Sunday, May 10, 2015


This is the final episode from mum's book about Beehive Industries.

Excerpt from 'THE CLOCK OF TIME' by Gertrude Ruston. (pp 230-231)

"By the time I retired a switchboard had been installed between the office, the workshop and Palmerston Street, so that communication was possible between workshops ad outside contacts.

During my period as Director we had conducted an annual street appeal with the valuable help of an old colleague, Mrs Phil Robertson.  Collectors were not easy to find but, once again, my old friends Miss M. Thomson, Mrs Muriel Haning and Mrs W.W. Mitchel rallied to the cause.

Help from the workers on these occasions had been very disappointing in view of the large amount of voluntary work put in by Board members and their friends, but a few stalwarts from the workers, namely Messrs Eric Folks and Bart, Mesdames Brooks, Donald and Miss Heath always gave us wonderful support on the day.

We also sought and received donations from well-known business people and sporting bodies which helped to cover our expenses.

After 1977 the State Government reduced its grant to $8.000 per annum for three years, which does not cover the salary of the Works Manager, nor the inflationary costs of rent, water, telephone and electricity.

There is a constant fear that the M.R.P.A. will decide to give the necessary three months' notice and proceed with the freeway which is on the drawing board for the future.  the obvious answer is that we must have a real drive for money to be used for a building fund, and ask the Government and councils for a piece of land somewhere on which to build a full sized workshop and recreation building.

We were offered two large buildings in the now redundant Graylands Teachers Training College which will take in the Fremantle, Mosman park, Nedlands and Claremont areas.  A special committee headed by Mr H.Mazzucchelli is in charge of the Graylands building.  For the first time the workers using these buildings will have the use of excellent washing and toilet facilities.  Once again these buildings may only be granted to us for a limited period, and do not lessen the need for a permanent home.

We are an ageing population and compulsory *early retirement is threatening and may soon be upon us.  More and more people will require the services of Beehive if they are to avoid mental and physical breakdowns, periods in hospital and that dreaded sentence, nursing home care.

How do we achieve the necessary support?  A number of the organisations employ professional fund raisers and public relations people.  should we follow suit?

Personal approaches with questionnaires to all Members of Parliament on both sides of the House would at least publicise our need and, once again, Local Government could and should help.

When the new Works Manager was appointed it was difficult to persuade the workers at Beehive that they must take all their problems to him.  After all, in their eyes I was Beehive - I had started it and been with it through all its growing pains - and they found it difficult to transfer their allegiance.  Even after I had left the office they came to my home or telephoned me about their problems, and I decided I must sever myself completely in order to give Mr Levinson a fair chance to operate freely.

Although I had retired from the position of Director and Works Manager I had retained that of Hon. Secretary of the Board of Management.  In order to permit me to take a holiday, Muriel Haning kindly agreed to act as Board Secretary for such meetings as might take place while I was away.  I therefore booked a bus tour through South and Central Australia and up to Northern Australia and Arnhem Land to take five weeks, returning on the 3rd of August."

To conclude the story of Beehive Industries mum concludes by giving a list of all the people who had been good enough to serve on the Beehive Industries Board since the beginning. I won't bother to include that list as I am the only person likely to know any of them.  In fact there are only about 4 names I recall from a list of 21, one of whom was of course Muriel Haning, that stalwart that never let mum down over many years.

*I would imagine mum would perhaps be in favour of the new pension/retirement age of 67 and even possibly the proposed age of 70.  Unfortunately not everyone has mum's get up and go and I feel there will be many people not able to work until either 67 of 70.  In mum's day women could apply for the age pension at age 60 and men at age 65.  How things have changed since then.


  1. Your mother was exceptional, and I doubt that many people have a fraction of her energy and her drive.
    I am worried by the new retirement ages. Not everyone can work that long, and employers are reluctant to take on older workers. The current retirement age doesn't force anyone to give up work if they have it and are ready and able to continue.

    1. I truly think mum was inspired by her father and Bessie Rischbieth both of whom seemed to be tireless.
      You are right about the current retirement age as you get a bonus from Centrelink if you work on beyond pension age.
      I do think 70 too old but with the aging population older people are going to be in queer street if they've not been able to obtain a reasonable superannuation.

  2. I'm echoing Elephant's Child, your mum was exceptional. she is right too, in that not everyone can work that long, I couldn't and am still too young to apply for the age pension. I'm getting by on a part pension and being thankful I don't drink or smoke or gamble.
    employers reluctant to take on older workers? Yes, definitely and even in the volunteer field as I found out when I was unemployed for three years and not yet 50, no volunteer organisations wanted to take me on. I fear it would be harder now, with so many younger people available to them.

    1. I know mum went on for years regardless of the disability following that accident but I am sure there are many today, perhaps in a better physical condition, that continue well into their 70s and 80s.
      It amazes me that older people are not sought for work because many of the young don't seem to give a damn. It's all about money and their work ethic is often missing. I remember when Phil was made to search for work in his 60s when in some type of pension. He would call businesses and when he told them his age they would quite often just laugh. Of course with the computer age many old people don't have that expertise so are not wanted.
      With the government so much in debt following the constant borrowing of the previous government I can't see any government, regardless of party, being able to sustain the age pension as it is now. We had no super to speak of as it was so different in our day but people today need to be canny and try and save as much as they can and hopefully at least own their own home.

  3. Hari OM
    ...ahh there is the reference point of Central Australia; somehow that library page had gotten hold of that! What a grand tour to finish working life with - but I can tell you, I first came to OZ in the 1980's and did the Perth to Sydney in the 'figure of 8' - and boy was that tiring... for we twenty-somethings!

    Of course the main reason the gov't changed the retirement age was so that (they hope) they don't have to pay out pensions so early... if at all.... it's happening all over the world. Yes there are folk who would rather continue working, but not that many really and part of the reason for putting in all the years is to reap some benefit at the end. There's a whole bunch of us who fall in the crack between state and superann and neither will really keep things afloat. ....sigh... but that's a whole other soapbox!

    Happy Mum's Day Everyone.... YAM xx

    1. I find most bust tours tiring, no matter what age. It's the having to be up and dressed with your luggage outside your door so early in the morning (me being a late riser).
      Mum seemed to take everything in her stride, as she did this bus tour and other journeys in Australia at defferent times.
      I feel with the monetary problems all governments are having the time will come when the aging population will not be able to sit back and wait for pension age.
      I only wish when Phil and I were working there were proper super schemes but there were not and certainly not for women.
      We spent a few lean years before Phil reached pension age of 65 (he had taken voluntary redunancy, from a job in which he was unhappy. which back then didn't pay very much). He also lost money with super-type scheme he had with AMP. One of those wonderful financial advisers you hear so much about these days led him up the garden path. Our son also lost money because of AMP and he was only young then.
      The world is only going to get worse economically and I fear for my grandchildren and great-grandchildren and wonder where their lives will lead, even though they are all of them quite intelligent.
      Thanks for the Mum's day greetings. xx

  4. You've taken us on quite a journey with this saga of your mothers life. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    1. Thank you Delores, it has been my pleasure and there is still a wee bit more to come before the final curtain.