A ‘hobo’ life in Milton

I was born in 1945 at the Old Milton Hospital from where my parents Leila and Elwyn (‘Tiger’) Anderson took me home to the family property ‘Wickham Hill’, Milton. Mum helped with the milking so as an infant I was put in a play-pen in the engine/wash-up room of the dairy.

The Coles lived on the next door property. In those days if Dad was fencing or cutting corn for the silo, Gordon Cole would come over and help, or dad would go over there. One day Dad and Gordon came in for lunch which was always a baked dinner. The two dads took their boots and hats off at the washhouse step. Gordon’s son Kevin was over this day and we decided to sit on the step with our dads’ hats and boots on. After washing their hands the two men came out, saw us and my dad said:


“You’d be a couple of hobos”


To this day, we still greet each other as “G’Day Hobo“.

Kevin and I started school in 1951 and my brothers and I rode a horse to school, one of the last to do so. The horses were left in Grandfather’s yard which was behind Garrad House, part of the present Milton Hospital.

Most days before school I was to get the horses in, and the calves in to be fed, and clean the milking bails and yard, then have breakfast, get dressed and off to school. In the afternoon, I also cut wood and put it in the woodbox at the house – there were two fires in winter.

On the way home from school, I delivered mail and papers to both Miller families next door.

I didn’t like our 5th-6th class teacher Mr Braham, so I would fake a headache and walk out and go home. But Mum made me go to bed – still it was better than school!


With Jack Wallace and my brother Ian at Wickham Hill, my parents’ dairy farm


I completed the Intermediate Certificate but failed Maths and English.

My first job for four and a half years was at Bedfords A1 Store, a big two storey general store. It was above the Court House where the park is today.

My next job was for Electronic Devices, owned by Peter Gatehouse on the corner of Myrtle Street and the Princes Highway in Milton. This was followed by a job in Nowra for Davis and Penny Wholesalers General Grocery and Tobacconists for two years and then two years in Nev and Mrs Root’s Self Selection Store in Ulladulla.

Over the next eight years I worked in every section of Ron Woods Hardware Stores in Milton and Ulladulla and then went on to the Nowra Dairy Company, running their Milton store, selling mainly rural supplies, for 17 years.

In 1979 I married Jill, an Adelaide girl.

Then I went to work for Jim and Cathie McConnell of Wilfords Lane. Then IGA took over the running of their petrol station and I accepted an invitation to manage it for four and a half years.

Then I retired to look after properties and cattle on Croobyar Road for my niece and nephew.


by Earl Anderson

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