Just now I am thinking back to Christmas 1962. On the 18th of December we went by train to Sydney to visit our daughter Gaby in Prince Henry Hospital. When we left in the morning it must have been pretty cold for we were wearing thick winter coats.
Five year old Gaby was in the hospital’s respiratory ward. By the time we arrived she was already propped up in a wheelchair and waiting for us in the enclosed verandah so that her four year old sister and 2 and a half year old brother were allowed to see her. (Naturally very young children would not have been allowed to enter the respiratory ward, where visitors had to enter with a mask and wearing a white gown.) The verandah was decorated for Christmas as shown in the above picture. It was quite warm there, so we soon took off our winter coats.
My goodness, this was fifty-three years ago! How time flies – – – Last Tuesday, the first of December, was our official start of summer and the temperature at our place was 35C, which we thought was what an Australian summer should be like. But the following day, on Wednesday, it was only between 18 and 22C. Did we have changes like that in the middle of summer some sixty years ago? I can remember some very hot Christmases, but also some fairly cool ones. So we have to be prepared for either close to 20C or close to 40C. On Christmas Day we always love to go to the beach or somewhere in the country. I never like the idea of cooking a hot Christmas dinner on Christmas Day, and I think we never did this, but some people do this, even on a very hot day in Australia. But then, sometimes to cook a Christmas dinner might be all right if they are lucky and it doesn’t get too hot on Christmad Day.
Here is something else I do remember: Travelling to Australia as migrants from Germany on the big ocean liner STRATHAIRD in 1959, we had the opportunity to go to some English lessons on board the ship. The teacher told us a bit about the climate in Australia. She said Melbourne was a city that was known for great variations in temperature. The standard saying was, that Melbourne could have four seasons in one day! She also said that rich people liked to stay in Queensland during the winter months which were always pleasantly warm there, whereas the summer months they preferred to stay in Tasmania. She said Tasmania was too cold in winter but in summer it was a beautiful place. Strange that I should still remember this introduction to Australian weather conditions.