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Braided Channels of History Recording & Transcript - 56 - 02 of 02 (Raw)

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Gladys Trish
IN 00:00:00 OUT 00:24:47
Trish FitzSimons
Gladys Geiger
Griffith Film School
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56 - 02 of 02
22 June 2000
Refers to tape 56_BVC_SP Topics in Bold
Braided Channels of History Recording & Transcript - 56 - 02 of 02
Race Relations Pioneers
PTB Refers to Part B of Tape 56
Recorded creative work created by permission of the copyright holder. Copyright in individual works within this collection belongs to their authors or publishers.
Gladys Cross
Interview with Gladys Cross. Part 1 of 3. Some water damage evident. Some cuts in interview.
part of:
Braided Channels of History Recording & Transcript - 56 - 02 of 02
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56_BC_SP_PTB_CROSS-raw.txt — 23 KB

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                            22 June 2000
                          Refers to tape 56_BVC_SP
                                Topics in Bold
                           TF = Trish GC = Gladys
TF   Some scared teachers over the years.
GC   08:11:02:22    Yeah. Well as he said he when he come on the boat and then
     he got here and nothing to work with and they told him would he open it up
     and he said he was really – but it was a good letter.        I’ve got it there
TF   So how many kids do you think started school with you in ’44?
GC   Education
     08:11:19:12    Oh there’d have been only about 7 or 8 I think. Just enough to
     open the school. We had to have 7 to open the school.
TF   And – do you – did the Second World War make any impact on your young
     life? Like, are your – what do you think are your earliest memories and did
     they have anything to do with the war?
     08:11:39:00    Well when we first moved into town here ah my mother used to
     give her clothes coupons for food or they’d swap ‘em around with the other
     ladies that didn’t need ‘em and we swapped around like that but ah that’s the
     most I can remember about it.
TF   So did your Mum move into town with you kids –
GC   Yeah.
TF   Leaving your Father out on the station?
GC   08:12:04:10    No. He got a job – they, really the Cross’s got him a job on the
     bridge when they were building the bridge at ah here. And ah Dad and Mum
     both moved in and then we lived in town.
TF   And so do you remember the day the bridge opened?
GC   Yeah. Yeah, and we just had a big celebration for the bridge opening.
TF   So what happened that day that the bridge opened?
GC   08:12:31:04    Oh it wouldn’t have been a lot in those days. I think the
     celebration they had for it was the biggest one. Everything sort of happened
     those days without any big ah do about it.
TF   And so when you moved into Windorah, who was living here? Paint a picture
     for me of, of what that community you moved into was like.
GC   Windorah
     08:12:53:00    There was only oh there was a hotel and um there was um oh
     only be a man and his wife and what there was Wilson and them were in the
     pub and his son. There was ah Cross’s at the shop. Mr and Mrs Cross and
     Reg. Well he was away at boarding school. There was the McCulloughs
     down at one house down there and ah oh, the post office and the police station
     and there was a big tall house here and the hall and um oh there was, we
     moved up here. There was us and the Costellos was next to us and we had the
     Catholic Church and that’s about it.
TF   And was the Catholic Church important in this town?
GC   Yes it was.
TF   So tell me, tell me how.        Like tell me how, how the Catholic Church
     functioned in the community.
GC   Religion
     08:14:01:00    Well most of the people that were here were Catholics and like
     ah Sunday was a big day when the Priest came and that. It was always a big
     going thing. And a lot, you know a lot going to it from, come in from off the
     properties and that.
TF   And do you think, I know in Australia at the time when you were young, in
     lots of parts of Australia Catholic and Protestant were a bit like this, you
     know. Not wanting their children to marry each other and not thinking much
     of each other. Do you remember that kind of –
GC   08:14:36:10    Yes I do because I married ah um a Church of England and I
     was a Catholic and there was a bit of that going, you know, quite a bit really.
     But I think if you love someone, well you go the way you – and now it’s all
     not the – gone out hasn’t it?
TF   So we might come back to that actually when we talk about marriage.
GC   Mmm.
TF   Um but that’s interesting. So how long did you spend at school then Gladys?
