Moving house while growing up, meant going to a number of schools. The last move before leaving home for good, was back to Adelaide from Aldinga Beach, and starting at another high school. Being the brat I was, I didn’t want to go to another school. So instead of going to school one morning, I went to the bus stop to catch the school bus with a bag containing street clothes. At the bus stop I changed out of school uniform and caught the bus to the city. By the time school had finished that day, I had my first full time job.
My career path had been decided. I was heading to Melbourne to be a dressmaker/designer for Vogue. I was going to be an apprentice, earning low wages, living in Melbourne. How clever was I, so I thought – working for 12 months, to get a solid amount of money behind me before taking up the opportunity in Melbourne.
The wage I earned in my first job was fantastic compared to the apprentice wage I was going to earn in Melbourne. Money got the better of me and I never took the apprenticeship. Instead, I went to the Adelaide Dressmaking and Design College, learned how to draft and make commercial patterns, sew as a professional and continued making my own clothes in a far more professional way.
The money I had saved to move to Melbourne was spent on my travels. I left home at 19, catching a ship to Southampton, via the Panama Canal. I was on the ship “Brittanis” for five weeks, at times not seeing land for two weeks. The stops we had on the way were wonderful, Auckland, Tahiti, Panama City, Ponte Delgarda, my first overseas experience and it was fun.
Traveling on my own, I wanted to meet fellow travelers, my reason for traveling on a ship. At that time, backpackers were not heard of. There was the YWCA and Youth Hostels Association, but I didn’t want to go there!
One of the people I met on the ship going over to UK was my first husband, John. I was totally swept off my feet by a man from Sydney at 19. We had a wonderful time. We traveled together, spending our first Christmas in Austria, lived in a number of countries and also spent an amount of time with my parents when they came to visit. Being overseas for nearly two years and spending most of my time with him, it was a given that we would be together.
Going home to Adelaide for my 21st birthday was very special. A number of friends I had met overseas had returned to Australia (primarily from Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide) and all came to my party. Haven’t yet worked out if it was because the Test Cricket was held in Adelaide the weekend in January my party was on. Not being a huge cricket fan, who cares – they enjoyed it, and most importantly, so did I.