Friday, March 6, 2015


I am truly not sure whether to continue with this or not.  I think people may be finding it a little boring and although I enjoy doing it, I am beginning to wonder if it is still worth while.  Last episode was all about Len and his family and then there is a chapter about me....just me....up till 1981.  I had thought to exclude it but then it is still part of mum's story so here goes.  If you find it rather too much then just don't bother reading it.  I promise, I won't be offended.

Excerpt from 'CLOCK OF TIME' by Gertrude Ruston.  (pp 103-107).  I have just added the one photo, one of which I am particularly fond.


Peg continued at Victoria Square College until she was nearly twelve years old.  At that time it was decided by the Catholic Church that all students attending their schools must become Catholics or leave."  *(I don't think this is entirely correct.  From what I recollect it was decided that non-catholic children would have to attend Divinity classes the same as the Catholic children did.)  "We were not Catholics and did not wish Peg to be forced into that religion so we sent her to Perth College in Mount Lawley, said at the time to be the best college in Perth.  It was run by the Sisters of the Anglican Church.  Peg did not like the change of schools at all, and her results were never comparable to those at Victoria Square.

For some time Peg had complained of pain and distress which doctors had diagnosed as kidney trouble and at one stage was not allowed to eat red meat.  This had meant a diet of chicken, fish and rabbit for Peg and Harry and I had our red meat at lunch time while she was at school.

During the school holidays Peg went to stay with a friend in Waroona (a country town south of Perth).   Her name was Jill Appleby and her father was the manager of the Nestle factory in that town.  Jill then came to stay with us for a week and they had a wonderful time, spending their last day together swimming.  We saw Jill on her way home and, during that night, Peg became really ill and was in dreadful pain.  We called the doctor but he could not discover the cause of the pain but gave me some morphine to give her but she could not retain it as she was constantly vomitting.  The doctor then said to continue with the morphine and have her suck some ice chips in an endeavour to keep it down.  That was on the Friday night and I sat up with her over the weekend when she was terribly ill and I could not get the doctor.

Finally, on Monday morning, the doctor came and immediately ordered her into hospital.  Although  the pain had suddenly stopped, she was still dangerously ill, and diagnosis was still not clear so a specialist was called in and it was agreed that an exploratory operation was essential that night to save her life." (I shared the ambulance with a young chap from the same street (the brother of one of my friends) who was being taken to the Infectious Diseases Hospital as he had scarlet fever.  Remember, it was wartime and ambulances were in short supply).

"Harry and I walked up and down for hours outside St John of God Hospital in Subiaco, awaiting the result of the operation as we had been told it would be touch and go.  At last the two doctors came out and told us that they had saved her life.  She had suffered a burst retroceacal appendix behind the right kidney, and she was in hospital for 4 weeks and spent the whole of the first school term at home recovering.  I remember tutoring her in geometry, algebra, French and German to help her keep up with her school work, a  case of having to swot up that which I had forgotten before I could teach her.

Harry in desperation, on one visit to the hospital, promised Peg he would buy her a bike when she got well.  Harry then went out to hunt fora bike and bought one that cost him £17.00.  Being wartime bikes were not easy to come buy and this one had been made up of spare parts and then painted and it looked just like a brand new Malvern Star bike.  Of course Peg was not allowed to ride a bike for some weeks as her wound was not healed so she would sit on the seat while we pushed her around.  I remember how surprised Peg was to find I could ride her bike, although I must admit it was rather a wobbly ride. not having ridden for many years.

At long last Peg was well enough to go back to school and to ride her bike to and fro.  She had several school friends who also rode their bikes to school and they would meet each other along the way and ride together.  Peg was not very happy at Perth College, partly I felt because there were several subjects which were very new to her and, even though her father and I attempted to help as much as possible, having missed a the whole first term through illness it was difficult for her to catch up with them all.

Peg continued with her piano lessons from Miss McLennan, a piano teacher in North Perth, and continued to pass her her music exams, both practical and theory.  She asked permission to learn the violin and we bought her one and arranged for her to take violin lessons at Perth College and practise there during the week.  This meant I had to take the violin to the school on Monday mornings and collect it on Friday afternoons, as it was too awkward for Peg to carry both the violin and her school case.

At the end of her first year at Perth College another problem presented itself.  While running in the grounds of the Junior School Peg had caught her foot in a length of wire hidden in the garden border.  During the summer school holidays while we were holidaying at Mandurah we noticed that Peg had trouble sitting straight up and when we arrived home we took her to a back specialist.  He said she had injured the coccyx at the end of the spine, which necessitated a long period of exercise therapy.

