The Brain Drain

When I first started this blog I thought I would write about my garden, it’s a big one. We’ve set aside approximately three acres to garden so you can imagine, it keeps both of us busy, but as I am the half of the team who is passionate about planting trees and wanting more gardens then I get to do most of the work!! It’s work that keeps me fit and strong. My blog was also going to be about my lifestyle, how it has evolved over the years. But it seems this blog from the Night Owl Cottage has a mind of its own and it seems to be evolving in quite a different way than I had planned. So ONE day, I will write about my garden and from time to time will finish up with a photo of my garden, but for now, the next installment is … The Brain Drain. The story of how a lot of my family came to live in the Land of Oz.

Ashfield 2

My eldest daughter Lisa and myself outside our flat in Ashfield

After we moved out from the hostel we found a furnished flat in Ashfield, Sydney and stayed there for just six months before we moved to a brand new 2 bedroom unit in Lakemba. We thought it was the height of luxury as it was fully carpeted, had a brand new stove and after five years of washing all my laundry by hand Jim bought me a brand new twin tub washing machine. I was in heaven!!

Car outside place in Ashfield

Lisa, myself and the old Ford falcon in Ashfield

Three years after our arrival in Australia, in 1973, my sister Linda, her husband Roger, and their two sons, Darren aged 5 and Greg aged 3 arrived. They loved the outdoors life and decided that they would stay in this marvellous country. My poor parents had lost another daughter; they only had two left in England with them. They were very supportive of our move here as growing up, my father Bill had always talked about coming to Australia to live.

Family in Lakemba

This photo is of the four of us with our second daughter Debbie (in my arms) and a neighbour’s child outside their own unit in Lakemba.

Girls in Lakemba

Lisa and Debbie, Lakemba

Yerrick Road, Lakemba

This photo is of the units we lived in in Yerrick Road, Lakemba

My youngest sister Karen came for a six month working holiday end of 1974, but stayed 12 months as she was enjoying herself so much. She then returned back to England for a year but found she couldn’t settle and realised that she liked Australia so much so she came back November 1976.

Sisters in Lakemba

Karen on the left, myself in the middle and Linda on the right. Lisa, my eldest daughter is the child grinning at us!

We lived at Yerrick Road for three years and in that time we bought a block of land in Bradbury, Campbelltown, NSW and then built a typical triple fronted house on the block. We loved it. It was at this house I found I had a love for gardening and so my passion was born.

Jacaranda Av

Jacaranda Avenue, Bradbury, Campbelltown

Outside number 40

Me with my fabulous old Fiat which was 25 years old when I bought it. Note the suicide doors!

Ten years passed and then I got the news from my Mum Irene, that my Dad was taking early retirement and they were planning on emigrating to Australia. Jim and I sponsored my parents to come out and by this stage we had moved into another house that we had built not far from Jacaranda Avenue, Bradbury in Raby, Campbelltown and my parents arrived to live with us in there in 1984. My father and my husband Jim have since passed away, but now we all live in Kyogle, New South Wales, but that’s another blog.

To finish this blog, I thought I would add a couple of photos of my garden. This first one is my cottage garden and gazebo, a lovely quiet place of contemplation and coffee drinking.

Garden shot Nov 2015 2

This next photo is the lovely old Port Jackson Fig tree planted many, many years ago by a person unknown and which gives our garden such drama and majesty.

Fig tree



6 thoughts on “The Brain Drain

  1. Wonderful stuff Janet! I lived in a very similar block of flats when I first got married in Flemington, Vic. Your photos are amazing, Debbie hasn’t changed at all, and I love your 60’s/early 70’s yellow outfit. Fantastic!! You and Jim were trail blazers, coming out to Oz. Love the fact that your family moved here and in particular that you all ended up in the little town of Kyogle. Great story.


    • Thank you SO much Carolyn. That yellow outfit was sure something.

      I think there were quite a few of those flats/units around.

      I spent s bit of time trawling through my photos.

      I think Debbie is still quite the same. Thanks for taking the time to comment. You’re a gem. 🌸


  2. Love your blog
    I came via Bealtaine Cottage after reading a comment you left.. Gardens…sigh. Love them . I always need a fix of poking in my garden to ground me. I can’t help myself.
    I think one either has the gene of love of gardens /gardening or gradually learns about them over time. My mother gardened so us three girls followed 🙂
    It is a small world. We lived near Bankstown area (Bass Hill) for 29 years in a two storey house, but we always said we would move to a one level home before we got too old and the choice was taken away from us.
    So when hubby was of retirement age we did move further out, to Narellan Vale . Tis quiet, peaceful, lovely gardens in the area and love my “new to me garden”
    I can’t wait to read more of your blog.


    • Hello Alexa

      My second daughter was born in Bankstown hospital. I don’t live in Sydney any more, but I know where Narellan Vale is as I used to live in Bradbury and Raby. I now live on the Northern Rivers area of NSW on property which I love. Thanks for your comments on my blog, I do enjoy writing it and taking the photos. I’ve been a bit quiet of late as we have had some sad things happening but I am about to commence work on another post all with photos of more of my garden. Like that wonderful garden at Bealtaine Cottage I also have approximately three acres that my husband and I fenced off from the rest of the place and started planting just over 20 years ago. Have a good evening. Cheers. Janet.


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