Therese O’Neill (1917-2009)
Therese O'Neill (nee Mahony) was born at Narrandera, New South Wales, in 1917 and, after moving to Yass, attended the opening ceremony of Parliament House in 1927. Recorded in 2007, she died in 2009.
Interview with Therese O'Neill part 1
B York: This is an interview with Mrs Therese O’Neill taking place with me Barry York for Old Parliament House on 5th October, 2007. Mrs O’Neill attended the opening ceremony at Parliament House in 1927 as a nine year old.
T O’Neill: Yes, I was going on ten.
B York: Going on ten. I want to thank you very much for cooperating with us and making this recording.
T O’Neill: Thank you Barry.
B York: Let’s begin at the beginning. I’d like to know about your family background. Can you tell me first perhaps, when and where you were born and something about your parents.
T O’Neill: Yes. I was born in Narrandera and we were there for — dad came there and met my mother and they were married a couple of years after. We were there, three of us were born in Narrandera before we left. We left there, went to Sydney and in Sydney there was one born and went back to Yass and there were two born there. Then there was a surprise packet born at [laughs] at Darlinghurst, Crown Street, Darlinghurst. He’s lost his mother and father. His father at four and his mother at eleven. So, we grew to — we had to send him to boarding school, we had a family of our own but he would be with us for holidays, or he’d go down to my aunts at Narrandera.
B York: He was like an adopted?
T O’Neill: No, he was a brother. He rang me one day and he said ‘Therese do you realize that you were just on eighteen when I was born’. I said ‘Don’t [laughs] make me aware of it’. He went on to become a professor which was very good. He wanted to be a teacher all his life.
B York: When were you born Therese, was that 1917?
T O’Neill: Yes July, and I think — that was in the May wasn’t it?
B York: Yes
T O’Neill: When the Duke and Duchess came?
B York: Yes, that’s right.
T O’Neill: I think it was in the May.
B York: Can you tell me about your mother and father. What were their names and what did they do for a living?
T O’Neill: Yes, my mother’s name was Eileen Josephine Hayes and my father was Joseph James Mahony. He was born at Clifton Hill Melbourne. The family were all but born there and he was the only one that ever left Melbourne the rest stayed there. So we had no cousins in New South Wales.
B York: And what was his occupation? What did he do for a living?
T O’Neill: My father?
B York: Yes.
T O’Neill: He was in the PMG and he was — well these days they’d call it something else but he was a telephone mechanic and he was eventually an inspector of telephones.
B York: And your mother did she work outside of the house at all?
T O’Neill: When he met her — he went to board at the hotel opposite there and she was the barmaid [laughs]. So that was the difference.
B York: How did your family end up in Yass?
T O’Neill: We were sent to Yass, yes. We’d gone back to Sydney from Narrandera and he was sent to Yass and then he was there about, I think only about five or six years, and then he was sent back to Sydney. He spent the rest of his life in Sydney, at Marrickville.
B York: When you say he was sent to Yass that was with the PMG was it?
T O’Neill: Oh yes.
B York: What was his position in Yass, do you remember?
T O’Neill: Oh yes, he had an office in the back of the post office and he was the telephone inspector. Telephones were going up so we had some good trips as children, going out in one of these Fox motorbike things, out to Merriman’s and all the people around Yass. We’d have a lovely day while he worked.
B York: Yes, so he had a motorbike did he?
T O’Neill: Motorbike, but they had square box to carry.
B York: Yes, I know the type. Roughly how old were you when the family moved to Yass?
T O’Neill: I would have been six, yes, I would have been six.
B York: Can you tell me a bit about your schooling, did you go to the Yass school?
T O’Neill: Yes, I went to the convent school there. Yes, I was there to make my First Communion. I would have only been about six. I wasn’t Confirmed until I was in Sydney. You go by age, about ten or eleven.
B York: When you were at school did you have favourite subjects?
