A Story to Remember

Lithgow, Green Valley, Dulwich Hill, Marrickville,

Goulburn, Broken Hill & Charlestown.

A twelve year family history from our beginning and the road to Newcastle, along with everyday issues we had to deal with during those times. After we married in 1966 Allana and I lived in a sparsley furnished semi detached Terrace House in Lithgow St, Lithgow, knowing we would be moving to Sydney later in the year. I was working at Marcus Clarks furniture store and Allana continued working at Fosseys, pending my call up to the NSW Police Force hopefully around August 1966. I was accepted and while I did my initial six week training course in Sydney Allana stayed with best friend’s Joan and Les Drury in Lithgow. After my six week training course my first station was Newtown and on my very first day on the job Sue-Ellen was born. I was notified as our group of about seven were being introduced to our senior officers. Everything stopped and they arranged three days off for me to go back home and meet our new family addition. By the time I got back to Lithgow Joan and Les Dury had the move organised for us, everything was packed and ready to go! Allana was spending lots of time getting to know Sue-Ellen, a few more phone calls and we started the move to Sydney. We had to move fast, packed our goods in the Standard Super 10 and headed to Green Valley where we stayed with my sister Karlene for a couple of weeks until we found suitable housing at Dulwich Hill, which was much nearer to Newtown. First unit was in a block of flats in Osgood Ave for a few weeks, but Allana was uncomfortable as we were one among 60 other units with over 250 people in the building. Allana wasn’t used to living that way, so our agent found us a two bedroom house just a few streets away and this suited Allana, she fitted in immediately with neighbours who also had a baby, son (‘ Michael’), everyone got along fine. In those days night shift lasted for three weeks so for Allana being alone at night in Sydney was difficult, it was hard to deal with but she tolerated it. We didn’t like city living at all, we had to find a solution, and we did. To avoid night shift I completed a motor cycle training course at St Ives so I could transfer to the traffic branch at Newtown, no more night shifts and that made Allana very happy. We had a good crew and all other staff from Newtown traffic office called in at home to meet Allana very early on, to reassure her they were as near as the telephone while I was working.

Everything Stood Still

All was good until about 10 months later when I had a serious motorcycle accident, en route to another serious motor vehicle accident involving a young child. I had no idea what had occurred since the accident, Lithgow police had seen Mum within thirty minutes of the accident and arrangements were in place for the Highway Patrol to get Mum to RPA ASAP. Joan & Pat travelled from Orange and collected Mum on the way through and the HWP escorted them all the way to RPA. I was unconscious for three days in intensive care at RPA and the doctors didn’t think I’d survive, but I did. When I got out of hospital my boss arranged a transfer to Goulburn on general duties, after confer - ring with Allana; who didn’t want me riding motorcycles anymore. He ex - plained to her that shift work in the country was vastly different to Sydney, I didn’t want to give up the bikes but Al - lana was really frightened, so it was a no brainer. This was a chance for us to get back to the bush, quick time. By this time we had upgraded our vehi - cle from a Standard Super 10 to a much larger 1956 Holden Special that we bought for $150 - a new one cost around $1800 at that time. We both wanted out of Sydney so we jumped at the chance. We were given three days to travel to Goulburn and find somewhere to live, along with eighteen dollars expenses and we got right into it, the quicker the better. We found a small flat in the main street, 119 Auburn St, at the rear of Goulburn saddler Bill Dutallis, who was a legend in the area, a great bloke and he gave us an open ended rental until we could find a house. The ground floor consisted of a very small bathroom/laundry at the back, an out - side toilet and a very narrow backyard with no grass. The kitchen was very small with very ordinary lighting, about three square metres, with a slow combustion stove like Allana was used to using and she loved it, as it was just like her Mum had. The dining room of about four square metres stood be - tween the kitchen and the stairwell adjacent

