Evelyn Ruth Petersen was no slouch when it comes to making the best of what’s at hand, as Sharon Walker (n.d.-b) her granddaughter, tells us in the first of two accounts about the Walker family.
In this account she recalls how Petersen was able to purchase a bush property in 1943 on Munibung Hill, as she had dreamed of owning a market garden. In the transition to her new property, she still lived at Cardiff South.
She and her family would go to the property and clear the bush with hand tools. The salvageable wood was used to build the house and sheds.
To clear room for her paddocks she had to remove tree stumps. To do this she dug a hole under the stump and lit a fire until the stump had burnt away.
This allowed her to begin her market garden, however, the paddock was vandalised. After this she began to build her home on the property. However, due to the Great Depression and WW2 it was difficult to get material to build the house. As such she used scrap wood and corrugated iron that she could find.
Hessian bags were used in place of windows; they were also used with newspaper to create the interior wall linings. The bedrooms had floor boards, however much of the house had dirt for the floor.
The chimney and fireplace were constructed from rocks she had collected on the property.
She also dug dams on the property. Each dam was constructed so that when it overflowed it would flow into another dam. This allowed her to collect enough water for the property. She also constructed drains to divert water from the house (S. Walker, n.d.-a).
There was also a small creek [Editor: later named Munibung Creek] that was a tributary of Winding Creek. And she built a dirt road from the house to Macquarie Road. The road was reinforced with sandstone rocks in the areas that would get boggy. Her son Skeet helped to build a bridge over a gully near the house for easier transport.
Petersen grew various different plants on her property. In the garden she grew fruit, berries, vegetables, and flowers along with an orchard to grow fruit. She also had a cow she used for milk (S. Walker, n.d.-a). Some of the species she grew were: Strawberries, Raspberries, Boysenberries, Youngberries, Blackberries, Cape Goose Berries, Passionfruit and Grapes.
To read the second account as told by Marie Walker, click on this link.
EDITORS NOTE: The Walker family has produced multiple accounts for the Lake Macquarie City Library, Community History Department. These accounts mainly focus on Evelyn Ruth Petersen. This report is taken from a paper produced by Jakob Kadlec titled Munibung Hill Report as part of the University of Newcastle CESE* Summer Scholarship Project …. * College of Engineering, Science and Environment. February-March 2023
MMM … Issue 40, October – November 2023