Friday, October 19, 2012

Waterview folk: Howley and O'Shea

I've often thought that some of our greatest friends in Waterview (South Grafton, Australia), in the late 1940s, were the Howley family. I remember well the charming widowed mother, whose maiden name was Thelma Nasser [1886-1968]. I was told that she was Syrian, and indeed there were folk named Nasser from all over the eastern Mediterranean world. As for her late husband, Michael Howley [1883-1925], he was born in the Nambucca region, and probably of a run-of-the-mill English background. How did he meet up with a Mediterranean girl? Your guess is as good as mine. In any case, they were married in Redfern in 1907.

George Howley was born in 1908, Edward ("Teddy") in 1911 and Amy in 1913. The aviator Roger was probably born soon after, followed by Freddy in 1919 and Sammy in 1921.

We Skyvington kids knew the children of Amy and her estranged husband Joseph O'Shea, married in 1941.

Today, I'm amused to discover that Maureen O'Shea appears to be residing in the old Howley house at 279 Ryan Street (to the left of the house of Maude McMenemy, my piano teacher, whom we referred to as “Mrs Mack”). What's more, Maureen is an anti-CSG combatant, using knitting needles as her sole arm.

                                                                                    — The Daily Examiner

Who said we didn't breed revolutionaries in Waterview?

Just for the record, "a man called Freddy" (an expression I used in one of my family-celebrated childhood school texts about my encounter with a snake at Deep Creek) once showed me a huge jungle knife, and told me that he had used it to kill Japanese opponents. It's a fact that Frederick Howley [1919-1991]—an amusing friend whom I admired and adored—had been a member of the 2nd AIF [Australian Imperial Forces] in the Pacific. For me, Freddy Howley was a marvelous symbol of my Waterview childhood.

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