SHIRE OF CORIO ORAL HISTORY 1988
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 Monkivitch
(Page 412 is missing)
A. When we originally went to North Shore we lived on the north side of the phosphate works which was only within a hundred yards of the works so he just walked to work.
Q. Did you live in a phosphate home?
Q. How did you get to school?
A. I walked to school. It used to take a quarter of an hour, no more.
Q. How far away was the school?
A. Probably would have been a couple of miles.
Q. Did everyone walk to school or did some have horses?
A. Most of them walked to school from in that area. Very few ever took a horse to school.
Q. What was the education standard like?
A. Well, I suppose it was a pretty hard job for the headmaster because he had about five grades in one class; it went from about the fourth grade to the eighth grade, he was teaching. I always remember his name, it was Mr Mason.
Q. Was he the only teacher there?
A. There was another lady teacher but I can't remember her name.
Q. What was the accommodation like?
A. We had good accommodation for those days.
Q. Who else lived in the area?
A. Neighbours of ours were Wildmans (he was a foreman at the phosphate works), the Evans who milked cows just a short distance from us, and also a chap by the name of Bill Evans who was a son of theirs who worked at the phosphate works with my father, they were neighbours. Our neighbours behind us further were Parkers and Wards, and Hoppers were in the immediate area.
Q. Where did they do their shopping?
A. Most of the shopping would be done by delivery. They’d call around and take your orders this week and drop your order off the next week. If you didn't do that you walked to a shop, that in those days was owned by people by the name of Hinksman, and they carried everything that you needed.
Q. Where was the shop?
A. It would have been a couple of miles away from where we lived. It was over near Sea Beach Parade.
Q. What about your childhood impressions?
A. Well I suppose my most vivid memory is of all these chaps on their pushbikes lining up. There’d be a queue of them probably a hundred yards long waiting to try and get a start at the phosphate works. Each morning the foreman would come out and perhaps only pick out two or three of them and the rest of them were all sent home again or to somewhere else to try and find work. That was one of the things that stuck in my mind. The other one was the different people who came in on the boats, the seamen, the different nationalities of them. We’d always be going down there as kids poking around the wharves and having a look and trying to scrounge something off them like coconuts and stuff like that. Then we would always follow around the sea shore and each different gang of kids had different caves along the edge of the cliffs. Whatever we’d find we’d store in there, like bottles and all that sort of thing. Then we’d split it up when the bottlelo came around.
Q. What sort of games did you play?
A. Just the general run of things. In those days it was the days of the bodyline era and cricket so everybody wanted to be a Larwood. If the cricket season was on you'd amuse yourself with that or if it was the football season, well Geelong was a top team in those days when they won the premiership in 1931. You’d always be imitating the stars in that sport. Other than that you'd be bird nesting or rabbiting. There was always plenty to entertain you. You'd only sort of have a radio to listen to when night time did come. You didn’t seem to be able to stay up too late at night; you'd be always bundled off to bed pretty early.
Q. How did the area develop and change before and after the war, that you can remember?
A. It was gradually built up. More houses were starting to come in. People were coming out of the depression and there were people getting around with a bit more money and able to build more houses. It was starting to be on the move a bit then.
Q. Did your mother ever work?
A. No, she may have done odd days of housework at various times for different people but nothing permanent.
Q. Why did they move back to Winchelsea?
A. My parents didn’t move back to Winchelsea; they finished up living in North Shore all their life and they passed away there. I was the one that shifted out.
Q. Why did you move up here?
A. When I left North Shore I would have been about ten years of age then. Of course, my parents went back there (to North Shore) and I never ever went back there again. We lived in Geelong for ten years, mostly all the war years. I stopped a bit longer and my father went back to Fords to work and I came this way to Winchelsea.
Q. How did you meet your wife?
A. Once I came to Winchelsea to live and moving around different social functions and so forth I met up with her and that's where the friendship developed from.
Q. What sort of things did you do in North Shore? Were there dances or cinemas around there?
A. There would have been the odd concert or two or there used to be circuses turn up around the town at different times. I remember one time a chap turned up with these camels. We all had to dash home and get some money; it was a penny a ride. That was one circus that had turned up. Then, as I say, the other entertainment was the North Shore Football matches, which we went to every Saturday. When I got a bit bigger, I was the scoreboard attendant for them.
Q. Did you ever play for them?
A. With North Shire, no, only with the school team. I never played for North Shore but I was the scoreboard attendant when they won the premiership, the year that war was declared.
Q. Did your father enlist during the war?
A. He did enlist.
Q. Did he go away?
A. No, he was only in Australia.
Q. How did your mother and the rest of you cope when he wasn’t there?
A. Well when he wasn't there, that was the time we were living in McKillop Street in East Geelong, and at that particular time she used to do a bit of work at Fords, canteen and that sort of thing, during the war. We seemed to cope all right.
Q. Did you have a part time job, a paper round or something like that?
Q. What area was that in'?
A. East Geelong.
Q. What year did your parents move back into North Shore?
A. 1955 or 56.
Q. And they moved back because your father wanted to work at Fords?
Q. What did he do at Fords?
A. He was a crane driver.
Q. How long was he there for?
A. Until he retired.