Kath Burgess

Kath Burgess was born in the 1940s and has lived all her life in Millers Point. There her mother ran a residential (or boarding house) which accommodated seafarers and other local working men. Her father worked further afield in a brewery. In her interview Kath recalls her childhood in Millers Point, supervised playgrounds, her work, travel to Europe with her adventurous mother; Green bans; and the transition of management of local housing from the Maritime Services Board to the Department of Housing. She regrets the many changes she has seen in the local area. In the excerpt below Kath recalls the many local shops of her 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.

At the end of Lower Fort Street was Leonard’s the greengrocer. I remember going up there and buying a bag of mixed fruit, a big brown paper bag, for two shillings. There was the grocer’s shop on the corner, Wyburns, and then Wassafs got it. Down in Windmill Street there was a little bread shop, another little small-goods shop. Around at the end of this street there was a greengrocer and Holly’s was here for a long time, he was a grocer. Then Conrans the greengrocer was next door. Around the corner there was a butcher and a hairdressers, they had a hairdresser here, and a bootmaker. There were no big supermarkets in those days.

Of all those shops you have mentioned, are any of the people still here?

Well only Wassafs down here. Wyburns had it, then Wassafs bought into it after them and they are the only ones here now, all the other shops have gone. There was a milk bar on the corner over there and that was kind of a local hang-out.

Siobhán McHugh