Marjorie Tomkins (neeThompson)
I was born in Geelong in 1933 and given the names Marjorie Louise.
My parents were Stan and Nellie Thompson. My father was born in Bannockburn. He was, like me, an only child and, sadly, when Dad was only 5 years old, his father died. Dad grew up with his mother in North Shore. Mum came from Lal Lal.
The extended Thompson family owned land to the west in North Shore, and Thompson Road was given its name because my great grandfather, Edward Thompson, was one of the first to farm in that area.
Mum and Dad were married in 1929. Mum’s maiden name was Way and she had one brother, Harry, who married Kittie Smith, and two sisters: Elaine who married Harold Spitty and Claire who married Alec Dunk.
Dad worked at the Grammar School in Corio as a boiler attendant. Mum and her sisters also worked there for a time.
Dad’s mother Matilda, known to everyone as Tilly, lived with us for many years until her death in 1957 at the age of 88. She attended the dances in the North Shore hall with us and always enjoyed them. She helped prepare the milk coffee that was heated in a copper in the hall kitchen.
My mother was the secretary and Kitty Way the treasurer of a committee known as the Comforts Fund that worked during the war to arrange send-offs for the local men who enlisted. The committee also posted items of food and clothing to them from time to time. The women cooked fruit cakes which they wrapped in calico and then sealed in tins at Christmas time to be sent to the troops. Mum and Grandma were also involved in Red Cross with Mrs Pope. I can remember my grandmother knitting socks and sewing pyjamas for Red Cross.
We lived at 17 Sea Beach Parade between the post office and the shop. Dad sold the next door block at No19 to Alec Smith and he built a home there. On the other side at No 15 was the home of George Eastwood. Dad owned two houses in Myrtle Grove at Nos 6 and 9. He sold the one at No 9 to his sister Kittie and her husband Harry Way. He rented the No 6 house to the Steele family for many years but I lived in it after my marriage.
Shirley Lock was my best friend and we went together to North Shore State School. In the morning we caught the bus as far as Sparks Road and then used to walk across the paddocks. When the war broke out the paddock became an airfield and sometimes the Americans would take us across in a jeep or an ambulance. A couple of times they wouldn’t let us cross at all and we had to walk all the way down to Cox Road. After school Shirley and I walked diagonally across the field to home.
I went on to Geelong High School after finishing at North Shore and at the end of Form 4 I attended the Austin Business College on the corner of Moorabool and Malop Street and learnt typing and shorthand. Shirley and Beth Lock were also students there.
After that I was employed at the Hermitage and worked in the office until I married.
There were about 350 students and 105 of them were boarders who were accommodated in “Austin”, a big house opposite the school in Pakington Street, as well as in the main school building and a smaller building in the school grounds.
As a teenager I played in the North Shore softball team with Della Evans, Lila Evans and Valerie Power.
I met my future husband, Boyd Tomkins, through friends and we were married at St Paul’s in La Trobe Terrace in 1956. Boyd’s sister is Gwenda who married Bob Barclay.
Boyd worked for Elder Smith’s and was offered the position of manager when the company built wool stores in Portland. We moved there in 1964 and bought a house in Must Street. By 1970 Boyd had become dissatisfied with his job so we moved back to Geelong where he undertook teacher training. He was posted to a school in Hamilton and the following year he transferred to the Technical School in Portland and we were pleased to be back in our own home again. He also taught wool classing at the TAFE College in Portland.
We have two boys, Gregory and Carey, who both work as accountants. Greg, who has one son, James, lives in Portland and Carey and his wife Michelle live in Melbourne with children Natalie, Jonathon and Matthew.
Boyd passed away in April 2009.