Sonja Bates (Ostlund)

first name: 
Sonja
last name: 
Bates (Ostlund)

I was born in Yallourn by Dr Andrew and lived at 9 Church St - attended the State School and then High School in 1944. My brother, Stanley, was two years older than me and also attended the school and after Form 6, he did his Diploma at the Technical School. I enjoyed my school days and was very sad when I left in 1948.
I was employed at the Yallourn Public Library and became a Librarian together with Fae Horman (Lawson) and Bev James (McPhee). I worked there for 8 1/2 years and in 1956 got married to George Bates, a young engineer with the SECV.
My best friends at school, and still are today, are Elaine Walters, Dawn Cooley (Yeomans), Betty Vinall (Pearce), Fae Horman (Lawson), Valma Frost (Hamilton) and Daphne Jackson (Selby-Hele). We used to play basketball in a competition on Saturdays.
Betty Vinall and I used to sit together all the time until Form 5 when the teacher sid we talked too much (can't understand that!!) and so then we sat by ourselves in separate desks, usually behind Amy Burns (she was 11). Pleased to say we passed the Leaving Examination.
Ours was a mixed form and Jack Vinall, Arthur Webb, Alister Balfour, Brina Griffiths and Allan Burrage. We had great teachers who were well respected by us all. I was always petrified by Miss Jensen, our cooking teacher in Form 1 & 2. I always went to her classes 1/4 hour before the lesson started so that I could prepare the ingredients and peel vegetables. Miss Jensen planned the meal and we all cooked it. Then, at lunch time, we all sat down at the table and ate it. We all had to wear whie starched aprons and caps for our heads. At one time, we had cooked watery cabbage and as I wasn't very keen on this unsavoury vegetable, I slipped it into the rubbish bin while Miss Jensen wasn't looking...bad move! Later, Miss Jensen inspected the bin and on discovering the cabbage, she asked who had put it there. After a short hesitation and a very red face, I decided I had better own up. I wished I hadn't as Miss Jensen made me eat the cabbage. After that day, I now always devour everything that is dished up to me.
We cannot forget our favourite teachers - Miss Barclay (Art), Miss Hewitt (Music), Miss Dawson and also Mrs Schern our Chemistry teacher. I was always afraid the classroom would be blown up and who can remember Mrs Quatta with her dyed hair and chalk throwing Lindsay Young? I could never read Darby Graham's writing or shorthand and that's where Betty Pearce came in handy. Mr John Menadue was a strict headmaster.
I enjoyed hockey, softball, basketball and tennis, which I still play. I was elected House Captain in Form 4 & 5 and became a Prefect in Form 5. My brother, Stanley, and I were both in these positions and I was very proud. Flinders was the name of our house. The others were Mawson, Phillip and Bass.
Every student had to compete in some sport every week and it was the House Captains who placed them into the teams. I don't think the Form 6ers were too keen to be told what to do by me, a Form 4 student. That last year at School, Flinders won nearly all the awards at Speech Night and I was very proud of their efforts.
Speech Nights were held at the end of the year in the Yallourn Theatre. Awards were given to the Dux of each form and afterwards was the entertainment by the students - "The Mikado", folk dancing (I excelled at that), gymnastics by the boys and of course, the school choir groomed by Miss Hewitt. I was always in the choir but I think I mixed most of the time and I didn't have a musical note in my head - great fun anyway.
I left school in 1948 and for 8 1/2 years worked in the Yallourn Public Library which I enjoyed very much. The building was an old hut which was originally built next to the Health Centre as an extra addition if the Germans or Japanese raided the power works during the 1939-1945 war. Casualties could be treated there. The building was closed in 1956 and a new library was built next to the National Bank.
In 1956, I married George Bates and lived first at 20 Erica St and then 3 Boola Crescent, Yallourn. He did his Diplomas at Technical School. We had four children - Julie, Stephen, Susan and Neil and later, we moved to Morwell in 1966.
George became very involved with the SEC and in 1990, he became Chief General Manager and then we lived in Melbourne. Sadly, George passed away in 1995 with a sudden heart attack.
I have joined Maryvale Probus Club, Moe Jazz Club, St Mary's Anglican Church, Board Member of Fossick & Find (an Opportunity Shop), play indoor tennis at Moe and golf at Yallourn.
My brother, Stanley, passed away in 1983 and so I am the only survivor of the Ostlund family. My parents, Arthur and Hanna, died in 1971 and 1962.
During my days at 9 Church St, we had friendly neighbours and many playmates. There were the Mussared's, Foley's, Cook's, Kemp's, Pat Waston and Pat Roberts.
Many games were played in our backyard - chasey, hidey, cricket, football and riding our scooters. Darby Graham (teacher) lived opposite us as did Mr & Mr Matthews (teacher) before them. Matthews children were Julie and Michael.
I still have the wood stove from 11 Broadway West and it needs a lot of polishing with the black substance which my mother used to do. Our Morwell home was built with Yallourn bricks from the factory and was the last house to use them before the demolition of the tall chimney and factory.
I am proud to have lived in Yallourn as it was a great place and had many fine buildings and sporting facilities. George played a great part in the SECV and Yallourn and now he has places dedicated to him - the George Bates Reserve at Yallourn North where cricket and football are played. There is also a George Bates Lookout at Loy Yang as he did a great deal of work getting the station constructed on time. I am very proud of him.
I enjoy the Yallourn Old Girls' Association which keeps us in touch with many of our past school mates.

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