Ken Screaigh

My dad worked at the bakery and we lived in town. My memory says that butter and things like that were hard to come by during and after the war, but we never went without, there was always something we could eat. We had our own veggie garden and we had fruit trees at the back of the house. For pocket money we used to ride through the town on our bikes and collect and sell on any bottles we could find that people had thrown out. We also trapped rabbits up in the hills overnight then collected them early in the morning before school, keeping a couple for ourselves and selling whatever we had left. And that was our spending money for when the Show came, or we wanted to buy cool drinks or lollies. Mum thought it was wonderful when we brought home the rabbits. It was a daily thing, rabbit was the main meat we’d eat; we also enjoyed chooks and ducks and the odd bit of kangaroo. We never had too little bread because of dad’s work. We used to come home from school, sit on the swing and have a piece of fresh bread out of the oven, with dripping, pepper and salt on it. That was your treat.

I always wanted to be a mechanic. There were no mechanical jobs around the place in those days. A chap came from Nannup – George Chipper – and he started up a butcher shop opposite the Imperial. He advertised for an apprentice butcher. My mother grabbed me by the ear, down we went for an interview and I got the apprentice job. I was butchering for 46 years. In the early days my boss would buy stock (sheep, lambs, beef). He bought an old block out the bottom of Mt Bakewell and built an old bush abattoir out there and we killed every day. There were no refrigerator trucks in those days so meat would be chucked on the back of a ute with a tarpaulin over it. I ended up buying the business off him in 1968 and sold it in 1994 so owned it in my own right for 26 years.