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Braided Channels of History Recording & Transcript - 15 - 02 of 02 (Text)

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Interviewer Respondent
IN 00:00:00 OUT 00:22:23
Trish FitzSimons
Elizabeth June Wilcox
Griffith Film School
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15 - 02 of 02
5 June 2000
Updated 04/01/10 Timecode from Tapes 15_BC_DV Topics in Bold
Braided Channels of History Recording & Transcript - 15 - 02 of 02
Family Structure Gender Relations
PTB Refers to Part B of Tape 15
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June Jackson
Interview with June Jackson. Tape 1 of 3. No obvious faults in footage.
part of:
Braided Channels of History Recording & Transcript - 15 - 02 of 02
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15_BC_DV_PTB_JACKSON-plain.txt — 20 KB

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1 – SIDE A

Okay, so this is Tape 15 and the time code is 19.22. This is Tape No. 8
      for DAT, 5 June, Channels of History. This is June Jackson in her
      workplace which is the Post Office in Boulia. Trish FitzSimons on sound
      and Erica Addis on camera.

      TAPE 15_BC_DV

      Okay, so June, tell me where and when you were born, the date, the place
      and how your birth happened, whether it was midwife or hospital or what
      you know of the circumstances of your birth.

00:19:34:10       3 June 1944 in Georgetown, Queensland, at the hospital.

And what was your name then?

00:19:44:00       That’s a bit controversial because my father insisted I was
      June Elizabeth and my mother insisted I was Elizabeth June, so I’ve gone
      with what’s on the birth certificate which is Elizabeth June.

And was that what your mother said or your father said?

00:19:55:09       My mother said, because she said June Elizabeth Wilcox was
      JEW and she didn’t want me called JEW, so I’m Elizabeth.

So your parents always planned that you would be called June but Elizabeth
      went first on the birth certificate?


And how had your family … Georgetown isn’t actually in the Channel
      Country, is it?

So, I know that your family has got a long connection to the Channel
    Country. I’d like you to explain that connection and also how it was that you
    came to be born in Georgetown.

Braided Channels

    00:20:35:00   My great-grandmother was married out here, came out here as
    a young girl, as Bid Campbell would have told you. They drew Maxland and
    my grandmother was one of her first marriage children. She was the only
    daughter to that marriage. She married a gentleman quite 19-20 years older
    than her and they eventually went, after leaving here, went to several
    properties and then she and her husband and two of her brothers went up
    around Georgetown Forsyth, mining, and they had mines up there.           So
    obviously my mother and her two brothers went with her family. She met
    my father up there and we were born up there, my sister and I, and then they
    came back out here to this area after the mine failed and they were looking
    for something else.                               00:21:36:16

Do you know any of the circumstances … was your father a miner working
    for another company, or he was in business for himself?

00:21:36:12   No. My father was a stockman and that’s when my mother
    married him. Evidently he was up around the Forsyth Georgetown area
    there. He was working. His parents had properties, I think, or something up
    there, or holdings or whatever, and he was a jockey and quite well-known
    horseman, and that’s all I really know of them.

So your father was a jockey. Was that in … because country races have
    always been important, haven’t they?


Was he a jockey just around the west?
00:22:20:00       Yes, in the north really. I don’t know whether he ever rode
    out here but he did up around the Georgetown Forsyth area up there.

Now when I think of a jockey, I think of a man five foot two and five stone.
    I mean, I’m exaggerating, but was that the kind of man your father was or
    was he a strapping stockman that also rode horses quickly?

0:22:45:00        He was a stockman who rode horses quickly. Yes, he was
    about six foot, I guess, and quite a big man. In later years, you can’t believe
    how big people can become small, but he was reasonably big in his prime.

I am clearly getting a little bit confused in the generations of your family. It
    was your grandfather that had gone to Georgetown to mine, was it, and your
    mother met your father who was a stockman working up there?

That’s correct.

Right. So when you said it was the mine failing that brought your parents to
    this area, how does that work because it was your grandfather that was the
    miner and your father that was the stockman?

00:23:31:17       It brought them back here to this area. This was where my
    grandmother and my mother grew up so when that failed the two boys that
    had gone with my grandparents were Brian and Jack McGlinchy. It was
    Brian McGlinchy and Jack Robinson, and their mother was the one that had
    Maxland. So they just came back home. I don’t know whether the mine
    folded or failed or what, I really don’t know, but I know they then all packed
    up and came back here to this area, which was home. So they brought their
    husbands back … the women brought their husbands back home to this area

So how old were you when you arrived in this area?

