Meeting the Moores (1944)
Life is an ever-changing existence and fate was about to take a hand in changing my life forevermore, as it turned out. The 14 Squadron boys who had been made welcome by the Moore family at 21 Victoria Square in 1943 had been asked by them to invite me in. It seemed that earlier in that year my brother, Roly, had started visiting the Moores after meeting one of the family at a party. In 1944 my name had cropped up when the 14 boys said that they had a Doug Cash in their unit. Roly was now in Europe so I could not be checked out with him by the Moores. The boys had almost given up my ever going to see the family when on the spur of the moment I did just that. It would have been July 1944. I clearly recall the night I knocked on the door of the Victoria Square house, which is still there, opposite St Mary’s Cathedral, and adjacent to Bishop’s Palace, the residential home for the Archbishop of Perth, and the church offices location. The Moores were Protestants but the house was Catholic Church-owned. There have been no changes there and the house is still standing.
A chap, who turned out to be Arthur Moore, opened the door and I said who I was, and that I would like to see Mrs Moore. A girlish voice called up the stairs, the house had a big basement floor area, “Who is it?”. Her father replied, “It’s Doug Cash to see mother, not you. Finish the washing up and then come up”. He invited me into the lounge. I met Lucie Moore, their daughter Joan and Mr and Mrs Peter Colley McKenzie, the parents of Lucie. Before long I was a regular visitor and now nearly 45 years later Joan is sitting beside me as I type and reading through the story so far. I sometimes tell the story that Joan’s dad invited me in and then locked the door so I could not escape my destiny. I must say however that the Moore family made me welcome forevermore.
I had booked into the Grand Central Hostel, still there in 1989 in Wellington Street near Barrack Street, and returned there after a good supper and a nice evening. Mrs Moore was a volunteer worker for the canteen services which provided meals for all Allied Forces service personnel on leave, and also helped with the extra work required when the troop ships were in. Meals were made available at various halls and other suitable premises around the city and the catering and organising work she did kept her busy. Meeting so many servicemen that way it followed that some of them were invited to her home for the family hospitality.
Joan worked with the Water Supply Department as a machinist in the accounts section, and her workplace was the Old Barracks at the western end of St. George’s Terrace. All that remains of that building and surrounds is the Barracks Arch we now see there. The archway was the front entrance and the building site is now the freeway area. George Street ran through from the Terrace to Hay Street and near the corner was a telephone box. From there Joan would ring me at lunchtime and we organised regular calls to and from Pearce. She was a brave girl for on some of the warmer days later on it would have been over the century in that phone booth. I met many of her friends from work and went to parties at their homes. Some were Beryl Sexton (now Hardy), Joan Sibley (Chatfield), Ena Lewis (Brunton), Fay Andrews (Wilkinson), Nita King (Gregory), Shirley Knight (Wilkes) and others who we see from time to time.
Pensioner Barracks, 1863. Source: ABC News
A week later (in November 1944 while on pre-embarkation leave) I was back in Perth to find that the Moore family had planned a trip to Bunbury and the trip included me. We went down on the train and stayed at the Prince of Wales Hotel which is still there in Stephen Street. We stayed a week and had a lovely time seeing the sights. I think I had only been there a couple of times, once on a cycling tour with Trevor (Alf) Perry when we rode Perth-Albany-Perth and once with our football team. It was nice of the family to invite me to go with them before I left for New Guinea.
While I waited for transport (No. 2 PD at Bradfield Park near Sydney.) I was able to go into Perth to fill in the day, and then late in the afternoon go around to 21 Victoria Square and have tea with the Moores. At last a batch of us were put on a movement order dated a couple of days ahead so we were all able to say our goodbyes to families, or in my case friends such as the Moores. I went around to the Grand Central Hostel to bid them goodbye for they had been kind to me through the four years that I had stayed there when I was on leave from Geraldton and Pearce. My last goodbyes were to Joan at her home and I left with our promises to write often, and we did. Joan was the best with a pen. She had to address her letters to Madang.
After the War (April 1946)
On the afternoon of 4 April 1946 I walked out of the RAAF No 5 Personnel Depot at Subiaco leaving behind me nearly six years of service with the AMF and the Air Force. A new life lay ahead of me as I stepped back into “civvie” street ready to face up to the challenges of the post-war world.
When I reached Cambridge Street I hopped on the trolley bus and headed for the City and the Moore family home at 21 Victoria Square. It was next to the Bishop’s Palace and opposite St. Mary’s Cathedral. The property was owned by the Catholic Church. Like myself the Moores were Protestants. They had a good relationship with the church officials and the Catholic neighbours alongside especially the elderly ladies Miss Butler and Miss Walsh.
