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Bonnie’s Laurie Allen Tribute

 

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My Grandfather Albert Percival who was listed missing in action in the First World War. Never did come home, listed  as Missing In Action. His name on The Villers-Bretonneux memorial wall in France is all there is.. Killed in a battle in Pozieres in 1916. All I knew of my Grandfather as a little girl was his name in gold lettering on the memorial wall at my school, Albert St State School. It was also on the memorial boards at The Brunswick Town Hall and the former Brunswick RSL.With three small children at home, to me this is the true meaning of a hero.

 

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City of Brunswick certificate presented to Alberts wife Mary in 1920.

I really would love to see his name  on the memorial wall at The Villers-Bretonneux Memorial wall..or better still  it would be  wonderful for  his remains were found, one can only hope….

 

 

 

 

Welcome to my  space, my little piece of  the world wide web, my footprint of a good life.

 Looking at the search queries that come into my website I have come to realise peoples interest in the past is amazing, people are so interested in days gone bye, so I thought I would add a page on to my Laurie Tribute dealing with a few areas of my life that may be of some interest to others, a few memories I hope.

 

My family are Brunswickians from way back, my mother & father grew up in Brunswick as  their parents did, All around Edward St, Albert St and Barkly St, I spent most of my childhood in Brunswick in the days when kids played in the streets, sailing icy-pole sticks down the gutters, my mother always said we kids were so healthy because we played in the gutters, brought up in the gutters of Brunswick, I heard my mum a few times tell other mothers “Let the kid get dirty, it’s healthy”.  I would ride my three wheeler bike around the back lanes, they were my private little roads, or push my pram with my many dolls around the streets, the world was a safer place in those days, it was even safe to be riding down the back lanes bordering on darkness. These were the days when there was always the latest fad, and every kid in the street would have to be in on it, skippy, hoola hoops, swap cards, jacks, hop scotch and the only time we were not out in the street playing was dinner time and bed time, and of course at school. On Christmas day kids would be out in the street showing off their new toys, it was like a tradition, I haven’t seen a little girl playing with a pram and dolls for years, how sad. Down the street a little bit In Edward Street the Briggs circus people lived, I can remember seeing Andy Pandy and Chief Little Wolf quite often, wow that was famous to me, then came television, with the neighbourhood kids watching the Mickey Mouse Club, all sitting in front of the black and white telly with our ears on, the wonder of it all, this was so much better than listening to Biggles and the adventures of Noddy on the radio. Then of course the highlight of the week was Saturday afternoon, going to the pictures at the Empire theatre.

 

There wasn’t much money in those days, I guess you could say we were brought up on the rabbit, my dad used to go rabbiting every Sunday with our dog Timmy, he would come home with a mega amount of rabbits strapped to the bumper bar of the car, he would skin them, clean them and then distribute them amongst friends, neighbours and rally’s, he supplied them all with their weekly meat, I think my lovely dad helped a lot of people through these times with his weekly donation and some times especially in the mushroom season we kids would tag along and we would often come home with a car load of mushrooms also to be shared around.

 

 Then there was my Uncle Andy who supplied all the kids in the neighbourhood with bikes, he would go to the local tip and find old broken bikes, bring them home, fix them up and give them to any kid who wanted them, every kid around the Edward St area had a bike and he was also famous for taking in any hungry dogs, made the front of the local paper for that one, upset the establishment a bit there, which he tended to do a bit. He was a free spirit with a kind heart.

 

 I think I was so lucky to have such a wonderful childhood and I often think, how lucky were we to be around in the best of times. The 50’s had to be the best place to be as a child and the 60’s was definitely the best time for a teenager. I still love Brunswick, I wish I could afford to live there now, I believe my mum & dad paid 5,000 pounds for the little single fronted, 2 bedroom house in Edward St, things certainly have changed.

 

 

 

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Alberts three children Charles, Victor      ( My Dad) & Albert growing up in Brunswick.

 

 

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In memory of my Dad who passed away in 1995, Victor Major of 2/2nd Field   Regiment of Artillery, Second World War, the best Dad in the world.

Thanks to my sister Shirley for this photo, I appreciate it so much.

 

 

 

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This is a photo I found amongst My dads photos, I think it is of the Brunswick Football Club as I know he played with them for a short time.

