These memories of Homebush were prepared by Bob Slater, a former resident.
I was born at Inglemere on 18th April 1943, delivered by Dr Templeton (cnr Rochester St & Abbotsford Rd) and assisted by Matron Neil. My father had returned to the war in New Guinea so he wasn’t present. My mother was Kathleen (nee) Cutcliffe, and my grandparents (William Henry and Maud Julia – 18 Broughton Rd (now No 11)) were present at the hospital. We lived at 20 Abbotsford Rd (now No 30) and I went to Homebush Central Public School until our family moved to Cronulla in 1950.
My early memories of Homebush included my uncle W.L.Cutcliffe’s Chemist shop (big black jelly beans), McKelvey’s Butchers next door (the characteristic tiles and sawdust), Moran & Cato’s Grocers (a pennyworth of broken biscuits), the Phillips’ Health Food store (I had a big crush on daughter Diane) and my favourites, Warrington’s Toy Shop opposite Homebush Station beside the school and the Hardware shop on the corner of Rochester St and Burlington Rd. I remember Mr Warrington as a crabby old sole, but his Dinky Toys were just great. The hardware shop had all the timber, nails and sample paints that a busy boy could want.
My brother Bill was to be born at Inglemere in October 1949. My mother was admitted but the birth was very difficult so she was rushed mid-delivery on 23 October to Crown St where Bill was delivered by Caesarian section, then they both returned to Inglemere for recuperation.
How times have changed. My mother stayed in Inglemere with Bill for a couple of weeks, and she had a ground floor room with French doors opening onto the verandah. Being a warm October, the doors were generally left open and at age 6 I used to walk there from school each day, in through the open doors, to see them. No fuss. I used to stop on the way to visit the haberdashery shop for a women’s magazine (New Idea was then mainly knitting patterns and baby clothes) and the cake shop for some treat to take my mother. I had no money, but the proprietors knew me and my grandfather, so he settled up later.
My grandfather and grandmother naturally used to visit them too, and the German Shepherd ‘Skipper’ next door to them used to follow them and look at the baby. The story goes that ‘Skipper’ used to go and visit through the open French doors at other times too. No privacy, security or OHS issues in those days.
My parents were married and my brother and I were baptised at St Anne’s and my grandmother is buried there.
My father’s parents lived at 63 Redmyre Rd, he was a Strathfield Council alderman, and they were both heavily involved in community activities.
I finished my childhood in Cronulla, attending Sydney High and then going to Duntroon to follow a successful Army career. My own family finally settled in Melbourne where my wife Ruth, our three daughters and nine grandchildren all now live.
Homebush and Inglemere have remained large in my happy childhood memories.
Even to the extent that one happy memory, when visiting my mother, playing chasings with a staff member’s daughter, Bronwyn, around the corridors and staircase, and always liking that name, led me to nominating ‘Bronwen’ for our first child. Happily my wife liked it too.
Robert Allen (Bob) Slater