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Mud Stories

It seems that everyone had a mud story, especially the Moms. Even 60 years after the build, their memories of red clay and pink underpants were vivid. With the passage of time, that hardship softened into humour.

colour photograph of a house under construction

The Worley house on Stewart St., surrounded by bright red clay soil


“Oh gosh, the red clay. Oh, my it was awful. My kids’ underpants! None of them had white underpants. They were all red or burgundy or whatever. You couldn’t get it out, you could make it lighter or change the colour but once it was in there!”    -Deloris Branchaud  

black and white photograph of a loaded truck with chains stuck in the mud

The clay was certainly challenging, especially after rain or snow.


“(At first) there was no phone service except for the one phone in our backyard on a telephone pole, so anyone wanting to make a call had to come through our red clay from front to back to get to the phone… but that was quite a nice way of getting to know people”.  -Avryle Wilson 

black and white photograph of a house under construction

The front yard view of the Jennings family home near the end of construction in 1956.

black and white photograph of 2 children out side the back of a house and a woman at the door. House in under construction

The backyard view as Maureen and her children look out on a sea of mud.








“Everything was dyed red. I used to dry leggings and coats beside the furnace and bang them against the wall to get the mud out.” -Barb Colleary

“The kids would come in covered in red clay so then you would put them in the stationary tub and wash them down.” -Jean Scobie   

Black and white photograph of a family walking on boards over mud

After a visit to the Walsh home, Walter and Albertine Muise carry Janet and Doug across a sea of mud.


The men had their moments with the mud as well. The following befell Jim Burns:

“Workmen stomping around in “thundering great boots” left large holes which could rapidly fill with water, making odd sticky hazards in the sea of red mud. Out walking one night, Jim Burns stepped into one of those deep holes and found his rubber-booted leg firmly and trapped by the muck. He managed to work his leg out, but there was no way he could free the trapped boot; the best he could do was leave the boot where it was and keep slogging along with one bare foot.”  From Rita Morrocco’s book: The Light from One Candle, pg. 126 

Roy O’Grady talks about mud on the worksite (subtitles available in FR and EN).  Watch the video with the transcription (EN).

Doloris Branchaud recalls the ‘Awful red clay’ (subtitles available in FR and EN).  Watch the video with the transcription (EN).

Click to hear the audio and read the transcript of Barb Colleary speaking of the children in the mud.