheep, all them sheepskins were hung on the rails around the yard to dry. They had to be dried. And the bullocks' hide was always laid out and sprinkled with salt. Saltpetre, I think it was. Salty stuff, anyway. I think it was saltpetre. And then it was all rolled up into a little bundle. (laughs) The sheepskins were, you know——. Well, there's another thing I had to do. Go around and cut the—the four feet on. You left the feet on the skins and that sort of held them down. They wouldn't curl up. And when they dried you had to go round and cut them off before——. I don't know whether it was once a week or once a fortnight, they'd have—Dad had, someone would come and pick them up and take them down to town and they were sold.
You were the world champion sheep foot cutter-offerer?
I don't know about that. (laughs) But I did a bit of everything, you know? We all had to do something. My sister and brothers, they got up, they had to do their—done their share. But we all sort of worked together.
What happened after school? How old were you when you finished school?
Oh, I think I was fourteen. Then you had to go 'til you was fourteen. Then I was home for awhile. Then I went out to work. I think things got a bit slack home, and Mum thought it'd be better if I was to get out, you know? So I went down——. She knew of a person down at Magill wanted someone to help in the house. She was a sick lady and so I went down there for awhile. I used to come home weekends.
Every weekend, did you come home?
Oh, not every weekend. It sort of depends when I could be picked up. My Dad used to come around and pick me up and bring me home. There was no buses or things. It was sort of you'd have to go on into caught a tram and a bus—and bus, by the time you got in here, you wouldn't be the same time as the bus, you know? I think the buses, you only used to leave about twice a day, in the morning and at nighttime. Or in the afternoon. Yes.
And you got home every so often?
Oh, every so often I used to come home.
How long did you work down there? Until you got married?
I left there and then a cousin of mine was having her first baby—'Oh, Madge will go and help you'. (laughs) So I went and stayed there for awhile and worked there. Yeah. So that was that, and then I sort of got married then.
Oh. Well, can you tell us how you met your husband?
Well, I didn't know him before until I ran into him.
You ran into him?
(laughs) I was walking up the passage and singing out for Mum——.
This is at your house?
Yeah, that's at my home. And as I come out of the passage door, he was going out the other door and I bumped into him. And then he held me up. 'Oh', he said, 'This don't feel bad'. (laughs)
What was he doing at your house?
He was a worker. He was working there and he always used to come in for breakfast. They had their meals there. Anyone that was working there, you know, they'd have their meals there—breakfast. They'd come to work fairly early and get all their meat ready and put it in the carts, and then by that time they got that done, they was ready for breakfast and Mum would have breakfast. Always a cooked breakfast for them. And that's how, you know, I sort of knew him. And we just sort of went on from then. You know, go out to different things. We used to go riding together and dancing. You know, if there was a dance on. And he mightn't sometimes take me to the dance. I'd walk to the dance and he'd bring me home, you know. No, that's how we sort of met, really.
He liked the feel of you and he thought he'd better marry you? (laughs)
He liked that little bump. (laughs) I bumped into him. (laughs)
(pause—recorder turned off)
When were you married, Mrs Murphy?
I was married in 1933.
At Tea Tree Gully?
No, Campbelltown. Campbelltown I was married at. And lived at the Gully for a little while, then we went up to——. Huston(sp) once thought he'd like to get out on the land, so we bought a place up at Millbrook. Went up there for a few years 'til he got too sick to run it and we had to sort of sell it again. And then he came down and lived with his father for awhile and helped him with his cows, and was there for a few years and then he joined the Army. The war was on then, so he joined up with that and I lived at Houghton for awhile—well, right 'til the war was finished, and then when he came home we came down the Tea Tree Gully. Dad gave him a job, you know, working in the butcher's shop and that. So we came back down here—right here. (laughs)
He was sick as a young man?
Yes, he got ulcers and then finished up that. He was pretty sick and he was laid up for quite awhile. The doctors——. And then about twelve months after that, his appendix was just on the verge of bursting and that's what they reckon was giving him the ulcer—it was leaking or something. That's what they'd tell us. Yeah. So after he'd had that——.
He had that operation done where?
He had that down at Magill—no, not Magill. This was the doctor he went to there at Magill. He had the operation in the Memorial. I think that was it. Yeah, that's right.
That hospital's been around for awhile then?
Oh yes, yes, yes. That's been there for a long time, I think, Memorial Hospital. Yes, and after he'd sort of had that and got over that, he was, you know, quite right.
You had three children?
Yes, three children. One Bruce, Emily and Ellen.
I notice there's a bit of a gap between number two and number three.
Oh yes. (laughs) Number two—I had two children and then the war came and then my husband went to the war and then came home again—out of practice (whispered).
(laughs) You're a devil. I bet you got plenty of practice after the war. (laughs)
(laughs) You reckon?
We'll just get back to the old buildings at Tea Tree Gully. Is there a story about the chaff house or the harness room?
Yes there is. In my day, that's what we had. You know, the chaff—stored the chaff there for the horses and then all the harness had to be oiled in there, and they all hung on a rack. We wasn't allowed to let it lay around. It had to be hung up. So that's what we called the harness room and the chaff room. And no, to my knowledge, that building was the—oh, what do they call it? Bicycle shop and shoe shop and used to sort of mend harness. That's what I was told, you know, in my day. And there used to be a little blacksmith shop next to it, you know. And no, I believe in the early days, the rest of that building, and I think the wall still stands there, they tell me it used to be a bakehouse there. But that wasn't—you know, I can hardly remember that, but the wall was there and a doorway was there. But we had it for putting our carts, traps and motor car and that in there. Dad had it built into a long shed. Yes.
