THE STORYTELLERS

JOHN EDMONDS

Click to play audio:

Ardill House steps

On the Ardill House steps in 1970

 

LOLA SHARP: Eddy, would you like to tell me how you came to Ardill House?

EDDY: I was put into Ardill House by my mother. She couldn’t afford to look after me and I went in there about 1962.

LOLA: Aged?

EDDY: 10. The sisters that I have could not go in there because they were too young at the time so they had to go somewhere else and the joined me later on down the track.

LOLA: And what about discipline there. How was discipline applied?

EDDY: George Ardill, when he was alive, the discipline he had was the cane, if necessary. The discipline was missing out on TV and he was very big on sitting you in a corner for many many hours and you weren’t allowed to speak to anybody. The children that weren’t getting punished weren’t allowed to speak to you as they passed you. That punishment, depending on what you did, could be 6 weeks every afternoon after school, all day on the weekends sitting in the corner. You got your meals but no playtime and no communication with the other children that weren’t being punished.

LOLA: Did you feel that silence had any great effect on you later on in life?

EDDY: Yes, I think so. I think that communication skills at Ardill House weren’t that good and I think … a lot of the children, not that I can say I’ve run into too many after I left there, but … probably it affected me in communicating with people especially in public or even with your loved ones, expressing how you feel, was very difficult, because you never had that type of relationship when you were in the home.

LOLA: So you didn’t feel any real closeness to the matron, for example?

EDDY: As I got older and I became a 15, 16 year old, I could then understand for myself what the Matron had given up in her life to do what she was doing. You could tell that she was dedicated to what she was doing and she had no regrets. She came into that children’s home at the age of 19, I was told, and she retired, I would imagine, at the age of 60, 65.

I got on with her very, very well. She was at my 21st; she was at my eldest sister’s 21st; she was at my first engagement party; she was at my first marriage. So, yes, I liked her very, very much and I can still say, I consider her one of the greatest women that I’ve ever met even though I copped some of her punishment quite often, especially when I got to the age of 15, 16, because you thought you were the top notch and you were the governor and you thought you could put it over her, but that was never, ever the case.

Ardill House today

Ardill House today

 

BACKGROUND

In response to community consultation, a number of local residents were interviewed and recorded. The sessions took place in December 2012 and February 2013 at Concord Library.

A short excerpt from each resident appears on this website. Together, they form a cross-section of insights into the wonderful community that is of and around the North Strathfield area.

The full interviews will be archived and available for borrowing at the City of Canada Bay Council Library Services.


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