Industry and Business
Small businesses like grocers, bakers, and dairies kept the farming communities of the Cockburn district running smoothly, and hotels provided some much-needed respite and leisure. But it was heavy industries like lime-burning, abattoirs, and smelting that brought money and workers into Cockburn and set it up for future prosperity.
The Cockburn district had a unique experience of war, particularly World War Two, as both an agricultural district and one with many military installations around its isolated coastal areas.
Find out more about wartime production, rationing, internment and the home front.
Sport and social lives
The hardworking farmers and labourers of the Cockburn district liked to play hard too, and their leisure time was filled with sports, dances, social clubs, and more. They formed local soccer, AFL, cricket, and tennis clubs with gusto, and trained and raced horses in Hamilton Hill and Jandakot.
The Cockburn district was built by migrants at every stage of its history. Early agricultural land policies encouraged migration to build farms and supply a growing colony, and the gold rush of the 1890s saw Chinese, Afghan, southern and eastern European migrants arrive to try their luck. Many moved into Cockburn temporarily, but many more paved the way for their families and friends to follow them, and built Cockburn into the diverse city it is today.
Buildings and places
Stories about the historical buildings and places around the Cockburn district, including community halls, churches, schools, and public space, as well as the history of all the suburbs in Cockburn.
The Cockburn district grew quickly after World War Two. Find out about the new industries, growing suburbs, and wide array of new residents in a modern district.
The owners of the land that became Cockburn were the Beeliar Nyungar, and they called their land Beeliar Boodjar. When the first Europeans arrived in Western Australia, the Beeliar Nyungar were led by Midgegooroo and Yagan. Some of their language was recorded by an early settler, but for many years afterwards they were neglected and dispossessed by Europeans.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are warned that these articles may contain images of people who are now deceased.
Digitisation of Cockburn's historical collections has been part of several projects over the years. Volunteers helped to scan and catalogue the photographic collection, mostly held at Azelia Ley Museum, and staff at Spearwood Library digitised the audio, video, and document collections, including Cockburn's 1978 local history book, Cockburn: the Making of a Community by Michael Berson.
Cockburn History is a collaborative effort between the Cockburn Libraries, City of Cockburn, and Azelia Ley Homestead Museum.
Azelia Ley Museum
The Azelia Ley Homestead Museum and its associated outbuildings are located in Manning Park, Hamilton Hill. The heritage listed residence was built in 1923 for a member of the Manning family and offers a glimpse into the life of a prosperous settler family living in the Cockburn district.
Click the play button to listen to the audio clip.
Denise Cook (interviewer): Could you give me your full name?
Donna Covich: Donna Covich.
DENISE: And when you were born?
DENISE: And where you were born?
DONNA: I was born here in Mount Hawthorn.
DONNA: I’m here representing my grandmother, Frances Brajcich. She was born on the 2nd of June at 2.00 am, 1892 in her house, 53 Vukovarska 5374, Vis, on the island of Vis. She was born in the family home. Brajcich – their nickname was Calcetina which means socks. It’s a nadimark, that’s how they say it in Croatian but because there were so many in the village, you would say you are Brajcich Calcetina, they knew what family you were from. She came to Australia in 1908 at the age of sixteen. She was sponsored to Australia by Mrs Rocke, who had a boarding house in Kalgoorlie. She came here because back home everything was pretty poor; not much food, no work, no clothing, a different era from what we have today. She was introduced to the love of her life, my grandfather, by her cousin Joe Brajcich, and they were married in Kalgoorlie on the 30th of May 1914.
DENISE: How old would she have been then?
DONNA: She was twenty-two when she was married. They were married and they lived at the address, 1220 Dwyer Street, Boulder. They had three girls in Kalgoorlie and they came to live in Fremantle in Norfolk Street in 1919. They later lived in 7 Nairn Street, in Fremantle; that was about 1930 and they were there until about 1953.
DENISE: Do you know why they moved down to Fremantle?
DONNA: Grandfather suffered with the miner’s complaint, he was working in the mines so he came to Fremantle and then went fishing, wet line fishing; herring, just off the Fremantle coast here.
DENISE: Did he have his own boat or did he fish with someone else?
