The Memories of Patricia Dunne in the lead up to the Bay reunion

Some memories of Patricia Dunne nee Shepherd in the weeks leading up to the Batemans Bay Past and Present event at the Batemans Bay Soldiers Club on May 6th and after party on 7th

Pat was born in 1925 at Braidwood to Angus Shepherd and Gladys Gowan, and her earliest years were spent travelling around as her father sought employment. When she reached school age Pat and her brother moved in with her grandmother attending the Nelligen School.

The family lived in tents for a lot of her early years. The tent big enough to sleep the children, house a galley and the parents bedroom up the other end. When the family arrived in Batemans Bay they lived in this tent at Smokey Point near the mill. Pat and her sister Heather were well and truly over living in tents so they rented a house in Bent Street.

So the family moved to Bent Street, and in 1948 after Pat and Tommy Dunne were married, Tommy, and his father Harry, built the home that Pat lives in today. Still in Bent street. It was a two room home with additions added when circumstances allowed. It was here that their two children Stephen and Vicki were born.

Some of the names living in Bent Street at that time were Vera and Claude Manns, Evelyn and Crusty Bellette, the Lucks. Mrs Sparrow, The Towers, Rixons, Jack Hammond the ferry master, Sol Ison, the Connells and the Penrith family.

Pat was about 15 at the time, and gained employment with the local policeman caring for the children and domestic duties. Then she worked for Mrs Annetts as a domestic, working 7days a week with one Sunday a month off. She enjoyed her work there and remembers the pot of coffee on the go all day for Mr Annetts, and having first choice of the goods that arrived in the shop, especially the latest fashionable shoes.

Then Pat decided that Blandford House would be a better place to work and so left Mrs Annetts to work there.

Above: Pat and Dolly Knight behind Blandford House where Pat worked.

During the 2nd World War there was a shortage of men to work, so Pat began work at the Spoke Factory, making axe handles, dowels, hammer and pick handles and also skewers. The rejected skewers were bagged up and sold to the locals for kindling. Quite a few of the local girls worked at the factory with Pat including Molly Webber, Gladys Towers, Lorna and Kitty Dakin, Eileen Shepheard.

Pat worked here until well after she married her husband Tom Dunne in 1947.

Above: Soldiers Club - Pat Dunne, June Latham, Dawn Latta right: Tommy Dunne at the front and Wes “Tinker” Latham, Hilton Latta at the back

Another of Pats jobs was at the hospital, where she started in North Street as the laundress, moving on to be house maid and then to the kitchen. The kitchen was one room with a fuel heater, sink small cupboards and a fridge out the back. Then the luxury of moving to the brand new hospital in Pacific Street.

Pat talks fondly of her time at the hospital and her work mates, Cathy Burke, Maureen Rixon, Helen Pickett.

Today Pat is spritely at the age of 92, with a fantastic memory of our past.

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