GC   Education/Childhood
     I was ah Grade 5 when I finished school. I didn’t go away to boarding school
     or anything.
TF   And do you remember discussions in the family about that?
GC   Going –
TF   Or was it just assumed that Grade 5 was enough?
GF   Education
     08:15:25:00    Oh I think my parents weren’t in the position to send us and
     there was a Priest here that wanted me to go and that but Mum, I don’t think,
     you know, she had goats and all and thought we all should stay home and
     work and help around the place.
TF   So when do you, what age do you think you were when you started to work
     and what were the first jobs you remember doing?
GC   08:15:50:18    Oh I was 15 when I started but I was working ah part-time at
     the hotel through younger than that. Helping out when things were busy and I
     really left school at ah 15 and I was working.
TF   So hang on, if you’d started school at 7, then Grade 5 you would have been 11
     or 12?
GC   Yeah, but we only started when we came in here. I was only 15. I went to
     Grade 5.
TF   Right. Right. So maybe you were a bit older when you’d come to here?
GC   Yeah.
TF   Yeah. Yeah. And, and so what was it like to start work in the pub? Can you
     remember what that was like.
GC   Drovers/Alcohol
     08:16:35:16    Oh I enjoyed it ‘cos there was a lot working around here and
     there was a lot of young, you know, the town with the drovers going through,
     there was always a lot at the hotel. And ah when the drovers went through,
     that’s when the town really sort of had people around. There was always 15
     around the hotel most of the time and there was always three girls working
     there but when it was busy, well I’d help out.
TF   And who was the proprietor of the hotel at that time?
GC   08:17:05:08    It was May McGrath when I was working there. And they
     were only local girls from Jundah and there that came down. Mary Murphy
     and ah, well she was Mary ah, oh I can’t think of her maiden name. But they
     were there and they were always good, you know, to us ‘cause we were
     boarding there for a little while before our parents moved in.
TF   And would women come into the bar when you were first working there?
GC   08:17:32:16    Not a lot. No. It wasn’t the thing. And as I said, you never
     heard swearing. If the men swore, they would always apologise. But now I
     think the women swear more than the men at times.
TF   So wasn’t that curious that adult woman, women wouldn’t be allowed into the
     pub but you as a young girl were working there? How did –
GC   08;17:56:00    I was working in the dining room. I never worked in the bar.
     Only ah Frank McGrath and May would help and ah they didn’t have many
     behind the bar apart from themselves running it.
TF   And so who would eat in the dining room?
GC   Health/Leisure/Races/Pubs
     08:18:15:06    Well ah all the ones um like Doctor’s day, those days, it was
     like a day’s race is today. Everybody would come in because the Doctor
     didn’t go to all the properties so they’d all come to town for the day and that
     was a very big day at the hotel and they’d all have lunch and that there and, in
     the dining room and that, and our races. Well, they were a lot bigger than
     what they are now. ‘Cause we used to set up ah what er 40 at a sitting and up
     to 10 sittings and it was always tablecloths and napkins and yeah, you name it
     you know. Plenty of washing to do. White tablecloths and all that which now
     it’s completely the opposite.
TF   And people dressed up for the races?
GC   08:19:04:10    Very much, yeah. And you had to have a new dress every day
     for the dance. It was three night’s dancing and then they’d dance ‘til 5 o’clock
     in the morning and then we’d go to work. But when Sunday came, we were
     looking forward to Sunday ‘cause we were pretty exhausted, but loved it, you
     know. And they’d get the band and that to come.
TF   So where would the bands come from?
GC   Oh, Longreach. And there.
TF   So that would have taken them what? A couple of days for the band to get
GC   08:19:37:16    Ahh, no I think they’d come down in a day. The dirt roads,
     there were dirt roads long as they were, you’d get down from Longreach in a
     day. But see our mail truck and that from Quilpie, that used to take a couple
     of days to get out here and then go back and that and now, it’s ah we get two
     mails a week and two planes a week.
