Between Wind & Water

Between Wind & Water was a collaboration with Agelink Theatre and the City of Fremantle. For Fremantle Heritage Festival 2018 a truly intergenerational cast performed a musical play by Penny Low, directed by Stuart Halusz and produced by Jenny Davis at Fremantle Town Hall before sell out audiences. The work was based on historical research and 40 individuals' stories and memories we captured during 2017. Photographic portraits from some of the storytellers also featured in the lobby to the Town Hall as part of this celebration of seniors. 


Find out more here.


Michele Corbo

My grandfather came over to Australia from his village in Italy. My grandmother continued to write to him, including one postcard that was a reminder photo of his two sons, my dad and uncle, taken when dad was about 12. On the back of the postcard she wrote:

Dear husband
I am sending you this photograph
we have taken in front of our house
to make you remember us.
Do not think we have become a little crooked.
We are standing on the sloping street.
Look how big our sons are.
Mario is already taller than Antonio.
I think you will know which is Mario.
All three of us send you a thousand kisses.
Today is the feast-day of Saint’ Antonio
may he bring us his grace.
My dad was two years old when my grandfather left.

My parents came out from Italy at grandfather’s request as he wasn’t able to get the money he was making back to Italy. Dad didn’t talk much about it but there was a level of dissatisfaction in his life. He was frustrated with being here.

Greg Hastings

I got a job at the community education centre next to Clancy’s as a printer. After a disagreement with the coordinator I was sacked for incompetence. Even though the union fought the case for me, the coordinator stacked the meeting and I remained sacked. As fate would have it, following that meeting I walked straight into Clancy’s and offered the manager an in house band - the Mucky Duck Bush Band.

Before long we were doing two nights a week at Clancy’s. The manager told me ‘Since you’ve been playing here I’ve never had to step between people in a fight’. Well, Celtic music makes people happy. Those were fantastic memories - the whole place going up and down to the songs we played.

Brian Smith

We could ride our bikes up and down the wharf and we’d go fishing under the wharf after school sometimes, which we’d access down a ladder.

Vessels on the wharf weren’t very health conscious then and their kitchens would throw all refuse into the water, so we’d watch it drift passed whilst we had
a line cast in.

Directly opposite Fremantle Boys School was Dalgety Woolstores. During lunch a few of us would climb up on the bales there to eat and then have a cigarette. There we were, smoking on top of millions of dollars of wool! There were people working in the Woolstores all of the time but they never worried about us; no one ever told us to leave and security wasn’t very tight in those days.

Gladys Norris

There was definitely a divide between Catholics and non-Catholics. I had a boyfriend once that wasn’t a Catholic and the community hated our relationship. I don’t remember Catholics saying anything bad about non-Catholics - it was the other way around.

I didn’t go to the Catholic school though. I really didn’t want to go to the Catholic school and I used to hide when the priest came for me. But I took instruction to be Catholic and did Holy Communion. My priest refused to have me confirmed because I wasn’t at the Catholic school.

Keith Peckham

Dad bought a block in Melville and had to dig a track through the bush in order to have a path to go get the paper and milk. The surrounds were all bush; there were kangaroos, foxes and rabbits.

When we were older we’d go to the Mayfair picture theatre in Bicton and the Princess or Hoyts in Fremantle. At the Mayfair we used to climb under or over the fence to get in without paying, then we’d roll Jaffas down the isle during the film. We also used to go to hops at Port Beach – that was the place to be. We would buy a bottle of beer and hang around out the front.

Maria Rosaria Oliveri del Castillo

(We are very grateful to Rita Pasqualini, who was Maria’s Italian-English interpreter during her story capture session. Rita features in this portrait holding a photograph of Maria)

During the Second World War I was in Rome with no food, no water. I don’t remember being frightened; when you’re starving you don’t care. When the Germans were leaving Rome the Americans shot everyone in uniform, so Italians that didn’t have civilian clothes were buying them from Jews for 5 lire to disguise themselves.

One time I was lucky enough to have some money and I managed to buy two eggs on the black market. I was happy and was holding them to my chest while walking, when some Mussolini followers were shot right in front of me - including a young boy. I startled and the eggs broke against my chest. I was in shock and someone took me to a bar to settle me. But I was most sad about my broken eggs. Such were the times.

Norma Browning

Movies were shown at the North Fremantle town hall and I worked there from when I was 16 years old. On Fridays, women in the audience were placed into a draw to win chocolates during the film’s interval. The senior usherette would call out the number of the pick, indicating who’d won, then wave her arms to the film operator to communicate that the film should start again. One time on doing this her knickers fell down.

There was a very good chemist in North Fremantle, Mr Doepel. He’d be available for his patients 24 hours a day. He’d come to the movies for the second half of a film. He’d shut his shop at about 930pm and we would reserve a seat for him. He would only have been there for 5 mins before someone would come to request that he opened his shop back up to provide assistance. He was such a hard worker.

Otto & Maureen Walkemeyer

Fremantle has always been a favourite place for the Walkemeyer family to visit and I believe that’s because of the Walkemeyer connection to the place. Otto’s grandfather owned Walkemeyer bakery on the corner of Commercial Road and South Street from 1910. The shop still operates as a bakery and we’ve been down to see it recently.

We were delighted to see that they’ve kept the original façade and oven.

Arthur Clarke

I spent a lot of my childhood running around Beaconsfield; my parents had friends on McCleery Street with a sizeable back yard and palm trees. Men would have been off fishing and there’d be trestle tables outside with lots of people talking and eating fish and crabs that had been caught. Those nights - I remember beautiful cool summer breezes and the seafood being cooked in copper pots, probably taken from the laundry, over a fire.

The area had a very close community that did everything together; socialised, played sport. We were all very active in the South Fremantle football club. It was like ‘be part of it or die’. There was a bitter division - if you lived on one side of East St you were East Freo, the other was South Freo. Never the twain shall meet.