Cymbelene Rose Carriage was born at the old Batemans Bay Hospital in 1930. When she was registering the birth of her children, she asked Government welfare officials to change the spelling of her name to Symalene, ‘Sym’ for short.
Her father, Stanley Carriage was born in Batemans Bay and worked at Perry’s Sawmill in Bateman’s Bay all his working life. He couldn’t read or write, but he could pull his car apart and put it back together. Her mother, Stella Stewart was born at Tilba Tilba. Stella’s mother was a Bolloway.
Sym attended the old Batemans Bay Public School and later the Batemans Bay Catholic Convent School. She caught the punt across the Clyde River to get to school. Growing up in the Batemans Bay area; ‘……there were no houses in the Surfside area then just a couple here and there connected by dirt tracks…”.
Sym married in 1948 and lived along the coast, in particular at Meroo Lake, Womboyn, Connell’s [Mossy] Point and ‘the corner’, Barlings Beach, Tomakin. Her husband was a professional fisherman selling the fish to the garages and markets. The family would always have a feed first. As there were no fridges, the fish had to be eaten fresh. Sym took her children to pick beans in the Moruya area. Sym admits that she was not a good picker, but it was good to be able to earn a bit of money, with your children and other family and friends by your side.
Symalene has 37 grandchildren and twice as many great grandchildren. ‘I have enjoyed my life…up until now’. She currently lives in Mogo with her extended family and many friends.Excerpt from "Stories About the Eurobodalla by Aboriginal People", 2006. Story Contributed by Martin Ind from Moruya High School.