My maternal grandfather Bertrand Adrien Cogger was born in Metcalfe Victoria on 30 June 1908. He was the third youngest of the ten children of Thomas Cogger and Evelyn Sophia Cavalier. Bert's siblings include Sybil Audrey b.1891, Carl Raymond b.1893, Emile Ernest b.1895, Freda Maud b.1897, Rupert Henry b.1900, Marjorie Evelyn b.1902, Dulcie Aldyth b.1905, Laurence Arnold Thomas b.1911 and Bernhardt D'Arcy b.1914.
As Bert's mother Evelyn was sick for the majority of his childhood, he and his two younger brothers were left to their own devices. bert spent most of his time out catching rabbits with his dogs and had a desire to become a schoolteacher. But by the time this choice was to be made, the depression was setting in and at the age of 17 he took off up the east coast of Australia seeking work. Little did he know that he had already met his future wife at the dances in Drouin.
According to his own job description, during the depression he was a first class bum as he had a horse and jinker. He held down various jobs during the depression, working as a shearers cook, working in a tomato sauce factory, a cheese factory, a biscuit factory, felling trees and working in sawmills. Luckily my grandmother was a great cook as from these working experiences, he steadfastly refused to eat commercially available biscuits or tomato sauce for the rest of his life. My mother remembers him telling her that during this time he rode his horse back all the way from Queensland to Victoria for a family emergency.
Moving back to Drouin after the worst of the depression, Bert lived in a house that was opposite to the one Edna Considine lived in, straddling the Warragul - Drouin road. Dancing with Edna again at the dances, on 27 March 1937 they married at St Ita's Catholic church in Drouin. My mother, Rhonda Ann was born in 1938, followed by a son who died at birth in 1939. Next was Helen Adrian b.1941 in Orbost and finally Lynette Mary b.1947 in Traralgon.
With the outbreak of the war in 1939, Bert was going to sign up for the navy, but with the death of his son this did not occur and instead he was conscripted. As he had a family, they were shipped off to Tostaree, where Bert managed the railway station. There was very little there apart from the school and teachers house, post office and the postmasters house and the house that Bert and Edna lived in. Major shopping was done in Orbost that required a ride on the train. Tostaree was part of the war effort, and Bert was primarily supervising trains that were moving supplies, troops and raw materials like charcoal around. Coming from Irish stock, Edna was always being pestered by snakes.
When Rhonda was 5, the family left Tostaree and moved to Traralgon. The larger family, which included Helen Adrien (b. Jan 1941) at this time, lived in the front two rooms of a house in the town. Bert always said that when the war ended, and conscription was lifted, that he would walk out from his post. When peace came in 1945, he promptly did this and found work at the paper mills outside of Traralgon. Bert was a painter by trade and was engaged to paint the buildings of the mill and adjacent accommodation. Bert continued to do this work up until his retirement.
In January 1947 Lynette Mary came on the scene, and even though materials were still scarce, Bert and Edna started building their own house at 17 Mason St. Regulations were that the house could have only two bedrooms, and this is why many houses of the time have 'sleepouts' or a louvre enclosed verandah. Both Bert and Edna lived in this house up until the time of Bert's death in 1980. I always remember it having a great garden, a pantry full of baked goods and the whitest paint on the outside.
You can read more about the Cogger - Cavalier family tree here, on a site set up by Kay Cook (a Cogger cousin).
Peter Cogger has also set up a site on the Coggers and you can go to that here http://www.cogger.info/index.html