TF   And were there many Aboriginal people in the town when you were here as a
GC   Pastoral Industry
     08:20:10:02       Not many. Er when we first came here there was very few
     really. I don’t think there was any. And then the Gorringe family moved in
     and they lived here and they had ah what, there was – Mrs Gorringe had about
     14 in her family. And then the town sort of grew and grew and more people
     came and started to ah build a bit, but the families were fairly large. Like
     there was 7 in my family and on the stations there was 7. And when we had a
     Christmas tree here at the end of the year, well there used to be about 300 kids
     or more at the Christmas tree ‘cause every family at Galway Downs out here
     which now just has one family on it, there was ah about six families out there
     because there were out stations and they had sheep.
TF   So what’s caused the stations – lots of people have talked to us about the
     station – how the stations have come to have fewer and fewer families.
     What’s driven that do you reckon?
GC   08:21:13:10       Oh, I think wages and that and ah they’ve gone out of sheep
     and cut back on labour you know as um when you look at it now, if you had
     the labour that you had those days, well you would never make any money
     yourself paying it all out wages. But they all had their families out on the
     properties and taught ‘em and that.
TF   And were there Aboriginal families out on the properties?
GC   Yeah. Yeah, when we were out at Galway there was sort of some Aboriginals
     and some white families.
TF   Were the Aboriginal people out on Galway single men or were they there with
     their families?
GC   No, they had their families.
TF   So when do you think that started to shift? You know, when, when did there
     start to be many fewer families out on the stations?
GC   08:22:09:00       Well I think when we moved to town, maybe they all had the
     same as us, you know. As kids got bigger, older, they had to move in for
     education and that. And ah some moved away and then that was it. They sort
     of started to close the out stations down. Which was a shame. But you can
     see their point, you know. Motors at every um out station. It costs a lot of
     money doesn’t it?
TF   Like a generator?
GC   Facilities
     08:22:41:00    Yeah. Well they had to have power and that but in our time
     even when we lived here in Windorah, we didn’t have the power so we had I’ll
     never forget ‘em, those ah carbide lights. Yeah. Carbide lights and just
     kerosene lights for a long time.
TF   So there was no power, no generators at all here?
GC   No. It was when my ah Narelle was born really is when they opened the
     power here in Windorah.
TF   So what year would that have been?
GC   Well she’s ah, that would’ve been ’72.
TF   So how did you have a dance? You know, like if you have the races and you
     have three dances without electricity.
GC   08:23:25:06    Well they had their own little motors. The hotel had its own
     and the hall had its own and like private homes, well they couldn’t afford ‘em
     so they just had the kerosene lanterns and the carbide lights.
TF   So electric lights all night would be pretty exciting?
GC   Yeah. Yeah. No, that’s all everyone had.
TF   And so Gladys, tell me then about – well it sounds like you’d met your, known
     your husband for forever, but tell, tell me about how you and he came to get
GC   Romance
     08:24:02:04    Well, we were, in the end I was working at the hotel and he
     would come but as I said, I – and his, he was related to the woman at the hotel
     and they always said you know, oh you want to swing on to him. And I said
     oh no, I’m not interested. And I don’t know how we really got together. And
     then I, well I was always making all these dates for other girls and I ended up
     with him myself ‘cause there was always some around. But um and that’s
     how we ended up together.
TF   So he’d been like a mate of yours at school that you’d be fixing up with your
     friends or something like that?
GC   08:24:41:10      Well he was ah 9 years older than me. Reg was away at
     boarding school when I was there, but the girls that worked at the hotel, they
     were always there and you know, sort of keen on Reg and if we wanted to go
     anywhere, I’d have to ask him to take us and things like that and um that’s
     how we’d go.
TF   So how old were you and he when you got married?
GC   I was 36. No I was 26, I’m sorry, not 36. I was 26.
TF   So that would be, I mean that sounds quite old, quite young by today’s
     standards but quite old by the standards of, of your time. Did, had most of
     your friends –
GC   Romance/Drought
     08:25:52:16      Yeah, but I was going with Reg for 9 years before I married
     him. I think it was just you know, company or enjoying ourselves too much to
     settle down or what. No, I think it was in the middle of a drought and he had
     money problems and worried and that and so we just, ‘cause he used to live in
     town here or out on the property ‘cause its only 35 miles out.
TF   So what was his um what was his job then, in the time when you started going
     together with him and then when you married him?