I’d say I probably would have been about three, three-and-a-half.

Do you have any memory of that moving?
I don’t have any memory of the moving.              I have several memories of
    Georgetown or Forsyth. Forsyth, I think. And then I have memories of

So your earliest memories, then, are in Georgetown. What do you remember
    of that area?

00:24:42:09     I can remember having my face washed with some sort of
    soap which I thought would never heal because I got into my mother’s
    lipstick, and in those days I think it was real red lipstick and I painted my
    face. And I can remember her scrubbing and scrubbing and scrubbing at my
    face while I sat in this horrible cold tin tub.

So that would have been half punishment and half getting the lipstick off
    your face?

00:25:11:02     Well, I think it was just that at that time there was no hot
    water. It had to come off, so she just sat me in the tub and had a dish cloth
    and was going like this. I wasn’t in cold water. I was just sitting in the cold
    tub and I can remember saying something like ‘It’s cold’ and sitting in a
    and Mum saying ‘Show me your face, show me your face. I want to clean
    your face’ and sort of I don’t even remember how old I was, whether it was
    night time, day time, but I can remember getting my face scrubbed rather
    harshly. I don’t remember getting a smack for it, which I probably should
    have done because I’d say Mum would have had one lipstick and really
    didn’t need to see it plastered all over my face.

So if you say you were living without hot water, you probably can’t
    remember much of Georgetown, but what do you think were the physical
    circumstances of life for your parents there?

00:26:06:17     Very hard. The water would have been boiled in a copper
    down the back, I’d say, or on the stove in a kettle. And I can remember, you
    know, all having a bath, well my sister and mother and I anyway, all having a
    bath in the one water. Obviously there would have been running water, no
    doubt, which I don’t remember, but I know the three of us used to have a
    bath in the one water. And then when Dad came home she’d chuck a bit
    more hot water in there and he’d then put the water out on the garden. I can
    remember those. I can remember having a birthday party, I think for one of
    my cousins, under a white frangipani tree, and I have loved white frangipani
    trees ever since. I can remember Dad coming home drunk one day, one night
    obviously, and falling down the steps, and I can remember my mother
    throwing him a blanket and saying ‘Well, that’s where you’ve fallen so that’s
    where you stay’. And that’s really all I can remember. I have photos of
    times that I think ‘Oh, yeah, I probably remember that’ but I really don’t
    think I do. It’s only the photo that perhaps brings back memories.

It’s gets hazy, doesn’t it? And so then when you came here to the Channel
    Country, it was to Coorabulka that you went, was it?

Gender Relations/Work

    00:27:36:04   Well, I’m a little hazy. I think my grandmother and family
    went to Maxland and we probably would have gone with her. Then I’d say
    Dad may have got the job at Kurabulka as head stockman. Mum was then
    cook, so I’d say they’ve got a job as a package, a head stockman and a cook,
    and us two girls went with them.       But I can always remember sort of
    Maxland was always there, that was just … I don’t know whether I’d say
    ‘home’ but it was always somewhere there, and that was Maxland.

So would your grandmother … Jenny was your grandmother?

No, that was my great-grandmother.

Great-grandmother. Was she still at Maxland or had it then passed into
    somebody else?

00:28:13:08   I think Uncle Brian and Aunty Bub were there then. I know
    they were there then but I don’t know whether my great-grandmother and
    great-grandfather were still there or not. I really don’t remember too much
    of my great-grandparents in the early years until we went to Charters Towers
    to live.
So would Uncle Brian have inherited Maxland as the eldest son? Was that
    his position?


And is that usually how inheritance goes in this area? That eldest sons

Ah, I’d say probably, yeah.

So then when you, you know you’re not sure whether you came first to
    Kurabulka or Maxland, but tell me about your childhood at Kurabulka. It
    was only a fairly short period, wasn’t it, till your parents split up? Do you
    want to just tell me about that?

    00:29:11:12     Yes. Some of my memories of Kurabulka, having very, very
    bad eye problems with flies and waking up in the morning with eyes all
    stuck. And the house we lived in must have been a little way away from the
    kitchen area because I can remember Mum, Dad, whoever happened to be
    around, carrying my sister and I over and putting us near the big wood stove
    until after breakfast when Mum had time to wipe our eyes and get us seeing
    again. I can remember that. I can remember being near the horse yards once
    and told to keep very quiet, and skitching the pup onto the horse, which
    didn’t please my father very much because I can remember wearing the
    handle of his whip around my backside. Ummm, I can remember being in
    the bore drains, which I think we were told not to go near. In those days they
    still had the flowing bores with running water for cattle.