 

 

 

 

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Baby Bonnie

 

 

 

 

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After witnessing the birth of triplet goats without fainting I was given the honour of naming this one, so she was named Danielle (after Laurie’s song Danielle). Laurie thought this was rather cool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Albert Street State School to Brunswick Girls School

 

 School was not my most favourite place to be, not being the smartest and I feel just not ready to learn, my yearning for knowledge came much later, I would be holding back by saying I hated every minute of school.

I started out at Albert Street State school just plodding along because I had to, I don’t think I really learnt much from school, I know I learnt all common sensibility from my parents.

 

I managed to scrape through State school to go to Brunswick Girls school, in those days Brunny Girls as it was known didn’t have a very good name, even having a headmistress quoted in the local paper what she thought of the girls and it wasn’t very nice but I couldn’t see it, we were so tame and so innocent, I think the biggest trouble I ever got into was refusing to wear regulation school shoes and moulding my school hat into a cowboy hat, how I hated that straw hat, how radical was that? I Went to a school reunion in 1984 with my old school friend Miranda, we had been told previously that Lindy Chamberlain had actually gone to Brunny Girls for one year, well we checked the school photos and sure enough she was there at the same time that we were but being in a different class and as she only spent one year there I couldn’t remember her, but I am sure she was lovely just like all Brunny Girls…. We were all nice girls.  A little querie in case some one who visits has an answer…. I was at Brunny Girls for three years, one of these years our class was told that no one from that particular class was going to be able obtain a copy of the class photo because some one was poking out a tongue (another radical) well at the reunion that Miranda and I attended we saw that school photo and surprise surprise…. not a tongue to be seen, a group of little angels, I have often wondered why a Head Mistress would tell such a lie.

Today both Albert Street State and Brunswick Girls school are gone, pulled down and made into housing estates, when I read they were going to pull down old Brunny Girls I went along and took a couple of photos, it was rather sad to see the broken windows and papers all over the school yard, at least at this school I did have a few nice memories.

 

 

 

  History Of Brunswick Girls School later named Brunswick East High School.

1924 to 1984

 The School was planned and built during 1922-24 for girls in grades 5,6,7 & 8 at a cost of 16,609 pounds 16 shillings and 4 cents, there were 475 girls enrolled. The school was officially opened on July2 1925. In 1969 Brunswick Girls School became Brunswick East High School

 

 

 

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I took these photos of Brunswick Girls just before they demolished it.

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 Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: LaurieHayes 63 to 65  Former student of Brunny Girls Laurie Hayes contacted me after seeing MY SPACE and we came up with the idea of maybe putting a section here for anyone who would like to be a part of Brunswick Girls School memories. Laurie attended Brunny girls (1963 to 1965).Laurie  would like to make contact with some of her friends from  Brunswick Girls School, I hope My Space can help her do this.

Are you out there….Fay Sims, Judy Farrow, Paulette Cooper and Kay Rust.  Laurie would just love you to get in touch with her and catch up on old times.

Email Laurie on   worfie51@yahoo.com.au

 

                             Former  student of Brunny Girls Suzanne Reaburn ( 1962-1965)  would love to hear from  friends Christine Tucker, Cynthia Constance,  Lorna Blakely, Gillian Fox and Pam Black

                                             .Email Sue  on rosini2@bigpond.com

                          

 PMG to Telstra

 

After doing a Receptionist Telephonist course I kept getting told when going for jobs that 3 months experience with the PMG was required, so I thought I would go along and get that 3 months experience, I stayed 31 years, seeing a lot of changes through the years. I started at The City West Exchange in Little Bourke Street on trunk lines, working in various areas from payphones, trunk calls, emergency to early morning calls. I can still remember the first time I connected a trunk call while still in class, we didn’t have a telephone at home so a long distance call was a rather big thing to me, I couldn’t wait to get home to tell my family that I actually spoke to someone in Geelong. In those days big changes were yet to come, my clock on card (D Number) was number 400 and I was right in the middle of the clock on board so there were a lot of operators in those days, mainly women. Women in those days had to leave when they married and as most of the operators were women and one worked their way up through seniority, most of the supervisors were unmarried and had dedicated their whole lives to their job and they took their jobs very seriously. In those days an operator could not sit at a position for more than three hours without a break and had to ask a supervisor if they could go to the toilet and there were times when the operator would be timed for natures calling. Times had Already changed a little, I was told that not long before I had started a lady had to be wearing hat & gloves to enter the building, I am sure glad that one was changed. These were the good days when giving service was number one priority, with manual exchanges, it would be an every day thing for an operator to weave all over the country from one exchange to another simply to connect a call in a town just outside Melbourne, time was not an issue, there was a lot more satisfaction to the job knowing you were allowed to give service. An operator was there for the customer, helping sometimes confused people with what day it was to helping with advice on how to bake a cake, the operator was a link for lonely people too, just the sound of a voice at times helped them through. A number one rule in those days was that an operator was never allowed under any circumstances give out her name, for security reasons which sounded reasonable, a safety issue. The turnover of staff in those days was amazing, coming and going all the time, like me I guess girls were just there for the experience, there would be two or three classes on at any one time, then they would stay a little while and off they would go, I was in a class of about 8 and after 3months I was the only one still there so there were probably thousands of operators that passed through the old City West Exchange. When the rules were relaxed and women could be married a lot of them came back but there was always a huge turnover of operators.

