Politics – Canberra Trip (1959)
Once New Year was over and the city was back to normal, my mail and telephone calls increased. It was a case of off with the old member and on with the new. Anything addressed to the previous member was sent on to Harry Webb. Telephone callers were advised by the switchboard that there was a new Member for Stirling. They were offered his home number or the option of speaking to me. Once these calls diminished I was kept busy when I was in Perth with the many calls that members get. When Parliament was in session I would have urgent matters phoned through to me. Sometimes it could be something on which I could have a quick chat with a Minister. When this was possible it meant a quicker answer to the enquirer.
Time flies when you are busy. During January I was advised by the Government Whip that a Government Members meeting was to be held in Canberra. I was provided with a travel warrant and off I went. It was here that I met for the first time most of the members who were now Liberal Party colleagues. I was fascinated by Parliament House. When I walked up the front steps and into the main hall it was almost overwhelming. I was able to have a look into the House of Representatives and sit in the seat which had been allocated to me. It was No 54, situated on the right hand of the Speaker. The seating for Government members went from the Speaker’s side of the Chamber right around to a centre “line” in the Chamber. My seat was close to that line. From there you looked over the long centre tables where the Prime Minister or his deputy sat during the proceedings of the House. The Leader of the Opposition or his Deputy, and the Labor members, sat on the left-hand side of the Speaker. The Labor seats went right around to the centre-line, too. There were breaks in the three-tiered seating so members could come and go when there was a call for them. Telephone or nature.
Document – Seating Plan of House of Representatives – 23rd Parliament – Includes Doug Cash. Source: Doug Cash Collection
On 21 January (1959) I received a letter from Alan Turner, the Clerk of the House of Representatives. He advised me that the opening of the 23rd Parliament would be 10.30am on 17 February. Another letter was from the President of the Senate inviting Joan to be present at the opening, by His Excellency, the Governor General, Field Marshal Sir William Slim, of the first session of the Twenty-Third Parliament in the Senate Chamber of Parliament House Canberra on Tuesday 17 February 1959 at 3pm RSVP to the Usher Of The Black Rod in the Senate. A third letter was from the President of the Senate advising that a reception would be held at 9pm for all members of Parliament and their guest. A formal occasion indeed. We were used to them from civic affairs.
It was school holidays time so we decided to drive to Canberra and take Lynnette, now 13, and Pamela, going on 12. We planned to send our Holden, our first car, to Adelaide by road transport and fly to Adelaide on the DC6 route. We were picked up at the airport by our young friend Cliff Barker who we came to know well when he was studying industrial chemistry at Perth Tech School opposite our shop. His father was in charge of Mills & Wares down at Fremantle. In later times Cliff retired from his position as industrial chemist for Arnott’s Biscuits in Sydney. Cliff joined my Dad and I to go prospecting up Ora Banda way in June 1951. It rained us out. No Golden Eagles!! I touched the original in 1931.
Once settled in our Gardens (?) Hotel we set out to see Adelaide. I had gone to Kent Street (Kent Town?), Norwood, and Unley schools in 1928/29 as we moved around. My Dad was the SA representative for Eureka Vacuum Cleaners, and Maytag Washing Machines which are still the standard brand for most launderettes operating today. Maytag was a person born in the US State of Iowa as was my father, and as was actor John Wayne. Dad had an office at 86(?) Grenfell Street (Note: in book 1 Doug says 89). I showed the family where the building was. I knew it from memory. We wandered through the shops and bought a few things. We lunched at Myers and then went back to the hotel for a short rest. A walk back through the Rundle Street area and then a hot chicken for tea with strawberries and ice-cream for the encore. Card games with the children and then off to bed. No trouble sleeping.
The next day we picked up our Holden and drove back to the hotel. We paid our bill, loaded the luggage, and waved Adelaide good-bye. Mount Gambier was to be our first main stop. Then, about 280 miles, today 450 kms. The road was good and we were able to enjoy the splendid views from the Mount Lofty ranges as we cruised along. Our drive through the coastal towns like Kingston and Millicent vividly reminded me of our family move from Sydney to Adelaide in 1927 when Dad was transferred from Sydney in his job. We made the trip, via Canberra and Melbourne, in a Ford Model T with Mum and Dad and the four of us, Cecil, Alice, Roly, and me. We came along the beautiful Coorong over rough roads, many just sand, without any problems. We met Wirths Circus heading back to Melbourne and stopped. They were having a break and we joined them at lunch. It was not all motor vehicles for them. Horses and camels, and the elephants had to do their bit. Those days are gone forever.
