Pic Left: Sandra's daughter Corinne and Sandra behind the bar pulling beers at Sandra's first pub, The Tower Inn in Slapton Village in Devon in 1999. Sandra: "Corinne's there very much the Landlady in Training. We  had lots of fun and the villagers were very welcoming and super friendly."
Our Bearbrass has acquired its first barmaid, with the arrival of former pub owner Sandra Wallace. 
Sandra was an English war-baby born in London at the height of the German bombing. Her father George was a ships’ carpenter at the London Docks repairing damaged ships from the war zones. “He worked for days on end to ready them to sail again. He would come home exhausted after working so hard. Many, many times he would return to the docks to find the ships had been bombed by the German planes overnight. They would then start all over again!”
Sandra came out with her parents to Sydney in 1947 on a six week voyage as a ten pound Pom. Her family bought land in Cabramatta in Sydney’s then far west and built their home there. As a teenager her family moved to Avalon Beach where she spent many happy sunburnt years.
She trained as a primary teacher, moving around NSW teaching in schools large and small. One of her favourite appointments  was as the Deputy Principal of Lightning Ridge PS. She found it a bit of a Wild West ride, back in the early eighties! She spent ten years as the Principal of Birchgrove PS in Balmain.
Pic left: Sandra at Eden NSW
Pic right: Sandra at 19 on work experience at a Kings Cross pub. :)
“It was a biggish school with 500 + children in those days. It was quite an intellectual/artistic environment as so many progressive thinking families had moved into Balmain in the seventies, eighties and nighties [is that a misprint? Editor], changing the demographics of the village enormously. (Editor's note: Paul Keating dubbed them ‘Balmain Basket Weavers’). 
She retired early from teaching in 1998 and went back to the UK for family reasons taking her savings and super with her. With this nest egg she bought a pub called The Tower Inn in Slapton, a picturesque village in Devon between Exeter and Plymouth. “It was hands on for me, pulling beers, making beds and serving English delicacies like chips”.
She sold the pub successfully and reinvested in a much bigger three story pub called The Ship Inn in Rye in East Sussex. “ The building dated back to the 1500s. It even had an original store for smuggled goods. My USP (unique selling position) was my Australian accent. Everyone loved it and wanted me to say over and over again: G’day mate, how you goin’?”
“I ought to mention that I had lost my English accent quick smart in Cabramatta. There was every sort of migrant families there building a new life after the war. There were Polish, Russian, Greek, Italian, Latvian, and Ukrainian children in my class at school. My year three school photo shows 50 of us in one class.”
Her commercial idyll in Rye was rudely interrupted by the Global Financial Crisis in 2006-7 which shattered pub prices. She returned to Sydney in 2009 and worked for a further ten years for the NSW Dept Education as a consultant supporting teachers in Student Welfare. 
She moved to Melbourne to be near her son’s family and new grandson three years ago. “It was hard to move to a new city not knowing anyone socially,” she says. After a 12 week training course she became a Court Networker at Melbourne Magistrate’s Court volunteering as part of a team supporting vulnerable court users. Through the Court Network Program she met Julie Cookson (our ex prison nurse) who introduced her to Bearbrass. 
Sandra is another of our suburbanites, living in an inner north-eastern apartment.
Her interest include music, theatre, books, films, history (especially European) and walking. Pre-COVID-19 she was a great traveller dating from when she travelled the Trans Siberia railway in 1972. Russia at that time was very much in the Soviet era.
Son Myles is a musician and drummer and of course had a tough time during Covid here. Her daughter Corinne is a lecturer in costuming at the National Institute for Dramatic Arts in Sydney – sounds like she should compare notes with our costumer Linda Rowe? #
 * Sandra's bar-maid narrative reminds us of our first time in a pub in Perth. Our trio of schoolboys were under-aged at 16-17 circa 1956 so we intended to make ourselves inconspicuous. One of us fronted the bar, scanned the alcoholic drinks on display and ordered, "I'll have a creme de menthe please." Ourself: "I'll have the same." Third member: "I'll have a creme de menthe too please."