Joyce Williams went to live in an itinerants' camp at The Springs, just south of Orange, as a young girl in the 1930s. The Springs was named for its natural spring of pure, cool water. Indigenous and non-indigenous families lived there in makeshift houses. Some of the men did 'relief' work on the roads while women and children picked blackberries to sell in summer. Joyce, now a resident of Wellington, has spent many years working in Aboriginal health.
"The water at The Springs was beautiful – they couldn't have given it a better name than The Springs. I've never tasted water like it since – we loved it."
I was born in Wellington. I might have been about nine or ten when I went to Orange. There were a lot of people at The Springs – about fourteen families, not only Aboriginal families; there were white people as well. They all got on well together.
The water at The Springs was beautiful – they couldn't have given it a better name than The Springs. I've never tasted water like it since – we loved it.
The water was cold. It ran right down to the creek and onto the railway line.
We cooked on open fires. Our floors were dirt floors. Some people got bits of wood from the tip for flooring. Everybody had horses and sulkies out at The Springs, nobody had a car.
We used to go up around the Pinnacle and all around Orange and pick blackberries in summer. We used to have a little bat and knocked the blackberries off into a tin. We'd pick on the creeks too because that's where the best ones were. It took a lot of work to fill one tin.
It was cold at The Springs in winter time. There would be snow around. Everybody wore boy's shoes because they were warm.
We left there and came back to Wellington and gradually other people went away. I don't know what happened to The Springs.