A young Vera once played piano for silent movies in Sydney.
As a bride in 1940, she came to live in the wilderness at Carsonville, where husband Laurie Davis was employed at the mill.
She had never been there, but they drove along a winding road for 18 miles, across 10 crossings, to arrive at a two-room cottage which they rented for 7 pounds 6 shillings a week.
Importantly, it had an enamel fronted stove, glass windows, verandahs and a tank. It didn’t have a bath, so on the first trip to town they bought a tin one for £5 from Street and Parish.
Carsonville had a schoolhouse, which was also used as a dance hall, and a tennis court. Mavis Dignam had a little store and the Post Office. Tull’s butchery of Stratford delivered meat twice a week. Stackman’s sold milk from their nearby farm, and Stan Jones delivered bread.
It was a community of close-knit families – Bradley, Squires, Soars, Page, Fernance, Deaves, Moore, Dixon, Greentree, Rose, Getts, Keegan and many others.
During the war years the mill cut softwoods which were sent to Stratford Railway Station. Workers were paid £3 for a 48-hour week.
Rationing made petrol so scarce that a trip to town only happened every six weeks for essential supplies.
Vera was a keen seamstress, so when Arthur Hazelwood came from Gloucester selling clothes and blankets she loved it. Vera made two grey coats from blankets, which she sold. She also knitted scarves, socks and pullovers for the Red Cross and made camouflage nets for our soldiers.
In 1944, Carsons moved the mill to Gloucester.
The workers followed, and Vera and Laurie settled in Cowper Street. Shortly after moving to Gloucester, Vera was asked to play the piano for a soldiers’ farewell.
This was the beginning of her piano performances in Gloucester. She played at more farewells and later, welcome back events hosted for those same troops.
After the war there were dances in halls with band music ringing with Vera at the piano.
She taught piano to many children for so many years that her musical gifts continue to this day.
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