Born above her father’s shop at 650 Darling St, Rozelle, NSW. shortly before the family moved to Day St, Marrickville. First attended school in Thirroul and then Wollongong High School. Also studied the piano with Miss Blatch who was located in the main street in Thirroul. Was a good student and gained piano certificates and a place at Sydney Girls’ High School. She had planned to live with Uncle Bert, but decided to attend Chartres Business College instead where she learned to use the latest Remington bookkeeping machine. [Mr A W Chartres was Australian agent for Remington - ed.]
Equipped with her new skills she took a job at Aladdin Lamps at Waterloo where she operated a Remington bookkeeping machine like the one she learned on. They were the best bookkeeping machines at that time she says. She’d catch the train at Thirroul in the dark and travel to Central and then by tram to Waterloo. In the evenings she’d return home to Thirroul. She said she’d leave in the morning moonlight and return home in the evening moonlight! They were steam trains and went through a number of tunnels and they had to shut the windows in the tunnels otherwise the steam and soot would get into the carriage. They stopped sometimes to take on more coal or water.
Aladdin was a family run business and the husband and wife would personally make beautiful lamps with attractive fabrics. The mainstay of the business was kerosene table lamps and that is what the workers were mostly making. The oil lamps were for the country people who still didn’t have electricity. The country people were doing well in those days. They had a thriving business, and she remembers them having one of the kero lamps on the dining table at Stanfield. They shed a good light and were much better than candles. People knew to be careful with oil lamps as with candles.
She remembers when her pay was increased to £3 per week which was good pay in those days.
Later she went to work for Phillips and House. She worked there as bookkeeper for many years, and used a bookkeeping machine there but still had to use a slide rule to work out the pay for the factory workers who had special rates. They were the biggest and the best umbrella producers in the country at the time.
After P&H she worked for John Charlton (Kennard) in Gore Hill and Chatswood, with an intermediate spell with a Crows Nest solicitor.