Barrie Shrimpton writes…
I remember the old hand driven picture machines at the end of the Manly Jetty. One would place a penny in the slot, look through a kind of viewing tube, and while doing so, turning a handle, and little pictures would flip over, thus giving the impression that the subjects portrayed were moving. My wife also remembers these machines, but for some reason she was frightened of them. I think there were about six of these “moving picture” machines at the end of the jetty, which at the time was covered by a roof over the playing machines then available for patrons for amusement purposes.
When my family moved from Lota to Yamboyne Street, Manly, we lived in an old shop. Down the road, just past Mount Joy Terrace Road, there was a blacksmith’s shop, and my brother and I and a few other local kids used to watch the blacksmith shoeing horses and doing other such work. The smell of the shop was also pleasing.
One of our favourite pastimes at weekends was to sit on the side of the road, writing down all the registration numbers of the cars as they passed. Traffic was not very heavy then. We even ran our trolley carts (the four-wheel jobs, with rope attached to the front wheels to steer) from Manly State School, down the hill, and half way up Mount Joy Terrace. Couldn’t do that these days, too much traffic.
I also remember swimming at the old Manly Baths when they were salt-water baths. They used to pump seawater in about twice a week on the full tide, after letting the water drain out. If the Bay was calm, the water pumped in would be reasonably clear, but if the wind was up, it would be a bit murky from the mud being stirred up.
There was no filtration plant, and we used to pay 6d. (5 cents) for half a day’s swimming. At mid-day, everyone would have to leave; then re-enter after paying another 6d. The pool was only six feet (about 2 metres) deep at the deep end, and one had to be very careful when diving from the diving tower. Some lads used to dive from the back rail of the grandstand, right over the tiered seats into the pool. Someone would be down on pool level to make sure no one was swimming underneath.
For quite a few years I was a member of the Waterloo Bay Training Squadron, sailing at Manly in 12 foot trainee dinghies. I sailed as a forward hand for a couple of seasons until I purchased my own boat “Fantasy”. In 1950 I held the position of Secretary and Press Correspondent.
I recall the day the old Star Theatre burnt to the ground. There was a printing works incorporated in the building, where the “Waterloo Bay Leader” was published. I worked in the printery as a linotype operator, but left about six months before the fire burnt the printery as well as the theatre.
By the way, I met my wife while swimming at the Manly Swimming Baths in the salt-water days.
October 13, 2002
(Extract from ‘Moreton Bay Letters’ Peter Ludlow 2003)