Wembley (February-October 1949)
We moved straight out to the Moores’ new shop at 186, maybe 188, in Cambridge Street, Wembley (Trove records indicate 196). It was not far from St John of God’s Hospital. The Wembley Theatre, now Wembley Lodge, was nearby at 202 on the NW corner of Cambridge Street, and Station Street.
There were three shops on the NE corner, two occupied by Brazil’s furniture making and restoring business, and the other was the delicatessen. The accommodation was fairly tight but bedrooms were there for Joan’s grandparents, the McKenzies, and her mum and dad who had baby Pamela and her cot with them. Joan and I took the well-enclosed sleepout at the back and had Lynnette, just turned two, with us. Once settled in it was a case of everyone learn the business for, being away all day, we could only help at night.
The busy times at the shop were during intervals at the theatre. Some nights were busier than others but preparation for the rush had to be made during the day. The cooler cabinets for the drinks had to be filled up and the confectionery shelves packed with all the popular brands of sweets. No time for trying to find anything for it had to be there ready for us to make a sale. One task that we all had a hand in was making the big seller, chocolate-coated icecreams. We would check interval time with the theatre people and then get ready just beforehand. If you started too early then the choc-dipped cones would lose their crispness when you put them in the icecream freezer. You had to time it well.
You started with a large saucepan of boiling water in which you placed a smaller saucepan with the chocolate block to be used and some copha, a coconut product. Soon you had it melting and mixing together ready for the icecreams to be dipped. We both became pretty good at dipping in the cone and covering the icecream with the right amount of chocolate which set immediately, and then putting them in ice-cold storage ready for the first customers. A bigger rush than we expected meant instant dipping and selling. It was still one more job after a long day but that was life. Friends used to come out and give us a hand sometimes, and two girls that we can remember were Robin French and Gloria Hastie from our next-door Terrace business neighbours, Goldsborough Mort Co.
We were not too long at the Cambridge Street shop for Joan’s parents found it was a busy spot and there was too much work. During our time there (on 3/10/1949 ) Grandfather McKenzie died and that loss was felt deeply by us all. The business was put on the market and it was soon sold and we all moved out to Belmont.
Belmont Ave (October 1949-May 1951)
My dad had leased a Belmont Avenue property to spell his horses when they were not racing at Kalgoorlie. There was a house on the property which suited us fine. There was room for everybody and later we bought it from the local owner, together with a small block (almost opposite) on the south side of Belmont Avenue. Our block was on the NW corner of Belmont Avenue and Uranium Street (Uranium Street was resumed in the late 50s/early 60s, possibly as part of the Belmont Forum Shopping Centre). The bus stop was halfway up to Wright Street, outside the store. Every day we would have to walk up to that bus and make the trip into Perth and walk to our Terrace shop for an 8.30 opening up. Close at around 5.30 plus and sometimes get home at around 7pm if we missed a bus. Joan’s mother always had a hot tea waiting
Our new neighbours included the Ken Regans on the west side – Mr and Mrs Rumble in Uranium Street, right opposite our eastern boundary – Lady with a big poultry farm on the east corner – and there was Jack Miles who had trotting horses. Later he had one of Australia’s greatest pacers, the mighty Mount Egan. On Belmont Avenue west side there was the Tink family. Young Doug Tink was a truck driver for Zimpel’s Furniture Co. who were our landlords at 158 St Georges Tce. Their factory was behind us and all deliveries were made in and out of the laneway between our shop at 158 and Pastoral House at 156. Zimpels had their shop in Hay Street. Mr Aubrey Cousens was their Managing Director.
Life at our Belmont home had plenty of variety. In the North-West corner of the block was a small swamp with several tea trees. My dad occasionally spelled a horse or two there from time to time as there was water and shade for them during the day. There were stables near the house for the winter weather. The house fitted us all in reasonable comfort. There were four Cashes, two Moores and Grandma McKenzie living there all with a country background.
We had not been there very long when a swarm of bees took up residence In the space between the roof and the ceiling. They buzzed about the house, stinging Lynnette quite a few times, as they flew back to their nest behind the weatherboards. We had to get them out! An expert’s job. A neighbour found a chap to do it, and believe it or not, he turned out to be Doug Roberts, an old Air Force mate. Man found, problem solved, and wartime yarns to follow.
