Memories of a city’s past – Irene Steel

As told by Irene Steel in 2004

Living in the middle of High Street in those “Good Old Days” was wonderful. We knew most people and didn’t miss very much that was going on. My Father, Archie Henshaw, was a boot repairer and we lived in a 2-bedroom weatherboard house which was behind a store on the corner of what became Sesame Street.

I was born in Sister Hughes hospital on 12th January 1930. My Father carried Mum’s case over the road to the south-west corner of Stanley Street for the big event. Dr Grant Snr was the medical doctor. 11 years later, our brother Peter John was born on 27th June 1942 in Albury at Rokeby Hospital as Wodonga didn’t have a hospital at that time.

Our Father played a saxophone in the Wodonga Band. Mr Ernie May was the Band Master in the 1930s; he worked at the Wodonga Sentinel for Charlie Ryan. The Sentinel Office was this side of Wodonga Library (now Middleton Carpets). Mr May would call in to see Dad at 6 o’clock each night after work, and park his bike on our front fence. I suppose they discussed their day as well as band business and we always got a copy of the paper hot off the press from Mr May. My sister Marie and I would go to band practice with Dad at the old Fire Brigade Hall across from the Shire Office and Hall and next door to Hide’s, the baker. The band would play at Woodland Grove on Anzac Day and special occasions and Sunday in the Rotunda in the gardens near the Water Tower.

Once a year we would be taken to the Blind Concert which was held in the Shire Hall. There were many blind people who were led on to the stage to perform. We were so excited to go to this concert. All the special things were held in the Shire Hall in the 1930s and 1940s.

The two Misses Wolfe who lived behind their lolly shop, opposite in High Street, made lovely home-made cake and ice blocks, fruit salad ones were great, cream one side and fruit salad the other. Their house had a big palm tree in front. Their cakes were lovely, probably a German recipe.