T O’Neill: History [laughs] was my favourite subject, all the way through, yes.
B York: Now, let’s talk about the actual opening of Parliament House. I’m wondering how did it happen that you were able to attend?
T O’Neill: Well, people were all going, so many people. They were taking who ever wanted to go. Some on trucks, some on cars, whatever they had. We were on a truck. Whose truck, I’ve forgotten, I can remember the policeman and everybody else but I can’t remember whose truck we were on. They had platform, you know, long shelves on the flat part of the truck at the back, we all sat on that.
B York: So that’s like a motorized truck?
T O’Neill: Yes.
B York: At school did they prepare you for attending the opening?
T O’Neill: Oh yes, they talked a lot about it, of course it was a big thing seeing royalty in the flesh for us. We’d read a lot about them and all the rest of it and we did feel sorry the little one had been left behind [laughs] who is now Queen Elizabeth. No, we were very impressed.
B York: Did you hope that you could have met the Duke and Duchess?
T O’Neill: Oh no we thought that was way above us, yes. There were a lot of people meeting them but they were quite, you know, high public servants or hierarchy of some kind.
B York: Oh right. Did you have to do any work at school in preparation for the …
T O’Neill: No, we didn’t do very much, just talking. Even when we came back we had big discussions, but we didn’t write about it. The teacher wanted to know all about it.
B York: And do you remember what you discussed, what kind of things would you talk about?
T O’Neill: We were talking mainly about the Duke and Duchess of York, you know. We all were amazed it was so bare, no hat, very little trees.
B York: So were you thinking that Canberra would be a more developed place, were you?
B York: Well I thought there’d be more trees and see what places turned out to be, but they probably had little trees planted, but they must — it was very bare then and this big building.
B York: Did you learn any songs?
T O’Neill: I can’t remember that. We must have. I can remember singing but I can’t remember what they were. I had a poor singing voice [laughs].
B York: Now it sounds like it was really just a matter of a group being put on the truck and taken to the opening. Was there any formal organisation?
T O’Neill: No, just friends. People just kind of made up their mind that they’d go across and see it all.
B York: So I guess you knew that it was going to happen …
T O’Neill: Oh yes.
B York: … were you excited?
T O’Neill: Oh yes, very excited, very excited, it was like one bit picnic.
B York: I know you were very young, you mentioned that you liked history at school. I’m wondering did you think of it as a historic event?
T O’Neill: Oh yes, oh definitely, for the royal family to be coming out, it was very important to us in those days.
B York: I can see why it would have been really exciting to see royalty in the flesh, but did you also think of it at all, in terms of the Australia parliament being set up in Canberra, was that part of the attraction?
T O’Neill: Oh yes, I think we were very happy that it was not opened in Melbourne, yes, because they have a lot going for them over in Melbourne and we felt a little bit out of it, I think, we felt that way.
B York: Did your parents have any attitudes to that?
T O’Neill: No, I remember dad was happy it was coming so close to us, yes.
B York: And as a member of the PMG was he part — that was part of the federal government wasn’t it?
T O’Neill: Yes, these three men, they would have been about twenty-five I suppose at the time. They sat for a certain exam. I had a photo of them, I should have brought that, but any rate, they passed this exam. They were sent to Sydney. They had offices at the back, or workshops or whatever, at the back of the GPO they didn’t have a place of their own when they came over.
B York: You said you couldn’t remember the name of the truck driver …
T O’Neill: No.
B York: … can you tell me a little bit about him, like was he a neighbour?
T O’Neill: Oh yes, he was the neighbour. I can remember an awful lot of the different ones, their families. I can remember the owner of the picture show, Mr Peterson, I can remember the policeman, Sergeant Smith. I can remember the people that had the bank, McShane and Davis there were a lot of Davises, but they were in the butcher trade. One of the Davis was next door to us. When she was married I was the flower girl but she never had children. She was the music teacher and played the piano in the picture show and the church too, of course.
