Linda McIntosh was born in 1953 and raised in Clovelly in the 50s and 60s when the remnants of World War II were still all around: gun placements and returned soldiers still played on the psyche of those living in the suburb and moulded it in many ways. Raised in a family with 3 older siblings in a street with 40 children, there was no shortage of playmates with whom to explore the Clovelly landscape. Living in such an area steeped in history, Linda couldn’t help but be curious about the skeletons in the graveyard and the quirky origins of the streets and houses of Clovelly.
About this episode
In Episode 5, Linda McIntosh talks about growing up in Clovelly in the 1950s and 1960s, reflecting on the history of the area and the changes she has seen over the years. Of special interest to Linda is her street: Campbell Street. Hear Linda's stories reveal her remarkable knowledge of Clovelly from the 1880s to the present day including: the origin of the name Poverty Point, the reasons for the cannons at Shark Point and Burrows Park, the secrets found in Waverley Cemetery, the establishment of the first school and some interesting characters who have graced the suburb's streets over time.
Duration: 54min 23sec
Historic Suburbs - Clovelly. Accessed 24th June 2020. Randwick City Council.
Clovelly Beach. Accessed 24th June 2020. Randwick City Council.
RANDWICK LOCAL LEGENDS, EPISODE 5, LINDA MCINTOSH
Chelsea Hunter: Hi, you're listening to local legends, the podcast that explores the history of Randwick City through the recollections of locals who know and love the area. I'm Chelsea. And with me is Linda McIntosh.
Linda, thank you so much for joining us.
Linda McIntosh: Thank you for having me.
Chelsea Hunter: Linda, can you describe your family home when you first moved to Clovelly? What was the address?
Linda McIntosh: Oh, the address was 8 Campbell Street, later on to become 12 Campbell Street.
I actually hadn't been born when my parents moved in there. My grandmother had bought the house in about 1943. And my parents moved in about 1950. Dad coming back from serving in the Australian Air Force in World War II. My mum following as a war bride and only being in the country six weeks before my brother was born. He's seven years older than me and then my sister arrived five years older than me, a couple of years later after my brother, and so they were stuck in virtually a couple of rooms in a flat up at Bondi Junction.
My grandmother had the property transferred by the court, to my dad. My mum went down to view it the first day, and she told me that she had trouble opening the door with the key and she walked through the front door down the hallway, past a bedroom either side, past another room either side, across the timber balcony at the back, and down some like, sandstone block steps into the yard, grass knee-high. And she stood there with my sister in her arms and burst out crying. And the lady next door, lovely Pat Milsom, called out and said, “It can't be that bad dear, come in here for a cup of tea”. Mama said she has never seen such a derelict place. She said. It was a horrible, it was filthy dirty. And the tenants who had been living in the house at been put out, had really trashed the place. So, she said the walls had holes in them.
But basically, it was a weatherboard cottage as I said of four rooms with a central hallway and weatherboard lining on the inside as well as the outside, built in about 1894 something like that. So classic doer upper, a renovator’s delight and it probably would have possibly even had a fibro or definitely had a tin, corrugated iron roof.
And my dad set about doing what he could, and the first year there he seems to have replaced the front rotted timber veranda with concrete, and concrete path and built a lovely brick fence and brick front to the house enclosing the veranda bit. He had been a metal spinner before he went away to the war and he retrained as a carpenter when he came back, which was very handy and worked on a lot of the building sites. And he picked up not only the carpentry, but he learnt brick laying and plastering and there just wasn't anything Dad couldn't do really.
Chelsea Hunter: I bet he put those skills to good use, doing up the house.
Linda McIntosh: He did, and spent the next 60 years, he was always working on the house. Always repainting, changed the fence later to a high fence, reclad the house later on in the fibro. I actually have three pages at home done on a typewriter, and probably printed out on one of those old Roneo machines where he lists everything that he's going to put in to renovate the house, down to the size of the nails, and the screws what they're made of, and even down to the couple of walls on the house that he's going to replace the weatherboards with asbestos, fibro panelling. Which we know now was not perhaps the best idea; but these are the plans that went into the council.
He drew his own plans up and he wrote them all up and they were submitted, and I've got where they were stamped and approved by the Council in about July 1951. It did include him extending the house at one stage to put a separate big kitchen dining room. But he never quite got to that. He always worked two jobs, as well as working on, not only our house, but other people's houses too. And plumbers and electricians, they all had a little gang that went around, doing up all these houses as a working party.
Everyone helped each other out they were so glad to have survived the war, and also, were very conscious of those that didn't come back. Dad was a member of Tamarama Surf Club and a lot of those went into the Air Force or the Navy and were very supportive of the parents mainly of ones that didn't come back. Because most of them are too young to have married. I mean, Dad put his age up by a year, he lied and changed his birth certificate to get in. So, I think my mum was 21 and my Dad was 22 when they married in England.
