By Daisy Baker
19 September, 2018
WHEN Lois Jensen moved to Bridport with her family from West Scottsdale as a child, it was a town of gravel roads, shacks and far fewer residents.
More than 80 years on, Lois is still a proud Bridport resident.
She says her light-filled Richard Street home would have then been covered in tea tree scrub.
“As I remember, if you came up the hill to the cemetery, that would’ve been the finish of the road,” she says.
“You wouldn’t have gone up to Port Hills and Walter Street. You wouldn’t have been there.
“Bentley Street was there, and you could get out to Granite Point but that was a sandy road.”
Bridport Primary School in those days was one classroom, taught by Mr Best.
“I’d been living on the farm until I was six and I wasn’t used to sitting down and learning so I found that a big change in lifestyle when we moved here,” she says.
The struggles and anxieties of the war years were felt in Bridport too, where trenches were dug around the primary school which the students would practise getting into when planes flew over.
“We as kids just thought this was funny and didn’t see the seriousness of it… It was a worrying time for the adults but we as children didn’t realise how serious it was,” she says.
“The men on a Saturday afternoon, the ones that hadn’t gone away in the army, dressed up and they would march around the streets of Bridport with their rifles.
“And everyone’s gate had a painted number of how many people you could billet if it was necessary for the army to come down.”
It was a time when families used coupons for clothing, butter, sugar and other necessities, and sent their meat order to Scottsdale which would be returned later that day on the bus.
When she was growing up, Lois says they didn’t have electric light or a town water service.
“One thing I do remember is having to have some teeth out as a child and the dentist came to our house and took them out in the front room,” she laughs.
“A friend of mine had her tooth taken out just up the street in the front garden.
“That was modern dentistry at Bridport!”
Lois left school at 13 after attaining her Merit certificate.
She says she felt well-equipped despite spending only a few years in education.
“There were no school excursions or sports days and instead we had tests every Friday and regular homework – we got down to business.”
Lois laughs remembering the concerts held in the Bridport Hall every holiday season, where the local policeman would always get up on stage, like clockwork, and sing “On the Road to Mandalay”.
After leaving school, Lois took on more domestic duties and learned dressmaking and piano.
With a love of music, Lois continued to play and teach music for many decades, finishing just 16 years ago.
She says had it not been for the social conventions of the time, she would have liked to pursue a career as a journalist.
Lois has remained passionate about writing, however, and has written many short stories and poems, some of which she reads to close family.