Tuesday 28th June 2022

Telling My Story. Chapter Three. 1962-69. Social Life & More. 2018.54.

Telling My Story. Chapter Three. 1962-69. Social Life & More. 2018.54.

Deciding to begin my story!

Well over as year ago I finally set upon the journey, after much encouragement I might add, of telling my life’s story via blog posts. My friend Rebecca Bowyer  who writes here recommended this way and it has worked so far. I admit though, that the May 2017 post where I started got waylaid by the most inconvenient fact of my cancer diagnosis in the same month.

Being a truth-teller and someone who likes to be updating photos and knowledge, I wondered if I might add a new photo which is based on the me now. Here it is.

One year post major cancer surgery.

The Social Aspects of My Teens 1962-1969.

I am really delving into the memory bank now and what I come up with may not be in chronological order!

Music, The Radio and More.

When I was 13 I was lucky, oh so lucky, to become the owner of a portable transistor radio. It was light blue plastic, covered with  brown leather protection. It ran on batteries. It had a shoulder strap so I could carry it. I cannot recall if it had a power cord. BUT, I was in teen heaven with it. My Dad really understood my love of all things teen music (he was enamoured with the jazz musicians and big bands of the 1930s and 40s. Mum was never into music even though she was an awesome dancer. I wonder if her hearing loss after giving  birth twice made her less than keen on music. She was, however, a BIG fan of something I never was…talk back radio (told you I would get ahead of myself) and for Mum and Dad’s 60th Wedding Anniversary in 2006 broadcaster Alan Jones wished Mum and Dad all the best. Gosh. I can’t believe I wrote that.

Mum and Dad – 60 years wed. 2.11.2006. Sadly Mum became very ill and passed away in March 2007.

When I was this age I had already begun babysitting for our neighbours and I know it went well because I got weekly gigs and paid well. It helped with pocket money for the canteen at school. And for purchasing records – 45s at the local music shop. My first record was the Beatles Love Me Do and when I was 14 I was incredibly lucky to be in the audience of the screaming thousands to listen (ha!) and see (almost ha!) The Beatles live in Sydney in 1964. Again I credit Dad with that!

We had a two storey house and the main living was upstairs – hilly block. Mum would be cooking dinner and I was, supposedly downstairs studying. I have no idea where my younger brother was. But as I ahem studied I had my radio tuned to 2SM, the Good Guys (Mike Walsh was a good guy) where on the very rare occasion I would ring and win a prize of a movie pass. We had a phone downstairs!!

On a sloping block Mum and Dad’s house had entry at street level and then it went downstairs to another level.

Around the age of 16 my friend Sue and I managed to get to be winners of a competition to be part of Ward ‘Pally’ Austin’s program on a Saturday afternoon. We liked his panel operator, Warrick more than Ward. But we both got to chat and I chose a record list for the afternoon. Ward drove both of us across the Harbour Bridge in his top down E-type white jag and then dropped as at North Sydney to get our bus home. O.M.G. famous. OK, there are people who will have different memories of Ward but he was fine with us and we enjoyed our 30 minutes of fame.

The playlist from my appearance on 2UW

History I Remember.

It might not be social but I recall very significant events which were now, for the main part, televised after we had heard about them on the radio. The assassination of John F Kennedy was a landmark. Then later on his brother and Martin Luther King Jr. We felt glad to be ‘isolated’ in Australia. Of course, I have to mention the Prime Minister Harold Holt who went into the surf one Sunday on Victoria’s Cheviot Beach and he never returned. So many theories still abound. We watched the Vietnam War on our news stations, particularly Channel Two and This Day Tonight with Bill Peach. So many now retired journos made their start on this show and because of the Vietnam war and Mike Carlton was but one.

Of course everything was telecast in black and white and we only had 3 commercial channels and the ABC. I wrote about that here.

What I Did On The Weekends & Holidays.

In my early teens I continued in the guiding movement being part of Manly’s groups in the hall in the park above Manly Oval. I would set off via the bus with my friend who lived nearby at dusk on a Friday and we might pop over to the Wharf and watch the donuts being made and buy one. The walk to the oval was not far and we took part in the meetings. Although my parents were stalwarts of the Scouting and Cub movements in their youth and my brother followed there, I was not enamoured.

I am so NOT a camping out person, even though I did ONCE and it was a long way from home and the site at Marshall Mount became flooded. My dear Papa, who knew the area well and lived at Dapto, got a taxi out there to see if I was OK. I was…but what a sweet man he was. We returned to Sydney on the train on a dismal June afternoon and caught a ferry at peak hour back to Manly, on a very rocky ferry…we screamed a bit. I was not to know it, till Mum picked us up, that Dad too was on that ferry! I think they stopped the ferries that night according to the news as they showed what happened on our trip!

So not into guiding.