There was one—well, there was really two stables. One stable was right down there and one was up the other end. The toilet—there used to be a toilet. We actually had a toilet. The toilet was always a good way away from the house. We had to walk across the yard. And of course the toilet was right up against the wall, and then there was a stable. We used to have a horse called Charlie. And I said, 'Every time we'd go in, he'd kick it'. Give it a kick. Just lift up his foot and kick it. It must have just about frightened us really. (laughs) But he always did.
Kicked the toilet door?
Not the door, the side. The stable was right by the side, and he'd always give it a little kick. He was a big horse and we always used to laugh. The toilet got a bit lopsided, you know, with his kicking. And Dad would never do anything about it, you know. But no, we went and that's what——. Apart from that, it——.
Was it a stay-in built toilet or was it a hessian?
No, just iron. No, every time he did there'd be another little dent in it. He wouldn't kick it that hard. But, you know, I suppose he used to sort of 'Gee, what are people doing in there?'. (laughs)
Was it pans or was it a hole dug in the ground?
Oh, a bucket. Bucket. Buckets. Yes.
You just took them away?
Yeah, they had to be emptied out, you know, every——.
There wouldn't be any toilet paper really, would there?
No, good old newspaper.
Yeah. (laughs) Mum always used to, you know, like you—tissuey stuff—paper you'd get in wrapped up sometimes. She'd always keep that and cut it up in little bits and kept that for herself. She ran across the yard and she'd take that. She didn't like the newspaper. (laughs) No. In them days—my day—like at nighttime you had your commode chair or potty under the bed, you know, at night. Then first thing in the morning you'd have the bucket and empty it.
What about toilet training for kids? Was that the same as it is today?
Oh, I reckon they was taught to sit on the potty. That's how I brought mine up, really, 'til you know, they was big enough to sit on the toilet. Yeah.
How did we get onto toilets, Mrs Murphy? (laughs)
I don't know. (laughs) I thought that little bit about the horse.
Yes, that's wonderful. It was wonderful. It was.
END OF INTERVIEW ON TAPE 1 SIDE A: TAPE 1 SIDE B
Mrs Murphy, tell me about going to Sunday School. Did you go to St Wilfred's?
Yes, went to St Wilfred's Sunday School every Sunday.
Every Sunday. It used to be in the afternoon. That was our day's outing for the week. (laughs) A Miss Angove taught us.
Oh, famous name.
Yes, it was a name——. Well, like to Gully people, I think the Angove's used to have the library, the vines and that. It was her brother, I think. Miss Angove's. Yeah, and she—well, she was a fair aged woman. We always had to go to Sunday School. My Mum, if there was anything sort of special on at the church, she'd go. She was a great churchgoer. She lived at Magill and she went to church down there. I think it was called St George's. I'm not sure. I'm not sure. But anyway, the big Church of England, then they called it. And then I had an auntie—Auntie Ollie—played the organ in the church—for the church.
That was your Dad's sister?
She never missed. Well, she couldn't miss it; she had to play the organ. She was the only one that could play. (laughs) No, no, no. We were two—I was up in my teenagers, or when I went away to work, well Sunday School was given away then.
I suppose you got dressed up in your Sunday best?
Oh yes! Every Saturday night—we had long hair, and every Saturday night, out come the rags and Mum would put our hair up in curlers. And both me and my sister, we had little curls, you know. Yeah. And through the week, we had to have a plait. I had one big plait and my sister had two plaits.
Why was there a difference? Why did you have one and she had two?
Well, I don't know why really, or whether she wanted two and I just said 'Oh, one's enough'. You know, to have flopping around.
Did you do it yourself or did your Mum do it?
Mum used to, you know, do it. But as I got older I could manage it, you know. The only thing we didn't like about it was when it come to around washing it. Oh, washing long hair, that was a job. I think it was every Saturday—time to wash your hair, you know.
And pray for a sunny day to dry it.
Yeah. Yeah. You'd stand there with a towel, rubbedy-rub, and you know, 'til it got dry. And then Mum would plait it up for us. She didn't like our hair flopping around our face and that, you know. It was always plaited.
Did you have your hair up when you bumped into your husband, or was it flowing?
I've got an idea I had it cut then, when I went to work down there, 'cos it was, you know, a bit of a nuisance. I had plaited it and put it up when I was younger, but I didn't——. Like, then people was having their hair cut short and I had it cut, and oh, Dad was really disappointed with me because I had it cut. He'd liked it long. You know, long hair. I had to look after it.
What did he say?
Oh, he didn't say really much. Of course, Mum said 'Oh well, you've got to go with the times; she said she can manage it better with it cut short', so that was that.
End of discussion?
Yeah, end of discussion. So no, that's——.
When you lived at Houghton—that was after you were married, wasn't it, that you went to Houghton?
Was there a church there?
Oh yes, there was a couple of churches there. I think I used to call at the Baptist church, and then there was a Methodist church too. I think it was a Methodist——. They were pretty close together. Yeah. When we was living at Houghton, my kids went to Sunday School—Emily and Bruce went to Sunday School. Yes, they did too—went to Sunday School and then we came down here. When we came down here, Emmy finished up teaching Sunday School down here at the Baptist. That used to be when they was looking for young girls to teach and she did it for awhile.
