Letter from Elizabeth Longo

over 2 years ago

I have many happy memories of Lenah Valley stretching back to 1945.

Mum, Dad and I lived with Nanny and Auntie at 26 Doyle Avenue. There were three notable houses in the block on which we lived; Miss Dorothy Wilkinson lived in the family home on the corner of Waverley and Doyle Avenue; the Cruikshank home was on the other side of the road and was an English-style home, with a beautiful garden designed by Edna Walling; and the third big house was a double story white house on the corner of Doyle and Greenway Avenues and was owned by Mrs Pears (I think!) and until quite recent years still had a wattle and daub building in the back yard.

Campbell’s grocery was where Salamanca Fresh is now and Mr Campbell and his sons all wore aprons. The customers sat on high chairs and discussed their purchases and produced their ration books, their goods were measured out into paper bags. I don’t remember carrying things home, so I think that they were delivered, either by horse and cart or in a small van. Sometimes there would be an extra bag with our goods – broken biscuits for ‘the girlie’.

The milkman came every day in a horse and cart. We would wait at the gate with a billy can and pints and half-pints would be ladled out of the big containers. Mr Pearsell the ‘veggie man’ came twice a week, but we didn’t get a lot from him, because like many households we had a flourishing vegetable garden and fruit trees; but Mr Pearsell was always ready to stop for a chat. The ‘rabbit-oh’ didn’t pass as regularly, but he rang a bell very loudly to let you know he was coming.

Beside our front gate lived a bucket and spade, and if you were lucky and a horse left manure in the road-way you could dash out and get some extra nourishment for the garden. We also collected manure from over the back fence, because there was still a dairy-farm there – no houses at all. The original farm house is in Giblin Street. The dairy farm was also a good area to go mushrooming.

Although there were very few cars we did have the tram, which travelled along Augusta Road, past the stunningly new Calvary Hospital, as far as Giblin Street.

Miss Hurst the chemist, live on the corner of Greenway Avenue and Augusta Road and her pharmacy was in the same building as today’s pharmacy – there were three large apothecary jars in the window.

Where the doctor’s surgery is today on the corner of Augusta Road and Courtney Street was a tea-shop, which opened only for afternoon tea. Beside this was a creek which travelled in a big drain under Augusta Road and ran down beside Courtney Street to the Chinese market-garden, which I think was where St Giles is now.

We moved away from Lenah Valley for a few years but in 1953 Mum and Dad built a house in Waverley Avenue. Wow! How Lenah Valley had changed. There were lots of cars, two service stations on Augusta Road, one on Giblin Street. A house had been converted to a spacious newsagency/post office and also sold sweets. There was a butchery at what is now Bella Macs, and Miss Miss Hurst’s pharmacy had become Townley’s.

When I married in 1962, we lived first in the CBD, then in West Hobart, but we were able to buy a block of land at 93 Doyle Avenue, and by early 1975 I moved to Lenah Valley for the third time.

Where, in my childhood, there had only been bush or rough pasture and a few scattered homes, joined by gravel roads, there were hundreds of houses. There was a quite extensive bus service, two doctors, a hairdresser, a florist, a new shop on the corner of Augusta Road and Giblin Street, and a fish and chip shop where Whisk & Co is now. Later on came two pizzerias.

Now there are three big estates being opened up for housing and we only have one service station although cars are everywhere. But in my Lenah Valley, there is still birdlife and if I am lucky I can see the wallaby down the street and the kangaroos in Pottery Road.

Yours sincerely,

E.M. Longo