Russell Taylor

Russell Taylor was born in 1948, grew up in Millers Point, left in the late 1960s and later ran a business there. In this long informative interview he talks about his parents backgrounds, identification as a Kamillaroy man; his strong sense of ‘home’ at Millers Point; infrequency of Indigenous people on Millers Point post-contact; dominance of Anglo-celtic ethnicity; maritime industrial nature of Millers Point; hotel culture; violence; ‘tough’ neighbourhood; kindergarten; school; his career in banking, small business and Aboriginal Affairs; successive re-development of Millers Point; colloquial names for local vicinities; local identities, ’hard men’, neighbours and friends; trade union history; council playgrounds; description of Trinity Avenue; ongoing allegiance amongst Millers Pointers; and much more. In the excerpt below he recalls the arrival of television in Millers Point.

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.

I think that is one of the things that everybody shared that lived in Millers Point, we shared poverty, or elements of it. Nobody had much money that I can recall, I can’t remember anybody being particularly wealthy, although there was elements of that – because I was young and growing up – for instance all of a sudden you’d see somebody with a new car, or someone with a television when it first started in 1956.

One of my neighbours was one of the first persons to get a television and I can recall it and all of a sudden there were forty kids sitting in his bloody lounge room, watching this TV. And one or two of the pubs got television and that was a great thing. I remember very well – I used to go round to my grandmother’s place in Kent Street – and we’d stand outside the Captain Cook Hotel and they used to have swinging doors and every now and then someone would walk in or out and you would be able to see the TV and that was a great thing.

We weren’t allowed to stand in the door, and we certainly weren’t allowed to stand inside the door of the pub, because the publican would kick us up the bum and tell us to go, but we would stand out on the footpath waiting for someone to go in or out. Every now and again one of the kids would walk over and swing the door so you could see the TV.

Frank Heimans