Theo Beluch’s Story
Growing up in Bronte was idyllic in my dad (Theo) – especially for a 10 year old boy who loved nothing more than to spend the day away from home playing amongst the bush, with the other village children. Cowboys and Indians was one of the children’s favourite games and Bronte was of course the perfect background for these games with many of their days were spent scampering the land, rain, hail or shine (or even snow).
The ‘pictures’ was another favourite pastime of Theo’s and the other children, Bronte Park was fortunate to have its own ‘picture hall’ and every Saturday there would be subsidised pictures showing. Matinees of cartoons were shown before the main film which was many times, a western (Theo’s favourite) such as Davy Crockett etc.
There were many cultures and nationalities including Germans, Czechs, Yugoslav’s Poles’, Italians and Bronte was an international village of people working together. The only time there was any real animosity was when there was a soccer game being held, Theo fondly recalls. However, at work there was nothing but a small amount of healthy ribbing about one another’s background.
In a life changing experience Theo began to attended school at Bronte at age 10. Previously in Germany, his school days would finish at lunchtime. The students would attend school at 8am, leaving at 12. Of course in Tasmania, school days run from around 8:30 until 3pm. It took Theo many weeks before he could become accustomed to continuing his school day past lunch time. He enjoyed his schooling – it was of course difficult – he spoke little English – but what he lacked in spoken skills he made up for with enthusiasm.
He thoroughly enjoyed ANZAC day sports – something which he and the other students looked forward to each year. The event would mean the children would travel to other HEC camps such as Tarraleah – so there would be the combination of competing in sports against other schools while also having the opportunity to travel away from home – an exciting adventure for any primary schooler.
In 1960 the family moved to Poatina, where Thoe attended Cressy High School from Grade 7 through to Grade 9. Theo fondly remembers the mischief which was created on the school bus from Poatina to Cressy, along with this; he recalls memories of the bus struggling in extreme weather conditions. A frozen or over heated engine was not uncommon for the bus, providing entertainment for the students, especially Theo – the less time they had to spend at school the better.
At age 15, Theo began work in the fabrication shop where concrete slabs were cast, before they were taken by truck to Arthurs Lake’s pump house which was under construction to pump water from the Lake through to the Great Lakes. Not long after he was transferred to Arthurs Lakes where we learnt how to work on a jackhammer, drilling into Bluestone down to 3m before it was filled with gelignite and Nobel explosives and then blown up to separate the Bluestone.
He had hoped to become a ‘powder monkey’ – working with explosives but circumstances changed and his parents had made the decision to move from Poatina.
Theo's fathers worked for the Hydro and his story can be found here