Oral History – Sandra Payne

For my eighth and final unit in the Diploma of Family History, I interviewed my mother-in-law, Sandra Mary Payne.  The first assignment was a 3 minute recording with a transcript. Unfortunately I am unable to upload the recording but below is the transcript of the interview.

Sandra Payne

Interviewee: Sandra Payne [SP]

Interviewer: Belinda Payne [BP]

Date: Sunday 12 November 2017

Place of Interview: Bomaderry, New South Wales

This is three minute section of an hour long interview with Sandra Payne which was conducted as part of Assessment Task 2 for the Oral History Unit of the Diploma of Family History with the University of Tasmania, being conducted by Belinda Payne.

BP:       Why did you decide to move to Australia?

SP:       The early part of my engagement, was sort of thinking ‘is this what I really want?’ –  I want to do something different! So, a friend of mine had applied to come to Australia and I sat there and I was looking at everything with her and I thought – I am going to Australia. Once again, new challenge. I put everything in plan and started having all the tests and doing the exams and everything, still engaged while I am doing all this ‘cause I thought, well, if one doesn’t happen, the other will.

BP:       Back-up plan!

SP:       Back-up plan. Anyway I passed everything and decided that that was it,  I’m coming out to Australia. So, I landed in Darwin, sent a letter to the fiancé calling everything off and here I am on a new life’s journey.

BP:       Did you have any problems getting used to the Aussie accent or slang?

SP:       [Laughs] I wouldn’t say it was getting used to it as much as an eye opener, and I had lots and lot of funny times with this. I worked at the telephone exchange in Dalley street in Sydney, course the name of the towns and different things and mean different things in Australia to what they do in England. And I remember I took this call, there was a chap on the end of the call and he said “Doyawannaroot?” I said “I beg your pardon”. He said “Doyawannaroot?”. I said “What state is it in – New South Wales, Queensland, Brisbane [laughs] or what?” So that was really one of the eye openers. [Both laugh]

Going to my first party was a ‘bring a plate’, well, I did. I took a plate and I thought poor buggers I’ll take a knife and fork with me as well. If they haven’t got enough plates for everybody they haven’t got enough knives and forks. So here’s my friend and I, ‘cause we were always together, walking up to this party with an empty plate and a knife and fork. I think we got laughed out that time. [Laughs]

And your shout when you’re in a pub! What am I gonna shout?

Not being able to use the whole of the pub, cos, I have got a new lifestyle now, I’m 21 years of age, on my own, family 12,000 miles away and I am gonna try whatever I can, can do like, you know. So you’re trying to get into this part and they say women aren’t allowed in here. So of course me being me, used to stand on my high horse and say “well listen nowt different between me and you” I said “we both drink out of a glass and into our mouths” – I said “I’m staying”.

BP:       Where did you first live?

SP:       I first lived in Rhodes in Sydney, New South Wales and it was like a concentration camp, but it wasn’t, it was a huge house and it has bars on windows and bars on doors so and I remember saying one time “What are all the locks for, why are all these bars on windows – iron bars on doors?” and yeah I was told “yep, they’re to keep the boys out”. Well from then on, it didn’t keep the boys out it keep me out because my friend and I went ‘Wangyard’ in ‘Cirkewlar Qway’ [both laugh] looking um

BP:       [Laughs] Would that be Wynyard at Circular Quay? [correct pronunciation]

SP:       [Laughs] Wynyard at Circular Quay [correct pronunciation] looking to get ourselves a little flat. And we did. We rented a little flat at Milson’s Point. Nice little place. So that was really, apart from Rhodes, we were dropped off at Rhodes, I had a couple of weeks there ‘cause I wasn’t living any longer then it was on the North Shore.


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I have been researching my family history since 2009. I am interested it the family names Shingles, McEwan, Snowdon & Witt around Gippsland and Wodonga areas of Victoria, Australia

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