And so, it was a lifelong project for Dad and there was always something that needed doing. We were sort of higher than the house next door to us. Our window was level with their roof. So, every time a southerly wind blew, our 20 odd feet of paling fence ended up in the neighbour’s yard. So, he would go down, cut it into sections and lift them back and put the fence back up again. So, it became a standard sort of thing. We'd be lying in bed at night and we would say, “Oh there’s the wind and dad will be putting the fence up next week.”
Chelsea Hunter: And I understand that you had a bit of an unusual pet.
Linda McIntosh: An unusual pet yes. In those days people had cat or a dog or cat and the dog. We had a pet sheep. We had Tammy. We actually got Tammy because my sister's rabbit got out of its hutch and got chased by a dog and died of fright. The dog didn't get the rabbit, but it died of fright and the local postman, Burt the Postman, who lived in Park Street was delivering the mail next door and saw my sister crying and said, never mind, I'll bring your pet that the dog can’t hurt and bought around Tammy. I've got a photo of me in the front. Campbell Street at Clovelly was where we lived, and it had very wide foot paths. And Tammy was on a tether and she was tethered up and down the front street and would disappear for a day or two into neighbour’s backyards while she did the grass in their yards. So, everyone was quite happy with this, until one day we had a visit from a council person who said to Dad that you can't have a sheep in an urban area.
So, Dad faced with this dilemma, and us kids in tears. “Tammy has to go!”, you know.
Dad then went to what I could describe as the eBay of that era, the front bar of the Clovelly Hotel, was where you bought something, sold something, sourced what you needed and got rid of what you didn't need, and said, “I have to re-home the sheep.”
So, someone knew someone who was moving down the Batemans Bay area and they gladly took Tammy. And Tammy lived to be a fair old age. It was much later when my dad came home and said so and so had just been down the south coast and Tammy passed away a few months ago. And in the meantime, we’d get reports every so often, maybe once a year, someone would go and visit these people and come back and say, Tammy's loving it down there and doing really well.
They had a property that actually fronted onto the beach. And Tammy did all the grass strip with the back of the beach and neighbour’s properties down there. She had a grand old life and I know my brother when he was in the scouts did my birthday, either my seventh, eighth or ninth birthday, but every kid at my party got a sheep ride on Tammy’s back. And I remember saying to Dad, “What did everybody in the street think about Tammy going?” I mean, nowadays, people get a petition up and all this sort of business, oh he said they're all very annoyed. But mainly because they all had to go out and buy a lawn mower, including me.
Chelsea Hunter: Tammy was a very useful pet.
Linda McIntosh: Yeah and much loved, and much missed.
Chelsea Hunter: And what else did you do as children growing up in the area? How did you entertain yourself in those days?
Linda McIntosh: In those days, as a young kid, well the girls had skipping ropes. And we played with dolls, dolls’ houses, and we play jacks with the bones out of the lamb roast. You dry them and clean them up. And we didn’t bother to paint them we just played. Hopscotch was very popular. Especially after they finally put a footpath in on the eastern side. They put that footpath in about 10 or 14 years before they put one on the western side. But yeah, so hopscotch was very popular. And, basically, we spent a lot of time avoiding the boys in the street. At one time, there was nearly 40 children living in Campbell Street, my parents told me when I was very, very young, I don't remember that many. I remember there was a crowd of us, and we played, rounders and Mr. Crocodile, and you stayed out till the streetlights come on. Nobody had a watch, didn’t have a watch until you went to high school. You just knew the time by the streetlight.
And of course, we had the beach at the bottom of the street. Even in winter, kids would go down the beach and we would go around the rocks looking for crabs and things. And playing hide and seek in the cemetery was always fun and Burrows Park, we go into Burrows park in the winter. And why we avoided the boys was because, up until recently, there was a bamboo patch in the eastern side of Park Street at the back of my parents’ house, and the boys would make spears, bows and arrows. So that's why the girls kept out of the way of the boys.
But we also used the bamboo to make kites. To make the frame of the kites. And every mother had a drawer at home where she saved the brown paper from parcels, and string. So, we had plenty of stuff and everything you needed. If the wind was right, we'd be making these kites on a dull winter's day and then racing round to Burrows Park. They didn't last very long. But it got us kids out, so you were rarely indoors in those days. There were trees to climb and there was Mr. Warners property.
Chelsea Hunter: Yes. And there was something that you needed to avoid there.
Linda McIntosh: Yes, very much so. My Dad fronted me one time. The Warners owned, really one third of the western side of Campbell Street. And, right back from the beginning they were the first family in the area on that point to build a house. And of course, in those days, that area was sand dunes, very low coverage of vegetation. And they set about putting in, not lawns I would say, but plants and trees and everything.
