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Saturday, 16 June 2012

21. Bonnie Doon Nursery

Nell and Bert in Bonnie Doon Nursery
Bert and Nell put all their energy into establishing a nursery. They raised seedlings to sell in Paddy's market each Friday, along with flowers and a few vegetables.. They did everything themselves - creating the products they could sell.

Bert in his shed with boxes of seedlings

Bert brought fruit boxes home from the market on Friday and turned them into seedling boxes.

The children were expected to help, particularly pricking out the seedlings, a task the older children hated, but Sylvia, the youngest, was happy to do.

The back of 98 Banksia St house with seedling beds

 It was relentless, demanding work.

Albert got a job at Bailey's Tannery, but was expected to help out after work and on weekends. He hated it and wanted to be out with his friends - and with girls.

Bert and his dahlia crop

Grace worked in the nursery and also "went into service" as a domestic help to a family at Brighton-le-sands.

Bert was known to friends and others outside the family, as 'Ted', from his second name, Edward. Nell, his mother, sister and brothers, always called him Bert, and he had no trouble moving between the two. It was as if he kept his life in two compartments. The names rarely crossed over.


Bert needed a truck to get his products to market. He enjoyed driving and tinkering with the truck as much as he enjoyed the cultivation of plants.

He also loved and kept dogs, most bought in Paddy's Markets.

Albert and Grace with friend Tommy Meehan

 Albert and Grace joined the Methodist Church's Youth Group and made many friends. Albert went fishing and rabbiting with mates from work and also from the church group.

Albert fishing at Cronulla

Grace, Nell and Albert at Banksia St c. 1935

They were finding their feet in Australia and wanting their own lives and independence. They were also throwing off the constraints of the Great Depression.

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