The woman I thought was my aunt’s maid


That’s not a pizza oven!

Miss [Bessie] Foskett gave 40 years of service to the steel industry serving as personal secretary to Sir Cecil Hoskins and successive general managers. She retired from the steelworks in 1965 and opened her own secretarial service and was involved in many community organisations. She died in February, 1985.


I was reminded of all this by a letter in yesterday’s Illawarra Mercury:



You may read an outline history of steel in the Illawarra here.

Bessie Foskett, then, was what we would now call PA to Sir Cecil Hoskins, one of the bigwigs in the history of industry in this country and especially in this area. She lived for as long as I can remember with my aunt and uncle, Ella and George Moon, in Wollongong. Because it was so often Bessie who appeared to be in the kitchen I made my erroneous judgement about her role, even asking my mother once if Bessie was Aunt Ella’s maid. There was much laughter about that…


She was also a musician, a cellist, playing in the the 60s and 70s in Wollongong Symphony Orchestra. That skill went way back, and I have wondered if this is how she met my aunt who in her young days was training as a concert pianist.


My father once said Bessie is the one who really ran the steelworks at times. It may well have been true.


Later: how times have changed

This graphic in today’s Australian says heaps:


…The future is already written. The present decade for Australia will involve digging, building, caring and saving. Making things for ourselves doesn’t fit with this destiny, unless the Chinese stop making things for us. The difficulty for Australian governments is our newly wealthy neighbours won’t reach this point for decades yet, just as it may take the West years to get its public finances in order. Before then, our leaders have to work out how to handle the volatility that the Reserve Bank and Treasury warn is the new normal in the global economy.

Australia is catching both sides of it at once, and the first leader who can translate it well enough may just calm the electorate for long enough to do something about it.

George Megalogenis – article linked to the graphic.