And Frederick William Warner, he was a glass cutter, and his wife Salisbury nee’ Fleming. To live there, I really admire these people, there was nothing. There was no water source, so he sunk a well to acquire fresh water. It would have been used then by all the locals for quite a few years as the street started to fill up and people came. Because the next water source would have been from the stream that ran from Varna Street now down across Arden Street and through the back of Clifton Street coming out the bottom of Keith street, there used to be a bridge over the bottom of Keith Street for the water then go to go down the gully and down to Clovelly beach. So, there is a wonderful photo that Randwick have of the Aldermen sitting, and you can see the water pouring out between some rocks, and must have been after heavy downpour of rain because it's running quite freely. So that would have been the only freshwater there was, no lighting, there was really just dirt tracks, there was definitely no sewerage, there was no shops. And probably shopping wise the easiest, nearest shops to get to would have been the walk to Charing Cross.
I would suspect that Mr. Warner being a glass cutter had some sort of a small carriage and horse. There would have been a lot of horses. I've actually read in a journal at Waverley Library, Major Johnson's journal, that at one stage in the 1890s there was 600 horses stabled in the Charing Cross area. And from the cleaning of these horses and the omnibuses, they polluted the wells and the water source up there.
Chelsea Hunter: So, you were as a child, quite drawn to playing on the Warner's property.
Linda McIntosh: Always. We used to be able to crawl in through a lantana bush that was growing on the outside of his fence and move a few palings that the nails seem to have, ‘Loosened away’. And Gail Reed and her brother Peter and I would scurry through there, as seven- and eight-year olds. And of course, if you can imagine an overgrown sort of forest gully type thing with these huge fig trees and things like that, and Pop Warner - the oldest person in the street was always pop. He was Pop Warner and he would come out and bang his walking stick on the railing of his back-timber veranda and “get out of here you kids” and we would scurry back. But my dad “fronted” me one day and he said, “Have you been in Pop Warner’s place?” “No”, and this is where I don't have the face that can lie successfully, he said, “Well don't go in there again” and I thought, hang on a minute. I said no! And he said “The man's elderly and he's not well and he's frantic. He said he's got a well there, and he said if you run over the top of the piece of timber, you'll fall down the well; and tell the other kids.” Okay, and I walked around I'm still thinking about it. Anyway, he was a very wise man, my dad.
Chelsea Hunter: And there's another popular play toy, I guess you could call it, on Shark Point Battery.
Linda McIntosh: Shark Point Battery! Yes. It's amazing how many people at Clovelly don't realize that in the 1880s to 1890s there was this perceived threat of invasion from the French, the Russians, or the Americans! Which seemed very strange to me when I read up about this, but of course, it was anyone that was fighting against England. And of course, the Russians were the Crimea, the French were always fighting the English.
And it was after our gold rush. So, our banks over here were full of gold. And so, a couple of American naval ships had managed to sail all the way into Sydney Cove without being checked and, and the powers to be suddenly thought at any time we could be invaded by any of these three. Because having fought wars, the war of independence in America and all this sort of business - wars cost money and they'd all be looking to replenish their losses. And here we were with banks full of gold.
So, a battery was put out on Shark Point. It took them months to bring cannon barrels out from England in the in the holds of ships, and it took them at least three weeks to bring this barrel from where it landed, in the harbour, because the track out there was just sand. And there's a wonderful photo of I believe that they put something like hessian sacks in front of the wheels of this carriage. Now there was 35 horses that had to pull this carriage with the cannon on it. And of course, the weight of the cannon was pushing it down into the soil. And they had to have five drivers; one person actually up on the wagon, but the other four were stationed on either side of the horses because if you imagine, when they have to stop 35 horses, it has to be done in order. Otherwise it's an even bigger disaster.
So, I imagine for the early people it was very exciting to watch this cannon being transported. But after a week or two, it probably became like watching paint dry. They were lucky if they made a yard a day sort of thing. But they did set that up and it must have been very desolate for that battery of young soldiers out there. They would have been living in tents and very much roughing it, you know on that point and Shark Point is the further is point on this part of the coastline. So, when that southerly wind blows, it's absolutely bitterly cold and very hot in summer.
But even from a very, very early map, I have an undated map, where the land is first divided up for selling, even before Waverley cemetery was sold off as plots of land. That was always there, as the Army Reserve that land, and well in to the 1960s, early 1960s, it was still army land with a little weatherboard cottage, a bit more modern and better than my parents place. With an army family there.
Linda McIntosh: And the cannon was still out there, and kids were playing on it.
Linda McIntosh: Well, the army was very wise. Apparently about five years before they really had to remove it, the army gave it to the council as a thing for the kiddies to play on.
