Karolyn Spinks – Interview Transcript

Interview Transcript from Illawarra Stories Wollongong City Libraries Oral History Project – Karolyn Spinks Part 2 of 2

Interviewer: Julie Horton

Interview date: 14/12/2016

Julie:  Today we’re speaking with Karolyn Spinks of Dapto.  Karolyn came to Dapto in 2004.  Thank you, Karolyn.  Karolyn you wanted to elaborate on your, um, family’s participation in the Dapto community.

Karolyn:  Oh, yes, well I mentioned about, um, my family going to Rhee Tai Kwon-Do at the, um, Dapto Ribbonwood Centre, so I’d like to mention that, um, both my sons and my husband went to, um, Rhee Tai Kwon-Do classes.  And, um, so one – my oldest son started first and then my second son started and then after a while he got a bit sick of it and he didn’t want to continue.  And this is when the boys were about 12 and 10. Um, so they were around that age group.  And then as a way of encouraging our second son to continue, my husband said that he would join as well, and so he did.  And so, then it became, um, you know, um a thing that they enjoyed for quite a few years actually and all of them, um, progressed on and completed their, their black belt.  The boys got their junior black belts and my husband got his, um, adult black belt in Rhee Tae Kwon-Do.  And so that was, um, like a wonderful facility and, um, helped to enrich their life and, you know, bring the family together, because they had this, you know, common interests and so being able to do that locally in Dapto is, you know, is a wonderful service to have here.

And, um, also I wanted to mention about my oldest son was part of the Urimbirra Bonsai Society when he was, probably 14 years old or so, and he loved, um, growing bonsais at home, and, um, I think at one stage he had many, many, many bonsais’!  And he very proudly participated in one of the Bonsai Exhibitions that they held here at the, um, Heininger Hall, at the centre.  And, um, yes he proudly exhibited all his bonsai collection and, um, and that was a wonderful time in his life, you know, at that time before he moved on to, you know, later on to, um, to different things.

But, um, yeah, so what we find here, you know, living close to, um, the CBD of Dapto I, I like to live in a central location close to facilities, and I like to walk, and so, you know, just to be able to walk to the shops or walk to the community centre here, um, really helps to enrich your life, and, and help, you know, you get involved in things and, um…  So that’s a lovely thing to have in the community.

And one little story I’d like to share with you, um, as well with property.  Many, many years ago someone had planted fruit trees, and so there was a very, very old plum tree there with, um, great big thick trunks and branches, and, um, it had become ill for quite a few years and it was gradually, you know, suffering and gradually dying we think.  And then, um, earlier this year in one of the, um, quite severe rainstorms that we had, it slumped over and, um, we couldn’t leave it like that so, you know, we had to cut it down.  But it was one of my friends, um, like I was saying, the lady I told you before lives down the road, she’s very artistic and she loves working with timber, and she took some of the sections of the branches and the trunk from the fruit tree and made it into a sculpture.  And, um, and it’s turned out absolutely beautiful and so she has it proudly on display in her house.  So, it’s like the tree has found a new life and been re-purposed, and it’s on the same land that it came from originally, but it’s [laughter] in a new home. So that’s a nice little story.

Julie:  It is a lovely story.

Karolyn:  Mmm.

Julie:  Yes.

Karolyn:  And so, you know it’s lovely that she has, ah, been able to enjoy working with that timber and, and found a, ah, an artistic outlet and then is able to display that lovely sculpture that she has.  So, it’s a bit of history there so [laughter].

Julie:  There is and she, because she knows where that timber came from, it wasn’t timber that she’s gone and, um, purchased from somewhere else.

Karolyn:  Mmm,

Julie:  It’s actually timber that she knows exactly where it’s…

Karolyn:  That’s right…

Julie:  originated.

Karolyn: Yeah where its originated from. So, it’s sort of like it, um, moved on to a slightly different home.  [laughter]

Julie:  Oh, that’s wonderful. And you also mentioned …

Karolyn:  Ok, so Nabo is a social networking, how can you describe it, sort of like a…

Julie:  It’s an app.

Karolyn:  It’s an app that you use, either on your phone or you can use it, you know, a website on your computer, and it’s similar to Facebook, but it’s community focused.  So you can – you, you give your postcode and the suburb that you live in, and then, and you can set your privacy settings to however, you know, what level of privacy, you know, you want to have.  But it’s a way of connecting into the community in your local suburbs and, um, helps you to connect with your neighbours and, you know, make friends in your neighbourhoods.  And it’s like the, the modern new age way of connecting with friends using technology.  And you can set up groups in there, for example walking groups, um, where, or you can post things in the “For Sale” group, or “Lost and Found” group.  Um, yeah, I had a stray cat that was around my house for several months, so I put a post on there, you know, “is this anyone kind of looking for a grey cat”, you know, put a photo of him on there.  Um, yeah and I also put a post on there for a walking buddy because I wanted to, you know, get some exercise, so I posted for a walking body and, um, a lady down the road answered my call, so yeah we made a connection there and then we were walking buddies.  [laughter]

Julie:  Fantastic.  And then because you’re nearby, you can start from there, you don’t have to go and drive your car or get …

Karlyn:  Mmm, that’s right.

