2. My Dad ~ Alf Flatt

Updated: Aug 26, 2018

Alfred Jabez Flatt (28/1/1920 - 17/10/2003)

Based on discussions with, and notes written by, my mum and Ancestry.com

My dad's parents, Alf and Alice Flatt, came to Australia from England in 1920.

After Alf was discharged from the AIF, he worked at Mannerim as a farm-hand where, as accommodation was very limited, they lived in a tin shed on the property. My dad, Alf jnr. was born to Alf and Alice (their first child) on the farm. According to mum's story, the weather conditions were very bad (they were experiencing a heat wave with temperatures of 120’) and so "the midwife kept little Alf (and possibly herself) alive with drinks of brandy and milk".

Alf, Alice, Mabel and Alf (jnr) later moved to Sutherlands Creek and then on to Moriac, where the Alf and his step-sister, Mabel, attended school. Mabel had been born to Alice and James, Alf's brother, who died in action during WW1. They eventually came to live in Geelong where young Alf went to Swanston Street state school until reaching the age of 9 or ten years.

After leaving school, Alf had a variety of jobs:

  • Mercer Printers - on a wage of twelve shillings and six pence per week

  • Storrers - Wine and Grocery Merchant as a delivery boy

  • Donaghey’s - Rope Works in Pakington Street

  • Blakinstons - Transport (horse drawn) as a delivery person

  • Heath Motors - where he serviced cars, "taught ladies who bought new cars there how to drive", drove the ambulance (which was at that time stationed at Heaths); often having to go alone to pick up the patients (sometimes accident victims) .

  • Cream and Green Taxis - as a taxi driver

When WW2 broke out Alf joined the A.I.F. Before leaving for the Pacific theatre of war, on 13/1/1942, Alf and Tess were married (after a 5 and a half-year courtship) at St Mary’s church. On his return home in 1946 Alf applied successfully for a taxi license. While initially he could only afford to drive 'used cars', in 1946 he bought a gleaming black new Chevrolet (first in Geelong) becoming the envy of the other taxi drivers.

After some time (during the mid fifties) he organised after many meetings at #13 for eleven private taxi owners to join with him in forming Pivot Radio Taxis. Alf spent a lot of his spare time manning the radio at their base (initially upstairs in an office in Moorabool Street). Later Pivot had a large radio tower built in Aberdeen Street close to Pakington street. After a few years Alf decided to give the taxis away and went into a service station, on the corner of Pakington and Aberdeen streets (next to the radio tower), calling it ‘Pakodeen Auto Port’.

After seven years Alf's health began to suffer and he decided to have a break from cars and went to work at the Geelong Cement Works where he studied for and passed his Boiler Makers certificate. He stayed there for only one year before being enticed to return to garages.

Flatts’ Service Station’ was opened on the corner of Myer and Gheringhap streets.

Both he and Tess were partners in the new business which ran for seven years.

Alf finally left there and went to work at ‘Perfect Brakes’ (later called ‘Quenton Hazel Brakes).

Though retiring at age 60, in September 1960, Alf was kept busy building and attending to his second beach house at Separation Creek. Despite not knowing anything about building he had built the first split-level house (whilst working at the garage) over weekends. Alf watched others building houses studiously and carefully applied what he observed. The house was sold after about 30 years. Alf's doctor had put him on a medical allowance until he was sixty, after which he received the Veterans’ Affairs age pension.

Alf and Tess initially lived at 175 Aberdeen Street, Newtown (opposite the Great Western hotel). From 1951 they lived at 13 Bostock Avenue, Manifold Heights where they raised their three children, John, Margaret and Patrice. The 176ft x 66ft backyard allowed Alf to indulge his passion for breeding gouldian finches in two large aviaries.

In 1991, having deciding they needed a much smaller back-yard, Alf and Tess

subdivided their block; keeping the rear portion (14 Manifold Street) where they had their new home built. Their Bostock Avenue home was sold in 1992.

Alf (along with Tess) did voluntary work (for over twenty years) at the St Vincent de Paul op-shop and Grace McKellar (home for the aged). When finally Alf became ill, both he and Tess retired from this voluntary work.

Alf passed away 17 October, 2003. His funeral was held at the Holy Spirit church, Manifold Heights. A large crowd attended his requiem concelebrated by Monsignor Murray and three parish priests. John gave the eulogy, Mary read the epistle and Marg and Patty did readings.

Dad, ever meticulous, watches over everything I do - with a subtle smile...

My Slide-show: Dad's Story

Microsoft Photos Album: Dad ~ over the years

Microsoft Photos Video: My Dad

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