B York: And the guy who drove the truck, what did he do in the town?
T O’Neill: I can’t remember. I’ve tried to think of it [laughs] …
B York: Okay, that’s alright.
T O’Neill: … do you know what I really remember my girlfriends and people I played with, and see all those names I knew there.
B York: Can you tell me who were you on the truck with, who were some of your other young friends?
T O’Neill: Only our family and a couple of other families, yes.
B York: And do you remember the other families, which ones?
T O’Neill: I think there were Williamson were one of them, I can’t remember the other, there were about three families.
B York: So how many people would that have been I wonder.
T O’Neill: All together I think there’d be hundreds, well and truly that went in cars.
B York: From Yass?
T O’Neill: Yes, there were quite a lot, it was a big affair.
B York: So there were others going by car, other trucks?
T O’Neill: Yes, trucks, yes, whatever people had, some kind of conveyance, people were invited to come along.
B York: Any horse and sulky?
T O’Neill: I can’t remember horse and sulky, I can’t remember that.
B York: And on the truck that you travelled on with your family, how many people, you said there were three families?
T O’Neill: I think there would have been three, and each family would have about six all told, six through to eighteen.
B York: Yes.
T O’Neill: That’s a lot isn’t it, but of course a lot of them were children.
B York: Yes, it would have been crowded though.
T O’Neill: Oh yes, I think it was crowded, when I think about it.
B York: And from your family can you tell me who attended?
T O’Neill: Yes, it was mum and dad. I was the eldest of seven and so Harold came next, he was on it, and Eileen was on it, and Douglas was on it. They had four children.
B York: And the Williamsons?
T O’Neill: They’d have about the same, yes. I knew them really well at school, you know. I can’t remember what the father did. I can remember what Nancy Davis’s father was in the orchard business but, no I can’t — the McShanes they had four children.
B York: Were they the other family, McShane?
T O’Neill: Yes.
B York: And what did they do?
T O’Neill: He was in the bank.
B York: Oh that’s right.
T O’Neill: Yes, he was in the bank. He had two boys and two girls.
B York: And were you all at school together, all the children?
T O’Neill: Yes, we were, we were all at the Catholic school, Mercy nuns. Do you know I think that later on a couple of Joe Lyons — they might have been his elder daughters, boarded there.
B York: Is that right.
T O’Neill: Yes.
B York: Were your parents interested in politics at all?
T O’Neill: Dad was [laughs]
B York: Yes, and you’re laughing why is that?
T O’Neill: Well, it was the Labor and of course the father and his family were conservatives, very conservative, and I remember pa writing out to dad and saying, ‘You and your harbour bridge and your Jack Lang’ [laughs]. He was always rubbing it in. They’d have a go at us. I think it was moving across with these other chaps. They went boarding together, just across North Sydney there somewhere. I think that they got interested in politics then.
B York: Yes.
T O’Neill: That’s what I think.
B York: So that’s before he came to Yass, before your father came to Yass.
T O’Neill: Yes, before he was married, yes.
B York: And I’m wondering too, like you’ve mentioned you went to the Catholic school. I’m wondering was there any hostility to the royals, like the kind of republican?
T O’Neill: No, I’d say no, they were quite happy about it, very happy about them coming out, yes.
B York: I was going to ask also about the — whether you — can you tell me now about the actual ceremony. What are your memories of being there. I’ve shown you some of the old photos and you’ve brought one yourself.
T O’Neill: I remember they had a big type of stage, type of thing built up. I remember that there was — where the Duke and Duchess were. We could see them very clearly, we could hear them too. Then they had a whole lot of people, it would be the Prime Minister and who ever, it says Bruce and I think it was too, all those people. Whether we had a Governor General then I’m not sure but people of that stature. All the important people and there were quite a lot up there, quite a lot. It was a big, yes.
B York: Anything you want to tell me about the journey from Yass to the opening, did anything happen, what was it like?
