MEMORIES OF WOOMERA - 25


Woomera

Firstly I would like to congratulate you on a great site.  I have only just found it today and as I grew up in Woomera along with my three brothers and two  sisters in the 50’s  it is of great interest to me. I will give you a few details on the Quinn clan.

My father Jack Quinn and his brother Eric (both now deceased) were working for the Dept of Works involved with the building of the houses there in the late 1940’s, they lived in a camp at Woomera West, some in tents some in little tin huts.  When he finished working for the Dept of Works he transferred to Dept of Supply and worked as a carpenter in the main workshop in Tech Area.  By working for Supply he qualified for a house.

Mum Mary (Cec) (died 16 Dec 2001), Karl, Cecily, John, Pauline (that’s me) Madeline and Des all moved there early 1955. We flew up January 26 in an old Bristol freighter or something like that, taking our pet galah (who escaped from his cardboard box on the plane and caused havoc). We were enrolled at the Woomera Area School on 9 Feb 1955, along with Kerry Sutton, Peter, Rory, Susan and Virginia Ginnane, Terry Ryan, Diane Ellis amongst others (I have a copy of that page from the enrolment register).   We lived in 13 Coolaroo St.  Our next door neighbours were Ian & Joan Sutton .  Opposite us lived Rose and Slav Lazic (the town baker).

Before the shops were built we used to get our food stocks from ASCO and once a week Dad used to drive us out through the security gate to Pimba to get provisions from the Tea and Sugar Train.  Another train that used to come up to Pimba was the Bud Car and the driver was known simply as Bud Car Bob. We used to go to the ‘Pictures’ at Woomera West and also at the Salvation Army’s “Red Shield” Hut.  Mum and Dad loved that because they could get a cup of tea and a biscuit after the show had finished.

Once we left school we were allowed to go to the local dances at the Community Hall and it was at one of these dances that I met my  husband.

My brother John served his apprenticeship as Motor Mechanic at the Transport Workshop in Tech Area.  My sister Cecily worked out on Range E as a camera operator.  My sister Madeline and I both worked as telephonists with the PMG but not at the same time. Jack Bath was the Post Master at that time and some of the girls I worked with on the
switchboards were Dianne Wilson, Ann Kerley and Lorraine Kirby. The female operators only worked till 11pm and then one of the young guys would work through the night.  If the relief operator went to a party and had a few drinks and forgot about you, you could end up there all night.

I married Roger Hill - a British soldier from 8JSTU in 1960 in St Michael’s Church (since burned down) we moved to the UK for a year then Roger’s Regiment was posted to Germany when the big Berlin scare was on (Checkpoint Charlie) and the Berlin Wall went up, we spent three years in Germany. Then we migrated back to Australia as 10 pound tourists in 1964 with three little ones in tow.  In Feb 1965 we went back to Woomera where my husband Roger (now a civilian) worked at Range E workshops with Peter Tilmouth, John Beck, Jack Hattersley, and the workshop engineer was Mick Richards.  He transferred into the Tech Area as a Technical Assistant then later as a Technical Officer in the Engineering Dept.  working with Gil Smith, Des Wallace, Terry Fegan was the Admin Officer for Engineering, and Ray Singleton and Leon Wrazinski (not sure of spelling) were the Senior Engineers (that may not be the correct titles).

In 1968 we headed west for an unheard of place Dampier! (we could not find Dampier on any maps) to work for an Iron Ore Mining company called Hamersley Iron.  We worked in the north west of WA for 14 years.  Roger working as Planning Officer/Engineer and I as an Avis Hostess/driver/manageress and then as a telephonist with Hamersley Iron.
In 1982 we both transferred to the head office in Perth, Roger retired in 1994 and I retired in 1995.

My husband and I drove over to attend the three-day celebrations for the 50th  birthday of Woomera and met up with lots of old friends.

Through your website I have just caught up with an old girl I went to school with, we were both taught by Mrs Dorothy Rogers.  I fact I met up again with Mrs Rogers in December last year while I was in SA visiting my mother, they were in the same Hostel and I now write to Mrs Rogers and I received a post card from her last week.  I think she would love to get some cards or letters from her former pupils, she is over 93 now and still doing well, if any one would like to send her a letter they can email me for her address.
 

Pauline Hill [Formerly Quinn] Woomera resident 1955-1960 & 1965-1968

E-mail:    quillie@iprimus.com.au

(Tue, 26 Mar 2002)



 
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