Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Ernest 'Shiner' Ryan

Recently reading an article in the local daily paper about Ernest ‘Shiner’ Ryan, I was reminded about my contact with Shiner.   In the last year of WW2, we (Mum and Dad, me, Uncle Jack, Aunty Gladys and cousin Valma and grandpa ) lived next door to Shiner Ryan in South Fremantle.  I cannot recall the sleeping arrangements in our unit, but I am sure there were just two bedrooms. 

Shiner was Fremantle’s own crook.  He had served time in jails across Australia mainly for theft.  
Under a staircase in our unit was a pile of canned fish with the labels removed.  Cousin Valma and I would play on what was later explained to be stolen fish, courtesy of a couple of Shiner’s U.S. servicemen friends.  At the age of six in 1945 I was not curious enough to ask what all those cans were doing there. I am guessing that it was a keepsafe operation.
The south Terrace unit we lived in, built in 1870

I remember the excitement when VJ day was declared.  South Terrace became a speedway of cars, jeeps and trucks roaring up and down past our place.’ horns blowing, bugles blowing and lots of singing and yelling out.

By 1947 Dad had built our house in Bicton, an outer suburb of Fremantle.   In that year, along with just about every other local youngster,  I had my tonsils removed in Fremantle Hospital.  I recall mother collecting me from the hospital and on the way home visiting Shiner Ryan in his flat.   Whilst sitting at his breakfast table he unscrewed one of the legs to show us how he kept his money safe in the hollowed-out leg.   Later as he saw us off at street level, he commented on a car which was parked with the engine running saying…’In my day that car would be stripped and in the river’.  

Shiner was a bit of a folk hero.  He married late in life.  That marriage lasted about 8 hours.
The popular 'Shiner' Ryan

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wish you would put more of your stuff on facebook Kev. Paul Weaver.