Joan’s Mum and Dad, Lucie and Arthur Moore, were home but Joan was at work, in the Metro Water Supply, up at the Old Barracks, where she worked as a machinist. I had been in and out of the house for the two days after I arrived back in Perth. The house had five bedrooms and a lounge on the ground floor fronting Victoria Square and a big dining room and kitchen downstairs on the lower ground floor. Joan’s grandparents, the P C McKenzies, lived there and Joan’s Auntie Jessie (a McKenzie) was visiting at the time. There were two young lads, John and Ray Treacher, being fostered by Mrs Moore, and a teenager, Dorothy Merritt, also living there. When Joan arrived home hugs and kisses had priority and then we all talked “ten to the dozen” till teatime.
Joan’s mother was a great cook and she set out to fatten me up after my leaner times up in the islands. I left Australia going about 10 stone (63kg) and arrived back just under 8 stone (50kg). Her war years as a voluntary helper in the canteens set up for all allied service personnel on leave made her familiar with the change of diet needs for the troops back from the tropics. I do recall that for the first meal she produced from the pantry a tin of peaches, which were quite scarce during the war, to give me a surprise. She forgot that tinned goods were not unknown to the services. However, down they went with the help of spoonfuls of fresh whipped cream, a delicacy that I had not tasted for quite some time. I soon made up for that.
We had our tea down in the basement dining room and there would have been about ten of us there that night. After the dishes were taken care of we sat around in the upstairs lounge and chatted away about the war and the islands, about Perth, and about the future. I was due to go into the Public Service Office in Forrest Place the next day and report that I had arrived back to civilian life. I would be due for Rehabilitation Leave and there would be public service leave accrued right through my war service years.
My visit to the PSO found me awarded 25 days rehab leave and when this was added to my accrued recreation leave of 49 days I had 74 days leave on full pay. My salary range had increased year by year while I was in the services so the lump sum payment was very handy. Nearly six years on service pay ranging from 5/- (50c) up to 9/- (90c) a day had not left me with big savings in the bank.
Engagement and Wedding (June 1945-May 1946)
Joan and I had become engaged by post in June 1945, when I was at Manus Island, and we were now making wedding plans with the blessing of her parents. She had been looking to a September date but we decided to get married before June 18th, the day for my return to work at the Kalgoorlie Post Office. Saturday May 11th was to be our special day and that was only four weeks away. We did all the paperwork for the wedding at St George’s Cathedral and Joan’s mum and dad set about making the other arrangements such as a hall and the wedding breakfast. Dresses had to be made despite the clothes rationing restrictions and the scarcity of materials. Friends helped with ration coupons. Joan left her job on April 29th as required by the WA Public Service on marriage (lifted in 1966 for the Commonwealth Public Service).
While I was in Kalgoorlie I received my deferred pay cheque from the RAAF. It was for 187 pounds ($374) and it took care of the balance to be paid on the furniture. That night I took the train back to Perth. I found everyone flat out with the preparations for the wedding. The day I arrived back Joan’s girlfriends came to 21 Victoria Square to see her glory box which was filled with linen, china, crystal, tea-towels, dress lengths, and all those things that girls gather for their box. Friends helped too, some at the expense of their own clothing ration coupons.
Two days on, Thursday 9th May, the girls gave Joan a morning tea at 3 Ida Street, Bassendean, the home of Nita King (later Gregory). It really was a “Kitchen Tea” at which Joan was presented with quite a variety of kitchen items after the reading of some appropriate verses thought up by the girls:
“Kitchen greetings, Joan”
With these “doovers” we send.
May your happiness now
Be the same to the end.
Though eggs are scarce now
Soon you’ll find it’s a joke,
To give Doug his breakfast
Without breaking the yolk.
These two little dish cloths
Are handy – we think!
They’re for washing the dishes
In your little sink.
A teapot stand and strainer
Will help you retain
A healthier E D C,
And a nice cup of tea.
A rolling pin’s praise,
Has been sung through the ages
You need it they say,
In the stormiest stages.
The soup ladle is for dishing out
Two or three helpings and,
You could loop the loop.
The spoon with the holes,
You’ll find it quite handy,
Don’t use it for peas,
Or it wouldn’t be so dandy.
A fruit knife we give you,
A knife-sharpener too.
We expect fruit salad,
When we come to see you.
Here is your breadboard,
And thanks for the knife.
May you eat Sexton’s bread,
For the rest of your life.
Dishwashers and scrubbers,
Remind you of your work.
They’re just to make sure,
Your chores you don’t shirk.
I must mention the grater,
Before it’s too late,
With carrots for salad,
You’ll find it’s just great.
The cake tins are marvellous
for cakes, So they say,
And for recipes typed
at work, Every day.
