Our Place: Stories of Kings Cross & Potts Point - Biographies

Our Place - Stories of King's Cross & Potts Point - Brenda Humble Biography

Our Place - Stories of King's Cross & Potts Point - Brenda Humble Biography
Brenda Humble by Toby Burrows for SMH, 2011


Brenda recalled that when the Second World War started … they came to Dad and said, “Sir you’ll have to be the air raid warden … you’re the only Australian in the street”. At school in Darlinghurst, the kids would look down on kids who lived in Woolloomooloo, but it was the “new” kids who were beaten up at school: “I’d always make sure that I knew at least three ways to get home, because the kids used to wait for you on the corner after school, to beat you up if you were a new kid. That was just standard.” Brenda mentions the artists, actors and performers who inhabited the Cross; she discusses St Margaret’s Hospital, and Kidmans Terrace – ‘abortion alley’ in Woolloomooloo. A favourite place to visit was the Art Gallery: “it was small, it was very Victorian, it was all wood, … and then you’d go downstairs to the toilets, and that was a scream; they were just sort of buckets. Really it was a tin shed. And at the side of the Art Gallery, they had a little rotunda where you could sit and have tea”. She considers that the Cross became “horrific” when cars became common: “Every yahoo that you’ve ever heard of came to The Cross, once they got a car, and they thought if you had two legs and a skirt you were a prostitute. That’s when it started to go seedy…”