Paddy Suzzette and Bill


(from Jo's diary)

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Going Home - Memorable Days - First child - Second and Third Child -
Family Tales - Departure for England - England Again - Across Europe and Home

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Going home

We had only a very few days in London spent rushing around seeing people and they were so hectic that after seeing ‘Chu Chin Chou’ I collapsed and for 24 hrs it was touch and go whether I, or my baby, would see Australia again. At Easter we embarked on a troopship called the Fredericksburg, a converted German captive. We carried many prisoners from a detention camp. Women should never have been allowed on this ship, and we had a very bad trip. At Fremantle the ships crew went ashore and refused to take the ship further until the criminals were taken off and placed under restraint. I was very far from well when we arrived, and to add to my troubles I had to put up with the disfiguring patches on my face that pregnant women sometimes get. My mother said she had to get used to my face again, but she was fiercely indignant when my brother said ‘Do you know your face is filthy’. We had a lovely party to welcome us home, our real wedding reception!

Memorable Days

We stayed at the Union Hotel opposite my home for a time, and then Arthur went as MO to the Point Cook Flying School and I moved home. June 23rd was to be THE DAY, I eagerly awaited the day as I got all the last things ready. Then, about 3 weeks before the time, my mother was taken desperately ill. Three weeks of sorrow and anxiety. When I was little girl, I used to pray that I should die with my mother and if not, that I should not be there when she died. Now the 23rd of June, and when the doctor came in the morning he told me to go up to the Hospital. I went in to say goodbye to my mother. I came out, and looked through a crack in the door for the last time. A shudder went through me from head to toe. ‘Miss Williams’, I said to our kind housekeeper, ‘I shall never see my mother again’. Then I got into the cab and went alone up to the hospital. People came to see me in the afternoon and when they had gone I had my bath. A sharp twinge struck me, and I hastily went back to the fire in my room.

First child

The matron came to see me and I said ‘I do wish I was in pain and then I needn’t think.’ You will be’, she said. At 7.20PM I had my little girl baby in my arms. Shortly afterwards, Arthur arrived, and as new fathers often are, he seemed a trifle embarrassed. ‘You must hold your daughter’ they said, and put her into his arms. He held her awkwardly, and one tiny hand fastened on his coat. Immediately, his own arms tightened around her and though perhaps she never knew it, she kept a special corner of his heart thereafter.

Next day, Jessie Sutherland sent word that at the first opportunity she would like to take the baby to see my mother. That night they made me take me take aspirin to sleep well. After breakfast the next day, Arthur unexpectedly walked into the room. I raised myself on the pillow, and all I seemed to see was his black tie growing bigger and bigger!!

After 3 weeks they sent in a black suit for me to take my baby home. Not to my father’s home, but to the Flying Station. My mother-in-law came with me. The old medical orderly and Arthur has arranged the little house for me and we arrived on a bleak and cold Sunday afternoon. A friend came when Mrs Lawrence went home, so I had help to get through those first few weeks.

After only three months, and after a weekend up in town, I visited the doctor, and he confirmed our suspicions that we were to have another baby. Life on a flying station in those days was quiet and very uneventful. There were only five officers’ houses and a few noncommissioned officers’ houses. We had picture nights sometimes, and otherwise trips up to won or to Werribee were all the excitement. I had my first flight.


Clockwise from top left
1. Pop at the Derby.
2. Pop with Paddy and Steve.
3. Jo with Suzette and Steve.
4. Suzette, Paddy and Bill.

Second and Third Child

Then, about 3 weeks before my second daughter was born (about 6 weeks prematurely) we moved up to town to a big house on Glenferrie Road, Kew (the top house). A big contrast to the little house at Point Cook. Here, Suzette and our first son William Sutherland were born. When he was a few months old, we moved up to Arcadia, where we stayed for 10 months before Arthur was sent to England partly for the airforce. And partly to do his eye degree at Morefield’s Eye Hospital. First, at the Easter when our little son was born, my father married again. It was with very mixed feelings that I heard of this, but his eyesight was failing rapidly and I was not at home to be of any assistance to him. When we decided to go to England, my father and his wife said they would take Paddy and Bill, and an old friend, Alice took Suzette.

