Oral history

Interview with Lionel & Claire Bowen at Kensington, 28 March 2008


Claire Frances Clement was born at Adelong in December 1925. After completing her Leaving Certificate at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart at Kensington, she enrolled in Pharmacy at Sydney University On an apprenticeship system, Claire also worked at a Coogee chemist. On completion of her studies, she ran a pharmacy in a chemist shop at Kingsford purchased by her parents. She married Lionel Bowen in 1953. After moving to Kensington with Lionel the following year, the first of eight children were born. Claire has been supportive of Lionel in his political career of over 40 years. 


Lionel Joseph Bowen was born at Ultimo in December 1922. He was raised by his mother who gave him opportunities and encouragement in his study and work. The need to seek employment led to him leaving school at Marist Brothers Randwick aged 15 in 1937. However he went on to study part time for matriculation at Sydney Technical College then Law at Sydney University while working as a law clerk. After completing his degree, Lionel practised law.  In 1948 he entered politics at the local government level, becoming an Alderman for West Ward on Randwick Council. His experience and interests led him to stand for election to the NSW Legislative Assembly in 1962, becoming the member for Randwick. He was elected as the Federal Member for Kingsford-Smith in 1969, took a leading role in the Whitlam government of 1972 and became Deputy Prime Minister between 1983 and 1990. Lionel remained the member for Kingsford-Smith for 21 years retiring from his political career in 1990.  During his long career in three levels of government, Lionel has taken a keen interest in matters of social justice and education.


Lionel and Claire have lived in the Randwick Municipality since their childhood; his Bowen grandfather, early difficult situation of Lionel's mother renting and working; Claire's father's motor bike shop at Kingsford, schooling at Kensington, sectarian divisions, Lionel's later education and their university days; Claire's work at a Coogee chemist shop; Kingsford shopping centre, Lionel's access to the Phillip's car for outings; Lionel's invalid uncle and the difficulties of caring for him, his mother's work cleaning at schools and her union involvement, Lionel's contact with his father; Claire's leisure and sporting activities, the male physical education teacher at the convent; religious days at school. Kensington at that time, transport, riding bikes, their first car, dances, playing tennis. Residence and car after marriage, mother's convalescent home, Lionel and Claire's family, Claire's voluntary work, changes at Kensington, the University, the racecourse and the Bowen's ownership of race horses, racing industry friends. Lionel's early political involvement, election as an alderman in 1948, mother's encouragement to study law, local government issues, Danny Curtin, the Book Mobile, Harry Jensen, 'Windgap' school for the intellectually disabled,   Australian Labor Party support at the local level. Lionel's move to State politics, election as MLA for Randwick; broadened interests,  time at meetings, Claire's political involvement,  student support through the University of New South Wales. Lionel's election to the Federal seat of Kingsford-Smith, time away from home, Whitlam Government experiences and impressions. Kensington in 2008.

Lionel & Claire Bowen Oral History Log DOC, 48.5 KB

Lionel & Claire Bowen Oral History Sample MP3, 1771.57 KB

Interview with Ray Dive at Randwick, 28 March 2008


Ray was the fourth generation member of the Dive family to work in and manage the Dive Brickworks at Matraville which was founded by his great grandfather Samuel Dive in 1878. There have been seven generations of the family living in the Randwick Municipality to date. He was born in Kingsford in 1939 and joined the brickworks on leaving school at 15. He was Works Manager when the business closed in 1973. He then ran his own business before taking employment at the University of New South Wales. Ray now lives in Randwick and continues his long association with sporting and community organisations.


Establishment of the Dive brickworks at Matraville 1878, shale quarry, manufacture of house bricks and fire bricks, sources of clay, transport of materials and bricks, horse drawn drays and trucks, truck driven over the Harbour Bridge on opening day, truck capacity, sources of sand at Malabar. Four generations of Dive managers, use of fire bricks in major industries, local use of bricks, local workers, aboriginals and worker numbers. World War Two production, reasons for sale of the brickworks in 1973, occupational health and safety issues. Father's ownership of cars, early family associations with the St Peters brick makers, Dive graves in the Randwick municipality. Demolition of the brickworks, dumping of bricks at Malabar, Grandfather's manufacture and sale of 'Blanco' canvas whitener, Alderman Albert C Dive, Ray's Masonic membership, family's association with the Presbyterian Church, naming of Dive Street Matraville, Ray's education and sporting experiences, residences, aborted shopping development at Maroubra, Dive descendants in the Randwick Municipality, death of Albert C Dive's son in 1928, documentation of the Dive Brickworks, re-development of the site, donation of land for a fire station, Ray's community involvement, sport and Probus Clubs, UNSW site in the 1940s, John Cann the La Perouse 'Snake Man', brickworks photos and exhibition at the Bowen Library April 2008.

Ray Dive Oral History Log DOC, 51.5 KB

Ray Dive Oral History Sample MP3, 1095.23 KB

Interview with Adrian Charles Molloy at Maroubra, 18 April 2008


Charles has lived in Maroubra for about 87 years. From his early days he was a keen surfer, joining the Maroubra Surf Club about the time he left school. The Club remained central to his life and he served as club Captain and President. 

In the difficult Depression years, Charles capitalised on opportunities, acquired skills in sales and marketing and set up his own business, first selling house to house and later as a second hand car salesman at Randwick. Having made the acquaintance of some local government alderman through his business, Charles was persuaded to stand for election in 1956. Two years later, as an Independent, he became Mayor of Randwick, a position he held for six years. Charles was Mayor when Randwick celebrated the Centenary of Local Government. He remained an alderman for Central Ward for 18 years. 


Charles' father, also named Charles, was a Melbourne tailor who was well known in the Randwick municipality. The family lived in Cooper Street and Charles remembers the Maroubra Speedway. His father introduced him to his love of the surf. Charles made lifelong friendships and started on a career of community service through the Maroubra Surf Club. He enjoyed board riding from an early age and also played tennis well, playing with Viv McGrath (1916-1978) who won Australian and French titles and played in the Davis Cup in the 1930s. Finding work in the Great Depression was a challenge. Charles queued at the wharves for work and worked as a grocer's boy for McIlwraith's. This led to him setting up his own business delivering eggs and butter from house to house, a successful venture which only became unviable with petrol rationing during WW2. After a period as a commercial traveller for Streets Ice Cream, Charles established a second-hand car business in Belmore Road Randwick. He was honest, unlike some car salesmen who ended up in Long Bay Gaol. Harry Jensen persuaded Charles to stand for Central Ward in the 1956 Council elections. He won and served as an Independent alderman and later Mayor, for 18 years. He respected Harry Jensen highly and learned a lot about politics from him. Charles brought a practical approach to the job. In 2008 he still lives in Maroubra, aged 93 years.

Charles Molloy Oral History Log DOC, 61.5 KB

Charles Molloy Oral History Sample  MP3, 865.44 KB

Last Updated: 24 October 2022
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