The Dean family by Pam Klaassen (nee Dean)
My mother was Gladys Schefferle and she was the fourth of six children of Reynold (“Rhine”) and Jane Schefferle (nee East). Mum was born at home and she grew up at Maude and went to Russell’s Bridge School that was held in the vestry of the Presbyterian church which was located on her parents’ property.
As a child of 10 she used to set 12 rabbit traps around the creek flats. One morning she found a hare in almost every one. On another morning she found a fox in one of the traps and so her father was quickly called for. Another time she had a ferret in the burrows and it dropped dead as it appeared from a hole. Picking it up she noticed two red marks on its nose so she put it in the box and went home. Her brother Raymond promptly took a pick and went to the burrow. Gladys sat herself close by and watched as Raymond picked each hole out until he finally uncovered a big snake. It seemed enormous to her then and she never forgot it.
Mum and her sister Doreen and brothers Raymond and Alf would walk for miles fishing for eels, coming back at 1-2 o’clock in the morning with sugar bags full.
Her first job after leaving school was with her Aunt Mabel cooking, picking peas and helping in the dairy. She returned home when she was needed by her mother to help in the house and her father in the paddocks stooking, pea picking and other jobs.
My father, Cyril Dean, grew up at Batesford. He was the eldest of seven children of Owen and Nellie Dean (nee Pether).
Mum and Dad met when he was working on a property next to Mum’s parents’ property at Bannockburn. They married in 1934 at the Presbyterian church which was situated on Mum’s parents’ property.
Dad got a job at the Phosphate and rode his bike 12 miles down and back from Bannockburn to North Shore every day. Mum did home help. They saved enough money to rent then buy a small house on the north side of the Phosphate beyond Sparks Road. All of us eight children were born in Geelong while we were living in that house except for Trevor, my youngest brother, who was born when we were at the home opposite the Harvester.
I was the fifth in the family. My sisters and brothers were, from the eldest down, Joyce, Cyril, June, Mavis, Sylvia, Hazel and Trevor.
Our neighbours were Mr and Mrs. Ron Evans, Mr and Mrs Bliss, Mr and Mrs Hillman, Mr and Mrs Finch, Mr and Mrs Parker, Mr and Mrs Bill Evans and further across the paddock were the Gambles and Mr and Mrs Theo Evans.
Dad had an old Ford ute which we named “Lizzy”. Mum drove it and all of us kids would pile into the back and off we’d go to the bush rabbiting, mushrooming, collecting wood for the fire or down to the creek eeling – lots of happy times.
I remember going to my grandma Dean’s farm for holidays at Bannockburn – feeding the pigs, ducks and chooks, climbing the hay lofts – plenty to do. Also I remember holidaying at Mum’s sister, Auntie Isabel’s house at Sutherland Creek where I went with my cousin Athol eeling in the creek. One day I saw a big black snake swimming across the water there. We walked for miles up and down the hills. In school times we all went to North Shore State School; walked across the paddocks and home again - rain, hail or sunshine.
My friends at North Shore school were Kathy Doyle, Phyllis Boreham, Margaret Murphy, Joyce Gregan, Kenny Wilson and Shirley Quick. There were a lot of them. Jacqueline Evans and Lorna Scott were also my friends in North Shore. We played hopscotch, sticks, skipping and Charlie over the water and hoppo-bumpo. We were all keen on swap cards too. I discovered when I was young that I could walk on my hands and I’d tuck my skirt into my pants and go for an upside down walk quite regularly.
Mrs Rumble was our favourite teacher. There was also Miss Madden and the Head Master was Mr Carrol.
We also went to Sunday School at the Presbyterian Church in Seabeach Parade. I remember Keith, June and John Smith, the McDowells and the Martin boys, Roger and Brian, coming to Sunday School too. At the Church there was also the PFA which was a fun gathering of young people. Mr Alan Wilson who married Shirley Lock had a lot to do with it. We played games, had treasure hunts and I can recall a concert and a bazaar being held in the church. I remember the lovely suppers Mrs Hall put on for us at her house.
Families I recall who lived in North Shore were the Smiths, Wildmans, Robinsons, McDowells, Thompsons, Finchs, Locks, Howards, Eastmans, Holes, Sherlocks, Ways, Paynes, Abrahams and Dunbars, just to mention a few. Marj Thompson had a pet kookaburra in her backyard.
When I was about seven years old and my sister Sylvia was five, we had a swing in the garage and Sylvia and I wanted to play on it. The trouble was that old Lizzy, the ute, was in the way. I don’t know where Mum and Dad were so Sylvia and I got into the car and I put my foot on the starter motor (which I could hardly reach) and the ute jumped backwards. Sylv and I laughed our heads off and I kept doing it until Lizzy was all the way out of the garage. So we had our swing. When Mum and Dad came back they didn’t growl, but were amazed how we got it out of the garage without hitting anything.