DONNA: No, he did have his own boat and he fished afterwards with his two sons. In the Fremantle Fishermen’s Harbour, where they have the wharf, then they have all the names of the people, the old fishermen. My grandfather’s name and his two sons’ names are all there.
DENISE: Did you have to organise for that to go there?
DONNA: I didn’t but my uncles did, yes.
DENISE: Do you know much about the fishing industry at that time?
DONNA: A fair bit. They would catch tons and tons of herring, then if you got threepence a dozen, going back to the 1940s, that was good, that was really good.
DENISE: So was it a good money earner or was it just a way of scraping by?
DONNA: It was a good money earner, plus my grandfather was doing that but also my grandfather was a wharfie. My children always laugh. He became very good friends with Mr Donnes, whose two sons later played for East Fremantle, old Mr Mick Donnes. Grandfather came here, he was a naturalised Australian, he spoke Australian without an accent and he [Mick Donnes] got him a job on the wharves.
DENISE: So when did your grandfather come here? Where did he come from?
DONNA: He came from Montenegro. He got here about 1896.
DENISE: Do you know why he came out here?
DONNA: Yes, because his father and four brothers drowned at sea, they were fishing in Montenegro. His mother had seventeen children and she sent him to Australia with his uncle and he was left here in Kalgoorlie at the age of six with not a relation. His surname he has actually made up because if you go on to Ancestry.com there is no such name anywhere except us here.
DENISE: This is Covich?
DONNA: Lukatelich. This is my grandfather, Frances Brajcich’s husband.
DENISE: Do you want to keep going with your story?
DONNA: Nonna, Frances Brajcich, married Tony Lukatelich, lived in 7 Nairn Street, till about 1953 and then they shifted up to Mardie Street in Beaconsfield; they built their first home which in those days was like half a house. You built at the front the main bedroom and a kitchen and the back sleep-out was like a little bedroom on the end, a bit of a family room, I think you’d call it, and then the laundry and a bathroom so that when you got extra money, if you built back on the block, you then added another bedroom and the lounge room out the front.
DENISE: And did they do that, over time?
DONNA: No, they didn’t do that, because they both passed away in 1963. But it was just him and her. I spent a lot of time with them till they passed away. I was born in ’51 but as a five or six-year-old most weekends lights would go off at about six o’clock at night, and she’d have the old kerosene lantern, being such a small house, light that. If I had to go to the toilet during the night, I’d wake up and I’d see that bit of a light through. Saturday nights was Perry Como night because he had his Special on TV then.
DENISE: What did you think of that?
DONNA: She loved Perry. Oh, I cry when I hear Perry Como now, thinking of the nights that I spent there with her.
DENISE: Do you know why you spent that time with them?
DONNA: She had eighteen or nineteen grandchildren; I was the only one who ever slept over. She had two lots of grandchildren living opposite her, she was a very strict woman but we got on very well together, Nonna.
DENISE: Did you live a bit further away?
DONNA: No, no. We just lived down in Suffolk Street in Fremantle and every night my mother and I would walk up to visit my grandmother, straight up Wray Avenue, up South Street and then down on to Mardie Street; it would take us about twenty-five or thirty minutes. If it was raining we had our umbrella, and if I got tired I went to sleep underneath the table at Nonna’s place and then they’d wake me up, it was time to go home and I’d wake up and walk home.
DENISE: Did you have brothers and sisters who did that with you?
DONNA: I had two older sisters, no, they didn’t, they used to stay home with Dad and I used to go with Mum. I was the younger one.
DENISE: Do you know why?
DONNA: Not really. The two older ones were both working, I was just a schoolgirl then so I suppose you get home at half-past three and I’d always look forward to going there and then spending weekends with them.
DENISE: Do you have any other memories of that time you spent with your grandparents?
DONNA: Oh, yes. Every night when we had tea there, my grandfather would tell me if I got the bread and cleaned all the plate up, he wouldn’t have to wash it. Well, I was a good eater anyway and I could never work it out. I said to him, “But why are you washing that plate for now? It’s all clean, I cleaned it up.” And he’d say, “No, no, I’ve got to wash it up.” But their kitchen was a kitchen that was displayed. We did all the washing up in the laundry, you didn’t have to go outside, it was all connected with the house and that but the kitchen wasn’t used.
