Number 43

Giles Street

Hi, I grew up at 43 Giles Street. What bought me to Alice – Well I a was a local, Born in Alice in 1952. My Dad Boyd Byrne had wandered from Queensland to Territory prior to the war.  He was on the outskirts of  Darwin working as a Rouseabout for  Vesteys, (a British pastoral company) when he witnessed its bombing. He needed no 2nd bidding to enlist. A little creativity with his birthday made this possible. Following his discharge he returned to the Alice driving for Dave Baldock & Kurt Johansen.


Photo at Stirling Jump up 1946.

He meet & married my Mother. Florence Harstorff in 1950, After a couple of years at Hatches Creek where he was Mines Engineer for Pioneer Scheelite Company.  they moved to Alice, making it home and this is where I arrived on the scene. However tragedy struck just 16 months later, We lost Mum.


Tragedy struck at an Alice Springs home last Sunday when a young wife, mother of a 16 Month old boy, was electrocuted at her home on the Stuart Highway. Florence Lillian Byrne, 26, wife of Mr. Boyd Byrne and mother of Gregory, was killed instantly when she received the full shock of electrical power transmitted from the line of an electric drill being used at their house. It is reported that -Mrs. Byrne was standing on a piece of corrugated iron which became ‘alive’ from contact with bare wires through a cut in the insulation covering, and that she made con tact with angle iron on the side of the house. The wire was the lead off a drill being used on a repair job. On Tuesday, the father and brother of Mrs. Byrne arrived from McKinley, Queensland, to attend the funeral. The sympathy of the town goes out to Mr. ‘Byrne and the family

Dad & I left town for a couple of months following Mum’s passing.

Dad on returning went to see Jim Clark –  Jim who had a Truck off the road while it’s motor was being rebuilt said  “ If you can get that on the road you can have a job driving”.


Photos at the Transport Hall of Fame.

We lived in a shed on Dad’s block at Mt Nancy. The block is owned by Len Tuit (Later by Fleet owners).Mr Whalan & Alby Presley, drove the local school bus & worked in the workshop there that was managed by Pop Howarth. (Alby’s Grandson Dale Sutton years later became my Son in Law ).  There was a house at the front of the block, Keith Lock lived there ( His daughter Cheryl was Mum’s flower girl when Dad re married later.).

Dad joined Tuits  doing the Mail Run twice a week to Darwin & return .(There was no half way swapping of drivers in those day.) Dad having lost his wife was determine not to lose me as well. He decided that he would take me with him on the road. It began a journey of 4 years that neither of us ever regretted. This mail truck show the modified cab Dad built on the Mail Truck  so I had some where to sleep and play as he drove along.


When in Alice Dad & I now  lived at the Chalet, Bloomfield Street. It was a veranda that was fly wired in with Hessian blinds.


The Mail truck became a bus passenger service towing the Mail van It was the perishable vegetables that Dad carried that would make the next big change to my life and eventually  bring me to Giles Street. Delivering to the store in Tennant Creek Dad meet my Mum Jean, who was visiting her twin sister in TC. Daphne with her husband ran Campbell’s Store. The origin of the fire that blistered the town on 3rd of December 1956. Following the fire, Cambell’s Store was temporarily re established in the community hall. The Christmas stock hadn’t arrived before the fire ensuring adequate supplies for the Christmas period.  When Daphne & her husband returned to the West In the May of 1957 following the birth of their Daughter, Jean took a position with Tuit’s in their Alice Springs office.


Dad & I outside the Tennant Creek Hotel 20 December 1956 (Photo was taken by a passenger Zita  whom I meet up with years later when she returned to Alice with her husband Bob Dodd. (Bob was my scout leader)


19 October 1957. L To R  My Grandad Mr H Richards, My Dad Boyd Byrne, My Mum Jean Byrne (Nee Richards) Best man Len Tuit,, Brides Maid Meredith Hutton, Front row yours truly & flower girl Cheryl Lock.

We remained living at the Chalet following their wedding although our accommodation was somewhat flasher we moved onto a 2 roomed unit at Mt Gillen. It was quiet up market after what Dad & I had previously.

Dad bought the block Lot 809 Giles Street  from Mr CARTER  1959. It was a private sale as no blocks were being released for sale at the time.

