Trams stationary on Swanston St with the words Family Coburg Adams Cake shop  Tram conductress Millner Myer ageing well  Recognising senior Victorians logo and image

Nancy Skoogh can’t believe she’s 93 years old. ‘My friend Joan and I used to laugh when we saw people with walking frames and say, “That could be us one day, ha, ha, ha,” and of course Joan ended up with one, so that does amaze me really.’

Born in Coburg

The youngest of six children, Nancy was born in Coburg in 1927. ‘My older sister was 10 years and a day older than me and I think she must have thought that my mother had bought me for her birthday present because she was a little mother to me, she was always taking me out.’ Nancy hated school and finished as soon as legally able, at 14. ‘I was very happy, and I nicked down and got myself a job at Adams Cake Shop.’

Becoming a Tram connie

At 15, she began an apprenticeship as a milliner and worked at different places, including Myer (‘That was great, we got the staff discount’) before taking a job as a tram conductoress. ‘I liked that,’ Nancy says. ‘You had someone to talk to all the time. You'd yack to the passengers when it was quiet during the day.’ Out with a friend one night, Nancy met a Swedish man at a busy hotel when they were asked to share a table with two young men. ‘They started chatted and we chatted back and then the pianist began playing and the fellow said, “Would you like to dance?” and then he said, “Would you like to carry my crutches or shall I?”.

Making a family

Kurt Skoogh had broken his ankle when his foot got caught in the bumper bar of a passing car as he rode his motorbike past St Vincent’s Hospital. ‘They rushed him into the hospital, and they were able to save his foot,’ Nancy says. ‘When he was still under treatment, he was wandering around, not knowing what to do with himself and every now and then he'd get on my tram and I'd think, “Oh golly, here is that fellow again”. So, eventually we did get married and we had the two kids.’