DELLA MITCHELL(nee EVANS) 9 May 2005 11 Station Street, Norlane
I was born on 12 August 1933 and given the same name as my mother, Adella Margaret Evans.
My brother, Ronald John, born on 9 June 1935 was given my father’s name.
My two younger sisters are Peggy Genett Evans who is now 65 and Jacqueline Yvette Evans 61.
Dad was born in North Shore and met Mum, Adella Adams, at the Lara dances. Mum’s father had a small property in Lara where he trained greyhounds. Later he moved to Sea Lake where he worked as a barber in about 1935. He then returned to Melbourne and worked as a gardener.
Of the four houses that were in Sparks Road (later Walchs Road) north of the long Phossie shed, Mrs Finch lived in the first, Mum and Dad in the second, Bill and Maggie Evans in the third and Mrs Parker in the one closest to the beach. They were all identical weatherboard homes with tin roofs. They all had large kitchens with a pantry off them.
When Mum and Dad moved up to Dad’s parents’ home in Sparks Road the Blisses replaced us in that second house.
Later the Blisses moved that house up to opposite King’s home west of Seabeach Parade and Bill Evans moved his house into Seaforth Street. One of the other houses was moved to East Geelong.
Dad’s parents were dairy farmers. They owned the land between Sparks Road and Madden Avenue, the whole area now owned by Rylands. Grandfather’s first house in Sparks (Walchs) Road burnt down when he dropped a lamp. He built the second house a bit closer to the bay. Grandfather used to deliver the milk around North Shore in his horse and cart and also took milk to the Carlton Hotel in Geelong. I had the job of separating the cream. The milking was done by hand.
When Dad took over the farm from granddad he kept just a few cows and raised steers. We bucket fed them.
Teddy Fairbrother later delivered the milk. The bread (from Fitzgerald’s) was also delivered by one of the Colville girls. The Colvilles lived on the western side of the Melbourne Road on the extension of Foster Street. There is a Colville factory now in Robb Rd. Ice was delivered too. Reube Beckley delivered the fruit and vegetables and the firewood. ‘Chickie’ Dixon, the butcher, used to come around one day to take the orders and then a couple of days later he delivered the meat.
Dad also worked at the Phossie for many years and later at Fords up until he retired. Mum worked at the Ford canteen and I worked there with her for a while too.
There were quite a number of kids who walked across the paddocks to North Shore State School. During the war the ambulance would take us across the airfield and then be there after school to take us back.
There were about 60 kids there altogether at the school with two teachers.
I worked as a housekeeper for Mrs Ted Smith at the shop for a while after I’d left school.
My grandfather (Dad’s father) took his own life. He was supposed to get his hair cut one Sunday morning but he just walked down to the beach and walked out into the water. Dad found his body washed up a couple of days later around towards the Grammar School. He still had his glasses on. I don’t know why he took his life; perhaps he was depressed.
Uncle Bill Evans married Margaret Braeme. Uncle Alan who was killed in WW2 did not marry. Uncle Ernie married Sophie Gloster and Aunt Ethel married Albert Moody. He worked at the Geelong Grammar School. Aunt Myrtle married David Looker, Aunt Muriel died young and Aunt Elsie married Harold Ure. Harold was from New Zealand and he and Elsie returned there to live. Bill and Alan were in the Army and served overseas.
Dad was theNorth Shore SP bookmaker and operated from the Ocean Child Hotel and the Corio Shire Hotel. He rang home with the bets and I pencilled for him. He was only caught once but got off with a stern warning. He used to hide his money in the book case.
Growing up in North Shore was great fun. We used to go down to Nashs’ pig farm that was down past old Annie’s humpy north of St George’s Road. We chased the pigs around and got into trouble.
Dad had a little boat and we used to go down to Oyster cove with a light, and spear the flounder. We also collected mussels off the wharf. We played rounders with the Blisses and the Deans. Later my brother Ron had an old ute and he drove it along the water’s edge at Oyster Cove pulling along kids on a board in the water. Once Terry O’Meally fell off but didn’t let go of the rope and he got cut to pieces as he was dragged along on the shells.
Ron also had a small canvas canoe.
Dad, as a young man, saved two kids who had fallen out of their boat in the bay. He went out in his boat and rescued them.
We played rounders a lot, and hop scotch. We made dolls’ houses in the backyard. Of course there was mushrooming. There were always plenty of mushrooms in our paddock.
However, by the time I went to school there wasn’t much time because I had to help with the cows and my younger sisters.
We used to play cricket in the back paddock and Tony Bliss was always skiting about how good he was. Ron had a rotten duck egg and he bowled it down and Tony hit it and he was covered in it. That fixed him for a little while.
When they came to play billiards Tony was always saying how good he was.
Once there was a billiards tournament played there to raise money for the Boys’Club.
Dad, Harry O’Brien and Frank Burns got the Boys’ Club going.
Dad taught young Ron and me to box and I remember when we “fought” in an exhibition bout at the Palais in Geelong. Dad taught us how to box without hurting each other.
