Memories of Frankston

Christine Mullen remembers what it was like growing in Frankston:

When I was a few months old my parents Jim and Grace Coady, and my three older siblings moved to Frankston. It was just after world war two and, although times were tough there were opportunities for the taking. My sister Glennis tells me that Mum and Dad made a hammock that they slung between two tee trees for me to sleep in while they worked on the house in Collin Ave. After a few years Dad bought property in Queens St. Frankston. We kept a few cows chickens and lots of pets including a blue tongue lizard that crept up to the back door for a drink of milk in the morning. At different stages we lived in 3 houses in Queen St. The first one was the original homestead and the others Mum and dad swung the hammer and constructed what we thought were a masterpiece. When finished, they sold up and we moved on to another adventure down the road.

I remember playing in the sandy soil among the tee trees, building cubby houses and billy carts, playing hide and seek down the dirt road in Queen St.

The first school I attended was Davies St primary school, which was not far from the beach, which always beckoned. A new school opened closer to Queen St so, my sister and I changed schools but only for a short time as the Coady Family were on the move again. This time to Bentleigh, I think this was about 1954. Mum was back drafting and designed a house to be built in Woodlands Grove Frankston. This block was at the bottom of a steep hill. Dad and his workmen killed a few snakes whilst clearing the land before the house could be constructed.

My sister and I used this hill to ride our bikes down at such speed we could have propelled ourselves into oblivion. Once I came off second best and ended up with gravel rash down one side of my face. We kept our horse across the road/track. I remember taking our horse Queenie down to Frankston to be shod. The Blacksmith was near where the cinemas are now.

We also went to the pictures in Frankston. It cost 3pence to go to the Saturday matinee in the mid fifties.

I remember the fourth of November. It was fantastic fun to build a bon fire and let off firecrackers in the middle of the road/track. At this stage Woodlands Grove was only a dirt track. All the children would collect junk and pile it onto the bon fire. I have wonderful memories of these nights.

Mum and dad bought the land next door in Woodlands grove and built what was to be their best and biggest house. Again more snakes were killed. It was a worry to think that we were living happily a few feet away from tiger snakes. Once finished, the views from this house were magnificent. We could see all the way across Port Phillip Bay and, on a clear day, we could see the outline of Melbourne. To complete my primary education I attended Overport Primary School in grade five and six. I had lost count of the primary schools I had attended but it did set me up to be resilient to change and have empathy for new students trying to set up new friendships when faced with the same situation.

I started at Frankston High School in 1959 where there were lots of rules which, at different stages were there to be broken. The vice principal was Miss Richardson and her strict reputation preceded her. During the last years of primary school we were aware of this lady and regarded her with fear and trepidation. My suspicions were that these stories were only just that, “Stories.” One such rumour was that we were not allowed to polish our shoes because the boys would see our knickers reflected in them. I did cross paths with her a few times for wearing makeup but nothing too severe.

Most of my memories of school were outside of the classroom, however, I do remember my English teacher fainting in front of the class and surprisingly climbing up from the floor to tell us to write an essay on what we had just experienced. I think she got a wrap over the knuckle for this. I also (think) remember a science teacher telling a student to hold two metal rods. He then switched on the electricity and the student got a shock. I learnt to be good little creature is his class.

I finished my secondary education at Frankston High School in 1963 as the Coady’s were on the move again. This would be the last of our Frankston houses. This one was in Overton Rd off Car street. Sad but true, we moved to Beaumaris and I started studying at Emily Mc Pherson College Melbourne.

Over the years I have moved around a bit but my thoughts still return to Frankston and in many ways I regard this town, the schools and family life in the area as the foundation of my life. I met and still have great friends from my years in Frankston.

Christine Mullen, Nee Coady

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