A Story to Remember

the rear entrance to the Saddlers shop. Upstairs and above the shop were the two bedrooms. Bill Dutallis had never intended to rent the flat until it had been updated and painted, however, I offered to work on the kitchen and laundry in return and he agreed. We were both happy with that arrangement but as you can see from the only photo I have taken, out in the back yard, it was not very impressive! Bill had access to the external toilet via an exit door at the bottom of the stairwell at the rear of his shop. This was never a prob - lem for Allana as she would often make morning tea for Bill and being a pretty good horsewoman herself she would often watch him hand craft beautiful saddles from the ground up, with Sue-Ellen always nearby in her bassinet. Photo: Sue-Ellen at front of Saddlers in Goulburn 1968 Rentals were very hard to get at Goulburn in 1967 and we didn’t have much choice, in fact we were lucky to score the rental we did within a day, and, the flat did have some basic furniture which was a bonus for us at that time. Over the next few weeks Allana made lots of shopping trips, which was just outside the front door. While checking out the shops she was offered a part time job, which she wanted to take , but I was back on shift work again and we decided t it was better for me to get extra work ( Police were not allowed to have 2nd jobs ), if discovered you could be sacked, but cops had to do something because the wages were so low. My take home pay was about $90.00 per fortnight at the time so there was very little money over to save for a deposit on a home. However; I soon found out how to get work without causing any problems at work. Photo of our back yard! We wanted to buy a house, we had no money in the bank and a young child, so we had to work on it and we I did, however working so much in my spare time didn’t allow enough family time; I didn’t realise the potential problems that would arise!

We wanted to buy our first home - at Goulburn

Over the next twelve months I found plenty of part time work as a builders offsider,

A Story to Remember

in shearing sheds ( Crookwell ), land clearing, carting hay ( Lake George ), fixing property dams such at Ozzie Rabjohns dam on ( Woodhouselee ), rebuilding washing machines at the rear of Clive Flacks dealership in Auburn St Goulburn (Aust Hockey player) who sold cars, fridges and electrical appliances. Shiftwork hours at Goulburn were 5am-1:30pm, 1pm-9:30pm and Night Shift 9pm- 5:30am, which worked OK for those of us who had second jobs as we could work many hours between shifts and on rest days. This was great for us as we had no furniture or household appliances such as a mix- master, fridge or washing machine . So it wasn’t just a matter of putting the extra dollars into the bank to buy a house, we were buying whitegoods also and I did more and more part-time work to make ends meet. My focus was on putting money in the bank and I didn’t see what was coming! I was working so much that I returned home to sleep . Extra jobs had me away from home between shifts, particularly on rest days, so Allana & Sue-Ellen were alone for long periods of time, and in particular , during the first fifteen months. Initially that must have been very difficult for Allana to deal with, I was getting as much extra work as I could, money in the bank was growing slowly and everything seemed fine. This was important to us as we were saving a deposit for our new home, which had become a reality with the assistance of our new bank manager. There were no sign’s of any personal problems with Allana, she never complained to me, but apparently had done so to our doctor; as I was to find out later! I did have some time off, time when I wasn’t working and so we tried our hand at making ginger beer, stacking heaps of full bottles in the laundry to ferment, sometimes we got it right, but after quite a few bottles had blown the tops off we decided to give that away. Allana didn’t drive back then so her day consisted of looking after Sue- Ellen and visiting the shops which were right outside the front door. We didn’t see daylight from anywhere inside the flat, the lights were on all day and they weren’t very bright either. TV at that time was also black and white! Hindsight is a great thing but, shopping with little money to spend, was the only variation for Allana and life must have been very boring. Apparently our new doctor at Goulburn had prescribed some medication for her but back then women didn’t discuss all their conversations with their doctor, unless it was very important . Photo: Alland & Sue- Ellen window shopping at Goulburn 1968

