Volume 10 Issue 55
The Avondale Historical Journal
moving in turn to two other houses across the roadwhere the family lived until the 1980s.
In 1933 we were a young family. Mother and Fatherstill in their twenties, and two little girls; Wilma whowas still a baby, and me, Sylvia, two and a half yearsold.
For the most part, Mum looked after the shop and Dadmade deliveries on his days off from his job as an at-tendant at the mental hospital – the Avondale MentalAsylum. Until late at night he weighed up flour andsugar, dried fruit, rice and potatoes while Mum caughtup with the washing or sewing.
Just as it seems today, that part of New Windsor Roadwas quiet, almost sedate. Although there were severalfamilies, the pace of the neighbourhood was set by thenumber of retired people.
At the Blockhouse Bay end of the street was Exlers’brickworks where the publisher A H Reed was to beapprenticed when he came from England as a boy(something that didn’t eventuate), and two villahouses.
On the other side of the road most of the houses hadbeen built in the 1920s, but there were several older.The house opposite the shop on the corner of NewWindsor and Bollard Avenue was said to be theoriginal farm house of the area. In the 1930s Reidslived there. The third house along (in those days)down a long flower edged driveway was where Hoyleslived, and next door to them Ash’s, a beautiful littlehouse a step above the lawn with a verandah acrossthe front and surrounded by large trees.
Opposite Hoyle’s was Vibert’s with a large oak treeon the lawn and a mass of daffodils underneath it inspring. In the paddocks behind the house were acouple of wells covered with sheets of iron, relics of other days. On the highestpoint in Bentleigh Avenue but with thefrontage on New Windsor Road was aonce elegant, then unpainted house whereMrs B lived. In those days of the Depres-sion, houses with paint so worn as to bealmost non-existent were common.
It also had a verandah across the front.Rampant chokos climbed the uprightsand possibly a bottle fed lamb or a litterof puppies would be found sheltering in acorner. The puppies were the family of Barney, an old ginger and white spanieland Phyllis a Pomeranian who were alsothe parent of our own dog, Jerry.
These old houses were probably built about the turn of the century. In style Bs’ was similar to the one boughtby the Social Welfare home in Bollard Avenue, andanother adjacent to the Seventh Day AdventistChurch, the oldest house in Avondale, built with wideweather boards and slate roofs.
At the back of our fowl houses were paddocks thatextended except for two small houses, the length of Bentleigh Avenue to the two houses at the bottom of the road. We called these paddocks the “pear pad-dock” because of the pear trees there, perhaps the re-mains of an orchard. Mrs B used to graze her fourcows there. I once brought home a clump of snow-drops from the paddocks, and I like to think the clumpI have today is a descendant
Exlers who had a tennis court and wisteria coveredsummerhouse between the house and the brickworksalso kept cows in the paddocks at the back. I remem-ber Dad as a favour trying to sell their homemadebutter in the shop but it wasn’t saleable, even in thosedays.
From the bend in the road where the pines on eachside seemed to touch, there were fewer houses, andsmall farmlets, dairy or poultry, began. On the cornerof Batkin and New Windsor Roads there was a smallgroup of houses with Mr Brightwell’s glasshouses be-hind his, and on the rise Dickie’s two-storied house,its paint long gone, not to be repainted for another 50years.
In 1933 our immediate neighbours were the Scotts onone side and on the other, another young couple theDonaldsons with small daughter Maureen. Next toDonaldsons were the Curreys.
Scotts were assisted immigrants from Scotland aswere several other families in the street. Mrs