Jean Hamilton (nee Springall) 1911 – 2016 (104 years).
At the age of around 8 years old, Jean’s father, Lawrence Springall, a Carpenter by trade, was determined to move from their rented house in Crows Nest. He wanted to build a new cottage for his wife and their (at that time) four children, at Lane Cove.
Her father purchased the Land in a New Subdivision – Block No 3 Sutherland Street Lane Cove.
Lawrence’s new block of land was really isolated with thick natural bushland all around. The top of the street was a dead end, with no direct access at all through to Burns Bay Road (where the Dental Practice and Roundabout now stand).
Instead, you had to go from Burns Bay Road into Graham Street, right into the bottom of Sutherland Street then up a reasonably steep hill to No. 3, so that meant considerable extra distance just to get home. Fortunately, Jean and two of her sisters were able to take a short cut to and from the Lane Cove Public School, which saved a lot of time and effort.
There would have been many challenges – no town water, electricity or sewerage, but in early 1930’s the Ice Works, situated behind the shops would deliver “blocks “straight to your ice chest.
On the day the family moved from Crows Nest to their new home, the horses and wagon, loaded with the family furniture (all made by Lawrence) arrived late in the afternoon. After turning from Graham Street into the bottom of Sutherland Street, the horses stopped. The driver told Lawrence that the horses needed spelling, and asked him for permission to remain there overnight which Lawrence readily agreed to.
A cot, bedding and baggage were carried by hand up to the new home. The following morning the horses were able to pull the load up the steep hill (only dirt surface) and the wagon was unloaded.
Prior to Sutherland Street being extended through to Burns Bay Road, (still not a tarred surface and no Cox’s Lane), there was a reasonable Walking Track – commencing at the top of Sutherland Street.
This Track went through the Natural Bush Timbered area up there and was a short cut to the then shops and Lane Cove School.
This extremely large area stretching between Burns Bay Road towards Finlayson Street and onwards to Rosenthal Street was completely surrounded with wooden posts and double wire fencing.
Cows (probably on agistment), roamed freely through the Natural Bushland, grazing at will.
Jean and her sisters would always travel together along the track, and before climbing through the wire fence would look to see if there were any cows in the vicinity of the track before setting off to school.
On the occasion that any cows were near the track, they would wait for another traveller to come along and just tag along behind.
While the house was being completed at No 3 Sutherland Street, Lawrence acquired another block at No 7 Sutherland Street Lane Cove and in time built another house there.
Once this house was completed, it then became the Family Home and No 3 was sold.
Jean had a great love of walking all her life. In Lane Cove, it was the only way of getting around for her. She would walk to Tambourine Bay or Longueville. In the 60’s & 70’s she would think nothing of walking to Dockerty House Chatswood Seniors Centre and back once a week. Jean was a keen member of the Lane Cove Bush Walking Group for many years.
Jean loved to cook and could put on a luscious afternoon tea with sponge cakes and her special nut roll and lamingtons. Her two teenage grandsons enjoy cooking occasionally and are showing promising signs of being good cooks.
Jean loved living handy to the shops in Lane Cove and being able to hop on a tram to the city. When the tram was replaced by buses, she could still get to the city in later years. She loved going to the Lane Cove shops and checking out the specials in the supermarket. She always took great delight in watching the little children play on the green in the Lane Cove Plaza.
Jean worked in her Father’s fruit shop in Neutral Bay and would create wonderful window displays. Unfortunately, we do not have a photo of the Fruit Shop “The Jean” where Jean worked for her father in Neutral Bay. We do however have a photo of her and her father taken at the back of the fruit shop (around 1932).
Jean met her future husband, Maurice Joshua Hamilton, at a picnic she had been invited to by Maurice’s brother and his wife.
Coincidently, at the time, Jean was working in McKenzie’s Butchery on Pacific Highway Crows Nest and Maurice had three months earlier taken over a badly run down Butchery in Willoughby Road Crows Nest.
After they married, Jean was able to get back to “window dressing” again, but this time with meat instead of fruit.
Jean’s grandson Scott Hamilton, his wife Leonie and their two sons William and Daniel live in Lane Cove in her home in Finlayson Street. William and Daniel (just like thier grandmother) both attended Lane Cove Public School before going on to Chatswood Public School Opportunity Class and are currently attending North Sydney Boys High School.
ITC had the pleasure of meeting Jean in 2013 when we snapped a picture of her at the Lane Cove Farmers’s Market (which is now no longer operating). Jean was immaculately dressed. Goodbye Jean – you may have left us but your legacy will live on with your family still proudly living in Lane Cove.
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