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Town Hall, 333 Bay Street, Port Melbourne
Town Hall, 333 Bay Street, Port Melbourne

Port Talks: Ep2 – Putting clothes on your back

Port Talks distills highlights from the Society’s audio-archive into three 10 minute podcasts.

The theme is the Depression – a time of great hardship in Port.

Episode 2: Putting clothes on your back

Tom Hills ran away from his Sydney home when he was thirteen. He was taken in by a Port Melbourne family. During the 1920s he pulled the ferry across the river at the swinging basin where the Webb Bridge in Docklands is now.

Unemployed during the Depression, he became president of the local Unemployed Workers’ Organisation. Tom Hills led sustenance workers in many struggles for survival and dignity at Fishermans Bend.

Myrtle Richardson‘s story begins: “We were a very, very, very poor family. We didn’t have anything much. Nobody was working in the family. We lived in a little house that my father’s sister owned. We didn’t have to pay rent because we didn’t have any money to pay it.”

Tom and Myrtle recount very different experiences with clothes. What did a sustenance worker wear and where did his clothes come from? How did parents with no money clothe their families?

Find out here


Port Talks was written and produced by May Jasper with sound engineering by Andrew Callaghan.

The project has been supported by the City of Port Phillip through the Cultural Development Fund.

Image: the ferry at the Yarra swinging basin near Johnston Street

PMHPS acknowledges the generous support of the City of Port Phillip.


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Acknowledgement of Traditional Custodians

We respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we meet and work, the Bunurong Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung peoples of the Eastern Kulin Nation and pay respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.