Characters and Favourite Spots
Remembering local identities, places and adventures.
"My Aunty Amy was the Queen of Adelaide, she asserted that role in her personality, she wafted in and out as it suited her, nothing barred her, she had no hangups about her blackness at all. She was big in stature as well as manner and she would move into the hotels and take over. After the races they'd go to the pub, and play the piano. She would drive around in big black cars, big Buicks. She liked big black cars to promote her blackness. She was the oldest one in the family and we all take after her a bit."
"There were some great people like the headmaster at Lefevre school. When we arrived he got up and said 'if anyone wants to call these kids names, I'll turn a blind eye to what happens to you'."
"There was a one legged bloke on crutches who stood at the door of one of the hotels, and he used to bite people for money for a drink and if they didn't give him any he used to start shouting things about them and they pretty quickly gave him the money. He had a story about a lot of prominent people and it made him money."
"In the mangroves there was a bloke who would swim naked in what we called a deepie. We'd steal his clothes. He used to work as a bus conductor, on one occasion I'd wagged school for a week and I was in the sandhills between Fort Glanville and Estcourt House and I heard something and looked up and here was this guy romping in the sea with his dog. I wasn't a bad whistler at that point and I whistled and he thought it was the police and he came running and tried to get onto his bike at the same time as he was riding away and he only had one leg in his pants. I was laughing so much. When I was walking home to Fort Glanville afterwards I saw that the police had him. He was a legend around the place as a nudist. The kids had a ball, hiding everything - the poor bloke."
"We lived in Ship Street in the Port, and Mum had a house in Dale St, and we used to buy spuds (lollies) at the shop near there. The Troubridge used to come in and we'd sit and watch the sheep being herded up the ramp. On St Vincent Street there was the old pub that burnt down. Across the road from there was the CSR sugar factory. We used to pop over and jump off the jetty, we had our own little holes in their fence. The guards would chase us but wouldn't get into the water, so we were free to we'd swim to the other side. That area floods every now and again and they should never have built that housing project there - it's cursed, it should have been a sacred place, they were money hungry and it will come back to bite them."
"Mr Enoch had cows and one horse and he always used to bring them from his property at the North Haven Shopping Centre and walk them down the back of Mersey Road to the paddocks near ICI. As a kid I always used to play around there, on the Port River. I loved the horses and the cows and I'd wait for him and he always gave me half of a chocolate sandwich (Cadbury chocolate in a sandwich - he shaved the chocolate and put it in the bread). He had a deformed jaw, but he was really kind. The Bungeys had horses too, I hung around the Osborne Stables, which are still there, just behind the military houses where the two big gas tanks were. When I was a bit older I had my own Arabian horse, and I kept him at Newcombe's stables on Sampson Rd at Semaphore Park. I got involved in the rodeo and did the rodeo circuit. They used to hold rodeos every Good Friday at Osborne at the Osborne Western Stables. It was a fun day for everyone with BBQ and beer, I competed in the barrel racing. At that time I was the only black girl to do rodeo."
"We walked to the River for a swim, there were also lots of people there. We had bikes and used to ride to the beach when there were swimming lessons, but the River was the main area for swimming - it was closer. The boys used to have two-up schools in the bushes near the river where the St Francis boys went to swim." Josie Agius
"We used to sneak into the Osborne Drive-in. There was 'lovers lane' or 'scabs alley' at the back of the drive in at Wade St, where there were always cars parked on the side, young ones in there 'parking'. There used to be a hole in the fence to watch the movies, or we'd jump into the boot of the car to get in for free - we hoped they never looked into the boot. Now you pay for a carload so there's no point hiding. I missed that place, it was a good meeting place for everybody."
"We used to play at the Snake Pit (White Hollow) when we were kids, there used to be bomb shelters on the beach front across from the Police Academy, little concrete bunkers. I used to wag school and go and hide there."
"White Hollow is the last of what was the natural world. We should venerate every 'open space last place', be respectful of Aboriginal people's spiritual relationship - everyone's spiritual relationship - with the last things along the coast. This used to be a place of abundant food, and now there's just buildings with no regard for what it is."
"We'd jump on the back of the trains and go out to Outer Harbor. They were the good days before everything was watched by cameras and videos. The freight trains weren't as fast as they are now, you could sit there on the back with your legs swinging and wave to everyone, then hang out at Outer Harbor and catch the next one back." Josephine
“We’d walk from Taperoo to Semaphore or the Port on the weekends, doing odd jobs just to make a bob. We’d get 10c for walking the dog or cleaning the front yard and we’d get enough for hot chips.”
Margaret and Kathy Brodie
"The Port was buzzing, there were ships there all the time."