Visiting Schofields

by Marlene Barry (nee Home)

Marlene near Central Station on her way to Schofields.

My grandparents, Albert and Isabel Gosper, lived on Grange Avenue Schofields, opposite Dawson’s Dairy farm. My memories are from the early 1940s. As grandchildren our visits started at Central Railway station after a tram ride from Maroubra where we lived.

Occasionally there was a taxi at Schofields Railway Station or our grandparent’s horse and sulky to meet us. It was a long walk if we had to walk along a dusty road and very hot in summer.

My memories of visits to their house and small farm are:-

    • A dairy shed.
    • Outside lavatory.
    • A tank for our water (full of wrigglers) /A well, lovely cool water with frogs in it.
    • A dam, very muddy with eels in it.
    • Flies and mosquitoes /Fly swat for killing flies.
    • Cow dung burning for deterring mosquitoes.
    • Goannas and snakes.
    • Farm machinery, heavy, old and rusty.
    • Pepper trees.
    • Muscovy ducks, hens, roosters and pigs.
    • Vegetable garden, corn, grammas, water melons etc.
    • Chicken wire everywhere.
    • Aniseed, larkspurs, marigolds, zinnias, poppies.
    • Bread box at the gate. The bread was delivered by horse and cart.
    • Noons soft drinks and ice cream from Mr Visocchi.
    • Sunday School at Cow Flat.
    • Picking mushrooms after rain.
    • Owls at night/ Possums in the roof of the house.
    • Rabbits.
    • Wildflowers especially in the bush nearby.
    • Homemade bread, scones, butter, jams and pickles.
    • Milk and cream from the one cow which was milked in the shed.
    • Home made preserves, ginger beer, fruit pies and cakes.
    • Boiled lollies in a jar (sometimes stuck together).
    • Bread toasted with a large fork over an open fire.
    • A heavy iron to iron with, which was heated on the hot stove.
    • A safe for food and muslin cloth for food wrap.
    • Crocheted covers to cover milk jugs and sugar.
    • Pot holders and tea cosies, tea caddies, biscuit tins.
    • A gramophone playing “A Dog Sat on the Tucker Box”.
    • Battery operated radio, hill-billy songs 2KY.
    • A big iron tub to bathe in/ Cashmere bouquet soap and flannel.
    • Crockery basin and pitcher for water to wash with.
    • Kerosene and hurricane lamp for light.
    • Candle and candlestick holder.
    • High chest of drawers and wardrobe furniture.
    • High beds with bed knobs and roses (brass knobs).
    • Sofas with home made cushions.
    • Feather eiderdowns and mosquito nets on the beds.
    • Wallpaper with patterns of plums all over.
    • Photographs and pictures in frames.
    • Thin newspapers delivered in the box at the gate.
    • Sulkies, harnesses kept in a shed.
    • Lots of chopped wood all around.
    • Hession bags for the peas and beans that they grew.
    • Sunlight soap for washing and washing up.
    • Nan (my grandmother) wore aprons that she made. (She was a wonderful
    • dressmaker, she made clothes for all of the family. Before she married she was a ladies companion.)

Travelling home from our visits we would have eggs, cream, cooked pieces of corned beef, a dressed duck or chicken, jam, things from the garden and fruit from the tree. Everything was well packed and tied up with string to keep it safe for our long journey back to the city.

In the mid 1940s our family moved to South Street at Marsden Park where Dad operated a pig farm and my visits to my grandparents became more regular. I went to Marsden Park Primary School where Mr Aisbett was the teacher. While I was at High School we moved to George Street in Riverstone. I attended High School at Parramatta Home Science, catching the train every day.

After finishing school I worked as a dental nurse at Parramatta. Aged twenty one I married and left home. I kept the last weekly train ticket that I used to travel from Riverstone to Parramatta. Fittingly my final journey from Riverstone to Parramatta was on the morning of my wedding day to pick up my bridal bouquet. After the wedding, my bouquet was placed on my Nan Gosper’s grave at the Riverstone Cemetery, the grandmother that I visited at Schofields all those years ago.