Meanwhile the wedding gown was being made by a busy Norma Prowse, and other willing hands were making the bridesmaids’ dresses. In the midst of all that the girls had been in to 21 Victoria Square to look over the contents of the glory box which Joan had laid out for her friends to see. Other notes on the glory box are in the “Bride’s Diary” extracts on following pages.
I stayed at No 21 on Thursday night but on Friday (D-Day minus 1) I was banished from the house while the last dressmaking fittings were attended to. I was not to see my fair lady till she arrived at the church, hopefully on time. I went down to my Grand Central Hotel friends and they found me a room for the night. During the War they had looked after me well when I was on leave from Perth or Geraldton. They had wished me a safe return when I went to New Guinea and now were wishing us well for the future.
In the morning I was in London Court with Norm McCarthy, both in RAAF uniform: he was still serving. I had a civilian suit voucher but suits were scarce. I was in my new blue uniform issued to me in Melbourne where I had returned my musty mouldy tropical gear. We were in London Court when a RAAF F/Lt, from Area Headquarters pulled us up and asked me why l was not wearing a cap. I had left it at the Grand Central. My immediate reply was , “I left it at home, Sir,”. He was not happy with my short explanation for being regimentally undressed, and told Norm who was also at Area HQ, to see that I reported to him on Monday morning. Any 14 Squadron chaps from the earlier days would smile if I just put here the initials “GG” and mentioned a man and the spark plug bench. When Monday came I was way down the coast. When “GG” asked Norm why I did not show, Norm said that he had told me where to report. End.
Wedding Day, Saturday 11 May. Bert Cutten, the best man, with Norm McCarthy and Ron Bird, the groomsmen, called for me around 10.30 and we headed for the barber shop. All in uniform and caps. The barber was to give me “the works”. I needed to be looking my very best for the wedding ceremony and the wedding breakfast.
The barber shop was in Murray Street on the north side and two doors east or west of Barrack Street. There I was laying back in the chair chatting to the barber, an ex-jockey. He was constantly being interrupted by fellows who came in to say “hello”, and then got “a whisper in their ear” before they quickly departed. When I was ready to go I got the “whisper” as a present. The horse was Dardanup running that day at Headquarters (Ascot). We thought about having a dash but decided to pass the gift horse by on this occasion. We went off to lunch at either the Ritz or maybe the Strand Cafe at 135/137 Barrack Street (west side). A nice three-course meal for about 4/- (40c). The tip, Dardanup, won at 7/1.
We left the cafe just after 2pm and strolled around the city to fill in time. Bert as the best man for the occasion had his part of the arrangements under control but rechecked one or two things to be sure. Many servicemen were in town including sailors from the HMS Victorious which was tied up at Fremantle for a few days.
Our last couple of hours were down in Government Gardens talking over the war days as we had not seen much of each other since my return from New Guinea. It was a nice day as I recall and we spent a relaxed couple of hours there. The wedding was set down for 5 o’clock and we eventually crossed over the Terrace to St George’s Cathedral to take up our places for the ceremony.
Many of our friends had already arrived and were now starting to move into the Cathedral. Laughter and good wishes were the order of the day. Bert and I were asked to move in as the bride was not far away and the cathedral bells were ringing out with a happy glorious sound. The usher seated us in the front row on the right of the centre aisle where we had to sit till the bride arrived. Waiting, thinking, whispering. “Have you got the ring?”
Mendelssohn stirred us into action with the first strains of his “Wedding March” when the organist sighted the bride at the front door. Everybody up and the bridegroom and best man move to the right of the Chapel steps. “This is it”. Heads turn back up the aisle but no Joan now. The usher moves Bert and I back to our seats. “Has she changed her mind?”. Bert makes a quiet little joke. Times goes on. No message. “There was I waiting at the church”.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream Op. 61 Wedding March (Mendelssohn) European Archive. Source: Wiki
Mendelssohn joins in for a second time and its back to the steps. We take a quick look to the doors and there was Joan on the arm of her father. (She had left her bouquet at home). I now saw her in the wedding gown for the first time. She looked beautiful and radiant as she walked down the aisle in her lovely wedding gown. It was an emotional time for both of us as we stood together.
The Very Reverend Dean Moore conducted the wedding ceremony and after we said, “I do”, and I kissed Joan, we moved into the vestry to sign the Register. We were joined by the bridesmaid, Nita King, and best man, Bert, who acted as witnesses. Now it was the walk back up the aisle to more of Mendelssohn and then at the doors happy congratulations from many well-wishers. We then went to La Fayette studios for the wedding photos session. Many people took part in this. It lasted about an hour and then we were off to the wedding reception at Leederville Town Hall at 7 o’clock.
