Posted by: Shellca | 29 November 2008

Frank Tapping ~ page 6

Frank Tapping (1889 – 1963)

Written by Mark Tapping

The economy of Western Australia was very nearly entirely dependent on the farming industry for its prosperity.  As world prices collapsed in 1929 the effect in Western Australia was sudden add terrible and within a very short period the State was brought to the verge of ruin.  Unemployment became extensive in all districts with some 30% of the male population out of work.  Where jobs were obtainable wages remained low while prices rose continually.

The house in Latham

The house in Latham

A move had to be made by the family back to the Perth area where some employment was available from time to time and here the family lived at first in the Canning River district, in two different houses.  One was a poultry farm which Frank ran for awhile during the absence of its owner.  The other was a large wooden house with the usual tin roof, overlooking the beautiful river a little above Canning Bridge.  On occasion even dolphins or porpoises could be seen from the verandah of the house, sporting in the river below.  Eventually the family moved to more settled accommodation in Stephen Street, Guildford ,   another suburb of Perth .   and from here Frank took whatever employment became available to him, at one time working far away from home in Carnarvon on the Gascoyne River just outside the tropics on the coast, many miles north of Perth.  However, economic conditions continued to get worse and jobs became even scarcer.  Many outback farming areas became depopulated as settlers left the land and many had to rely upon Government unemployment relief.  Frank managed to avoid this but in the end it was decided that the wisest course would be to return to England.  Accordingly passages were booked, again aboard the “Hobsons Bay” and in due course the family reached Southampton in May, 1931.

Although not as bad as they had been in Australia, economic conditions were still depressed in Britain and it was a while before Frank and his family were able to settle down.  Brief stays were spent in Kingswood (at Shapps Hill), Fleet Marston (where the family attended perhaps the loneliest little church in the county) and Stoke Mandeville (in Yew Tree Farm) before settling in a 17th century cottage in Lower Road (Number 6), Stoke Mandeville, which belonged to Frank’s father’s estate.  This little cottage was partly of brick and partly of timber under a thatched roof and .   under the same roof .   had attached to it a weather.  boarded barn which was reputed to have been the scene of cock.  fighting in earlier days.  A trap door from the barn up into the house may have been useful for quick exits?  Here Frank and his family lived for some three years.  Frank worked for his brother Will in the village, Flo’ kept house, Warren progressed from school to the London Radio College, Mark went to school in Aylesbury and Jane began to attend school in the village.  Then in 1934 a move was made to Stoke Farm, still in Stoke Mandeville, which belonged to Will.  The house on the farm had fallen vacant and Frank moved his family there and took over a portion of the property to run a poultry farm while Will used the remainder for cattle and pig production.

~ continues ~


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