I learned ten pin bowling at Balgowlah Ten Pin. This is now where Stockland Mall is. I liked it a lot there and, you guessed it, found a boy that I liked. Sigh. Young love. I played netball with some enthusiasm as I got older and mostly because I was in a team with a group from school and we might meet up with some of the boys…I was at a girls’ school…from the high school who came to see their friends. I also found it great once I had my licence so I could get there driving Mum’s car.

We did family holidays once a year, by car, and usually to the North Coast in the (then) September holidays. We also went to Canberra once a year as Mum’s aunt lived there and we enjoyed seeing snow for the first time after going down to Cooma and I developed my love for and appreciation of Australia’s capital city.

Going to the beach was easy because the bus took me to Manly and then I could walk down the Corso and go to my favourite beach hang – North Steyne. I was not there to ogle the blonde surfer boys. I was there to meet friends and to surf. Body surf, not on a board.

On the left: me at North Steyne. On the right: me at North Steyne on the way to Fellowship. BF chopped out. For a reason.

The movies were great. Sometimes we went into the city to George Street where there were cinemas on both sides. I saw many movies there with family and friends. There were always 2 features so the main movie was after interval. You also had to stand at the end to listen to the National Anthem – God Save the Queen.

Fellowship was a youth group that met at Manly Presbyterian Church. Before I go on. Mum and Dad married in the Presbyterian church and I was christened there. I went to Sunday School. When we moved to Balgowlah Heights there was a new Congregational Church a few streets away and I began attending there because I wanted to join a choir and I started teaching Sunday School. Peak time for me was singing a solo at Christmas and my nerves were such the voice did not do justice to the carol.

I taught little kids at Sunday School. For a while.

Back to fellowship. A great way to meet people. OK, I admit it, boys. See? This is what it was like. Fellowship at St Andrew’s Manly meant something to eat, join in a discussion probably related to the scriptures and then at leaving time, join your mates at the Balgowlah Coffee Shop. And met one boyfriend there…and another where the relationship lasted 3 years: 1967-1970.

The Teen Years of 18, 19 and turning 20. 1968-1969.

Turning 17 meant: Licence gained. H.S.C. completed, birthday parties and celebrations attended, training in typing (Dad insisted I did a course at Manly Evening College in Wentworth St, above the old Library) and I admit it helps me to this day to know how to almost-touch type. He also made me do shorthand in the January before I got my teacher’s college scholarship and I hated that. Off to be a teacher instead. Yay. More about that next chapter.

Very proud of this…and on first go!

In 5th Form (Yr 11) in a Gilbert & Sullivan Show with the Boys’ HS. Look who has her mouth open. Unsurprising.

Turning 18 and onto 19 and 20: at teacher’s college, doing 5 pracs over 2 years, attending Winter and Summer balls at both Sydney Uni and NSW Uni thanks to boyfriend being a Syd Uni student, parties most weekends for someone’s 21st as he was one year older than me, enjoying LIFE, loving independence even though I still lived at home, going on bush-based holidays and beach ones too thanks to the boyfriend’s family.

Wesley College Ball at Sydney Uni (left) and Bacchus Ball #3 for me, Uni NSW right.

So proud of “me now” posting pic of “me then”. Terrigal Beach 1968

Life took a more serious but exciting turn for me at the beginning of 1970 and that is where Chapter Four will go.

I hope that this trip down my memory lane is of interest.

I have been quite amazed at how some memories come back easily. I am also pleased I made some sort of memorabilia after carting around boxes of ‘stuff’ for years as we moved house as  young married teachers…but that is for another time.


On Tuesday this posts links with Kylie here

On Wednesday this post links with Sue and Leanne here

On Thursday this post links with Leanne here.







  1. I was looking at your playlist and it bought back memories of creating cassette tapes. We used to sit by the radio, wait patiently – sometimes all day, for our favourite song to come on and then quickly hit play & record at the same time to record the song. Lots of time but always worth the effort.

    • THAT is exactly what my (now 46yo) daughter would do too. You have brought back memories of the huge double cassette player with speakers we gave her one year. Memories!! Mix Tapes!! We had tapes like that in our cars too. Denyse x

  2. Loved this trip back in time, especially the camera reel – you have such a good memory! I have always been fascinated by the Harold Holt mystery – I can only wonder what it must have been like to be there at the time and also to see The Beatles- squee! Looking forward to the next chapter x

    • Thanks so much. It did me the world of good to write this too. As I started more and more came back to me. I do have a pretty good memory for years of the past and it was fun to reach back. I read my Dad the bit about him getting me the transistor radio and there was a back story to that. Cannot share LOL. I do not know if you are back here yet but thanks for sharing your journey of recent weeks. Denyse x

  3. I did brownies and girl guides in Australia and the UK but I can’t really remember much of them to be honest! I don’t have any negative memories, but nothing outstanding either. Just a place I went that was a bit like school.

    I remember having a bad headache and being on the Manly ferry a few years ago. It was unpleasant! I was so glad when we got off of it.

