The SMH farewells Olive Riley of Woy Woy, who at 108 was the world’s oldest blogger. Riley was born in Broken Hill before Federation, saw the entire twentieth century, and has lasted a good few years into the twenty-first.
Here is one of Olive’s vlogs, where she tells the story of getting home from work only to find her mother studiously ignoring her child who was crying from earache. She took her son to Norwood on a bike to see a doctor. She was particularly worried because her sister Emma died from an earache. Working mothers, sick children, childcare issues: some of women’s problems are eternal, though the details have changed.
Snippets of recent written posts:
I tried me very best at school to be a good girl, but I used to play up sometimes. We had a big maypole, and we used to dance around it, and had a jolly good time.
Then we’d march inside and have lessons. Us girls were taught home science, sewing and cooking, writing and sums, and the boys learnt woodworking, metal work and useful things like that.
My mother said to me “Why don’t you do something sensible?” I didn’t even know what “sensible” was. She said “You’re too stupid.” She took me out of school when I was 12, and I had to go and earn a living.
The cooking lessons helped me find work as a station cook in western Queensland, and the sewing lessons came in handy when I had to mend my own kids’ clothes in later years.
A Wagga Blanket, from her Depression posts, found at archive.org:
To make a Wagga blanket, this what I imagine you’d do from what the book says. First, collect the following; flour sacks, newspapers and sewing gear.
Cut the sacks and lay them out flat the size of a double bed. Sew the sacks together to make one piece of rouch cloth. Make a similar piece for the top. Now, lay newspapers on the sewn sacks.
Next, make balls of newspaper and spread thickly on the flat papers. These balls should be close spaced. Add another layer of newpapers and then the other sack quilt for the top
Sew the whole sandwich together, being careful that the paper balls do not all bunch up in the same place and that’s a Wagga blanket.
And an extract from the film “All About Olive” by Mike Rubbo.