T O’Neill: Oh no, we were all laughing, just in a picnic spirit. There wasn’t anything serious going on [laughs].
B York: Did you have picnics? Did you prepare a picnic lunch?
T O’Neill: We took our picnics with us, oh yes, we took our lunch and all that type of thing.
B York: And I guess the mothers would have prepared that?
T O’Neill: Yes, they did.
B York: I know it was a long time ago, but do you remember what you actually had?
T O’Neill: Oh no I don’t [laughs]
B York: No, I thought I’d ask in case you’ve got a remarkable memory.
T O’Neill: Oh no, we had sandwiches for sure and cool drinks and whatever, oh fruit, we’d have fruit.
B York: And along, how did you travel, which road did you take from Yass?
T O’Neill: Oh we went — I’m nearly certain we went through Hall, that way, because — what’s a couple of those other — see dad used to go out working at these places.
B York: Murrumbateman?
T O’Neill: I can’t remember that one. But he did work there but I don’t think that was one. It just seemed to go straight across.
B York: Was it a dirt road back then?
T O’Neill: It was a dirt road, oh yes, no — when I hear these different places, I think, oh I remember going there with dad. I just can’t remember the other place.
B York: Was it similar to a convoy?
T O’Neill: Yes, that was what it was like, all one after another.
B York: So ahead of you there would have been another truck or a car …
T O’Neill: Yes.
B York: … or whatever and behind there were …
T O’Neill: Yes, that’s the way, we were all together when we had to have lunch, we were all sitting around on the ground, type of thing.
B York: And looking at this photo. I’ll just get one that I’ve numbered here. I was wondering how far back would you have been – yes number three.
T O’Neill: Yes, that one, yes. Well I’d say — see I’m not sure whether we were there – around about there …
B York: So that is directly opposite, where the stage would have been?
T O’Neill: Yes, the stage would have been there, and we would have been there — not back there no we were about there somewhere.
B York: But not terribly close.
T O’Neill: Not terribly close there was quite a space between.
B York: Well actually looking at the photo there is that — a large space in between the dignitaries I guess and the members of the public isn’t there …
T O’Neill: Yes.
B York: … who were near the flag poles, or whatever they are.
T O’Neill: Yes. We felt we weren’t too far away. We were a bit, that is where I think we would have been, amongst those people.
B York: Was there much security, like were there police telling you where to go?
T O’Neill: No, I don’t think there were. There could have been and I wouldn’t have known. But really we didn’t have somebody saying push back or do anything like that, we just sat where we parked the whatever. We got out and found ourselves a spot and sat there.
B York: Do you remember this. Another photo I’m showing, a photo that I’ve marked number one, does that bring back any memory, the singing?
T O’Neill: No, that was the singer wasn’t it?
B York: Yes.
T O’Neill: Yes, I can’t remember her name.
B York: Do you remember hearing her sing?
T O’Neill: Oh yes, that is why, I thought she was the singer, yes. I remember her singing. See I can’t remember these other people, no.
B York: No, that’s okay. I’m mainly wondering about her. And this photo I’ve labelled number two, that’s an old Aboriginal man sitting outside.
T O’Neill: And he was there was he?
B York: Yes, I’m wondering did you see any Aboriginal people there?
T O’Neill: Well no, but you know, I’ve been at Narrandera the Aborigines were there. They were pretty good in those days. They weren’t drinking and they were well behaved and so it was the same at Yass. They had a little school for them at Yass and they used to go to school in the morning and go home in the afternoon. Mum would be out the front waiting to give them some clothes. We didn’t think we were finished with them but she thought — and so they were very good. They would come into town. I think it was Friday, I’m not sure now, what day it was, towards the end of the week. They’d be dressed, hats and gloves and all that. They were very good that lot. See that all went backwards, but see the ones up north they never came to the towns, that would be the difference.
B York: Did they work in Yass?