There were over one hundred guests and they were made welcome by Joan’s parents, Lucie and Arthur Moore, and the bridal party. After that we sat down to enjoy a nice wedding breakfast which had been catered for by Mrs Sanderson and her staff. The Chairman for the night was Joan’s uncle, Percy McKenzie. He proposed the toast to King George the Sixth, to Joan and I, and to Joan’s parents. The toast to my parents was proposed by Reg Fleming, a trotting owner and driver, who had his stables next to us when we had our house and horses at No 7 Herdsman’s Parade in Wembley.
In my response to our toast I had the task of proposing the toast to the bridesmaids who had made sure that everything went well for Joan before the wedding. Joan and the bridesmaids had all put a lot of effort in dressing themselves for the wedding. Joan wore a gown of white satin crepe and lace, a coronet of orange blossom and a Brussels lace veil. She had a bouquet of white flowers. The Matron of Honour was my sister, Alice Blanche Andrews, frocked in blue georgette, with a hat of fresh flowers, a veil, and bouquet. Bridesmaids, Nita King (Gregory) and Merle Moore (Leach) wore a pastel pink and green marquisette frock with coronets of fresh flowers, veils, and carried floral bouquets.
When the toasts were completed we cut the cake and it was taken away to be cut into pieces for the guests. Later the tables were cleared and everybody moved to the dance floor area. The bridal waltz was first on the programme and everybody clapped when we took the floor. We were soon joined by the guests and a good time was had by all. A band leader friend of the family, Johnny Regan, with his boys in good form, provided the music. No rock and roll.
The hours go quickly on happy occasions and soon it was time for the bride to slip away and change into her going away frock. She soon came back in a smart royal blue, striped three-piece suit with navy accessories. Everybody made a big circle and Joan and I made our way round it saying our goodbyes as we moved from person to person. Joan’s uncle, Bert Moore from Westonia, was providing transport to our unnamed hotel (it was the Peninsula in Maylands) where we were staying one night before taking the train down to Bunbury. Away we went with everybody waving goodbye as Uncle Bert put his big car into gear and drove off.
The Peninsula Hotel was opposite the Maylands railway station and was very popular with country visitors. We were only staying the one night and catching the train to Bunbury the next day. We had a nice room on the top floor which faced out on to the verandah. The hotel people knew we were just married so were not surprised to see me appear downstairs to get a breakfast tray to take back to the room. No room service phone in those days and no breakfast menus to fill in the night before, and no “Do not disturb” signs to hang on the door. Sunday morning in the hotel was peaceful for in those days everyone went about things quietly. The guests were given every chance to enjoy their stay in comfort.
After breakfast we freshened up, packed our cases, and headed for the city. We checked our rail tickets out at the main station and checked our cases in before walking around the city block. We had lunch at “The Rosebud” Cafe (Aris’s?) next to the Australia Hotel. On the other side was John Hondros’ fruit and vegetable shop on the corner of Murray Street and Forrest Place. One of the best known men in Perth, John was a hard worker, a family man, and a gentleman. He had been there for a lifetime right from my boyhood days till about the time of the redevelopment of Forrest Place. I called in there many times over the years we were in business in the city and he would talk about his family, the retail trade, and the local and overseas issues of the day.
All aboard the train for Bunbury and away we went. A happy couple setting off on their honeymoon down South. We were staying at the Rose Hotel for a week. Our friends, Jim and Eva Carroll, were well-known to the hotel people and they had arranged for us to be comfortably accommodated. We were welcomed by Mrs Monaghan and had a lovely time there. The room and the meals were first class. We walked all over Bunbury, along the beach, down to the jetty, and to the homes of Bunbury people we knew. No taxis for us then. The Carrolls lived in a big house in Prinsep Street (possibly at No 5). It was on a hill and you could see all over the town and out over the beaches and the sea. Later they moved to Beach Road where we also stayed.
Jim used to be with the Bank of NSW till he made his decision to go into business as a “turf accountant”. He was a whiz with figures and did not need an abacus, a calculator, or a computer, to quickly do his sums or work out the odds in any race or other sporting contest. He was a student of human nature and a good judge of character which stood him in good stead in his field of business. He was a fair-minded man and as honest as the days are long. He made many new friends throughout the South-West in his new career. More of that later. We spent some time with the Carrolls visiting their home often. On one day they took us for a drive through nearby districts. We well remember the trip that went along the road to Dardanup. The Carrolls had a small car which sat two in the front and sat two outside at the back in the “dickey” seat, sometimes called the “rumble” seat. No more of those around these days, but quite common in earlier times. It was completely enclosed when not in use and was opened up by turning the handle and lifting the “lid” on a seat for two. As we rattled along we hung on tightly. Breezy but quite cosy.