We arrived in Mount Gambier about 5 o’clock after taking time to go up to the local attraction, the Blue Lake. Blue it was. Still have the postcards. We stayed overnight at Jens Hotel. We had our dinner which was very nice and then went to the pictures. Tarzan was the first film and the second Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Mount Gambier was a nice town with nice shops to browse around in. Before leaving the next morning we bought a few souvenirs to take home and then I took time out to look over the local RSL Hall. Our next stop on our route along the coast was Portland where we stopped for lunch on the beach. Our next main stop was Colac where we stayed at the hotel overnight. When we went to the dining room and sat down, the waitress said, “What do youse people want?”
The next day (early February 1959) and it was Lynnette’s 12th birthday. Pamela had to wait till October for her 11th. We were awakened early by the noisy heavy truck traffic on the hotel road. It was raining hard as well. We had breakfast and then set out for Geelong. Hubert and Mavys Opperman lived in Geelong but we went to his office. He was the Member for Corio. We had a bit of a yarn over a cup of coffee and cakes. We would be seeing them again at the opening of the Federal Parliament.
We had arranged to be picked up by an RACV guide to lead us on to Melbourne. Off we went 60 miles still to go (NOTE: A similar service was offered by NRMA, they advise: “From the late 40’s, roadside patrols and also female guides offered what was known as a piloting service, where visiting Members from interstate or the country could request assistance with navigating through the city to their intended destination by following a patrol. There were established NRMA pilot points around the city to arrange the service”).
Our helpful guide led us right to the front of the well-known Victoria Hotel in Little Collins Street which runs between Bourke and Collins Street. We thanked him for his assistance and he went on his way. It was 1pm. The hotel staff took-over our luggage and the parking of the car. Once allocated to our rooms we freshened up and then made a few telephone calls to friends in or near the city. We rang John Berryman who we had met when he came to WA as the representative for a top greeting card firm, Speciality Greetings. I showed him over Kalgoorlie when he invited me to go with him on a visit to the goldfields town. The Berryman family had lived in Osborne Park not far from our home in Yokine. We were great friends.
We were looking forward to seeing John and Elaine again, and made arrangements to pay them a home visit. At the same time we were invited to go out to Specialty Greeting Cards for a tour through the works from designing to distribution. We were there at 3pm and stayed for two hours. It was great. John’s father was Dr John(?) Berryman, and he picked us up at 7.30 to take us home. Mrs Berryman put on a nice supper. We talked and talked but were given time to watch TV which we had not seen in our home state (NOTE: TV introduced in Sydney and Melbourne in 1956 for the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Perth was to wait until October, 1959).
We were invited to spend the next day with them. They showed us the city gardens and the Myer Bowl, due to be opened by Prime Minister Robert G. Menzies on 12 February. Then we were off to the Dandenongs to spend the day with friends of the Dr and Mrs Berryman. As I remember the friend was the main man of Toledo Scales. The gardens and the house were beautiful. The Chippendale 18th century furniture and the gold-plated cutlery set were a sight to behold. We had a nice luncheon and expressed our thanks to these nice people for the lovely day at their home. Dr Berryman dropped us off at the Victoria Hotel around 5pm. A quiet evening writing letters and postcards and off to bed.
Next day an early breakfast and off to see the Melbourne shops. Myers first on the list. We posted our mail/cards on the way. Actually there were 2 Myers stores in the same area. The card shop section was our first target. New ideas were noted down. We rang the Marlands who were friends of Joan’s family. They were taxi fleet owners: Black and Silver Cabs(?). Young Frank had been to the USA and studied the taxi industry there. He returned knowing the way to go. A good business was born. We spent the best part of Saturday with the Marlands and then went to a theatrette before going back to the Victoria and bed.
