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Tim’s Story Part 1 (All about our past)
Children of the Western Australian Mallee Country
Tim’s Story
Quotation: Each has a past shut in him like the leaves of a book known to him
by heart and his friends can only read the title.
Virginia Woolf (1882 to 1941)
Preface
For many of us the best part of our lives seems to lie behind us, and so our
memories help us to live a second time. We all have a story to tell and who knows in
a future life, if we are fortunate enough to have one, if we will even remember what
has gone before. Therefore, I am writing my story so that when I am no longer here,
my readers may find my recollections of some interest and I hope, humour. There may
also be a lesson or two. Let me say at the outset, that the events I am recording are as
near as possible to the truth, however in saying that one must remember that 70 years
is a long time! In addition, I have gleaned some stories from various sources.
Although I am confident that the memories and information gathered by other family
members through the years are factual events, as I was not an eyewitness, there must
be a proviso. Some of these stories may seem of little consequence; however, I am
endeavouring to give my readers some insight into the lives of the children of the
Western Australian Mallee country in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Before I tell you my
own memories, I would like to share what I have learned of the history of my
forebears. Our ancestors have an influence on our own lives by their own history and
by our genetic links to them.
A fitting symbol of my pioneer ancestors are the tough Mallee Eucalyptus that also
survive the harsh conditions in which they grow. Plants of the Mallee shrub lands have
special adaptations to help them withstand the dry conditions and the high
temperatures. Some have unusual leaf structure, which prevents water loss; others
deal with high levels of salt by transpiring it through the leaves. Their rootstock
enables these plants to withstand fire, frost and attempted clearing. They shoot
vigorously from their large root (lignotuber), an underground rootstock that stores
water, and from which new growth sprouts if the tree is damaged.
Tim’s Story Part 1
The Early History
Quotation: To forget one’s ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree
without a root.
Chinese Proverb
Thomas Hewett
My father’s family were originally from Norfolk. My great grandfather Thomas
Hewett who was born in 1829, came from a small village called Wymondham
(pronounced Windham) that is 11 miles (17km) SW of Norwich. My great
grandmother Susan (Susannah Quantrill) was born in 1828, and was from
Wicklewood, a small village some 3 miles (5km) from Wymondham. Thomas's father
was John Hewett and his mother was Rhoda Breeze. John and Thomas were
brickmakers; Susan's father was Richard Quantrell and her mother was Elizabeth
Bayliss. Richard had been a weaver, but was at the time of the young couple’s
departure from England a labourer, possibly due to the collapse of the woollen
industry some years earlier.
In October 1852, Thomas and Susan set sail for Australia on the ship called "The
British Empire" arriving in Geelong Victoria in March 1853. It must have been a
hazardous journey as there were seven deaths among the 249 passengers.
1 Picture of ship Although Thomas was a brickmaker by trade, he decided to try his
hand at mining. Life must have been extremely tough in the mining communities and
especially so for the women. Great grandmother Susan was only in her early 20's
when she left her family and friends to travel to a strange land. In addition, she was
illiterate, so contacting her family would have been almost impossible. Water was also
scarce in the camps and disease was rife. On my grandfather's birth certificate it
records that she had had eleven children with only four still living, a daughter was born
later as well.
Thomas Hewett Family
It seems that only Anna, Eliza, Ephraim and Mary Emma lived into adulthood.
Susan died in 1871 so she only lived until she was 43 or 44. Thomas died in 1883.
Tim’s Story Part 1
Pioneers
We are the Old-world people,
Ours were the hearts to dare;
But our youth is spent ,and our backs are bent.
And the snow is in our hair.
Back in the early fifties,
Dim through the mist of years,
By the bush grown- strand of a wild, strange land,
We entered -the pioneers.
Our axes rang in the woodlands,
Where the gaudy bush-birds flew,
And we turned the loam of our new-found home,
Where the eucalyptus grew.
Housed in the rough log shanty,
Camped in the leaking tent,
From sea to view of the mountain blue
Where the eager diggers went.
We wrought with the will increasing,
We moulded, and fashioned, and planned
And we fought with the black, and we blazed the track
That ye might inherit the land.
There are your shops and churches,
Your cities of stucco and smoke;
And the swift trains fly where the wild cat’s cry.
O’er the sad bush silence broke.
Take now the fruit of our labour,
Nourish and guard it with care;
For our youth is spent, and our backs are bent.
And the snow is in our hair.
Poem by Frank Hudson
Tim’s Story Part 1
Ephraim Hewett
I believe that when quite young Ephraim and his cousin Ezekiel bought a small
property near Wedderburn in Victoria and worked it together.
Later on, Ephraim bought a farm at Korong Vale Victoria that lay about 70 miles
(110km) west of Echuca.
In September 1881, Ephraim married Alice Hughes.
Alice was born in Bagshot Victoria in 1864.
Her parents were Joseph Leopold Hughes and Elizabeth Gregory.
Her father was born in Essex and migrated to Australia in 1855.
Her mother was born in Tavistock Devonshire, date unknown.
Her father was a contractor who worked for the Korong Shire council. He died of
a heart attack when she was 8 years old. Her mother died 5 years later after a brief but
severe illness. They had eleven children.
Alice was only 17 when she married Ephraim. He was 21.
They eventually had 14 children
Picture of E Hewett’s Family circa 1907
Tim’s Story Part 1
The Kunjin Story
Farming was becoming more difficult in Victoria, so the older boys decided to look
to Western Australia to obtain land. The Premier of Western Australia Sir James
Mitchell was offering cheap land east of the Avon Valley. The land was fertile and
good farming land.
Ephraim, with Frank and Charlie decided to come to Western Australia in 1908 to
inspect the land. Ephraim and his sons were enthusiastic by what they saw; each chose
a block at a place called Kunjin. Ephraim returned to Victoria, where he sold his farm
at Korong Vale, and then, in 1911, he returned with the rest of his family, except for
Annie who was already married.
Kunjin was so named, because of the Noongar‘s (aboriginal people) name for
Cunjin spring, a water source close to where the site for Kunjin was chosen. Ephraim
and his family were among the earliest settlers to the district.
The land was fertile with several varieties of eucalyptus trees, gimlet, mallee she
oaks and the wild flowers in spring were breathtaking. There was also sandalwood
which had proved a very lucrative pursuit from about 1850, and because of the
sandalwood cutters, there was a myriad of tracks crisscrossing through the bush.
There was also much birdlife, birds such as willie wag tails, magpies, robin red breasts,
tom **** (thornbills), parrots, crows just to name a few and in the early years emus
wandered the bush. Dingoes were a nuisance, so they penned the sheep at night to
protect them.
Wild turkeys and kangaroos proved a welcome addition to the family dinner table.
The young men found that kangaroo hunting provided one of the few forms of
entertainment available in the sparsely populated bush. Life could be scary at times
and many a tent dweller was startled awake by the eerie call of a curloo or the
mournful howl of a dingo. There was also the worry of an aborigine wandering past
Tim’s Story Part 1
the tent. The young men would frighten each other with gruesome tales of murder and
mayhem!
My father Jim was about 8 years old when they travelled by ship from Victoria.
He was so sick on the voyage that he was never able to stand any sort of rocking, as
you will learn in a later tale. They disembarked at Fremantle, and then they travelled
by train to Pingelly. There are conflicting stories about this; one uncle says they walked
from Fremantle. My father says that they travelled by train to Pingelly before setting
out to walk! Maybe the younger children and the women travelled by train and the
older men and boys walked all the way. As well as his family, Ephraim bought from
Victoria, his team of horses and some farm equipment. From Pingelly, they had to
travel over 50 miles (80km) on rough sandalwood tracks through virgin bush. My
father recalled the packed condition of the cart. He said there was no room in it for
him and so he walked a great deal of the way, taking short rests on the shafts when he
was tired
Their first home was
a sapling framed
canvas and hessian
structure with an iron
roof. Later on, they
built a brick home,
making the bricks on
site, with all the boys
helping, not only in
making the bricks, but
also in the bricklaying. They called their farm “Vale Farm” after their property in
Korong Vale.
There was no township or railway line in Kunjin in the early years and the family
had to cart their wheat to Pingelly and collect their stores from there. These were
infrequent trips, so Alice soon got an orchard and vegetable garden established. Jim
said that to water this garden, she had to carry the water some distance in four-gallon
Tim’s Story Part 1
buckets. (These buckets were
kerosene tins with handles attached)
When World War I broke out,
Charles, Thomas and Ephraim junior
joined the Australian Imperial forces,
and they travelled overseas to fight in
Egypt and Palestine. Ephraim junior
died because of wounds received
while on active service in France.
The Hewett’s were very hospitable and Ephraim Snr was renowned for his good
humour and storytelling. One grandchild tells of his memory of his grandfather‘s story
telling. He says that after church they would all gather around Grandpa Hewett’s
Dodge car in anticipation of one of his tales. After telling a funny story, he would start
up the car amid the gales of laughter, engage the clutch, put the car into gear and then
remember he had another story to tell. His foot would slip off the clutch and away he
would shoot calling out “I’ll finish it next time! “My mother said that whenever he
went to Corrigin (the nearest town) there was always a cluster of his friends gathered
around him laughing.
There is a tale I would like to tell about this particular car. The farmers ordered
things by mail; these either came via train to the nearest siding, or had to be collected
in person. When the notification came to go and collect the car from Perth and drive it
back to Kunjin, my father Jim, being the best candidate for the job, went to the city to
collect it, even though he had never driven a car before. On arrival in the city, Jim says
he had a short driving lesson along St Georges Terrace, before taking control of the
car to drive it home. Halfway up Green Mount Hill, he thought the car was making
very heavy weather of it until he suddenly realised that he was still in first gear!
Grandfather Hewett was very involved with the community and church, and if there
was no Minister to take the service, he would sometimes step in and act as the lay
preacher. During their little free time, they played tennis, read, played games or visited
family and friends. There were also singsong evenings when families would get
Tim’s Story Part 1
together around a piano, a violin or sometimes just a mouth organ, and sing favourite
songs and hymns. My Uncle Wat was very accomplished on his mouth organ. The
Church Hall was where the community gathered to celebrate weddings or to put on
plays and concerts. For some of the less austere they also held dances there. Tom
Hewett and his partner constructed this hall. They received the timber for the floor
earlier than the roof, and being summer, they assumed that the weather would remain
fine and so laid the flooring before the roof. Unfortunately they had an unexpected
downpour which caused the floorboards to bow somewhat. Because they did not
approve of dancing in a church building some of the more devout members of the
community thought that it might have been the hand of God!
One cousin recalls the dances in the Hewett’s barn. He said all enjoyed them,
especially the many children who could run free outside, playing their own games and
getting up to who knows what mischief!
Water was a big problem because of the very dry summers. The settlers dug wells
and dams to answer this need. If these were dry, they got their water from the
government dams. These were in strategic places all through the wheat belt area. It
gave more people an opportunity to farm the land.
Life was very hard and often lonely, however most were able to keep in good spirits
because of the friendship and warm community spirit among their fellow settlers.
There were though, a few disheartened ones and a few unexplained tragedies.
My father Jim was one of nine boys in a family of fourteen (his eldest sister had
drowned in a farm dam at the age of six and one of his twin brothers had died soon
after birth). With a large family of twelve to care for it was no wonder that my father
in later life told us that they would get a belting from their mother if they came within
three miles of the back door other than at meal times! He was the master of
exaggeration but I can well imagine that nine sons would be quite a challenge for any
woman.
Jim attended the Kunjin School, and later the two younger boys Roy and “Don”
joined him. One of the first teachers at the school was Francis McKay, who taught
Tim’s Story Part 1
there for two years. The second teacher boarded at the Hewett’s for the two years
that she was teaching at the school. Her name was Nellie Charlton. The teachers must
have been very strict, because my father commented on the regular use of a whip,
which he referred to as the “cat-of- nine tails! (A slight exaggeration I feel sure). The
government met a portion of the teacher’s salary and the rest came from the people of
the district.
With so much work to do on the farm, Jim had to leave school at the age of twelve.
It was a wheat and sheep farm and the busy times were during the seeding of the crop
and harvest time. Jim told us that even while he was attending school he had to get up
before sunrise to harness the horses, and then do a couple of rounds in the paddocks at
seeding and harvest.
