Our June senior of the month is Val aged 87. Val kept telling me she was not very interesting to interview, but everyone has a story and Val couldn’t be more wrong, the more she talked the more little stories and interesting facts emerged!
Val was born in 1927 in Middle Park. She was one of 4 children but 2 older brothers died shortly after birth so there was just her and her younger sister. Val lived in Middle Park at her Grandmas house with her mum and sister after her father passed away when she was young.
In 1941 Val attended Mac.Robertson Girls’ High School. She was aged 13 at the time and tells me that during this time when the war was on all windows had to be blacked out at night and no street lights were allowed on. She remembers a time when the air raid sirens went off at night and she was quite frightened. Val can remember the Americans arriving by boat and she could hear the sounds of the soldiers boots marching down Kerford Road. It was during this time that her school was closed and taken over by the Americans’ and used as army barracks, so she had to attend East Camberwell girls’ school, taking 2 trams to school. She had vibrant red hair and she can remember the Americans’ calling out to her ‘look me up in 5 years time red’!!
In 1942 she returned to school in Middle park when the Americans’ vacated the school. In 1943 Val left school and got a job in the office at the air force barracks. At this time the barracks for the army, air force and navy had been temporarily built on St.kilda football oval outside St.kilda train station. Val recalls walking past Prince Phillip at the barracks one day! When the war finished Val left the barracks and went to work for Le Roy Frocks Manufacturing doing office work and she assures me Le Roy Frocks were up there with their frocks in those days!
Val married Max in 1949 aged 22 and went on to have 2 sons Graham and Trevor. She now has 6 grand children aged between 37 and 24. Val & Max moved to Blackburn in 1952. Max and Val’s father built the house that Val still lives in now. They paid 325 pounds for the land and borrowed 1,500 pounds for the building materials. Val said after the war you were only allowed to build a 2 bedroom house because there was a shortage of materials. There were many apple orchards back then around where Val lives. A Mr Pearce owned much of the land around what is now Blackburn North shopping square. Val said there was a time when the shopping center was going to be a drive in theatre! The residents opposed it and so a shopping center was born instead!
Val didn’t have a car till she was 41! Her son bought her a mini minor for $1,000.
I then asked Val some of our regular questions:
What do you wish you’d know about back then, that you know about now?
Buying land and just how much it could appreciate!
What do you think the biggest change in society is?
The crime nowadays, the different cultures and diversity of people.
What’s your biggest achievement?
My 2 boys.
Do you have any regrets?
Max her husband has been gone for 24 years and she regrets they didn’t get to grow old together.
Any advice for the younger generation?
Try and buy a house to get into the market, you don’t have to stay there for life and stick with your husband through thick and thin!
I have shared some pictures of Val’s artifacts and antiques as they were in such pristine
condition and all had their own histories and stories as well!! It was a delight to speak to such a lovely, interesting and chatty lady. I’m sure I could easily have learnt so much more from Val but alas time is of the essence!