It was in 1954 that Joan’s father, Arthur Moore, applied for a Returned Soldiers Housing Loan. He was a World War I veteran and had served in Egypt. Arthur and Lucie chose Yokine as the place to live and on July sixth moved into 6 Fletcher Street, Yokine. In those days there was only bush from Swan Street to Nollamara. It was of a good size for those days so we all moved in. These memoirs are written now at the same address, in newer housing.
When we moved here from Prospect Place our young daughters, Lyn and Pam, were in the Tuart Hill school area. Lyn started as soon as we arrived in Yokine, and Pamela the year following. A real good school which over their years there saw some “destined to be famous” students. Robin Bradshaw, Olympic diving champion; Dennis Cometti, footballer and sports commentator; Don Willesee MLC; Peter and Jeff Newman; footballer Ron Bewick (father of footballer Darren Bewick). There were many more from that school who went on to bigger things. In later days our two went on to the Tuart Hill High which had 1700 students at one time. It was closed in 1983. Now a centre of adult education.
Television was still two years away and the radio provided our entertainment, particularly with the radio serials and the news bulletins. Stare at your radio when you listened to the Melbourne Cup. Locked your ears into the radio broadcasts of the main Perth or Melbourne football matches. At other times listen to the radio quiz shows or mystery serials, quiz shows and comedy programmes. For a change now and then we would gather, about 10 or 12 strong, and play board games or cards. “Newmarket” was the best of these. We all used to leave our children at home while they did homework and we would be across the street, or around the corner. No worry about them, no locked doors and windows. None of today’s problems and our only need was for a quick look at them, now and then, to see if they were asleep or whatever. How things have changed. You now have to lock yourselves in your own home when you are inside. That means security systems, double-deadlock doors, metal grills on all windows and doors, and security approach lights. We are now the prisoners looking out at the world, so to speak.
Lot 43 Fletcher Street, Mount Yokine, was the first address for what is now known as 6 Fletcher Street, Yokine. We live on high ground and what happened to “Mount” was an official change for no apparent reason which did not appeal to the locals. The block was 1112 square metres and there was plenty of room to build up a useful garden, and put in a small yard for the poultry. I recall the tuart tree stumps left by the contractors. We used to dig up around the large stumps and then put a fire down under the roots system. As you made access bigger you would finish up under the stump while we left the thick spreading roots to keep the main stump stable. On cooler nights it was warm and you could sit there fascinated by the glowing red stump. We would keep the hose handy in case the wind sprang up. Eventually we won the battle and the stumps were no more.
The light sandy soil was easily worked and with some help grew anything. There was an orange tree and lemon tree planted and for years we all enjoyed the fruit of both. Joan’s Mum and Dad, Lucie and Arthur Moore, were keen gardeners and did most of the gardening. We helped on weekends. Sweet corn, tomatoes, and most vegetables, and strawberries were grown. Fertiliser was supplied from the fowl yard and fresh eggs as well. In later years all that was to change. Fowls first to go. New rules and regulations were born in the rapid expansion of our suburbs and across the metropolitan area. All for our own good.
Well, work to be done. Into the shop everyday and looking out for opportunities to increase our income. A chance to do just that came through a customer, Neville Pratt, (later a 1956 baseball Olympian). We had been down to the WACA to watch a few games with Alec Barras of “The West Australian” and chatted with Neville about baseball and sport generally. Neville worked at the markets in Wellington Street (in 2021 the site of the Watertown Brand Outlet Centre), near the West Perth subway. He told me that there was a clerk needed at his firm, the “Producers Markets”. Well, no good hesitating, I went for an interview and got the job.
Deliveries had to be throughout the night so that the auctioneers and their men could start selling at 6.30am. I had to be there before 6.30. My work was to gather up all the Producers Markets auction invoices as written by the clerks when the buyers bids were made. What I had to do was pick up invoices and first see that the number of cases or bags or lots sold were equal to the consignments brought to the market. Not foolproof as sometimes the clerk’s figures did not match the supply details. I had to race out and tell the auctioneer’s clerk of the problem. He would do a quick check and correct the dockets if he could.