They went to the Baptist at Houghton?
Yes, the Baptist church at Houghton.
Pretty ecumenical, huh? (laughs)
(laughs) There was always some special service on, you know. Like Easter time coming up. They'd have a big day over Easter. Like, you know, Easter Saturday would be sort of tea. They had to have a tea and then a social evening. And then of course Sunday was the church day. You know, you went to church. And then there'd be another special service—Mother's Day would come up. I don't know if there was any others but them, but there was always some little special Sundays and people would sort of go, but it was surprising the people——. It wasn't a very big place, but it was surprising how many people used to go to church, you know? I think it was the only outing people got in them days. Either they'd walk or come in their horse and trap and—yeah.
Did you go to the pictures—the movies?
Well, in my sort of teenager, they used to have pictures in the institute over here.
The Tea Tree Gully Institute.
The Tea Tree Gully Institute. For awhile that was the craze back then. A lot of the picture people came out and went to the halls and shown pictures. The only time I sort of went to the pictures was when my husband——. Well, while we was courting we went to the pictures. (laughs) We went in on a—you know, we used to drive a horse and sulky, and we'd drive into Tavestock and leave it there and go to the pictures and come home again. But then——.
Was that a long trip for you?
Oh no! It never took——. Oh, we had a beautiful pony that used to do it in very quick time. There wasn't much traffic or anything on the road, and it seemed the road was rough—it was all dirt road—until we got in to say, Payneham and the road was better. We did that for awhile. It was all right in the summertime but not much good in the wintertime. But then we had our dances, and then after awhile he got a motorbike and we used to go in and ride on his bike to the pictures.
Much quicker. What did you do with the horse while you were watching the movies?
This is Tavestock stable. It was called a stable. People used to take their horses in there, take it out the trap and put it in the stable and leave it. That was on any sulky we seen. There used to be a horse stable down Paradise way. I can remember going down—oh, well I used to drive a little sulky—not a sulky, a trap—and the horse would pick up my cousin Melba. She used to go down——. She used to get a ride into town, then she'd come out and do what she had to do in town. She caught the tram out to Paradise and it was always someone had to go and pick her up. I used to sometimes and Auntie Ollie used to do it. Well, sometimes Auntie Ollie would come too and she'd take me and we'd pick Melba up and come——. And that was a stable too there. People used to drive down to there, leave their horse and cart there, and come home and——.
Almost like an interchange.
Yeah, it was really. Yeah. That's what, you know——.
Was there a charge for leaving your horse in those places?
Well, I wouldn't be surprised. I suppose it'd be something. You had to take your own chaff. You know, you had a little nosebag or something with your chaff in while the horse was in the stable there. You'd take him in and take all the harness—everything off, and just leave it on there. In them days they must have been very honest, I think.
Yes. It's a lot of effort to go to the movies in your day.
(laughs) Oh, no. It was fun. Lot of fun. Yeah.
And the dances were at the Institute hall as well, were they?
Oh yeah, but then I think they didn't go for long. I don't think it paid. There was no nice seats to sit on, you know. You had the hard, old seat to sit on. No, no, it didn't last very long, to my knowledge it didn't. I don't know whether it was still there when I got married or not. I just can't remember that part, but I remember I used to go there when a teenager and it'd be special when we was allowed to go. (laughs) Yes.
With the children growing up, were they ill? Did they need to have medical attention often?
No, not very much really. Not very much at all. In any of the children, once they got like—all they had was only just chicken pox and measles and whooping cough or anything like that. You did it yourself. Looked after—you know, got medicine in the store. I don't think I ever had to take the kiddies, you know, where they were that sick. If they fell over and hurt themselves, well you had to learn to patch them up yourself really. But they weren't that—I never had anyone that was real sick to be, you know, go to hospital or anything like that.
Did you grow your own vegetables? Good, healthy diet perhaps?
Well, we didn't grow very much really. There wasn't the water. We only had tanks, you know, when we was up there. There wasn't no tap water about. You had to be very careful with your water. No, the only time we got vegetables, my husband's father, when it was time to plant say potatoes, there'd be a big patch of potatoes put in, or some (?) on the turnips or the carrots and broad beans or something—when there was time to put them in. When they were finished, well that was that. I think they used to put in a few tomatoes we used to get, you know, and that. I never sort of had a real sort of garden meself. It was, as I say, the water was our biggest problem. Wherever I stayed, you know, it was the water and there wasn't the yard. In them days it was all sort of open and if anyone had a nice garden, you bet you there'd be something come along and eat it. There'd be a stray horse or a cow come in and 'Oh, yes, that looks nice and green' and eat it. (laughs)
Did you have chickens—chooks?
Oh yes. Usually had a few fowls that was there, but then you had to shut them up of a night. The foxes used to get them. You'd shut them up but they still got in. We always had fowls that sort of, you know, had the eggs and a bit of poultry then sometimes.
You ate vegetables so you must have bought them?
Oh yes, yes. We went to the market. When we was living at Houghton——. No, when we was up at Millbrook, there used to be a Mr Ramsey. He came from Paradise and carted all groceries and things. Like a grocery cart. And he used to have odd vegetables. You'd pick up a bag of potatoes—your neighbours and whatever, you know, was growing. Some neighbours grew them and you got a little bit of that and a bit of that.