My brother remembers playing on it and it did go down underground, and it could come up, but they left it sitting up, of course, but you could get in underneath it. There were tunnels dug into the hill down there at Burrows Park. The cannon was further over from behind the area where the exercise equipment is now in 2020. But the cottage was a bit further over at the end of, you can see what was a roadway, down to where the cottage was. Yes, so I think the last kiddie, there was through Trove and the digitalized newspapers, there's a picture of Gregory Hackett, when he was nine years of age, playing on the gun at Burrows Park Clovelly for the last time and the gun had been condemned and was being cut up. But even that didn't go to plan.
Chelsea Hunter: Yes, that was quite difficult, wasn't it?
Linda McIntosh: Well, yes, the council had hoped to sell the iron and steel and make some money out of it. In the end, they had to pay someone to remove it. And the fellow turned up with the best equipment of the time in about 1964/ 65 and tried to lift it with a crane which seriously, quickly broke and then his truck broke. And so the other means they thought, well, it's too big to move that barrel, we'll have to cut it so they got to cut about halfway through and they hoped that the weight of it would eventually cause it to actually fracture and break in half. And it did, according to a newspaper report, it went at about 2:30am in the morning, woke up the whole of the Clovelly residents living in the whole area of Clovelly, it made such a noise when it landed on the metal surrounding the base of the cannon. And people were frantically thinking it was a gunshot or were they being invaded.
Chelsea Hunter: And it was quickly discovered that eventually the cannon had broken in half.
Linda McIntosh: Yes, but I mean we did have other playthings there were a set of monkey bars at the back of Clovelly beach and two swings. You know they unsafe type that will swing really high and where you can swing off and land on really hard grass, break a bone or two and hanging upside down on the monkey bars and fall on your head.
Chelsea Hunter: Good times to be a kid.
Linda McIntosh: Look, you had to be tough. You had to be tough. If you grew up in Clovelly, you had to be tough. The boys had billy carts and you climb trees, even the girls climbed trees. And when they did finally asphalt, the roads and everything, you had scooters and bikes and you came off those. They weren't great toys to buy children living on the side of steep hills.
Chelsea Hunter: So, there's a nickname that Clovelly used to have what was that?
Linda McIntosh: Poverty Point
Chelsea Hunter: Oh, sounds very wretched.
Linda McIntosh: Well, I think it's, it is apt, we were very much the poor cousin. We were Little Coogee; we didn't even have our own name till about 1913 when Fred Howe who ran the progress association… I think Clovelly had a very forward progress association a group of those very early residents along Boundary Street and, and nearby, and they were fighting, and they had to fight for years. And even the local member David Storey, did eight years of chasing the heads of departments to try and get facilities for Clovelly. But basically from looking at the Sands directory of the first people in, the majority of people were stonemasons, because there was a lot of quarries in the area, Green’s Quarry, up there near Fewing Street, Clovelly Road and Knox Street and the back and Anthony's Church and everything. And other quarries. You can see the back of Waverley Cemetery, the laneway there, it is all a big sandstone wall all the cemetery wall on one side is all sandstone and all quarried in the area. Even the gap between my parents’ house and the next-door neighbours was a huge 10-foot-high sandstone block wall. And so, they were bricklayers those sorts of things. Frederick William Warner was a glass cutter. So, you know, tradesmen.
I couldn't say when it became Poverty Point and how long it stayed Poverty Point. I can tell you it probably still had the moniker, as they say, into the 1950s. I was born in 1953. And I had a lot of trouble as a young child and I think I was about two. And in those days, my mother would have to walk us through Waverley Cemetery to get the Waverley tram to Bondi Junction for shopping. And if she had to get me home in a hurry, which a couple of times she did, so I was two years of age or under, and she hailed a cab and when she gave the address as Clovelly, the cab driver made her show him that she had the money to pay for the cab fare.
Chelsea Hunter: Really, it had that sort of reputation!
Linda McIntosh: Yes. My dad had been driving cabs when I was, you know, younger, much younger baby. And he then told her to tell them that she needed to go to St. Thomas Street, Bronte. And when I got to McPherson Street, you say, Oh, no, it's down the bottom of the hill. Oh, no, just turn left here. But even then, the cabbies would say you better have the money to pay the bill and she said yes, my husband's driven cabs and I've got the money to pay the bill. So even in those days and looking at the photos I have of the house that my parents moved into, in 1950 it was still a very poor area of weatherboard and fibro cottages and some had done like my dad and put a brick frontage on to make it look a bit nicer and posher and all the rest.
Chelsea Hunter: Now walking through Waverley Cemetery. There's a particularly good scandal attached to some of the graves in Waverley Cemetery. I'm very keen to hear about this.