Shearing was also a very busy time. In addition, they cleared land to make way for
more crops. All the family worked hard, and as soon as they could, the women
planted fruit trees and a vegetable garden.
Jim Ploughing
The water was some distance from these gardens. They had rainwater tanks for
drinking and cooking but the rest would come from wells or dams. If they owned
them, they milked the cows and make butter; they also kept poultry for meat and eggs,
baked their own bread, sewed clothes and mended shoes. They also made their own
soap and hand washed the clothes in a tin trough using a scrubbing brush. The very
dirty clothes had to be soaked overnight. They boiled whites and nappies in a copper
or if they did not have one, a kerosene tin would do. Many did not have a washhouse
Tim’s Story Part 1
(laundry) so they had to wash the clothes outside which they then hung on wire strung
between two trees or posts. They ironed with flat irons, heated on top of the stove.
Kerosene lamps and candles lit their homes, as there was no electricity until much later.
The roots of the Mallee trees are called lignotubers and can grow very large.
When cleared from the paddocks they make a wonderful fuel, not only for the kitchen
stove, but also for open fires. They will burn for hours and often in the morning, there
would still be embers beneath the ash, making the lighting of the fire for breakfast easy.
After the men chopped down the mallee trees, the stumps remained in the ground
and made ploughing difficult. That was until the invention of the stump jump plough,
which jumped over these stumps. Much hard work was still involved in clearing the
roots from the paddocks.
I still recall that the fireplace at my Grandparents house seemed huge. Dad said
that on cold winter nights they would bring in a large tree branch and feed it into the
fire during the night, slowly adding more into the fire as it burned down. Saved them
from having to go outside in the dark and cold for wood all the time!
Meal preparation was a major part of a woman’s work. A hot cooked breakfast
and mid-day meal, an evening meal, and in between came morning and afternoon tea.
Much of the food was homegrown and fresh or preserved in season and so the food
was nourishing and delicious. Many of these women were very good cooks, and later
won prizes in the local show. Most people had plenty to eat, and they certainly needed
it to have enough energy to cope with the heavy manual work.
Now I would like to tell you a little about my mother’s family.
Tim’s Story Part 1
Paternal side
My mother’s paternal grandfather was Joseph Wood and his mother was Agnes
Airey. Joseph was a farmer and a butcher by trade. The family lived in Cumbria,
England in Greater Urswick.
Joseph Wood Family
Many of his descendents still live near there. James and John were the only ones of
that first generation to immigrate. James to South Africa ad John to Australia.
Maternal Side
My mother’s maternal grandparents were William Campbell and Janet Brown
William and Janet Campbell
Agnes was born in Shotts in Scotland;
she lived there until after her father
died, then the family moved to Wigan
Lancashire, where Agnes opened her
own milliner shop.
Tim’s Story Part 1
John Wood Agnes Campbell
My Mother’s Parents
About the year 1901, John
travelled to Burma as an
agricultural adviser for the
Church of Christ mission. He
asked Agnes to join him there
about a year later and they were
married in Rangoon
Their first child Roger was born
in Burma, however, they returned home to Agnes’s parents in Scotland for the birth of
their second child, Williamena Frances (Minnie).
On the return journey, they came past Australia and made a short stop at Broome.
My mother Jessie says that Agnes told her that when they disembarked the people on
the wharf were shocked to see such “skeleton like” people.
In 1905 James, John’s brother, who had gone to set up a business in South Africa
needed a holiday. He asked John and his family to mind the bicycle shop for him while
he took his leave. The family stayed in South Africa for two years, and Jessie was born
in Roodepoorte, Johannesburg in 1907.
John did not like the segregation policies of the South African government, so he
Tim’s Story Part 1
decided to migrate to Australia.
They arrived in Albany, Western Australia by ship in 1911, and then travelled to
Pemberton, where John farmed a small block and did some work cutting timber for the
Bunning’s timber company.
Helen and Margaret Agnes (Meg)
were born in Australia.
Helen’s health was not good and the
doctor advised a drier climate might
suit her better. A friend gave John
letters of introduction to men who
were farmers in the Kunjin district.
John and Roger rode their pushbikes from Pemberton to Kunjin and obtained contract
work clearing land and sewing wheat bags. In those days, before bulk handling, the
harvested wheat went into jute bags that they had to sew closed to enable safe
transportation by train to Fremantle, where it was loaded onto ships for export
overseas.
John sent for the rest of his family who arrived by train in 1920.
Their first home was a blacksmith ‘s iron shed that was nicknamed” The Red Shed”.
It was unlined, had a tin roof, a crushed ants nest floor and no windows. To let in a
little fresh air they propped up the door, which was a large flap at the front. It was
originally one room, however; John used hessian bags to partition it into three rooms.
A space for the four girls, one for Agnes and himself and the third was the sitting area.
Roger slept in a tent. In addition, they cooked and washed outside.
Agnes and the girls collected gum from the local trees, mixed it with water, and
then placed it on the floor to settle the dust. Jessie well remembered having to sweep
that floor! John made their beds from four forked sticks with chaff bags threaded on
poles, and stretched between the sticks. They carried much of their water from the
Kunjin well, which was about a quarter of a mile away. Their drinking water they
collected from the nearby farmer’s fresh water tank.
Tim’s Story Part 1
Kunjin was very hot in the summer, and very cold in the winter. Therefore, they
spent quite an uncomfortable few years in the “red shed”.
The three youngest children went to Kunjin School. Wilhelmina or “Minnie“, as she
was known, was only 15 years old when asked to teach at this school under the
assisted teacher program. Later, Minnie put herself through Teachers Training College
at Claremont and became a fully qualified teacher.
John bought a small property east of the Number 2 rabbit proof fence at a place
called Dilling. The government built these fences in an attempt to stem the tide of
rabbits that were crossing from the eastern states over the Nullarbor plains into
Western Australia. There were two rabbit proof fences, Number 1 fence, which was
east of Hyden and the Number 2 fence, east of Bullaring. Gates were between 1 and 2
miles (1½-3km) apart along these fences and the gates were numbered. The Woods
property was near, the number 69 gate.
Pictures of Bankend
John and Roger built a small house, and the family moved into it in 1924. It meant
that the girls had to drive a horse and sulky more than 8 miles (12km) to school. This
proved too much so that later they took correspondence lessons at home.
They named this farm “Bankend” after a property owned by John’s grandfather,
Joseph Wood in Cumbria.
Tim’s Story Part 1
Quotation: Woe to him that reads but one book.
George Herbert (1593-1633)
All girls were ardent readers, and
during their leisure time, they knitted,
crocheted, and did fancy work. On
Saturdays, they played tennis, however, not
on Sundays, as their father, who was a
strict English Church of Christ man,
considered this inappropriate for the
Sabbath. Their mother Agnes was a much
more gentle and practical Scot. I am sure that she helped to modify her husband’s very
strict ideas so that the girls could enjoy some social life. Young people met at picnics,
church services, family gatherings, weddings and occasionally they would meet in the
nearest town.
Helen, Meg and Jessie Wood prepare for tennis
Eventually, three of the Wood girls married three of the Hewett brothers.
Minnie married Walter, Jessie married Jim and Meg married Don
Tim’s Story Part 1
Walter and Minnie Hewett Jim and Jessie Hewett
Don and Meg Hewett Ted and Helen Wilson
Kunjin Hall
Because of his
work commitments,
Roger had had to
leave school very
early. He was a very shy young man with a keen interest in
books. In 1937, a paternal aunt who lived in England died,
leaving Roger a sum of money in her will. Appreciating such
an opportunity, he set sail for England to further his education.
After much study, he gained a Master of Arts degree and
then a Doctor of Theology at the Oxford University. Roger at Oxford
Tim’s Story Part 1
Roger also studied Hebrew and Greek and later helped in the compilation of a bible. I
never knew which one it was. He eventually became a tutor of English and Theology
at Durham Boys School. He visited Australia a couple of times, but his home was
England. He was much better suited to teaching than to farming.
When Helen was 17 years of age, she also taught under the assisted teacher
program, and later she too became a fully qualified teacher. Helen taught at various
schools through out her teaching career. One was Kunjin and another was the 69 Gate
school just down the road from Bankend. She married Edwin (Ted) Wilson, a draper
from Pingelly where they lived until they retired to Gooseberry Hill. Later in her life,
Helen wrote articles for various magazines. She was a keen photographer and nature
lover and her magazine stories were well illustrated. She also wrote a book about
Jimmy Blacksmith called “A Bushman Born”. Helen felt that people did not know
enough about the contribution made by our indigenous people in opening up our
country for settlement. She loved travelling to remote places in Australia’s outback
and her love of wildflowers continued from childhood through to her later life. Helen
planted rare native species in her garden in the Hills near Perth, long before native
plants became popular in the Nurseries.
I think Meg also taught prior to her marriage; however, she married quite young,
and did not have the chance to further her studies. After she became a widow, she
came to live in Perth, where she took up painting and woodwork and produced some
lovely pieces.
Jessie, who had been quite frail in her teenage years, worked for a neighbour,
minding their children and housekeeping until her marriage in 1930. You will hear
much more about her life later.
These two pioneer families, the Hewett’s and the Woods, whose lives centred
on family, church and community, were a valuable part of Kunjin life. They
have left their descendants a wonderful heritage of hard work, loyalty, courage
and a deep love for God.
I feel very proud to belong to such good solid stock.
Tim’s Story Part 1
Now this is my story!
Quotation: The true test of a civilization is not the census, nor the size of the
cities, nor the crops - no, but the kind of man that the country turns out.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
Jim and his brother Walter bought a property called “Runneymede“. They worked
it together until Walter decided to marry; Jim knew that he would need to buy another
property, as he was already engaged to his future wife Jessie Wood. When he asked
Jessie where she would like to live, she said “Anywhere except Bullaring.” I am not
sure why Jessie did not like Bullaring. I think there were many tales of the
eccentricities of some of the people who lived there. In only one or two examples was
this true.
In 1927, Jim found a property west of Bullaring along the Yealering road, about
4 ½ miles(7km) west of Bullaring and 9 miles(14km) from Yealering. It was around
1300 acres, some cleared and some of Mallee scrub. He later acquired another 600
acres from a neighbour, and so had a reasonable sized farm. It had a small four-room
weatherboard cottage with front and back verandas, and some thatched sheds. Jim
lived and worked at the property for some time before he and Jessie were married.
Because of Jessie’s ill health, her parents had suggested waiting at least two years
after their engagement before being married so that she could build up her strength.
Life on the farm would be very hard, and there was no way anyone seemed to be able
to avoid having children in those days. Jessie says she was in love with Jim from her
arrival in Kunjin. She was only 13 years old, so for some years, she admired Jim from
afar. Jim was very shy and thought Jessie was in love with another boy. However
because Jessie’s older sister Minnie was courting Jim’s older brother Walter, they
were able to act as chaperone ’s and so eventually learned of their true feelings for
each other.
Jim and Jessie celebrated their wedding on March 8, 1930 in the Kunjin church hall
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that had held so many happy memories for them. Jessie’s two younger sisters were her
bridesmaids. They made their own dresses and bouquets. Jessie was a very pretty girl
and she looked lovely on her wedding day. I am sure Jim was very proud of his
beautiful bride.
After their honeymoon, they took up life on their farm in Bullaring. Therefore, after
all, Jessie ended up living where she had said she did not want to. She made a good
life for Jim and her family and was involved in community affairs where possible.
In the beginning, Jim managed a 12-horse team of draft horses for ploughing and
cropping. Later he extended that to 16. Jim kept the horses in a thatch-roofed shed.
Eight horses on each side of a lane with a place to store chaff at the end of the lane.
Cutting chaff to feed the horses and their cows was a weekly job. Jim sometimes hired
help in the busy seasons. Jessie also kept busy with the many things to do in looking
after her rapidly growing family.
My Parents
Quotation: The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it
under his feet.
James Oppenheim
My Father Jim Hewett
Our father Jim was 5 foot 10 1/2 inches (180cm) tall and had dark curly hair and
green eyes. He must have been a cute little boy because he
told us that all the older women would pinch his cheeks and
kiss him. He said that it put him off kissing for life! He was
rather a shy man, but had a friendly nature and was a great
storyteller with a good sense of humour. He loved farm life
and was very good with animals, and in the early days, he
managed a large team of up to 12 horses. With the advent
of motors, he would get very frustrated when they broke
down, as he was not very mechanically minded.