Yes, so you shared it all around?
Yeah. This grocer man, he always used to come around once a week and you got stuff off him—a bit of vegetable. I used to—when we was there, we had about three cows and I separated the milk and made up butter and that helped to pay for me groceries. You know, make up the homemade butter. Yeah. But no, then there used to be a fellow came around in a van that used to sell material—cottons, all that sort of—haberdashery stuff. You know, bits of everything. Men's work clothes. Mostly men's work clothes. Shirts and things like that. He came around for years.
They call them hawkers?
Yes, they did too.
There was quite a bit of that happening then, was there?
Yes, in them days. Back then, I suppose to make a living, if things were bad I think they did in them days really. But it was very handy 'cos you didn't—you couldn't get to town. Well, you could if you were got out real early in the morning and caught a bus. Like, there used to be the Mannum bus. Say we was living at Houghton, you'd have to catch a bus in the morning and get to town.
By town, you mean Adelaide City, don't you?
Mannum to Adelaide. And then you'd come home late in the afternoon. You used to leave about four o'clock or something like that—half past three, in town and come home. It made a big day. If you wanted to go to town——.
Did you buy your lunch or take it with you when you went to town?
I don't think I bought me lunch. I never sort of much went. When we sort of came down here, we used to catch the bus into town then. Then we'd go and have a bit of lunch and the great old place was Balfour's. We'd have lunch. It used to be in Rundle Street when I used to go with Mum. Sometimes I'd go with Mum and 'Oh, we'll go into Balfour's; that's nice'. They waited on you and——. (laughs)
You played ladies for a day?
Was there anywhere to eat in Tea Tree Gully? If you wanted to eat out, was there anywhere to eat in Tea Tree Gully?
No, not then I don't think, really.
Did they have pub meals? There were two pubs.
Oh no, I don't think they did. Well, that's more than I can tell you 'cos I never went to the pub really. (laughs) Ladies—girls and that weren't allowed in the pub in my days, dear. (laughs) The men would go down the pub for—go down for a drink and that. I can always remember Dad and that, you know, being not far from the pub. Finished work—'Oh gee, let's go down the pub for a drink'. Mum would said 'Don't be long, tea's ready!'. (laughs) Finish up, we'd have our tea and leave Dad's in the oven. (laughs) He got down there talking and he didn't know when to come home. No, but I say, we weren't allowed near the pub. You know, ladies weren't allowed—I don't want to call meself a lady, but we weren't allowed.
It wasn't heard of, was it?
I just wanted to ask you about the Woman's Auxiliary. What was that all about?
In the CFS—CFS? Fire brigade. I remember. My husband was in it. He was—head sherang of the fire brigade. Then they had a Woman's Auxiliary. We used to make tea and if it was a big fire, they needed sandwiches. You know, lunch or tea or something. I'd call in the women and we'd cut sandwiches and make pots of tea—billies of tea—and take out to the men.
While they were fighting the fires?
Oh, yes. They would come in. They'd ring through to say 'We're at a certain point and come with the stuff', and they'd all get there and have a feed and fill 'em up and off they'd go again. (laughs)
Was that dangerous for you?
Oh no, no. Oh no. We was never put in danger. Well, we had to drive through where the fire had been to get to the men. They used to have places where they could get water on the side of the road, and you'd drive to that point and feed them. Sometimes you might have to drive out in the paddock, but it was safe. They wouldn't let you go——.
Like Meals on Wheels, isn't it?
Yeah, yeah. Yes. No, no. Oh no, it's——. We quite enjoyed it. Back in that time, there was a lot more fires see? There was a lot of open paddocks and everything, you know? It was not houses like it is now. There was fires——. A fire lit somewhere—someone would decide to burn back, or kids would play with a matches, and away she'd go. Our fire brigade was pretty good. It was there on the spot. When it first started, they used to ring here to me and I used to take the call. I had to press a button here and that set the siren going, and I had to wait 'til somebody got here to tell them where it was. That's when it was sort of first started.
How long was your husband involved with it?
Oh, quite a few years, 'til he got sick and had a stroke. No, he was in it for years. There is a photo in the book. I don't know if you noticed it—in the fire brigade. They had quite a few trucks. There was two at the Gully and there was one at Modbury, and then they had one at Hope Valley, and then they had one up at Hermitage and one at Paracombe. They always had, you know, a little station. When the siren went, all the stations would chip in, 'Oh, where is it? Where is it? Do you want help?'. They all sort of come and meet and put it all out. They didn't want it to spread any further than they had to.
Was there always a phone service? You said they would ring in.
Yes. They always——. When me husband joined that, 'cos we never had a phone. And when I came here first there was no phone, but when he joined that a phone was needed, and they used to ring in here.
You've been living in this house for fifty years?
Yes, I've been here about forty-eight years.
What about in Ellis Cottage and the other homes up there? Were there phones in those houses? When did the phone come through?
When the phones came up there, there was one in our place. Like home, but we never had none in like the other side or around the—where the restaurant is now. There was never no phone there.
Was it exciting when the phones came through?
Oh, I used to hate it truly. I hated it.
Was it party-line?
Yeah, it was one of those box on the wall. Box on the wall and, you know, you spoke into the phone. I think you used to ring the bell and it used to ring at the Post Office. You gave your number and she'd put it through and then she'd ring back. Yeah.