So that would have been hot water?

00:30:10:10     Mmmm. And I can remember the mail lady coming. Or mail
    man, I’m not really sure whether it was a mail man or a mail lady, because
    my mother was on so many properties and there were so many mail people.
    I’ve an idea it may have been a mail man out here and he always brought us
    a treat like a chocolate or a lolly, because being out there we didn’t see
    anyone except the mailman and that was great that he would bring these
    things out. And I don’t know whether he brought them out all the time or
    just every now and then. I really don’t remember anything much.

And what do you remember of your parents separating? How old were you
    and what do you remember at the time and how do you now understand that?

Gender Relations

    00:30:54:16     To be honest, I never even knew that they had separated until I
    was about seven or eight because, oh I don’t know, I think I was just used to
    men going away and working, and being gone say a week, ten days, a month,
    and I don’t think it ever even clicked until someone told me that my mother
    and father weren’t living together. And I don’t even know if I thought too
    much about it then. I mean, I was in such a, I suppose, close relationship with
    my mother and grandmother and sister that it really didn’t worry me that he
    wasn’t there. I think it was probably when I was about fourteen that I sort of
    wanted then to make contact with him. I don’t think I missed him, to be

Because you probably would have been seeing lots of other kids around the
    place who didn’t see their fathers much?

Mustering/Gender Relations

    00:31:53:18     Mmmm. It wasn’t a big thing to have a man there all the time,
    because the mustering camps would go out, probably a month at a time, with
    the big properties with no fences. They’d be home for a night and they’d be
    gone again next morning when you woke up, so they sort of weren’t a real
    big factor in your life, I don’t think.

And can you explain what a mustering camp is as opposed to droving?

00:33:21:20     A mustering camp is, on these large properties because there’s
    hardly any fences, every twelve months they try and get all their stock
    together for branding or de-horning or selling, or whatever, so there would be
    a big camp of could be ten men, could be twenty men, all depends. They’d
    have a dray or something packed up with tents and food and whatever, and
    off they’d go and they’d just build yards or whatever while they were out and
    do what they had to do while they were there. There was none of this
    bringing them back into the station for this job, so they could be gone for any
    length of time until they did what they thought was the full muster. And
    droving is having a herd together, moving them from one place to the other,
    sort of one property to another or one property here to 2-5,000k away, and
    that is droving. They’re droving them.

So at the outcome, at the end of a mustering camp, quite likely there would
    be some then beasts to be droved or to be put onto a road train more


So do you remember, in the time when your parents were together, how was
    it when your Dad came back after being away? Would that be a big deal or
    he wasn’t really a relevant personage?

00:33:44:10    I think it was more the excitement of everybody coming back.
    You know, the whole camp. All of a sudden, hey there was lots of people
    around again, instead of just the old cook and my mother and probably the
    station manager’s wife. I think it was just the fact, the excitement that the
    camp’s coming back and they’d sit down and play their mouth organs and
    things like that, so the whole place would just liven up again. And that’s
    probably all I can remember about the fact that they were coming back. And
    I don’t even know whether my father was gone for a month, or whatever. I
    really don’t. Time means nothing to children, I don’t think, especially fifty-
    odd years on when you’re trying to remember it.

So as you remember it now, how did life shift from your parents breaking
    up? Did that mean that your Mum ceased to be station cook on Kurabulka?

Gender Relations/Family Structure/Work
    00:34:43:10    Yes. She and my grandmother moved to Charters Towers,
    taking my sister and I with her. They bought a home in Charters Towers but
    then Mum would go out station cooking, so she would be gone, say, six
    months of the year. Then she would come back and get a job as a barmaid or
    hotel house cleaner or something for six months. Then she’d go again. Big
    money on the properties, cooking, and she’d spend nothing, so she was
    keeping her mother. Well, my grandmother, she was on a pension, and
    keeping us two girls. I don’t think my father ever contributed.

And did your Mum have a bitterness towards your father or just it was like
    he’d drifted off into the sunset and you didn’t hear about him?

