The year was 1960 – Robert Menzies was Prime Minister; the world’s first contraceptive pill was approved for use – and Chubby Checker started a new dance craze with the release of a song called “The Twist”.
It was also the year Ernie and Norma Field family moved into their very own house; a three-bedroom weatherboard cottage called “Wendover” on Prince St.
With nine children and no car, the location was perfect.
Eight of the nine Field children photographed at their Prince St house in Mosman. Image: Mosman Collective.
A carpenter by trade, Ernie could easily walk to work at Sturrock’s shed on Mackie Lane.
And the kids were just a stone’s throw away from Mosman Public School.
“It wasn’t a fancy house, but it was full of love. We never wanted for anything because Mosman had it all,” Ernie and Norma’s son Bruce Field said.
“My childhood was idyllic and growing up in Prince St meant we were close to everything.
“We’d walk to Balmoral to have a swim or throw a line in; we’d walk to Rawson to kick the footy and we’d walk to Allan Border Oval to play cricket.”
Ernie and Norma Field photographed in the lounge room of 20 Prince St. Image: Mosman Collective.
With five girls crammed into the large front bedroom and the boys in another, interior space was tight Bruce said, but the large block provided more than enough room to climb trees and tend the garden in Ernie’s award-winning vegetable patch.
“Mum was a good cook, and the back yard yielded the best corn, peas, carrots, potatoes and beans,” Bruce said.
“Dad’s cauliflower also won a Mosman Gardening Club award one year … the thing was bigger than a soccer ball!
“Our family, just like most others on the lower north shore in the 50’s and 60’s – was a humble, hard-working unit where everyone was made to contribute.”
The level back yard contains vegetable patches that produced a bounty of food for the Field family over 60 years.
When Ernie died in 1988, Norma vowed to stay on and remained in the house until just before her death last year, aged 94.
“It’s the end of an era for the Field’s and while we are sorry to say goodbye to our family home, it’s time to move on,” Bruce said.
Offered for the first time in 63 years, 20 Prince St has remained largely unchanged and is one of Mosman’s last remaining original homes.
The home is in original condition, with Lino floors and basic cabinetry in the kitchen.
With a price guide of around $3.5 million, local agent David Murphy said he will take the property to auction on Saturday 4 March.
“It is a rare find with a huge amount of local history attached to it,” Mr Murphy told Mosman Collective.
“The Field family are Mosman pioneers with deep connections to NSW Fire and Rescue.
“Charlie Field was the first Captain of the Mosman Fire Brigade, his son ‘Buck’ Field was also a firie, followed by Ernie, Henri and subsequent generations right up to today.
“There are still Field’s out there fighting fires in NSW in 2023.”