It may seem strange to make a scrapbook page about a laundry, but this laundry features strongly in my memory. Often, when I think of my mother, I see her in this setting. The laundry of our home was a tin shed in our back yard. In the summer the heat was oppressive, and in the winter it was freezing. The automatic washing machine is a relatively recent addition. Throughout my childhood my mother used a wringer washing machine. After washing, the items would be put by hand through the mangle into the first lot of rinsing water in the concrete tubs in the photo. After soaking there, it was put through the mangle again, into the second lot of rinsing water. Then finally through the mangle a third time into the basket to be hung out on the line. There were seven of us kids, so my mother spent a lot of time doing the washing. Sometimes, if it was hot, I liked to help with the rinsing because the cold water in the tubs provided some relief from the heat. However in the winter there was nothing inviting about putting your hands into the cold rinsing water! The laundry also had a gas copper. Mum would fire up the copper in the morning so she had hot water for the sheets. These would boil away in the copper-along with a bag of 'blue' to ensure the washing was white. I have no idea what 'blue' was, but I remember it came in blocks and mum would put a block of it in an old sock and immerse it in the copper.
In the summer the washing would dry stiff on the clothes line. Mum would bring the washing in and flick water over each item, roll it up and put it into a plastic lined baskets, ready for ironing. So many hours of her life were spent in this laundry.
I find it hard to believe that mum did her washing here for over 50 years, under such primitive conditions, and that no one thought it was unusual.