Do you remember Pluto?

PlutoSometimes you start to think laterally about your family history Brick Wall – this is one of those times.

From about October 1954 until late 1956 I lived in Grafton with my family: John Joseph and Betty FUSSEN and my older brother Graham – better known as Fussy.

The problem – I don’t know where we lived!  Sadly Mum and Dad are no longer alive so I can’t ask them and I can’t find anyone who remembers.  My brother was born in 1950 and I was born in 1952 so both a little young to remember.

My Dad was transferred from Taree to Grafton to assist with the completion of the Peter’s Ice Cream factory – it was opened in October 1954.  In 1956 he was transferred to Adelaide to do the same thing there.  Grafton to Adelaide was a much bigger move than Taree to Grafton!

The photo above shows my Aunt [Mum’s baby sister by 20 years], Grandpa [Mum’s father] and our dog PLUTO – I think at our house in Taree.  I’m hoping that Pluto might be the answer to my Brick Wall.

I’ve checked telephone and other directories – haven’t located the 1956 telephone directory yet.  I’ve tried Nestle and Edgell Birdseye – who purchased Peter’s Ice Cream – and they haven’t located personnel records from that period.  I’ve checked with the Clarence Historical Society with no luck.  I don’t think I’ll be able to get to Grafton in the next decade or two so I won’t be able to check the rate books for any reference to Dad but I HAVE located the old Peter’s Ice Cream factory.

PlutoChinaWhen we had to move to Adelaide, Mum and Dad in their wisdom decided that Pluto would have to stay with friends in Grafton until we got settled in Adelaide.  To compensate, Mum bought this version of Pluto which lived in Mum’s china cabinet until her death when it moved to my china cabinet.  They had to do something because we spent several weeks in Newcastle before getting to Adelaide.  Because the Housing Trust house we were supposed to live in hadn’t been finished – or maybe even built – we spent the first few / several months in a hotel.  For anyone who knows Adelaide you’ll scratch your head in wonderment too – the Peter’s Ice Cream factory was at Windsor Gardens and we were in the Brighton Hotel – as far apart diagonally on the opposite sides of Adelaide!  Needless to say I was distraught and apparently cried myself to sleep for months – pining for Pluto.  The family story was that when we lived in Grafton and I was upset or in trouble I would always be found with Pluto in his dog house in the back yard!  I loved Pluto.

BUT, SOMEONE ELSE WOULD HAVE LOVED PLUTO – the friends or neighbours who looked after Pluto in Grafton and where I presume he lived until he died.

Now for something that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.  I was searching one of Mum’s old photo albums where I remembered seeing a photo of Pluto – the one at the top of this blog.

In the process I found some photos of me and Fussy “in Grafton” and I presume in the back and/or front yard of our house.  I know Mum took these photos – they’re blurry!  In later years Mum was a neck-to-knee photographer – chopped off the heads and legs of everyone.  Still by then she had a really good excuse because she was legally blind.

I scanned the photos of Pluto and the ones of me and my brother so I could zoom in and inspect the house – I’m pretty sure the back verandah was higher off the group BUT I started looking at the background – and there’s a BIG building there.  Then I dug out the photos I had found of Peter’s Ice Cream in Grafton and …

Do you think they’re the same building and that we lived next door or across the road from the factory?

1955cGrahamandSueatGraftonGraftonThere’s a slightly different building in another photo which could be one of the other buildings in the factory complex but they’re even blurrier than this one!

I’ve got an aerial photo somewhere – now I have to find it and see what is around the factory!  The crazy thing is I remember the old iron gates on the factory as I remember Mum used to drive Dad to work and Fussy and I used to fight over jumping out of the car and opening and closing that gate!  Was it a way of entertaining the kids – driving Dad all the way to work which was just “next door”?  Parents have been known to do stranger things than this!

I don’t remember the railway line between “home” and the factory.  The building above is the centre of the large one at 373 Fry Street visible on Google Maps.  I’m so close I can touch and feel it but …

What do you think?  Anyone know Grafton and the area of the factory?

More importantly, does anyone remember Pluto?

About Susie Zada
It really doesn't matter if it's Local History or Family History [genealogy] - I just love it ... Susie Zada

7 Responses to Do you remember Pluto?

  1. Susie Zada says:

    I found it!!!!!!!!!! Or at least the State Library of NSW “ask a librarian” found it for me! What’s even more exciting you can see the house AND the factory here on Google Maps – 6 Orama Street, Grafton …,+Grafton+NSW+2460/@-29.6714525,152.9185535,3a,60y,154.47h,95.26t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sewckYw5xOkMy-1q0QdIleA!2e0!7i3328!8i1664!4m2!3m1!1s0x6b9bd9586b1c5f7b:0xb21de7598cc0b30!6m1!1e1

    • Jenni says:

      That’s great news you found the home. Have you heard anymore on Pluto? I found your blog today trying to find info on the old Peter’s ice cream factory as I am a photographer and photographed the building today albeit in rainy conditions.

      • Susie Zada says:

        Pluto stayed with friends on a farm. That was fully explained in the blog!

      • Jenni says:

        I’m so glad you at least found out about the people that took him on. Things can be very sad for children re pets and school friends when the Father moves for work. I hope you make it back to see your home in Grafton. I think I recall you said it would be a while before you could get back to Grafton. All the best. I’m retired and travelling Australia. Grafton was a great town to visit with so much history.

  2. Pingback: Ask a librarian – it’s wonderful! | I just love history

  3. Maggie Nell says:

    Congratulations! I must admit, I thought this was a post about the planet Pluto…or the god of the Underworld – which is why I swung by!

    My dad would buy a little Peter’s vanilla ice-cream cone for our dog, Zsa-Zsa, and patiently hold it as she licked it. I wonder if dogs get ‘brain-freeze’?

    Did you know, a Newfoundland dog named Nelson once rescued a cab driver who almost drowned in Swanston Street in 1881? Nobody knows what happened to the dog, but Nelson’s copper-tag collar is in the collection of Museum Victoria.

  4. Sharon Paine says:

    Hi Suzie. I have come across your blog in regards to peters Factory in Grafton. I have found it very interesting and can relate to your story. My Father started with Peters (originally Foleys) in 1951 before transferring to Peters in Grafton when it opened. My Mother was also secretary to the Manager there from when it opened until she left in 1964. My Father was there until it closed in 1983. Like your childhood Dad was the production manager there he was also Manager in 1973 & 1974.We also lived only a few doors down from the factory. My mother still resides there. Peters owned one of the houses in Orara street. My parents would have been there at the time of your Dad ( will have to ask mum). I have this photo of the factory, that you have posted with numerous other photos. My father kept a lot of papers and written a lot on the history of the factory. Numerous photos. I have been thinking of putting something together on the history. Unfortunately my father passed away 3 years ago, he had a terrific memory and this meant a lot to him. need to get peoples’ stories and history before it is lost over time and memories fade.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: