We wanted to get out of Melbourne to breathe the country air and take life at a more leisurely pace. Work was hard to find. My (now ex.) husband got a job at the Bendigo Pottery in Epsom, Victoria. He didn’t know anything about pottery but they showed him how to make Toby Jugs. The work was hard and the days were long. Our house was on a poultry farm – lots and lots of hens laying eggs! My days were lonely and boring so, when the owners offered me some part-time work, I agreed. My responsibility was to clean the eggs. Now just imagine cleaning hundreds of eggs each day. Just ask yourself, what makes them dirty?
Enough said about chooks. My ex landed another job and we moved to Echuca in Victoria. He won a job with the Victorian Railways as a ganger (fettler). He looked after a stretch of rail line with a small team of men. A house was promised right next door to the Railway Station. It wasn’t available straight away so we made good use of our tent and lived in the Echuca Caravan Park for several months. The tent was 12 feet by 18 feet. We set it up with a double bed (a proper one), a fridge and we even had our TV up and running.
It was mostly a good experience. The caravan park is situated next to the Murray River that is prone to flooding on occasions. And yes, it did flood while we were there and we had to evacuate but not for very long. I guess it is easier to evacuate a tent than evacuate a house! There were a lot of brush tail possums living in the area. They would come into our tent during the night scavenging for food! I wasn’t frightened of them at all.
The railway house became available and we moved in. It felt so big after living in a tent! It was on the New South Wales side of the Murray River so it was actually an interstate move of only a few kilometres. When my first son was born I would often take him for a walk in his pram over the big railway bridge into Echuca to go shopping. I was twenty-one at the time 🙂