GC   08:26:00:00      Well he was an only child and they owned Carranya and ah
     they lived ah out there. Geigers owned it before. Cross as such gone back
     into the family again so it’s both now. Geigers and Cross’s.
TF   So was there a way that the Geiger family had been through hard times? Like
     how was it that the Geiger – because to own a station would’ve taken
     presumably a lot of money. How was it the Geigers had gone from owning
     the station then to um you know, your, your Dad working as a stockman?
GC   08:26:35:10      I don’t know. Dad was the youngest one of his family. But I
     think his Father might’ve um you know been the one that enjoyed life a bit
     and, ‘cause Granny Geiger was the one who stayed at home. They lost their
     one child there at the JC. And um I think that’s how it went, you know.
     Grandad Geiger was the one - they all just got out and got themselves a job
     and went their own way.
TF   So for you to go back to Carranya then with your husband, was it important to
     you that you were like going back to the land that your family had owned
GC   Women/Land
     08:27:14:00    Not really. I think I, I did enjoy going back to the land. They
     were all worried ‘cause you know I loved life and that and entertaining like
     going up and playing tennis. I was always the one that, and when I was
     leaving they said oh, you’ll be too lonely out there. But I really loved it. And
     I still do, you know?
TF   What did you love about life out there at Carranya.
GC   08;27:39:00    Well I liked the work and I liked um the space I think. I really
     do like the space but then I liked it in here too, you know?
TF   So what was the work? What was your work out at Carranya.
GC   Gender Relations: Women Managers
     Oh I worked beside um my husband. Done everything. Whether we were
     fencing, pulling bores or mustering or branding and everything and then I’d go
     home and get my kids. But I had it well organised ‘cause if I couldn’t, well I,
     it wasn’t use of me going out. I’d always have it planned that I was cooked
     ahead and there, and those days, you know, you had big smokos and three
     meals a day on the table. It was you know, it doesn’t happen as the same
TF   So how did you do that Gladys? How did you cook –
GC   Gender Relations/Women/Work
     08:28:31:10    Well nobody knew how I’d done it but I did do it. But I think it
     was going from a pub life out there because you had your three meals a day at
     a hotel and they had to be on time and I never ever worked by a clock either
     but my stomach always told me when it was time and that’s what they
     couldn’t believe. But you know, they always loved to come to Carranya when
     they were building the roads. They all come up there for smokos but it was no
     effort to me. Even rearing my kids. I loved it you know, they said oh it’s hard
     work and that but I didn’t. I enjoyed every bit of it.
TF   So tell me what a day would’ve been like. Just a, I mean I know it would have
     varied according – let’s say a mustering day. When you, when you had your
     four kids and it was mustering day. What, tell me how your day would have
     gone? What time –
GC   08:29:18:00    Well right. You’d get up about half past five in the morning
     and I’d get breakfast. In those days it was ride out on horseback or they’d, or
     they’d take the horses the day before to where they were going and then it was
     mustering and that. And I’d take ‘em out ah smoko and lunch. I’d get up
     when they went to work. I’d do my baking and then I’d take ‘em out smoko
     and lunch and then, and the kids loved it. And ah then I’d come home and get
     tea ready and bath the kids and that, and then we’d – same thing’d happen the
     next day.
TF   So –
GC   And it didn’t worry me, the time I got up and that.
TF   So in that example you just gave, you were going out to the men’s camps but
     not actually kind of mustering, but on days when you were joining in with
     mustering or branding or whatever, what would happen to your children?
GC   Women/Work:Childcare
     08:30:18:10    Well my kids would ah sit in the car or there but we always
     seemed to get ‘em up the rails when we were branding or that. We seemed to
     be able to, you know, if one calf got out or that, or looked like getting out,
     we’d tell the kids to get up and they were just trained to get up the rails and get
     out of the road and they loved it. Or the littler ones would stay in the car and
     just hang out and watch everything that was going on.
