Stories

Albert & Mavis Drew

Albert & Mavis Drew

88 & 91, St Ann's

Albert: I was in the Northcote band and we did a tour of Tasmania and in the process we came to Hobart and Mavis’ father was the bandmaster of the Hobart band, and so we met. And Mavis came back to Melbourne for a while and then we decided we’d come back here and so we finished up getting married and then we stayed here ever since. I was 18 and Mavis was 21, she was the original cougar. See it’s so different these days. I was sort of in Melbourne, Mavis was here, but nowadays, you just come over and both go live with one another. No one thinks anything of it. In those days it was a high disgrace. If you went and lived… you just didn’t do it! If you wanted to live together, you had to get married. No doubt about it. No, we’ve had a good life together. Really good. So, there you go.
Mavis: I paid him to say that.  This 1st December we have been married for 70 years, we are looking forward to celebrations with the family.

Mavis: I think younger people should forget about holidays once they’re married. And try to work together and when you have arguments, try to work it out between you and don’t just pack up and buzz off. They make the big mistake now of having holidays and wanting everything first, and then when they get married, they find that they haven’t got what somebody else has got, because somebody else didn’t rush into going on holidays. They’ve got their things together and worked on getting a home first and then…
Albert: Looking back, I mean, we were in the shack, and we never had any washing machine back then, and Mavis used to do the washing over the bath. We didn’t have our own refrigerator, and eventually we did get a refrigerator, we got a vacuum cleaner, a washing machine. We thought we were on top of the world. And any thought of holidays… Oh, we used to go to Melbourne, my parents were over there. We used to go over there about once a year to see them, or they’d come over here. We never spent big, so Mavis went back to work and we had extra money coming in and that sort of set us up, then we travelled.

Albert: I think things are a lot different these days, and I think the fact we were pretty strict on the eldest, it worked on the others, they knew what would happen before, and if they stepped out of line they knew what to expect. It just set the tone for it and I mean we really didn’t spank them all that much, but they knew that if they did something wrong that was the punishment in those days. I always used to look at it, “Do it now and get it over with and get on with things”.
Mavis: You’d laugh now, but Albert used to cut the boys hair…five boys and they wanted their hair…
Albert: This was about The Beatles’ time
Mavis: He had different cuts, square cut and everything else and when they got older they wanted to go to the barbers. This particular day, Albert had gone in the day before and said to the barber, “the kids will be in later and they’ll tell you they want this cut and that cut and something else” but he said “they’ll have the short back and sides anyway”. The boys all came in and they sat in the chair and start to line off what they wanted done to their hair, the barber said, “don’t worry boys,” he said “you won’t have to worry about that…”
Albert: “Your father’s already been in.”

Albert: We went from the Salvation Army and went to Wesley Church quite a few years, and then all the kids grew up and they didn’t want to go to church, and we thought oh well, we were only going to sort of give them a lead, and so we just didn’t bother anymore after that.
Albert: I never had a beer until I was 35 because of that (Salvation Army). I’d been brought up by Salvation Army, they never had alcohol at my home. And I thought I was setting my family a good example by not having it. But then when my eldest son, he was about 15 or 16, came home drunk one night, staggered up the stairs, I thought, “Oh, perhaps I’d better start having a drink and show him how to drink”.
Mavis: He made it all the way up the stairs!
Albert: The joys of bringing up boys! I guess girls are as bad. They surely would be these days.


Albert: We did silly things like sulking instead of sorting things out, we’d go for days without talking. That was just plain ridiculous.
Mavis: And now we look back and think how stupid we were to sulk about silly little things when it was only a simple thing that you could’ve…
Albert: Sorted out
Albert: We’ve always been a good couple together, and, you know, got along well together and that sort of thing, and now looking back, I couldn’t see doing anything a great deal different.