…is sharing her and her sister’s story in loving memory of Gladys, who recently passed away.
“People don’t always realise I was born here; mostly people who’ve come from Adelaide say, ‘where are you from,’ and I say, ‘I’ve always lived here.’ Our dad was born over here and he was from a big family. Our mother was English. Dad and his brother were joined up in the army and they met Mum and her sister, two English nurses who went to Gallipoli to help wounded soldiers, over there. Mum and her sister helped nurse them and then they got together with these two boys from Kangaroo Island and end of story. I was born in an old farm house on our farm at Red Banks in 1929, Glad was born in 1931. She was lucky she was born in the hospital. There were nine of us, four brothers, then three of us girls and two boys. It was a busy household. We had a billie cart, a box with wheels on it and shafts, and we’d just go down the hill. The boys used to put me in a tyre and I’d roll right down the hill and when it got near the little creek, we’d jump off or jump out of it. I never had a broken bone. First, I attended school at Kingscote for a year, then American River and we went with a horse and cart with our older brothers until the war came and they joined up. Our family then moved to Brownlow and we walked to Kingscote school from there. The school was not where it is now, it was the old Scout Hall. Our parents were farmers at Red Banks and they had a eucalyptus still and a few sheep. When Dad retired, he split up the farm between our brothers when they returned from the war and they took over the farms. We always enjoyed going to the dances in our younger years. They were here in Kingscote or we’d get a coach and go to American River or Penneshaw, it was really enjoyable. I mostly did housework in different homes around the place until I was 17 and I went to work down at the Ozone as a housemaid of course. Glad joined me down there as a waitress. We worked close together then but we went our separate ways. I stayed down at the ozone for five and a half years, then I met Jim and we got married and had five boys. It was the toughest when I lost the two boys but I got through it. I guess I knew I had to keep going for the others. It’s all part of life. Yes, I could’ve gone the other way, I guess, but I had to keep going. I was mostly at home and then in 1974 I started at the laundromat. Glad cleaned at the District Hall and then worked at the doctor’s surgery for a long time. My first home was the Dolls House. It’s still 100% what it was when we lived there because there was no conveniences whatsoever; no bathroom, the toilet was up the backyard, no laundry. I had all the boys while I was there. Upstairs was a bedroom, a double bed, a cot and a crib and downstairs was two cots. The little kitchenette on the side meant not much housework! We rented that house 26 pounds a year which is about $52 a year! It was just a price the person that owned it put on it. Well, Jim was living there at the time and I thought it would be just the two of us. Later on, his mother saw a block of land for sale cheap so we decided to buy a block of land and build a war service home. War service home was for soldiers when they came back. We’ve had parts of it built on but it’s still there on Chapman Terrace. I’ve been in Carnarvon almost four years now, Glad came three years ago. I think it’s nice to have each other, I think we’ve been close as sisters.”
If you want to stay at the Dolls House one day and experience where Marj brought up her five sons, you can book a stay here: