In 1937 I joined the Victorian Railways as a porter. I stayed in that job for about 2 years. Sometimes I would pick tobacco in the season.
In 1938 I got a job in Geelong working on the killing chain at the freezing works. We got good wages there, about 20 pounds a week.
In January 1939 Gladys married Ron Freemantle and they, myself and several other chaps from the freezing works travelled by boat to New Zealand. The fare was 6.10.0 pounds, third class.
We landed at Bluff (bottom of South Island) and travelled by train to Timaru. I worked with the other men on a killing chain at Pareora, about 12 miles south of Timaru. The season finished about the end of April 1939 and I then travelled by train to Mareretu (North Island) where my uncle Ted lived. Ted was my father’s brother and I had never seen him until I stayed with him and his family. My uncle gave me casual work on motor trucks that he owned. He had the contract to take cream to the factory.
In Mareretu I met a girl called Mildred Pamplin. Her
parents had a farm near where my uncle Ted lived. Mildred hated that name and she used to be known as Mary by all her mates in the area.
During the winter of 1939 I went to Auckland and got a job as a labourer with a building contractor, Thomas Clements & Son. My cousin, Maurice Edwards and his brother Charlie Edwards were working at the same firm. Thomas Clements & Son had the contract to erect the monument on One Tree Hill (Auckland). Charlie Edwards and I were working building the base.
We used bikes from Otahuhu to Cornwall Park, would leave our bikes against the fence and we walked up the mountain to work all day. I worked on this job for about 2 months and then I left because the killing chains were to start again, and I worked there for the season.