    • The brownies and guides were a bit like school quite a while back but it seems more inclusive of all people and girls can be scouts now.
      Yes, it was not me either.
      I wonder was your experience on the Manly Ferry a kind of sea-sickness. You poor thing.
      I hope today is a better one for you too V.
      Denyse x

  4. Denyse your memories brought back many memories for me – the music and my love of ten pin bowling. Looking forward to the next instalment. Shared on SM

    • Thanks Jennifer! Your name was my Dad’s preferred name for me, but I got Denyse with Jennifere as my middle. I would have liked Jennifer as well!

      I can’t say when I will do each of the chapters but I do know that I too got a lot out of remembering them as I wrote.

      Denyse x

  5. This is lovely, and I adore the photos of your from this time. I can see you gaining confidence as you go through the years; such a beautiful thing to watch unfold.

  6. I’m loving your story Denyse. Your Mum & Dad looked so happy in the photo. I also listened to 2SM my goodness that brings back memories! I did ballet, tap and jazz on Saturdays so never got into the Brownies or Guides. Thanks for sharing your story with us at #MLSTL I look forward to the next instalment. xx

    • Thank you Sue! Good to know what you got up to as well. I can imagine your Saturdays were very full and busy.

      That shot of Mum and Dad (by me) is the last of the ‘good’ photos because even though we knew Mum was not well her cancer diagnosis just 2 months later explained a lot.

      Mum could, as Dad would say, ‘lift’ herself on occasions and I know she did for Christmas that year too but this outfit on her was a favourite. In fact, I got a terrific pic of her that day which I was able to get blown up and Dad has it framed in pride of place in his loungeroom.

      Denyse x

  7. What a great look back in time Denyse – some things are the same for me and some are different. I spent all my teen years in a church youth group (the boys were definitely an attraction) but so were the friendships and the great times we had on Friday nights and then in smaller groups on the weekend. I have some great memories from that time of my life – and getting my P Plates was really special too – I love how you have a photo of you with your licence!

  8. I’m impressed that you have remembered so much, Denyse. And thank you for remembering and for writing it down. I’ve been struggling to remember this period of my life and am finding now that your memories are prompting some of my own. Much appreciated!

    Oh how I loved my transistor radio!

    • That is my pleasure to help this way! I admit my memory was initially sparse but then as I wrote one part, another memory would pop up and then I was on a kind of roll. I do tend to be a rememberer but at 68 there can be a slowing down. Lucky I had some photos in a memory book which helped remind me about the background of those. I hope you get to think about and writer something about your earlier years. Transistor radios meant MY music when I wanted it. Cool, right?
      Denyse x

  9. Those photos are so precious & tell their own story. It would make my father’s day if he got a callout from Alan Jones or Ray Hadley. Of course, he’s not allowed to listen to them when I’m in the house…

    • Thanks Jo, I thought I was pretty brave putting some up but what the heck!
      As for my late mother’s taste in radio presenters…I get your position too.

      I wonder how I ended up with as much left-leaning vibes..suspect it is my teaching background.

      My brother, who was in advertising, was able to arrange the special shout but when we wanted a copy of it, it cost us $55 or so…from whoever does that kind of service.

      It still was a special memory for Mum…and Dad too.

      Denyse x

  10. Photos and memories are such wonderful things. I remember some of the things you mention like black & white TV, JFK’s assassination and the Vietnam War. I also think I wore a bikini fairly similar to the one you are wearing very well in your photo! It’s so interesting how times have changed so much. Life was much simpler back then! #TeamLovinLife

    • Thanks Kathy, life was simpler but we also knew no better. Since social media has exploded there is far too much comparison of “lives” and in that we reap quite a few mental health issues with quite a few.

      I like that you had a bikini like mine too. I remember it well but I am not sure when I would have worn it again but I am glad I still the photo and the smile, along with that beach which is close-ish to where we live now.

      Denyse x

  11. This was such fun! Thanks for sharing all of this.
    I love Gilbert & Sullivan. I was offered the female lead in The Mikado when I was in Jr. High, but they had already cast the male lead and I didn’t want to act with him. Kids! I could have played Whatsername!

    • Gilbert and Sullivan was fun and I participated in Pirates of Penzance too as a chorus member. Love the singing fun and the dressing up too. I understand the ‘dilemma’ of who to appear with as well. Thanks for sharing your experience. Denyse

  12. Denyse, this is so fascinating, thank you for sharing. It’s so important to tell these stories and have the chance to glimpse what life was like before I was born. I could listen to my Mum’s stories of her childhood & teen years for hours, and the same is true for you 🙂

    • Thanks so much Kylie. I would hope my family would be interested too but they tend to be overly busy. I did encourage my 21 yo GD to check Grandma out in her bikini on Terrigal beach though. I am printing each chapter out and then, one day, if they are interested they too can read the stories.

      It was Mrs Woog who used the notion of writing one blog post at a time and Bec Bowyer told me that and suddenly I could write. Before then it was too much at once.

      Denyse x