It was now Sunday morning 8 February. Early breakfast and check out. Off to Sydney. The RACV pilot arrived at 9am and led us out of Melbourne. We were off to Lakes Entrance, heading for Sydney. Stopped on the way to see the birds and the animals at a place where we had tea and sandwiches. We made Lakes Entrance at 2pm. It was very windy but we walked to the jetty and the ocean. We bought some nice crispy chips and then went back to our unit. For tea we had nice cold chicken and sweets. Another walk to the ocean but it had got even colder and very strong winds so it was back to the unit again. A good meal and a night’s rest and we were ready for the next leg of the trip. Overnight I had had the oil changed. A little after 9am we were off to Bega. The road was mainly gravel with many bends and some narrow bridges. Par for the course in those days. Very pretty through the forests and many nice views to the ocean as we moved along.
We stayed overnight at the Bega Commercial Hotel. From Bega we went around the coast, instead of staying on Princes Highway. The views were great and we saw plenty of wildlife. Kangaroos and birds, many Black Rosellas. Lyn and Pam had a swim when we got to Narooma and after that we had lunch on the beach. It was great having this trip with the children. We went on to Waroya (sic Moruya) and Batemans Bay and then to Ulladulla (this area, the NSW South Coast would later become home for one of Doug’s grandchildren and a holiday home for two others). We watched them fishing off the rocks there. We arrived at Nowra around 4 o’clock. We booked in at the hotel and showered and changed. Out we went to see the town. We went to see the hanging rock and stood on it. We looked over the town which had a self-service newsagency. Up early in the morning and off to Kiama where we stayed for a while. We went down to the famous “Blow Hole” and looked through the telescope out to the surrounds and the ocean. Great! Bulli Pass was our next stop. Enjoyed the views from there. Near Sydney we were picked up by a NRMA patrolman and guided to our city hotel. For the children it was a first visit east.
No time wasted. Electric train to Luna Park but not open that day. Shopping was the top priority. For the children it was like Pandora’s box being opened. Purchases made, it was back to the hotel to watch that novelty – TV – Young people today (1998) could not realise that television then was less than 3 yrs old. TV in Australia was born in September 1956 in Melbourne. Sydney was November 1956. Big stores like Myers attracted customers by exhibiting television sets in their windows, day and night. Hundreds of people crowded the footpaths to see and hear magic. Pre-TV we were happy with the motion pictures of the day, which meant a night out, a light supper, and a walk home. The movies were censored occasionally but today TV breaks all the rules.
More shopping in the afternoon. Joan finding it difficult to make gift and dress choices. So many to choose from. Friends to see. She telephoned Mrs Waters and meeting her next day. Called long-time Perth friend Thelma Blanche (formerly Stacey) who now lives at Dora Creek, north of Sydney. She looked as well as ever. Today was still Thursday and we had time to go to Taronga Park Zoo. We saw everything but enjoyed the birds the most. Took the ferry back to the town, had tea, and then on to the theatrette.
Next day (Friday 13 February) we met Thelma and went shopping. This time it was for shoes, hats, gloves, and handbags. All for the big day on Tuesday next, the opening of the 23rd Parliament. We lunched at David Jones and saw opera singer Gladys Moncrieff. Joan and Thelma went on with the shopping but the girls and I went back to the hotel for a breather. Shopping finished we all went to Thel’s for tea. Met Eddy and Mrs Stacey, Thel’s mother. This was our last day in Sydney. Saturday 14th we checked out early. NRMA patrolman arrived at 8am and we headed for Port Kembla. We were now backtracking on our way to Canberra, ACT.
On to Wollongong. What a mad-house. Cars everywhere. Parking a problem but found a spot. We went to the National Bank to meet David Power, a former Olympian medalist as a long-distance runner over 10,000 metres. My friend, John Winter, gold medallist in the 1948 London Olympics, rang Dave that I was on my way to Wollongong. We walked down to the bank and met Dave. We had a chat in his office to find that he had arranged a visit to the Port Kembla Iron and Steel Works. He took us back to our car and then led us out to the works where we met Mr Chaffey who told us about the steel products made. Tinplate and heavy rails, etc. They had large open-hearth furnaces. The blast furnaces were the largest in Australia. We were able to see billets of steel on moving beds, and elsewhere the rolling of steel plate which was glowing white-hot. At No. 5 blast furnace was a big control room. We saw other parts of the processing including the tin plating. A cup of tea and a chat, our thanks to Mr Chaffey, and off.
