Bride Smith

B. 1939

I come from the cane growing town of Ingham in North Queensland. I was taught by the Sisters of Mercy who were very strict. They used to have a big leather belt and cane and they didn’t hesitate to use them. I only got hit on the hands once, but I remember one girl who used to get belted every day. The nuns could be vicious, seriously vicious. We didn’t have a car in the family until much later on, so we rode our bikes to school. There was no television in our household, so we made our own fun. We did have a radio but it wasn’t turned on all the time; people seemed to talk together a lot more back then. My father was very strict, so I sometimes had to use a torch to read a book underneath my bed covers. It wasn’t common to go on to senior school, so I left after junior and got a job in a solicitor’s office. I moved to Brisbane and worked various jobs before joining TAA – Trans Australian Airlines. It was renamed Australian Airlines in 1986 and was one of the two major Australian domestic airlines between its inception in 1946 and its merger with Qantas in 1992. I trained in Melbourne and then was sent to Adelaide for six months to get ‘your wings’. The wind and cold in Adelaide were terrible and I applied for a transfer back to Brisbane. At a farewell party for my brother who was going overseas I met my future husband. We discovered that we had both lived not far apart in New Farm for 12 months when we first arrived in Brisbane and never crossed paths until we met at my brother’s party. In those days, married women were not allowed to work so when I got married I had to leave my job. It’s a bit different now. We moved together to the little town of Millaroo on the Burdekin River so he could work at the research station as a soil scientist. We worked hard and did without a lot of things while raising our three children. There were no shops about – we had to drive into Ayr for our shopping so you didn’t want to forget anything. It was hard at times but we’ve really had a happy life after 54 years together. In the end, what matters most, is being happy within yourself and the person you’re with.

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