DENISE: At all?
DONNA: No. She had an old-fashioned primus, I mean, we had one too when I was a little girl down at our place, we’d light up the primus and that’s it.
DENISE: Where would the primus be?
DONNA: The primus used to sit on top of the copper in the laundry and it had a flat piece of board on top of the lid.
DENISE: And where would your grandmother, or grandparents, chop up the vegetables and do the food preparation?
DONNA: They’d do all of that in the old cement troughs, because she was spotless so they were all clean. Even though they were cement troughs, you could see they were spotless.
DENISE: And the kitchen – was that used for anything?
DONNA: No, no. Then my mother and her sister – every Sunday they used to go there and clean that half a house. All that got used really was the bathroom and the toilet outside. I mean, their bedroom was spotless. I mean, they slept in their bedroom but the kitchen was never used, no.
DENISE: Was it the same thing at your house or did your family do it differently?
DONNA: No, I suppose again – because we were born in a different era. I always remember 7 Nairn Street, the kitchen was a room but no cupboards in there and just outside there was a trough to wash up your dishes, there was no sink in the house; it was just a room, no kitchen cupboards. Underneath the troughs they made a couple of cupboards and a couple of shelves. In those days, you didn’t have five or six dinner sets or two or three lots of pans, very poor.
DENISE: So where would the plates and pans and everything be kept at your house?
DONNA: When I was a young girl, we did have a kitchen sink and the cupboards underneath and we had a kitchenette. Actually, my grandmother did have a kitchenette and sinks and that in this new house but she never used it; she’d just look at it and smile.
DENISE: So where would people sit to eat then at your grandparents’ house?
DONNA: What would happen – none of her children, they’d all come to visit but twice a year we would go to the grandparents’ place but it was always the summer months and each family brought food and we’d have a meal outside. Then there would’ve been about forty of us, just from her children and grandchildren and they all came so we were all outside.
DENISE: But when you went each night and had dinner with them?
DONNA: Oh yes. The little table in that little back area where the TV was, like in the enclosed sleep-out, there was a bedroom there and there was the kitchen table there. That was the first kitchen table they ever had, in 1914, and my daughter has it now as an office table. With the help of my husband they just pulled it all apart, varnished it all up and put it all back together. It’s only a small table.
End of Track 2
DENISE: Do you want to tell me about your parents?
DONNA: Yes. My mother married in 1940. In those days, nobody had telephones, she went to live in Osborne Park and Grandmother was down at 7 Nairn Street so when my mother wanted to speak my grandmother on the phone she’d ring the wool stores over the road and they’d go and get my grandmother and bring her over to the wool stores and my mother was at her auntie and uncle’s place who had a telephone and then she’d talk to her. So that was their communication.
DENISE: What was your mother’s name?
DONNA: My mother was Ettie Ann Lukatelich and she married a Serventi.
DENISE: Did she have brothers and sisters?
DONNA: Yes, three sisters and two brothers, there were six of them, but Mum went to live in Osborne Park, Dad had a market garden up there and Nonna stayed here. But that was the communication. You didn’t ring after five o’clock at night because the wool stores closed. You didn’t ring on the weekend because the wool stores were closed; you just rang through working hours.
DENISE: And what was your dad’s name?
DONNA: My father was Dinko Serventi and he came here Australia in 1928.
DENISE: As a child?
DONNA: Sixteen-year-old, yes.
DENISE: Do you know why he came then?
DONNA: Again, they had very little food. His auntie and uncle had two daughters, they wanted somebody to help them in the garden so his auntie brought her nephew and her husband brought his nephew and the two men worked in the garden. My father was so impressed, because every night they had soup for tea, meat, potatoes, carrots, bread; they never had that back in their town. His two first cousins were younger than him, they went to school of course and coming home from school, put everything in the pot and cooked a good home-made soup, because their mother was in the garden working with her husband; that was life and he enjoyed it, and he used to sleep out in the carrot shed where they used to wash the carrots. My father said in Osborne Park when it was cold, any bags you found or any clothes you had you just piled on top of you. It had a roof above you but no sides to the shed; it was all open.
