Shopping was done at the Quairading Co-op but sport was played in Tammin. Dances and social events were
enjoyed in both towns. Shopping day was usually Friday and the grocery order would be rung through on a
wind up telephone situated on a wall in the passage. A box of groceries would be ready to be picked up
when the town was finally reached. If the shop was closed by then the box of stores was just put outside
the shop front along with many other boxes belonging to other customers. No one would have thought of
stealing anyone else’s provisions. The lass taking the order would often mistake what Mary wanted as she
had difficulty with the Scottish brogue. We got some weird and wonderful grocery items at times. Goods
were usually sold in bulk. Flour and sugar sold in large hessian or calico bags, and tea sold in 10lb tins. One
time during the war Mary ordered a tin of Bushell’s tea and somehow or other got TEN tins of tea. This
proved to be a bonus as tea became rationed the very next week. A similar thing happened when she
ordered a tin of tan boot polish. She got ten tins of brown and ten tins of black polish. That too went on
ration as was needed for the soldiers The Thomson family was able to supply the whole district in tea and
boot polish for the duration of the war.
Every Tuesday the mail man arrived in his truck and delivered the post. He also brought back copies of
papers like the Sunday Times, Broadcaster and West Australian. He would take the outgoing mail and post it
off the next day.
Grace, Jean and Betty were excellent tennis and hockey players. Margaret also enjoyed sport and played
basketball, tennis and hockey but was not as talented as her sisters. What she lacked in talent however she
made up for in enthusiasm. John and Alex were good tennis, cricket and footballers and in later life played
lawn bowls. Don enjoyed tennis and bowls. Bruce and Rowly both played football and lawn bowls. Rowly
was exceptionally athletic and good at gymnastics as well.
Bruce was the only family member who stayed on the farm permanently.He married Bev Webber, a lovely nurse from NSW and they became parents to Susie and Gerald. Bruce was a talented musician and could play any tune on the piano by ear. He also played the drums and was often in demand to relieve the band when they went for a break at the local dances. The family piano has been restored and Susie now has it in her keeping.
Susie and Gerald and their partners have made very successful lives and Bev and Bruce are justifiably proud of them. They have four lovely grand children and so far two great grandees.
I don’t think Bruce ever wanted to be anything other than a farmer. He was very inventive and could adapt any machinery to suit his needs. Any repairs of farm equipment was done by him. He was a very astute farmer and could turn his hand to anything. Bev and Bruce enjoyed many years of caravan holidays and are now enjoying a well earned retirement in Quairading . Bev belongs to a sewing group and does beautiful craft and embroidery.
Bruce has restored the old John Deere farm tractor and is a member of the Quairading vintage club where they restore other old farm implements. They are strong supporters of the community and are well liked.
Betty and Don went to Perth for higher education. Grace had wanted to be a teacher and won a scholarship to Northam High School but sadly after a short time had to return home because of the great depression, the family could not afford her board. She got a job in Tammin in Lardi Bros department store and although not fulfilling her dreams was happy there.
Rowly wanted to be a farmer like his dad and was sent to Narrogin Agricultural School. Bruce had to remain at South Tammin school until he was sixteen in a valiant effort to keep enough pupils at the school for it to remain open. He then gladly left and was at last able to help his Dad and Rowly on the farm.
When Margaret was nine years of age the local school was moved to another area because of lack of students and she had to go to boarding school. For the next seven years she attended South Perth and Kellerberrin Convents. A bit of a shock to the system for a fifth generation Presbyterian. The nuns of St. Joseph were remarkable women though and very fair and kind and not discriminating in any way. (In fact she was a bit of a pet!)