England Again.

Family Tales

But first little episodes in the big house in Glenferrie Road, and the little house at Ferny Creek. When Suzette was about 3 months old, and Paddy was 14 months (we had two babies who could not walk for 5 months) a wonderful girl came to live with us, Olive Jones. I bless her name even yet. One morning though, I went into the chemist leaving Paddy for her morning sleep in the pram. When I returned, a frightened Olive was holding a baby in her arms, it face covered in blood. She had managed to get to the handle end of her pram and it had tipped up sending here over on a concrete verandah. I flew to the telephone, and Arthur told me to go to a nearby Doctor with her. He sat her on my knee and inserted the stitches. Then we were leaving, he said ‘Paddy, oh I thought it was boy; it would have been an honourable scar. I would have taken more care had I known it was a girl!’

Then we had a cat called George who loved Sue. And we had hard work to stop her feeding George as she fed herself. As soon as Paddy got on her feet, we were in for trouble and if we left the gates open she was off like a shot. Many, many times she was brought back. Once she was caught walking along the tram line. She was only hobbled when she had to take Sue. She was also an inveterate ‘picker up’, and Olive would say ‘Where did you put that so and so, Paddy’ and Paddy would always say ‘ I loss it, Olive. Where I loss it?’ Fortunately, she could always remember where. Sue, when she could walk, rubbed ashes from the coke fire in her hair and it all came out. Arthur cut it close to her head, and we called her George Robey, as she trundled her barrow after her father in the garden.

While I was in bed when Bill was born, we were robbed from the next room to where I was. Olive left to be married just before Bill was born, and after quite a few changes we got a very good cook called Lena and her niece, Rosie. Then we left to go up to the country, I could only take one and so Rosie came with us. We had a good little Jersey cow which Rosie milked. Paddy and Suzette called the cow, Mollie de Dow. They used to stand together at the big cyclone gate at the end of the drive, and if anyone came along the road you would hear Paddy chattering away but never a word from Suzette. One day I said to Paddy ‘Why do you tell people all our business?’ to which she said ‘Because they like to know’. I am afraid I am only fond of the country for a visit and I grew very tired of living there. Arthur left very early in the morning each day, and returned in the evening about 6.30PM.

The thing I remember Bill as a very stolid, placid baby sitting unblinking in his pram, and Sue standing by his pram saying ‘you top looqin at me’. If she was asked what she was doing she would say ‘Dont thoo say doin to me’.


Departure for England

We came at last to leave for England. Arthur went as ship’s doctor on the Jervis Bay. This same ship in the second world war was in a convoy when it was attacked. It left the convoy, and engaged the enemy to allow the others to escape. I left by a ship called the Bendigo going around the cape. Paddy and Bill stayed with Rosie to look after them at my father and Dora’s home. Suzette stayed nearby with my old friend, Alice, and Dr. Sutherland was close by. So, I felt they were all in very good hands.

Someone had told Paddy that Dr. S. had brought her into the world, so one day when he called she took Bill right under a table for fear he would take them back. He said ‘I had enough trouble getting you without returning you if you don’t suit’. The biggest pull of all was leaving Paddy. I felt she was most likely to miss me, and I would gladly have taken her with me.

Such a happy trip we had to England. I met a young engineer returning to England with an aim injury, and he was very kind to me and has remained our friend ever since. Suzette has stayed with his wife in England and now he is a Chief Engineer and sometimes comes to stay with us. We called in at Capetown, where I met my Uncle Arthur, my father’s youngest living brother, and his wife. We had a lovely week in colourful Durban. Then at last we entered King George’s Dock and there was Arthur waiting to great me.

