Corner Davey and Bay Street, circa 1920, 
Post Office on South East corner, 
 Dr Plowman's residence at rear on top of hill  

( Photo courtesy Frankston Library Local History Collection) 


Dorothy Speer

Dorothy Speer talks about surviving the depression.

In those times you had to work damn hard and you never got any cups of tea - nothing like that. If women or children today had to work the way we did, huh... there wouldn't be no work done. Well I'd come home and I'd just about be fagged I'd sit there and my sister would be feeding my children. I'd be too tired to eat. In fact there wasn't sufficient food in those days to eat and I had to go without.

I worked for a shilling an hour. Well, one time when I was desperate, I went, I had about a shilling and three-pence in my hand and I wanted some butter. I won't name the place, but it doesn't matter now because in Frankston you could never get credit, and I went to this certain place... the grocer's. My son was working there and I wanted a bit of butter, I was turned away, I was a half-penny short. You see that's the way it was in those days. I never forgot it. I come home and sat down and watched my children eat. 

Mrs Parnell, who lived way up on the corner of the main road, that little shop up on the highway, in that little weather-board place backing onto the creek, was a charitable woman. They had their committee, and I was struggling as I've said, I didn't have enough food in the house, so they said well have you ever tried charity. I said I didn't want it, but it came to that I had to try and get charity, so I went to Miss Byrne's, well that was all then Oates' shop and they had the dance round the corner. Well of course we knew Oates very well and so I worked for them at night. They had dances there in the hall - the old time dances. Oh it was really lovely because everybody was so friendly and you knew everybody and everything. You could see everybody was enjoying themselves. They'd be giggling and going on you know. So anyway times came when I got desperate and I worked for Mrs Oates washing dishes. They were open 'til one o'clock in the morning.