DENISE: Do you know how long he was there?
DONNA: Yes. He came here in 1928 and he was there until he got married in 1940 and he’d bought a property down the road from them, a house.
DENISE: In Osborne Park?
DONNA: Yes, in Osborne Park, in Hector Street.
DENISE: Do you want to tell me about your childhood?
DONNA: Oh, I had a wonderful childhood. We lived in Nairn Street where my grandmother had been living before, which didn’t have the kitchen, washed the dishes out the back. We went to live in Suffolk Street in Fremantle, the street after Norfolk Street. The first day of school, you get there, you sit down, I went to Parry Street, my father said to me, “You’ve got to go to school, you’ve got to be a good girl, sit there quietly.” So, I was sitting there quietly and of course the nun said to me, “Who’s Donna Serventi?” and I put my hand up, it’s me and of course she says to me, “I used to play with your father when he was a little boy” and I’m thinking she’s a nun and my father is my father. She said to me, “What’s his name?” and I said, “Dad.” I didn’t know. So, she said to me, “When you go home, tell your father Sister Canisius said hello. He’ll know who I am.” And of course, I did. Then Dad said, “Oh yes, she lived in the next village a couple of kilometres away. We used to play together on the weekends.” They’d go up there and play. She was born in 1914, she’s still alive today, Dad was born in 1912. In the late eighties, they met up again, every Saturday night he would go to friends of ours and Sister Canisius would go. My father would go and this other lady, they were all the same vintage and they used to spend Saturday night together.
DENISE: So you’d moved from Osborne Park down to Fremantle?
DONNA: Yes, to Fremantle, because of my father’s back. When he got down here, living so close to the sea – and that’s what it was like – he was born on Brać, you’re on the waterfront there – he loved it; he never went back to Osborne Park, he stayed in Fremantle.
DENISE: So your parents moved into your grandparents’ house?
DONNA: Yes, and the grandparents built a new house at 8 Mardie Street, Beaconsfield and we stayed at 7 Nairn Street, Fremantle.
DENISE: Is that Anne Street or Nairn?
DONNA: Nairn. As you come in from Fremantle, you’ve got High Street, Bannister Street and then the next street is Nairn Street and then you’ve got Collie and then Essex Street, going out of Fremantle so they were right in Fremantle.
DENISE: I know the one. So, what work – your dad hurt his back, did you say? What happened there?
DONNA: Well, when he came to Fremantle, his back got better because when he first came from Yugoslavia to here, no one had reticulation in their gardens and you carried the water, like the Chinamen; you know, the timber across the back of your shoulders with the buckets either side. When he came here, he wasn’t doing that, he was fine.
DENISE: So what kind of work did he do in Fremantle?
DONNA: After that he processed the crayfish here in the summer. In the winter, he used to get the sticks to make the crayfish pots, because he never got rid of his truck and during the second world war he had a car and a truck. Petrol rationing had come out so you couldn’t have both; one or the other.
DENISE: So he got rid of the car?
DONNA: Yes, and kept the truck.
DENISE: Where did he go to get the sticks?
DONNA: Just out the back of Jandakot. He had a good relationship with the Aboriginals and they would cut the sticks and they’d often come into Fremantle and come to our place, “Missus, we’ve got so many bundles of sticks [which] were in the swamp” or “Sand sticks. Tell Dinko to come and get them” and Dad would go up there and get them.
DENISE: So tell me more about your childhood. So, you went to school at Parry Street.
DONNA: At Parry Street, run by the Sisters of St Joseph of the Apparition and then I went to St Joseph’s College when I was twelve.
DENISE: Where was that?
DONNA: In Josephine Street. It’s still there now but now that’s called St Pat’s Day School or Grade 1 to 7 and where I went to school, that’s all the men’s refuge centre, run by the Catholic Church in Parry Street; it’s still there. So, then I went there in high school.
DENISE: What did you think of that school?
DONNA: I loved it because from Grade 1 to 3, it was girls and boys, and after Grade 3 it was just an all girls’ school, you know, and even today I bump into girls and they were mainly all European girls because in Fremantle there were more Italians than anything. It was like a little Sicily, they used to call it.