We headed for Canberra and went straight to our hotel. Very nice. We went up to our rooms, unpacked and changed. We then went over to Parliament House for a good look around. Drove here and there and then went over to the city area to look over Civic Centre. Everybody slept well till the clock alarm woke us. Off to a nice breakfast then off to see the sights. It was Sunday and our first stop was the Australian War Memorial and the American Memorial. Lynnette and Pam later cooled off with a swim at Canberra Pool. After a nice lunch we went over to Parliament House and joined a conducted public tour group. When that was over we stayed on and did a private tour of our own including my one-third share of a small office. We did it the hard way in the old days. Later on one or two stories about those small offices. A bit crowded. After leaving Parliament House we went up to one of Canberra’s hallmarks, Red Hill, where we enjoyed sweeping views everywhere. Our next call was to see Ted and Ann Richards in Ainslie. He was formerly Police Commissioner for the ACT. Very nice people. We kept that friendship with them till their last years.
Next morning after breakfast had a chat with Mavis Chaney, wife of Fred Chaney re-elected as the Liberal Member for Perth. They were staying at our hotel, as were members of other parties. Our girls had a swim in the pool, a big help in February, and then it was off to the hairdressers. Tomorrow was the big day. Joan took me up to my new workplace and then they went shopping. They met Molly Paltridge, wife of Senator Shane Paltridge, and Isla Branson, wife of newly elected Senator George Branson (WA).
Politics – Opening 23rd Parliament (1959)
Tuesday 17 February 1959 was the big day for everybody. The opening of the TWENTY-THIRD PARLIAMENT.
The procedure in the House of Representatives began when we assembled in the Chamber at 10.30am. The Members being seated the Clerk read the Proclamation summoning Parliament. A knock on the door, and the Usher of the Black Rod, who was received standing, requested the attendance of the House in the Senate Chamber. Led by the Prime Minister we then entered the Senate. We all bowed to the Governor General’s Deputy and then quietly took our seats. (We had to squeeze up a bit). The Deputy’s authority to open the Parliament was read. We then returned to the House of Reps to be sworn and to choose a Speaker. The Clerk then laid on the Table the returns to the Writs issued for the General Election, and Members were sworn at the Table in the order in which their names were read. At the conclusion of the ceremony of swearing in the Deputy retired from the House. The election of Speaker took place in way set in Standing Orders. The man elected was John McLeay. He was from South Australia. Well done. A World War I veteran, he had the Military Medal for distinguished service overseas. We became good friends. He was very helpful while I was there. We had many chats on Parliament.
Document – Opening of Parliament – Senate – 23rd Parliament. Source: Doug Cash Collection
Prime Minister Robert G. Menzies announced that the Governor General would receive the Speaker in the Library at Parliament House at 2.46p.m. The sitting of the House was then suspended. The girls were in the public gallery. Joan sat in the Senate. They went back to the hotel for lunch. I dined with WA MPs. They dressed for the opening of the 23rd Parliament by the Governor General, Field Marshal Sir William Slim, K.G.D.S.O, etc. His brave and distinguished career in the armed forces in World War I (twice-wounded Military Cross) and World War II, as listed in his biography, covers more than 10 lines. A great man.
At 2.40pm the bells rang and Members assembled in the Chamber of the House of Representatives. I found that my Seat No., 54, was well-placed to see and hear everything that was going on. Next we went to the Library led by Mr. Speaker, and were introduced to His Excellency. We returned to the Chamber till at 3pm the Usher of the Black Rod delivered a message from the Governor General desiring the attendance of the House forthwith in the Senate Chamber. We all bowed to His Excellency as we entered and quickly found our seats. Photos were being taken by the official photographers. After the Governor General delivered his speech and departed, the Members returned to our own Chamber.
