‘No one wore shoes in North Melbourne. Our feet were so tough we could run over glass. We only wore shoes in church or school.’
Born on Armistice day in 1939, the third of six children, and raised in North Melbourne, Ron has vivid memories of inner-city life. He has a twinkle in his eye and is a natural raconteur.
‘We lived on the streets and were rarely home. We played cricket, football. We climbed people’s fences and ‘borrowed’ fruit from their trees. It was a brilliant childhood.’
During the depression work was scarce and Ron’s father cobbled a living together, picking out copper and brass at the Dynon Road tip. He’d maybe earn ten shillings ($1) at a time.
‘My father was a brilliant man and work was scarce. He had three kids, Mum and Grandma, who were all dependent on him.’
World War 2 created work and earning money became easier. Ron moved into Canning Street housing commission flats with his wife in 1966. They had two children. In 1968 Ron knew it was time to move.
‘Our flat was on the eighth floor and was meant to have child proof windows. One day I luckily caught my two-year-old son leaning out.’ Ron worked in the motor spare parts industry and was, in his own words ‘A bit of a rebel.’ However, through his connections at work, he managed to secure a mortgage of $6,600. He bought a two bedroom house in Boronia, with six broken windows.
‘I broke two lawn mowers trying to cut down the grass,’ Ron recalls. ‘But buying it was the best thing I ever did and we had two more children there’.
Ron now lives in a senior housing estate in Knox and is clearly content with simple pleasures.
‘I know my neighbours,’ Ron says. He has a garden bed that he tends, and has discovered the joys of growing roses. Ron is a proud family man.
‘Make sure you enjoy life,’ Ron chuckles.
‘Look after your family, look after your kids.’