Summer or winter Dad always wore long trousers, even when he played tennis. (It
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may have been because he had very long skinny white legs!). He always wore a felt
hat. First, he would wear it to go out, and when it was a little worn, he would use it
for farm work. He had a light voice and I was particularly amused when he answered
the phone. “Hu-llo “he would say in a sing song voice with the emphasis on the llo.
He loved small children, and always made a fuss of the youngest child, so I was a
favourite for the first seven years of my life. He could not abide laziness or fools and
had a low opinion of government workers and politicians.
Dad was not a churchgoer; he says he was put off when he was young by the strict
Methodist doctrines. However, he had a strong belief in God and in living a good life.
He recalls when he was a young boy and was in a church, they had a man at the back
of the church with a long pole, and he would prod anyone who fell asleep. Dad did
not agree with the Methodist church’s way of frightening people with such doctrines as
hellfire. He viewed his God as a benevolent provider.
Dad had a heap of interesting colloquial sayings, he might say something like
“This’ll stick to your ribs” when eating a bowl of porridge or if something was very
hot, he would say “this was cooked with little sticks“ or if we seemed to be a little
greedy, “Your eyes are too big to your stomach” , or he would say. “For pity’s sake
girl, put your shoulder to the wheel” if he wanted a little more effort. He would also
start a story with “The other day, “even if it happened years ago. Such sayings as,
they’ve got the wrong end of the stick, strike a light, barking up the wrong tree, perish
the thought, he spun me a yarn, drat the thing, my word, he was involved in a bit of
skulduggery, only two miles as the crow flies, stone the crows, I’ll eat my hat, stop
beating about the bush, mutton dressed as lamb, he’s a bonzer chap, tickled pink,
rough diamond, and many more colourful sayings would be interspersed into his
conversation. Dad was the one responsible for our nicknames, he would choose
something he felt appropriate and it would generally stick. Whenever he waved us
good-bye, he would say, “Be good now.” however he always gave me the impression
that he believed we would be. (within reason!)
Dad’s motto with us kids was “First in best dressed!” That may have been a result
of coming from a large family where you had to fight for what you wanted.
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Although Dad had to leave school at a very early age, he was very smart, especially
about farming, and he kept up with news and current events.
My Mother Jessie
Our mother was 5 feet (150cm) tall, small boned with light blue eyes, straight black
hair and a fair complexion. Until she had children, her
hair was long enough for her to sit on, and she wore it
in a long plait wrapped around her head. It was so
heavy that when she had children, she felt that it was
just an added burden to carry, so she had it all cut off
and wore it short for the rest of her life.
Mum was conscientious, honest and hard working
with a love for God and a desire to help her
neighbours. She loved to be involved with the
extended family and kept up with her relatives overseas. Mum had an incredible
memory (that she retained until she died at 92) and she always knew who was having
babies and when they would be born, who was married to whom or who was related to
whom and yet she was not a gossip or a sticky beak.
She had an optimistic view of life and could always make the best of things. She
always viewed herself as having been blessed and made light of any difficult situations.
For example, when she wrote to Elsie about the earthquake that flattened Meckering,
she said “We had a little quake.” As their farm was close to the epicentre, this was
downplaying things somewhat!
Mum was inclined to be a bit crabby when we were young; however, I am
convinced that the reason for that was, her less than robust health, she always felt
worn out, the first four of us having arrived in a little over four years. She was not a
demonstrative person; she believed that caring for us physically was sufficient. She did
not have the patience to deal with any dramatic or emotional displays. She would not
tolerate cheekiness or disrespect and she could deliver a very heavy hand when
necessary!
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Mum seemed to have a particularly soft spot for Elsie. Maybe it was because she
was the first-born, or it may have been because she was physically less strong than the
rest of us, and Mum had a good understanding of being unwell. Phyl and I resented
that Elsie could escape some of the chores that the rest of us were expected to
perform. Elsie always said if Mum wanted her help, she should ask for it. Mum was
inclined to hint at things rather than ask straight out.
Unlike our father, she would never praise you to your face, and if you got an
elevated opinion of yourself, she would soon set you straight. She had a very annoying
habit of always sticking up for the underdog. It may be a very good trait, however
when you had a genuine complaint about someone, you did not feel as though they
should be defended. Once, I asked her why she did not like praising us, and she told
me that when she was a young girl, her father praised his children so much in front of
them that it embarrassed them and so she did not want to do the same to us. (I think
she went a little too far as I was 56 years old before I had my first face-to-face
complement) I feel quite sure however, that she was very proud of her children.
Mum did not like housework, and Phyl and I didn‘t either, (I remember our beds
were only made when it was time to change the sheets). Mum liked nothing better
than to be pottering around in her garden, or helping Dad in the sheds. As Elsie did
not like farm work, she often got the job of cooking a meal so Mum would be free to
help us on the farm. We always felt that Dad was number one on Mum’s list of
priorities, and she tried her best to make his life as smooth as possible. She dealt with
all the discipline and training of us children and did not burden Dad after a hard day’s
work. A good model for us girls to emulate. She could knit and sew and made all our
clothes, until we were old enough to take over that task. She also made some of our
furniture. For example, our first lounge suite.
Mum had quite a pleasant singing voice and she played the organ. Mostly hymns,
as I do not think she learned many popular songs. One of Mums annoying habits was
her whistle. It was especially tuneless when she was angry, though I suppose it gave
us fair warning to keep out of the way.
Mum also had a few quaint sayings. When you asked her age, she would say “As
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old as my tongue and a little bit older than my teeth” or she would say, “If you don’t
eat your crust, you won’t have curly hair, (Phyl and I must have been guilty of that
one!) don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched, you’ll come to grief, we won’t
have enough to keep body and soul together, little pictures have big ears, a lick and a
promise, ask a silly question, and you’ll get a silly answer, what’s good for the goose is
good for the gander, waste not want not, a watch pot never boils, pull your socks up,
get a wriggle on and many more. She also used to call us nips or nippers. However,
she thought she had better change that after the war broke out, because Australians
called the Japanese “Nips.” from the word Nippon, (another name for Japan).
Mum’s motto with us kids was to be scrupulously fair. If there was not enough to
share, and she couldn’t cut it into smaller bits, none of us got any!
One thing I would like to say about Mum was her extreme modesty in discussing
the more intimate details of life. I was extremely grateful that as a fourth child I had
the benefit of the accumulated wisdom of my older siblings. On reaching the age when
certain matters needed to be discussed, Mum gave me a letter compiled by some
Government Agency, which literally did discuss birds and bees, among other details. In
later life, I asked how we were expected to know how to deal with the various things
we would face as we grew up. Her reply was, “I thought that as children growing up
on a farm, you would have enough sense to put two and two together and come up
with the correct answer.” Was it any wonder that we did not always make the correct
decisions.
Mum had a very strong desire to see us all get a good education and through hard
work, she was able to supplement the farm income sufficiently to achieve it. We really
do have a lot to thank her for. To me, for whom my father meant so much, Mum’s
devotion to him, was her most endearing quality, and she stuck loyally to this role for
more than fifty three years, even nursing him faithfully through his last long illness until
he died as he always wanted to, in his own bed.
Children
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There were three girls and three boys.
Florence Elsie Alan Phyllis
(1930-1978) (1932) still living (1934) still living
Muriel (Tim or Cinny) Ephraim John (Joe) Morris Vernon
(1935) still living (1942) still living (1949) still living
Elsie as a baby
Elsie was born in December and possibly, because of the heat, Mum said she was
difficult to feed. Even when she got older, food
was of no particular interest to her. After she
learned to read, she would spend hours
engrossed in her books. She was also interested
in drawing and spent a lot of time with pad and
pencil. She did not involve herself much in the
activities of her siblings although she did tell us
stories, sometimes of a macabre and scary
nature with which to frighten us. From very
young, Elsie wanted to be a teacher, and never
changed her mind. She eventually realised that
dream when she was about 20 years old. A
cousin recently commented that her memory of
Elsie as a young girl was her lively nature, her love of drawing and her interest in
everything. Mine seems to be of Elsie with her head in a book, and her reluctance to
be involved in the activities of the rest of us, although she was probably aware that
some of Alan’s schemes were a trifle risky. She was very good at sport and did well at
the various activities on sports days during her school years. As she grew older, Elsie
also became a very good dressmaker and as she was very neat and particular, she made
some beautiful clothes. She had a good sense of colour and style and so she always
looked very smart when she went out. (not always quite so fussy at home, as I can
recall a safety pin or two!)
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Alan was born 16 months after Elsie.
He was an extremely active little boy and
got up to much mischief. In his memoirs,
Alan recorded a story of how he became
intoxicated on fermenting grapes. I can
remember Mum telling us how she found
this little boy staggering around and falling
to the ground in a stupor. When they
investigated further, they discovered that
he had been eating fermenting grapes.
They called the doctor, and after a large
dose of castor oil and a sleep, he
recovered. He says that since that episode
he has not been able to “stomach” caster
oil. (I did not have such an episode with grapes and yet I too have similar trouble with
castor oil!) One of Alan’ favourite tricks when he was small, was to give a
demonstration of a chook with it’s head cut off, or the sound a sheep made after Dad
had cut it’s throat. Always the gruesome details appealed to him. When he was
young, he had the nickname “Boy” for the obvious reason that he was one, however
unlike mine, it was eventually dropped. He was always curious about how to make
things or hows things worked. He would pull apart a machine to see if he could put it
together again. I remember a gramophone that was never the same after Alan had
been fiddling with it. He was full of ideas for creating new inventions. His passion
was to be able to fly. (A dream he realized in later life when he built his own glider and
flew it) His first flying attempts were off our wardrobe with Mum’s umbrella. The
umbrella did not survive the experience! Later he strapped two large 3-ply wings on
his arms and took off in the wind, landing with some force into the side of our house.
Never one to be deterred by a little discomfort he would then try something new. He
always had a fascination with complaints and diseases and would read Mum’s medical
books, then be quite sure he was suffering from one of the complaints he was reading
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about.
Alan was always in trouble from Mum for being cheeky and received quite a lot of
smacks with her hand. She always said she did not need a stick because her hand was
tough enough for the job. I can vouch for that! Though one time when he was
particularly obnoxious (In her opinion, not Alan’s) she took to him with a piece of
fencing wire. I think it must have troubled her afterwards, because she would often
bring the matter up in later years. Although Mum was not the soft and cuddly type, she
treated us fairly. If one of us deserved a smack, we generally all got one!
I always viewed Alan as some kind of hero and was his constant companion. My
sister Phyl and I have many memories of him leading us into hairy escapades.
Phyllis or Phyl as we all called her,
arrived 21 months after Alan.
I cannot think of any part of my early
life without Phyl being there. She
was placid and not easily upset,
though if she did get into a temper we
had to watch out. She was not the
academic type, rather more keen on
sport and art. She was as game as
Ned Kelly, and was often first to try
out Alan’s hair brained schemes.
Muriel or Tim (or Cinny) in other words me, I came along 16 months later.
Phyl was as fair as I was dark. Rather like the positive and the negative of the one
thing. Even in our natures, Phyl was placid and I was fiery. I got the name Tim,
(“Tiger Tim“) because of my fiery temper. Although I was the younger, Mum said
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that I pulled Phyl’s hair so often that she had a constant headache. I always thought
that my other nickname came about because of my dark skin and dark hair colour. I
later learned that there was more to it than that. In those days, migrant workers that
came from overseas cleared the bush. They lived in tents and because water was so
scarce, rarely had the opportunity to bathe; therefore, they developed a particularly
unkempt, swarthy appearance. Dad called them Abyssinians and my name is a
shortened version, which I later insisted be spelled with a c. and thus became Cin or
Cinny rather than Sin or Sinny. My sisters and a few of my cousins call me Cinny,
however to the rest of the family I have always been Tim.
When I was quite small, I always wanted to go where my brother and sisters were
going and because I would plead to be taken, they would often relent and let me come.
After an hour or two, I would get tired and want to be carried. If they refused, I
would sit on the ground and refuse to move. They knew they would be in trouble if
they left me behind, so they would take turns to
piggyback me home. I was called a “sook” so
often that later I would grit my teeth and suffer
in silence rather than be thought a “sook”. So
successful was I that in later life I have found it
difficult to shed tears even in the most dire of
circumstances.