00:35:31:08    Ummm, I think the bitterness was the fact that he never
    contributed to our upbringing and the fact that he just would prefer to pretend
    that we weren’t there, and get on with his life. I think a lot of the problems
    were that my great-grandmother and her husband, he was about twenty years
    older than her, my grandmother’s husband was nineteen years older than her,
    my father was nineteen years older than my mother, and I think these men
    were already in their way. And then to marry a nineteen or eighteen-year-old
    girl is a big step and a big shock to them, that they’ve got to do this and
    they’ve got to do that, and my father was obviously a pretty heavy drinker all
    his life, and I don’t think that working, you know, twelve months of the year
    to support a wife and two children was his idea of what he was put on this
    earth for.

So you’re saying that in the McGlinchy clan it was … because certainly
    talking to Bid, that great-grandmother of yours sounded like a rock kind of
    keeping the whole family together. You’re saying that it was quite a female-
    dominated family in your experience of it?

00:36:47:14   I think so, yeah. But I do remember that when we moved to
    Charters Towers my great-grandmother and grandfather were living there

Was it the Channel Country that your Mum was coming back to work in?
No, she just worked wherever.         Around Charters Towers, Hughenden,
    Prairie, anywhere between here and Charters Towers. The closest she could
    get the better because then if they had someone come in for the show, well
    she might be able to jump in with them and come back and see us girls. But
    she worked wherever she could.

And so was being looked after by your grandmother, did that feel like a kind
    of abandonment? Or you were so close to her you just accepted that that’s
    how things were?

00:37:31:02    Oh, never abandonment, no. She … oh, my grandmother was,
    you know, she was just one of these women that was there. If there was a
    job to be done, she did it, and like her mother and like her sisters. It didn’t
    matter what needed to be done, she was there. And I think she was just
    pleased, perhaps, to see my mother get out of an abusive relationship. I
    mean, I don’t think my father ever hit her, but the alcohol wasn’t conducive
    to a happy life for us two kids, and I think she was just happy to say ‘Well,
    look, we’ll go to Charters Towers, take the girls and I’ll look after them
    while you get a job’.      I mean, she was just always there, my great-
    grandmother was always there, and I sort of really didn’t see a need for men
    at all. I never missed them and I had a lot of friends, boy friends, you know
    friends that were boys, and always have, and I’ve never felt the need to say
    ‘I’ve missed my father’ or ‘I’ve missed my grandfather’. I never knew my
    grandfather because he and my grandmother had split up before I ever even
    remember him. I didn’t see him till I would have been ten, before I even met
    my grandfather for the first and last time.

Tell me about your great-grandmother and your great-grandfather? What
    were they like as characters? Because I suppose I’ve heard quite a lot about
    them from Bid.

Gender Relations/Family Structure

    00:38:54:18    I can only remember bits and pieces, I suppose.           I can
    remember once my father arrived in Charters Towers and took us down
    town, took my sister and myself down town, and he said we would be gone
    two-and-a-half hours. I can remember him taking us home after, say, four or
    five hours and this lady coming out of my grandmother’s house and abusing
    this man, and I can just remember standing behind him, thinking ‘What is my
    Big Gran going on about?’ and they thought that he had abducted us, and
    they had been onto the police and they were just leaving the house when he
    turned up. I can remember her being like this big lady with white hair just
    raging. I can remember that and thought ‘She’s just like a big bull-terrier’,
    you know. And probably she wasn’t that big but to a small child, and in such
    a temper, and my grandmother stood there and my mother, and they didn’t
    say a thing. With my grandmothers, one was … my great-grandmother was
    Big Gran and my grandmother was Little Gran. So there was no conflict
    about Big Gran and Little Gran, that’s all we ever called them.

And Big Gran was a tiger?

00:40:14:10    Big Gran was a tiger, yeah, because she thought that he had
    taken us children and she was letting him know, under no circumstances did
    he ever need to see us again. And he never saw us again till I was about
    sixteen. So he never came back again. And I can remember Christmases,
    everyone sitting around the big table like that photo you’ve seen, many of
    those, different celebrations. It was always where everyone went to. When
    they came to Charters Towers, everyone went to Big Gran’s.             All the
    children eventually went to boarding schools there so the parents would
    come down to see the children and they’d all end up at Big Gran’s. She lived
    in one house, which I think was Paul Street, and I can remember talking to
    the lady through the fence, and this lady had red setters, and I can remember
    thinking ‘I want to live there with a dog like that’, and eventually my great-
    grandparents did buy that home and lived there for quite some years. Then
    after they died and left the house it fell into very bad repair, disrepair, and
    then I think it was the Seventh Day Adventists or something bought it and
    restored it, and it’s just great to drive into Charters Towers now and up that
    street and see this home so beautifully restored.   00:41:44:04