an interview with terry kirkpatrick


born in Newport “a small place on the fringes of melbourne”

he was in the meat industry, but there was a three year strike in the meat industry, then he went into business in the general store

there was lot of tension in the house… dad was inclined to drink…it worried my mother who as a very strict methodist… they loved each other and they got on very well.. mum nagged him to death and he got very abusive and we got very scared. dad never touched us, but mum used to lose her block a bit…

my mother had a family who lived in the ballarat district… she was a country girl through and through
durham leed via buninyong
grandma lived until she was 94, the three older girls used to have holidays with her. two sons lived with her, into her eighties she was cooking a daily roast dinner for these men who worked on the farm… we had a lovely time, she’d give us a basket and we’d collect the eggs from all sorts of funny places… she had a gooseberry orchard, we used to collect gooseberries and rasberries and strawberries it was so lovely. [lots of dinner details] no tv, no radio, no electricity, no water, we used to sit by candlelight or kerosene lamp and read the books that were in her library [funny story of the book about Paddy In The Police Court, which started her career as a performer]
two or three years ago i went back and a couple of cousins still live there, and they took me to grandma’s farm which is almost nonexistent except for part of the dairy… and the smell of the pines was absolutely overwhelmingly nostalgic, and it all came back to me just through walking through these things. they were very happy days, and imagine my mother getting rid of three kids for five weeks!
we used to have to go to ballarat station and we were met by an aunt… i suppose a cousin who rode a horse used to come and we used to catch a bus out to somewhere… and we used to trudge out to the farm…

father’s name was Fred but he was known as Mark

i was a bit too bright to be called elsie so they called me terry… my parents never used the new name. two of my sisters call me terry, but my eldest sister still calls me elsie

when we were growing up we were always together
eileen was the eldest… about three and a half years older than i… as she was growing up she caused a few headaches for my parents cos she liked boys and she liked motorbikes
and then dorothy was 13 or 14 months younger, and she was a very responsible person and has continued to be… always very well dressed, and very good with money always, and i was always hopeless
eileen got married early and went off, and dorothy and i were left at home… we’d go to skating two or three times a week… to the pictures… the rowing club… she eventually married a guy who was a rower. i ran in and said to my sister “quickly quickly get me a lemon he just put his tongue in my mouth”
nancy was born six years later i’m very close to her, we talk on the phone at least seven times a week sometimes even more than once a day. we just get on so well
we were living in a house attached to a business my parents had lost during the depressions… dad went off to collect mum at the hospital, we three kids were left at home, there was no such things as baby sitters, you didn’t even lock your door or close your window… but we sat absolutely petrified on a stool at the back of the kitchen table, i remember mum coming in with this bundle, her fourth child, and putting her on the bed…. in these latter years we’ve become very close…

when i was about 14 we moved to a closer to the city suburb, the lady next door used to say to my mother “you’re very lucky, owning your own house” they were always very responsible parents – that was footscray

williamstown is where i went to high school, we used to ride our bikes to school from newport

my father lived till 94… he had a fall and died of pneumonia two days later, which is very common…
i was pregnant with cathy when he was dying, and my husband took the phone call… i was over 40 and having a dicey pregnancy… my husband thought it would be dangerous for me to fly down so we drove… stayed overnight in albury… arrived just after dad actually died which made me a bit sad