Document – Opening of Parliament – Procedure in the House of Representatives – 23rd Parliament. Source: Doug Cash Collection
The Prime Minister announced changes in the Ministry. John McEwn of the Country Party was his Deputy and Harold Holt the Treasurer. The Leader of the Opposition, Dr H.V. Evatt, advised that his Deputy would be Arthur Calwell, the Labor Member for Melbourne. Mr. Speaker reported the Governor General’s Speech, and then a Committee was appointed to prepare the Address in Reply to the Speech. Then Prime Minister Menzies reported on the death of the late Hon. H.A. Bruce and the late W.A. Nairn, and moved motions of condolence. Mr. Speaker called on Petitions, Notices of Motion, Questions without notice, Ministerial Statement by leave, and Presentation of Papers. Following those standard procedures the Chairman of Committees was appointed. The Clerk of the House of Representatives, Mr A.G. Turner, then read the Order of the Day for the Address in Reply which was then brought up. The mover and seconder made their speeches and the House then adjourned. It had been a momentous day for the family. Lyn (12) and Pam (10) had been up in the gallery for most of the day. We saw little of them during the two sessions. They had not gone unnoticed. Later in the day when Joan went up to see the girls she was approached by a gentleman who commented on how well-behaved the children were during the official proceedings. That pleased Joan and more so when he turned out to be Sir Frank Richardson. He was not the only person to comment. Others said the same. Made Joan’s day.
Formalities over for the day, we looked forward to the evening. The Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth Parliament and the Ministers of State of the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia, had invited Mr and Mrs E.D. Cash to the reception to mark the opening of the First Session of the 23rd Parliament at Parliament House Canberra on Tuesday 17 February at 9pm. DRESS: Dinner Jacket, Uniform, Lounge Suit. Forget what I wore. It was a good night of many new acquaintances and a nice supper. The girls stayed home to read and rest. Sound asleep at 12pm.
Up early and off to Parliament House. We were shown over the Prime Minister’s rooms. We saw his Dining Room and Security Safe. Many leaders have to eat close to the telephone. Calls could be from other world leaders in different timezones. No mobiles then. A pull-down bed in the wall. Crises could arise at any time. No computers or internet. Face to face was telephone to telephone. The girls sat in his chair. The PM would not have minded. Visit over, Joan drove into town and they did a little shopping. They came back to the House and picked me up for lunch. Joan and the girls took me back and then went back to the hotel for a rest. Lyn and Pam had tea at the hotel. We had dinner at the House with Mavis and Dick Cleaver and Ann and Ted Richards, ex-Police Chief for Canberra. After that it was back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep. Not a sure thing with so much happening.
Thursday 19 February duly arrived. Up in time for breakfast. Joan dropped me at the House, and then the family headed for the Civic shopping centres. We had been 12 years in our shops when we won Stirling. Now they were enjoying being on the other side of the counter. All the family helped out from time to time. Young as they were they had helped out with folding pamphlets and walking miles when we did our letterbox drops campaigning. So we made sure that they came with us to Canberra and Sydney. At Civic they met Ann Richards and Mavis Cleaver and then they went to see the War Memorial. Then it was off to see the New Science College, built like an igloo and called the Eskimo Legation by the humorists. Later in the day it was afternoon tea with Molly Paltridge, wife of Senator for WA Shane Paltridge, Isla Branson, Mrs Vic Halbert, Mrs Denham Henty. Tomorrow, Friday, was back to Perth and packing had to be done.
Friday 19 February 1959 was the going home day. We were up early for breakfast and then finished the packing. The children and Joan were flying out around noon. I was driving the car back to Adelaide and putting it on rail. I then flew home to Perth. We had time to spare so we went over to Parliament House. There we went through the Queen’s Room and the girls sat in her chair. We then went into the now vacant Senate Chamber and the girls sat in her Royal Chair there. Something for their family history. By 11.30am we were out at the airport. Watches were put back 2 hrs. No direct flights to Perth then, so they had to spend an hour at Adelaide. They found that airport like an oven and were happier when they took off for Perth. They reported on having a lovely trip home on the plane, probably a DC6. Smooth, and clear skies.
I drove the car back to Adelaide having organised road transport back to Perth for it. I stayed overnight in Adelaide and flew home the next day, Saturday. Straight to my office up in the Commonwealth Bank building on the corner of Murray Street and Forrest Place. I picked up the files and invitations to meetings and set off for home at Yokine. Now back with the family and the neighbours. Most of them had been very helpful to me in our campaign when some other time they may have voted differently. Many of them called in or phoned, to hear about my first days in Parliament. When was I going to make a speech?? It was to be on 24 February 1959.
