Driving: Times Past

Transport has become an increasingly important part of our lives. When my Great Grandfather came to Australia his mode of transport was a pony and cart.

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© irene waters 2017

Holidays a long way from home simply didn’t happen. The car made a world of difference in our ability to move around. This month we are going to look at driving – did your family have a car when you were younger, what age did you learn to drive, what were the requirements you needed to undertake in order to get a license. How important was a car in your earlier life? Is it the same as it is now? Has location varied this need at any point?

Please join in giving your location at the time of your memory and  your generation. An explanation of the generations and the purpose of the prompts along with conditions for joining in can be seen at the Times Past Page. Join in either in the comments or by creating your own post and linking. Looking forward to your memories.

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© irene waters 2017

This photo always had me fascinated as a child. My grandmother is in the driving seat but she never had a license to drive. My Grandfather (in the back seat) was always the driver.

Silent Generation /Baby Boomer cusp

U.K. Patcham (Brighton)  –

My Grandfather owned either the first or second car in the county of Sussex. My Father learnt to drive early in life ancd because of this he served in WW1 as a driver. In those days there were not too many people who knew how to drive. He lied about his age to get in. I’m guessing he was around 17 or 18. My first car was a Bond mini- car which I bought at the age of 15. I didn’t require a license to drive it as you only had to have a license if there was a reverse gear. As this was a motorcycle engine it didn’t have a reverse gear. This wasn’t a huge problem as the single front wheel could be turned  to 90 degrees. It didn’t have a door which was only a problem if I was driving a girl wearing a skirt but as the only girl I drove was my sister it didn’t bother me or her. From 15 I always had some vehicle to drive to school but apart from the Bond mini car most were motorcycles until I got my license and bought a Morris.


photo courtesy wikipedia

Baby Boomer 

Austtralia    Rural/city

As a child the church supplied my Dad with a car as he had to take services and minister to people out in the bush. Twice a year we would travel 500 miles to Sydney to visit my Grandparents. I hated the trip. My brother suffered car sickness and we were both doped for the majority of the trip. There was no need for me to have the tablets but I think my mother liked the peace and quiet having me asleep brought. When we did come to we played games to keep us from complaining of boredom. These included I spy, spotto and I went to the shops to buy my aunt an apple and the next person had to repeat that and buy something starting with the next letter in the alphabet. We also had a cricket game that came on three dice like blocks but as our family was non -sporty none of us enjoyed playing that much. I also played kidnapped where I face out the back window (no seatbelts in those days) looking at the car travelling behind gesturing wildly and mouthing “I’m being kidnapped.” No-one in those days paid any heed to me but I doubt that I would be ignored totally now. We also went on one road trip to North Queensland, camping.

1961.11 camping near Rockhampton

© irene waters 2017

My mother taught me to drive when I was 15 and 9 months and that was fraught with disasters. The first day out I ran into a tree – she hadn’t told me where the brake was. We then practiced in the car park and when she thought I was right we were back on the road. For some reason I went gently into another tree and it was back to the car park. I did get my license soon after my 16th birthday and didn’t drive again for probably ten years or more. I did buy a car – I was told a wardsman at the hospital was good at buying cars for trainee nurses so I enlisted his help. The car arrived driven by him. I could never get it to start so it sat in the nurses home car park and was used as a hotel for nurses that got home after curfew. I have no idea what I did with it in the end – probably just left it there or gave it to someone. I then took up motorbike riding. That license was easy as the examiner told you a route to ride. He timed it and if you got back within a certain time frame you passed.

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© irene waters 2017

What do you remember about driving?  I’m looking forward to reading  your memories…….

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
This entry was posted in family, Memoir, memoir writing, Past Challenge, photography, Times Past and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Driving: Times Past

  1. You’ve had a lot of adventures driving! No photos of any of my old cars or of my parents’s cars. I did just get a 2015 RAV 4 with only 10,000 miles and saved about $10,000 or a bit more over buying a brand new car. We donated my 19-year-old car to the high school shop class – it isn’t safe to drive, but the kids can learn a lot of mechanics taking it apart.
    I didn’t learn to drive until I was 18 and didn’t know the answer on the written test to the question about how much alcohol in one’s system qualified as being drunk. I’d paid no attention since I didn’t drink – still don’t. But I had to know the answer. Oy!
    My first car was a used Pontiac Firebird Le Mans convertible, (1965 model in bought in 1966?) white exterior with red leather interior. Absolutely gorgeous. Drove it to college every day. It had a hole in the oil tank that leaked at least a quart a day. It burned up the engine one foggy night and left me stranded just off the freeway about 4 AM so I walked home, about 5 miles.Drove it to college every day. I named the car but can’t remember what the name.
    Baby boomer here in the USA.

    Liked by 2 people

    • What a great thing to do with your car. I wonder if our schools teach stuff about cars. Hahah- I imagine not too many at 18 didn’t drink in your youth. I don’t drink either and am always the designated driver. It is a good feeling being breathalyzed without any fear of being over the limit.
      Your first car sounds wonderful. Something out of the movies.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. ksbeth says:

    wow, driving =adventure in your world )


  3. Annecdotist says:

    Thanks for making me smile, Irene, with your driving misadventures. I have a novel on my TBR shelf about the humour of learning to drive, so might try to get to it before the end of the month.
    We did have a family car when I was growing up as my father, like yours, needed it for his work. (Baby boomer, UK). There were five of us children crammed into the backseat, most of whom were travel sick, so that as well as songs and games to distract us, a common cry on car journeys was “Bucket!”
    I got my provisional licence the earliest I could age 17. My father was not a great drinker but often needed one on returning from my lessons. It took a few more years, and four attempts before I passed my test but, living in a city at that time, didn’t need the car so much although appreciated opportunities to get out into the countryside for walks.

    Liked by 2 people

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