The Dwyers

Country New South Wales

After trying to keep going, with most men out of work, we went to Piallaway Station (there is a place called Piallaway just west of Tamworth NSW) and worked there for some time. But Andy got a thorn in his hand which poisoned it. Eventually, after getting it lanced, and with his health giving out, we went back to Melbourne.

After a few more years we came back to Sydney and went to Moree (Terlings Station) and worked as a couple for £2.10.0 per week - Andy as milk groom and me as cook. Then we went to Singleton (Serumlo Station) where your mother (this would be Margaret Aitken nee Dwyer - this was written for the Aitken boys) took correspondence courses for school.

Sydney again, from 1933

After that, we came back to Sydney and things happened then and we stayed in the city and worked at various jobs. We finally settled down in Sydney as I was about to have my second child (William Charles arrived on 23 February, 1934) after nearly thirteen years. I worked for Mockbell's in Martin Place, city (after I had Bill and Vincent) for 16 years. Then of course your grandfather (Andy / Joe) died (in December 1948) after being in bad health for many years and living with one lung after a bad bout of pneumonia.

5 Albert street
The house at 5 Albert St, Erskineville, above in 1940s, below in 2005 (Photo by Anthony Dwyer)
Ethel, Bill and Vince moved here around 1947/48 when Margaret and Vic moved out to Birrong.
Across the road from this house lived the Mullens family, who had a daughter named Joyce. When Bill met our mother Joan in 1951, she and Joyce became good friends and Joyce met Joan's older brother Kerry on a visit to the house at Five Dock. Kerry and Joyce married in October 1955 and Bill and Joan married in February 1956.
More about this here.

5 Albert Street, 2005

57 )'Connell St Newtown
57 O'Connell Street Newtown, 2009
Photo by Cathy Avis (nee Dwyer)
Ethel lived here from the late '50s or early '60s until she died in 1974.

old gas stove similar to Ethel'sThe house at 57 O'Connell Street Newtown is well remembered by the older children of Bill and Joan Dwyer. The rooms were very small and the house was always dark, and had the appearance of being very damp too. It was a typical small single storey Newtown terrace house with one full width living room at the front, a hallway down the side with 2 very small bedrooms off that, a kitchen and bathroom after that.

Anthony Dwyer recalls stomping up the hallway as a child and having one leg go straight through the floor boards!

There was a large rusty old corrugated iron warehouse or factory over the back fence, with a window very high up, in which a very young Cathy Avis (nee Dwyer) swears she saw a witch one day.

There was a small gas stove, very similar to the one above right, and the kitchen floor was very uneven concrete that seemed to have been painted over dozens of times. Nonetheless, "Nanna Dwyer" made roast dinners in that oven that are unsurpassed (in our memories at least) even to this day.

The backyard was also very uneven concrete with an outside toilet (with a pull chain cistern) at the other end of the tiny back yard.

The story goes that one day Ethel's sons Bill and Vince had a fight in the front room and one of them threw the other one out the front window! And Bill once said that the reason he disliked cats was because he was asleep one night in the room he shared with Vince, when a cat jumped in the open window and landed right on his face.

After Andy's Death in 1948

I worked 4 years at Vicars' (Woollen Mills), in Marrickville, and then at the C of E hostel, in Camperdown, for 5 years doing the breakfasts for about 60 students from the various universities - Sydney and N.S.W.

Vicars Wool Mill was closed down in the mid 1970s and then demolished to make way for the Marrickville Metro shopping centre in the 1980s, but part of the original wall was retained and the name Vicars still appears there. Sources: Dictionary of Sydney web site; Marrickville Council web site (with a photo); Marrickville Library photo archives; and many more photos at the Powerhouse Museum web site. It turns out that our other grandfather, our mother's father Ted Rogers, also worked for Vicars for a while from 1934 to 1939. Ethel probably worked there later than that but in any event it is unlikely that they ever would have crossed paths.

Ethel Dwyer early 1950's.
Ethel Dwyer - c.1950

Bill and Vincent eventually got married and Bill did very well for himself with major exams. He spent 2 years in Condobolin while working for the NSW Department of Agriculture and passed all his exams with honours. He also did his Leaving Certificate at 24 years of age after his marriage with Joan Rogers. He also did his 6 months national service in the Air Force at Canberra at 18. He got a trip to America through his good record in all fields. He worked as a procurement officer for the United Nations Secretariat in New York on a two year contract. Eventually, he came back to Australia and got a good position in Canberra with the College of Advanced Education as head Accountant.

Vince also has done a marvellous job without University training and has been in Papua New Guinea for 6 years now as an accountant. He won a bursary when 11 years old and a scholarship at 14 for accountancy.

See caption
L-R: Cathy Dwyer, Ethel, Anthony Dwyer, Joan Dwyer (nee Rogers), Phillip Dwyer, Margaret Aitken (nee Dwyer) and Lindsay (Margaret's son). April 1960, probably in the Aitken home at Birrong, Sydney.

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