Page 15 - Built on Integrity
P. 15

Formation  The 1920s and 1930s

                                                                       One of the spec houses
                                                                       that AW built.

            Shipbuilding Company at Goven in Scotland, he   at a loss and he and Margaret (Peg) moved to   Milestones
            met a girl named Margaret Rintoul Smith. After   Sydney in 1921. He worked as a carpenter then
            a short liaison, Margaret agreed to come to   foreman for a builder, P J Beusnell, as well as   Private Austin Edwards
                                                                                                          embarks for the Middle
            Australia to marry Austin.                   building his own spec cottages in and around     East on 15 August, 1915
                Austin returned to Australia in October 1919   Eastwood in late 1921.
            and was discharged in December with the Star                                                  1921 starts building spec
            Service Medal, the British War Medal and the   Starting on spec                               cottages around Eastwood
            Victory Medal. He promptly took up a soldier   Austin’s spec cottages in and around Eastwood   First large job for
            settlement block in Lisarow, 5 miles north‑east   meant working every spare hour. With a bicycle as   A O Ellison in 1925
            of Gosford, because someone said there was   his only transport, Austin would pitch a tent while
            a fortune to be made growing oranges there.  he got a house started, most of the time working
                There may well have been a fortune to    on his own. He would get the timber roof cut, but
            be made, but after months of toiling away to   he couldn’t erect the timbers by himself, so he
            clear the land he could still hardly see through   would persuade a traveling salesman to give him
            all the trees. There was some joy though when   a hand to set the ridge and the first sets of rafters
            Margaret arrived in May 1920. With her mother’s   and would then complete the roof on his own.
            instructions ringing in her ears, “if you’re not   His brother Silas often worked with him
            married within 3 weeks, get on the next boat   and is really the first employee of A W Edwards.
            and come home,” Margaret and Austin married   Throughout 1922–23 Austin was busy building
            in Sydney on 5 June 1920—then headed straight   houses in Eastwood and Epping, both government
            back to Lisarow, and the small wooden house   and private work, through the War Veterans
            he had built.                                Scheme or Government Housing. His first large job
                Even with the help of his brother Max,   was for Mr A O Ellison (of Minter Ellison lineage),
            Austin wasn’t making the progress he wanted so   and by 1925 he had more work than he could
            he decided becoming a carpenter was a much   handle, so asked Silas to work with him full time,
            better option and way of life. He sold the farm   rather than simply help him out on Saturdays.

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