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Joined: 15/02/2021
Location: Australia
Posts: 1
Posted: 11:01pm 25 Feb 2021      

Looking back, I'm amazed at how different everyday home management was for my mother from the way it was for me when my children were little.  For a start, it was standard for houses on cane farms in the Lower Burdekin district of Queensland (Australia) not to have electricity.  We were lucky in that my Dad was very handy and inventive and had set up a wind-powered 32 volt system so that we could have (rather dim) electric lights.

A section of the "Gilco".  Also, the district in flood.

In the front yard was the Gilco (brand) wind charger - like a windmill as tall as the house, which was on high blocks (a) for coolness and (b) to keep the house and contents safe from the annual floods.  Most people, including us, ended up enclosing the area under their houses to make better use of the space, so the houses weren't necessarily any cooler.

Me, aged two, learning to climb the Gilco, 3.04.1949.

The wind blades were attached to a noisy engine under the house, which ran on and off during the day to generate the power for the lights we used at night.  The baby's room was above the engine, so the baby used to go to sleep during the day to the sound of the engine, then wake up when the engine stopped.  Other people in the district had to use hurricane lamps.

The Gilco had metal footholds up one side to allow for climbing up to maintain the wind blades, so as children we would often climb up for a great view of the surrounding area.  (Looks pretty scary to me now).

In the picture above, Katy is 12 weeks old and I'm three and a half.  Aunty Else would have knitted Katy's cardigan and my little outfit, including the beret with little animals around it.  How cute!