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Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Not exactly riveting ...

The prompt for Sepia Saturday #360 features a lady happily brandishing a drill. She was in fact working on a dive bomber in Tennessee during World War 2. 

The following photograph is the only one I seem to have showing anyone in our family doing anything vaguely similar, ie manual work. This is not to say that no such work was ever done, simply that no one thought to take photographs of people doing it.  It was late 1977 and my father Ian was poised on a ladder with probably a screw or nail in hand, and us acting as his assistants, intent on putting together a kit shed for the back garden of our freshly built first home in what was then a new Canberra suburb called Kaleen. There are a couple of other photographs of the house at the end of an earlier post here. At this stage there were no dividing fences, as ours was the first house on the block. There was also no grass because we hadn't prepared the ground for sewing it yet, so I doubt whether we had a mower to put in the shed, but we did have a wheelbarrow and other tools that needed to be kept safe.

Above  Roger is attacking the load of topsoil we had delivered and below I am rolling it out.  Funnily enough I'm even wearing a headscarf here, like the lady in the photo prompt above.

By the following year the grass had grown, although it wasn't exactly lush, and despite a hot summer we had managed to grow some vegetables. Here is Roger holding a bucket of potatoes and about to do some mowing.

Here I am showing off some of the fruits of our labours. Those paving stones I was sitting on were soon to be laid all around the verandah, a slow, painstaking job that took a number of weekends to complete, but no photos of the work in progress. I was busy supplying the worker with cold drinks!

A little later Roger and his father Bob also built a brick carport beside the house. This also took a couple of weekends of hard work but unfortunately no photographs seem to have been taken.  You can see from this recent photograph on Googlemaps that the carport is still standing solidly, some forty years later.  I think that some of the larger trees seen in the front garden may also have been planted by us.


As things turned out, we decided to move from Canberra to Sydney in 1980 so after all that work we only lived here for under 3 years. I still have fond memories of our Kaleen home but overall don't regret leaving Canberra.

Time to down tools for lunch, but for more riveting posts, have a look at Sepia Saturday #360


  1. Isn't that the way, though. You work hard on a place and then move away. My husband put in a vegetable garden, built two beautiful rock walls and a pergola over a back patio during the five years we lived in one of our houses, and then we moved. I was in the old neighborhood a couple of years ago and the rock walls were still there. Not sure about the veggie garden or the pergola as I couldn't see into the backyard. I hoped they were still there, but - who knows?


    1. That's true, you can never tell what future owners will or won't like, and they might even knock the whole place down and start again. Another reason I wasn't all that sorry to leave was that when we eventually did get neighbours, those on one side were distinctly unfriendly for various reasons, so it wasn't very pleasant living next door to them. You can design what you think is a perfect house, but you can't pick your neighbours!

  2. Like you, I don't have photos of people DOING work, mostly celebrating something. You certainly made the most of this prompt, and your photos at least suggest all the work that was done. The photo prompted you to tell the story of being the first new house on the block. I enjoyed your post.

  3. I couldn't find many 'work' photos either. You did well. Because of this prompt I've made a resolution to photograph people working as well as posing.

  4. You had a productive garden! Enjoyed the photos....I certainly related to the yard work. There always seems to be something to do doesn't there?

  5. Work. I could watch it all day.
    Shoveling dirt was one of my first family occupations. Gardening, landscaping, etc. Now married to a determined gardener, I continue as chief digger and earth mover.

  6. I have no photographs of my working ancestors, so it was god to see your great collection of your busy family.

  7. At least there were vegetables to hold as a result of your labors...putting food on the table is a worthy endeavor, even if the work isn't memorialized with photos. What a lot of work also to establish a lawn as well as garden, and carport and patio. I remember putting a pool in a house that then we sold in less than a year, and I wonder how long it survived.