Politics – Member for Stirling (1958-1961)
Since becoming Member for Stirling invitations rolled in. Many for me and regular ones for Joan as the wife of the MHR. It soon became clear that the public relations part of a Parliamentarian’s job brought many separate invitations to her whether I was in Canberra or not. Ladies groups like Penguins or Knitting Club etc. 14 March – Saturday North Innaloo School function – 17 March, 7.30 Bassendean Council Hall – Naturalisation. If in Canberra on that evening Joan would be asked to say a few words on my behalf. We tried to meet all invitations even when two were on the same night but it could not always be done. 18 March Liberal Party meeting – next night Mt Yokine School Committee meeting – Moving ahead a bit to May – Saturday night Scarborough Surf Club – 21 May Annual General Meeting of Midland Council. Mayor Doney in charge. Seated next to Jack Brady the local State MP. Politics aside we became good friends. My Federal Seat of Stirling started at Scarborough and took in everything through to Midland and up to Koongamia. Some pretty tough country for my side of politics. A lot of State Housing in my areas. However you still had to look after them as far as you could whether Labor or Liberal. We made some good friends in these areas. Others?? We hoped for the best.
Saturday 11 July 1959. 4 days before my 40th birthday (Typing now at 8O). We had dinner with the Federal Parliament Speaker Hon. John McLeay, Mrs McLeay and their daughter, Barbara. With us was Miss Lenehan, the private secretary. She was very helpful to new members. The dinner was at the Esplanade Hotel. A good hotel as was the Palace.
13 November 1959 Opening of the Narrows Bridge. Dave Brand recently elected Premier, invited former Premier Bert Hawke to do the honours. Bert did that and the bridge was declared open. Let traffic begin. The seat of Stirling area was a fair way from the Narrows Bridge and no freeways yet so I seldom travelled it. Today quite often.
Out in the Stirling electorate there was no rest. A new parliamentary representative was a fair target for every cause. Telephone calls to the office or home, on every sort of problem, were par for the course. Local Government meetings, Parents and Citizens groups, and School Committees at every education level had to be listened to whenever the Federal Government responsibilities were there. Naturalisation ceremonies were always a pleasure to attend as the new Australians received their certificates. On several occasions I represented the Minister for Immigration, Mr Alexander Downer. I gave a welcoming address to the new Australians and presented them with their Certificates of Australian Citizenship. I will always remember how the applicants for citizenship relaxed and smiled after receiving the certificates. Not quite the same now. Alexander (”Alick”) Downer was very helpful to me in my years in Canberra, and when he came to Perth on matters appropriate to his Ministry. On one occasion in August 1960 when Parliament was not sitting he invited me to join him on a visit to Fairbridge Farm down at Pinjarra. Fairbridge was the home for many of the United Kingdom children sent out to safety in Australia during World War II. It was an immigration project of great interest and still is. Before going down to Fairbridge the Minister and I had lunch on the migrant ship “Neptunia” with Captain Luigi Cafiero. He came from Napoli, Italy. 1000 new migrants now joined us in Australia.
Joan and I visited Fairbridge in 1997. It is well worth a visit. We looked over their extensive photo collection and struck gold. We found original photos of two earlier friends of Joan and her parents. Recently I presented a photo of the Minister and myself enjoying talking with 10 of the young people there last year.
NOTE: It is now 2022 and sadly over the years it has been revealed that life in Fairbridge was not as rosy as Doug thought. Many of the children were told they were orphans when they were not. Many children also suffered sexual abuse while at Fairbridge.
(December 1959, after close of sitting of parliament) Office first. Plenty of paperwork to read and/or answer. Letters came from many community groups in my electorate, and some in other areas. I had become well-known prior to politics through our newsagency at 158 St Georges Tce and being ex-RAAF. So I did get many enquiries on a variety of Federal (and State) matters. Urgent matters were passed on to me during Parliamentary sittings and action taken right on the spot with the Minister/Department.
Our car was parked under Zimpels and our shop. So at 5pm I would go down to the Terrace to help Joan close-up when I got there. It was normal to be recognised and stopped along the way between Forrest Place and the Terrace. Sometimes a friendly hello or a problem to give advice on. All part of the job like the telephone calls up to 11pm or so. 6am calls sometimes. During later campaigns I was to miss out on sleep through mischief 2am calls.