Julie:  public transport too far away to then go and walk along the foreshore or…

Karolyn:  That’s right ‘cos you know she was, ah, you know, living just a couple of streets away, so you know we could walk within our local streets.  Or if we wanted to for a bit of variety, you know, we could drive to the lake and walk along the, the lakes edge or you know drive somewhere else, um, if we wanted to.  But, but yeah, so that’s, um, a nice initiative.  The more people that go onto Nabo, the better.  It really only works properly if, you know, there’s sort of like a lot of people get involved in it, um.

Yeah, so, and, um, just one other thing about my, um, my second son, um.  He got involved with singing, he loved to sing.  So he got involved with one of the local, um, businesses down here in Dapto with the Southern Lights Vocal Academy, and he just, you know, joined, joined the choir in there and, you know, was having singing lessons.  But while he was, you know, developing as a young person, it’s just like another way of enriching the life.  So, it’s all these lovely resources that we have here in Dapto.

Um, yeah, I found Dapto a really nice place to live in.  The people are really friendly and, um, neighbourhood’s lovely and, and my husbands enjoyed living here, and, um, yeah, it’s been good.

Julie:  Fantastic. And? … he was 14, was he the youngest member of the Bonsai Society, or one of the youngest?

Karolyn:  Ah, he would be one of the youngest, yes, yes. There was, um, actually a friend of his that he encouraged to join as well, so there was like the 2 of them.  That friend didn’t, didn’t live in Dapto, but, you know, he was in bonsai as well.  So he would, um, drive in from I think Unanderra they lived in, but, um, yeah so they were, um, they probably were the youngest in the bonsai society, yes, so that was, um, a lovely memory for them.

Julie:  Absolutely.

Karolyn:  To yeah mmm.

Julie:  And to actually then have the bonsai to display in the exhibition, and…

Karolyn:  Yes and, you know, we took photos of, of that time, so, you know, he can look back on that and you know think, “Oh, that was part of my growing up, of my, my years growing up in Dapto.”  Yes, so…

Julie:  He won a raffle.

Karolyn:  Oh, they had raffles and, um, he won this beautiful azalea, bonsai azalea, and it was in full bloom at the time, and it was just absolutely gorgeous that.  One of the other members who had, you know, donated to the, to the society and, um, and I always remember that was, that was a lovely prize, um…

Julie:  And do you still have that bonsai or is it, um…?

Karolyn:  Well when he grew a bit older he sort of became less interested in bonsai, so we ended up giving them away to friends, so we, yeah, we don’t have any bonsais any more, but that was just the time, you know, a time in our lives that was really enjoyable.

Julie:  And lots of wonderful memories.

Karolyn:  Yeah, yeah, yeah. So just, ah, you know, I mentioned about one of the other memories about listening to the, the whistle of the steam train.  Yes, well it’s not only the steam train but just hearing the whistle of, you know, any, any of the trains that go through, um, Dapto.  It’s like a, just a nice sound, um, that you hear in the distance.  Um, yeah, so, and Dapto’s changing so much with, you know, there’s a lot of growth round here now with new housing developments and, um, probably new businesses start up later on.  It’s just, um, nice to be able to enjoy, you know, enjoy it at this time where we are.

Julie:  So, seeing Dapto from when you were here – arrived in 2004 in Dapto to 2016, and the changes that – and some of those changes have been for the better.  You mentioned that with the Mall you were happy with the Mall as it was, but now that you’ve seen the end product, you’re happy with that.

Karolyn:  Yeah because it has added, you know, benefits for us as well.  But, um, I would like to see in Dapto if they could put up a display of some of the old, lovely old hotels that used to be here.  For example and you know I’ve done quite a bit of research into what used to be here in Dapto, and, um, you know if they made some sort of mural to acknowledge some of the, the old buildings about what they used to look like. Um, for example the old, um, Fairley homestead.  With the Fairley building, the facade is still there, but it’s actually on the site where the Dapto medical centre is at the moment.  And, um, but there, there used to be, um, just next to the Fairley, it was sort of like the Fairley general store, yes, well they had lovely, um, old, you know, brick homestead there, sort of beside it and, um, so it would just be nice to have some photos of those around the place.

Um, and the old it was a lovely big old, um, double storey timber hotel which is now where the car park is for the Dapto Leagues Club.  Not the – it’s the car park on Bong Bong Road, um, it’s kinda like the overflow car park.  Some people use it for the, the commuters, you know, catching the train.  But yeah, there was a lovely great big old hotel there when Dapto was in its heyday, probably around the turn of the 19th century. Um, yeah, so it would just be lovely to have some acknowledgement of that, I think.  Um, but that’s just my own personal opinion.

Julie:  So, with Nabo, um, you can share photos, um, or post photos, so I know there are historical photos, there’s websites with, um, Dapto history.

Karolyn:  Well that’s right, yes.

Julie:  Um, and photos, um, has anybody shared…?

Karolyn:  Oh, the old photos?  No nothing like that on there, it’s more you know, those photos are in, there’s another site called, um, “Lost Dapto” I think it is and um, yeah that’s a great resource.  There’s a lot of lovely old photos on there. For example, when they were putting the freeway through, um, mmm. So, um, well that’s about all I can sort of think to add at the moment so…

Julie:  Thank you very much Karolyn.

Karolyn:  Thank you.

Julie:  Thank you.