Dictionary of Sydney

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Mrs Edith Fitzpatrick recalls the Sydney Water Board cottage of her childhood in the early 20th century, interviewed 1986

Mrs Edith Fitzpatrick was born in 1899. She was interviewed in 1986 for the 'Looking Back at Liverpool: An Oral History of the Liverpool Region 1900 to 1960' project. Here she recalls the circumstances of her birth and the remote Sydney Water Board cottage of her childhood.

INTERVIEWER: Mrs Fitzpatrick where were you born?

EDITH: On the water race [channel] towards Bringelly, seven miles out of Liverpool, out past the Crossroads Hotel. I can remember it was a dreadful road, that's one thing I can remember about it, it was a shocking road out there because there were so many wood drays, they used to cart wood into Liverpool, into the saw mills that were down near the railway station, where the car park is down there now, that was all big wooden mills, saw mills, and the road was in a shocking state. But still, we lived there and we enjoyed our life I suppose. I was born at home. My father was a caretaker for the [Sydney] Water Board, we lived in the Water Board house right at the bridge. That's where I was born, in that house. The bridge crosses the water canal, the Sydney water supply. It was a six-room cottage and it was very comfortable because it was a government house, it was the Water Board cottage, and we had a very comfortable home. My father was a great man. He believed in comfort and he had everything very nice. We were very sorry to leave it but of course when he became sixty-five, we had to go. We had our garden and he grew vegetables and fruits and had our own cows and our own horse and sulky to drive to Liverpool. It was a good life but still it was a long way of town out just the same.

Contributed By
(Excerpt from interview with Mrs Edith Fitzpatrick from '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)