You asked for the number you wanted and when she got it——?
Yeah, then she'd ring back. Yes. In the Post Office there where the museum——. The Post Office used to be there in the museum. Yes, everybody used to go up there and get their letters.
The mail wasn't delivered, you had to go to the Post Office for it?
Oh yes, you had to go to the Post Office, yeah. Oh yeah.
At the other side of the Post Office on the museum was a school, was that right?
Yes, there was a big room. Yes. There used to be a big room there. They used that as a school and meetings, and even I think they had dancing in there. It won't be very big, but they used to there. And they used that for awhile and then afterward they built the school and the schoolteacher used to live in there then. And then after few years, they had a house built next to the school that's still there, and they lived there.
What happened on the first floor of that museum in those days?
In the early days, it was a hotel first. There used to be rooms up top. People used to—I don't know, they used to——.
Somebody probably lived up there when it was a Post Office and a school?
Oh yes. It used to be a Post Office sort of on the corner on it, and there used to be a bit of a passage went up the back. And that was the lounge and the kitchen. Then you went up some stairs and there was two or three bedrooms upstairs. But on the others where the school part was, that was sort of another part. You went in the doorway there and there was a lovely big stairway went up to the other rooms, and then down underneath there was this big and then you went up a little passage and you was in the kitchen and whatnot. Sort of business—(laughs). In them days there used to be sort of a bit of a laundry and then they went in this big kitchen.
Was the kitchen separate from——?
No, it was all attached. It was a funny sort of——. As I said, you came out of this big room, went up like a passage, and then on the end of that passage was this big room was built. I don't know what——. But as I say, it was a hotel and then it was turned into like the Post Office and school and all that sort of thing. But where the Post Office part was, that was only just where the Post—the lady lived, you know. But as I say, the other side was a bit different.
I wanted to ask you about the common—the Haines (Memorial) Park or whatever it is.
Oh yeah, the Haines Park. Oh, it was a lovely old park. That was donated by Mr Haines.
Was there a bicycle shop there? There was a shop in the corner.
Yeah, that's where I was telling you about where the chaff and——. Right on the end. As I say, that used to be——.
But over on the park, there was a shop of some sort?
On the park across the road right on the corner there, there used to be a blacksmith shop. Yeah, a blacksmith shop used to be there. Yeah.
Where those big electrical boxes are at the moment?
Yeah. It used to be a blacksmith shop there. Yes. There on the corner, and then there'd be a strip of land, and then there was this, like the park, you know. It was all fenced in, but they had planted trees and had a drinking fountain—water fountain—there put in. I think it's still there. And, yeah, you used to be able to walk through the park. People used to come up the road and walk through the park up to the Post Office. But then after a few years, or the Council must have took it over, and they took the fence down and brought it sort of right out to the road.
END OF TAPE 1 SIDE B: TAPE 2 SIDE A
Can you just tell me again about the blacksmith shop on the corner of Haines Park?
They tell me it was a blacksmith shop on the corner of the Haines Reserve there.
(pause—recorder turned off)
——the drinkers every Saturday night to come up in there and have their drink and have a singsong. My Mum said she always used to love to hear them singing. She didn't live very far, just across, and it used to drift across into her bedroom window and she was quite pleased. And she said it was quite nice to hear some. Some of them had real good voices and that, but it was quite an open night. (laughs)
Entertainment on a Saturday night. (laughs)
Yes, entertainment for Saturday night.
Was there much music happening in the area?
No, not much. They used to have concerts, you know, school concerts. Fête day. There always would be a fête day through the year. I think it was towards summer—when the strawberries were coming. It was Strawberry Fête Day. When the strawberries in, they'd have a strawberry fête. Oh, it was a big day, Saturday. And then in the eve, they'd have stalls—little different stalls around the hall, and all decorated up. People made cakes——.
This is the Institute hall?
Yes, the Institute hall. Oh no, it was a big day. These stalls were always put up and were all decorated up, and whoever was the best got a prize. I think there used to be a strawberry stall, a cake stall and a lolly stall and a produce stall. People would brings bits—there'd be eggs and butter and (?) and that. And I don't know whether there was drink. I suppose there was drink, I just can't remember now. Anyway, it was a big day. And anyway, that'd go—be open early Saturday and it'd go 'til about five o'clock or something like that, then it all had to be cleaned up and then they'd have a concert at night. They used to have people come out from town to sing. It was quite—really good.
The social event of the year, was it?
Yeah, yeah. That's the only sort of music we sort of had then. There was no other, you know——. Of course, we had the music when the dances was on. Dancing would be on and you had your music then with your bands. There used to be two or three bands all around.
What, a piano and a——?
Oh yeah, mostly a piano and saxophone and violin, drum. Sometimes it would be just a piano. There was one couple there used to be just a piano and violin and they were very good. And then I think a bit later on, they brought in a drum. One fellow—when we used to be up at Houghton (that's when the war was on), he'd squeezebox. He was real good. I can't think of his name. I think his name was Hannaford. Anyway, he used to bring out his squeezebox and we used to dance to that. Yeah.
Were the dances waltzes and quadrilles? What kind of dances did you do? No shimmy?
Oh no. Can't do that! (laughs) No, it was mostly one-step, foxtrot——.
Did you charleston?
