During the war, and after their marriage in June 1944, my parents lived with my maternal grandparents in Collins Street, Tempe. This was where they were living when my older brother, Barry, was born. Dad was still in the army and Mum had been packing cigarettes for Craven-A: a job she lost upon her marriage, as was the custom.
After his demob on 19th November 1945, Dad purchased a block of land in Webb Avenue Hornsby which was closer to where his own parents lived in Florence Street on the other side of the railway line, having moved there from Liverpool on the outskirts of Sydney in 1931 when Dad was 10. Dad built the first of many houses on this corner block: a stud house with a single sheet of fibro cladding. At the time, he was conducting a fruit'n'veg run through the streets of Wahroonga and Thornleigh from the back of a converted Bedford van.
After being delivered at Nurse Towles' house in Hunter Street Hornsby, my parents took me back to the second place they ever owned - and into which they moved not long before I was born - which was opposite the football ground in Waitara just down from the station. It was a shop with attached house. We lived in the house at the rear and Dad rented the shop to whomever could pay cash on a weekly basis. We lived there until close to the end of 1949 when Mum was expecting my younger brother, Ross.
Dad had managed to convince his older brother, Gordon, to buy the shop and house from him for a tidy profit. By this time, Gordon had one child with another on the way (and two more to come down the track). Gordon was attracted by the small parcel of land at the rear and the alleyway on the southern side of the house which was a perfect aspect for the propagation of orchids. So Dad - ever the wheeler-dealer - moved to his third house since the war which was no mean feat - a dyslexic bean-pole who left school at 14.