Our Place: Newtown & Darlington Interviews

Our Place - Newtown - Leo Hannon

What Leo Hannan remembers most vividly about Newtown is the poverty: "You never forget the taste of poverty; my father never got constant work". In an era virtually without cars, all the kids had "a second hand pushbike. If you didn't have one, you stole one. I could ride out to Mascot and maybe pass four cars. There wasn't the sound of cars; there was the sound of nature". His family was not a happy one: "My father was an alcoholic who never knew it and my mother was a religious fanatic. … We had more pictures than the Vatican in my house". He considered her a "bigot" who would not allow him to play with the kids of other denominations in the street - "there was sectarianism in my day". Leo also describes surviving by scrounging food offcuts, stale or damaged food - from factories and shops - and he observes the social difference between a wine bar and a pub: "Wine was for the unemployed, the no-hopers - the alcoholics", while "beer was considered a man's drink". Leo has a dry acerbic wit which he brings to bear on the realities of existence in 1930s Newtown.

Caveat: This video was shot on a Sony Hi 8 video recorder. It was not until 2010 that we could get the analogue tapes digitised. Despite careful storage in the intervening period there has been some deterioration in quality. While we have retained the original .mov files from the original digitization in the SRA Archive, by necessity uploaded here are .mp4 files. The video is raw and unedited, a primary source document recording the occassion.