Eileen and Bill Pearson

Eileen Pearson was born in 1913 and moved to Millers Point, where her husband’s family lived, when she married at 21. She was joined in this interview by her son Bill, who was born in 1939. They talk about their family history; early days in Millers Point; the Depression; local characters; neighbours; the deaths of some of Eileen’s children; local workers; guests; hawkers; shopping on cash orders; Eileen’s work as a tea lady; and Eileen’s husband’s work. In the excerpt below Eileen and Bill describe the Dalgety Road house they lived in in the 1940s.

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.

Eileen: Well there was one room at the back that should have been the kitchen
but Bill and his brother shared it as a bedroom. There was only two other bedrooms, and a living room; and the laundry served as a kitchen. It had a gas stove and a fuel copper in it and tubs with a board on top that I used as a bench.

Bill: It was single storey, had a tiny little backyard out the back and an outside
lavatory; and Harry Lapham and his family used to live upstairs from us. They were like a terrace, [but] they were separate places, but one was on top of the other.

Eileen: They had to go up a stairway up the front, the stairway led to their front door, and we were down underneath them.

Bill: So all that houses [dwellings] in that terrace were like that. There was a downstairs, two separate houses [dwellings] with a stairway going between them, and two [dwellings] on top and four separate families lived in them.

Eileen: All the way up the street that was.

Bill: That was a whole terrace like that.

Frank Heimans