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Wednesday, 13 June 2012

20. Australia in 1930

The Orontes arrived in Fremantle on 25 November 1929 and in Sydney about ten days later. In the six weeks it took the Orontes to reach Sydney, the impact of the October Crash of the New York Stock Exchange was being felt in Australia in job losses. Unemployment had been just above 10% in October 1929. By mid-1930 it was 21% and Bert was amongst the unemployed.

Nell, Albert, Grace & Sylvia, Sutherland St.
Bert's sponsored job evaporated before the Orontes docked. Fred and Les, Bert's two single younger brothers, gave up their jobs in favour of Bert, but even that one, shared, job dried up as the country sank rapidly into Depression.

The family found accommodation in Mascot, first in Roby St, then  at 136 Sutherland St.

In 1930 there was no unemployment benefit scheme in Australia. In 1929 the Federal Government made £1 000 000 available to the States to use unemployed workers to undertake roadworks. In July 1930, the Federal Government, led by Scullen,  provided a further £1 000 000 to the States for Public Works, using the unemployed.

Fremlin St Flooding 1930. Sir Joseph Banks Hotel in background
In 1930 storms and high tides caused substantial flooding in houses along the shores of Botany Bay.

Sea wall construction Sir Joseph Banks Park.

The NSW  Government used part of its Federal Public Works money to build a retaining wall along the Botany Bay foreshore at Sir Joseph Banks park to prevent further flooding.

Banksmeadow retaining wall 1948

Bert got work under this scheme, labouring to build this retaining wall at Banksmeadow.

The wall is still there.

View over Botany Bay from Tenterden Rd, 1938.
The family moved to Botany, first living in 2 Livingstone Avenue, then in Tenterden Rd. Sylvia attended Banksmeadow Primary School. Botany in 1930 had a lot of open space. It must have looked a little bit like the Isle of Sheppey where Nell spent her early childhood.

They lived frugally - eating their share of bread and dripping, while Nell saved for furniture.

In 1933, Bert and Nell moved to a rented house at 98 Banksia St Botany. 96 Banksia Street, a block with no house but a large shed, came with the rent. Here Bert set up Bonnie Doon Nursery and went into business.

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