Yeah, they used to put that on too—in the barn dance. And the Alberts. Oh, we had to have the Alberts). I used to love the Alberts. You know, the hall would be full up, you know, with this lovely alberts(?). And then there was another one that used to be in a square, but that was a bit more complicated to do. (laughs) No. The waltzes and that. What's that other foxtrot, two-step and that sort of thing?
Pride of Erin?
Yes, where you sort of change partners. Yes. Oh no, we loved our dancing. That was the only time you'd sort of get together and meet everybody. (laughs)
And everybody would take something for supper, I guess?
Oh yes, they would. Sometimes don't even bother, they'd just have your dances and then after awhile, in the later years that came along, they had tables put around you and you brought your supper and your drink.
Was it the old Australian thing of all the men outside and all the women inside?
Men used to—yeah, the women would always just sit around—right round the hall, and the men would stand just inside the door, or just down——. Before they were they——. Of course, they'd had steps and they'd be standing, and the what's her name—emcee would get up and sing out what dance. Some of the men, they'd be up and rush and grab their partners and we'd sit there for awhile. And then others, oh, they're dancing, you'd better go in and get 'em up or something! (laughs) Lots of times, two girls would get up and dance, you know? They was that slow in getting there, by the time some of them got there, the music would stop and the next dance would be on. (laughs) Then they'd walk back and stand out there and talk, and—yeah. Then when the tables and things came in, of course the men used to come and sit with the meals and that.
Did the children go to the dances as well?
Oh yeah. I took Emmy and Ellen when we went to Houghton. Not so much when I was down here. I never had the kids then. I remember I was at Houghton, I used to take them. They used to—young cousins would come along and dance with them. No, that's how they learnt to dance.
Did your parents take you to dances? Is that how you learnt?
No, I can't remember Mum ever taking us to a dance, I don't think. I don't know whether she ever did ever go dancing. She could dance. She was a good waltzer. She learnt to waltz. She taught us kids how to waltz around the kitchen. (laughs)
She taught you to waltz in the kitchen?
Yeah. It was a pretty big kitchen. We had this big table in the middle and plenty of room. We had a bit of a gramophone—scratchy, old thing. But still, she'd put it on and she'd show us how to do some of the dances and——.
Can you tell me about your grandfather Richard? Have you got some nice memories of him?
Oh, only when I was little, I can remember when he had the grocery shop. I used to go round and help him unload. He used to go into town and pick up stuff and then he'd come home and I'd go around and help him unload it. And then we'd finish that and he always, you know, gave me a sweet of some sort and we'd go out and sit on the step and have a little natter and——. (laughs) I can remember that sort of thing. I used to go round and help him in the shop. There used to be a cellar down the back and I used to help him take the cool drink down, you know. I haven't got such a lot of him. He sort of passed away when I was in, you know—you're young, you can't sort of remember then, can you?
There were times, but I can't—I can remember me grandmother a bit, but——.
This is Richard's wife?
Yeah. She passed away quite early. I mean, before I was old enough to remember. But I can just remember her. She was a big, fat woman. Well, they tell me she was about nineteen inches around the waist when she was married, but I think she was about a hundred and nine when she died. (laughs) She put on weight. But she was——. No, I can just remember her. I never had such a great lot to do with her.
She was the lady who wouldn't live in what's called Ellis Cottage?
Yes, she was the one that wouldn't live in the house 'cos it wasn't——.
It wasn't up to her standard.
It wasn't just what she wanted. Yes.
Well, that was good because you got to live in it then, didn't you?
Yes, oh yes, we lived in it. When it was first built I think a schoolteacher used to live there. A Mr George. He used to teach the Gully school. That was before my time. When I went to school a Mr Walters was teaching. But this schoolteacher, I can remember my Mum was saying this Mr George was quite a—his wife and children used to live there and they used to teach the school. And I think when they went, I think they must have got shifted because Mum was living around in the restaurant. You know, around there, and when they went they sort of shifted over into that place then. That must have happened—when they built it for Granny, that's when it happened and then he let it to the schoolteacher. Someone to live in it 'cos she wouldn't live in it. She must have been a funny old girl. (laughs) No, I've seen—you've seen photos and that of it. I thought I had a photo. It was, oh, a big photo that was taken. It was taken over here by the Institute. It was all the ladies in the District that was on the committee, and she was in amongst there. Oh, the hats they used to wear. I don't know if I remember about that.
The turn-of-the-century photo, was it?
Oh, big hats, you know, and they'd be all decorated up with ribbons and roses and whatnot, you know. I think they tried to outdo one another. Yeah. I cannot put my finger on that photo. It should be here somewhere. Sure.
I wonder where the hats came from? Did they make them themselves?
Oh, I think they might have. I know my Auntie Ollie used to. She gave an old hat——.
This is Ollie Dunn, the one—the organist——?
Yes. Ollie Dunn. Yes. She'd make up her own. Like, she'd have the brim the crown, and she'd cover them herself and do them up herself. She did quite a lot with silk stuff, you know, and ribbons and bows. They always wore—they never went out anywhere without a hat in them days. But I could never get over these big hats they used to wear.
Hats and gloves?
Oh yes, gloves. Yes, and their handbag.
But you've had a hatter in the family, didn't you? There was a hatter in the family?
Oh yeah, Merl Dunn. Merl Dunn worked in a hat shop. Just a men's hat shop it was in King William Street. I can remember going down. We used to go down—when we went to town sometimes, we'd call in and see him. Or if we got any parcels we'd leave them there until we was ready to go home because he was really on the way to catch the bus and we'd leave them there so we didn't have to carry them around. But I can't think of that name. It was a well-known place.