 

 When the PMG changed to Telecom, time became a bigger issue and that meant that the pressure on the operator had changed, the service was changed from quality to quantity, the satisfaction factor was slowly diminishing and more often operators were being abused for not giving the service the public were used to, I guess we were always considered to be a semi-public service department. Things didn’t get any better when Telecom changed to Telstra.

Telstra was computerised and the big move to The Lonsdale Exchange for early morning calls and redirection, time for a bigger change for me, I transferred to the Preston Exchange which was Directory Assistance and Service Difficulties. This was a huge change for me and a lot of learning, for me Service Difficulties was hard, a lot to learn but I got through it.

Things changed so much in those days, from the operators having to introduce themselves with their names, I guess there was no longer security problems, the world suddenly became a safer place ….have to think a bit on that one…. and timing of calls to the extreme, 30seconds to introduce yourself, find out the information from the customer, search for the number and deliver the correct information with politeness while knowing there was someone on the ready to pounce on you when you went over the time that was set and this would change from day to day depending upon complaints from the customers, there was a short time 18 seconds was the time being pushed. There were a lot of mega stressed operators at that time and friendly discussions with management was the order of the day, I was one who didn’t believe in the time pushing and the way that operators were being treated so I guess one could say the managers office had become a very familiar place to me, 31 years had taught me to stand up for what was right, so I guess you could say I went for it, gave it a good shot but unfortunately or fortunately for some the operators days were numbered. Sometimes I was asked why after thirty something years I was still just an operator, well to me there was nothing wrong with being JUST an operator, I preferred to stay a worker, maybe this was the Brunswickian coming out in me, my whole family were hard workers and I could never have played by the management rules for supervisors, making out reports on my fellow workmates for a couple of extra dollars was just not for me, so I remained just an operator and happy with my job until near the end when hardly anyone seemed to be fulfilled with their jobs. When the time for operator culling had come around I was quite happy to go, the beginning of the end to operators had begun.

 

 Today customers talk to a computer if they can get past the mass amount of menus and prompts and if you are lucky you might get someone you can actually understand, I think that’s what they call progress, I call that a disgrace and I am sure everyone was much happier when it was a real person within Australia on the other end of the phone whose job it was to provide service to the customer, operators who cared about the service they gave, everyone was happy. Maybe customers should stand firm and demand the return of the operator, and insist operators be allowed to give the service they the customer pay enough for, a telephone exchange to me is a great starting place for young people starting out in the big world of employment, something the young people of today could very well do with.

 

Over the 31years I spent as a telephone operator I met many many people, some I am still close friends with, I hope maybe this page will bring back some memories to some former switch bitches or hello girls out there, heres to the good times and there were many..     

 

Preston Exchange Facebook Page

 

City West Facebook Page

                                                                                           

 

 

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City West Telephone Exchange

 

The Lonsdale Exchange

 

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The Preston Exchange

 

Any former Prestonites who would like to be included in our yearly get together ,email me with your name and email address  and I will send you an invite when the next one is on…

Dinner,old friends, memories and a lot of laughs

bonnie@laurieallen.net.

 

 

Bonnie and Nancy @ Skygate88 Melbourne-The Edge 2008

Thanks to Magic 1278 for the tickets to Skydeck 88 

 

 

 

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Contact me  bonnie@laurieallen.net