Throughout my school life I think I got a new pair of school shoes every year and they were nothing stylish. I liked it when I could stand with my feet in the XRay box and look at all the bones of my feet inside the shoes. Clarkes had a factory here in Adelaide and they were reputed to make the best shoes. The uniform for my secondary school had brown, laceups. Boring. Over the year though I became attached to my shoes, maybe because new shoes had to be “broken in” before they broke you!


Sometimes Dad would mend our shoes and I liked to watch him, he had a range of old cast iron shoe lasts and would put the shoe on one to work on it. When I was in Secondary school I decided I could mend my own shoes so I used to stop off in the city on my way home from school to buy a DIY pack from Coles or Woolies. Strong smelling glue was included in the pack along with two soles and little metal toe plates. I think there must have been a separate pack for heels. You had to roughen up the surface of the old sole, lay down the glue, attach the new sole then trim around it so it was a perfect match for the old sole. The toe tips had to be tacked on and I didn’t bother with them.


Heels were trickier. You had to remove the old heels then use shoe tacks to secure the new ones and I can’t remember if I managed that or not but since I don’t ever remember having holes in the soles of my shoes I can only think I somehow was just attaching the new heels over the old ones. It’s a wonder  I didn’t end up knock kneed.


You didn’t know that about Nana, did you?

The old shoe lasts, now just rusty curiosities.
The old shoe lasts, now just rusty curiosities.

Author: macmsue

I’m a sister, wife, mother, grandmother, auntie and friend. I prefer to be outside and am interested in photography, nature and different cultures. I believe everything on this earth has a right to be here but some things and some people would be happiest if their space was far away from mine. (Flies and biting bugs take note!) I don’t like housework and think dust is Nature’s way of saying, “This is my space, I was here first.”

2 thoughts on “Cobblers”

  1. i think the clark factory was still there when I first moved to Adelaide… in the late 1970’s. I am pretty sure we went there to get seconds for the kids school shoes. It won’t surprise you to know that in Freds shed there are a couple of lasts.

  2. Hullo!!! I did think I’d try to weld them into a nice sculpture but now think that’s too difficult for me.Of course Fred had some shoe lasts, he knew interesting things when he saw them. 🙂

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