Just before the house was finished in 1954, the stress and strain of working, building, bringing up a family and no holidays finally caught up with my mother. She became run down, tired and depressed (which sadly she suffered bouts of for the rest of her life) The doctor ordered her to have a holiday, but money was scarce. Luckily friends came to help. One of the nurses Mum worked with had friends living in Ballina, a northern NSW beach holiday town. They offered her a free two week holiday with them. Mum really enjoyed her time there and came back refreshed and promised to take us all there one day, which she did in 1956, our first holiday in 7 years.
At the front of Mum's photo album, where I copied these pictures, she has written the following:
"The Speakman Family"
Len, Florrie, David and Diane, emigrated from London-Woodford E18 to Australia in 1949.
After staying one week, Feb 13th -Feb 20th at South Hurstville and finding it impossible to live there, we bought land at 7 Eighth Ave, Loftus for 125 pounds.
After much thinking,and the trials of pioneering in the bush at Loftus we built the house ourselves except for a little professional help. This took five years working on the house every spare moment when not at work, and during our annual holidays.
Len and I made a 5 year plan to build and pay for the house.
(Strangely enough these were the happiest years of my life---Florrie Speakman)
I think this was written in the 70's.
After five years of hard work my Mum and Dad had designed and built a small two bedroom house. We were all very happy when we moved in from the garage which is behind the house. There was still a lot of work to do. Mum and Dad designed and built a lot of built in furniture and Mum made all the curtains, cushions and bedspreads. Mum had already started to develop the garden but she had a lot more to do.
At the back they had established a little lawn and a rockery garden. Dad continued building. As you can see he converted the garage roof to a flat roof and added on a car port. Our house only had two bedrooms and a sunroom which could be used as a 3rd bedroom. We had a lounge room and dining room, a kitchen, bathroom and laundry. David was given the choice of using the sunroom as a bedroom or he could have the garage, where we had lived for the past 5 years, all to himself as his own bedroom and study. Naturally a teenage boy chose to have his own private space and opted for the garage, so Dad renovated it for him.
My mum was very happy with her new kitchen. A real kitchen after 5 years. The bench tops and table were red and the cupboards were blue with red knobs.
Mum continued working as a psychiatric nurse and later a geriatric nurse. If this picture was in colour you would see a beautiful array of flowers in the background, which she had planted in and around the rocks.