Bega Pioneers' Museum has countless files on people and places. This one was written by Len Spindler about his life in the Valley. This last extract of Len's story has him working at the Bega sawmill during the Second World War.
I FINALLY got a busted ulcer from heavy pushing from work in the Bega timber mill and Dr Marshman put me in the Bega Hospital. A nurse sat beside me and fed me crushed ice to stop the bleeding.
I was off work for eight weeks and on the dole again. In those days the dole was 11 shillings per fortnight for a couple with three kids, coupons for food, but no money.
I wouldn’t go back to the mill, but managed to get on at the Co-op Store, weighing up sugar, salt, flour, dates, etc. I stayed there for about 12 months until Arthur Hawkins wanted someone to help him paint houses. I started from scratch and actually took lessons.
He was in with the brewery mob and would come to work in a collar and tie, the flash old bugger.
I stayed with Arthur for about two years then decided to have a go on my own. I had a lean time for a while but kept at it.
I remember I painted a house for Rodney Rutter for 38 quid and the paint cost five pound 10. I also painted the first all-white house in Bega owned by Cecil Cook. The house is still there.
After being self-employed for about five years I was offered a job painting for A C Thatcher, with whom I stayed for over 10 years and worked on every bank and hotel in Bega.
The hospital, which Perc Remington built, needed a painter and I got the job. It took me three years to paint the whole place and the nurses’ home, inside and out.
After the kids left home I moved to Sydney but I’m getting old now and in poor health; a pacemaker and one blind eye to show for all those years of hard work.
I would like to spend the rest of my days down home. I live in Sydney but my heart is in Bega. I can hear the call, “come back home, you’ve been away long enough”.
Len Spindler did “come back home” and died in Bega on June 30, 1991.