Which part of King William Street? Close to the railway or down the other end?
You know where Beehive Corner is?
You got to Beehive Corner and then you had the Rundle Street, and then where King William Street went up there, it was about two shops up from there, from Rundle Street.
Oh, nice and handy.
Yeah, it was. You know, anybody who went in his shop, you know——. Auntie Ollie and Melba and that used to call. Of course, he was her son and that's who she called into see him really. But she would leave parcels there, or anybody would leave a parcel there for them. You know, sometimes 'If they come in, give it to Auntie'. So that's how we sort of—that's where Merl<in> worked. Yeah. I think he worked there nearly all his life really. Yes. You didn't interview——? No, you wasn't around when they interviewed him. Someone must have.
No, but I have seen that interview. Yes.
(pause—recorder turned off)
——if we wasn't feeding them, we was chasing them. Bringing them off the road. Fences and that weren't so crash hot. We always used to—I had a horse called Jack. I always used to ride. He was everlastingly getting out. He'd come up down to the gate and look at it—'Oh, I think I can get over there'. If he didn't just jump over it, he'd push his head underneath it and get under it. As I say, the gates weren't that good. Made of wire, they were, you know? Stick on the end. Yeah. But there was always something out. We always had to be chasing it. So like I say, we was always kept busy. If we wasn't chasing something, we had to get morning's wood in, you know.
For lighting the fire in the morning?
For lighting the fire. A bundle of sticks, Mum said. 'Did you get them sticks in?' 'Yes Mum.' And then sometimes, you know, she'd be out of wood and we'd have to take the barrow up the wood heap and there was always wood cut because Dad used to have people come in like swaggies then and they just wanted a job, or do a job for a fee. He'd get them on the axe and the saw and chop up the wood, and there was always sort of wood laying around. In them days there was plenty of wood laying around up in the hills. We'd have a load of wood brought in. But as I say, there was always just something to do.
People actually were wood carters, were they?
They came and they sold you wood?
Oh yeah. People had a sort of a small—a bit bigger than a dray. It was a long one. Then there was just a little small—what they called a tip dray—that used to carry——. People would cut a load of wood and bring it down the town, or even take it right into town with them. They wanted the wood for a few bob, you know? In them days, lots of people used to bring wood to Dad and he'd give them meat. He wouldn't pay them in money. He'd give them meat because money was scarce.
Bartering went on a bit, didn't it?
Oh yes, it did. Well, I can remember Dad had a lot of debts really. He was a bit on the, you know, easygoing. He felt sorry for them. You know, they'd say 'Oh, I can't pay today Claude' and 'How about I give you some potatoes for it?'. You know, that sort of thing. Or anything—or some eggs or something, you know? 'Oh yeah, that'll do.' See, money was never about. But they'd like swap. He'd say, 'Oh yes, that'll do, that'll do'.
Different way of life, isn't it?
Yeah, it was then. A lot of people——. Dad always said he'd be pretty well off if everybody paid up. You haven't got that on tape, have you? (laughs)
We can take off anything you want to take off. (laughs)
Well, as I say, it's quite true.
It's true, it's true. (laughs)
He said, 'If everybody paid up——'.
I won't ask you the names.
No. '——paid up their bills', he said, 'I'd be——'. Well, he went down to the pub for a drink. He'd just bought a new car, Oldsmobile. Someone said to him, 'Oh, you got a new car Claude?'. 'Oh yes.' 'Oh you, lucky you.' 'Yes', he said, 'If everybody paid their bills, I'd have two'. (laughs) Yeah. No, there was none of that on. You know, used to—it's funny. Little things like that sticks in your mind, doesn't it?
Yes. When did the electricity come through?
When I was living home, we had candles and lamps. How old was I when that——? It must have been in—well, I was home say, going to school, 'til I went off to work. I think it must have been, when I was going to work and come home, and Mum had lights. Oh, it was marvellous. We always used to have a candle each to go to the bed. And of course out in the other room—kitchen and that—we always had lamps. That's another job we had to do, clean the lamps. Fill 'em up with kerosene. And we used to have in them days hand—you know, carrying lamps. You would carry it around, you know, out the yard. If you wanted to go out the yard and feed the horses, it'd be dark sometimes when you had to get a horse in and you wanted this lamp. They all had to be filled up and cleaned—glass cleaned. It's no good you going out with a black, dirty glass. No. I just can't remember. I can remember coming home. Mum was thrilled to bits with light—'Lights—good!'.
Flick the switch.
Did you ever have a Coolgardie safe? I know you had the cellar.
Oh, in my day, it was that cool water. You know, a safe and you poured water on the top and it all ran down the side, like bagged at the side. That's the only cooling safe we had. Of course, Mum was sort of a bit lucky. She had the cellar down there and she used to take food down to the cellar.
Was that effective or did the food go off?
Oh no! It was very good. That water one was beautiful. You know, it kept it just——. Before you used that, you'd put butter—you know, on a hot day it'd be all oily. But putting it in that cool safe. We used to have it out in the verandah and whatever breeze come would cool it off and it would just keep the butter firm. You know, real spreadable.
And you put salt in the butter when you made it?
Oh yes, yes, always put salt in it.
Yes. To preserve it.
