|Bert with his dog, Teddy, 1940s|
The local factories were short of labour as young men enlisted and went to war. Bert's son, although he did not enlist, was not interested in the nursery business. Bert was too much a product of the Victorian era to even consider that his daughters might be business partners in the nursery, even though both of them were interested in plants and cultivation. Women, in his world, raised children, kept house and helped out. They weren't partners, and they weren't the future of a business.
|Men working at Textile Dyers and Bleachers 1940|
Bert exchanged his nursery truck for a car. When he wasn't at work, or driving the car, he was cleaning, adjusting or tinkering with it.
|Grace, Syd & Sylvia WWII|
In 1940 Bert became a grandfather with the birth of Albert's daughter Irene. Bert liked children, and enjoyed taking Irene and her parents on excursions in his car, to places like the small sanctuary at Doll's Point where you could pat a kangaroo.
Letter writing rarely made it to the top of Bert's priority list. His mother wrote and asked for news. As time went by, Grace took on the task of writing to the grandmother after whom she was named.
Sylvia was 20 when she and Len married in January 1946. Bert grumbled, but gave his permission when Sylvia said she would wait until she was 21 and marry him anyway.
The couple went to Lake Burrill for two weeks honeymoon, then moved into the front room of Bert and Nell's house at 98 Banksia St. Botany. The post-war housing shortage in Sydney meant they lived in this front room for the first seven years of their marriage.
At the end of the war, Albert persuaded Frank Hurley, the war photographer, to take him on as an unofficial apprentice in his photography studio in Sydney. Albert went to the studio after work each day and worked with Hurley, developing and printing photographs, learning the trade. Albert then began to photograph weddings, to do some street photography and within a few years, established his own business as a photographer. It was not what his father had envisaged, but it did display the entrepreneurial spirit of Bert's father and grandfather, and of Bert himself in his nursery business.