Monday, February 24, 2014


I told in part 8 where I had put yachting behind me and had discovered dancing and how I had made my debut in 1949 when I was 17.  I then began to slowly grow up and have a really happy and enjoyable life.   As quite a few things happened over a few years I may have to jump back and forth as I remember what was then important to me.   Just bear with me if you will, please.

I did go out with several different fellows after I stopped seeing Gary but then eventually had a more permanent boyfriend.  My brother Len was discharged from the RAAF in 1946 and found a position as manager to a photographic firm (Gibbneys) in Perth.  The firm did mainly commercial photography i.e. portraits and photos for use in advertising or calendars, but they also developed and printed normal firm (which was black and white then), did enlargements etc., and Laurie Kimber did that work and was also learning the art of photography.

Laurie was 19 at the time and we became regular friends and saw each other quite frequently. The one problem was that Laurie lived in Mosman Park and he (like most young men then) did not own a car.  This meant a lot of travelling for him so once a week (usually on a Wednesday) he would come to our home for dinner and we'd perhaps go to the local pictures or just go for a walk.  On occasion we would go to the pictures in the city and then Laurie would see me safely on to my bus.  Although I don't remember he and I doing a lot of dancing, obviously Laurie and I did attend at least one ball at the Embassy.  Left to right:  Doug Prince and his girlfriend (later his wife) June Wilson (a workmate of mine), Laurie Kimber, me and Greta Young (another workmate).  You'll notice the fact that people smoked indoors in those days, and smoke many of us did.

(Greta later married Ralph Filmer who was the bass player in Sammy Sharp's band, the band that played at the Embassy) but unfortunately it was a marriage not destined to last for many years.)

Dad was still very strict about the hours I kept and apart from when I went dancing on Friday or Saturday nights or to a ball I was expected be 'in' by 10pm.  He would usually be in bed by 9pm so mum was expected to keep an eye on me.  When Laurie used to come to dinner and just stay a while his bus used to come past our place at 10.20pm and you could see it coming down Namur Street which gave Laurie time to sprint across the road to the bus stop.  Mum didn't see any reason why I shouldn't stand at the front gate with Laurie waiting for the bus to arrive and if Dad happened to still be awake and ask "Is she in yet" mum would say yes she's here but didn't bother to say I was actually out at the gate.  Dads (especially those from the Victorian era) can be quite cute at times and mums can be great pals.  After about 11 months I feel perhaps Laurie and I began to tire of each other and I think all the travelling involved may have taken its toll on this second 'romance' of mine.  I did meet up with Laurie again in 1952 when he was the official photographer at the wedding of John Webster and Thelma Fisher (remember them from yachting days?).  It was great to see Laurie again and learn he was doing well and was planning to be married.  He would by now be 84 and as far as I know he is still living in Perth.

I had lots of great friends and Perth at that time was quite a small city compared to today.  We met through friends and acquaintances and it was not unusual when you went out in your lunch break each day to invariably bump into someone you knew.

After making my debut I attended a number of different balls which were usually held at the Embassy Ballroom at the foot of William Street in the city.  They had a large orchestra/band (mentioned above with first picture) and their music was wonderful to dance to including old time and modern, which included the slow foxtrot, quick step and modern waltz and I always loved the latter.  For some reason I never learned to jive.  It didn't seem all that popular at that time.

Quite often the girls I worked with and their partners would make up a group or perhaps one of the young men I knew would ask me to accompany him to a ball and in that way I would often meet new friends.  If we were really lucky the boy in question would be allowed to borrow the family car (most families only owned one car then) and we would go to the ball in style.  As very few young people drank alcohol I think parents were reasonably confident their car and their son would arrive home safely.  The drinking age was 21 then and at the ball we usually bought a large jug of lemon squash to share among ourselves (as seen on the table in the above photo) and if any of the young men bought beer it would not have been very often.  For some reason life was so good that we didn't need any stimulants etc., to make us feel happier.

I have quite a few photographs taken at different balls I attended and will share some of them with you.  I always made my own evening dresses as to buy them was quite expensive and I was, after all, only on a stenographer's salary and I loved to sew.  I just wish the photos were in colour

This is me with friends Gaynor and Rita:  (My dress had a bodice of silver lame and a skirt of royal blue moire faille). We usually wore flowers in our hair or as a corsage and nearly always wore long gloves made of lace or perhaps very soft leather).

Here were are with our partners (left to right:  Jack Webb (played Aussie Rules for East Perth Football Club and was quite a talented player); Bill Ford (friend of ours from the insurance industry) and Gary Arnold (remember him from earlier posts?):

In this photographs I am wearing a red velvet dress and with me is Bill Ford and my friend and workmate Wilma Longwood but I don't know the name of the young man with Wilma (he wasn't her permanent boyfriend so perhaps just one of the group we were with that night).  You would often be walking back to your table after a dance had ended and the photographer would just ask you to pose for a photograph.  A few days after the ball you then went and looked at the proofs and if you thought one or more of them were good enough you'd order those you wanted to buy.  I am sure you've all done the same thing over the years.  That, so often, is how our memories are preserved for us.  No digital cameras or smart phones back then.

Here once again Gary and Rita are together (if I remember rightly this pair went out together for some time but Gary eventually married a lass by the name of Jean) but my partner this time is Max Evans.  Max worked for a firm of accountants and later went on to become a Liberal member of parliament in the Western Australian government.

Here I am wearing a mauve tulle dress trimmed with tiny black bows.  I am with Graeme Hood, another chap with whom I attended a ball.  He was a lovely young man and I was saddened to hear in 1982 he had died; he was only 51.  Strangely enough Phil and I had rented a house in Claremont in 1966 from Graeme's older brother Barry.  In those days it was a much 'smaller world' than it now is in Perth.

I feel I have indulged myself enough here but I so enjoyed looking back on these photographs, remembering the wonderful times we had and the great people I was fortunate enough to know.

Doing a quick proof read of this blog I noticed something strange...did I always hold my head to one side as I did in these pics?  Perhaps someone in my family may have noticed that I do and could tell me.

Next Tuesday I am going to be thinking back to when I was 18 and chat about some of the special events that took place in my life during 1950.


  1. If your head is to one side all the time you probably needed a chiropractic adjustment lol. What lovely dresses.....A time when women dressed like ladies.

    1. I've always had a neck problem but it didn't affect me badly till I was about chiropractors for me though.
      Some of the dresses were probably a bit 'tizzy' and when we were in a crowd we were very colourful.

  2. What delightful photos! And your head looks secure to me. I can almost hear the friendly voices conversing in those scenes. Beautiful.

    1. Thanks Geo. and yes the conversation always flowed and we just enjoyed being alive.

  3. Elegance and fun. Gorgeous photos - and I am really, really enjoying this series.
    My father too insisted that I was home by ten. No ifs, no buts. And ten past ten meant I was grounded. Which is probably why I am very, very punctual (and usually early) to this day.

    1. I am so glad you found this post as it's not, for some reason, showing for me.
      So glad you are enjoying these silly little stories of mine.
      I must admit I was never grounded but may have had mum to thank for that. I am rarely punctual so obviously no lesson learned by me. : )

  4. Oh Mimisie I so enjoy reading about your life and seeing the lovely photos of your youth. You were truly lovely in your lovely fashions. Hug B

    1. Thanks Buttons, you are very kind.
      We certainly enjoyed dressing up back then and I think we looked much more ladylike than many of the lasses of today.