Des Gray

Des Gray was born in 1944 and grew up in Millers Point as the son of a wharf labourer. He describes the life around the area, hotels, SP bookmakers, schooling, ferries and the house he grew up in. In the excerpt below he recalls one aspect of an adventurous childhood.

This interview is part of Housing NSW’s 2005 Millers Point Oral History Project. The City of Sydney acknowledges the State Library of New South Wales as the archival custodian of the project and digital preserver of the masters.

Dalgety’s Wool Shed used to lead down to the Dalgety’s Wharf where they’d load the wool from up top down the chutes and onto the ships. It was just a great big store, a monstrous big building with stacks and stacks of wool in it. That was one of our playgrounds, we’d go in there and play.

The guys who worked in the wool sheds, I don’t know what they were called, if they caught us they used to take our pants off and wipe this red dye on our testicles and send us home. Mum would always know then, ‘Ah, you’ve been to the wool sheds all day.’ Not many of us got caught but the ones who got caught that is what they done to you.

Frank Heimans