Linda McIntosh: There is. Well, the first owners of the land… the first couple of streets put in and they were really just sandy tracks to divide the land up, where the western side of Boundary Street, the eastern side of Boundary Street and they were just a government road, they weren't even named Boundary Street at that stage and St Thomas Street. But Ocean Street was there and named probably because of the battery at on the point, and Park Street. And I don't know why it was called Park. But maybe they had people had to park their horses and carriages there to get down to the beach. Or maybe because when people did start going down for picnics, the area around the beach was considered a park. But anyway, two blocks of land were purchased. The first one in August 1856 by Thomas Flood, and the second one a few months later in October 1856 by George Edward Flood.
Now they were five-acre allotments and then they were joined together to make a 10-acre allotment and they were left to Edward Flood. Now they were left to him in 1882 and he died in 1888. But Edward Flood, a married man, had a long-term scandalous relationship with a married lady, Jane Oatley. Now, Jane died first in 1884. And then Oatley family, had a large plot, on the Trafalgar Street side of Waverley cemetery just up near Henry Kendal’s one. And Jane is buried there. Lovely monument with hearts and flowers and verses and things. And four years later, Edward dies, and he's also put in the Oakley Family Plot,
Chelsea Hunter: Not her husband?
Linda McIntosh: Actually, put on top of the plot. This huge marble sarcophagus type coffin shaped thing - To the esteemed Edward Flood hearts and flowers and verses - and two years after him when Frederick Oatley passes away. Now, he is Jane’s husband. He dies in 1890. He just gets a small little bit under Jane's Memorial that says of the above, Frederick Oakley, his age, 62, and the date of his death.
Chelsea Hunter: But he's buried with his wife and her lover.
Linda McIntosh: Yes, I think this was the rarest grave in the world probably. You'd have to walk pretty far and wide before you can find a gravesite where a woman is buried with her husband and her lover. So, way to go Jane.
And when he dies, Edward has actually, and this is before her husband dies, two of her sons, Edwin Oakley and Frederick Oatley, are two of the four benefactors, even though Edward Flood has his own children, of getting this 10 acres of land.
Chelsea Hunter: Well, they were more than happy to have Mr Flood buried with mum then.
Linda McIntosh: Yes, yes. Quite happy, quite happy.
And they went on to sell the land in 1891 through the Inter Colonial Investment Land and Building Company, which I could only describe as developers, the first sort of developers. They were established in 1885 and they had previously sold up, round about Brook Street there. They had done a successful breaking up of land and selling. But Edward Flood had tried to sell it to us earlier, and it had been done as the Carlingford Estate. And this is where the streets and laneways are put in. So, Northumberland Street, a laneway, Carlisle Street a laneway, and then the eastern side of Park Street all from this 10 acres.
Now I don't know where the names for the streets come or even Carlingford as an estate. But, the amazing thing with this, when you look at this estate brochure, this advertising brochure to sell this land through Richardson and Wrench, they were they the real estate agents for the sale, and all the houses faced into the street and they had 19 blocks of land down every street except the very bottom of Carlisle Street now Campbell Street, a third of that western side was one lot, lot 59 which was the Warner's. So I think the Warner's must have been some of the people who paid the investment money to this investment company and had already chosen that block of land to move in to and so therefore had it later on ,when it was developed.
And if you look to fit 19 properties down each side of that street, we're looking at Paddington terraces. We're looking at Paddington terraces because I think the highest house number in Campbell Street is 23. You know what I'm saying? So that's both sides of the street only have that amount of houses 23 let alone 19 houses either side of all those streets. And those laneways were of course needed for the night soil. The dunny man, the good old dunny man. The area had absolutely nothing, no lighting, no sewage, no water, no facilities, no shops, nothing at all very, very isolated. They were really pioneers on, probably the worst piece of property in the eastern suburbs for storms and wind and then they go and put a cemetery at the top of the hill. The worst place people would want to live.
Chelsea Hunter: So, what have you learned about the early settlers based on the land subdivision maps that you've been looking at?
Linda McIntosh: Well, first of all, I was surprised that Waverley Cemetery had all been purchased. And some of the people who had land up there also had land the other side of Boundary Street. Boundary Street at this stage hadn't been made into the council's with Boundary Street as the boundary. So I'm in Keith Street, my husband I managed to buy in Keith Street and we're on land from Vincence Zahel, who also had one of the blocks that was purchased back in Waverley Cemetery on the Trafalgar Street side and land at Coogee before then going across to the North Shore and Mosman, and building a grand home that at one stage was Mosman Council and I think now is a restaurant, Mosman Library and now is a quite an expensive up-market cafe restaurant.
So, these early people were purchasing land. And you can imagine that they came from mainly England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales. And the landed gentry there were the esteemed. So, to come over here and work and purchase land that you would only had been a working tenant on farmland or whatever in the old country, the mother country. You can imagine how rich they felt with any piece of land. They didn't care how desolate it was and unsuitable it was for growing.