I'd like a dollar for all the butter I've made. With two bits of wood, you know. I used to make quite a bit when I was up at Millbrook, and then I'd come down to Houghton. I reckon it was better—you got more for your butter than you did your cream in them days.
How did you separate the cream?
Oh, I had a separator. Yes. Milked the cows and kept your milk in it. Separate— the cream come one way and the milk went the other.
Yes, the hand separator with the winder.
Yes, you had to go at a speed, just keep it so that—if you went too fast the cream would be runny. You had to just keep it at just an even pace and the cream would come out nice and thick.
There's a skill to separating it?
Oh yes, yes! I didn't mind it really. I'd rather separate it than—go and milk, I used to hate that. Milk and milk. But I used to help with the milking. But once they got two or three bucketfuls of milk I'd take it up to the dairy (we had a little dairy) and separate it, see? And by the time that was finished, there was more buckets of milk to come and all be separated. Yeah. See, then they kept the cream, and the milk—milk went mostly—had pigs and fed it to the pigs in them days.
You had pigs? Your father had pigs?
Oh yeah, yeah. My father had pigs, yeah. Yeah, but this was when I was working, up when we was at Houghton. My husband came down here. Well, we did at Millbrook but we only had a couple of pigs up there. You always had to have a pig and a cow and a few fowls. That's your living. You know, you buy the little tiny little piglets and fatten them up and kill 'em. (laughs)
Raise them up. Yes.
Yeah. You wouldn't be able to do that now, would you? Oh no, there was always fowls and that. You got your eggs. If you thought the fowl was looking a bit sick, you'd knock it on the head and make some soup out of it. (laughs)
And your Dad used to make a concoction of—boil up the beef or something down the back, did he not? You said something about him cooking something up that was smelly.
Oh, what we used to call the 'digester'.
That's it, digester.
Why did you call it the 'digester'?
'Put the bones up in the digester.' You know, it'd be bones from the shop and any meat.
Oh, the digester was a big vat or something?
Oh, a big, big—like a big can it was. And you had another big narrow tank- looking thing and that was where the fire was, and that's where water sort of went through it and you melted the fat in and cooked it in the big tank. You had to cook it nearly all day. Dad used to light it up in the morning and it'd go nearly all day, like if he had a full tank of bones and stuff. So he used to throw all his fat and everything——. Fat took off your——. When they killed off the stomach and (?) around you, you kept that and threw it in there. When that was cooked, the fat—it had a big tap down the bottom of it and Dad would turn it on and this fat run out and then he'd stick it in barrels and they used to take it off. They used to call it tallow then, I think. He'd make use of it anyway—he'd make soap and that out of it.
And candles perhaps?
Well yeah, anything—well, whatever they made. Dad used to—I don't know how often they used to come up, but he'd fill up these big barrels that stood about that high and——.
The tap was at the bottom?
Yes, a big barrel with a round tap you'd turn and all the fat would run out into a bucket and then you'd tip it into this whatsa’name had a big funnel.
What happened to the bones? Did you have to clean the bones out?
After all that fat went out (drained out), the next day Dad would clean that all out. It'd be all pulped up and there was a big door. Where the tap was there was a big door then you used to unscrew. It was all screwed down pretty tight. You had to unscrew that.
What, about eighteen inches by eighteen inches?
Yeah. Then he'd open up and then all this meat and stuff had been bones and that would be there, and you'd push a barrow underneath it and you'd scrape it all out, and he used to feed the pigs with that. Yes. Nothing wasted. You couldn't afford to waste anything really. We used to have pigs and that and you used to feed them with that. It was all cooked stuff really. But as I say, it used to—when he was cooking—digesting——. It was every Thursday I think it was, and you'd get a bit of it in the hot days and you'd just smell a bit. But Dad—oh, it was beautiful. Well, he used to stand up there and Mum would take him up his lunch. It didn't put him off, but anyone that used to come round, 'Oh Claude, how can you put up with that?'. (laughs) He used to go 'It's real healthy, real healthy'. (laughs)
You didn't get any complaints from the neighbours?
Oh yes, but he never used to take any notice of them really. And then of course too many complaints came in, I think. Well, the township built up a little bit. They complained about the smell and then the Council came around. Well, inspectors. They had inspectors come. It was like inspectors came and inspect your meat and that—how clean you kept your yard and that. These come around and inspected. Pa said 'There's nothing wrong with it; it smells but', he said 'It's a healthy smell; it's cooked stuff'. You know, 'It's not like if it was all raw lying around', he said. 'That'd be something awful really.' It's like, when they were killing—what do you call sheep's stomach? Paunch something. They used to cut that and it'd just be threw down on the bank then. My brother, he was a great one for the knife when he was big enough. He wasn't very big either, but he could use the knife. He'd cut the paunches and let all the stuff run—it was like a bank. Like a hill up here and then it'd all run down into a big heap there. And they used to get dried and gardeners used to come around like flies, and packers, and used to come and get loads of that stuff to take and put on their garden.
Oh, good idea.
Yeah. To use it up. It got used up. Yeah.
Mrs Murphy, thank you very, very much for that. We're running out of tape so I think we might finish for now and I'd really love to come back sometime and hear the rest of the story.
It's quite a pleasure to tell you what I did in my day, which is all pretty true. (laughs)
Absolutely, and thank you very much for bearing with me. It'll be great to hear what happens.
END OF TAPE 2 SIDE ABack to Ellis Cottage Page