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A Home of One's Own

Having a bath in Tennant Creek in 1952 with water costing 5/- per 100 gallonsClara Mills arrived in Tennant Creek in 1936. Her husband worked in the mines and was a prospector. She worked with the Country Women’s Association and provided meals for the troops who passed through Tennant Creek in the early war years. After the war she worked as a cook at the Tennant Creek and Goldfields Hotels.

Clara Mills’ landlord was Harold Nelson, who was a butcher in Tennant Creek but in 1922 had been the first Northern Territory elected Member of the House of Representatives. She recalled her first home in Noble Street:

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It was just a tin shed and it was a shed and it belonged to Harold Nelson, that’s Jock Nelson’s father. And there was nothing in it. We made out beds out of beer cases and put mattresses on them and the furniture was all beer cases…

There was one wall divided as an iron partition at one end where we had the kitchen but the rest we used to just put beer cases down and put mattresses on top of them…

Yes. We all slept together…

We used to wake up in the morning and you could see where you’d been sleeping and all the rest of the sheet would be dust. You could see where your head had laid…

Ant bed floors and this is where all our washing water went down on the floors. We used to throw it all over the floors, and soapy water, and we used to throw it on to keep the floors hard.

[Northern Territory Archives Service NTRS 226, TS 284 and NTRS 219, TP 236, Clara Mills]
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