I spent most of my early life growing up in Whyalla, South
Australia on Eyre Peninsular. My early school years saw the family living at 91
Playford Avenue and me attending the
Memorial Oval Primary School.
Tuesday, March 27, 1962.
Mum and Dad were always actively involved in my education,
plus contributed as members of various school committees.
The caption to this item in
the Whyalla News read, "Mothers rallied to South
Infant School on Thursday to inspect classroom
activities. Here Mrs D. L. Borrett, with daughter
Susan shyly hiding from the camera, looks at one of
the project books of her son Lloyd."
Mrs Smith and the 41 student Grade 3 class in 1964
(I'm 3rd from left in the back row)
Mr Smith and the 34 student Grade 7 class
(I'm last on the right in the back row)
in the back yard at Mum's
The family home at 91 Playford Avenue had the sort of back yard
that kids love. Interesting nooks and crannys, plus wide
open grass areas. Thus it was a bit of a focal point for the
neighbourhood kids. Many an afternoon after school was spent
playing kick to kick Aussie rules football, back yard
off on a cub
I went through the boy scout movement with the 3rd Whyalla
troop in Peters Street, first as a Cub
Scout and in October 1967 graduating to become a Scout.
mornings were spent at the YMCA in the old airport hangar
(now part of the Whyalla wetlands) doing gymnastics, athletics
and basketball. I remember well a trip to Broken Hill with the YMCA in
1968 for a state competition. I was still in Primary School,
so we had to fudge my age so that I could compete as the
meant to be for High School students only. I was in the
basketball team and did gymnastics on the parallel bars. I was also
entered in the public speaking contest as no one else would
do it. My topic was "Education as Growth and
Change." And I won! As I recall this was the only thing
the Whyalla YMCA team won during the whole of the competition. Everyone,
including me, was most surprised.
Saturday afternoons were often spent visiting my
paternal grandparents in the house my grandfather
Borrett built at 19 Ward Street, Whyalla,
or in his tiny workshop at
the back of the small three room abode he built for his
family of five to live in while he built the main house.
beach in Adelaide with
Uncle John Robertson and his dog.
Our family holidays were often spent in Adelaide, staying
with grandma and grandpa
Williamson in Military Road, Henley
Beach South. This meant plenty of swimming, shopping in the
city with mum, and visiting a lot of relatives. Mum was one
of eleven children and many of my aunts and uncles
lived in the Adelaide
suburbs with their families.
Lloyd with Aunty Ethel
We also spent many of our family holidays, down on the farm. My
great-aunt Ethel Harvey (sister to my grandfather, Robert
Lewis Borrett) ran a property called "Lake View"
on the northern side of Lake Alexandrina, not far from
Langhorne Creek, South Australia.
Clarry and Lloyd
This farm was what remained of the
William Borrett, my great grandfather. It had been a fully
self-contained farm in its day, with a dairy, piggery,
blacksmith shop, shearing shed, horse stables, quarters for
the farm hands etc. We slept in what had once been the
school room for "Lake View" and the neighbouring
During the 1960's when we visited the farm it was a sheep and
wheat property, with just Aunty Ethel and Clarry Saltmarsh
running the place. We would help with the wheat harvest,
shearing, marking lambs, or whatever else was going on when
we visited. Clarry also had a small place of his own
down on Lake Alexandrina, at the mouth of the Bremer River, next
to the Lake Plains school, where he raised
prize winning beef
Borrett, Chief Engineer,
Mt Newman Mining, 1969.
In late 1968 my dad took on the position of Chief
Engineer, Mt Newman Mining Company. Thus we spent three
months of the 1968/1969 summer in the Pilbara mining town of Mount Newman and all
of 1969 at Port Hedland, Western Australia. We were in Mt
Newman for the opening of the railway to Port Hedland, which
at 426 km is still Australia's longest privately owned
We were also at Nelson Point, Port Hedland
for the opening of the port facility on 1st April 1969.
Port Hedland, 1969.
Our house was
in 121 Sutherland Street at
Point Cook, close to what was then the single-men quarters.
(You now often
see the single-men quarter buildings on the TV news as the Port Hedland detention centre for
1970 saw the family returning to Whyalla and taking up
residence at 43 Wood Terrace, opposite the entrance to the
I attended the Whyalla High
School and played senior
basketball in both winter and summer at the courts in Wilson
Park on McBryde Terrace. In the summer season I
also sailed, from the Whyalla Yacht Club out at "The
Basin", with my dad in the Heron he built.
For pocket money, I worked part-time at the BP Lincoln
Highway service station on the
outskirts of town, which is now a vacant lot between the
Sundowner Hotel Motel and the Airport Whyalla Motel.
Monday, 01 April 2013