Author(s): Jean Sharp; Stephen Wallace (Editor)
Jean Sharp grew up in working class Mayfield, Newcastle, NSW, in the shadow of the BHP steelworks. Her life spanned the steelworks’ very beginnings to nearly 1999 when it closed. But she had been born in far north western NSW, and the silence surrounding her family’s early years created a sadness she carried with her for many years. Jean’s recalls in remarkable detail the big and small events of Australian 20th century life: attending school through World War I, the growth of Mayfield and Newcastle, domestic life in the early 20th century, her training and work as a midwife in the slums of Sydney, life in the country town of Warialda and northern NSW during World War II, and how she endured a rocky marriage and brought up four children. But more than that, Mayfield Girl is Jean’s brave and honest account of her personal battle with a family secret which when revealed devastated her life for years to come.