Saturdays – c.1932

Muriel Courtenay

Saturday was the day to visit my grandparents in their Redfern Terrace, iron lace, two rooms up and two rooms down. We made a trio of Williams, scions of a William from Cork, dubbed Big Dad, Bill and Sonny to denote our status in the family history. We would find them sitting on worn chairs in pale winter sun, knees covered by sheets of the Sydney Morning Herald as they browsed births, deaths, marriages – it was easy to find a familiar name in the columns back then.

Lively talk flowed, of family affairs, progress on the new Harbour Bridge, best bets for the afternoon races. The cattle dog, Red, pricked his ears as their wireless set picked up static-wracked transmission from the police radio tower in Cleveland Street.

At eleven there would be a ritual drink with old mates in a tiled bar smelling of stale beer and tobacco. Then home to Gran’s lamb roast, followed by visits to the SP bookie, and if their Irish luck held good, a few crisp notes in the fist.