Jacaranda Trees line the streets of Grafton, NSW

Sunday, August 19, 2012


We had been in Australia for 11 years and life for my parents was pretty good after their struggle to get established in their new country. We were living in Sydney. My brother and I had finished school and we were working. My brother was a Patrol Officer in Papua/ New Guinea and I was a Laboratory Assistant but still hoping to be accepted into Teachers' College. My Dad had finished night school and had a better job working for the local council. My mother was working as a psychiatric nurse. 
 My dad traded in our old Zephyr for a newer model and he enjoyed keeping it looking clean and shiny. Notice the neighbours outside dunny toilet. We still didn't have the sewerage pipes in our street but my parents had invested in a septic tank. This was a bit better than the dunny can, which we had to endure since arriving in Australia.
 I still remember the horrible sight of the dunny man carrying the can on his shoulder,  running down our drive with a million flies buzzing after him. Worse still was the fear of having him burst in on you with your knickers around your ankles.

 My mum never learnt to drive but she enjoyed going for a drive in our new car.

Our road still hadn't been tar sealed and our garden was non existent then.

 My mum and dad had built the house themselves and made the furniture and curtains too. It took a while before we had a nice garden. After living in a tent and a garage for 6 years it was lovely to have a house.

In 2012 , when we visited Sydney, we drove past my old house. It looks a little different after 50 years, but the big Jacaranda Tree on the left is the same little one you can see in the earlier  photo. My parents had the brick veneer put on years later but I can see the windows have been replaced and the front entrance has been built by the new owners.


  1. It is nice to read your life story. It is amazing your parents built their house. It looks very nice too. I like that you went back to see your old house. Nice they still have the tree. Great post, Diane. Have a great day!

  2. OMW Diane, your parents built a lasting house, and a beautiful one too. The garden is lovely these days and I love that the tree is still there and a giant today!So glad you saw the house recently and that you shared these memories. My dad also had a Zephyr like you show in the post and it was his pride and joy. I love the galvanized bucket too. Have a great day. Jo

  3. I am glad the house is still there and people like it. Your parents did a great job.

  4. I love these stories about your family, and all they achieved.

  5. Your trips down memory lane are always so interesting, Diana. I love seeing how big that jacaranda tree has grown!

  6. Huge achievements by your parents. We've all come a long way in those years. We don't always realise. Your comment about non tar sealed roads reminded me that my grandparents used to live down a road that was so potholed we called it 'Big Bump Lane'

  7. Ah the joys of the outdoor dunny houses! We had the glorious pit versions also. Out in the country areas, you did the dunny run, no-one came to collect!
    What fun???? The deposits of can, well, that is not to be placed here. I'll tell you in private - ha ha!
    Also no way would we kids go to the outdoor "deposit" areas of a night, the fear of "Joe Blakes" was overcoming!!! "Joe Blakes" loved the outdoor dunnies!
    That Jacaranda Tree sure has done
    Very interesting blog of times long ago.
    Colin (HB)

  8. How fun! I love your posts of photos from the past and what fun to go back and get a shot of the house from the present. Your parents were freakin amazing!!!!

  9. Isn't it wonderful to drive by and see the care that the present owners are taking with the home you once lived in?
    Would you ever consider knocking on the door to say hello

  10. These are wonderful photos and wonderful memories. The house I grew up in doesn't look a thing like it did when I was a child.

  11. Your "back story" is always so much fun to read....I think about your grandchildren reading these stories one day!

    It's always poignant to drive past the houses where we used to live. So many stories in those walls.

  12. So interesting to see the change in your old home. I admire people who plant trees ... because they are often at their best long after the planter is gone.

    My parents home was turned into a real estate agent office so greatly transformed.

  13. Diane, so nice to go back memory lane, though it was not easy for the parents establishing them selves in a new country. Children adapt quickly. How did you feel when you saw your childhood home? It is wonderful that you have all the black and white photos. You must have been already then an enthusiastic photographer.

  14. That must be a strange feeling to see the house your parents had built now !
    What a memory. I can't remember having seen outside toilets, but they have existed, mostly with a heart carved in the door (suppose for the odors)

  15. Amazing to see the difference 50 years later with the trees.


  16. Your parents were true pioneers in Autralia, Diane, and their story is wonderful to read. Their prior house house looks to be in fine shape and well loved.