Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Book of Me - Prompt 5 - Your Childhood Home

This week Julie Goucher of Angler's Rest asked us to respond to the following prompt in The Book of Me, Written by You activity.

The prompt for week 5 is Your Childhood Home

When did you leave home?
Where was it?
Where did you move to?
Was it rented or owned? – with parents/Grandparents
Was it inherited
What was it like – describe it – each room.
Were there a favourite room?
Is there anything you particularly remember from the house?
The road & area

My first home was just a room in a house in Kensington Road, Kensington opposite my maternal grandmother's home. I think while my dad was at work my mother and I spent most of our time across the road. In post war times housing was in short supply in Sydney so finding self contained accommodation was a challenge.I have absolutely no memories of this place.

As it happened my father's two younger sisters had moved from the country to Sydney and were renting a one-bedroom flat in what was then a fashionable area, Kings Cross. They must have taken pity on their brother and his family as they gave up their flat for us and moved back into the family home with their parents.I believe we moved here when I was about one and we stayed till I was around nine. I remember our Wedgwood blue kitchen, the dark Jacobean furniture, playing in the park with my little friends, being scared witless by local identity Bea Miles and being spoilt rotten by elderly, childless next door neighbours. I don't have any pictures of the flat but I was able to find a current photo of the building on a real estate site and it looks pretty much how it did when I was a child.

Kentwood Court, Kings Cross
When my parents were offered a Housing Commission home in Malabar I was nine, they had been looking to purchase a home closer to Sydney but decided to buy this house at Malabar that was 8 miles from Sydney's CBD and a 1 mile walk to public transport. I think it was quite a shock for my mother who was used to having the city on her doorstep to move to a house where the closest shop was a mile away instead of the 50 yards was used to. My father purchased a car very soon after the move to Malabar.

I loved having my own pretty pink bedroom and a yard to play in; there were lots of young families in the street so even though I was an only child there were plenty of playmates. We seemed to have a lot more freedom than children do these days and I remember being able to go with my friends to swim in the rock pool at Malabar or in the safe beach down at Little Bay.There was a lot of vacant land in the vicinity so we kids were able to build cubby houses and explore to our hearts content.

The thing that I didn't like about this house was that it was in an unsewered area and we did not have a septic tank, ours was an old-fashioned dunny. I was especially spooked when I had to visit our outside loo at night

Our little house at Malabar before the garden grew
Even though she was a country girl I don't think my mother never got used to living at Malabar. When I was in high school I returned to the inner-city school that I had attended when we lived in Kings Cross, I had to catch three buses to get to school. When I was 14 we moved again. This time it was to a brand-new home unit (apartment) that my parents bought at Randwick, a suburb that was only 4 miles from the city and much closer to transport and services. 

I loved living in a home unit with its modern bathroom and inside toilet and we even got our first telephone connected, that was teenage heaven.Although it was a small building there were half a dozen other kids my age in residence, we quickly bonded and had a wonderful time just hanging out or getting sunburnt at Coogee Beach that was only a 15 min walk away. When I left school and started socialising our convenient location made it easy for me to travel about and get home safely. A taxi fare home was only two dollars from busy Peters Corner. 

Although our living room wasn't huge Mum always seemed to be able to accommodate and feed the groups of friends I brought home from the beach or our youth club for a meal. My teenage years at Randwick were very happy.

Geniaus aged 16 in the garden of our home unit block
I don't have any photos of the exterior of the Randwick building but I do have some pictures taken on the last day that I lived there, my wedding day.

With Dad and Mum in our living room on my wedding day


Alex Daw said...

Jill, I tried to comment on this yesterday but for some reason my iPad decided to flip out and I lost the! was what I wanted to say....someone who lived in a unit. At last! I love the look of the apartments at the Cross. There are so many great buildings in the Cross aren't there? When we were looking for somewhere to live in Sydney I remember looking at a great apartment in I think Double Bay - from my very foggy memory it was probably mock Tudor or some such...lots of dark timber and I have memories of a very swanky old fashioned bathroom. But we went with Glebe instead. When I was very young we did live in a block of units at New South Head Road Bondi I think - across from the golf course and right next to the fire station. I will always remember the lift and the smell of other people's cooking in the corridors :) Oooh and the fascination I had as a child with the waste disposal chute on every floor!

Jill Ball said...

I could have written so much more, Alex. Some of the Art Deco buildings in the Cross are amazing. I am quite familiar with the locations you mention as I spent my first 40 odd years in the Eastern suburbs. I miss the water but not the crowds and congestion.

Valerie said...

Thank you for that wonderful blog! I travelled to Sydney September 2011 to visit an elderly cousin who had said if I didn't come and visit him soon we'd never meet. (Long story about how we came to be in contact but it was very precious to me.) So off I went and it was fantastic. He lived in Turramurra, his daughters lived nearby and they couldn't have been nicer to me. I saw quite a bit of Sydney and environs. I know I haven't seen "Australia" but as the reason for the trip was to be with Jim, that's okay. Maybe I will go back one day!! Jim died a year later by the way.

Jill Ball said...

Valerie, Turramurra is not too far from my home. I am a member of the Ku-ring-gai Historical Society that has Turramurra in its area.Small world!


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