SHIRE OF CORIO ORAL HISTORY
The following story is reproduced in this website with the kind permission of the Geelong Heritage Centre whose reference for this story is GRS 1437.
NAME OF INTERVIEWEE: Mr & Mrs Gil Cunningham
AREA OF SHIRE COVERED
IN ST0RY North Shore
MR CUNNINGHAM. In the early days we paid our rates at the old Shire Offices near the Lara railway gates, to Mr Oliver. Oliver was the rate collector and Oliver was the Secretary back in those days. We've lived, mum and I have lived in the shire all our lives.
MRS _CUNNINGHAM. We've lived through the depression, the great depression. We were just married when that happened and I'd lost my job. That was bad, that time. But you tell the kids and I don't think they realize. They can't understand because they weren't in it.
MR CUNNINGHAM. They wouldn't believe that there was a queue waiting to get a job up at the wheat stacks and a queue waiting to get a job at Jackson’s or a queue waiting outside of Fords. When Fords started you had to wait outside in a queue to get a job. It wasn't like today. In those days everybody was after a job. If you went up there you were looking for a job.
MRS CUNNINGHAM. There was no dole, but they did give you some groceries once a week. Dad used to go in, with his sugar bag, to the Town Hall, City Hall, and they'd give you a few groceries you really needed, like tea and sugar and those sort of things.
MR CUNNINGHAM. I started in the garage; I started on another bloke’s money. I could never have started on my own. I had no hope because I had no dough. In those days I was a motor mechanic and the garage was closed up and I opened it up and I had it in the 30s. I was there for 15 years, up on Melbourne Road. The cars around then were T Model Fords, Chevs, those sort of cars. Back in the ‘30s you see it was well into the car game.
MRS CUNNINGHAM. We had shifted down from Ballarat and that's how I met father at church. We went together for nearly three years, then we eventually got married down at Pakington Street Methodist Church. We were married on 7th January 1928. So we had our sixtieth anniversary on the 7th January 1988. We received a telegram from the Queen and one from Sir Ninian Stevens and one from Hazel and Bob Hawke and one from, our own Governor General and one from Mr Cain. We had a really lovely day here that day. We have seven children, three girls and four boys who were all married long ago.
I did nursing training with St. Johns during the war.
I was later treasurer for the kindergarten at Osborne House. The kindergarten that used to be there, they had great big high fences. They had to have them so the kids couldn't get out. It faced the beach and they had to build this huge wire fence to keep the kids in. They could have fallen down the cliffs or anything. My sister, Mrs Wallace, and her husband were caretakers up there for years. Back in Anderson's day. Mr Anderson was the secretary. Mr and Mrs Wallace lived in the flat up the top, up above where the kindergarten was. Three of mine went to the kindergarten, that was Ilma - she's now 42, Glennis went she's now 40 and Ross went. He's the youngest and he was a real mummy's boy. I just had to leave him and I could hear him yelling right down Swinburne Street. It was a bit hard to turn your back on him. It took him a week to settle in. When he settled in it was all right. They had a good kindergarten up there.