Back at my desk I had to extend all the sales calculations ready to pass on for the comptometrist’s final sales accounts action. It was a very busy job and for the first week or so I had to get myself adapted to the “Promark” ways. Usually as the sale ended the inflow of invoices was slowing down and queries reduced to a minimum. But all had to be extended showing the quantities and sale prices for each of the lots sent in by individual growers. With a short break for lunch on the job I would continue till all the invoices had been finalised and handed on to the machinists. That would usually be around 2pm or a little later. Rain, hail or shine, I had to leave home at 6am to catch the bus to Perth in Wanneroo Road. Driver Fred Hall would wait if he saw me come over the top of Royal Street hill running down for the bus. (1955)
On most market days l would be back at the shop about two o’clock and Joan’s dad, Arthur, would go home and we would go on to 5.45. On some market days Joan would stay home and Arthur and I would be at the shop. Joan’s mother, Lucie, made this system possible. She looked after the children till they went to school and was there when they came home. She did belong to community groups and we would organise arrangements to suit the time needs of us all. We were lucky that we all got on well. In the evenings when the children were well occupied or in bed we would play board games or cards. My father, having sold up in Bunbury and moving back to Perth after my mother’s death in 1953, used to come out often to play cards in the evening. Sometimes we were at school meetings.
Our Wanneroo Road bus service with early and late timetables met my markets work and our shop start times well. I had forgotten, but Joan has reminded me, that there was also a small bus service that picked up passengers for local stops like schools and shops. Flinders Street only went North to Swan Street. It was all bush and wildflowers beyond that. The kangaroo paws were everywhere.
As we lived and worked our way through 1955 everything went along smoothly. Buses were our only way of transport away from Yokine but we got along without a car quite well. Special trips were taken with a taxi, usually driven by friendly cabbies. We would ring Garn McInnes of the Kalgoorlie McInnes, Arthur Boyle, or Geoff Perejuan who lived in Cape Street, Yokine. Great chaps, all three of them. Garn drove for Jim Carroll occasionally if Harold Mudge was not available for country race day trips. We would sometimes get a taxi home from the shop, depending on a late closing after a busy day, or when the rain was very heavy.
Our eldest, Lynnette had turned eight years old in early February, and Pam was heading for her seventh birthday in early October. The parties on these special occasions were a big event for all of us and the local children. There was usually a party, sometimes on the right day or the weekend. A big photo occasion and cameras were kept busy. In these days of family histories being written up the parties can be re-lived for the older family members and the offspring. Turn over photos for the names of the guests. One person way back in the older generation snaps was Grandma MacKenzie, Lucie Moore’s mother and Joan’s grandmother. She had turned 92 when she died in a rest home on 26 September, 1955. Grandpa MacKenzie had died in 1948 at 84 when all were at the shop in Cambridge Street, Wembley. Joan’s Auntie Jessie Wiseman was a MacKenzie and she lived on into her nineties.
At home in Yokine everything was on an even keel. The family all getting on well. Spring in the air. We could still stand on the back steps and see the city as it kept growing. New buildings here and there could be seen as the work progressed and the city started to spread a little. Our viewing enjoyment to the left took in the hills in the Byford area and to the right of our city view part of Kings Park. As the local trees, mainly Tuarts, grew we saw less on the sides. That was to change in much later years.
Locally in Yokine, the residential gardeners were busy as we were planting flowers, bushes and trees. Some jacarandas were planted and these are beautiful in flower. One of the best displays is in the streets of Grafton, a sight to behold. The praise ends there. They are a disaster for neighbours. The blossoms and then twigs are a menace. When they drop down they fill, nearly always next door neighbours (and not their own), roof gutters. The gutters and downpipes get clogged and heavy rain brings overflowing gutters. If you do not want a fall off a ladder one day you pay someone to clean the gutters and pipes out. In fairly recent years the new plastic gutter guards have stopped the overflow problems for most. An occasional check on the roof is worthwhile because the valleys running down to the gutters can accumulate some twigs or flowers.
Our birthdays remind us that time is moving on. Joan had reached 31 on 5 April 1955 and I had seen 36 go by on 15 July. Nothing too dramatic about that but there was an important event on 18 July that was to change the lives of millions of people. Walt Disney, the creator of Mickey Mouse, opened Disneyland at Anaheim, 22 miles outside Los Angeles, USA. $17,000,000 well spent. Nineteen years later we would be there.
In June 1957 my highjump 1948 Olympian friend, John Winter, suggested a “back-packing” hike down to Albany and then on to Kalgoorlie via Esperance. Off we went to Bunbury and then took lifts across country to Albany. We were accommodated by community service groups for a couple of days as guests but we paid our way for most of the “walkabout”. Lifts were not hard to get so we were soon in Esperance where we had a good look around. We then headed for Norseman, where I had worked in the Post Office in 1938/39 after being posted there from Coolgardie. I renewed friendships there but many people had moved on over the years during and after WWII. On 9 June we made it into Kalgoorlie. We booked in at the hotel and did a tour of the town. All new to John but very familiar to me. 10 June was Brisbane Cup day and just for the fun of it we went into the SP shop and I had a bet on Cambridge ridden by a then young jockey, Neville Selwood. The race was the Brisbane Cup. I had 10/- each way and, lo and behold, it won at 50/1. We paid our hotel bill, then we were off to Perth.