T O’Neill: Yes, they worked.
B York: What did they tend to do?
T O’Neill: Help on the farms and things like that, yes.
B York: So the Aboriginal men, what would they do on the farms?
T O’Neill: Oh I think they’d plant, help with the shearing or whatever.
B York: And the women, Aboriginal women?
T O’Neill: Housework, they always did, as a matter of fact, where we lived, just further up there was a girl. I suppose she would be fifteen or something like that and she was working for this couple and lived with them. I remember when she got pneumonia or something like that and they sent for her people. They came from Wagga. How them came I can’t remember that, but they came to get her, to take her home, and they were all just dressed like us. They weren’t quite tidy, quite clean, and as a matter of fact, even though I was younger I was very friendly with that girl. I remember going up to where they lived and even though they only had dirt floors they were clean, not like what you see today out there.
B York: And the school that you mentioned for Aboriginal people, was that a Church school?
T O’Neill: Yes, the school yes, it was just built at the back of the church, yes.
B York: I’m wondering if another other photos bring back any memories. This is photo number four.
T O’Neill: I can remember this, the band and that type of thing. No, I can remember that but — and see this would be the back of the people I suppose, the main people.
B York: Yes, and do you remember …
T O’Neill: You’ve got some very good photos.
B York: … photo number five, is the carriage, did you see the processing of horse drawn carriages?
T O’Neill: I saw this coming.
B York: And were people vocal?
T O’Neill: Oh yes they were very excited.
B York: Were they cheering and calling out?
T O’Neill: Oh yes, hooray and all the rest of it, yes.
B York: How long it take to get from Yass to the site?
T O’Neill: I don’t know for sure but I think it wouldn’t be much more than an hour and a half then, yes, or two hours, make it an hour and a half to two hours.
B York: Would you like to tell me, just how you feel about that experience, when you look back on it now?
T O’Neill: Well, I think I was privileged, very privileged to be able to get to see that. It was history — no that’s how it feels, I was one of the lucky ones.
B York: Being a young girl at the time was it fun? Was it actually fun to be there?
T O’Neill: Oh yes, well glad to be there, yes, it was, yes very glad.
B York: The reason I ask that. I have young children myself and I know they get bored very easily and I thought how would they go watching a procession and listening to speeches.
T O’Neill: What age are they?
B York: Ten and thirteen.
T O’Neill: Oh yes, well see I would have been pretty close to the younger one.
B York: So were you ….
T O’Neill: But still things were so different. See, at Yass we had a telephone because dad had to have a telephone but when we came to Sydney we didn’t have a telephone and then it was a while before he built his own radio. He wound all the wire, hand on the thing.
B York: And that was after — was that when you moved to Sydney?
T O’Neill: Yes, it was after Sydney.
B York: I suppose you would have got your information about these events, or about politics from the newspapers mainly in Yass, would that be right?
T O’Neill: I don’t know. I don’t think. I can’t remember reading newspapers much. I think we just got it from word of mouth.
B York: But your parents …
T O’Neill: Yes.
B York: Do you want to tell me what you did after the family moved from Yass back to Sydney, tell me about your own life?
T O’Neill: We moved to a place called — it was part of Marrickville and mum and dad seemed to have enough money each time they moved, to buy a house. So they were — it was very hard. See it was about the beginning of 1928, that’s when we moved to Sydney. He went looking for a house and he couldn’t find this one at the Warren they call it, it’s pretty historical end of Marrickville above Cooks River. That house he had and he had a choice of another one at Hunters Hill I think it was. Later, while we had to get these other people out we had to go out among, rent a house out at Merrylands, amongst the chook farms [laughs], you’ve got no idea of it. I remember saying to dad ‘Why in the Dickens didn’t you buy the one at Hunter’s Hill?’ when I got to know. He said ‘Because it was too small’, I said ‘too small’ it couldn’t have been much smaller than the one we bought, but any rate. So we stayed there the rest of his life. He died at fifty and mum was a widower at forty-three and she died at fifty. Dad with the heart attack. He suffered with a heart for quite a little while and mum was that horrible cancer, pancreatic.
