Martin’s Place – Part II

Unlike other posts on this blog, this story is not under the creative commons copyright, but full copyright by Nola Glavocich

This page of my Nana’s story, may not be as dramatic as a life saved by Arrowroot biscuits (as in part I), but it does show that she is one tough lady.

Dad worked at different jobs, whatever was available. One was doing road maintenance, where we all lived in tents pitched at the side of the road on which the work was being done. Water had to be carried to the tents in buckets from tanks supplied by authorities, or from creeks flowing nearby – which were not polluted then.

Washing was done by hand, in tin tubs and the whites boiled in buckets over an open fire, then hung on lines strung between poles of convenient trees.

About this time my sister turned 6 in July and so, in February was sent to school, but after that one day in school was told at 5 1/2 she was too young and had to stay home. Soon after this, when I was about two and Peggy six years old Dad bought a block of land, on which to grow wheat. It was at a place called Cleary, 320 km north of Perth.

Cleary was nothing more than a railway siding, a store, which sold everything from food and clothing to hardware, tool and other items and I think even acted as the Post Office. Later, a hall and tennis court were added. The hall held dances, meetings and occasional church services (whenever a clergyman passed through the area).

One of the farmers owned an organ and when there was a church service at the hall, it was brought to the hall on the back of a truck where several of the men would carry it inside. Quite often Mum would be asked to be the organist, as she had learned to play the organ in England.

Our nearest town was Koorda, about 65 km away. That is where our nearest doctor and hospital were, as well as the school. Unless one was very ill or badly injured, one was attended to at home by the adults. Schooling was by correspondence. I remember one man had his foot trodden on by a horse but I do not think he saw a doctor. He made himself crutches from tree branches, with a fork at the top to rest under his arms.

One Boxing Day (I supposed I would have been four years old, turning five in January) I climbed a small tree which Dad called a Burn Bush as these trees seemed to spring up after the bush and been burnt and which grew to about 2-2 1/2 metres high and have very smooth, slippery bark. It grew straight up with the branches coming uniformly out from the main stem making it fairly easy to climb. I must have been 1-1/2 metres from the ground when the branch I grasped to pull myself higher broke.

I remember swaying back and forth before falling headlong to the ground. My right arm apparently took the full force of my fall. I remember getting up and running, screaming, towards my parents who were working a few metres away, clearing up the branches from a recent burn. Dad ran to me and on finding out what had happened made me extend my arm out from my body and then bend it. When I did this, he turned to my Mother and said “Her arm cannot be broken, or she would not be able to bend it like that”. So Dad piggybacked me home, where they treated my arm as for a sprain, putting hot and cold cloths on it and supporting it in a sling. For the next few weeks it was very bruised, really black and very swollen around the elbow area, but I did not see a doctor as a sprain was not considered bad enough for anyone to travel 40 miles to the doctor, then the 40 miles back.

Apparently, though, it was more than a sprain as since then I have not been able to bend my elbow, as it should, as I cannot touch my right shoulder with the fingers of my right hand. The closest I can get is to about six inches, but I have learned to adjust. When putting on make-up, I powder my forehead with my right hand, then automatically change to my left hand to powder my cheeks and chin. When putting goon a necklace I reach over my head with my right arm in order to fasten it. I hove been told that when I drink a cup of tea, I twist my hand to put the cup to my mouth, but I do not notice this.

I have never bothered to have it checked by a doctor. It has not hampered me in everyday life.


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