Early Years page 50

These fascinating recollections were gratefully supplied by some of the
early (1939-45) students of St Joseph’s: 

Jean (Wiltshire) Beaumont, Phylis(Spackman) Hayhoe, Neil Bowles, Betty (Bowles) Swain, Max Porter and Mary(Waddell) Andrews.

Several recalled the Sisters coming off the bus each morning and walking along to the school, the boys vying with each other to carry their cases.
Sister Cataldus was affectionately known as “cattle dust” by the children.
Phylis (Spackman) Hayhoe recalls Sister stamping her foot beating time while the piano was played for the children to march into school. The playground being just dirt, as Sister stamped her foot the dust would swirl around her, all over her long habit.
Stories were told of the Sisters walking long distances after school to visit people in the area, before once more travelling by public transport back to Dee Why convent.
Jean (Wiltshire) Beaumont and Phylis recalled how the Sisters treated each child as an individual, they knew each child and their home life, they felt the school was like a family. Even after they went on to Stella Mans, they were welcomed back by the Sisters to join in with the St Joseph’s choir for Sunday Mass. 

A vivid memory was of mixing ink from powder every Monday morning, the mess it made, if they were not careful. Of course the popular prank among the schoolboys was to dip the girl’s pigtails in the ink!. On the other hand, it was the girls (on this occasion Barbara Walsh) who hid crawlies in match boxes and gave them to the teacher! Neil Bowles recalls how careful they had to be to keep the desks in pristine condition, these of course being also the pews for Sunday Mass. Woe betide anyone who spilt ink or left even the slightest scratch on the desks.
Friday afternoons was the big clean up. All books were taken home each
Friday and the desks and floor had to be left spotless in readiness for

Jean and Phylis remember the Mission effort at School. They recalled making toffees etc; and selling them to their neighbours to raise money to bring to school for the Missions. There were competitions between classes to see which could raise the most money. The 6th class children enjoyed washing up for the Sisters after lunch, and helping Sister to burn the rubbish in the incinerator, both good excuses to be out of class for a time. The older children were also able to go down the street to buy the lunches for the other children at Ericksons Milk Bar. While waiting for the lunches, they used to buy hot frankfurt sandwiches for themselves.

After school, Brian Stanley used to buy broken apple pies, when available, for 2 pennies, at the cake shop. Others also would buy a penny’s worth of crisps at Brysons Fish Shop, these being left over chips! 

In those days the boys and girls were separated in the playground, the boys having to stay down at the Ocean Street end, while the girls played Vigaro at the Lagoon Street end of the playground. There were also separate boys and girl.s lines to go into school. 

Being war time, several people can remember the air raid drill, when they had to practise walking out of school in an orderly fashion. For some the high note of the week was Benediction on Friday afternoon before they went home. 
First Fridays were also a special time. A lot of the children would attend the 8 a.m. Mass and bring their breakfast with them. In those days of course, they had to fast from midnight. After Mass, the Sisters would boil eggs for the children and they would have their bread and butter or dry Vita Brits before attending school for the day. 
When the children were doing the Primary final or other Exams, they were supervised by Mrs. Day, Mrs Frances Clarke and Mrs. Barraclough. 

Jean Beaumont first remembers Father Farrell when he was building the Church/School 
this was before she started school. She recalls him down on his knees hammering in the floor boards. Another memory was one school day, after she started at St Joseph’s, she and her brother and sister were baptised by Father Farrell in the Sacristy. Mrs Mullin and Norrie were their gociparents. 
Mary (Waddell) Andrews relates the story of how she used to pester Father Farrell to give her a ride in his car. Finally, one day, he picked her up, put her in the boot and drove her around the playground.

Betty (Bowles) Swain recalls how Father O’Neill used to come to the school and say to the Sisters that it was too hot for the children to be inside, and he would take them for a walk to the beach. He would also tell them lots of stories. 
Neil Bowles recalls “Father Parker’s Youth club”. Father Parker arranged for the young people to have the use of the Arlington Hall, now the Collaroy Services Club. The children met each week in the hall for games, dances and other activities. Neil recalls that during a bad flood the young people had to help pack sand bags against the foundations to protect the building.