England Again

This was a little interlude of great happiness. With three children under three and often (even with help) too much to do, I was often irritable I am afraid. I only offer the excuse that through my life I have always reacted to too much to do with nerves on edge. In my girlhood I was not irritable. Anyway, here we were in England with no children again and just ourselves, and lo and behold my husband was in love with me again. We took rooms facing right on to Hampstead Heath. An old childhood friend of mine had married a friend of Arthur’s and they lived near us, so the first thing to greet me were some lovely flowers. We were supposed to be only 6 months away, but six months was not enough for Arthur to take his degree, so we had to stay another spell making 13 months in all. We were in a lovely suburb of London, and we walked on the Heath, went to the old Bull and Bush etc. There were numerous relatives to visit. But, as the months went by, I began to fret for my Babes. When Arthur took his exam, I was so afraid he might fail that I stayed in town as long as I could and when I turned into our street I was afraid to see his face. But all was very well.


Across Europe and Home

Soon after August bank holiday, we left England with sad goodbyes to many. Our friends Marjorie and Horace came to Paris with us for a lovely week. Then Arthur and I went on to Vienna. We went first to Zurich, and I have never forgotten the lovely train journey from Zurich to Vienna. We had an interesting time in Vienna staying with a Jewish family. Then we went on to Venice and Milan and along the Mediterranean cost to Marseilles and so on to the ship to Australia. The only thing I can seem to remember from the trip home was that my engagement ring and Arthur’s father’s cuff links were stolen.

They were all on the wharf to meet us. Bill, of course, had forgotten me. I don’t think Sue had, but Paddy said ‘ No-one told me that was my Mummy, I knowed!’ We rented a little house in Kew while we looked around to buy one. Rosie came with us just to settle me in, then she left. This little house seems only a memory of dreadful episodes with the help that I had. Paddy started school at Ruyton, and then about a year later Sue also went there. Finally we bought a house in Cotham Road and here at this moment we still live.

I know that I share with a lot of other people the "feeling" of a house. Alas, my feeling was against this one. I should have tried at once to overcome it, but I didn't. I don't think it has been a happy house. I almost think it began Arthur and I pulling in opposite ways. We were totally different in temperament, but up until now, in spite of our differences, we couldn't do without each other. Now I am ashamed to say I too often put my children first. I always had a strong sense of responsibility. The children, I know, worried Arthur when he was tired and I felt I had to be both parents, which took a lot out of me which I resented without making allowances. Arthur was deliberate, very musical and serious-minded. I was not at all musical, a very real pity, for a common interest would have held us. I was never deliberate and loved company and going places. While he was now DDMS Air Force we were constantly being asked to Bridge Parties and dances, the latter he would never attend except the Government House ones. When the Prince of Wales came out here it as at the time Paddy was born and so we were unable to go to the ball and garden party. But later our present King and Queen came out and we were invited. Arthur's Aunt was staying and we were able to get an invitation for her. Arthur wasn't able to go, so my brother Geoff took us. We were full of excitement. I wore a black French beaded frock, only just below my knees! We saw the Duke and Duchess, as they were there, and danced alongside them. The present Queen seemed like a fairy princess with the sweetest and most gracious manner.

I think I had better go back to the new house. When we settled in, it was quite near for the two little girls to go to Ruyton, and there was an old-fashioned kindergarten opposite, to which we decided to send Bill as it only meant across the road. He was inclined to be a shy, serious child but hid it under a blustery assertive manner. However, they seemed to just ablout break his spirit. One morning, he came home, pale and almost speechless, because he had gone to school without sox. Another time, his cricket bat which was a new present was confiscated because he was not supposed to take it to school (he was just six). And he was kept in every lunchtime and playtime for a month for punching a little girl on the leg. I was expecting my fourth and last child and worried out of all proportion. I had heard of children being expelled for trivialities and though I had made up my mind not to worry if it happened, I knew I would be more than thankful when he had weathered the course and break up and speech night arrived. It was Wednesday night and I went at great hazard and slow speed. And in the Friday morning in the very early hours my last baby was born. During the time he had been coming I had often said I did not want another baby and my great friend Gladys Andersn used to say "Oh don't say it, something might happen". But I said, "Well when it comes, I'll want it alright". Little knowing what a difference would make to me.

