Ernie Cox has written a book about growing up at Belmont

Ernie Cox lived at Belmont in his youth.

He’s written a book called, Growing up in the Early Days.

“It’s about my life growing up in Belmont, up until I left high school,” Ernie, now 71, said in an email.

“I left Belmont in a hurry to join the Army when I was 21 and never really got to say goodbye to friends.”

Here’s some extracts from the book:

Our house was a small two-bedroom wooden house. Originally we had a corrugated tin roof, but it became a little weather-beaten over the years, so Mum and Dad had it replaced with tiles.

Mum could be seen in the kitchen most days, cooking for her husband and six sons. Mum loved running around doing things for her family and never complained once. She loved us all so much.

The bedroom at the rear of the house had two double bunk beds. Ron, Norman, Ivan and Trevor shared the bedroom at the back. My brother Ron had closed in the front verandah, so it could be used as a third bedroom for my brother Laurie and me.

We didn’t have hot water on tap. To wash the dishes, we had to heat up the kettle. When it came to drying the dishes, it was all done with a tea towel. We never had a dishwasher.

Our toilet outside had a wooden seat on a black dunny can. The dunny man used to come around once a week by horse and cart to replace the full can with an empty one. Later on, he got a truck. I used to dread going to the toilet at night, as there was no light and most times you would have the company of a huntsman spider or an occasional green bullfrog that would find its way in. I didn’t mind the frogs, but I hated the spiders.

In 1929, Dad worked for Lysaght’s in Newcastle and was there for 21 years. In 1950, Dad worked at Gordon Avenue Bus Depot in Hamilton. He was there for 19 years as a bus cleaner.

I never ever heard Mum or Dad say anything nasty about anybody. I guess it must have been their Salvation Army upbringing. 

Us brothers never really did much together, except when we were young. As we got older, we seemed to drift apart and do our own thing. I guess as you get older, you have different interests.

Mum never had a washing machine back in the early ‘50s, just a round copper boiler in which she would add washing powder and clothes. She would use a broom handle to lift the hot clothes out of the water.

Once we visited my uncle at Kurri Kurri. I remember they had a car parked outside the house and, to start the engine, you had to slide a crank handle in the front and crank-start the motor.

Mum’s backyard clothesline consisted of two wooden posts, one at each end of the yard, with a cross post to form a tee, with wire lines attached.

To receive a free digital copy of the book in a PDF document, email Ernie at He’s also looking for long lost friends. If that’s you, drop him a line.

Yellow Submarine

Topics has been writing about the Beatles song Yellow Submarine over the past week or so.

The Beatles song Yellow Submarine will be performed at Civic Theatre.

The Beatles song Yellow Submarine will be performed at Civic Theatre.

We’d been discussing the meaning of the song. Was it about a mental asylum or some kind of marijuana metaphor? (Paul McCartney says neither). Then former NBN news anchor Ray Dineen told us about the yellow submarine outside the Oceanographic Museum in Monte Carlo, which was once used by Jacques Cousteau.

In a bit of a coincidence, we just saw an advertisement saying Beatlemania on Tour would be performed at Civic Theatre in October. 

“Over 30 of the Beatles biggest and most treasured hits will be performed live on stage,” the blurb said.

And, yes, this includes Yellow Submarine. 

A Lot of Hamburgers

The Herald reported on Tuesday about skyrocketing power bills. 

Bruce Hodgkinson, who runs the Newcastle-based company The Power Bill Doctor, examined the bills of a takeaway shop at Valentine.

The bill had risen by 42 per cent, which amounted to $500 a month.

“That’s $6000 a year,” Bruce said.

“If the shop makes $3.50 gross profit from selling a hamburger, it has to sell 1714 hamburgers to make that money back.”

That’s a lot of hamburgers.