DENISE: So how was that for you, not having that Italian background?
DONNA: Somehow along the line I think I must’ve had a bit of an Italian background because my great grandfather was Giacomo (?) which is an Italian name and the great, great grandfather, he was Corrado (?) but they were Brajciches; I don’t know how these first names were -. And my grandmother could speak Italian fluently and Australian fluently, and so could my mother and one of my aunties as well.
DENISE: And I guess your grandparents had been out in the goldfields where there were a lot of Italians too.
DONNA: They were, yes, so even afterwards when Grandmother came to Fremantle and that, she never hardly spoke English, she could speak it fluently, it was just all Italian or Yugoslav and that was it.
DENISE: So you loved school.
DONNA: Oh yes. And then we shifted to Suffolk Street, just down by the South Fremantle football oval and your weekly delight was on a Saturday afternoon, we lived in Suffolk Street and my father and I would sit out the front and when the football had finished, South Fremantle had finished playing, all the cars used to park down our street and they’d all go past, “Hi, Dinko, hi Donna”. It was like going out.
DENISE: What number Suffolk Street did you live at?
DONNA: We were number 30. Actually, the house is still there today; it’s been heritage listed, the second one in from the top of South Terrace. But it was just a highlight, all Dad’s friends would go past and my father was a West Perth supporter so he didn’t – – – but he knew all the Yugoslav people from Spearwood and that, and they’d all stop and talk and Mum would be inside thinking, oh, she should really be dolled up, but I was only little, it didn’t worry me. (laughs)
DENISE: Your mum thought you should be really dolled up?
DONNA: No, she should be.
DENISE: Would she come out and say hello to people as well?
DONNA: Of course, she would, yeah, but in those days ladies really didn’t go to the football that much; the men went to the football, ladies stayed home. Virtually I did the same thing – when I got married, my husband would go to the football. Saturday afternoon Laurie Sumich would pick him up and young Peter would be in the back. I mean, I’m going back about forty years ago.
DENISE: So 1970s?
DONNA: Yes. Peter would be in the back and hey, they would all take off to the football and I’d stay home with the three kids, have them bathed and give them tea.
DENISE: And what did you think about that arrangement?
DONNA: That was how we were brought up; it didn’t worry me. It doesn’t worry me till today, no.
DENISE: So once you were married, did women have ways of socialising that didn’t involve the men?
DONNA: No, I didn’t because once the children went to pre-school, and kids went to primary school I was heavily involved in doing things with them at school. I never worked, I did things for the school and canteen.
DENISE: What school did they go to?
DONNA: They went to Winterfold Primary School and afterwards they went to St Brendan’s. St Brendan’s then turned into Seton Catholic College and then they were up there.
DENISE: Do you want to say who you married and when you got married?
DONNA: I got married in 1972 to Danilo Covich, we lived at 38 Curedale Street and then a few years later we built in Badham Close and we’ve been married ever since, actually forty-five years next week.
DENISE: Congratulations. Do you still live in Badham Close?
DONNA: No, we live now in Samson, at 32 Sowden Drive.
DENISE: What made you make the change?
DONNA: My husband is not a guy who can sit down and do nothing. He had a kidney out and I think he was so happy to be alive and we had the block and he said, “We’re going to build a house now” and I went, “Okay”, it was the second house. He drew the plan, he’s a registered builder and he just went ahead and built it and I just followed. I’m a real follower.
DENISE: In some ways, perhaps, but in other ways – – –
DONNA: Everything. (laughs) That’s the way it works, but I don’t mind, hey.
CHRISTINE ELAINE: What sort of sticks did they used to make the crayfish pots?
DONNA: Swamp sticks, they grew in swampy areas like at the back of Jandakot where it was very wet and it was virtually just a stick that grew up, a tea-tree stick more, and it would grow to about six to seven feet high and have a little bit of fringing on top and he’d just go through it with this hatchet and just cut them all up and then he knew roughly how many sticks were in a bundle, bundle them up and put them on the back of his truck. Then the sand sticks, they weren’t in the Jandakot area because it was swampy there, they were a lot further down, more towards Safety Bay area where it was dryer, and he’d cut them. This is where the Aboriginal people, often if they were out somewhere, they’d see a patch, they’d cut, bundle them up, and then they’d come down and tell Dad in Suffolk Street where they were or Dad would say, “I’ll meet you on the side of the road” at a certain place and they’d all hop in his truck with him and off they’d go.