And give her dues Salisbury (nee’ Fleming) would have had to light fires to keep them warm. To have hot water. She would have had to get water out of the well. They would have been growing their own vegetables. They would have been walking, the nearest shops were at Charing Cross which was the big shopping area. She would have been walking up hill all that way to bring groceries home unless her husband, took her once a week on the cart. They would have been really looking at, even possibly local culling of, of animals, of rabbits or whatever was in the area. But very, very hardy people. And really ones that stuck it out.
And their children would have had to be hardy. These are children where there was no school. 24 years of petitioning to get a school at Clovelly, and even then, it was a not fit for purpose hall, a mission hall which would have been at the back of St. Luke's church. So was the little Coogee Infants School. First of all, the owner, Mr. Massey, the owner of Chesterfield, which was the estate where Clovelly Public is now, he offered part of his land for the building of a school. And he offered that as early as the 1890s. But the Education Department said it wasn't needed. There was Waverley Public School at Coogee, the Clovelly kids could walk there. It's not that far. Little Poverty Point kids with no shoes, and hardly any warm clothes.
But finally, in the end, at 10 shillings per week, Eliza McDonnell was appointed the mistress of the Little Coogee Infant School with an enrolment of 82 children. Now prior to that they've been another mission hall somewhere in Boundary Street for Catholics run by the Catholics. But that was only for Catholic children. So those 82 children didn't include any Catholic children. Then, when their little school closed down, they came across, first of all, to the infant school.
And she had actually wrote to the Department of Education. And the poverty of many of the families whose children attended the school was soon evident to Miss McDonnell, who wrote asking that the debts of some of the families be cancelled. Because you had to pay for your children go to school. There would have been a lot of children who never actually went to school. They would have been left at home to help mum or educated or gone with dad, helping him in his work and putting at a very early age into trade.
And it wasn't finally till 1909 that the Education Department then actually did purchase land on the Chesterfield Estate. But still it wasn’t until January 1930 that a building was occupied on the site and that was 24 years after the progress society, and even David Storey, the member for our area, was petitioning to get a school put here for these poor kids. And then as late as 1914, the Randwick and Coogee Sick and Poor Relief Society, and that included, especially the Little Coogee area was distributing food rations to try and prevent the children from begging door to door. So, you know, we sort of really earned that Poverty Point moniker as you say, and as I say, even into the 1950s when you would describe my parents’ house as being inhabited by the poorest of the poor.
Chelsea Hunter: So, there's a little bit of a turnaround though, for some residents of Carlisle Street who became some lottery winners though.
Linda McIntosh: Yes, yes. Some people struck up very lucky and it's a street with a lot of history to it. I was surprised just what I found out in this one street, that's a little bit of an inkling of what would have gone on in a lot of the other streets. But In about the mid-1960s Ambrose Barry, and he's the little tiny cottage, a little original cottage, it's just being redone up now next to Thalassa, the stone one. And he won first prize in the lottery and he moved from 21 Campbell Street, but he still stayed in the area. He moved to one of the more federation lovely cottages along Burnie Street there, facing the park.
But before his lottery win, eight adults and five children lived in that modest three-bedroom cottage and a converted fibro garage in the backyard. Those eight adults and five children shared one bathroom with mercifully, a separate toilet.
But Mr. Barry, it turns out, wasn't the first person in Campbell Street to win the lottery. Because of all papers in Trove, none of the local papers here in Sydney, but the Singleton Argus Paper, Friday the 30th of August 1946 on page four, reported in today's State Lottery, the first was winner was A.G.A syndicate. A.H Cliff of 2 Campbell Street Clovelly. So, 1946 before my parents moved in that would have been wonderful for these people. And of course, number two Campbell Street is at the top of the street on the western side. And it's that one and the one next door, a block of 4 flats, dark brick flats probably built 1920s ,1930s, 40s. They caused the re-numbering of the street, originally from the Carlisle one, Carlingford Estate where all the houses faced in Campbell Street, by the time it was sold by the Inter Colonial Building people. They have turned the first houses around to face Boundary Street and put a top laneway in again for the night soil.
Chelsea Hunter: The dunny man, yes.
Linda McIntosh: But the last two houses facing Boundary Street, again, were turned around to face Campbell Street and divided that way. So, number two and number four then meant the re numbering of all the houses on that western side. So, my parents’ house number eight Campbell Street became number 12. And if you go along Boundary Street, you'll see that there are those numbers missing between the last cottage and the first one on the other side of Campbell Street the eastern side of Campbell street. Mystery solved.
Chelsea Hunter: So, in addition to the number of lottery winners that were on Campbell Street, it's not all good news. There were some accidents that befell a few residents as well.
