Four times the family fun

Jon SolmundsonGeraldton Guardian
Leanne and Chantal Brindley with Darelyn Crawford and four-month-old London Whincup.
Camera IconLeanne and Chantal Brindley with Darelyn Crawford and four-month-old London Whincup. Credit: Picture: Ray Hancock

It’s rare that Darelyn Crawford gets a chance to have family members who are sprawled across WA back in town, but a portrait bringing together four generations of Geraldton women was a good moment to round up the family.

Captured by her son Ray Hancock, the image shows Mrs Crawford, daughter Leanne, granddaughter Chantal and great- granddaughter London at the family residence in Bluff Point.

Mrs Crawford (nee Hancock) was born in Geraldton and moved to Victoria as a young woman, but returned to Geraldton where she has lived for more than 50 years. While they have moved around WA, to Gidgegannup, Perth, and Bunbury, among other places, all the women were Geraldton born.

Mrs Crawford said her family had been in Geraldton for several generations before her, but wasn’t sure of quite how long.

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“Marine Terrace was just a sand trap when I was a baby, I got tetanus aged two and a half and nearly died then but I’m a survivor, I’m super-nan,” she said.

“I get a bit confused with the layout of Marine Terrace now.

“When I had to get a haircut one day I realised how different it is.”

Although it was a simpler time, Mrs Crawford said if she had one wish for Geraldton it would be to turn the clock back to a time when the streets were safe to roam in the evening and people were happy with only what they needed.

“I think we had it best when we had nothing — all my family are fishermen and we didn’t have much so we appreciated what we did have,” she said.

“We didn’t know anything different kids today don’t know what it is to go without.”

That’s not to say Mrs Crawford’s life was a continual struggle the whole way through, and she attests to being (and remaining) quite the prankster. “We were shocking, us kids,” she said. “We were the West End Gang and everyone was frightened of us.”

Mrs Crawford began working at the Fishermen’s Co-op crayfish factory when it opened in 1951, moving from her previous job at the ice-factory, and revealed a trick she used to play on her co-workers.

“My brother used to do it to me, that’s where I learnt it,” she said.

“You’d cut out Velvet soap and wrap it in Minties lolly wrappers and people would end up chewing soap,” she said. “I used to do this at the co-op.

“I would just leave a couple of ‘Minties’ sitting on my shelf and the blokes would always pinch one. These were the guys they called the ‘headers’, and they had these big rubber gloves on, and once you had them on, together with the big apron, you couldn’t really take them off in a hurry.

“They’d get the lolly, put it in their mouth, start taking the heads of the crayfish off — just as the doors opened for the tourists to come in — and I’d look up to see the blokes with all these bubbles coming out of their mouth they were good times.

“I still like to muck around, like make cakes and ice them with toothpaste or mustard. If anything goes wrong at the golf club they know who to come to first.”

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