The school denied liability as the army had used those particular premises during the war and should have left everything in good order.  We were unable to get any satisfaction and the medical bills were quite large.  We should, of course, have taken legal advice, but Harry did not want to do so as he feared the costs that we could incur.  Unfortunately, to this day, Peg suffers as a result of that accident, and probably will do so for the rest of her life.

In due course, after pleading with us, Peg left Perth College, which she never liked, and became a student at City Commercial College in Hay Street, taking the full commercial course.  She became qualified quite quickly and was third in her year for her college in W.A.  She sat for, and obtained her Junior Certificate in 6 subjects.  Her shorthand was excellent and the school offered her a position as junior shorthand teacher but she refused, saying she would not have sufficient confidence when having to teach students about her own age.  She was still 14 at this time and although she had
had a temporary job with the Kindergarten Union for several weeks, Harry said she was too young to start work permanently, so she began a second year mainly brushing up on her shorthand and typing.

The college approached us and said that a very good job for a stenographer with an insurance company had come up and they considered that Peg would do very well in the position.  After some consideration Harry agreed and Peg commenced working in her first permanent job.  After a short time the insurance company was disbanded and the general manager opened his own office as an insurance assessor.  Peg and the other girls in the office were kept on as his staff.   She thoroughly enjoyed the work and her friendship with the girls lasted for man years."  (This is a picture of Norm Stehn and his original female staff taken in 1947.  L to R:  June Wilson (Prince); Peg Loneragan (Quinn); the boss himself; Val Edmunds (Page) and yours truly.)

"I had read that the Commonwealth Government was looking for stenographers to work in Melbourne and I thought perhaps it would be good for Peg to have some experience away from home for a while.  She took the Commonwealth examinations which she passed and flew to Melbourne in October, 1950.  She decided to return home in time for my birthday the following April with the intention of surprising me but as I'd not received a birthday card from her and she would never forget my birthday.  I suspected she was returning from Melbourne and when I checked with the airlines they confirmed her name was on their passenger list.  We gave her a very warm welcome home.  She had been given an open ticket to return to work in Melbourne but after spending a couple of weeks back home she decided Perth was the place she preferred to be so wrote and resigned from her job.

When we were living in Fitzgerald Street, North Perth, Per became Honorary Secretary of the Young Liberals, (now that's given it away hasn't it?) was studying for further music exams and earning her living.  Eventually she became quite ill and I had her see the doctor who said she was doing too much and she should either leave her job or give up music.  By this time she was quite a good pianist and Harry and I were quite disappointed when she decided to give it up.  She had little choice of course as she did need to go to work.

Peg and her friends loved to dance and the Mount Lawley Tennis Club was a very popular venue, as well as other tennis clubs in Nedlands and Kings Park.  Her bedroom often resembled a dormitory when her girlfriends stayed overnight after a dance at Mount Lawley.  She gathered a number of friends over the years, including various boys as well,  and Harry would often have trouble remembering all their names.

Whilst holidaying in Mandurah when Peg was 15, a young man, Gary Arnold, brought his yacht (a sharpie) down from Perth as an experiment as the ANA Yacht Club were considering holding a yachting regatta down there each Easter.  They were staying at the same guest house as us and we got to know them quite well.  I managed to convince Peg she would be quite safe going for a sail with Gary and his two friends (one of Peg's friends went along too) and Peg fell in love with yachting and spent a lot of time on the water at weekends.  The regatta became an annual event at Mandurah for a number of years.

Peg decided to buy her own VJ (a 12' yacht) and we took it down to Mandurah one Easter.  It was quite amusing when she, and her friend Peter, decided to take the VJ out on a day when the large yachts had decided it was too dangerous to sail.  They capsized several times, righted the boat each time and had a wonderful time with quite a large group of people watching their antics from the foreshore Although she sailed the boat on the Swan River it was not always easy to find someone to .  crew with her so she eventually decided to sell her yacht.

After we had moved to Joondanna Peg became engaged to Aubrey L.,  much to our regret.  Their wedding took place in St George's Cathedral, with the reception being held at the Mount Lawley Tennis Club with a gathering of relatives and friends.

After two years Peg and Aub had a baby daughter, Karen, and two years later a son, Steven.  As Harry and I had feared, the marriage was not always a happy one and they divorced when the children were still of school age, Peg obtaining custody.