Alan, Phyl and I were constant companions,
never very far from each other and the best of
friends, though we did fight occasionally. Phyl
and I were really more like twins as our memories of those early days seem almost
interchangeable. She has a memory of something that happened to her and I have the
same memory of it happening to me.
Considering her less than robust health, our mother was kept very busy, and
after a seven year break, our brother, Ephraim John was born. He was originally
nicknamed Bunny, but later we called him Joe, this had been shortened from Rabbity
Joe, and this name came about because he loved to go and catch rabbits. He loved the
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farm and spent most of his time trailing after Dad, learning the ropes. He became a
very good farmer, with a special interest in breeding merinos with particularly fine
wool, and later, on his own farm, he developed a good stud stock. He has travelled to
various parts of the world and lectured on the subject. Which reminds me of his other
attribute, his incessant talking and asking of questions? When, where, why etc. One
day one of our cousins confused him when he turned to Joe after he had asked a series
of such questions and in a staccato voice said” When, where, what, how, why, what
for?” For a brief moment, Joe stopped asking questions.
When Dad bought his first tractor, Joe would have
only been five or six years old. The tractor expert
was showing Dad the intricacies of its workings
and Joe was getting very bored. We were all very
amused to hear and our little brother say, “How
long is this fellow going to be messing around
here?” Obviously, to Joe there were much more
important things to be done.
John Hewett
Morris Vernon arrived 7 years after Joe and
because we were all boarding away at High school,
I have little memory of his early childhood. One
incident does stand out. We had all come home
from school and were looking at our new brother
in his bassinet. He looked so small and quaint that
we all started to laugh and he was most upset. I
suppose four large heads and loud laughter would
be enough to scare anyone. After that, we found
we had to be careful not to let Morris think that we
were laughing at him. Morris Hewett
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Our Homes
Quotation: A good home must be made, not bought.
Joyce Maynard
Originally, our house comprised of four rooms, a passage between the two
bedrooms, a kitchen and lounge room and a front and back veranda. Dad and Mum
slept in one bedroom, Elsie, Phyl, I slept in the other, and Alan slept on the veranda.
Originally, the inside of the house was lined with grooved boards, but Alan says that
because of a plague of fleas, Mum puttied up the grooves and painted all the walls,
which must have been a painstaking and gruelling job.
The bedrooms faced the front of the house and had French doors that opened out
onto the veranda. Some winter nights the wind would really moan and howl around
those doors, and if Elsie was telling us one of her more scary stories, I would be hiding
under the covers. I can certainly remember some of my nightmares, often involving a
snake chasing me. In the morning, I would wake up and find myself curled up at the
top end of the bed. Sometimes I would have good dreams, possibly because of Alan’s
stories about flying and I would think in my dream that I could fly. I would go soaring
over the farm, using my arms to swim through the air with ease.
At the front of our house, there were two palm trees and a small patch of lawn that
Mum desperately tried to keep alive during the hot summer months. We never used
the front of our house, even our visitors came to the back door. Mum grew asparagus
fern and a honeysuckle on the outside wall of the closed in back veranda. The yard
was enclosed with a wire fence to keep the animals from Mums vegetable garden. (not
always successful)
Bullaring
Homestead
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When I was about 7 or 8 years old, Mum and Dad extended the house by adding
two side verandas. The old bathroom became another bedroom, another bathroom was
added and the laundry was moved to a veranda, and taps were added. For the first
time, Mum had running water for her washing. (There will be more on those taps
later.) Phyl recalls the hard work we had in collecting rocks to build a foundation for
the verandas. We had to take the horse and cart some distance away to collect these
rocks, and then unload them when we returned home. She says that we wore down
our fingertips so much that we had no prints left.
One of the big challenges for the women was how to keep food fresh in summer.
We had a bough shed near our back verandah, which proved useful. This shed had a
sapling frame, a thatched roof and tea tree branches loosely woven on three sides so it
would let in the breezes. In the shed, we had a Coolgardie safe where Mum kept the
perishable food and a meat safe that kept the flies off the meat, (most of the time!) the
legs of these had to stand in jam tins with water in them to stop the ants getting into
the food. A Coolgardie safe is a container with hessian sides that has a receptacle for
water at the top. Hessian strips hang from the water tank down the sides and the
water dripping in the breeze cools things down. If there was no breeze, we had runny
butter and sour milk, which brings on another story about my reputation for being
fussy. As Mum had a poor sense of smell, I got into the habit of smelling my food
before I ate it in case it was not fresh. I always suspected Mum’s poor sense of smell
and taste resulted in a few stomach problems in the family. If I complained about
something being a bit off, she would say, “Beggars can’t be choosers”
Many a time Mum would have to sift the flour to remove the weevil grubs,
however, I am quite sure more than a few added a bit of protein to our diet. Maybe
because of her early childhood and pioneer days, Mum would not waste anything.
When Dad killed an animal, she made use of every bit. We had lamb brains, lamb’s fry,
lamb’s tongue, lamb’s kidney, brawn, chicken giblets and even chicken feet, as well as
the usual meat. The meals went something like this. After a kill, Dad would remove
the sheep’s brain, and that would be fried for either the evening meal, or breakfast the
next day. Then would come the lambs fry, followed by a roast or two, and then as the
meat got older and less palatable, we would have stews and curries. Cold meat would
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be minced, seasoned well and made into shepherd’s pie. She also made jellied tongue,
and brawn, which, considering what they were made from was quite tasty. As a chook
got too old to lay eggs, we would have roast chicken, and a soup made with the
chicken’s feet. Mum would also mince the giblets and use them in her shepherd’s pie,
which brings me to another story. A young city girl was visiting us, and Mum served
up this specialty. As Karen was eating her dinner, she turned to Mum and said, “This
is nice Mrs Hewett, how have you made it?” When Mum told her what the ingredients
were, she rushed outside and was sick. We also ate the occasional rabbit, and although
we did not like kangaroo meat, we would have kangaroo tail soup and that was nice.
Because we had no refrigeration, we also kept water cool in canvas water bags and
in the summer months, no one left the house without one. A large one hung in the
doorway of the bough shed and that kept the drinking water reasonably cool.
Mum had a Fowler’s Vacola bottling set and she would bottle enough fruit to keep
us going for at least a year. She would order cases of fruit to be sent up by train from
the southwest orchards. Then there would be hours of peeling and stoning the peaches
and apricots to be packed into the vacola jars ready to preserve. We girls would have
to give her a hand. Mum also made jam. Pie melons grew near our soak and she would
peel and dice them, add ginger and sugar, boil the mixture for hours until it reached the
right consistency, place it in jars, then melt wax over top to keep it fresh. We also did
the same with figs and stone fruit. Mum’s pantry was always full. What with jam and
cream, butter and eggs, bottled fruit and fresh meat there was plenty for three meals a
day, plus morning and afternoon teas. Talking about afternoon teas, of all the things
Mum cooked, she was most renowned for her treacle scones. In later years, even her
grandchildren loved them, and still talk of them today. Even with all this food, we
would often come in from school feeling as though we were starving, and because our
evening meal was some time away, we would help ourselves to a bowl of Weeties to
stave off the hunger pains. Too much of a good thing caught up with Alan, who
suffered for many years with ulcerative colitis and later discovered he was allergic to
gluten.
Recipe for Treacle scones
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Ingredients:
250gm SR Flour
50gm butter
30gm castor sugar
Pinch of salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons treacle
100ml milk (enough to make a soft dough)
Method:
Preheat oven to 180° c
Rub butter into flour until it resembles bread crumbs
Stir in sugar and salt
Beat egg and add treacle and milk
Add to flour mixture, dough should be soft but not sticky
Pat onto floured board and cut into scones
Place onto tray and bake for 12 minutes
Serve buttered warm or cold
A Handy Jute Bag…
To light our home we used kerosene lamps, candles and a type of pressure gas lamp
that gave off a very clear light and made reading easy. For outside it was a hurricane
lantern or a torch. Talking about lamps, one of ours was temperamental, and every
now and again, it would flare up and flames would shoot out everywhere. One night it
began to flare up and as Phyl was the nearest to it, Mum told her to rush it outside and
throw a jute bag over it to put the flames out. It happened more than once and I was
scared of that lamp! I was also scared of the dark. I think the reason was because of
Elsie‘s scary stories, anyway, I hated feeling scared. To cure myself of the feeling, I
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decided that when I had to go outside after dark, (usually to complete some chore or
another that I had neglected to do earlier) I would take a torch but not turn it on unless
there was no alternative. In this way, I was able to train myself not to feel scared. I
still have no problem with the dark.
Mum also had a type of petrol iron, which she had to pump up. She used to warn
us not to come too close in case it flared up and burnt us. Occasionally it would flare
up, and it was a scary thing. The jute bag came in handy again. With my rather vivid
imagination, I had visions of Mum burning to death. Fortunately, she was always able
to control it.
Talking of things catching fire, we bought a kerosene refrigerator when I was eight
or nine years old. It had a ring of wick that would flare up if it was not trimmed
correctly. One night I was sleeping out on the back veranda, near this refrigerator,
when I saw flames coming from the back of it. I called out for help, and good old
Mum came to the rescue. We were very lucky another time that it did not burn the
house down, because it flared up when we were out and we came home to black
smoke rising to the ceiling.
One cannot recall our home, without thinking of the backyard toilet, or as we called
it the “dunny”. It was situated some distance from the house (for good reason). It
was a small weatherboard, tin roofed little shed that had a seat with a hole in it and
under the hole was a large bucket to collect the waste. With a large family, this had to
be emptied quite frequently and usually the job fell to Dad or Alan, though I have been
known to take a turn if things got desperate. The paper we used was torn up squares
of newspaper or magazines. The newspaper was better, as it seemed to do a better job
and was softer. We all liked to get in and out as quickly as possible, not only because
of the smell that not even phenol could deaden, but because it was a haunt for red back
spiders. As far as I know none of us was ever bitten, however, we heard stories about
those who had been.
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Quotation: Laughter is the closest distance between two people.
Victor Borge (1909-2000)
I never heard my parents quarrel. Occasionally Dad would get a bit frustrated with
Mum’s way of telling a story. She was such a stickler for the truth that she would be
constantly backtracking to get everything right. Dad would eventually exclaim “Oh,
get on with it woman!” He did not feel the need to be 100 percent accurate.
Although, his stories were full of exaggerations and as I like to call it, hyperboles, they
were a great deal more interesting than Mum’s. Certainly, we were never in any doubt
that Dad was making the story interesting. We children loved to hear Dad and his
brother Wat trying to outdo each other with their exciting tales of past exploits. We
would all sit around the two of them, egging them on and killing ourselves with
laughter.
Mum and Dad did not like to hear any of us children quarrelling and most of the
time we were able to get along. I do remember Phyl and I having a fight once when
we were dressing up in Mum’s clothes. Mum had one dress that we both fancied. It
was a long slinky black number. I think on this occasion, I was wearing it, and I
wanted to look at myself in the mirror. (Mum had a long mirror on her wardrobe
door.) Push led to shove, and eventually we were at it, hammer and tongs. I was
always much stronger than Phyl; however she was more determined and had a higher
pain thresh hold. I eventually gave up, however, as I was retiring to lick my wounds,
Phyl said in a rather nasty tone, “You can have it, I don’t want it now!”
Something Phyl and I had in common has been our predisposition to faint. It
happened on a regular basis, with Phyl being a bit more that way inclined. I usually
fainted when I was in pain. Though Mum says when I was little I would chuck a
tantrum, hold my breath until blue in the face, then faint. Her remedy was to rush me
outside to a tap, then run the water over me until I came to. That is probably the
reason why I always have the sensation of water running over me when I am
recovering from a faint. Phyl would faint if she was kept standing too long. At school,
especially if she had to stand in the sun, down she would go! Thankfully, except for an
occasional lapse, we both grew out of the habit.
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Alan recalls a scary incident that happened to him one night. He said he had woken
up in the night to the sound of whirring, and saw a white figure floating towards him in
the darkness. It would float towards him, and then it would float back again. What
with Elsie’s tales of the ghosts of murdered folk, he said he lay there shivering in fright
for a while, until he could stand it no longer. He leapt up and grabbed at the white
figure. When he fell back onto the bed, he realised he was clutching one of Elsie’s
white dresses. She had washed her dress, and then hung it to dry on a coat hanger on
the telephone line that was above his head. When it screeched in indignation, he
realized that the whirring sound had been a cat purring at the foot of his bed.