John returned to the National Bank, and I was back to business. We met often because we were both members of the W.A. Freemasons Lodge Olympus, so named as its members had some connections with amateur sports, as competitors or officials. In Melbourne a special meeting was held by Victoria’s Lodge Olympus in the Olympic Year 1956 to duly welcome Freemasons from overseas. Some of these men and WA members did officiate at the Games. John and I were later Past Masters of our WA Lodge Olympus. I was also a member/officer of the WA Adastral Lodge, the Air Force Lodge. Speaking duties in Lodge taught me a lot.
With the shop closed for the Xmas break we were able to enjoy the festivities and the exchange of presents on Christmas Day. There was no sleeping in. The children woke us early to show us what they found under the Xmas tree in the lounge. No escape here. Out of bed and off to the tree. Joan’s Mum and Dad joined in and there we were, a happy family enjoying Xmas Day like people everywhere. In the newsagency business, no time for a week off. We had our obligation to the newspaper people and regular customers living in the city area, to open for a few hours on the Saturday and Monday before New Year’s Day 1959. Tidy up time, too.
The 1961 school holidays gave us a chance to travel together so we decided to take off for a trip East. We left Perth at 11.45pm on 21st January on a flight to Melbourne. Breakfast at the Essendon Airport. Nothing good remembered about that. We waited there till 8am and then flew on to Sydney. We were booked into the Carlton Rex Hotel. Very comfortable plus TV, a new experience. Nice breakfast then Joan and the family off to meet local friends while I went to the Government Offices to meet with the people there. During the afternoon Joan and the children went off to see that great show “My Fair Lady”. We still watch it if shown again. No video then. We have now of course. “They don’t make films like that anymore.”
The next day the family boarded the SS Strathmore. I was able to join them at a last minute after my enquiries were finished. No internet then. Everyone came to see the ship off. Early to bed, early to rise, to the sound of the foghorn as we moved down the coast at a reduced speed. In to Port Melbourne about 5pm. A fairly good trip across. Arrived Fremantle 3pm on Wednesday 1 February.
24 August 1961 – school holiday time – Joan, Lyn and Pam on an Electra aircraft 1am flight to Canberra via Melbourne. Visit to join me on an inspection to the Snowy Mountains Scheme. I met them at the airport and drove to the Kurrajong Hotel where many of the Members (of Parliament) stayed when the Parliament was in session. It was homely and comfortable. A 20 minute walk from the House where we had lunch. Drove to Cooma – good trip – saw real blue mountains on the way up – looked great. We stayed overnight in the Orana Cottage – very nicely fitted out – quite cold but a warm fire solved that. We had tea at the large dining hall. It was early to bed and early to rise. Breakfast at 8am and off to Cabramurra – We were driven to see Tumut Pond Dam, a major part of the Snowy Project – we saw snow – the girls had a few games with snow and snowballs and then we were off again to our accommodation for the night. We had the pleasure of staying in the Edinburgh Cottage reserved for Queen Elizabeth on her Royal Visit. Quite comfortable. Sir William Hudson dropped in to see us for a while and outlined our tour of the project.
Letters – From: W Hudson – To: Doug Cash – and Replies – Snowy Mountains Project Tour, 3 July 1961. Source: Doug Cash Collection
1947 was the start of the venture – Chief Engineer Hudson was appointed and things began to move. In 1954 the Utah Company came on the scene and in 1955 the first stage, Guthega, opened. 2 years later Adaminaby Dam was ready to fill. Tumut Power Station was officially opened by PM Robert Menzies in 1959. In 1972 the Snowy Project was officially declared completed. At the time Frank and Claire Coman were part of the workforce on the project and their young son Terrence later married our younger daughter Pamela here in WA. At the time of writing, both families live here in WA in adjoining houses at North Beach. A lovely spot. The parents will be celebrating their 60th Anniversary in 2000.
Back in Perth I was able to pass on the main points of the Snowy Project to community groups and answer some of the questions that arose. Camera slides helped. Now in 1999, problems have arisen through a shortage of water in the rivers. A gradual loss over the Snowy years has the authorities and governments with their thinking caps on. “Water” Gunga Din – “Water”.
Yokine (1960s and Beyond)
Joan and Doug were to live together at 6 Fletcher Street until Doug’s death in 2002. By that time they had sub-divided the block and built three units which they sold leaving themselves with a two-story home at the rear of the lot. Joan would continue to live there until her 90s before moving in with family. Over 50 years in the same house.