DENISE: So would your dad cut the sticks as well?
DONNA: Oh yes. A lot of the time he was just on his own cutting sticks. When he’d go away for a couple of days, all he wanted was Italian sausages, the dried sausages, and a couple of loaves of bread and hey, he was happy; just sleep in the truck.
DENISE: And how did you use the sticks in the garden?
DONNA: Up here in Spearwood, I know the tea-trees, they would use them as bean sticks. They’d put them up in a cross and then the beans would trellis, it would be like a trellis for them, but he mainly got the sticks for the crayfish pots. Then of course, we didn’t know all his customers by name, it was just their boat they had.
DENISE: Would he make the crayfish pots?
DONNA: No. He would just supply the sticks for the crayfish pots. There was a guy who lived in Norfolk Street, Silvi Migliore, he would have about twelve people working for him. He would always say to Dad, “if you’ve got surplus sticks, drop them off” because he made a lot of sticks for the people.
DENISE: So your dad would sell the sticks to the fishermen or to this man who made them?
DONNA: Both. A lot of the fishermen made their own pots, a lot of the fishermen didn’t, so they’d get Silvi Migliore to make them and Dad would supply both lots. But he wouldn’t actually make the pots, no.
DENISE: What else did your dad do?
DONNA: That’s all he did when he came to Fremantle. In the summer time, he processed the crayfish and in the winter time he went for the sticks. That was it.
VINI KENDA: The younger sticks were used for the craypots because they’d be fairly pliable once they were put in the water. The bean sticks, they’d pick the more mature ones which would stay rigid to support the runner beans.
DENISE: So were they the same plants or were they different plants?
VINI KENDA: They were slightly different plants.
DENISE: And the Aboriginal people who picked – would they pick both?
VINI KENDA: Oh, they knew the difference between the two; once they realised what our men were looking for.
DENISE: Because I know I’ve done oral histories with Aboriginal people who used to camp out the back of Mandurah and they talked about cutting the sticks and that was how they made a living.
DONNA: Yes, that would’ve been like for Dad but what Vini says is right, but I think I have got a photo at home done by the Fremantle City Council. What they used to do, they used to boil the sticks in like a drum, just to make it pliable and then the bottom, the base of the actual craypot, was done in cane and that had been soaked. Then you would put the sticks, because they were soft, you could just bend them around.
DENISE: So the craypot would be a mixture of cane and these sticks?
DONNA: Yes. Actually, my husband I think has still got one at home.
DENISE: A craypot?
DONNA: The old fashioned one, yes, because they used to make them. I go crayfishing with him in the summer time, because you’re allowed to put out two pots per person and we’ve got the slatties, that’s what they use now, the slatties, they don’t use the old-fashioned crayfish pot, it’s all slatties but he always reckons that the old fashioned one is the better one.
DENISE: What was better about the old ones?
DONNA: We always seemed to have more luck, catch more crayfish in them; I don’t know why.
DENISE: So why do you think they changed?
VINI KENDA: Because they ran out of sticks. They’d picked them all and they hadn’t replanted them.
DONNA: Yes. Well, they would just come up on their own but now all that is residential in Jandakot; they’ve cleared it all.
VINI KENDA: And the swamps have been reclaimed.
DONNA: Yes. It’s the same if you down through Mandurah, you can see it yourself, it’s all been done so now these slatties – my husband makes his own slatties at home.
VINI KENDA: They’re just straight wood and they’re made into hexagonal type shapes. The only catch is in the way the crayfish that you get go in and can’t get out.
DONNA: No, the crayfish can get out, because you’ll go crayfishing and you’re only allowed to bring a certain amount in, well, then you leave a certain amount in one pot. When you go the next day, they’re not there, they can get out.
VINI KENDA: Yes, but somebody has been and got them out for you. (laughs)
DONNA: No, that could’ve happened – – –
VINI KENDA: It did happen, lots of times.