TF   So that was pretty much what happened today, wasn’t it? You know like –
GC   08:30:48:02    Yeah, everybody was involved and Kevin and them’ve worked
     for me for years. Their kids were born – reared really at Carranya with my
     kids. They got two girls and a boy. And whatever we done, the kids were
     involved in. And when they went to boarding school, we used to leave our
     mustering most of the time ‘til they come home ‘cause they just loved it. And
     while ah my husband was going up to Longreach and getting them ‘cause I
     moved in here for ‘em to go to school, but then we’d pack up and go back to
     Carranya for the holidays and ah Reg’d go and pick the kids up in Longreach
     when they were at boarding school and we’d pack up and then when he came
     home, we just went back out to Carranya and lived for the holidays. And they
     loved it.      08:31:36:20
TF   And so what help did you have on the station? So we’re talking now the fif -
     1950s aren’t we? 50s and 60s.
GC   Yeah. No, there was only Reg, Kevin and myself that done all the mustering,
     branding and that. We just worked side by side all the time.
TF   And so how old’s Maudie? She – approximately?
GC   Ah I dunno what she is. I mean Kevin’s about five years younger than me.
TF   So Maudie wouldn’t be in her 50s, would she?
GC   No.
TF   No. She’s much younger.
GC   Yeah.
TF   Mmm. And would a marriage between a white person and an Aboriginal
     person, like Maudie and Kevin, would that have been in any way unusual or
     that was just how things went ……..
GC   Race Relations
     08:32:27:00    No. Kevin has got a bit of colour in him but ah, no, they’re
     very good mates. Yeah. Very good mates. And as I said, you know, Kevin’s
     worked for us for years and he worked for my husband before – no he worked
     for my, ah Reg’s Uncle before we got married and then he come to work for
     us but Reg – Kevin was always treated like one of the family the whole time.
     And Maudie and that, they lived out there in the men’s quarters out at
     Carranya and their kids grew up there until they all had to move in to school.
TF   And so your kids and their kids work together?
GC   Yeah. Yeah. They are always very close really. They miss it a lot, the
     younger ones, because you know, living out there and that but everybody’s
     gotta go to work haven’t they? There’s not enough work out at Carranya for
TF   So were there any jobs that you didn’t do? You know, any jobs that, that you
     said that’s men’s work and you didn’t participate in?
GC   Gender Relations/Fear
     08:33:30:16    No ‘cause if my husband went to a um, to attend a muster.
     Those days you had to go. It was all horseback. Well if he went to that, well I
     had to do the motor and, and ah I lived there by myself with the kids.
     Sometimes someone would come out and stay with me but it didn’t worry me.
     They, I think everybody else worried for me. But I, with the motor going, I
     didn’t like that, worrying about someone coming. But once I turned the motor
     off I was quite happy.
TF   Because of what, you would fear that –
GC   Someone might come you know. But ah apart from that I really enjoyed it.
TF   So how long might your husband be away mustering?
GC   08:34:12:14     Oh it could be a week or a fortnight. Depended on whose
     muster he went to you know? Some of the properties. ‘Cause it was all
     horseback those days and you just didn’t move as fast.
TF   And so different properties would work together to muster, would they?
GC   08:34:30:20     Well ah we’d go and attend their muster and they’d come over,
     someone from their properties would come and attend to ours. But now you
     just muster and you return the cattle to each other.
TF   So why has that changed do you think?
GC   Oh well, I think there’s a lot more trust in people and they just um, it’s easier
     for them to get their cattle back that way and to send a man over and you don’t
     do it all sort of at once. Once when you started you kept going.
TF   So you’re saying that all the properties mustering together was to do with not
     being sure whether your neighbours might have a few of yours and you
     wanted to check it out?
GC   08:35:09:10     Yeah, well they all, I think mainly is that ah they all felt they
     should go and help ‘cause the fences were pretty bad those days and it was
     only fair they sent someone over to help you muster. As I’ve said, there was
     only Reg and I and Kevin and if they sent a man over to attend, well you got
     extra help. And if um the same with them. They got an extra help off you.
     ‘Cause um you know, the men were, well you got a man and you got your
     cattle back and there was no trucking ‘em home ‘cause you had to walk ‘em
     back when they got ‘em so you really had to be there to bring your cattle
     home. 08:35:45:10
TF   And –
JH   Change tapes.