suitcase badges from Roslyn Hall Children's Home, Murray Dwyer Boys Orphanage, Protestant Homes Booklet from Burwood Boys' Home – 'Valuable Household Hints' ceramic elephant with broken trunk canvas shoes badges from Morialta Homes baby doll dressed in white wool

Smoky Dawson

Every year they would let you out

Every year they would let you out of the orphanage, and farm you out for Christmas. Get some Catholic family, take a boy out and give him a holiday. There was a lovely six weeks of it. And that was marvellous, you know, to get away from those walls with broken glass on it, which was put there, they said, to stop intruders coming in, not to letting you escape.

And, Jack Carew was one of these wonderful families, who lived in a place called Eurack, just out of Colac, Victoria. And to me, like, 100 miles away was like a thousand miles away. And I’ll never forget, um, the Brother coming into the dormitory and waking me up in the morning, and another fellow called Jim Cummings, who joined me too, there was the two of us, going down to get on this steam train. (shhhhhhooo! Shoooo!) At Spencer Street railway station. Then, going away into the country! That’s one thing that the Brothers did for me, that was absolutely marvellous – to see us off. Brother O’Neil, he was a, the Brother Superior, and he saw us off, and waved to us.

And those were the days where the train pulled out, and you’d put your head out the window, and you got a soot full of, (laughs) in your eye, and you were there for the rest of the journey in misery. But as it’d fly, clickity clack, we’d go through railway crossings, the group band would open the gates for us, all manly done, come and open the gates, and all the traffic would be lined up, waiting to go, kids on bikes, and horses and carts, and trucks, you went past backyards of houses with washing on the line, flapping, goodbye, goodbye Melbourne town.

(sings) Goodbye Melbourne town, Melbourne town, goodbye. I am leaving you today, for a country far away.

And we’re all singing it, goodbye – I didn’t want to come back to Melbourne town any more.

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