A shed  was on the Block when Dad purchased it. Carter had been residing in it prior to the sale.  We moved from the Chalet at Mt Gillen to Shed .There was power & water to it. Hot water was only possible by boiling it on the wood stove. The shower water was cold !!!! There was an “Out House”  on the back fence complete with trap door for the weekly Night Cart Collection.

Dad designed the house & it was  built by Drogemuller. The Builder & foreman was Sid Kinsman , Dick ???? was the Tiler, Eddie Trolleman the Brickie (Who later did the brick work on my own  house when I moved out of no 43). The Joinery was done by Evans.  ( There was an issue initially with Drogemuller as he preferred to build houses he had designed).

Dad had used the blocks elevation to maximise the view of Mt Gillen & ANZAC Hill from the lounge.

The louver windows ensured a cross breeze keeping the house cool in summer,  long before air conditioning came to town.

The Stone for the Lounge wall came from the south side of the range at Jimmy Bullen’s place. (Where “Wongardi Carivan Park”  is now).  Dads old blue ute would make the trip each weekend .We would load it with rock then return to Giles St and unload. This was a weekend  ritual for quite  some time.

Contract for house signed with R A Drogemuller Ltd 9/6/1959

Dad was often Up the Track and wasn’t around to monitor progress on the house. Mum kept a careful eye on all that went on . “She knows every nail put in “ commented a contractor.


Mum was delighted when we moved in for their 2nd Wedding Anniversary 19/10/1959

Initially built with a Septic tank, town sewerage wasn’t connected until 1967.

Although not expensive water often had to be purchased from the water trucks that came around the streets each evening, Their horns warned us of their impending  approach.  Whatever containers you had would be filled. –The need for this additional water was due to the lack of pressure in the water tanks on ANZAC Hill. Although Giles Street was the end of the line at that time it was a problem even those in the centre of town shared as well, particularly over the summer months.  Those houses on the East side along the Todd river that had wells in addition to town water were restricted from using them during this period. ( It was this inability to supply water that prevented the release of land sales at the time until the issue was resolved).

Dad used “Marsden matting”  as a front fence & gate painted yellow & Grey blocks, prior to the growth of the hedge. ( Marsden Matting used for airfield construction during World War 2 )

In 1959 Dad had left Tuits (When it was sold to Pioneer) and returned to working for Baldocks ( That had also recently been sold to Harry & Jim McConville). Their Depot was in Railway terrace in the spot now occupied by Kmart.


Dad’s mate John Healy bought the block next door  Lot 810.Dad drew the plans for John. (Who was living at the police barracks when stationed in town.) Although John had the plans approved he never got to build it. He sold the block to a fellow Police officer Geoff Milgate, who had the house built to dad’s original plans.




From our house looking along Giles Street towards the river as it developed 1958/59

1960 saw the expansion of our family  first  with the arrival of 2 brothers & then  a sister .  This meant that extensions were needed. March 1967 saw an additional bedroom added.


As  the boys grew up our back yard filled with  cars.  Dad was always on hand with expert advice and a willingness to assist  with repairs &  “Doing up of cars”

Dad retired in 1982 but continued to reside at 43 Giles Street until May of 1985 when the call of cooler climate took him South to Adelaide.


11 April 1985 Sold Lot 809 to Robert George Boughton & Deborah Joan Durnan for $88000.00

Although I built my own home in Alice in 1975 and moved out of no 43 I will never forget the 1st House I lived in. Giles street offered so much. I hope my children will look back with the same fondness at their 1st home.

The residents as I remember them. (Pre 1982.)

6 5 June SMITH
8 7 Trudy HAYES
10 9
12 11
14 Pam Carter in 70’s 13
16 Hamish McTAMISH 15
18 Government House – Teacher 17


20 Fibro 19
22 Fibro 21
24 Fibro 23
26 Fibro 25 Green Brick House
28 Private 27 Government House
30 Private 29 Lady with Twins /Husband Taxi driver
32 Government House


34 COCOA Brothers 31 MOSTROMS
36 Government House 33 CLIFFORD
38 Dave MICHELLE 35 Government House
40 Government House (Health) Dr MOORE 37
42 Alan & Kaye BOON 39 Barry & Pegg BOHNING
44 Reg & Ileen STEEL 41 BRYAN


43 Boyd & Jean BYRNE
45 Geoff & Moira MILGATRE
46 Louigi & Vera RAFINO

Lane Way

48 Government House –Betty RAWSON
50 Taxi Driver 47 Government House (Police)
52 BONNANI Brothers 49 Lindsay JOHANSEN