We never had a car then, and never had one till early 1959 (ten years away). No problem, feet are made for walking. Up to the bus stop every morning and back after standing on your feet all day. In the summer we would take the kids out for a bus ride to North Beach and Metters Pool (Mettams Pool?). Bus to town and one to the beach, have a little swim or two, and two more bus trips and another walk back home. Everybody tired but happy.
Wembley (May 1951-Early 1953)
In May we all moved from the Belmont property, which we had sold, to 54 Holland Street, Wembley, next to Percy Cann, the architect. It was here that our (Pyrox) tape recorder became an entertainment must. That machine was almost sensational when it came on the market. We had a great time with friends visiting us at our home in Wembley when we put the recorder behind the lounge, taped our lounge room conversations, and played their voices back. Were they surprised!
The Xmas rush over we welcomed Christmas Day 1951 on the Tuesday and Boxing Day on the Wednesday. The children were the focus of our attention: Lynnette was nearly 5 and Pamela just 3. Presents time was the same as in any household. Excitement as parcels were opened and dolls and toys shown around by the girls, and the adults exchanged their presents with each other. Adults turn to unwrap. Joan and her mother went on to prepare our Xmas meal. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday back to business. Tuesday was another holiday heralding in 1952. January 2nd back to work.
By now all the Cash family had helped to add to the population of Australia. Elder brother, Cecil and Mavis (Hoad) first-born was Terry (22/1/43), Kevin (21/1/47), and Sharyn was due soon (arrived 10/4/52). Sister Alice Blanche and her ex-navy husband, Frank Andrews, had Leslie (6/2/44), Valerie (21/1/47), Shirley (10/4/52). Young brother, Roland Murray and Joan (Sellars) had Caroline (May 1947), Roslyn (11/6/48), Nigel (12/2/52), and Clive later in 1956/57.
On Friday 19 September 1952 Joan and I and the children went to Merredin to attend the wedding of her cousin, Merle Moore, of the A.B. Moore Westonia family, to Ken Leach of Westonia. We stayed overnight in Westonia at the Edna May Hotel. It was a big wedding as the Moore families were well-known in Hines Hill, Westonia, and Merredin. After the ceremony the wedding breakfast was held at the Edna May Hotel. It was a great occasion. Later everybody adjourned to the local hall for dancing and other entertainment.
Late Friday afternoon on 27 March 1953 our telephone (21.2647) rang and the person calling was the Police-Sergeant in charge at Bunbury who rang to tell me that my mother had been killed in an accident in Bunbury. I thanked him and told him that I would be right down. My Mum and Dad had moved down from Kalgoorlie late in 1951 after selling out all their interests. They brought the four trotting horses and all the stable equipment with them. They took over a house and stables in Bunbury and became well-known in trotting circles there. Roly and family had moved to Brisbane.
On the Saturday I hired a car and went down to Bunbury to see my dad in the local hospital. He had been injured but was getting along O.K. Mum and Dad were in a sulky and on their way home pulled up for Dad to get bread from a store. Mum held the reins. She was used to that. Suddenly a dog ran through the horse’s legs and the horse bolted, just as dad came back. He managed to grasp the reins but was pulled over and along the ground. Mother was tossed out of the sulky but her foot was caught in a part of the sulky and she was dragged along till a chap stopped the horse down the road. Her head had hit the ground and she was killed instantly. Dad had minor injuries but was home before I left on the Tuesday after the private funeral on the Monday. My mother, Sarah, was a quiet person. She had been a hard worker most of her life. Just two years into retirement and now taken from us.
I felt years before that Mum, a good Christian person, had some instinct about the future, and I was glad that she had been able to go back to her birthplace in England, see her relatives and come back to live out the rest of her life as fate determined it. Dad later sold up in Bunbury, horses and all, and came to live in Perth where we saw him often till he passed on in his eighties.
The local trotting people had looked after our horses for Dad while he was in hospital and as a mark of respect they postponed the Monday night trials till the Wednesday. Dad was devastated by the tragedy. Mum and Dad had been married in Saskatchewan in 1915 and brought us to Australia in 1922. In Sydney, Dad was a salesman with Maytag washing machines and Eureka vacuum cleaners. He was good. He was made SA manager in 1927, so we moved to Adelaide till the depression changed everything overnight. We moved on to Melbourne and raced trotters there. Early in December 1930 we boarded the M.V. Westralia, with our horses, and came to WA.
