“It was a great life. It stood me in good stead. ” – With these words Vern Williams sums up his years at Burwood Boys’ Home in the 1940s – sentiments that may surprise some used to hearing horror stories of institutional life.
In 1858 the area bounded by Warrigal and Highbury Roads, Burwood Highway (Ballyshanassy Road) and Gardiners Creek (Damper Creek) was named Ballyshanassy in honour of then Victorian Premier, John O’Shanassy.
Nancy Mary Weir was born in Kew on 13 July 1915; a child prodigy, she knew the piano keyboard at 18 months and when four sneaked out to a nearby convent for lessons from a nun. At 13, she performed Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.3 with the Melbourne Symphony under conductor Fritz Hart following which Melbourne’s lord mayor launched a public subscription for her to study in Europe.
EVA de Jong-Duldig is a person of diverging interests, many of which were inherited from her parents. Eva’s father Karl was an eminent sculptor as well as a sportsman, and from him she took his sporting prowess (he played international soccer for Hakoah Wien in the 1920s and was later one of Austria’s top tennis players). Her mother Slawa, who invented the modern foldable umbrella in 1929, often formed a bedrock in the family’s sometimes fraught journey from Vienna to Australia.