Dictionary of Sydney

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Mrs Evelyn Chapple remembers 'Old Joe', an Aboriginal man and his horse and buggy taxi service c1914, interviewed in 1986

Mrs Evelyn Chapple was born in 1896 and was interviewed in 1986 for the 'Looking Back at Liverpool: An Oral History of the Liverpool Region 1900 to 1960' project. Here she remembers 'Old Joe', an Aboriginal man who ran a taxi service in his horse and buggy.

INTERVIEWER: You don't remember any Aborigines in the area do you?

EVELYN: Yes, we had a couple of them, a couple of Aborigines. Wed had a fella called 'Old Joe'. He used to drive a horse and buggy from the station if anyone wanted to go anywhere.

INTERVIEWER: Like a taxi driver?

EVELYN: Yes, with a horse and buggy. But he was piebald, his face was black and white. And his son was black and white.

INTERVIEWER: When was that, when you were a little child?

EVELYN: No, when I was about twelve or fourteen, wasn't real young. Joe Gommis [?], he used to have all his face and his body was black and white.

INTERVIEWER: Where did he live, can you remember?

EVELYN: He lived down near the Church of England in one of the old houses. We used to call him 'Old Joe'. A great big Aborigine, big face and big body. He used to drive this horse and buggy and the horse was a draught horse, he'd 'plop, plop, plop' and long the lane. I don't suppose very many people would be able to remember him.

INTERVIEWER: What did other people think of him? Was he accepted by the community?

EVELYN: Accepted by everybody, everybody liked him, he was a nice fellow. He always had a kind word for everybody.

INTERVIEWER: Can you remember any other Aborigines?

EVELYN: No, I can't.

INTERVIEWER: I believe there were some that used to be down by the river, used to live down there.

EVELYN: Yes, there probably would have been.

Contributed By
(Excerpt from interview with Mrs Evelyn Chapple in '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.)