Sandy grew up in the Bald Hills district during the 1950s and 1960s. I remember this area, as Bald Hills was on the old highway travelling north from Brisbane and it was the way to the Redcliffe Peninsula without paying the toll on the old Hornibrook Highway. Everyone's parents seemed loath to pay that toll and would go the inland way. Thorne describes an area of dairy farms, now long gone, replaced by huge housing estates. She describes areas such as Aspley, Strathpine, Bridgeman Downs and Brackenridge which were farms and bush in her childhood. Thorne loved animals, especially horses.
Thorne's father owned 2 garages and had been a mechanic in the air force. The family were well off and were a 2 car family when many families in this area had none. Her mum was a bit of a socialite with her tennis, committees and party giving. According to Thorne, her mum looked 'down' on the hardworking dairy farmer's wives.
As I read through the book, I found myself completely fed up with the non stop mischief and outright bad behaviour of the Sefton (family name) children, particularly Thorne. I would have hated to be her teacher!
But then I gave it a bit of thought...Thorne was acting up to get attention...her behaviour got more and more outrageous as she got into her teens. Her father ignored his family; her mother was busy with her social life and also appeared to be reluctant to enforce 'boundaries' on the children's behaviour. Neither parent took an interest in the children. With the help of a family who befriended her through school, Thorne learned to ride horses and joined a pony club where she won ribbons but her parents would not come to watch her at the club. Her dad 'was a bit of a lad' apparently and in the evenings Pearl and 'Snow' Sefton would row about his infidelity while their children would cower in their rooms.
After being expelled from Bald Hills State School in Grade 8 and Corinda State HighSchool in sub Junior ( she went all that way to school as they had animal husbandry subjects), Thorne was sent to St Margaret's, an Anglican private school, where she did surprisingly well . She found the nuns to be kind and nurturing and consequently this wild girl thrived. During this time her sister left home and so did her mother, obviously fed up with her unfaithful husband who also would hit her according to Thorne.
Now Thorne and I had something in common...we both hated Domestic Science...however she played up...I conformed ! Lol Here's some memories of that time (grade 8) from my 'recipe drawer'...
This is the front cover of my Domestic Science notebook from Grade 8...this book is very old :-/
Under the brown paper cover...a Woolworth's own brand exercise book.
Sandy Thorne and I found in our experience, that some of those Domestic Science teachers were absolute harridans and shrews...my goodness I sound quite bitter! Lol
I struggled for years with this scone recipe but always got 'bricks'. As a young married I asked a neighbour what I was doing wrong. She picked it straight away...'Put more milk in than the recipe says', she said. From then on, I made much better scones.
I was nearly always in trouble for untidy work...lol. I did improve by the time I graduated from teachers' college.
Now being a bit of a busybody I checked out the Bald Hills Sefton family on the electoral rolls via Ancestry.com.au. In her book, Thorne wrote that her mother had left the family home. I was able to find out that Pearl was the Postmistress at Pt Lookout in 1972. In 1977, her address on the electoral roll was listed as Chevron Is on the Gold Coast...maybe retired? And in 1980 Pearl's address was in Labrador also on the Gold Coast. The rolls available through Ancestry only go to 1980 :-( .
I love books with old photos...here's the page showing photos of Thorne's parents when they were young.