Dear Holdcroft Kids,
This afternoon I was bottling off a home brew batch
when I remembered a story of your dad. Steph said to me
quite rightly that I should tell you about it. I grew up
without knowing either of my grandfathers
nor anything about them, so I reckon your kids and you might
appreciate some family "stories". I will come
to the home brew story soon.
I first met your dad in the mid-1960's. It was definitely
before the introduction of decimal currency as I recall
on that on the first day of the currency transition on the
14th February 1966, my brothers and I exchanged the new
one and two cent coins your dad had got during the day for
the old pennies we had. When your mum and dad announced
their engagement your grandad and grandma Holdcroft had
a family party for them in their home on Kensington Road
(Norwood). Grandma Holdcroft
was an audacious cook and even prepared a pizza for the
evening. I had never heard of it and it was the first time
I had ever tried it! I have been sold on pizza ever since.
Brendan was nicknamed Tim by his family. I don't know
why and recently when emailing your uncle (see
below), I queried him about the name and even he
couldn't recall its background. Tim was a gregarious person.
He loved kids and got on really well with your mum's sisters
and more especially the 3 boys in the Daly family. He was
an excellent sportsman. As a cricketer he was a good bowler.
He taught us how to spin the ball and hit it over the fence.
At football he was a tiger. Being new to Adelaide, after
Daly family moved from Brisbane in December 1963,
Tim coached us in the finer points of the game of Aussie
Rules which I didn't even know existed. I remember marking
the ball and then your dad jumping up and down in front
of me to put me off my kick. I failed, as he intended, as
I was laughing so much at his antics. This was in the backyard
of the Daly family home in Dulwich. Your Dad had access
to a squash court at a university residence and introduced
me to the game which I played for many years later on. He
even got a key for me to access the courts and I was able
to make my own bookings. Nobody ever questioned our arrangements.
Those were the days.
Tim had a terrific little sports car. A Singer Tourer
built in about 1937. It was painted British racing green.
Your mum and dad would drive us down to Maslin's Beach and
other coastal picnic spots. Driving on the sand at Moana
was a new experience. On one picnic Tim packed some cold
roast rabbit - a meat I'd never had before. I was persuaded
to try a bit but was not persuaded enough to finish it off.
Your dad was very generous with his time and thoughts. One
day he drove Aunty Phil (Grandma Daly's sister) to mass
in the Singer with the top down. Luckily A. Phil had a scarf
for her hair. I reckon it must have put a few years back
into her life as she was really thrilled by the drive; she
came home to our place, we were living in Fullarton Road,
Dulwich at the time, and she was recalling the drive in
the open top car excitedly. Even your uncle Greg Daly was
given a glowing reference by Tim when he asked for one to
help him get a holiday job. He used a few big words in the
reference and I was impressed with the vocabulary. I wonder
if Greg ever got the job.
For many years your granddad Holdcroft owned a shoe
factory. I think it was down along the Port Road area in
Adelaide. Tim, during his late teens when he was at Uni,
used to help out in the factory on Saturday mornings and
do the cleaning. He said that they used to get pails of
water which he threw over the concrete floor and then mopped
it up and pushed it out into the drains. I heard that your
granddad may have been a disciplinarian but Tim had a high
regard for his parents. As business people they had a reputation
to keep ensuring that business was not adversely affected.
To the extent that, your Dad to his credit, accepted responsibility
for a home beer brew. Granddad had put down a brew in the
old stables at the back of their home which generated a
typical odour. Unfortunately a dobber next door reported
that the Holdcrofts were illegally brewing beer as it was
against the law in those days. Your dad to his credit accepted
responsibility for the offense so that his dad's reputation
was not adversely affected. Such was the way of life in
those times. And that is the home brew story.
Your dad also liked to have a good time and had a great
sense of fun. He and your mum travelled throughout the Adelaide
hills on the weekends dreaming of a home on acreage. Tim's
first job after finishing his economics degree at Adelaide
University was with Ford in Melbourne. At this stage he
and your mum were not married but she followed him there
as they could not bear the enforced separation. This was
virtually unheard of in those moralistic days. I remember
mum going to lengths to explain that the relationship
was platonic and that there was no naughtiness. The year
before Tim had a cadetship with Shell Oil on North Tce in
Adelaide city while he completed his last subject for his
degree. After a short stay in Melbourne Tim and your mum
returned to Adelaide for marriage, family and a job at Seppelts
Wines. Tim came home with a couple of cars from Ford which
he had bought at an employee discount. He kept the Cortina
and sold the Falcon for a small profit.
After marriage they moved into an upstairs apartment
in Molesworth Street in North Adelaide. I used to visit
them there in 1968 on Saturdays, often on my way home from
working at the flats Poppa
Daly (your maternal granddad) owned. I'd take morning
tea or lunch with them depending on the way I timed my visit!
Once there was a visit in the afternoon and your Dad asked
me to go down to the Wellington pub to get him a couple
of bottles of beer. Shortly after they bought a home in
Prospect Terrace and commenced a big renovation. The scope
of the work included a new garden, kitchen, ensuite, bathroom,
dining room, holes and new doorways. One day your dad fell
ill. He was sick enough to go and see a doctor which was
something he rarely did and the doctor whom he saw didn't
know him. The doctor thought he was a labourer because his
hands were so hard from the renovation work. When your dad
was relating this story Grandma Daly expressed her pride
in your dad as a hard worker.
I hope this made interesting reading for you. Your dad
may have shared some of these insights so hopefully this
fills out the bigger picture. Cheers and love to the family