Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Shepparton retirees find it easier now to beat the heat

Residents at Shepparton's Harmony Village say it used to be much harder to stay cool during a heatwave.

SOPHIE MALCOLM January 12, 2013 4:11am

Norma Hill at Shepparton’s Harmony Village.

When Norma Hill was a child, there was no air conditioning, fans, or even fridges.

While keeping cool and comfortable at Shepparton’s Harmony Village yesterday, Mrs Hill said it wasn’t always so easy to beat the heat when she was growing up.

‘‘We had ice chests at that time [to keep food cool], and you wet a blanket to put around you,’’ the 86-year-old said.

Living in Northcote and without electricity, she ate ‘‘lots of icy poles’’, took frozen oranges to school and chased other children with water to keep cool.

‘‘We used to pull all the windows down and the curtains and keep it dark inside,’’ she said.

‘‘You’d have the windows open at night and all the insects buzzing around.’’

Mrs Hill said when her family’s house was connected to electricity in the early 1930s, some of the first things they bought were a fridge and a fan.

‘‘You were lucky if you had a fan, not one on the ceiling, but one on the table,’’ she said.

‘‘It was really good ... we thought we were really rich.

‘‘We got air conditioning when I got married.

‘‘I thought that was like gold.’’

Fellow Harmony Village resident Wally Crow said most of his summer memories growing up in Melbourne’s outskirts involved swimming.

‘‘We had an orchard with four dams, and we’d say, ‘oh, it’s hot,’ and we used to hop in and have a swim,’’ Mr Crow said.

‘‘Instead of having a bath we’d have a bucket and get in the dam.

‘‘Every Sunday, we’d go down to Seaford and we’d take dinner.

‘‘We were always swimming.’’

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