Already, coming into the rather sad time I have spoken about my first baby's birth and how they came to take the place of the one I had loved and lost. I must mention the weeks of the next two to give them a special place. Our second daughter, Suzette, was premature. I went from the house in Kew to the same hospital in Moonee Ponds, the same hospital Paddy had been born in. I arrived in the early morning and all through that long day, I walked up and down, up and down and read about Adele Penguins. Paddy stayed at my father's. She was only 11 months old. About 8PM, I said to matron "I don't think I can stand any more". She said, neither do I, and the next thing I knew was merciful oblivion and our new daughter arrived. One of the nurses came and in and said "was there an aboriginal camp at Point Cook". And I said "yes" and she said, "that explains it". and brought in a badly cyanosed baby nearly black and looking about 80. I had my first bad attack of nerves. I well remember how they brought me down from the big upstrais room and put me in the little front room where the nurses could talk to me. It was 6 months before this tenacious little baby took hold of life and decided to go ahead. When she was a year old, our third baby was on the way and this was to be the longed-for boy. From the first, I was positive that at last I was to have my son. This one was to be born at home. We had a really old-fashioned mid-wife engaged and of course, Dr Sutherland. We she arrived and so did he, and then everything was off and after a little time they both went away. The following week, they came again and after a normal interval, I heard a voice from far away refer to "him". I opened my eyes and said "are you sure?". how proud I was, and I was so afraid that when I went up the street, someone might take him for a girl.

Now six and a half years later, the hour had arrived for our last child. It was a different time in a way. We had been married about 12 years. I felt the time had come in the evening but around midnight I was sure. Arthur was asleep and didn't want to rowse, so I took the clock with me into the lounge and where I thought it was getting near I got him to send for the nurse and went to my bath. When she came, I decided not to tell either of them until the last moment. Then I went into the bedroom where the nurse was making the bed and in a few moments, before the nurse could hardly get to me and just barely pushed me onto the bed, the baby arrived. After the Dr had come and gone, she held the baby up and this one was the image of his father.


Clockwise from top left.
1. Amy (Jo) with Sally.
2. Arthur, Amy and Paddy with Kate, Susan and John.
3. Amy, aged around 55.
4&5 Currajong, 139 Cotham Rd, Kew.

After 5 days, it was Xmas and the two girls, who had been away, came home. I can see Paddy coming in and I lifted the bedclothes to show this new addition to our family. We all took him straight to our hearts. She had not been particularly interested in babies (she would rather have a monkey), but she was a devoted sister. I never heard Paddy say a cross word to him, but it was Suzette who would put him to bed and tell him stories. Bill and he never quarrelled either though there was so much difference in their ages. When he was 11 months old, he had pneumonia. The Dr insisted on the nurse, which very against the grain, but she won my heart by saying that my little fair curly-headed baby was just the one she would have loved to have.

Now we were slowly coming to the sad period, four children, indifferent and changing help and a big house with few modern helps and a mother letting her nerves get the better of her. I had my second bad bout of nerves when Arthur Stephen (we christened him Arthur Geoffrey Moxon; but he changed it later) was a week old, and it took longer to get over. Arthur and I went away together and we had a good nurse for the baby. It had been our practice always to go out on Saturday evening. I had called it my tonic, but now I was always so tired that I would be cross and unappreciative and would often force a quarrel so that I could go to bed and sleep straight away. Of course, I could not expect Arthur to understand and the gap between us began to widen. When Paddy was about 14 years old the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester came out for a visit to Australia, and when it came to the ball, we took Paddy dressed up in a long frock so that she would have something to always remember. She was in fairyland and was amazed at everything including the lovely flowers.

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