B York: Oh yes.
T O’Neill: Yes, a very nasty one. We knew — she was operated on at Lewisham and even the little nun came to me. I and my sister were there and she said to me ‘Pray your mother doesn’t come through the anaesthetic’ but she did and she suffered terribly. So — we were there, I was there, I was the first one to go. I was married at Marrickville church, St Brigid’s.
B York: When was that by the way, roughly?
T O’Neill: 1938, and I married a boy who had never been [laughs] — he had a very religious mother but never been to a Catholic school. I said to him one day ‘Why do you always pick a Catholic girl’ and he said ‘Life’s hard enough, without making it any harder’. He went to Fort Street. Both his mother and father were teachers and the mother was called back to teaching in the First World War. He was three and his brother was eighteen months old. So they were able to have people in the house in those days, to look after, you know, live in people from the country, whoever it might be. So there was always somebody there in the house when the boys — although when they were little they travelled with their mother. She taught at Homebush school for twenty five years. She was still teaching when my daughter was at school. Keith my husband, he went into the public service too. He was in the health department for forty-four years I think it was.
B York: What did you do?
T O’Neill: I did something different…
Interview with Therese O'Neill part 2
T O’Neill: …done shorthand and typing and business and so I was going to get a job, but no way could I get a job. It was depression time.
B York: So when you went to Sydney from Yass, you kept studying?
T O’Neill: Yes, I was still at school.
B York: And you did the shorthand…
T O’Neill: And that type of thing, a commercial course. I had three friends, they hadn’t a father and the mothers had to go to work when they were very, very young. But one was a dress maker and she worked and she had four girls and a boy. This morning—her youngest was my friend, and this morning she calls me over with all these things wrapped and she said, ‘Now this is a job, advertising to go to’ whatever. I said ‘What is it’ she said ‘Millinery’ I said ‘Oh no, oh I hate sewing’ and I go at the typing room. You do as you’re told. You’re fourteen years old. She’d been used to bossing around. ‘You do as you’re told, you go in’. Well I had it until I was married and it was a wonderful job to have because I could do some at home which I did, bridal things. So that was my life work.
B York: And did you work for a company?
T O’Neill: Yes, they were two men, just opening up. They had been travellers at another place and one was a champion billiard, Hans Robertson and his brother taught Shirley Strickland, coached her over in Perth, and the other one was Colin Rose and he was a cricketer. They were sportspeople. They kept that business going, did very well at it until hats went out. Now they’re all factory made and ours were models, you know, hand models.
B York: And so you didn’t work in a factory situation at all?
T O’Neill: Oh no, we were in York Street, a factory, we did have a factory. It was then a railway. By the way, one of the girls that I worked with she still renown, oh she’s dead now, but she’s still renown for her wonderful work. She did it — one day I went to a film and I said to — my sister said, ‘Come on we’re going’ and I said ‘I know who made these hats’ and she said ‘Oh don’t be silly, you wouldn’t know who made these hats’. I said ‘I do’ because they were classical hats and dowdy hats and sure enough this person that worked with me all the time. We were good friends. It was the Betty Beeson. I’ve heard her name mentioned many times. I got on the phone and I rang her. She was still living at Marrickville. I said ‘Betty what do you do?’ she said I do it for films, I do it for this and this and this and I teach at NIDA, so you know.
B York: NIDA.
T O’Neill: Yes, she taught at NIDA.
B York: Tell me, I’m going back a bit now, I’m sorry…
T O’Neill: No that’s alright.
B York: …I just thought, after the opening ceremony was over at Parliament House and you all went back to Yass…
T O’Neill: Yes.
B York: …did you travel back in the night time?
T O’Neill: No it was still light when we were going back. I remember that quite well.
