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 its closure in 1999.
Jean recalls in remarkable detail the big and small events of 20th century life: school during World War I, the growth of Mayfield and Newcastle, domestic and social life, work as a midwife in the slums of Sydney, life in the country towns of Warialda and Moree, World War II, and a rocky marriage bringing up four children.
But Jean’s earliest years in far north-western NSW were for many years a mystery to her. When the silence surrounding that time was finally broken, Jean was devastated. Mayfield Girl is Jean’s brave and honest account of coming to terms with her troubled childhood.