My First Job | John Hewson

Apart from collecting bottles and cashing them in for the refund, which I did from my early days at primary school, my first “real” job was when I was 10 years old. I made plaster of paris moulds of Disney figures, painted them, and then sold them door-to-door around the neighbourhood. I did quite well, although I suspect more out of sympathy than in recognition of the quality of my figurines. I hadn’t heard of copyright.

COTTAGE INDUSTRY: John Hewson (far left) captured with his family during his childhood, when he sold painted Disney figurines door-to-door.

COTTAGE INDUSTRY: John Hewson (far left) captured with his family during his childhood, when he sold painted Disney figurines door-to-door.

I grew up in a low-middle income, working class family. My father was a fitter and turner by trade, and my mother a housewife, who may only have finished primary school. My parents had been forced to move out of my grandmother’s two bedroom home with the arrival of my sister, their fourth child, so my Dad borrowed as much as he could from the Starr Bowkett, and bought a small, 9-square fibro home, against advice, on a street to be cut in half by a proposed highway, now the M5. 

Money was tight, little if any pocket money, but we all wanted a degree of financial independence. So, finding work was the only alternative. I soon also got a paper run that I quickly built up to a stable source of income. My run was early Sunday morning, pushing a barrow. I began by blowing my whistle loud, and often. As disturbed residents emerged we soon agreed that I could just leave the papers at their door, money under the mat, with a generous tip to not blow the whistle.

I ended up doing a host of other jobs – shop assistant, builder’s labourer, packer, car park attendant, and many more – essentially to support myself with spending money through school. Indeed, my father required me to pay “board” if I wanted to finish the last two years of high school.

I feel I have always worked and, I guess, I always will.

  • What was your first job? Whether it was glamorous or tedious, tell us all about it (in 350 words) here.

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