Three little boys…

The “three little boys” from Lake Street.

The “three little boys” from Lake Street.

THIS week’s Vincent Local History Centre story “Three Boys in Lake Street” comes from Con Christ. The local history awards are coming up again and this was a 2018 winner of the Geoffrey Bolton Award for a written piece on life in Vincent. If you have a tale, photo, diary or other piece of memorabilia, enter before July 30 via au/ or call 9273 6534. 

This is the story of three boys who grew up in Lake Street, Perth in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. 

The area we lived, played and schooled in is now known as Northbridge.

 We locals knew it as Perth or Little Italy. 

Lake Street was ours! We knew everybody who lived there, even the parents, all the shopkeepers and traders and the regular callers such as the baker, milko, rubbish collector, postie etc…

Our street was a grand mix of housing and small businesses. We even had a kindergarten with a small park in front of it. It was just another place to play football. 

The Red Lion Inn

To us boys the two most famous businesses in the world was our Dad’s box factory at number 18 Lake Street, followed closely by the Kun Min Café at 181 William Street which he purchased shortly after moving from the Lake Street box factory. 

Our house was the centre of the universe as far as we three boys were concerned.

We had everything: loving family, great neighbours, a football, a cricket bat, marbles, a few toys, great weather most of the time, lots of room to play football and cricket and access to all sorts of wonderful places and things.

The three of us sold newspapers after school. 

We gave all the money earned to Mum to help with the family budget. 

Con and Peter sold copies of The Daily News, Perth’s afternoon newspaper at the time, on behalf of McDonalds Newsagency on Brisbane Street.

Our selling area (known as ‘our round’) was the western side only of William Street from Newcastle Street to Francis Street west to Lake Street and back to Newcastle Street.

The McDonalds had several other boys in adjoining areas. We had our regular customers but the best places to sell the papers were: 

• the Britannia Wine Saloon, (which later became a backpacker hostel) on the corner of Francis Street and William Street; 

• the Red Lion Inn in Aberdeen Street; 

• and the  Gascoyne Traders Transport depot in Francis Street. 

At each place we would open the door and yell “Dailynnewspaperrrrrr…” and the customers would flock to us.

Being minors we were not allowed to enter the hotel premises. When the paper cost four pence (three cents) it was wonderful.

Most of the customers would give us sixpence (five cents) and say, “keep the change kid”.

When the price rose to sixpence, that was the end of the extra ‘tips’ as they were known.

We generally sold the Daily between 3.30pm and 5.30pm or earlier if we sold out. We returned the money and any unsold papers to Mr McDonald who was waiting at the newsagency.

We would then be paid and go home for tea or kick a football around awaiting tea…

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