Linda McIntosh: Yes, yes. Always sad times. In April 1939, The Sydney Morning Herald reported that workers compensation claim, stonecutters claim, the judge found in favour of the Hawkesbury Sandstone Company. The person suing for compensation was Richard Thomas Davies. He was 67 years of age and he was a stonecutter of Campbell Street. He actually built the beautiful sandstone cottage at the bottom of Campbell Street, number 23 now, on the corner of Warner Lane named after the Warner family and it is still in original condition with a lovely pattern slate roof and beautiful sandstone. So, it's one of the treasures of the area. Unfortunately, having cut his arm badly while cutting stone at their, I think, Annandale site, he acquired blood poisoning and died within 18 months. So, it was very sad that this claim was just charged against him.
And in September 1952 just a couple of years after my parents moved into Campbell Street, Raymond Cookson's body was found in a factory at Pyrmont. He worked for a fumigating firm, and he was on duty at the Rose Flower Mill in Bulwara Road, Pyrmont, to keep people away from an area that had been fumigated with cyanide. The night watchman walked past him about midnight, and he was just eating some food his wife had sent along with him for his meal. But when he came back a few hours later he found that he had passed away. The police found that the seals on the fumigation room were intact and they were sure that he was not overcome with the fumes. He sadly left a wife and eight young children.
And I believe that the residents of Campbell Street rallied and supported Mrs. Ethel Cookson and she was still in her fibro cottage, number one Campbell Street on the corner of the lane way, until well into the 1970s. She then moved down to live with a daughter, I think in Tasmania.
Chelsea Hunter: So once again, the Clovelly community rallied together.
Linda McIntosh: They did. And it came as quite a shock to me in July 1972 when I was holidaying in Canberra with my husband after we were just married, to read that Mr. O’Reilly of 5 Campbell Street Clovelly was badly burned in an industrial accident workplace, and it featured a picture of him badly burnt. Now the O’Reilly family had three or four children but the youngest daughter, Cathy, was probably only about five years of age when this happened. And this is the era where the women didn't work. So, it was relied on. Fortunately, Mr. O’Reilly survived, but I don't think he ever worked again.
Chelsea Hunter: So, what can you tell us about Mundarrah Towers in Clovelly?
Linda McIntosh: Ah, Mundarrah Towers. Now Mundarrah Towers was built in 1859 on land purchased from William Charles Greville. He got the first land grant. And that was probably roughly from about Beach Street down, but it encompassed both sides of Clovelly Bay. So, he actually owned the bay, Mr. Greville. And so, did the next purchaser a Mr. John Dickson. Now Mundarrah Towers, the building itself, was situated where the Clovelly Bay Hotel now stands. And it was a huge part castle, part stately home, a huge building. Fortunately, there's drawings of it, early drawings taken from someone sitting on the north side of the bay looking across to Mundarrah Towers.
And there's photographs later of elegantly dressed women and men, you know, on one side of Mundarrah Towers with a row of elegant arches and things. Subsequent owners were John Campbell, and he died in 1886. And he's the one I feel Campbell Street Clovelly was named after. And then after him was Samuel Bennett. Now Samuel Bennett was the owner of the Australian Country and Town Journal and his best friend was Henry Kendall, the poet when Bennett passed away, and of course Bennett is buried in a cemetery. Kendall wrote a poem it's about three pages long, a tribute to Bennett and described pretty much where he's buried. The name of the poem is By the Cliffs of the Sea.
And Mundarrah Towers was demolished in 1923. It actually was sold off in 1910. But that Mundarrah Tower area, that hotel area, and where there's now blocks of units and everything, that was still retained until 1923. It was sold by Messrs Alldis and company, and it was the most successful sale of Little Coogee Beach Estate. It was sold in conjunction with Mr. W. Day of Coogee. There was a large attendance of 2000 people. Bidding was particularly brisk. The whole of the 63 lots submitted including the huge Mundarrah Towers Estate and grounds, were sold in prices ranging from 13 shillings to seven pounds six shillings per foot and the Towers at 825 pounds. And the aggregate total of the whole sale was 5808 pounds 17 shillings. Now concerning this sale, John Burrows in his report of April 1942 in the Randwick and District News, stated that the 20-acre block was originally bought for 44 shillings per acre and sold at 825 pounds. A lot of allotments in the area which have since changed hands at over 20 pounds per foot.
So fortunately, lots of photography and drawings of Mundarrah Towers, but of course Mundarrah Street is named after it. And Burnie Street was the original entrance, so the carriages would have come down Arden Street and along Burnie Street to enter Mundarrah Towers.
Chelsea Hunter: Now you have lived in Clovelly obviously growing up and then you move back to Clovelly when you married, or you stayed there the whole time?
