'Joan' Cougan was known as Pat (nee Embry). Johnny and Pat Cougan are my parents, children are, Christine, Paul and Kerry.
Dad came to Yallourn in 1949 as part of the post-war workers influx. He had originally arrived in Australia from Scotland and worked for a short time on the Snowy Mountain scheme, but he and a couple of mates had heard of better money and working conditions South, and so they headed for Yallourn. John met Pat Embry at a dance in Hearne's Oak, and the rest as they say, is history. Mum and Dad have been married for over 60 years, and life is still entertaining them. My Grandfather, Wally Embry, had the tenancy of the house and as Pat was the only daughter of the family, she took over the mothering role of her 3 elder brothers and 2 younger brothers, after her mother died in 1946.
From all accounts, the house was always brimming with activity. If having 6 men in the house wasn't enough, there were always friends and neighbours dropping in to see if Mum was coping with the large household. Mum has mentioned many times how Mrs Vincent would pop down the lane and check on things, offering advice on meals and day to day tasks. Mrs Vincent was either a very good teacher, or Mum an excellent pupil, because my memories of growing up in the 50's are of apple pies fresh from the oven, and enormous quantities of preserved fruit from the plum trees we had in the back yard. Mum is certainly an exceptional cook. My only complaint was when she borrowed a meat press from Mrs Spittle (next door) and took up making pressed tongue. I can still see it in my mind today ugh!!!
Mum and Dad lived in Quarry St, Married Quarters for a short time before my brother was born, so it must have been between 1951 - 53. I don't have many memories of those days, but the family photos we have show my Aunty Georgie (Georgie Gilchrist) and my cousin Connie sitting on our front verandah. Georgie and Bill Embry lived in the Married Quarters too, and from all accounts, even though the facilities were limited, there was a great community spirit there. Mum remembers that there was one laundry block situated in the corner of the yard, between 4 houses. Because they were all new marrieds with children, it was necessary to use the laundry on a roster basis. One day was allotted exclusively to each household, and the other days were on a first come, first served basis. As you can imagine, with nappies and boiler suits in the wash, it was necessary to get up with the birds in order to secure the laundry on the free days.
Mum and Dad moved back in with Wally and the boys about 1953, and there we stayed until we left in September 1962. We have lived in Western Australia since 1963, and for all intents and purposes I should regard myself as a Sandgroper, but my heart is still in Yallourn. Silly isn't it? We should all have moved on, but Yallourn pulls at your heart strings, which is why this website is so successful. Thankyou for this opportunity. If you want to hear more, I have more to tell. Did I tell you I'm an Historian? Oh! you groan, doesn't she ever stop??
Firstly apologies although I have 4 daughters until I logged on I had you down as a boy! We look forward to more of your comments, you have captured the thoughts of a lot of Yallourn residents. I was a "blow-in " who went to Yallourn High School. I married a Yallourn girl ( Maxine Humphrey) and both of us miss the chance to show our grandchildren Yallourn. Maxine's mum , Annie (Nan) Humphrey first came to Yallourn and lived in the Western Camp and after her marriage to Max Humphrey moved later to 69 Church Street leaving with their house in 1974 (approx) and moving it to Toongabbie.