Another story involving our rather vivid imaginations was to do with a ghost in
Mum’s bedroom. I think Mum must have been away in the paddock with Dad, because
Alan, Phyl and I were mucking about near Mum’s chook yard when we noticed a face
peering out through Mum’s bedroom window. It was a very white scary looking face.
We were quite frightened and moved away a bit. When we looked back at the
window, the face had gone. We felt too scared to go and check in the house, but crept
closer, only to see it appear again. Eventually we were near enough to the window to
realize that there was a hole in the flywire and the breeze was blowing the white lace
curtain up and back from the hole, giving us, with a bit of help from our active
imagination, the impression of a white face.
Sometimes on summer nights, we would all sleep outside on the veranda. I can still
visualize the stars, they were so thick and bright, and seemed so close; you felt you
were in among them. There would also be white cloud like vapour trailing across the
sky, giving the name to the Milky Way. It was certainly a beautiful sight. It is such a
shame that city children miss the sight of those moonless country skies. We would also
watch the meteors trailing across the sky, with Alan making up stories of space travel
or going to the moon. I remember one night, when Mum had taken Alan and Elsie to
a dance; Phyl and I were at home with Dad. We were watching the night sky, and
there were a few clouds around, suddenly a huge light as big as the moon appeared
from behind the clouds and seemed to be coming straight towards us; we held our
breath, as it lit up the night. Thankfully, it veered off and disappeared over the horizon.
We think it must have been a meteor. Hot humid summer nights, would also bring on
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a thunderstorm, and we would all lie outside watching the display; mostly they kept
their distance, so we did not feel threatened.
We were at home with Dad another night when we heard some strange noises
coming from the back veranda. Phyl and I were so scared that we hid under the kitchen
table. Clop, clop, slurp, slurp came these sounds as we shivered in fright. After about
15 minutes or so, Dad came bursting into the kitchen crying, “How come you girls
didn’t hear the cow in the yard?” One of our cows had found its way into the house
yard and was drinking from a dish of water we kept outside on a stump for hand
washing. We eventually rounded it up, but not before it had found its way to Mums
vegetable patch, where it demolished a couple of cabbages.
Summer was always so hot and we had no air conditioning, not even a fan and we
would sometimes lay on the floor in our passageway, because that seemed to be the
coolest spot in the house. A cool refreshing breeze named the “Albany Doctor,” blew
in off the southern ocean almost every summer afternoon about 4 o’clock. You could
hear it coming from a mile or so away. We sighed with relief, especially when the
temperature was over a hundred degrees, and it often was. Sometimes it would stir up
a willy willy or a cockeyed bob and things would blow about until they passed.
Occasionally we would get a dust storm and they would darken the sky and fill the
house with dust. Dad did not like these storms, because they would blow away
precious topsoil.
Of course, we had flies, millions of them. They would settle on our backs in a black
swarm. In addition, they would attack our eyes, looking for moisture. We were always
brushing them away and I am sure we suffered from infections because of their
persistence. When we were milking the cows, they liked to settle on the cows back and
she would switch her tail to remove them, and if you did not watch out, her tail would
give you a stinging blow across the face.
Early Memories and Albany
Albany was a favourite place for many of the Hewett families to spend their
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holidays. It was much cooler in the summer and the families had an opportunity to
meet and spend time together. One of my earliest memories is of the time we were on
holiday in Albany. I was about two and a half years old; I was paddling in the shallow
water at Middleton Beach when a crab bit me on the toe. My mother put a bandage on
it and I can remember running along the sand with a bandage trailing behind me.
I would like to tell one Albany story that my father liked to tell us about our
uncle Fred. He was married to a favourite Aunt, Dad’s sister Mary. Fred was quite a
dapper man, and “one for the ladies“, so to speak. One day, they decided to go on a
picnic. However, to get to the picnic spot, they had to cross a broken bridge. Fred
was very concerned that the women might fall in so he ushered them carefully across
the bridge. Unfortunately, he was so busy watching out for them that he missed his
step. Down he went into the water. My father says that he disappeared underneath
for some time, and then up popped the buns, up popped his hat, and then up popped
Uncle Fred! It caused a great deal of amusement for the family but spoiled Fred’s day.
Another of Dad’s stories about Fred happened before my father was married. Fred,
along with my father, Dad’s brother Walter (Wat) and another companion decided to
go on a hunting trip. They camped in a tent in the bush, where they spent a few days
hunting for kangaroos. Dad and Uncle Wat decided to play a trick on Fred and the
other man. Nomadic aborigines roamed in the area and because of all the scary stories
of their young days, the young men viewed them with suspicion. Keeping this in mind,
Dad and his brother went out into the bush one night after dark and pretended to be
aborigines. Unfortunately, the trick backfired, because in his fright Fred grabbed a
shotgun and started to shoot wildly into the trees. My father thought it was time to
reveal himself before anyone got hurt.
Incidental Memories
I started to talk when I was very young, and the family would get me to say big
words to show how clever I was. I once reminded an Aunt that I used to say Grecian
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Archipelago when I was 18 months old. She said, “More like twelve.” Anyway,
because of all this attention, I had a rather exaggerated opinion of my abilities,
however just as the famous Proverb of King Solomon “Pride goes before a fall!” I
will tell you how I was reduced to size. I was a very small child, so small, in fact that I
could fit under the dining table. One day my mother was telling us a story or rather, I
thought it was a story. She started her tale by saying, “Adam and Eve and Nipme all
went out to bathe, Adam and Eve were drowned, and who you think was saved?” In
my cleverness, I replied, Nipme, and she did! I can still remember how crestfallen, I
was. Moreover, although Mum denied it, she really did pinch me hard. Some time
later, to make me feel less of a fool, my sister Elsie told me a story of her own
embarrassment that had happened early in her school life. The teacher asked the class
what a dun cow was. In her eagerness to give the answer, she said, “One that’s been
milked“. Unfortunately, to her shame, he was thinking of colour, not condition. I
have my suspicions about his real intentions.
Farm Stories
Quotation: Nothing is really work, unless you’d rather be doing something else.
James M Barrie (1860-1937)
There was a severe depression during the 1930’s and after the crab episode; we had
no holidays in Albany for quite some time. Times were very hard for most of the
people in the district, so hard for some that they just walked off their farms and lost
everything. Many of the women supplemented the meagre farm income by selling milk,
butter and eggs. I am not sure how many chickens Mum had, but she was able to sell
up to 600 eggs a week (which we collected) and almost 8 to 10 gallons of cream every
week. (We milked the cows!) In time, Mum made enough money to send us all away
to High School, (Elsie, Phyl and me to Northam and Alan to Albany) so I guess it was
worth all our efforts. It also gave us a good work ethic that has lasted all our lives.
Children on the farms, us included, trapped rabbits, skinned them and sold the fur for a
few pence a skin. One of the worst jobs we had to do was pick dead wool. When a
sheep died, we would go out and pick the wool off its body. It had to reach just the
right state of ripeness, because if you picked it too early, it would refuse to budge,
leave it too late, and the skin would peel off with the wool. Sometimes the sheep
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would be fly- blown, but always it was a very smelly job. We sold the wool in a
separate lot to regular wool and made a bit of pocket money. Even though on today’s
standards life was hard, however, as everyone was in the same boat, we never felt
particularly deprived. In fact, most of the time life was fun.
Sometimes Dad would bring home the motherless lamb and we would bottle-feed it.
After a while, we would teach it to drink from the bucket by putting our fingers in its
mouth and dipping its head into the milk, teaching it to suck up the milk from the
bucket. These pet lambs could be used as decoys to lure other sheep into places that
they did not want to go. In the same way, calves were also taught to drink out of a
bucket when they were removed from their mothers.
One of our chores was to milk the cows. Each of us had at least one to milk.
Elsie milked a cow called Sally, she was bad tempered, and no one else could milk her.
When Joe was about three years old, we were down near the sheds and Sally took a
sudden charge at him. Fortunately, Dad was nearby, and kicked Sally in her eye and
stopped her charge. Dad decided that as Elsie was going to High School, he would
sell the cow. Elsie felt annoyed that he had not done it sooner. Another cow was
called Daphne and she always gave a lot of milk, especially just after she had a calf.
Her udder was so big that her milk would become blood stained. Another one I
remember was called Polly, she was a reddish colour; they were all pole cows (had no
horns) and we had a bull called Ferdinand (Ferdie). I remember our dog Towser
teasing Ferdie one day and the bull charged at him tossing him over his back. It did
not stop Towser, as being a blue heeler, he was a natural cattle dog.
I loved stories and Alan was a good storyteller. He used
to promise me that if I milked his cow, he would tell me a
story. He could always suck me in, and so after finishing
my cow, I would milk his as he sat on the rail, telling me
the wonderful adventures of Flash Gordon or the Phantom. My favourite was The
Phantom. He was the brainchild of an American named Lee Falk, a comic strip
character of larger than life proportions, destroying evil and fighting for justice. The
“man who can never die” or “the ghost who walks“, so named because of his
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miraculous power of survival. With his horse Hero and his pet wolf Devil, he was
every child’s dream hero. Comic strips were a recent addition to our reading
repertoire and most children enjoyed reading them. I think we read the Phantom when
it appeared in a magazine called “The Women’s Weekly” because we certainly were
not favoured with very many comic books.
There was one time, however, when I was milking Alan’s cow, and he had gone
off to look for something in the shed, I heard him yell out, “Snake snake“. He was
always teasing, so I took no notice, but suddenly, around the corner came slithering
this long brown snake. The milking forgotten, I leapt from my seat and jumped into
the air; the snake reared up, barely missing my legs. It seems to me it was like the boy
who cried wolf in reverse, as it was me on the receiving end, not Alan. We had a very
healthy fear of snakes and usually gave them a wide berth. Towser our dog often
helped to sniff one out and give us plenty of warning.
There was another episode involving a snake, and the cow shed. This time Phyl
was also involved. As usual, I was listening to one of Alan’s stories and milking his
cow. (Seems I am a bit repetitious, but that is how it often was.) Phyl had already
finished her milking and she was on her way home. Unbeknown to me, she and Alan
had cooked up a scheme to scare me. After telling me the story, Alan said he had to
go. It was getting quite dark, and after about five minutes, he came back and said that
he would wait for me because he did not want to leave me on my own in the dark. I
should have been suspicious; however, I was pretty naïve. I finished milking the cow
and together we proceeded along the pathway home. Suddenly Alan grabbed a
pitchfork that was leaning against the chicken yard fence (very conveniently!) and
once again shouted “Snake, snake”. He then proceeded to pick up what I thought
was a snake wriggling about on the ground, and hurl it towards me. When I screamed,
Phyl revealed herself from where she had been hiding in the scrap heap. She had been
pulling a thick rope with a piece of string. They thought it was very funny: I did not!
It amazes me that Alan could always manage to have one of us girls on his side
against the other. Why we did not gang together against him, I will never know.
Phyl remembers the game of “Cheat” that we played with cards. I am not sure
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how we played the game however; she says that you could cheat in a certain way to
trick your opponent. She says Alan and I would gang up against her and double
cheat. She said she got so mad with us one day that she completely lost her temper.
We ran outside with Phyl in hot pursuit. She picked up a stick and hurled it towards
our fleeing figures. She says it went end over end like a boomerang and struck Alan
on the back. Alan fell on the ground pretending to be mortally wounded and Phyl
became alarmed at what she had done. Later Alan rubbed blue chalk into his back to
give the appearance of a large bruise. When he showed Phyl, she says she was even
more worried by her loss of control. Not that she gave him the satisfaction of saying
sorry
After Elsie went to High School, Alan was in charge of the reins when we were in
the sulky. Like most brothers, he was a habitual tease and he was quite bossy to us
girls. This was very evident when there were many gates to open. Every fortnight,
Dad and his neighbour took turns in killing a sheep for meat for the table. When it was
the neighbours turn to kill, we would call in on the way home from school and pick it
up. There were at least half a dozen gates, along his drive and the unwritten rule of
farm life was that you must always close every gate after you go through. Phyl or I
had to open these gates, never Alan. One of his favourite tricks was to wait until we
were almost ready to get back in the sulky after closing the gate, and then he would
say “Hurry up, I’ll give you 10 to get back in. “ He would then start to count slowly
to 10. When we got to within a few steps of the sulky, he would finish his counting
quickly, and drive off, leaving us to run after him. Sometimes he would do it five or
six times before relenting and letting Phyl or I get into the sulky. He made me be so
mad that I would often sit on the side of the road and refuse to budge. Eventually,
though, I would have to trudge towards home, only to find him waiting somewhere
down the track. He knew very well that Mum would give him a hiding if she knew
what he had been doing!
