Maureen's 1948 memories of Rosehill PS

Maureen McManus still remembers her kindergarten class of 1948 at Rosehill Public School.

The longtime local, who turns 71 on Sunday, was one of about 40 classmates who began their education that year on felt mats on the floor of the Prospect Street school.

‘‘The lessons weren’t as advanced as lessons today,’’ Mrs McManus recalled.

‘‘We didn’t have books or pens or anything like that... In the winter, we’d move our mats over near the fire. A lot of the kids didn’t even have shoes.’’

In the playground, she played hopscotch, What’s the time Mr Wolf and ‘‘catchings kissings’’.

Then known as Maureen Broadhurst, her best friends were Marianne O’Smotherly, who later joined her at Parramatta High School, and Patty Metcalfe, who died of diphtheria in ‘48.

Mrs McManus lived at her family’s Eleanor St home, built by her great grandfather and named West Haddon after the English town he’d migrated from.

‘‘There was a little shop called Josie’s general store, she used to have really good ice blocks for a penny. I got one there one day on credit and when I asked my mother for a penny she nearly had a heart attack. I didn’t realise in those days that potatoes were three pennies a pound.’’

On the neighbouring blocks sat stables later absorbed into the Rosehill racecourse and a tennis court she said was once frequented by Harry Hopman, after whom the Hopman Cup is named, and former Australian cricket captain and commentator Richie Benaud - her mother’s tennis partner.

Mrs McManus described the changes to Rosehill since that time as ''devastating''.

‘‘It’s no memory lane to go there anymore.’’

She still laments the bulldozing of her former home and the throwing away of her grandmother’s antique 1800s furniture in 1968, left for council cleanup on a Rosehill roadside.

To current generations, she said: ‘‘I know we’ve got to have progress, but we’re even talking about getting rid of the Female Factory, one of the first things in Parramatta... I just can’t believe they’d want to get rid of it - it’s part of our heritage.’’

Granville Historical Society’s secretary and treasurer June Bullivant OAM said Maureen’s research and local knowledge had helped form a picture of the Rosehill and Granville area.

‘‘She has donated her history to the society,’’ Mrs Bullivant said.

‘‘Maureen has served on the committee of the historical society for seven years, she was officer in charge of research inquiries and is a very experienced researcher. Her knowledge of the local area helped with people who wanted to know about the Rosehill and Granville area.’’

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