Due to the recent success of the Facebook page “History of Batemans Bay and Districts Past & Present” a reunion of the town and districts will be held on Saturday, May 6 at the Batemans Bay Soldiers Club, from 6pm. To celebrate, the group is profiling older residents, starting today with Patricia Dunne nee Shepherd, as Leah Burke reports.
Pat was born in 1925 at Braidwood to Angus Shepherd and Gladys Gowan, and her earliest years were spent travelling around as her father sought employment.
When she reached school age Pat and her brother moved in with her Grandmother attending the Nelligen School.
The family lived in tent big enough to sleep the children, house a galley and the parents’ bedroom up the other end, including at Smokey Point near the Batemans Bay mill.
Pat and her sister Heather were well and truly over living in tents so they rented a house in Bent Street.
In 1948, after Pat and Tommy Dunne were married, Tommy, and his father Harry built the home that Pat lives in today in Bent street. It was a two-room home with additions added when circimstances allowed. Their two children Stephen and Vicki were born there.
Neighbours were Vera and Claude Manns, Evelyn and Crusty Bellette, the Lucks. Mrs Sparrow, The Towers, Rixons, Jack Hammond the ferry master, Sol Ison, the Connells and the Penrith family.
At 15 Pat gained employement with the policeman, caring for the children and domestic duties. Then she worked for Mrs Annetts as a domestic, seven days a week with one Sunday a month off. She enjoyed her work and remembers the pot of coffee on the go all day for Mr Annetts, and having first choice of the goods in the shop, especially the latest shoes.
Pat left to work at Blandford House. During the Second World War, there was a shortage of men to work, so Pat began work at the Spoke Factory, making axe handles, dowels, hammer and pick handles and also skewers. Quite a few of the local girls worked at the factory with Pat including Molly Webber, Gladys Towers, Lorna and Kitty Dakin, Eileen Shepheard.
Pat married in 1947. She also worked at the hospital, starting in North Street as the laundress, then house maid and kitchen hand.
She remembers moving from the one-room kitchen to the luxury of the new hospital in Pacific Street.
Pat talks fondly of her time at the hospital and her work mates, Cathy Burke, Maureen Rixon, Helen Pickett.
Pat is a spritely 92, with a fantastic memory of our past.
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