The slab and bark hut is a major feature of colonial Australia. My first ancestors, all from the British Isles, lived in rural New South Wales. The accommodation of my great-great-grandparents Wilson and Jones, about whom I write in FROM PRISON HULK TO THREE BEDROOM HOME would have been a hut like this:
By the time I reached 1954 in the second book of my family history I realised that I had too material for one book covering the years 1946-1958. Besides, the years 1946 to 1953 represented a neat self-contained phase in my life, the life of my family, and the social history of Australia. Australia was recovering from the war years, society was on the move, and American influence in all spheres of Australian life was increasing. There was also a shift or an increase in my consciousness of the world around me. For these reasons I decided to close the second book at the end of 1953, and prepare a third book covering the years 1954-1958. The third book will bring me up to January 1959 when I was on the point of starting high school.
A visit to Sydney’s department stores in the 1950s was a great day out, especially for kids around Christmas time. The toy departments with their array of toys at a time when kids received toys only on special occasions were entrancing. Sometimes there were visits of stars from kids movies. I remember one of the pirates from Disney’s Treasure Island (1950) was in the toy department of one department store one Christmas. I’ve forgotten which store but it was most likely Anthony Hordens & sons in George Street. And then there was lunch in the cafeteria, often a meat pie and chips. Part of the thrill of a visit to the city was the ride on the double decker bus. Kids rushed for the front seats upstairs.
As reminder of the number of department stores in Sydney, HERE is a link to a fascinating page about Sydney’s department stores for furniture and furnishings, 1890-1960.
The reason I put back the publication of the second part of my family history, Me ‘n’ Pete – Recalling a Fifties Childhood, is that I have undertaken a revision of the first part, From Prison Hulk to Three Bedroom Home. The revision was necessary because in the meantime I had found a lot more information about both sides of my family (mother’s and father’s) and third cousin, Bob Wilson, had compiled all his research on the Wilson and Jones lines in several booklets. Some of that information was missing in the original edition. The revised edition will be around 15,000 words longer and will be ready for posting online in November 2014.
One of my readers has been kind enough to write an excellent review of Seeking the Divine Spark – for which I am very grateful. Indie writers are dependent on such reviews. The review is HERE.
With the best of intentions I have not been able to keep up the rate that would see me finish the first draft of Me ‘n’ Pete: Recalling a Fifties Childhood by July. Another (necessary) writing task has intervened to distract me. It will be a couple of months before I can get back to Me ‘n’ Pete. I hope to have the first draft finished by the end of the year. The later chapters (1954 onwards) are requiring a lot more research than I anticipated.
Duncan McLaren’s third amusing excursion with Evelyn Waugh is now on Duncan’s website HERE. This time it’s to Waugh’s champagne party in his room at the Hyde Park Hotel, Tuesday 6 August 1946 – a couple of weeks after I was born.
Just received Duncan’s McLaren’s latest invitation. This is for the informed lover of Evelyn Waugh, his group of friends and the influence they exerted on his novels. Join Evelyn for ten days with the Sitwells at their fabulous Renishaw Hall, Derbyshire.
To do so simply click HERE.
I have been away on holidays on Queensland’s Gold Coast these last two weeks, which brought a stop to updating my website. I am back home now and working to finish it. While away I succeeded in finishing my chapter on the Coronation on the 2nd of June 1953, and the royal visit in February 1954. People born after 1970 would have no idea how big these events were for Australians at the time.