A conversation between the former tenant of 11 Hart Street and the new owners, on a return visit, 1996

Walking around the garden

Mum planted that camelia - she paid 2/6 for it at Queanbeyan.

What colour is it?

Snowy white.

And the rhododendron?

Pink.

And the camelia around the other side?

Light pink.

I left that grapevine there because I was going to graft it with the grape that's got no seeds
Anyway I got grafted myself.
This one here - coastal magnolia
Mum planted it as a stick
Just an ordinary stick
I said, 'Don't plant it there, it might grow'
She said, 'That's the idea.'
This is a lemon meyer
Actually it wants pruning now
Get rid of some of the old wood
I picked four or five cases of fruit of this one year
And cherries - don't talk about cherries
That one up there, he come up by himself
Someone threw a seed over the fence.
This one I bought in Young - I was after a big black one.
That's a damson plum - it was here when we arrived
You can dry them
And the fig tree
I pinched that
There was another one over here
A big black one - I got that from Adelaide
I think the kids must've taken it.
That fig tree is a little one
They make lovely jam
And you can dry them

We're going to put a vegie garden in there where that pile of dirt is
And some fruit trees - apple and pear
And espalier them along the fence.
Was there a shed here?

No, there was a trellis -
Grapes - black muscat.
I grew a lot of vegetables here
When I first come here
The kids were younger then
Had to get a bit of chaff somewhere.

How many kids did you have?

Eight.

On the verandah over a cup of tea

This was Mum's spot
She had all pot plants here
You couldn't walk here
And there was mesh all the way down to protect the pot plants.

We've been using the old stove in the kitchen -
We had a flue put in.

I tell you what, with that fire going in there
Oh, it's as warm as toast
Oh Jesus
I didn't want to get out of here.

The walnut tree

By gee it's a lovely shape
There's many a Christmas,as we had under that
There's a bloke said, 'I'll give you a thousand dollars for the tree'
I said, 'You bring me the thousand dollars
And you can take the tree'
He never turned up
He wanted the wood for furniture
Look at the limbs
There's only one month of the year you can cut them
Otherwise they loose too much sap
You should see that tree in the mornings when the nuts are nearly rip
It's not this colour
It's white with cockatoos
One in their mouth and one in their foot
Drop some on my roof on the way over
And away up to Black Mountain

Eric Menzies,11 Hart Street 1955- 1995, Colin and Susan Minahan,11 Hart Street, 1995 - a conversation taken down by Mary Hutchison, 1996


Stories

•  Nothing that will alter the original character of the house

•  A return visit to Hart Street

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