© 2018 Greg & Sylvia RAY

Nine decades of memories

In recent times I've taken the opportunity to sit down with some nonagenarians - that's people aged in their 90s - to hear a sampling of their recollections. What follows is a selection shared by Leonie Leben and Ken Watt, who grew up in Merewether and Cooks Hill, respectively. Leonie Leben. Photo by Greg Ray Leonie Leben grew up in the Newcastle suburb of Merewether and was a schoolgirl during the years of World War 2. Her father, Leopold "Bob" Hay, spent most of his working life on Newcastle Harbour, on dredges and tugs operated by…

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James Fletcher, by Dulcie Hartley. Chapter 3

My late friend and amateur historian Dulcie Hartley published several books during her lifetime, but one book she was very proud of never made it into print. This was her book about James Fletcher, Newcastle's famous "miners' advocate" - the only man in the city to be commemorated with a statue. Miner, politician and newspaper proprietor, Fletcher was immensely popular and influential, and Dulcie was fascinated by him. After Dulcie's death, her daughter Venessa entrusted me with the manuscript, and I have slowly transcribed it. Fletcher the employer and capitalist During the early 1870s James Fletcher…

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Childhood memories of The Newcastle Show

Newcastle Show, to me as a child in the 1960s, was an extravagant feast for the senses that marked it as one of the great highlights of the year. The smells, sounds, lights and crowds of the nighttime show made it seem to me like a magical town, with its streets and alleys and the big public square of the main ring. I drank in the excitement of the event with wide-eyed enthusiasm. The Show really seemed like a city to me – so huge, with so many different areas, each with an entirely different feel,…

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