During a marathon six hour oral history interview on 10 March 2016 with Mrs Vera Deacon, Dr Ann Hardy asked her about a letter she penned back in the 1940s to the Newcastle Morning Herald.
Vera had not been able to find it, and couldn’t remember why she even wrote it. But it was important to her. So while the interview continued, we ducked off to another room to do a search on my phone for her letter in TROVE.
And this was Vera’s face when we found it for her again, after 73 years!
Vera Deacon had written to the Newcastle Morning Herald as a 16 year old, in the middle of World War II, under her maiden name of Vera Frances Pember, calling for better resources for community housing, education and culture, especially for young people.
Sir – The winning of the war and postwar reconstruction should be planned synonymously.
As one of the younger members of the community, the improvements I should like to see are –
Improvement of the housing system. Good clean homes make for a happier and healthier nation.Education: This concerns me greatly. I should like to see a general improvement. Educational facilities are exceedingly poor and do not offer much to pupils without money. All education should be free, there should be free libraries, more recreational centres, and an elevated standard in music over the air and in films.Given the chance, the youth of Australia will make this great heritage a better nation.
VERA FRANCES PEMBER.Moscheto Island.
It is great to see the joy that finding historical treasures brings to people. This was one of those magic moments.