We kids could never play a trick on Mum; however Dad was always a good sport
and we could sometimes get away with one on him. Keeping in mind, the episode of
his seasickness as a young child, we had a good opportunity one day. Dad was
soldering the bottom of a large tank, which was lying on its side. To have some fun
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with Dad and see if we could get a reaction, we started rocking the tank from side to
side. It was not long before Dad came out, “green to the gills“. In later life, he said
that he even got seasick watching a movie of the sea on TV.
I never heard my parents swear. (No, I did hear Dad swear once when I was hiding
behind the shed, and that doesn’t count, because he didn’t know I was there). I am
sure my father would swear in the paddocks however, Dad did not swear in front of
women and children. On the other hand, our neighbour John was always swearing.
We would hear him as he drove his horses around the paddocks, swearing like a
trooper. He had an endless supply of rich expressive words that he could draw upon
to express his annoyance. An amusing incident happened one day, when he and two of
his children, came to visit. The little boy Tommy was about two years old and had a
similar vocabulary to that of his father. His little sister Joan was a couple of years
older, and she did not like to hear her brother swear. When he was using some fourletter
words, she said “Tommy stop your bloody swearing!” She did not realise that
she too was using a forbidden word. It caused much amusement to us, who would
have had our mouths washed out with soap if we said anything even remotely vulgar.
(Joan later became my daughter Jill’s mother in law.)
A Helping Hand
Quotation: You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you
give of yourself that you truly give.
Kahul Gibran (1883-1931)
Most of the farmers were willing to help in cases of emergency, and our neighbour
John was no exception. One day he called in on his way to Perth, Phyl says it was to
pick up some wheat Dad wanted him to deliver to Uncle Wat in Mundijong for his
dairy cows (not strictly legitimate at the time!). Before he left, one of us kids ran to
the house to tell Dad that a mob of sheep had escaped. They had smelled water and
rushed into a dam. Because of the dry summer, the water in the dam had shrunk to a
small puddle, leaving thick, sticky mud around the edges. Smelling the water the
thirsty sheep had rushed in to have a drink, only to be stuck fast. Even though he was
in his best clothes, John was willing to help us pull them out of the dam. Quite a large
flock were stuck with no way to extricate themselves. We formed a human chain, with
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Dad and John up to their waist in mud, pulling the sheep out and handing them one at
a time to Mum, then she would pass them to Alan and finally, Phyl and I would stand
them up and walk them around until enough of the mud fell off and they were safe. I
can remember, we worked well into the night and all the sheep were rescued.
Somehow, Mum managed to find some clean clothes for John to wear on his journey;
however, I imagine his suit was never the same afterwards.
Dad was always up every morning before sunrise. He would light the fire in the
metters stove, put a kettle on to boil and then be off to the sheds to feed his horses.
Then the rest of us would get up, us kids to go and bring the cows in to be milked, and
Mum to get the breakfast. When we had finished milking, we would harness up the
horse and sulky ready for school. Then in for breakfast, make our lunch, which was
often just jam sandwiches (they were the easiest), then away to school before eight
o’clock. By this time, Dad was long gone, and we would not see him again until well
after dark.
At weekends and holidays during the shearing and harvest, we kids had to help. It
was our job to tramp down the wool in the bales at shearing and to round up the sheep
into the pens. At hay carting time, we would stook the hay, and after they bought in
bulk handling, I would occasionally help the men with wheat carting. The wheat was
carted in jute bags by truck to Stretton siding where there was a large wheat silo. The
load was weighed and tested before each bag was poured into a hopper. As I was
quite strong, I could pull a bag of wheat to the edge of the truck tray and tip it over
the side into the hopper. I felt very proud of my big muscles, and thought that I would
make a pretty good boy. I was certainly a tomboy.
Another of our jobs was picking mallee roots. We would take the horse and cart to
the paddock, load up the cart with the roots, then bring the load home for firewood.
What we did not need, we burned in the paddock. Mallee roots are the best firewood
ever, as they burn hot, but clean and slow, and all that is left afterwards is white ash.
Farm Accidents.
We had a haystack close to our horse shed making chaff cutting less of a chore.
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Haystacks were made from sheaves of hay placed one on top of the other in neat rows
some 10 or so feet (3m) high. They had vertical sides and a sloping cone shaped top,
which allowed water to drain off, thus avoiding the hay becoming mouldy.
These haystacks were a home for mice and snakes and when we were pulling
sheaves out of the stack to feed into the chaffcutter, butcher birds would hover around
close to catch the mice. Talking about mice reminds me of one time in the chaff shed,
which was also a home for many mice, I picked up a mouse by the tail and dangled it in
front of Phyl and Alan saying “Look at me, I’ve caught a mouse by the tail.” It turned
its body up and bit me on the finger and I very smartly let it go!
Farming was often very dangerous, and I remember one day when my father had
quite a serious accident. He was cutting chaff and we were helping him by feeding
sheaves of hay from a stack that was close by. Phyl remembers that we were so small
that the tray of the chaff cutter was head height. Each week, he would have to cut
chaff to provide food for the animals. A chaffcutter machine has a chute, at the end of
which, a set of cogs pulls straw through to a spinning blade that cuts the straw into
short lengths. Dad was feeding the hay through the chute, when his hand caught in the
cog assembly. Displaying very quick reflexes Dad was able to stop the machine just in
time to avoid having his fingers sliced off. He then had to reverse it to be able to
extricate his hand. Because Dad’s little finger was so severely crushed, he was in a
lot of pain, and I was very shocked to see my father cry. He must have damaged the
tendons, because the finger was not much use afterwards. That meant that he had
damage to two of his fingers. As a young lad, Dad had blown the top off the index
finger of his left hand with a detonator. He never told us anything about that story, as
he probably did not want Alan having a try at the same thing just to see what would
happen!
Dad also had another accident with the chaffcutter. There was a motor attached by
a very long pulley belt to the machine’s flywheel. One day, when he was cutting chaff,
he stepped over the belt and at that instant; maybe because it was not at the right
tension, the belt came off one end and somehow wrapped itself around his foot. Dad
told us later that as the belt tightened on his leg and drew him closer to the flywheel,
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he thought that, as there was no one to stop the motor; he was going to be flung
around and around the flywheel until he died. Fortunately, the belt snapped just in
time, and he was not seriously injured, just a little bruised and quite a lot shaken!
I remember coming home from school one day and finding my father in bed. This
was most unusual and so I asked Mum what was wrong with him. She told me that
she had seen what she thought was a very old man hobbling very slowly up the road on
a stick. When he got a little closer, she realised that it was Dad. He had stopped to
have his lunch under the shade of a tree, about a 1/2km from home. At the time, he
was working with a team of 12 horses, and some of them were not very even
tempered. They were behaving in a restless manner, so Dad walked among them to
settle them down. Unfortunately, one of them kicked out and caught him in the shin.
He said that he went flying about 50 yards through the air, and when he landed, he was
stunned and had to lay there for some time before being able to pull himself up on a
stick. Mum said she had seen him parked under the tree and thought he was having an
afternoon rest. He had a huge bruise on his leg and was very lucky that it was not
broken.
Hospital
Quotation: Preserving health by too severe a rule is a worrisome malady.
Francois de la Rochefoucauld (1613-1680)
When I was 4 years old, we nearly lost our father. Because of the shortage of
water, Dad had decided to build a large underground storage tank. I think it must have
been a very cold winter that year, and because he was working in the wet and cold, he
developed pneumonia. Mum later told us that when she called the doctor to him, he
told her that if they moved him he would die, so Mum nursed him until he recovered
enough to go to the Corrigin Hospital. She also recalled that it was only the discovery
of sulpha drugs that saved him. I also caught pneumonia and went to hospital. Mum
said later that we had caught a type of Asian flu because a workman was also admitted
to the same Hospital with it at the same time. I was too little to share my father’s
room, because he was so sick, however an older cousin Marjorie was in hospital
recovering from scarlet fever. They put me in a cot in her room until Dad got a little
better. I can remember my cousin Marjorie reading stories to me and I think that was
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the beginning of my love for stories. When Dad’s condition improved, the nurses
moved me into his room. The only trouble was, I was shy, especially of mentioning
bodily functions, and I remember crying and Dad asking me what was wrong. I could
not tell him I needed to do a wee. I was completely devastated when I could hold out
no longer and wet the bed. I could never remember having had such a calamity
before. Mum’s strict training regime had us dry and out of nappies soon after we were
12 months old.
I have a very vivid memory of something else that happened when I was about
4½years old that involved that same hospital. Mum thought that it would be a good
idea for us to have our tonsils removed. I do not know why Elsie was not involved, it
may have been because she had recently suffered from scarlet fever and had spent a
few weeks in hospital, or maybe she just did not suffer with sore throats. Whatever
the reason was, Alan, Phyl and I had to go to the nearest hospital at Corrigin, 20 miles
(32km) away. I can remember being in a cot and feeling quite mortified, I was too big
for a cot, because after all I was four years old. When the time came, for me go down
for surgery, it took four nurses to prize me out of my cot, (I feel certain it was four,
because I remember bragging about it later!) When I got into the operating theatre,
one of the nurses sat on a chair and held me in her arms bound very tightly so that I
could not move. The doctor placed a gag on my mouth, which he screwed open until
it hurt. He put a large instrument down my throat and snipped away at something. I
can remember seeing these pink fleshy things in a silver dish. Down he dived again and
brought out some more. (Tonsils and adenoids) I had no anaesthetic and I am sure by
this time I was screaming blue murder. On my return to the ward, my sister Phyl was
the next to go. The same procedure for her except I think her mouth must have been
smaller than mine was because the gag tore the sides of her mouth. When she returned
to the ward, she was also screaming. Alan recalls how terrified he was of being next
on the list. He recalls the doctor saying that his throat would heal much quicker
without painkillers! While we were recuperating, I can remember having something
that looked like a bike tube, filled with icy water and wrapped around our necks. The
only good thing about hospital was the jelly and ice cream. Phyl also recalled that we
had a bell in our room, however because Alan kept ringing it all the time, the nurse put
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it on top of the wardrobe. This did not stop Alan; he would climb on top of a
wardrobe and retrieve it!
While we were in the hospital, another little girl, whom we knew, came in to have
her tonsils out. She cried so much that the nurses thought she might settle if they put
in our room. We could not understand why she kept calling for her mother, and we
considered her quite a sook. She was three years old!
Later, I had another experience with the same doctor. Mum gave birth to our
brother John when I was seven. She spent two weeks in hospital. Dad had organised
for one of the local women to act as a housekeeper. She was quite old and had some
peculiar ideas on remedies to heal things. I developed a very swollen neck, which she
thought was an infection. Her remedy was to poultice my neck. After many days, I
was not getting any better, so Dad decided to take me to the hospital. My neck was
huge and had a large sore on it. As I was pulling my dress over my head, I scraped the
top off it. The pus and muck that poured out of my neck filled a towel. When I
arrived at the hospital, I met the same doctor. His cure was to scrape my jawbone
with a sharp instrument, and once again no anaesthetic! I stayed in that hospital for
about a week and several times a day I had to undergo the torture of having my
jawbone scraped. He said that if he did not do it, I might get tuberculosis of the bone.
I thought there had to be an easier way! No wonder we children had no real love for
doctors in those days. We thought we should avoid them at any cost.
I made up my first poem while I was in that hospital. I was in a bed outside on the
veranda and several other patients were out there as well. The one next to me was an
old man with a broken leg. A sort of pulley contraption held his leg suspended in the
air. When the nurses came to wash him and change his bed linen, I was not supposed
to look. A seven-year-old girl is an inquisitive thing and I did not always resist the
urge. What I saw sparked this poem. Mr O’Grady’s dangle dangles are not a pretty
sight. In fact they gave me such an awful fright”
While Mum was still in hospital, my sister Elsie decided to try her hand at cooking.