B York: What effect did it have on the town?
T O’Neill: I don’t know, I don’t know. Everybody was excited about it, that’s the most important thing.
B York: Was everybody talking about what had happened?
T O’Neill: Yes, yes they were. It was rather good time in Yass. I can remember, things were not too bad.
B York: And you mentioned the local cinema, or picture theatre…
T O’Neill: Yes.
B York: …was there anything shown there about the opening?
T O’Neill: I can’t remember that, no I can’t remember that.
B York: I thought they might have shown footage, you know the news reel.
T O’Neill: No I remember the talkies coming to, I can remember that [laughs] but no I can’t remember any of that.
B York: The other thing I wanted to ask was, when did you next return to Canberra, like for a holiday or whatever, but was it many years later?
T O’Neill: I don’t remember going over there again while we were at Yass, but then when we came to Sydney, no I think I was quite grown up before I went back to Yass … back to Canberra I mean.
B York: So would that be after the war you would have gone back for a visit?
T O’Neill: Yes, it would be after the war.
B York: And was it just for a visit?
T O’Neill: Yes, I got such a shock, because I thought — how it had grown and everything, the trees all that type of thing that you notice. Yes, even before Stephen came down here I’ve been down at different times. One time, I was with Stephen he took me to the war museum and we saw the boat that my brother was on, that was sunk. They had a big picture but I’d seen it before — no I saw it then but the next time I went to see it they’d changed the things but he went and got some information on it, that type of thing.
B York: I’ll just mention that Stephen is your son, who lives in Canberra. We’re recording this interview at his home in Lyneham.
T O’Neill: Yes.
B York: So when you came back to Canberra for a visit, after the war, you hadn’t been to Canberra for many years…
T O’Neill: No.
B York: …did you go to Parliament House?
T O’Neill: Yes, oh yes.
B York: How did that feel?
T O’Neill: Oh that felt pretty good I think, very nice, yes. Oh no I was just amazed how it had grown.
B York: And when you look at the Old Parliament House, now, how does that make you feel?
T O’Neill: I don’t know. I don’t know. Everything has to move, hasn’t it, get bigger, whatever. I went in to the — when the new Parliament House was opened too, but no I can’t think how it makes me feel.
B York: Do you like the new Parliament House?
T O’Neill: Oh yes, I think so, yes.
B York: Good. You’ve done really well, I’m sorry for bombarding you with questions all the time. You’ve got a remarkable memory.
T O’Neill: But Barry it’s been very good. I thought it would be terrible.
B York: So you’ve enjoyed it?
T O’Neill: I have, yes.
B York: Good, good, we’ll give you a CD copy of it eventually for you and for Stephen. Is there anything else you want to say just before we wind up.
T O’Neill: No, I feel I’ve had a good life, a good life. Yes, I find that. Stephen is my youngest by a long way. I think my family has been pretty good. I can’t find any of them, and the whole five of them are still alive, so.
B York: And you’re happily down at the coast I believe?
T O’Neill: Yes, we’ve retired to the coast. We bought a block of land down there when we finished paying off the house at Strathfield. It was all paspalum when he bought it and then by the time we built on it we had roads and footpaths and things like that. It turned out to be very nice. We had no holiday place. We had to build a proper home. Yes, so we built two homes at Kiama and now I’m in the retirement village.
B York: It’s beautiful down there.
T O’Neill: Oh it’s very nice. I’m got a — it’s a unit I’ve got, haven’t got up to the hostel yet or the nursing home.
B York: Oh that’s a long way off. Alright, well again, thank you very much for cooperating…
T O’Neill: Thank you for asking.
B York: …and for creating a historical record for us.
T O’Neill: I was very frightened, very scared.
B York: Well the main thing is that you enjoyed it.
T O’Neill: I have.
B York: Yes, good, thank you Therese.
T O’Neill: Good thank you Barry.
This history has multiple parts.1 2
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