The book was written on the history of the suburb Lalor in the northern suburbs of Melbourne.
My connection with the suburb is that I was born there. My father and Uncle Frank were the primary builders on the project. The suburb’s beginnings come from a co-operative established amongst a number of people, mostly returned servicemen, who came together to assist the building of each other’s houses. Reading through the book brought back a flood of childhood memories. Many, many names jolted my memory as I turned the pages. I also learnt a lot of facts about the people and the project that my parents had not spoken about.
The building co-operative and the suburb derived their name from Peter Lalor of Eureka Stockade and later Victorian Parliamentary fame. The co-operative was the brain child of Frank Purcell.
Other names that leapt off the pages: Dr. Harry Jenkins will be a name familiar to most Australians. The Harry Jenkins that I knew was our local GP. The later Harry Jenkins, his son, was the become the speaker of the house in Federal Parliament.
Les Batten was a friend of my parents and often called on us, or we visited. Known to me as Uncle Les, I had no idea that not only was he associated with hunt clubs, equestrian events and agricultural societies, but was the person who donated the land on which Preston & Northcote Community Hospital was built.
My father Alan Murray ‘Bill’ O’Connor was one of the original builders of Lalor. The Lalor men later became actively involved with the Epping RSL. My father was the driving force in building new clubrooms, an infant welfare centre and later the Epping Memorial Hall. Feats he never spoke to me about.
Pronunciation is sometimes challenged. From my recollections it was always pronounced ‘La(w)lor’ using the Irish pronunciation. Later residents pronounce it ‘La(y)lor.
Editor's Note: Your interest and active involvement in the Swanpool Community Development Association and many other community activities was almost certainly shaped by the childhood memories you have written about here, Barry.