DONNA: Yes, but if you talk to a professional crayfisherman, these new slatties that they make now they can go out, they’ve got a place to get out.
DENISE: Thanks so much, Donna. That’s very interesting. Thank you.
DENISE: So, you were saying your father – – –
DONNA: -in-law had three and a half acres on the corner of Curedale Street and Lefroy Road. And that three and a half acres at the back – this is going back in the sixties and the fifties – all used to be full of crayfish pots. We’ve got photos at home. He’d make them for certain people.
DONNA: – – – The prawn trawlers, he used to do all their netting by hand.
CHRISTINE ELAINE: That’s interesting.
DONNA: This is going back to the sixties, this is my husband, he was good with his hands.
CHRISTINE ELAINE: It’s brilliant how they were still doing traditional things like that in recent history. It’s amazing, isn’t it that those skills are still happening.
DONNA: You see, what happened with a lot of crayfishermen was, because if you were a crayfisherman, you had to have a yard to do your pots at home and that Mr Peter Botica, who passed away recently, he had a couple of crayfishing boats but he lived in South Perth, he didn’t have – – – he was just on a building block – and everyone knew my father-in-law and they would just put their order in and Dad and his mother and father, they would all get there early in the morning – my brother-in-law and my husband had a truck stacked up with the crayfish pots and then they’d stack them all up. You should see these photos, it’s wonderful, full of pots in the garden.
CHRISTINE ELAINE: If you can bring in any of those photos, I can scan them.
DONNA: Oh yes, I’ve got some at home.
CHRISTINE ELAINE: And then we can add them to the written book, whatever.
RINA LOVRETA?: I’ve got a photo of myself when I was chopping those bean sticks.
CHRISTINE ELAINE: It shows the connection then, doesn’t it?
RINA LOVRETA?: On Hamilton Road, I think.
DENISE: I’d love to see that too.
DONNA?: Everybody used to grow them in Spearwood.
RINA LOVRETA?: Because I had a camera, one of those box cameras.
JOY PARNELL: And doesn’t your other sister, who lives near you – – – She’s deaf?
DONNA: Yes, the deaf sister Kathleen? Yes, I look after her. I have all my life, from about the age of twelve. Most people, when I go somewhere now, older people, like in their eighties, they go to me, “Oh, you used to look after your mother.” People always thought she was my mother, because when I was little, she’d want to go to the pictures, you see, to Princess or the Hoyts, that we were telling you about, and Mum was always doing something and Mum would say, “Take Kathleen”. She’s two years older than me, but we’d go to the pictures and I’d always be explaining things to her, and people always thought that maybe she couldn’t speak English when I’m saying something to her, but I’ve looked after her all my life. We built that house, the house behind.
JOY PARNELL: In fact, we had lunch there.
DONNA: We lived in Sowden Drive. Marshall Way, when I shifted in the block was on the market, and I said to my father, “Buy it for Kathleen?” He said, “Why?” I said, “Well, when you and Mum die, we’ve going to have a gate between the two of us.” “Who’s going to build the house?” and I said, “Danilo, my husband will” and he did and we’ve got the gate between the two of us.
VINI KENDA: Donna brings her to volunteering on Friday mornings and Kathy sits at my table and lip reads the numbers – – –
CHRISTINE ELAINE: I was going to say; does she lip read or know sign language?
VINI KENDA: And she turns around and sees her talking to somebody, she goes, “What is she saying?” (laughs)
DENISE: Shall we swap over?
ANKA RADATJI: I’ll start coughing now. I want to listen, I don’t want to talk.
DENISE: Everyone wants to hear your story too.
END OF ORAL HISTORY
9 Coleville Crescent,
Po Box 1215, Bibra Lake DC,
Western Australia, 6965
Cockburn Nyungar moort Beeliar boodja-k kaadadjiny. Koora, yeyi, benang baalap nidja boodja-k kaaradjiny.
Ngalak kaadatj dayin boodja, kep wer malayin. Ngalak kaadatj koora koora wer yeyi ngalang birdiya.
City of Cockburn acknowledges the Nyungar people of Beeliar boodja. Long ago, now and in the future they care for country.
We acknowledge a continuing connection to land, waters and culture and pay our respects to the Elders, past, present and emerging.