A Story to Remember

Allana & Sue-Ellen at Goulburn swimming pool
Around 1967-8 new housing commission homes built in Goulburn were available to buy, if you qualified ! We were placed on a housing priority list via our new Bank Loans Manager, who opened a special account for our loan application. Our position in that list depended on how quick we could get the $990.00 deposit in the account, I got more work. We had to build that bank account up to qualify, and we both agreed, it was going to be tough, but we had to cop it on the chin and do it! Back home after dinner one day, after working a second job, I found Allana in a very distressed state with an almost empty bottle of pills sitting on the table in front of her. I started to say something when she started shouting at me while pointing at the bottle, then she pushed me away when I touched her, I had no idea what was going on, but, it didn’t take long to work out, an overdose! I didn’t know what the tablets were for, apparently she had them for a week or two and I wanted to know quick, what they were, and what problem was, but she was hysterical and I did not make any sense! So I slapped her across the face to get her to wake up to herself. Why?. Because they did that in the movies to get people back to their senses. Stupid I know , but; I was in panic mode and this was 1968, I would react very differently with the benefit of hindsight, however she never expected that, and neither did I, but it worked, she just stared at me and stopped yelling. Instruc - tions on tablets were very ordinary, such as ‘take as directed’ or something similar, but I still didn’t know what they were or what they were for! I had never seen her like this as we didn’t argue, I only helped with Sue-Ellen and I didn’t interfere with anything about being a mother or cooking, etc, life was easier that way. We had very few possesions really and we were looking forward to buying our first home, yet here was my wife acting in a way I have never seen before. Fortunately Bill was working late in the shop, he called the Ambulance and came back to us and talked to Allana and I as we waited. She seemed to settle down a bit, but she would not talk to me , just Bill, so I waited out front for the Ambulance and apparently that was when when Allana rang the Police to report me for hitting her . Why would she do that, she took the overdose, I was only trying to help her? The primary reason people overdose is to either commit suicide or get attention! Within minutes the ambulance arrived and the crew were attending to Allana, they did the usual checks to evaluate her condition and then took her to Goulburn Base Hospital. Bill’s wife arrived to care for Sue-Ellen ( Bill was Sue-Ellens godfather ) while

A Story to Remember

I followed the Ambulance to casualty, it was sometime later actually, as Allana didn’t want me around, so I gave her plenty of space. Bill told me about the call when I explained to him what had happened as I got home from working one of my second jobs. I also explained the process and what could happen to Allana at the hospital as Bill was Sue-Ellens godfather, so he certainly was in the family loop. Most of these facts would have been discovered at the hospital, the Police would have been partly informed as a matter of procedure, but, it was possible that Allana could end up in Kenmore Mental Hospital for several weeks. I was anxious to get to the hospital, but I had to wait until the hospital gave me the OK to go up there. Talking with Bill and his wife helped and they suggested that I give her some time’ which was very appropriate at the time so I talked everything over with them, then Bill told me about the call to the police. I could not un - derstand that! I certainly do understand now, in no uncertain terms from the information and people I researched, medical contacts and family friends , I spoke with but it took me half a lifetime to do so! Photo: Kenmore Mental Hospital Main Adminis - tration at Goulburn in 1968 . That phone call had placed my job at risk and I was facing the sack , full stop! Details of that call were recorded on the Telephone Pad ( a permanent detailed written record of all phone calls received ) at the police station. The record could be used as evidence during any formal proceedings against me, so I made sure that all details were included. I was concerned about my wife and child, not me, I didn’t do anything wrong, albeit not the way to go, I had no intent to hurt, I just didn’t know any better at that time so there shouldn’t be any problem. As I was to discover, that’s not the way it works! Kenmore Asylum, also known as Kenmore Hospital or Kenmore Psychiatric Hospital is now a heritage-listed decommissioned psychiatric hospital located in Goulburn, but in 1968 it was in full operation and was capable of housing over 700 patients. In 1968 attempting to commit suicide was considered a crime, the law was overdue