Dad was a good boxer and a good friend of a well-known Geelong boxer, Kid Young. They both fought up at the West Melbourne stadium. Kid Young occasionally came out to the Boys’ Club to coach the boys.
I remember the night Bryan Power was hypnotized at the Plaza and entertained us by playing the role of the national treasurer, Arty Fadden.
After going to the dances at the Palais Val Power and I would catch the tram to the terminus at North Geelong and then walk home from there.
The air force men came to our home to visit. The Americans sometimes bought butter from us. I remember that the Yanks were ‘gorgeous’. They came to the dances. People came in a bus sometimes to the North Shore dances and sometimes they would be out in the bus getting up to mischief and Maxie Evans went around with his torch to see what they were getting up to.
We kids played ‘jump the mat’ at the dances. Then we had beautiful suppers. I was in Min Harrington’s dancing class and was in the junior debutante group with Max Evans as my partner.
Our parents, the Garrets and the Carters (who lived in Seaforth Street) loved a party. Mrs Carter was a great dancer. Theo Gamble used to do the ‘broom’ dance which was hilarious. He and his wife Amy were good scouts. Their children were Basil, Pat, Phyllis and Maureen. Phyllis had one daughter with one of the McIntoshes. She later married “Nutty” McGee. Basil lives over in Anakie Road.
Nicknames were common. Ron junior was ‘Jimmy’, the two Maxes were ‘Scratter’ Evans and ‘Scratter’ Dean, Johnny Way was ‘Milky’, Vernon Power was ‘Jack’, Iain Davie was ‘Chewer’, Malcolm Leczinzski was ‘Dishwash’, Billy Nelson was ‘Musso’, Clive Burns was ‘Corky’. The Bliss boys didn’t have nicknames.
George and Margaret Evans and Theo Evans were no relation to Ron and Bill Evans. Theo’s children were Maureen, Monica and Noreen. They went to school at St John’s in North Geelong. Mrs Evans would come out and yell at us if we went near the house.
Percy Finnegan one day was ticked off by the teacher and he swore and ran out of the school and the teacher sent Norm Sherlock to chase after him. Percy had two sisters.
Dad was in the VDC. And I think that they trained in the hall. I remember them practicing, throwing ‘hand grenades’ from the beach, except they used rocks.
Wards had a large air raid shelter. There were shelters at the Phossie and at North Shore State School. Dad put dirt into the bottom of an old well and covered it.
Keith Robinson and his family lived near Wildmans. He was a great piano player.
Our two dogs were ‘Teddy’ and ‘Peter’. ‘Spotty’ Bliss used to chase the females and once Dad grabbed him and put turpentine on his bum. Did he yelp! ‘Carl’ King and ‘Zach’ and ‘Tray’ Webb and “Boxer’ Lock were others.
Dad put our dog in a tank when she was on heat but ‘Spotty’ Bliss still got in.
Mrs Lock made white bread sandwiches with brown sugar on them when I went to play with Shirley and Beth.
Mrs Hunter kept horses in the stables at the back of Goodyears.
Cliff Barrand was related to the Beckleys and went to North Shore State School.
Dossie Beckley married Don Swan. Dossie was born on the same day as me.
Laurie Buckley had the petrol station opposite Fords. One of his sons was also Laurie.
Walpole’s shop is now a funeral parlour. The children were Kath and Ray.
There was no shop in Donnelly Ave.
Gibbons lived in the Band of Hope Hall after ‘Lavender’moved out. She was married to Dougie Martin.
The Gibbons previously lived in one of the houses in the extension of St Georges Road. Mrs Parker lived in one of those houses too. Later the Burns family moved down there to one of those houses.
Phyllis Gibbons is now in a wheel chair. The younger girl (Marina) died. David lives in Seaforth Street. David married the girl Nicholls.
Bill Nicholls worked at the Phossie. His daughter married Peter Chapman (Gwennie Evans’son).
Bill Nicholls in Seabreeze Pde is in his 80s.
When Beatrice Reid married Charlie Baker the Powers were the entire wedding party.
Dr Day had his surgery in the house previously owned by Andy Davie. I went to Dr Day for my pregnancies.
I lost my eldest son when he was only two years and 11 months years old. Geoff was running around the house where the builders were and a ladder fell on him. I was eight months pregnant with Brett at the time.
My boys are Geoffrey b 1956, Brett 1959, Greg 1960 and Ross 1962.
Jacqueline’s children are Heath, Mandy and Cindy. She lives in McCurdy Road and is married to Jack McLaren.
Peggy is married to Johnny McGee and she is living in Greymouth, NZ. Their children are Peter, Gail, Madeline and Ronnie.
Ron had two children: Tony (now 44) and Julie (42). He was a fisherman for many years at Anglesea.. He made his own boat on Dad’s farm at Lara and had it transported down there. He died of bowel cancer at the age of 60 on 17 June, 8 days after his 60th birthday.
Dad died in 1999 aged 82 and Mum in 2000. My parents were very outgoing people. One night Uncle Bill Evans came to my house in Seaforth Street because his car had slipped down the slope at North Shore beach. We pulled it back up the cliff with our big Buick.