One of her masterpieces was chocolate blancmange. The day she prepared it, we had a
visitor, a young man from a neighbouring farm. After he had finished his main course,
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Elsie brought to the table the blancmange. My brother Alan did not help matters by
saying that the pudding looked just like liver. The poor lad, managed to get through
one helping, however he turned quite pale when our father insisted that he have a
second helping.
Elsie eventually became quite a good cook, however it used to irritate me to hear
the family heaping praise on her efforts when Phyl and I did all the heavy work behind
the scenes. We chopped the wood, stoked the fire, collected the eggs, washed the
dishes and were her general “dogs bodies“, yet it seems we did not rate a mention! (I
was showing my true colours!)
Common maladies.
If we seemed a bit run down, Mum would bring out the Parrish’s Chemical Food,
which was an Iron phosphate compound, and I can remember it had a very mineral-like
taste. My brother and sisters hated it, so Mum always had a lolly ready after a dose.
They thought it grossly unfair that Tim got a lolly too, because they knew I did not
mind the taste so much.
Boils seemed a regular occurrence, especially on Phyl, and we would get an
Antiphlogestine (Kaolin) Poultice for them. Styes in the eyes were something else we
suffered with,(Especially Phyl) and there did not seem that there was anything much
we could do about them. I do recall having to bathe them in a mixture of water and
boracic acid. Nausea was treated with Milk of Magnesia, though I can certainly
remember doing my share of vomiting without receiving any relief. Phyl always says
that she would start to feel sick and as the feeling progressed, she would pray that she
could be sick, so as to get it over, only to change her mind when it was imminent
saying “I’m sorry God, I did not mean it.” Constipation was generally prevented by
Mum giving us a regular dose of Liquid Paraffin before bed and thus avoiding the
dreaded castor oil! We also got the regular dose of Cod Liver Oil to ward off various
complaints. Mum swore by Carter’s Little Liver Pills as a cure for crabbiness, as she
felt certain that our liver must have been playing up. Ricketts blue bags were used to
relieve bee stings. We would often get nasty sores that we called Barcoo rot (I think
they were impetigo) and the only way to treat them, was to scrape the scabs off and
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then bathe them in Condi’s crystals (potassium permanganate). I think we also had
something called Worm Medicine to deal with those nasty outbreaks.
Mum had nursed the first four of us through Whooping Cough and we were all very
sick. (we all came down with it at the same time and it was before immunization)
Mum must have had a worrying time and she said that she had so little sleep that she
would tend to us without opening her eyes. One night as she was feeling her way along
the passage, she felt a man’s face and was startled. Dad had not heard her get up and
thought he would take a turn to spare her. Another one of Dad’s turns that went
awry! Elsie had to spend some weeks in hospital with Scarlet Fever, as there were no
antibiotics in those days. Children could develop kidney disease or heart defects after
a bout, so the Doctors kept children in hospital on bed rest for a week or two.
One time Alan jumped from a tree, landed on a broken bottle, and sliced a very
deep cut in his foot that needed stitching. However, apart from the foregoing, we
managed to escape any serious injuries. Amazing really, when you think of the things
we used to get up to. We were a tough and hardy lot and most things we shook off in
time.
Bullaring and Recreation
In those days, Bullaring had a small shop, a Hall, the school, a wheat silo with a
weighbridge and a railway siding. A large man called George ran the shop. He was
mostly good-natured, but he loved to tease all the children, especially Alan. He also
had a nasty tempered blue heeler dog chained up at the side of the shop that scared us
silly. As you came strolling around the corner from school, the dog would rush out
barking furiously. We were always glad to see him tightly secured by his chain. You
could buy almost anything in the shop, or if it were not available in the shop, George
would send to Corrigin or Perth to get it for you. Mum collected her stores from the
shop once a week, or sent a note to school with us kids and we would bring her order
home in the sulky. We got several loaves of bread from Corrigin by train three times a
week and as we loved our bread fresh, she always ordered some extra loaves because
she knew we would eat some on the way home from school.
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As a young man, Dad had loved playing sport, particularly football and tennis.
When his children were born, he decided to give up football and only play tennis. He
was a very good player and could beat most of the men in the district. Some of the
local men, including my father, built the tennis courts; it was a distance of about a
kilometre from the shop at Bullaring. The surface was of crushed white ants nest. It
was so smooth and flat that many people commented on how good it was to play on.
In the summer on most Sundays, the farmers would get together to play a few sets
of tennis. In the winter, they played football. Sometimes the football field would be
underwater, and a farmer would offer his paddock as a substitute. Though Dad no
longer played the game, we often went to watch. It was at a football game in one of
the farmer’s paddocks that an incident happened to Joe. He would have been about
three at the time. A girl of about six or seven, who wore glasses, took a fancy to him
and wanted to pick him up and carry him around. Joe was having none of it, and after
being chased around the paddock for a while, he came running to me crying, “That
thing is after me again!” I think that this episode was just the beginning of a long line
of battles in which I supported Joe, as he later called me his “Champion“.
The Bullaring Progress Association, used to organise a picnic day for families to
have a get together every year. All of us Hewett’s were quite good at sport, and I
know that Phyl in particular, loved these events. Each family would bring their own
picnic lunch and there would be three legged and sack races egg and spoon and flag
races, with all the members of the family joining in. In a flag race, half a dozen flags
are placed in buckets at various distances from the start line, then, when the whistle is
blown, the runners have to run to each bucket, pick up a flag and run back to the start
line, place the flag in another bucket, then run back for each of the other flags, picking
them up one at a time, in no particular order. Phyl worked out that if she ran and
picked up the one furthest away first, then the next furthest and so on; she would be
running the furthest distance when she was fresh. It was worth a few extra seconds
and often enough to win. Very clever reasoning for someone who thought she was not
particularly bright.
On one of those picnic days, Phyl recalls someone asking Dad the time, he said,
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“Ten past one”. The other guy said, “My watch says the same”. The only problem
was that Dad did not wear a watch. We were used to Dad’s ability to tell the time
accurately. He would glance at the sun and then give an accurate time to within
minutes. I suppose it must have been a skill he developed by a lifetime spent outdoors.
Dances and other Activities
When the branch of the Country Women’s Association (CWA) opened In 1936
Mum became a member and remained one until her death. A great treat for us all, was
going to the dances in the Bullaring Hall every month or so. The C.W.A. women
catered for them and spent all week beforehand cooking plenty of goodies. Mums
specialty was sponge cake or golden lilies. Golden lilies are sponge cake mixture
dropped by tablespoons on a tray and baked for a few minutes, then removed from the
oven and shaped into a lily while still hot. Mum would then fill them with jelly and
cream and they were scrumptious! Dad did not like dancing, so Mum took us children
with her, and we had a very enjoyable time with our friends. Besides dancing, there
would be various items performed, such as a recitation, a song sung, or a musical
instrument played. Phyl and I sang a duet once as we were told we had pleasant voices.
Children loved playing games outside. As we got older, we learned to dance and
joined the grown-ups. Many a romance started this way. At the end of each school
year there would be the annual party, sometimes a fancy dress party and we would get
a small prize. Mum was clever with the crepe paper and I recall once being dressed as
some kind of flower which by the end of the night, with my rough treatment, had lost
all its petals.
Lake Yealering
A small country town called Yealering is situated about 9 miles (14km) from our
farm. It had a large fresh water lake in which we used to swim. Every Christmas and
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New Year’s Day, many people of the district would picnic at the lake. Quite a lot of
the Hewett’s would meet up for an annual get together. New Year’s Day was the
most exciting of the two days, because the grownups would organize a proper bush
picnic. There would be heaps of things organized for both the adults and the children.
There were tennis courts for those who played tennis and swimming, running races,
three legged, sack and egg and spoon races, and who knows what else. It was a great
fun day. Alongside the tennis courts, were very tall pine trees that we used to climb. I
can remember how shocked some of the women were to see our heads poking out of
the topmost branches and Mum being completely unconcerned. She was used to
seeing us shin up tall trees! Another experience that shocked these women happened
when I fell from a tree and fainted; Mum just carried on playing her game of tennis.
She later said that there was a nursing sister who was tending to me, so she did not
see the sense in breaking up a foursome. She knew I would come round soon enough.
Yealering also had an ice-cream shop, and as ice cream was not something, any of
us saw at home we were delighted to enjoy one whenever we went to town. No ice
cream has ever tasted the same since! The woman who ran the shop had two sons.
(The younger of the two became a friend of Alan’s after we moved to York and the
older one was my husband’s best friend.)
Three or four times a year. Dad would say, “How would you kids like to go to the
pictures?” Naturally, we would never refuse. The Picture Show was held in the
Town Hall in Yealering, and it was a pretty rough and ready affair with the screen
being a large white bed sheet, and the projector in full view of the audience. I can
remember my first picture show. I saw this train coming straight at me out of the
screen and I was terrified, I thought we were all going to be crushed under its wheels.
(My overworked imagination again!)
On one occasion when Joe was about eight years old, we had all gone to some
event in Yealering. As we only had one car, I think one of the neighbour’s sons had
driven us older ones, and left Mum and Dad to bring Joe and Morris. Mum and Dad
were leaving early and Joe wanted to stay on, so Mum said he could, as long as he let
us know we were to bring him home. Somehow the wires were crossed and when we
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arrived home Mum said, “Where is Joe? “ We had left him behind in Yealering. He
was eventually found, and somehow got home safely.
Another scary event that happened when we were on our way to Yealering was
when Alan was driving. By this time, he must have been 18 and had a driver’s licence.
Elsie and her boyfriend at the time, Martin and Phyl were in the back seat of the car,
and I was sitting in the front seat next to Alan. He was quite lead footed in those days
and the speedometer had reached 84 mph (135km) He was on a long straight stretch
of road and forgot that up ahead, there was a raised
railway line. When we hit the bump, the car left the
ground and we were airborne. I can still remember seeing
the road coming at me through the front windscreen.
Fortunately, there was enough weight in the back to hold
the car down and we landed safely. However, the three in
the back hit their heads with a loud crack on the roof;
there were no seat belts in those days. Alan managed to
keep the car from spinning out of control, and we went on
our way. I am not sure that he learned any lessons that day, as in his youth, he was
always inclined to drive at high speed whether by car or on his motorbike.
Corrigin
Corrigin was the nearest big town and every year they held an Agricultural Show.
People from all around the district would enter various exhibits to see if they could
take off a prize. It was also a time to meet up with friends and family. One year when
I was quite small, I can remember asking Dad for some money to buy an icecream and
he gave me 2 shillings. I ran off, bought my ice cream that cost 3 pence and returned
with the change. Dad said, “You can keep it.” I could not believe my good fortune, I
felt rich!
They also held a New Years Eve Ball in the Corrigin Town Hall every year and
when we got older, we would sometimes go. After seeing in the New Year, we would
not want to go home and would sit around telling yarns until dawn.
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Relatives
There was no man more ordinary and down-to-earth than my father, and yet he had
a slightly unnerving ability to know when we were going to have visitors, and even
whom they were. He would call out to Mum and say, “You had better put some more
water in the stew, Don and Meg (or any other relative) will be visiting us today.” I do
not know whether it was clever deduction or an uncanny power, but he was invariably
right, though it only happened with our relations. Dad could also divine for water. I
remember once holding the stem of a green forked stick in my hand, while Dad held
the other one, I could feel the stick twisting in my hand, in fact, almost cutting into it,
however if I tried to do it on my own, it didn’t work.
We used to visit Mum’s parents every month or so, and they had an exciting rubbish
tip that we loved to fossick through. Grandma also used to let us play with a cylinder
of fiddlesticks, and that was novel, as we did not have much in the way of toys at
home. Grandpa Wood would give us a demonstration with his Burmese sarong. He
would tie it around his waist and then ask us to pull it undone. We were never able to.
He also showed us an example of Burmese writing, and I can remember the fascination
I felt at seeing the unusual curling script. Grandpa also had a special chart that he
would stretch out along the floor. It was an amazing timeline decorated with beautiful
illustrations, showing the Bible history from Adam to Jesus. After Grandpa died, the
family gave it to Elsie; however, it disappeared sometime after her death.
