Beecroft-Cheltenham History Group

  BEECROFT:  SOME RECOLLECTIONS OF THE 1950’S AND 1960’S

Malcolm E Cox  2020

I lived in Beecroft from 1953 to 1969, that is age 8 to 24. My parents were Harold and Hettie Cox, and I had an older brother Ian, and a younger sister Helen. We lived almost in the middle of Beecroft at 92 Beecroft Road, right opposite the School of Arts. However, that property, and the ones on either side were acquired by the Department of Education and demolished late 1966. In 1966 we moved to 56 Lyndon Way, a new subdivision in Beecroft. Eventually, we all moved on and married, Ian and I have two boys each and Helen two girls.

My dad, Harold, was a pharmacist and had one of the two chemist shops in Beecroft from 1953 to 1957. Following that he sold the shop and established a pharmacy in West Ryde in 1958, which he sold in 1974. He then bought a smaller one in Waitara, and retired in 1979. Dad was born in 1910 in Goulburn and the family moved to Sydney in 1925 so the he and his older brother could complete education. He did pharmacy and brother Bert completed medicine. Their grandparents migrated to Sydney from Wales and Dorset in 1878; his grandfather was a grocer, then became Town Clerk in Goulburn; his father was also a grocer in Goulburn then Sydney. Dad died in 1982.

Mum was very a supportive wife, and a terrific mother; she was born in 1914 in Mayfield, Newcastle. Her parents migrated from Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland in 1911, and her father, a fitter and turner, worked with BHP Steel Works Newcastle and became

foreman of the coke ovens. Mum finished school, then did a secretarial course and worked as a secretary/stenographer in Newcastle. Mum and dad married in 1939. At Beecroft she played ten-nis at the Cheltenham Recreation Club 1955-1965, then joined the Cheltenham Women’s Bowling Club 1966-1979. We had mum’s mother (Agnes Young) live with us from 1954 until her death in 1968. Mum died in 1983.

Before Beecroft dad had chemist shops at Brighton-le-Sands and then Bexley North. They were both community minded, and dad previously was President of the Bexley North P & C, then after coming to Beecroft they were very active in the Methodist-Uniting Church.

My recollection of Beecroft was a pleasant environment, abundant bushland, with a conservative society that was dominantly protestant, and a village-type setting. It had a basic shopping centre but no hotel, and for any major shopping we usually went to Eastwood. This atmosphere did not start charging until around 1960-61. However, I should be thankful for that, as it was a great place to grow up.

I lived at home until 1969, attending Epping Boys’ High School, and completing geology at Macquarie University. From 1970 I followed a career in geology and worked in various parts of Australia, PNG and Fiji, then returned to

study and follow research completing a MS at University of Hawaii, then a PhD at the University of Auckland, NZ. I returned to Australia in 1986, worked in resource geology 1987-1990, then in 1991 started as a lecturer in hydro-geology at Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, retiring as Professor of Hydrogeology in 2015. I have lived in Brisbane since 1987 and have an active interest in growing bonsai.

Ian went to Eastwood Primary School, then Homebush Boys’ High; he left home around 1965 and went to Sydney University and Teachers College graduating in 1967. From 1968 he taught at Penrith High, then North Sydney Boys (rowing master at both), then to Dubbo in different high school positions to Deputy Principal and retired in 2003. During this time he completed a BA at UNE (1979) and a BEd at Riverina Institute of Technology (1988). They moved to Southern Highlands in 2011, and sadly he died of an unusual nasal cancer in 2015. He contributed much to secondary education and later especially zoo education at both Dubbo and Taronga Zoos.

Helen went to Cheltenham Kindergarten in 1956 and to Beecroft Public School 1957 to 1963, then Cheltenham Girls’ in 1964 and completed HSC in 1969. She completed a secretarial course at Artarmon Technical College in 1973, then 1974 to 1991 worked in various management secretarial positions, moving to Mudgee in 1992 and was office manager at the golf club to 1995. From 1999 to current she has been customer service and office manager at Huntington Estate Wines, and a major coordinator of the annual music festival.

I have used a lot of the available information of 1950’s-60’s and also earlier periods to provide context and to better understand my time at Beecroft, plus confirm if some of my recollections are correct, or imagined.

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