Linda McIntosh: No, I was born there in 1953. And only for about a seven-month period when my husband was called up with the Vietnam conscription and stationed out at Liverpool, did we live in a unit at Lakemba. But most of my possessions were still in my bedroom at Campbell Street. And we moved back in with my parents for a little while, with his parents for a little while at Bondi Junction, with my parents for a little while. And in 1975, we were lucky enough to purchase a semi, 22 Keith Street.
Chelsea Hunter: and you're still there now.
Linda McIntosh: We're still there now.
Chelsea Hunter: What is it about clearly that you are so drawn to? What do you love about it?
Linda McIntosh: Well, it's just home. Born and bred there. So, it is home.
I guess it had that village feel from day one. Anyone older than you, you respected, and no one hesitated in telling you off. If you were caught climbing their lemon tree, pinching the lemons, you got a talking to. And you went home and got the second talking to by your parents.
It felt very safe to me. Clovelly always felt, even now a very, very safe area. I even was really surprised to find out one stage we had a police station between Arden Street and Knox Street. A little house with one policeman there with his family. And in the end, it was closed down because in the years he was there, he never arrested one person. And I thought, were we that honest? Or were we just that poor there was nothing worth stealing? And I only found one Campbell Street resident that was ever arrested, and he was a conductor on one of the trams. He was arrested for stealing some of the money. And he lived in Campbell Street, but he wasn't arrested by the policeman in that area. so I think everyone made do and everyone helped the neighbours. And everyone just, It was such this tight feeling.
When the children played in the street, and they played in the street, and there were nearly 40 children in Campbell Street at one stage. And the women were out there with their aprons on their tea towels over their shoulder. And if someone did jam or marmalade, it was passed around to everyone in the street. If someone had the lemon tree I mean, our lemon meringue pies were made from the lemon tree in the Slater’s backyard, you know what I mean?
Everyone shared and in those days like, I don't know if I've already talked about the, kids playing, the girls we played out in the front street more than in our backyards. Every front door was unlocked. Every back door was wide open, every back gate, if they hadn't fallen over in the wind, there wasn't one or was so easy to squeeze through It wasn’t true. And the girls played skipping and jacks, hopscotch, and very few cars in the street.
My dad had one of the only cars in the street and always had a truck or a van because he always worked two jobs. So, he was always picking up furniture for neighbours, and moving furniture and fixing broken roofs for people and this sort of business, always looking out.
Later on, he did shift work and was always looking out. I’d come home from maybe my first year in high school and -“run across the road and check on Mrs. So,” he said, “she didn't hang out washing today”. She was in Park Street, which back down on to laneway. And he said,” She always washes this day, just check and make sure she's all right”. Because there was a lot of, towards the end, widows just in the houses by themselves. “I haven't seen, Mrs. this one or Mrs. That one. Go and make sure….” “Oh, Dad Leave me alone!”
I think my mother was one of the first women to go and work. When I started school, she went out and got a part time job. Prior to that, she took me with her while she cleaned houses for elderly widows. I can remember sitting in stairs in the blocks of flats that are still there in Bishops Avenue, because Mrs. So and So didn’t particularly like children. Then, I would have been probably about four years of age one of my early memories is, “Sit outside here and be quiet. it won’t take me long”. But I do remember one time, I was called in and I was given like tuppence or something ’cause she thought I was a very good girl, so quiet for my mum. So, it was called pin money. People did ironing, even well into the 1960s. Eileen Poppet around in Boundary Street did ironing to get a bit of money and women did jobs like that in the house for the pin money. That little bit of extra.
Chelsea Hunter: Can you, just to wrap up your memories of living in Clovelly, could you recite for us The Ballad of Clovelly by Jack Neville Day.
Linda McIntosh: This is an extract there is another two stanzas. I put this round about the mid-1960s for this to be written because I don't know anything about Jack Neville Day, but he starts off with:
There's a little bit of heaven on the east Australian coast.
It's a place the angels swim at, or so the locals boast,
Mother Nature got it started then the council men held sway
This little bit of Paradise is called Clovelly Bay.
When the tide is fairly rising and the water laps the prom,
We sit and gaze in wonder where indeed it all came from.
As we watch the waves a curling and go dancing on their way,
We realize how good it is in our Clovelly Bay.
There's a bunch of Golden Oldies who've been around for quite a while.
When you ask them what their secret is, they'll smile at you and say
It’s the champagne-textured water that's a feature of the bay.
This poem was given to me by Arthur Manson, of Manson Place, named after his family in Clovelly and when I first read it some 30 years ago, I thought it was fantastic. When I read it recently, I realised I'm one of the "Golden Oldies" sitting on the prom.
Chelsea Hunter: That’s a good place to be, a golden oldie
Linda McIntosh: It's a wonderful place to be a golden oldie.
Chelsea Hunter: Thank you so much for sharing your memories with us. I really appreciate that.
Linda McIntosh: Thank you, Chelsea