Shelter from the Storm: Bryan Brown, Samoan Chieftains and the Little Matter of a Roof over Our Heads

By Siobhán McHugh | Go to book overview

5

Poor Little Princess

Jean Cinis

Every morning I pull the curtains back and open the screen doors. It's sunny and beautiful most days. I look out on all of those Moreton Bay figs and the garden and the pergola, and the lovely birds, and I say, 'Thank God for the Department of Housing!'.

Because I pay $30 a week here. If I owned my own place it would cost me more than $30 in upkeep. If it was private rental, I could have a landlord saying, 'I'm sorry ... I'm going to sell the unit'. But I'm never going to get kicked out of here unless I don't pay my rent and I'm nasty to all the other people, which of course I never would be. So I feel like I've got security for the rest of my life. And really, when you're 71, you need some sort of security in your life!

Jean Cinis never dreamed she would end up where she is. Her story begins in London, in 1926. Her parents were both 'in service'—her mother was a cook, her father a footman. Although Jean adored her older brother, emotional displays were not encouraged. Jean often felt out of place in such a reserved family. Her older cousins were particularly mean to her.

You know how you know that you're not liked and I didn't know why it was. I don't know whether it was a jealousy thing—I was very quick at everything and I was good at school and I was the fastest runner. I could balance walking along all the breakwaters out to the sea. And I'll always remember this particular day, in the summer holidays. We were on a jetty

-47-

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Shelter from the Storm: Bryan Brown, Samoan Chieftains and the Little Matter of a Roof over Our Heads
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Shelter from the Storm - Bryan Brown, Samoan Chieftains and the Little Matter of a Roof Over Our Heads *
  • Contents v
  • Preface vi
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Shelter from the Storm viii
  • 1 - A Samoan Symphony the People of Proctor Way, Claymore 1
  • 2 - Pretend Mum 22
  • 3 - A 'House' in Hollywood 29
  • 4 - Hate Street Cooremah Housing Company 39
  • 5 - Poor Little Princess 47
  • 6 - Artists, Ratbags and Lower Grade Yuppies 64
  • 7 - A Ghetto It Wasn't 77
  • 8 - I'D Rather Live in a Caravan 87
  • 9 - Goodbye Saddam 99
  • 10 - Daceyville Days 107
  • 11 - Sarajevo to City West 120
  • 12 - A Hard Nut to Crack 127
  • 13 - High Hopes in a High-Rise 139
  • 14 - Family Matters 146
  • 15 - Kidney and Car Wanted 153
  • 16 - How Green Was My Valley 161
  • 17 - Elderly Rebels 171
  • 18 - Rainbow's End 182
  • 19 - Running from the Rent Man 191
  • 20 - A Place to Belong 201
  • Notes 211
  • Index 212
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