Outside toilets were the only ones we were familiar with when I was a young child. Our original pit toilet was a short walk away from the house, just past the plum trees. It was probably the same one my grandparents used when they owned the farm. I remember a purring cat regularly accompanying me there – the heights were just right for it to walk under my feet and so be stroked by them! A much more scary visitor was a goanna that was hanging round the back of the toilet one day.
Later on, Dad dug and built a new outside toilet a bit further over. This new one was converted to house my sister’s pigeons once the septic tank had been installed and we finally had an inside toilet. My grandparents, living in the town, also had a pit toilet in their backyard when I was a child, as did their neighbours.
Our primary school had outside toilets (cans not pits) down the back, just past the laurel trees that we liked to climb during play times. A big difference was that toilet paper was supplied instead of the squares of newspaper or phone books that most of us had been used to!
4 thoughts on “Memories of a rural childhood – O is for outside toilets”
Even though we lived in the city we had an outside loo. Dan, Dan the dunnycart man used change the pans each week.
It would be interesting to try to work out when the changeover occurred in different areas
As a child, I remember some friends’ houses having outside loos at the bottom of the garden, with a large wooden seat and newspaper squares for toilet paper. I dreaded having to use them, fearing spiders and other creepie crawlers. My grandparents moved into a new house in 1926 (I have a document with the date) and that had an indoor toilet with a high noisy cistern and a long chain to pull, to flush it.
I have no memories of any creepy crawlers in the toilet but they must have been there. We never had a long chain cistern at home. The change to press button controls had occurred before we finally had an indoor toilet in the mid 60s.