Dictionary of Sydney

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Mrs Florence Starr recalls making garden stakes in the 1920s for Chinese market gardeners in Austral, interviewed in 1986

Mrs Florence Starr was interviewed in 1986 for the 'Looking Back at Liverpool: An Oral History of the Liverpool Region 1900 to 1960.' She came to live in the suburb of Austral in 1925 when she was first married, at the age of seventeen. She recalls making garden stakes for Chinese market gardeners in the area.


INTERVIEWER: What did you and your husband do when you first came to Austral?

FLORENCE: Well, we used to cut 'chow sticks' and sell bundles of chow sticks, they used to call them. They are about three foot long and there was a Chinese [market] garden in Liverpool, on Hoxton Park Road, it was just below Pearce Street, there was a Chinese garden, and they used to buy the chow sticks from us and we used to get three shillings a bundle and it used to take all day to cut a bundle of chow sticks, they were so big and then we had to take them in there. And that substituted [subsidised?] a bit for the small amount we got from the government, you know, the dole. As I say I had three children in two years and eleven months, I had three, and it was hard for me, but I still had to go and cut chow sticks.

INTERVIEWER: Who would look after the children?

FLORENCE: I would, I'd have them in a home made billy cart.

Contributed By
(Excerpt from interview with Mrs Florence Hilda Starr, from the 'Looking back at Liverpool : an oral history of the Liverpool region 1900-1960' conducted in 1986 by Liverpool City Council, editor and project co-ordinator Catherine Johnson ; researchers Angela Imbrosciano, Verica Miiosavijevic, Kathleen Smith.)