Rylands wanted land to build a factory and they offered Dad a good price for his house and land.
Dad then puchased a block of land opposite the International Harvester in what later became Seaside Parade and bought a house at Bannockburn and had it transported to the North Shore block and that’s where we lived until we were all married off.
Dad had injured one of his eyes when he was a boy at school. When he was putting a verandah on the relocated house, a nail he had hit flew up and badly injured his good eye, making him almost totally blind. He had to stop work after that.
When all of us were going to school, Mum got a job in the foundry at the Harvester. Dad was working there then in the foundry too. After a while the Harvester opened a canteen and Mum worked there for 19 years until she retired. She became the person in charge of ordering stock. The canteen was a big affair with 18 women and six cooks working there. Hot meals were prepared for three sittings served at 120 tables with six chairs to each table.
Dad loved fishing. He would go down to the old Freezer wharf for hours, even after losing his eyesight. He caught lots of big schnapper. He once caught a 21½ pound schnapper and had his photograph with it in the Geelong Advertiser. We kids all had to take turns to take his hot tea down to him at the wharf.
Before television came we all loved playing cards around the dining room table. There were so many of us that we played in pairs – mainly poker and euchre. We had a pianola too and we enjoyed the music it produced.
Dad made friends with Mr and Mrs Kapolice who lived in Myrtle Grove. Barry and Julie were their children.
Mum and Dad bought a boat. Mum steered it as Dad wasn’t able to see far. We caught lots of flathead, whiting and schnapper, mainly over at Point Wilson.
Della Evans started me playing softball and North Shore had a good team. Other girls in the team were my sisters June and Mavis as well as Joyce Loader, Mary Duggan and Jacqueline Evans.
I loved my sport; I played netball and competed in athletics with the Geelong Guild. Our Mavis was the best runner. Dad had worked at the Freezer meat works before he went to the Harvester and at the Freezer picnics we had races for money. We all won our races – even Mum and Dad.
I still can boast that I have a Victorian record in the Vets’ 30 to 35 age group for the long jump. I was told it still stands at 5.04 metres. Not bad for 5ft 2½ incher!
After North Shore school I went to Matthew Flinders but I didn’t learn much. When I turned 14 I wanted to go to work like my sisters to earn money to buy some lovely clothes and shoes. So with that I packed up my books from my locker and didn’t go back. I was so happy!
I got a job at Goodchilds down beside the river in South Geelong. I caught the bus into town and got off at White’s shoe shop on the corner of Moorabool and Malop Streets. I made friends with Barbara and Trudy who worked with me and we would walk all the way to our work. I enjoyed working there.
A job was vacant at the Harvester canteen where Mum worked so I took it. No more bus fares, just over the road from where we lived, and I got more money and a free meal!
I loved the piano and was taught by Alvira McPhee, a teacher in Norlane. I also love to paint -oil, pastel and acrylic. I have sold a good many. I play the piano accordion and entertain the folk at Grace McKellar when asked. I make a few mistakes but they enjoy it.
I have been married for 51 years to Leo Klaassen and we have three lovely children – Sharon, Frank and Brenda - and seven grandchildren. Our life is full.
At the age of 15 Leo came with his parents and three sisters and two brothers from Holland in 1953. They were at the Norlane Migrant Hostel for a while before renting a house in Sparks Road. They eventually settled at Herne Hill. Leo and I met in Geelong at a rock and roll dance (he was a good drummer). He was also a keen fisherman so he was readily welcomed into our family.
After Mum retired she and Dad moved from North Shore to a lovely fishing spot – Marlo – near Orbost in East Gippsland. They had a great time there. That’s where Dad passed away on the beach with a fishing rod in his hand.
After that, Mum sold up and came back to Geelong.
I still keep in touch with Joyce (Gregan) O’Keefe and dear Della (Evans) Mitchell.
Sadly, my elder brother Cyril and youngest sister Hazel have both passed away. Cyril was married to Eileen McGovern and their son is Robert.
Hazel was married to Peter Daniels and their boys are Wayne and Timothy.
My eldest sister Joyce is married to Tommy Qoon and their three children are Rhonda, Lance and Raymond.
June’s husband is Brian Biviano and they have two boys and three girls: Peter, Darryl, Debra and the twins, Angela and Christine.
Mavis is married to Patrick Chung and their children are Stella, Malcolm and Glen.
Sylvia is Mrs Atkinson. She and her husband John have Mark, Michelle and David.
My younger brother Trevor is living in Cairns.