A Story to Remember

for change, but it was the law . One of our regular Police tasks was escorting people to that facility, from all across the state. Many admissions had overdosed or attempted to take their own life in some manner. I knew the essentials of the Mental Health Act, all local police did, as we dealt with it regularly, but when it became personal, it was very difficult to deal with, to say the least. Historically epileptics, women with post-natal depression and teenagers with learn - ing difficulties were considered of ''unsound mind'' and declared insane under the Lunacy Act. This was my wife, the mother of our child and I certainly didn’t want her in Kenmore, I had to keep her out of that institution! I knew from previous experience at the hospital the result was most probably off to Kenmore for seven to fourteen days for assessment, and possibly longer. After I had explained everything to the doctor in charge at Goulburn Base Hospital they kept her under observation for a few extra hours. The doctor explained he could not give me any details prior to the upcoming sessions at Kenmore, I already knew this so they finally allowed her to return home with me provided she had adult company while I was at work. We also agreed to attend a full counselling session at Kenmore in lieu of admission, and in particular, because there was a toddler involved. Whatever she had told doctor’s and staff at GBH, which was subject to doctor to patient privilege, had con - vinced them not to have her admitted to Kenmore, directly. That information was not available to the police investigating the matter, or me , at least until the counselling session, which was also subject to doctor to patient privilege , so only Allana and I knew the precise content of the discussions at both hospitals, and, that is the way it will stay .

Police Action

As expected enquiries surrounding this incident brought my second jobs under immediate scrutiny, I was directed to cease secondary work forthwith , so that was the end of our new home dream , because we didn’t have enough money in the bank. Allana was neveer really aware how serious this problem was for me, I was facing the sack for many weeks and I had to keep those matters from her while the coun - selling was ongoing. However all those matters were addressed later, it was during one of the counselling sessions at Kenmore - she wasn’t really listening to the counsel - lor and her only concern was moving into our new home, so lets just forget about it!

A Story to Remember

Medical staff from Goulburn Base Hospital and Kenmore Mental Asylum officials formally cleared me of any wrong doing very early in the process and left me to deal with our financial woes as I saw fit, outside of the counselling sessions. When the fact that we really were losing the house finally sunk in Allana again became distressed and those one hour sessions became two hours, with more doctors, medical staff and counsellors. In those days counselling as we know it now didn’t exist, so over the following weeks I learned about life, awareness of our entitlements, and how to work the system! When informed formally of the findings at Kenmore my immediate supervisors pointed me in the right direction, to get us back on track and although I didn’t know it then, a college education fifteen years later, helped me understand how poorly we were treated back then, not by police, medical practitioners or staff but the system, for both of us . The counselling sessions at Kenmore continued for the next four or five weeks, with Allana mainly , I waited outside generally but attended a couple of brief sessions, as to be expected, they found nothing medically wrong with her at all. We made new friends during those sessions, real life friends who understood how the system worked, and we kept in contact for many years. Not once, nor at any time did anyone in a position of authority, nor one health official query our living conditions, or my second jobs as being causal, and neither did I . Not a single question or discussion as to why or how this happened, from doctors or clinical staff, nobody pressed the issue, minimal follow-up interviews, etc, so we continued with our lives and the incident was never discussed again until 2021. During the following months our Bank Manager guaranteed our deposit and house loan, and more work came my way, working with local farmers who assured me my bosses would never know. The work was on a local farm 30kms out of Goulburn and several kilometres off the main road. How this all came together I’ll never really know, suffice to say the Rural Bank, Kenmore staff, the Catholic orphanage and local farmers whom I had worked for previously made it happen for us because they knew my work ethic. Allana’s situation returned to normal after some understanding from the doctors and staff at Kenmore. Sara-Jayne arrived with great interest by staff at Goulburn Base and Kenmore Hospitals, in particular, as I dealt with both institutions almost on a