Peg's second marriage to Phil, a year or so later, has been a happy one although Peg had to return to work to help make ends meet with the children to education, their father having failed to pay the maintenance he had been ordered to pay.  Phil has been an excellent husband and stepfather.  He is employed by the State Housing Commission and Peg is now at the Forests Department.  Phil studied part-time at U.W.A. and earned his B.A. degree.  They have now bought their own home and should be able to retire comfortably in due course."  (Not as comfortably as we had hoped but we still get there OK).

Mum goes on to talk about Karen being married and having children and Steven having a good job and a nice girlfriend whom he eventually marries.  She finishes this section by writing "So much for my daughter and her family up to 1981" As I said earlier, Len and I are more or less dismissed from her story although I think we may pop up from time to time later in the story. 

*I had meant to mention about me leaving the Catholic college and going to Perth College.  I think, to my eternal regret, mum got it very wrong about protestant children having to actually convert to become Roman Catholics.  I had for 6 years sat through Catechism lessons (at the back of the class) so already knew all their teachings without it making me want to become 'one of them'.  I loved the nuns who were excellent teachers and also excellent, although not harsh, disciplinarians which was good for all of us.  My daughter attended a Catholic college during her high school years and although she took religion, and actually passed it as a Junior subject, never was she asked to become a Roman Catholic.  She, like I, often questioned their teachings but we both accept people and their beliefs and believe they are entitled to them.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you and do please keep tuned in.

  2. Hari Om
    I loved this one Mimsie, because it tied in so well from your own earlier posts relating this history. As you say, Len and yourself do seem almost to get a 'passing mention', but I am anticipating that now we get to hear a lot more about your Mother's social works etc? Don't stop!!! YAM xx

    1. Thanks Yam and I will continue although I feel some folk have dropped off from the viewing list. Perhaps too much information for them?
      Yes, very soon the story of mum's 'final phase' of her life begins and to some I hope it will be interesting. xx

    2. Hari OM
      Oh you mustn't concern overly much about those view numbers m'dear... it is always lovely when something gets a lot more views - or more specifically, a lot more comments - but I feel it is important to consider the blog as the thing it was originally intended to be; a personal journal. If it grows to be something more, fine and good. I prefer my small but dedicated band of followers to the multiples of 'yessers' and erstwhile 'luvvers' that populate the ether! Hugs, YAM xx

  3. No, don't stop. I find it fascinating. Really fascinating.
    I am intrigued that rabbit wasn't considered red meat though.

    1. O.K. continue on I shall and thank you for the encouragement EC.
      I had always considered rabbit as white meat and nutritionists in the main do seem to think so but there is always controversy about these things. I've often wondered about pork for instance.

  4. Interesting about the kidney/red meat connection. These days Doctors are more likely to think kidney stones and restrict the salt or something. Lucky you to survive the burst appendix.
    Interesting too, how such a little thing as a fall could result in years of back trouble and pain. I wonder how many women (men too) have such trouble and might be able to trace it back to a seemingly innocent childhood fall?
    I can recall two separate incidents when I was 14 and 17 that would have influenced the problems I now have.
    I'd like to keep reading more of your Mum's diary, if you don't mind writing it.

    1. The kidney/red meat rule still stands for people with kidney problems. My #2 granddaughter has had kidney problems since she was a baby and has been told not to eat too much red meat
      I dislocated my cocyx (tail bone) which threw my pelvis a little out of whack as well. It's still quite painful if I ever have to sit on a hard (wooden) seat without a cushion for any length of time. Actually with the arthritis I have I don't think I notice it as much as I once did.
      I will keep on with this saga of mum's life while people are still willing to read it and thank you for being interested.

  5. Dear Mimsie,

    Please keep writing about yours and your parents' fabulous story. I am a 'reader in the background' and have never commented. As you can see, I am still catching up on previous posts). I am a history, memoir and family nut, so love finding stories like yours on the Internet.

    I know it is bad blog manners to read posts and never comment. I do apologise for my bad manners. One of the problems I have found with so many blogs is that I cannot find the "Follow" button. Therefore, I don't get an email notice telling me someone has written and published a new blog post. I can't find one of those "Follow" buttons on your blog so I have to check up to see if you have posted any new stories. I haven't checked for a while because I have been sick. So, again forgive me.

    We, your readers, are reading, and loving your reading posts.

    PS: I live in a suburb next to yours. What a treasure you are to find in my own back garden, so to speak. Tez xx