A Chigwell Boy
I was born in 1960, not long after my parents had moved into their house in Maralinga Road, just around the corner from what I have always known as Stringer’s Shop. We always talked of this area as being the bottom of Chigwell (even though it is North Chigwell and “up” on the map). The other end of Chigwell had the “top shops”. Our early understanding of geography was somewhat confused by the Chigwell hill.
I always thought Chigwell was a great place to grow up. There were plenty of other children to play with and there was the creek just across the road. You could travel a fair distance along that creek through the trees. Once, my friend and I fell out of one of the trees fair into the middle of the biggest prickle bush (blackberries) and that really was a tricky situation.
Other friends would catch blue tongues and we’d often go tiddly fishing.
The people of Chigwell were always willing to lend a hand. In 1967 my father and other neighbours fought the fire on the spare block at the end of our street. Very few people had telephones (even well into the 1970’s) but people who did were always willing to let you use their phone. Everyone locked their front door but never the back one.
I never met anyone who could be called rich in Chigwell but that didn’t seem to matter. It was only in my later teens that I became aware that Chigwell was viewed by some people as, in some way, different. The poverty that began to strike Australia in the 1970’s had its impact in Chigwell and it showed.
Being from Chigwell has never been a problem for me, though. Not at all. I don’t think I’ve ever missed out on anything because of it and, on the contrary, I think I gained a great deal. I experienced lots of issues first hand. I grew up with children and families who took me as I came – as long as you were honest and polite that was all that was asked of you, really. And that’s what I live by now.
I am a proud Chigwell person. I think it’s important that we all look for the things for which we can be grateful – we live and have lived in an identifiable community that is set in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Enjoy it, make a contribution to it, and be proud!
Kind regards to all,
Glenorchy Cluster of Schools