Chapter 42

Family life late 1960’s

1966 was the year decimal currency was introduced for Australia. Pounds, shillings and pence, guineas, florins, two bobs were phased out and replaced with dollars and cents, with the dollar the basic unit. We went from 12 pence =1 shilling, 20shillings = 1 pound to 100 cents = 1 dollar and 2 dollars = 1 pound. Coins were 1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents 10 cents, 20 cents and 50 cents. Notes were $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100. There was a period when both currencies were in use, then the pounds shillings and pence system was withdrawn and decimal currency prevailed. This simplified calculations, especially for projects and would eventually lead to the Imperial system being replaced by the metric system in Australia.

1966 was a busy year and we settled into a comfortable routine. Oscar seven this year and attending West End State School and Rebecca was four and attending Corbett Street West End Kindergarten; the year went quickly. Sometime during the next year we bought a new car an Austin 1800, colour a green-grey. We never seemed to have spare cash so took out a personal loan with the bank as we had established a good credit rating following the house contract settlement. The week-end routine became taking Oscar and Rebecca to music lessons at Carina, Corner of Creek and Old Cleveland Roads, where Stanley and Lorna lived and had “Ryhill Boarding Kennels”. Lorna was Betty’s cousin and a gifted teacher who had started teaching her at the age of three; Betty could read music before she could read words and it was Lorna who set her on her music career. Oscar and Rebecca would have their lesson with Lorna and I would talk to Stanley. It is a small world as Stanley was a supervisor with Commonwealth Department of Works with day labour gangs and spent a lot of time away from home so we had something to talk about. He also rode a motorcycle with sidecar leaving the family car with Lorna and Aunty Edie (Lorna’s mother).
After the music lesson we would drive to Kangaroo Point St. Mark’s Church of England Hall for art lessons as this was the craze at the time. We got to know Barbara and Mervyn Moriarty who ran these childrens’ art classes, so I left the children there and drove to do the week’s shopping after that I collected the children on the way back. In the afternoon we visited the
Ian and Lesley had their son Jason who was born on 5th August, 1967.
The new car gave us more mobility and that year we went for a holiday into N.S.W. Maureen (Betty’s sister) and Ivan were living near Mosman and Betty’s friend, Valerie Cooney, married to news cameraman, Bob Wright, lived at Hunters Hill. We planned to see them during our visit to Sydney. We planned to see the Jenolan Caves, then Sydney proper then home. We spent a night at the Caves Hotel and visited the caves next morning. On the way there we went through an area covered with what looked like small hail stones, possibly sleet or snow. By this time the children were getting restless and it was a relief to get to the hotel. After the caves visit we drove on to Canberra and I was amazed to see Lake George with the fences running into the lake. We spent a day driving around and seeing the War Museum and Art Gallery; we then drove towards the coast. We stayed a short time with Maureen and Ivan and then drove home to Highgate Hill. Valerie and Bob were doing well in Sydney though Bob was away a lot on assignments and Valerie was working in a television production where she hosted a program.
In the artistic field we became friends with Bevis and Evon who lived nearby. Evon was a singer and Bevis an architect with the Commonwealth Department of Works, as well he was a gifted violinist. At the time they had one son, Mark. Then, through our friends the Moriartys we met a couple involved in the Theosophical Society in Brisbane; they organised art showings in the Theosophical building in Spring Hill. Here, upcoming artists could have showings whereas the better known artists were shown at Bowen Hills near Twelfth Night Theatre. Through Mervyn and Barbara Moriarty we met David and Guillemette Cox and their three children. They lived near Vulture Street, nearby, and David was an artist and illustrator with the Courier-Mail. Betty’s cousin, Don Hamilton, was a well-known artist specialising in water-colours and we ended up purchasing several of these and later an impressionistic piece of a lily pond by Moriarty. There was a constant social round of entertaining or being entertained and life was good and full.

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