Mal and June Leszczynski (nee Keane) Phone conversation 29 Mar 2009
The first English word that Mal learned was “bloody” when as a child in Poland, he heard an English tank crew cursing their bad luck as they lurched into a ditch just after the end of WW2. Mal was born in November 1938 so would have been about 7 when this incident occurred.
Mal came to Australia with his parents.
His father Jan bought a block at 23 Pine Ave and built a hut with Ford packing cases in which they lived until he finished building their home.
When Mal and June married they lived in the hut until they bought their own home.
They bought the house at No 5 Myrtle Grove from Carl Schacke but could not get occupancy until the Sherlocks could find alternative accommodation.
Later Mal bought the house at No 3 (the Deans’ old home) for his son Mal and also the block at No 7 after the house there had been destroyed by fire.
He built a kit home on that for his father. Mal’s mother Josefa died in 1966 but his father lived to be 98.
Other Polish people in North Shore were Dick Potenski who lived opposite Ricky Payne in Myrtle Grove and Wally & Danuta Kozaczek and son Ray who lived next to Ways at No 11. Ray became a principal of a school in Geelong.
Another Polish family lived in Pine Ave next door to Mrs Rawlings. Their name was Hess.
Next to them was a Russian family who won Tatts
Letter received 31 March 2009
I received your draft notes and copy of topics. You sure covered all topics.
Our family moved to North shore in 1951.
As migrants from war-torn Europe we arrived in the Port of Melbourne in May 1950.
Our family of five consisted of my father Jan, mother Josepha, oldest child Wanda then Sophia and I as the youngest, aged 11.
My mother, sister Sophia and I were billeted at the Bonegilla Migrant Camp and my father and older sister Wanda were employed at the Geelong Grammar School on a two year contract to comply with the immigration scheme at the time.
I particularly liked the Bonegilla Migrant Camp as there was no school in the camp and the nearest school was in Wodonga some distance away. At my age it was great to go exploring Lake Hume, fishing, hunting rabbits and general mischief with others of the same age.
I was amazed at how cold it was in Bonegilla in winter. Each morning I could see the snow covered Mt Kosczuszko from my window, and all puddles in the camp were frozen.
Our fishing, hunting and play times came to an abrupt end when the migrant camp administration decided that all eligible school age children would attend school in Wodonga in November 1950.
Much to my surprise in the second week in December my mother, sister and I were moved to the migrant camp in Mildura and again, no school, so back to exploring the desert, chasing lizards and fishing in the Murray.
Soon after we received word that my father had paid a deposit on a block of land in North Shore and not long after that we arrived in Geelong and some time in late 1951 we moved into a temporary dwelling at 23 Pine Ave, North Shore, the construction of a three bedroom weatherboard house which was not completed until late 1953.
I have read all your notes and find I can’t add anything to the 1930-50 era but I came across a calendar that shows the North Shore area in 1930 (July page) with Augustus Wolskel (November page) and bagging fertilizer (April page).
I also include an old land sales brochure dated 1925 which might be of some use in your project.
Phone conversation with June 2 April 2009
Mal’s older sister, Wanda, married a Polish man and lives in Adelaide. Sophie also married a Polish man (Mr Wawrson) and lives in Alkoomi Ave, Hamlyn Heights. She is now a widow.
June’s maiden name is Keane. Her father was with the RAF and June was born at Southend on Sea when he was based there. They returned to their home town of Glasgow and June went to Primary School there.
Her father transferred to the RAAF and was based at Sale and June went to Yallourn High School. He was later based at Laverton, Sydney and, for a while, in Malaysia.
They came to Geelong where June met Mal. They have four children: Denise, Susan, Katherine and Malcolm. Susan is now in Townsville but the others are still in Geelong.
Mal and June have seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. June will be 70 later this year.