BEYOND THE TREE | 'Move to the country? As long as there's work out there!'

The Beyond the Tree exhibition at Liverpool Regional Museum includes a growing community tree to which you can add your own family story. Bring in photos of your family moments to be scanned, printed, mounted and added to the display. It's in conjunction with Liverpool Genealogy Society. Volunteers help with research and family enquiries from Tuesdays to Saturdays. The Champion is running a series of local family stories tying in with the exhibition. Kathleen was one of the first to move into Hillview Estate at Lurnea, on Australia Day 63 years ago. She loved it. Still does. Despite initial fears that there'd be no work out here "in the country".

WHEN we were about to marry in 1952 we couldn't find a place to live, either in Balmain where I was living at the time, or Forest Lodge, where my future husband was living.

Fortunately, around the same time one of my neighbours decided to rent her upstairs rooms and she wasn't asking for so-called "key money", like so many others were doing at that time.

Eventually in 1955 we saw an advertisement for a new estate which was being built, called the Hillview Estate.

We found there was only one home left out of the 23 that were being built and I said "I don't mind going to the country . . . as long as there's work out there!"

We moved into our new home on January 26, Australia Day, in 1956.

My husband found work at Standard Telephones & Cables, or STC, in his trade as a wood machinist and I found work at Goodyear Tyres at Camelia as a punch-card operator.

Soon after moving into our new home, the train guard warned the passengers that the trains would not be returning in the evening because of the flooding rains.

I hadn't yet had a second key cut, so I had to get the key from my husband at Goodyear Tyres.

So with my little boy I crossed the old wooden bridge with the river raging below and the wind blowing across the top of the bridge as I was carrying my little boy and losing my umbrella to the wind.

At Balmain I knew little about flooding rivers.

I got the key and had to make the return journey.

Eventually we had our baby girl and she and her brother grew up in the house we named Taratoa, meaning "house at the end of the rainbow".

They both went to St Mary's School and Patrician Brothers College, enjoying swimming at the old swimming pool and the Wool Wash, tennis on the Lurnea courts, scouts at the Old Spider Hall, football and athletics at Woodward Park and bush picnics at Alf Cooper's farm.

They and their friends caught the Hillview bus to school.

Later they saw John Paul Young and other celebrities in Liverpool Town Hall.

We attended the old Catholic Church where bats would drop out of the rafters during the service.

Both children married and we became grandparents and great-grandparents, to our huge delight.

And 64 years later I still live in Taratoa,one of two of the remaining 23 original occupants of the Hillview Estate at Lurnea.

Kathleen Smith is the original member of Liverpool Genealogy Society.

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