A Story to Remember

daily basis and started many long term friendships. One night two young offenders broke into the Saddlers and we caught one , I hand - cuffed him to a vice in the shop and Allana kept an eye on him while I took off after the other bloke. Unfortunately one hundred metres into the chase I lost my pyjama pants and the other guy got away, here is a newspaper clipping . After we got our new home Allana sometimes worked for the Orphanage by having a few troubled young girls stay with us, including two runaways from Melbourne, I still have a letter or card from one, somewhere in the archives. I did get time off and sometimes I played golf very early on Sunday mornings after we got our new house, and occasionally during the week I would take one of the girls out with me to play nine holes. I set up the car seat on the golf buggy so they always had a good ride, each one was a popular visitor to the golf club, with a free glass of soft drink after golf. I parred the front nine at Tully Park at different times with each of the girls in the car seat, Sara-Jayne was the last just a couple of weeks before we left for Broken Hill. We had good neighbours in Gerathy Street and gradually I con - tinued to work my other jobs so we could buy furniture, etc. Allana was much happier in a proper home, there were no issues, she wasn’t a sporting person but tried to get involved in community groups, however, that didn’t work out too well. She really wanted part-time work but there were none suitable and she didn’t have her licence. So it was time for Allana to get her licence for mobility, so we bought a 1962 Holden Special EK station wagon, no more relying on me to go shopping and Allana had her independence back. Sara-Jayne and Rechelle arrived over the next three years, I commenced Scientific Investigation (Forensic) duty training for few years and it was time to look for a full-time position, as we had been at Goulburn for over four years. Sue-Ellen would soon be starting school and there was a job going as assistant Scientific Investigator ( Forensic Crime Scene ) at Broken Hill. It was a long way from Lithgow, but Allana was all for the move, so we put the house on the market, it took about one month to sell, then off we went.

A Story to Remember

Move to Broken Hill

Being very inexperienced travellers we left Goulburn about 1:30pm on 4th July 1972, in the middle of winter, we had no idea about travelling long distances with a family, in a station wagon. It was 530km to Hay across the flat country where neither of us had been, we arrived at the motel about 9:30pm, they had a brand new family room that cost us $16.50, plus breakfast. Next day it was another 580km to Broken Hill, so we travelled to Mildura across the Hay Plains, in daylight . Allana couldn’t believe how flat the country was and she took a turn driving for a bit, but that didn’t last long, as the countryside was pretty flat and boring for the driver again. We took the family across the state line into Victoria for lunch ( Mildura ), fill the tank and off up the Silver City Hwy to Broken Hill, however driving into heavy head winds indicated we might run out of petrol about 30kms short, but not to worry as we found the Coombah Roadhouse, for fuel and ice-blocks. At Broken Hill we stayed the first few nights with Allana’s cousins Janette & Rob until the furniture arrived a couple of days later. The flat we had been referred to was a shocker, basically clean but the stove was really dirty, despite our heavy cleaning. Despite the proximity to a hotel, across the road . we were not staying here! We quickly added a vertical grill and electric frypan to the kitchen appliances, something clean to cook with. We didn’t expect this treatment from a landlord, but we were in an extreme union town, and so the argument was on. After three weeks the landlord gave up as the lease was invalid , he had insisted on certain conditions and he had broken those conditions. 277 Duff Street became our new address , just four blocks from Alma Public School, three blocks to local shops and two and a bit kms to Broken Hill’s main shopping.

Duff Street at South Broken Hill

At 277 three spacious bedrooms, a combined dining room kitchen area, with a living room at the front of the house. Great garden and green house at the rear and a large garage. Oil heating for the winter months, yes it did get a bit cool during winter, but great weather for BBQ’s, of which there were plenty over the four years we were there. Getting hold of some house pics is proving difficult, we didn’t have digital in those days and color negs were sent to Adelaide for overnight processing, all police