Home at last. Greetings all around with Joan’s Mum and Dad, Lucie and Arthur Moore, and our children Lynnette and Pamela. A nice dinner for us all, often with tea-time calls from constituents. Meetings to attend – local Councils – school P and C’s – Liberal Party local branches – our Stirling Division council meetings – Liberal Party HQ meetings – naturalisation ceremonies – school fetes – community groups Saturday/Sunday fund-raising fairs. I recall one chocolate wheel at a fete where I bought the “bats” numbered 21, 22, 23, 24 for every spin. I spent my time talking with all the people there and never heard my numbers called out once. I recall this was at the late Wally Bonnet’s property at Morley. As the crowd thinned out I found myself in front of the spinning wheel. Lo! and Behold! 24 “bats” but only 20 numbers on the wheel.
That’s life in politics. Another experience – another donation. Early MP days set a pattern for my political future. Invites to everything. Lucky I was a non-drinker. Lemonade, tea or coffee. That had its moments when you said you were happy with a glass of water. Sometimes they did not have anything but the brewery type. So you finish up with an untouched glass of beer. Not too serious.
Joan was kept busy with the shop. There was always plenty to do as we were getting busier all the time. We had to be well-staffed as invitations were rolling in all the time for Mr and Mrs Cash. It soon became evident that the public relations part of being a Member of Parliament brought separate invitations to his wife on many occasions. Many of these were during the sittings of Federal Parliament in Canberra. We had to allow for that in the staffing of our shop so that Joan attended as many things as possible. It has to be said that the job of an MP is often a two-person job. However it pays one person only and that is what it should be. But I wish growlers about MPs salary rises would think about it.
1960. March – Joan invited to join the Penguins Club. Second Tuesday 1-2pm. 14 March – North Innaloo School. 17 March Tuesday – another Naturalisation Bassendean. If E.D.C. in Canberra, Joan invited to make a welcome speech to the new Australians. We tried to meet all invitations even when there were two for the same night. Next the AGM of the Midland Town Council 7.15pm. We would meet Mayor Doney and sit alongside the local State MP John Brady and Mrs Brady. Politics aside we became good friends. Jack had a small local State Parliament seat. My Federal Seat of Stirling went from Scarborough and included all the Midland areas and Koongamia. Suburb after Suburb of State Housing. I did plenty of work there. Still had to battle for votes there but the results were not too bad.
1961. 18 March Liberal Country League (LCL) meeting. New Yokine School meetings. Our own children went there. So did Dennis Cometti, Jeff Newman, and many others who became well-known in later days. We still have photos of classes with Lyn and Pam. Another P & C meeting at Morley in the Police Boys Club premises. What a great thing they were. Saturday 9 May invite to Scarborough Surf Club. Many other requests. Everybody with problems not solved before by somebody came to me. New man! A prime target. I never blinked an eye. I put them up to the authoritative bodies – My enquiries brought information that this and that had been looked at by the appropriate offices etc. but no solution. However, a new approach to the matter, some suggested by me, sometimes won the day.
Thursday 2 February back in the office in the Commonwealth Bank building. Now freshened up for the 1961 election year. Three years go quickly when you are on the go all the time. School Committees and local groups in all fields getting set after the holiday breaks. Ring your local member – He will know!!! – He will help. First job – to look at my public relations program for the weeks ahead, keeping in mind that the Federal Parliament will resume shortly. The date we did go back was 7 March so I had 4 weeks in the Stirling electorate and my office to keep the wheels turning. No offices in the electorates then – one typist was the staff. I had to keep the wheels turning and my feet walking to meet the heavy demands in a marginal seat. House visits – community groups with all sorts of problems they want fixed – political/personal. Invitations to meetings, school fetes, special occasions, social events of every kind. One or two baptisms saw a new baby boy start life as Douglas or Earl and I was invited to the ceremony.
