Memoirs - Page 19

Engagement party. Engagement party.

Left: Joan and Bill. Right: Ethel Dwyer (Bill's mother), Bill, Margaret
(Bill's sister), Joan. 7 August 1954 - Bill & Joan's engagement party

And so we went on in this vein following my return to Sydney in November 1954 until our marriage at St. Vincent's Catholic Church, ASHFIELD on 4 February 1956 (the Melbourne Olympic Games year). We had gone through terrible traumas in endeavouring to obtain financial support from the banks for buying or building a home or, alternatively, to temporarily rent transient accommodation (flat or part/shared house). Inner city accommodation was either non-existent, totally unacceptable and/or exorbitantly priced (beyond our means) and all one could do in the far distant, outlying areas - if you could accumulate or borrow the funds - was to buy a vacant lot and build by degrees i.e. erect a "temporary" live-in garage and proceed from there.

Wedding. Wedding.

Right: Thelma Rogers (Joan's mother), Bill, Ethel Dwyer (Bill's mother)
4 February 1956 - Bill & Joan's wedding

That wasn't an option for us and, lo and behold, right at the death so to speak, we responded to a Catholic newspaper advert offering shared accommodation in a two bedroom flat at 1/27 Howard St, RANDWICK, only a kilometre or two from the University where I worked in High Street, KENSINGTON. The deal was that we shared the rather large flat with the tenant of many years (Mrs. Gertrude PEARSON) who was a widow and a long retired school teacher. We had access to the whole unit - save her bedroom - for the sum of thirty six shillings per week (CASH) and for providing company and support to her from time to time. In essence, she sub-let the unit to us and we moved in after our honeymoon which took the form of a coach tour to Adelaide (via Canberra, the Riverina and Renmark) where we stayed for a couple of days before sailing on the P&O Liner "ORONSAY", via Melbourne, back to Sydney.

Though it afforded us the opportunity to accumulate capital to enable us to purchase our dream home it was a trying situation as Gert was old and frail, and could be difficult and demanding (it was bliss when, at times, she went away at weekends or for short periods of stay with relatives/friends). It was doubly hard for Joan as the babies started to arrive - Anthony William on 11 November 1956 and Phillip Joseph on 27 February, 1958. We simply had to "move out" in 1959 with the birth of our third pending - a girl Catherine Margaret born 9 November, 1959. By that time we were ensconced as temporary, additional residents at 54 Garfield Street, FIVEDOCK - the Rogers' home, complete with dear Auntie Bern.

Joan, when I met her, was employed as a shorthand/typist with Mastercraft Foods, confectionery manufacturers in SURRY HILLS. She soon, however, took on a position as an apprentice dressmaker for a "fashionable" business (run by a Miss Le Brun) in the State Theatre Building, Market Street, Sydney, she had, indeed, wanted to do nursing but was constrained by her father from so doing. She was paid a pittance for her menial labour, but was evidently taught - and learned well - a craft that she became very skilled in (and much used) in her life. She was also proficient in shorthand, typing and business book keeping and turned her hand, successfully, nearer our marriage to office (clerical) work with Amalgamated Wireless, Australia to secure better pay to help her with her dowry and glory box (as it was then known). Obviously she did not continue full time employment long after we married, and the discovery of Anthony's arrival. I might note that February 1956, too, was the time when severe flooding (the last "big one" being in 1931!) occurred in Victoria when the Murray/Darling and associated rivers could not contain the elements which put vast areas under water.

This, unfortunately, is where Bill's memoirs end. I'm not sure whether this is as far as he got before he died, or perhaps he believed we already knew the story from here on so what was the point in writing it? There is one more page of musings over the past. Use the 'Next Page' link below.

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