A Story to Remember

photos were b&w and I processed that by hand at work, but I will keep looking! Photo of the three wise monkeys taken while I was on holidays at the hill and Allana had travelled home to Lithgow to spend a week with her family. Why do this, easy, at that time we were still on very low wages, another long road trip and the cost was too much so a family trip was out of the question. The girls and I were OK with that as Allana needed time with her family, al - though she wasn’t sure as I would as I was on call’ for work and look after them! I was al - ways ‘on call’ , even on holidays and any extra money was always needed. She didn’t have to worry because the girls looked after me, the bottle you can see on the table contained wine. Kids had gone to bed, it was a hot night and sport was on TV, what more did I need! Packet of chips and the rest is history as Sara-Jayne can explain when she came in to check on me during the night, about 2-3am I awoke and SJ was busy cleaning the carpet beside the bed where I had knocked over the wine bottle and the remaining contents had flowed forth! All three were very happy to see Mum arrive back home safely. Other stuff from Newtown service: # Beats we had to walk alone, with a torch & no direct contact with station - night beat hobo scare Erskinville gun drawn ( never repeated ) - # St Peters stolen car incident & capture of crook hiding in back yard shed (Ralph Ezzy made arrest ) - # Regular visits to RPA hospital ( accidents, assaults ) - first fatal accident City Rd near uni - attend PM where victim had his leg torn off in acco - 4 pros attended & one got crook had to walk out - our first real front line experience - # Aust middleweight box champion ( Clive Stewart ) - had slot car track near Newtown Rail Stn - in King St - always liked a chat with beat cops at night - # Serious accident St Peters, guy pinned behind wheel in VW Kombi looked like he

A Story to Remember

was dying, so - bystander, firies & tow truck driver got guy out ( he became paraplegic ) - Learnt importance of building relationship with Ambo, Firies, doctors, tow trucks, rescue squads, security people, casualty staff & body snatchers - # After I moved to traffic about four months later - # Goulburn Kev McMahon & I - left shoes on bridge - took two young locals Kev knew 2km further up gravel rd - walk back & get u shoes - then 6-7km back to town - & tell your father - # Allana’s 3 day stay in SA Hospital, fly down - fly back - some of Sandra’s family were living in Adelaide - to visit - # Six weeks SIS course in Sydney - # Three month Dets course in 75 - 12 weeks in Sydney ( straight ) - # 1 week Allana return to Lithgow for a break B4 dets course - I mind girls at home - # 1 week Allana in Mildura hospital sudden illness only treatment was at Mildura - girls & I drove her down & returned to Hill - drove back to bring her home 7-8 days later - # My Supreme Court attendances at Goulburn and Sydney, about 6 or 7 times - # 1st cop to investigate underground mine fatality - Union control busted I con - ferred with Coroner and we took out a warrant - at that time BIC ( Joe Keenan ) powerful union ran everything in BH - to avoid embarrassment the union agreed to help - Joe & I became mates after this - see photos - # 2nd mine fatal involved local sporting hero - local miners widows club renovated home for widow using mine equipment & supplies - because of my direct involvement with accident I was invited to become a working member ! - # Major Sydney criminal Michael Medina mini p/van rollover Silver City Hwy on way to Tibooburra for funeral of father - licencee Tibooburra Hotel ( confirm ) - dog & head hair from NZ prostitute ( passenger ) - both druggies - major investigation - led to uncover stolen Hol/Torana few km south Wentworth SCHwy - led to major stolen veh ring in Sydney - # Two kids suffocate on Pooncarie property after they fell/climbed into grain bin - and two kids suffocate near Menindee when cave in sand hills collapses - # WRG - plane crash near Pooncarie - Melbourne millionaires - 6 die - 3 days to find plane - etc; # Cattle thieves in Menindee-Pooncarie-Ivanhoe & Wilcannia areas - caught when vehicle (VW Ute) used was ID’d via wheel tracks - tracks had been different several properties - Ray Pickering locked them up - # Wilcannia floods as I drove to Newcastle to join family - 37C and water 40cm deep across Barrier Hwy for several kilometres - very slow going ( photos ) - no mobiles, very few vehicles on road - # # Arsenic poisoning Neutron Activation Analysis ACT Chf.Insp John Goulding - Fairfield Infectious Disease Ward Melbourne - Ivanhoe - Wilcannia - BHill Hosps first Arnold George Mitchell - Homicide dets Sydney & Melbourne involved - Don Mc - Cusker, John Cooke, Vic Coroner, , # Menengitis found during port mortem of aboriginal woman from Wilcannia - Dr Phil ????? - me assisting - told me to STOP & get out - very contagious & fatal if direct exposure. # Wine collection - $1.50 along Murray vineyards - & by Newcastle worth $30 .....

A Story to Remember