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Sea Rangers, Sandringham c1960s

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A Sandringham Story - The Brown Family of Sandringham by Robyn Watters

My mother, Dorothy May Watters (nee Brown), was born at ‘Moira’ private nursing home at 47 Abbott Street, Sandringham on Christmas Eve, 1922.

Her parents welcomed my mother to ‘Kianga’ in Edward Street, later numbered as 48 and still standing. This house was very similar, if not the same as its neighbour; apparently one of a ‘pigeon pair’. The home was designed for young families, made of timber, on a small block and distant from her paternal grandparents in well-established Hawthorn.

My mother and her older brother Bill went to school locally; my mother attending St. Agnes’ Church of England Kindergarten, then Atherstone girls’ school (later to amalgamate with Firbank and become their Sandringham campus), then on to Firbank Church of England Girls’ Grammar School, Brighton for middle school.

Bill attended the Black Rock Primary School and when it ended at Grade 8, he attended the Hampton Higher Elementary School.

 Black Rock Primary School

Bill in Grade 4 at Black Rock Primary school 1927, standing far right

My mother and her brother were keen athletes and good swimmers. They would swim out to the HMAS Cerberus breakwater without a thought.

These pursuits were to end in early 1936 when the family moved to the Hawthorn home of her Brown grandparents.

Their education trajectory took a sharp deviation as they were sent to the relatively well-established Methodist Ladies’ College and Wesley College for their final years. Hawthorn’s Kooyong Koot Road, whilst much grander than Edward Street, lacked the coastal informality that my mother had been used to and loved. She returned to live in Bayside when she married in 1950, passing away in 1998 having played a final game of tennis at the Royal Avenue Tennis Centre.

A true daughter of Sandringham.

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