Tom Davis was raised by William and Gwendolyn Thomas as his mother died when he was young. Tom’s maternal grandmother was a Duren. Tom spent his childhood venturing around the Batemans Bay area, including the Old Batemans Bay Racecourse and the Slaughter yards, hunting rabbits and collecting all kinds of bush foods. Tom Davis recalls fishing in Hanging Rock Creek with hand spears. They would catch prawns and camp on the flat, sheoak lined banks. Tom Davis’s mother’s brother, Tom’s Uncle Thomas Henry Davis, would pay ‘2 bob’ for wattle grubs, so the kids would collect them for him. They would also eat the sap – or gum.
At the age of 14 years and 10 months, Tom Davis began work at Mitchell’s mill, now referred to as the ‘top mill’, south of Batemans Bay along the Princess Highway. Now aged 62 Tom continues to work at Mitchell’s Mill, he is the oldest benchman there. Tom Davis’s father and grandfather both worked at Perry’s Mill, Batemans Bay. From Tom’s memory, ‘….the men worked in the mills, the ladies picked vegetables on the farms, …..Mainly the Blackfellows worked at the mills, on the sanitary run, and on the roads because they had no education. They picked fruit until standards were set for pickers wages and accommodation, the farmers couldn’t run their businesses if they paid people properly… ‘.Excerpt from "Stories About the Eurobodalla by Aboriginal People", 2006. Story Contributed by Martin Ind from Moruya High School.