Invitations to meetings, school fetes, special occasions, and social events of every kind. I remember an invitation to a big wedding. I accepted as I was expected to in that community. When we arrived I was met by the father of the bridegroom with great enthusiasm and handshaking. A big crowd was already there. Pappa told me that there would be several speakers and I was sure in my mind that this would be a night off. “Who is the Chairman?” I asked. “You are, Mr Cash”. “Who are the Speakers?”. “Anybody can speak”. “How long can they speak?”. “As long as they like”. Well it all turned out alright. A nice dinner was followed by dancing. National music with the high-spirited guests cheering everybody and dashing over to the band members and sticking five and ten pound notes on the foreheads of the players. Jolly time for all. For us just another surprise along the way. There were many.
Telegram on my desk next day advising that a Liberal Members party meeting in Canberra on Tuesday 7 February 1961. This was to discuss certain matters prior to the next sitting of Parliament. It was to be Tuesday 5 March 1961 – election year – We had the opportunity to join in discussion on Government policies and other important matters. It helped us to be ready for the next session. Our mail came from all over Australia and many letters would be posted to Canberra – national matters – international problems and so on. I attended to most of these letters before heading back to Perth. Over the next four weeks more to arrive. Monday 13 February saw me lunching with the Liberal Party organiser Owen Regan. Time to start looking ahead to the end of year poll. A great worker for the Liberal Party. They make the difference. After lunch an appointment with Mr Cousens, the Director of Posts and Telegraphs. When I was a telegraph messenger I never dreamt that one day a Director and I would have a chat.
On 16 February, I went to Perth Airport to meet Hubert Opperman the Minister for Shipping and Transport, and Member for Corio. Geelong was his home base. Oppy was the world’s best known bike rider in earlier days. He was almost worshipped by the French. He was here on Government matters but was able to take time to go to a big cycling meeting at the Midland track. Night time. I first met “Oppy” in 1933 (See photo Sunday Times) when I was a lad riding in the WA heats of the Australian Junior Cycling Championship out on the Welshpool Road. I remember it well as my “pusher off” held me too long and down I went. I had to catch up to the field but could only manage 4th or 5th: the placegetters would still have beaten me – they were good. Pres. Eddie Barron, another junior and seniors champion, invited many other top sportsmen to the big night and Oppy spent a fair time with them. It was a good night for all except that when I introduced “Oppy” over the PA system it rained. In February!!! Very unusual. I took to the meet copies of an Australian World Champion story “My World On Wheels” – The Posthumous Autobiography of Russell Mockridge – It was completed by John Burrowes after Russell, on a training ride, was killed in a tragic road accident on 13 September 1958. “Oppy” wrote the three page foreword in the book, autographing each one. The books were given to the race winners. I have one.
Saturday usually meant a morning trip into the office in the Commonwealth offices on the corner of William and Hay Streets. We had “back-door” keys. Cleaned up some queries and drafted letters for typing-up on Monday. Saturdays usually found you out in the electorate at this or that. Sometimes 2 or 3 fetes in a day. But this and that. All part of the job in the afternoon. Sunday 19 February (1961) 3.45pm Air Force House St Georges Terrace for ceremonial laying of a wreath at the “Spitfire Memorial” in memory of the few pilots who shot the enemy out of the skies over London and the rest of the United Kingdom in World War II.
A Federal Parliament Member in a marginal seat works hard in and for his electorate. He is faced with calls and letters from areas outside his boundaries if he is regarded as one who gets things done. Sometimes impossible cases would be sent to me to take up my time and reduce campaigning time. I remember a chap from the railway workshops was sent to me by a union man on the grounds that I should see that my visitor gets a pension. When the man came to me, it turned out that it was quite clear that he had no claim for the age pension. When he detailed his cash holdings etc to me I was stunned. I told him that there was not a ghost of a chance. His assets and income were well over the limits. He said to me: “I know Mr Cash – but I cannot tell them that”.
However, many cases were genuine in their detail and warranted my speaking with Department Officers both Federal and State to help me with such cases. Many of these were successful. Others came to me simply to keep me occupied and thus use up my time. I always heard them out just the same. They were entitled to that. I heard them in the office, on the phone, and even at home day or night, and Saturdays/Sundays. Patiently I listened to them.
Doug Cash Collection – Parliament- 1958 – Opening 23rd Federal Parliament
Doug Cash Collection – Parliament- 1958-1961 MP for Stirling
Doug Cash Collection – Constituency – 1958-1961 MP for Stirling