Here we rented a property at East Cannington, opposite what we now know as Beckenham railway station. Here in W.A. Mum and Dad went into the tearooms business in Hay Street, and later Barrack Street. During the War they moved to Kalgoorlie and finally to Bunbury. Now, in 1953, their partnership was broken by a freak accident.
West Perth (Early 1953-1954)
In early 1953 we all moved to No 7 Prospect Place, West Perth. It is the small street on your left, off Charles Street just over Newcastle Street as you head north. The tram services ran along Newcastle Street where we had the choice of No 13, 14, 15, 16 when going into town. From Perth No 13 terminated at McCourt Street, the 14 to Oxford Street (Cambridge Street?), the 15 to Mount Hawthorn, and 16 to Osborne Park. The first Trolley Bus came to Perth in 1933 and the last tram was taken out of service in 1958 (Note: Wiki records indicate 1969). Ordinary buses replaced most trams.
We all settled in well at No 7. There was a small school close by to Prospect Place (next door) and here Lynnette, now turned six, started going to school. She could read. When she came home from first day, she said, “they did not even ask me to spell “cat”.” Lyn and Pam had attended ballet class at Holland Street and the previous Xmas took parts in a “Winter Wonderland” presentation. They had red and green costumes and caps, and looked great. The parade before all the mothers and some fathers, and the teachers included a “walk-on” bit for our little one, Pamela, when she enchanted the audience with a little show of her own, twirling and dancing on the small stage. “Walking in a Winter Wonderland”.
With Joan’s Mum and Dad (Arthur and Lucie) standing in for us at the shop we went up to the farm with the children for a few days. While we were there Auntie Marge Moore told us about the gold boom town of Bullfinch, 20 miles nor/west of Southern Cross. Her view was that it might be a good place to start a new business as the prospects were good for more gold finds and a busier town. Well, I had not really been interested, and we had come up by train to Carrabin, east of Merredin. Somebody from the Moore family farm picked us up and took use 9 miles north to their Westonia farm. To help me along Marge said that I could take their big truck and go and have a look. Well, off I went. There was a “back way” but I was wary driving a truck for a first time around a “local” road.
Anyway, off I went east to Southern Cross, 20 miles, and turned north then to Bullfinch, another 20 miles and there I was. There was a post office, a hotel, three or four shops, and two or three empty timber-framed shops that had just been built. I talked to the local S.P. (Starting Price bookmaker) man about them. He said the rents were reasonable, with freedom to put fittings in as you wished. Seven years in the small shop in Perth, now the wide-open spaces. I went back to Westonia, getting a little more truck driving practice, and told them what I had seen. There were differing views and I talked to suppliers and travellers. At the time most held that it was O.K. as an opportunity if the gold prospects were as expected. I rang the SP chap in Bullfinch and rented the shop next to him, rent to start from the next week.
Joan’s dad, Arthur Moore, went back with me and helped put in a few fixtures and counter, leaving plenty of space for the new stock. We put in radios and items like that. We had cards and books and stationery lines. After a week it looked like a shop and customers were coming in for a look. Some of our lines had to compete with similar stock in the other businesses. Later, J.A. Hicks from Kalgoorlie rented out the bigger shop next to me and it went well for a while, but not quite busy enough yet for a full-time person all day, every day. Mr Hicks (Percy?) and I came to an arrangement where I would manage it for a while at the same time as running our shop. I had put a local girl on so I was able to move from one shop to another as required.
I took part in some community activities to help to get to know the locals better. As a former racing bike rider I provided the junior cycling group with a set of race numbers and talked to the lads about racing. Bullfinch Oval was the venue for local football matches with teams also visiting from near towns. South Fremantle came up while I was there and I umpired that game too. I am not sure it was good for business sometimes when family members saw a free-kick given against one of their family. No way was I right.
Although I spent a few years in my teens at Coolgardie, Norseman, and Kalgoorlie it was not the same at Bullfinch. I was older and was looking ahead for better things and more activity in getting ahead. After a few months I negotiated a sale with a chap from Perth who was older, and we came to an agreement and I sold. It was an experience along life’s path but without a future for me.