Although my Mother’s parents were strict adherents of the Church of Christ and
regularly went to church, they believed that living a good life was the best example to
others. My own parents had adopted a
similar philosophy.
Grandma Wood’s sister Helen
lived with them and because she was an
invalid, Grandma looked after her. She
had come to Australia when their
mother died. She had a kind of
paralysis that meant that she could not walk very well. My Mother thought that at
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times she put on the invalid bit so her sister would feel sorry for her. I wondered if
she had Multiple Sclerosis because that would explain her lethargy and partial
paralysis. She went into the Home of Peace Nursing Home after Grandma died, and I
often visited her there.
When Grandma was in her 60’s, Grandpa had a stroke and she had to learn to drive
their car, which was an old black one that looked like something from the ark. It was
reliable however, and got them to where they needed to go. Whenever they visited,
they would dress up in their good clothes and Grandma always wore a hat. Because
she had been a milliner in her youth, she made all her own.
I remember very little about my father’s parents. They had both died by the time I
was five years old. However, we had a lot to do with his brothers and sister Mary. She
was my favourite aunt, and her daughter Betty, my favourite cousin. Betty, Terri,
(another cousin), and I were all born in May, so most years, Aunty Mary used to
organise a party to celebrate. I felt very privileged, because Mum was not in the habit
of having parties. My sister Elsie felt very deprived, her birthday was on the 18th of
December and so she received her birthday
and Christmas presents at the same time. She
said, in later life, that she wished she had
been born at a different time. She always
made sure her children were given separate
presents.
One night, when we were coming home from visiting one of our relatives, our car
lights failed. We had quite a few miles to go, and I can remember Mum having to walk
in front of the car with a torch to shine a light on the roadway. We kids thought it was
quite exciting, but I am sure Mum was not impressed. I can still recall the tall trees
above our heads as we crept along the road at a snails pace.
Mundijong
When Dad’s brother Wat moved to Mundijong, we would sometimes spend a
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holiday there. When we first arrived, the younger of the children would often hide
and because of shyness, refuse to come out and greet us. After a day or two, they
would settle down and join in the games. Uncle Wat’s daughter Marjorie was a year
older than Elsie was and between them, they would often cook up stories to tell, or
tricks to play on the rest of us. On one occasion, Elsie was telling a ghostly story
about the couple who had lived in the house before they had moved in. She said that
the husband had murdered his wife and buried her body under the house, and every
year at this time, her ghost would float through the rooms. On saying that, she pulled
a cord with a sheet tied to it through the window while Marjorie was making ghostly
sounds in the background. Later, their mother, Aunty Minnie, could not understand
why her children were too scared to go under the house to collect the eggs!
On one of our visits to Mundijong, Phyl and I persuaded Jack, Cliff and Dennis, to
accompany us to the centre of the town. It was quite late, and it was dark outside.
The boys were nervous, as they were more aware of the dangers of the city than Phyl
or I. There was an asylum for mental patients, not far away, and although the inmates
were not particularly dangerous, they often acted in peculiar ways. The boys were
scared of them. Phyl and I were oblivious to any threat, and carried on our merry way
with the boys following us, constantly checking for danger. Suddenly we heard a noise
and the boys yelled “loonies” and took off down the road leaving Phyl and I behind to
take our chances. I genuinely thought that it was nothing more than the rustling of a
leaf, but the boys were sure that a lunatic was about to jump out from behind one of
the buildings and attack us. After running a 100 yards or so, Cliff had an attack of
conscience and came back to escort
us home. Wat and
Minnie’s children
The other two had disappeared!
It does not happen very often
nowadays, however, if I smell the
smoke of a coal-fired train or hear
its whistle; my mind goes back to those wonderful holidays. To my mind, Mundijong
always seemed so lush and green with beautiful rolling hills and cool breezes, so
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different to the hot, dry, flat, country where we lived.
One year, Uncle Wat and his son Jack came to visit us at our farm, and it seemed
as though it was our intention to do them serious harm. We had put Uncle Wat in a
room that had once been our bathroom. Behind the door, a wooden post propped up a
wide shelf, which contained all sorts of bits and pieces that had been collected over
many years and then forgotten. Alan’s bed was outside on the veranda, and Phyl and I
were talking to him one morning, when we heard a very loud commotion, followed by
a cloud of red dust billowing out from uncle’s room. Emerging from the dust cloud,
we saw a stunned looking uncle, rubbing his head and saying, “What he hit me?” He
had pulled back the door knocking aside the post that was holding the shelf up,
bringing everything crashing down on his head. The red dust was red oxide powder
that had been stored on the shelf. We were trailing red powder through the house for
weeks.
We tried to do Jack in by a different method. Dad wanted to pump some water
from our underground tank into a house tank. He had a pump with the motor that
needed to be primed before it would start. To prime the motor, you poured water into
a large gauge pipe attached to the motor, and then held the pipe above your head to
stop the water running out. Dad asked Jack to hold the pipe for him, “Hold it straight
up, don’t let it fall sideways.” he commanded. When the motor coughed into life, a
huge stream of water poured out of the pipe and over Jack’s head. Even though he
was not able to breathe, he still held on grimly to the pipe, obediently holding it
straight up as he had been directed. He was staggering around trying to get away from
the water and feeling as though he was going to drown before we eventually told him
he could let it go, which he did with great relief.
Our Escapades and Accidents
Quotation: The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.
Dorothy Parker. (1893-1967)
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When we were quite young, one thing we would do when Mum and Dad were not
around was climb onto the top of our roof and slide down to the guttering on our
bottoms. This was quite dangerous as the roof was very steep and the guttering was
about 10 feet (3m) from the ground. Mum started to wonder why our underpants were
always getting holes in them, so to avoid any further complaints, or worse still,
detection, we used pillows to protect them and ourselves from the projecting roofing
nails. Mum then wondered why her pillowslips were torn! I do not think she ever
found out, though you never knew with Mum. She was a “canny one“.
I cannot ever remember, not being able to climb, though I suppose there must have
been a time when I could not. Climbing was part of our everyday life, and very often,
Mum would find us on the top of the thatched horse shed. In fact, Phyl fell off it when
she was 18 months old. We would find a chook’s nest and eat the eggs raw, which
makes me shudder when I think of it now.
We had a couple of favourite trees near our house that Elsie had named the Mrs
Buddies. They were two Mallee trees whose branches were just the right height for us
to climb. In addition, a couple of very beautiful Salmon gums grew near the woodheap
and towered over the smaller trees that grew near the house. We loved nothing better
than to climb out on the branch of a tree and see how many push-ups we could do. If
it was a race, Alan was always the winner. In fact, we were so addicted to climbing
trees, that when Phyl and I eventually went off to High School, we horrified our ladylike
older sister by climbing the trees in St Bernard Park!
Water was so scarce, we only had a bath once a week. The water was heated in our
copper and brought by bucket to the bathroom, then topped up after each bath. Dad
could stand the hottest water, so he went first, then Mum, I think Alan next, and the
three of us girls all together after him. Though my memory is a little unsure on the
order of us children. Mum saved every precious drop, and it was bucketed out to her
garden when cold. She did the same with her washing water. Every night, we would
have to wash our feet in a basin outside on the veranda. One day I was complaining
that the water was cold. My sister Phyl decided to heat it up with a kettle of hot water
from the kitchen stove. Because it was dark on the veranda, she did not notice that my
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feet were still in the dish. As she poured the boiling water over one of my feet, I let
out a terrible scream. Mum came running to see what was causing the commotion.
She later told me that I was upset for a very long time, and she felt quite desperate, as
the nearest doctor was 20 miles (32km) away. As she nursed me on her lap, Dad
reached up to a cupboard above her head to get some medicine to soothe the burns.
Unfortunately, he dropped the bottle on her head. He wondered why she started to
cry. I remember having a huge blister that covered the top of my foot. Phyl must
have been mortified.
Another time I could have been seriously hurt, was when I decided to help Mum set
the table. The kitchenette unbeknown to me came in two pieces. The cupboard on the
top had two glass doors, and it was where Mum kept her crockery. I was so small that
I had to climb onto the bottom section to be able to open the doors and reach the
plates. As I reached up, the top section with plates, cups and everything else came
crashing down on top of me. The cupboard could have squashed me; thankfully, the
kitchen table broke its fall. There was broken glass and crockery everywhere. Mum
certainly growled that day!
Flying Fox
The flying fox was another of Alan’s hair brained inventions. He decided to build a
flying fox in Mum’s chicken yard. He strung wire between two tall trees and pulled it
tight with a fence strainer. He then fixed a fruit box on a pulley to the wire for us to sit
in. By attaching a rope to the box, he was able to pull it to a fair height; sometimes we
would have to give a couple of hard pulls to make it swing up high enough. Phyl was
the first guinea pig. She got into the box, then Alan and I pulled hard several times on
the rope, until Alan was satisfied, then we let go. She was supposed to go sailing
along the wire to the other end, unfortunately, Alan had miscalculated the weight of
Phyl in the box, and she hit the ground with a thud. No bones were broken, so he
tightened the wire until he had fixed the problem. Phyl, game as ever, got back in the
box for a second attempt. She went sailing down along the wire, and unfortunately, hit
a sapling that was too close. After more adjustments with an axe, we tried it again.
This next attempt was perfect. We had so much fun that Alan wanted to lure Elsie to
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have a turn. He knew it would not be easy, as she was never one to join him in any of
his harebrained schemes. He found her in her usual position, reading, so he stole her
book and said he would not give it back until she had a go in his flying fox. She was
such a bookworm that the trick worked and she climbed into the box. When we swung
on the rope she shouted “That‘s high enough.” We eventually let her go, and she went
sailing along the wire. She was not convinced that it was fun, so that was her only
turn. Alan, Phyl and I had a lot of fun in that contraption, though more modifications
had to take place. Dad said one wire was not strong enough to hold our weight, he
said we would kill ourselves. Therefore, Alan added another wire to make it safer.
If ever we tried to put one over on Elsie, it usually backfired. One day when Elsie
was out for the day Alan, Phyl and I cooked up a scheme to give her a fright. We
stuffed a shirt and pair of trousers of Dads to make it look like a body, then cut a face
into a pie melon to make a head and put a hat on it. We placed our “man” on a cane
chair out on a side veranda and waited until dark. In the meantime, Elsie came home
and we did our best to ensure she did not go out to the veranda until it got dark.
Eventually we said, “There’s something scary on the veranda, quick come and see!”
Elsie replied, “Oh, you mean that melon headed thing on the cane chair.” We were
completely deflated. What she did not tell us until much later was that she had gone
outside earlier and seen the apparition and felt scared. She said she just shut her eyes
and poked at it. When the head fell off, she realized what it was.
I must have been about seven years old when I had another accident that caused a
problem with my back in future years. Alan, Phyl and I were pole vaulting over a bar
in Mum’s chicken yard. When it was my turn, the pole slipped when I was well up in
the air, I came crashing down on my tailbone and lay there unconscious. Because I lay
unmoving on the ground, Alan and Phyl thought I was dead. Alan said to Phyl, “Quick
go and tell Mum that Tim is dead”. She felt very reluctant to be the one to deliver this
message, so very slowly; she moved off to do as Alan had instructed her. Suddenly I
stirred, and Alan shouted out “She is alive! She is alive!” Phyl must have felt
relieved that she had not had to face Mum with the news of my death.
Another experience I had was when Alan was about 10 years old. He had been
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given a Daisy Air rifle, and he would take pot shots at the parrots that flew into
Mum’s chicken yard looking for the wheat that she scattered there. Sometimes he
would have target practice with an empty jam tin on a post, or at a tin on the top of a
44 gallon, drum. Phyl and I would retrieve the tin when he scored a hit, replace it, and
then duck down behind the drum while he had another shot. Unfortunately, this day, I
bobbed up too soon and Alan hit me between the eyes with shot. As he was using
small tacks, although it stung a bit, no real damage was done.
In 1943, Dad purchased our first truck; it was a one-ton Austin. I cannot remember
how Alan learned to drive, or maybe he did not. One day when Mum and Dad had
gone to town on business, Alan decided to take us for a ride in the new truck, he
would have only been 11 years old. To start with, everything went smoothly, however
we were a mile or so from home when we were bogged in some loose sand.
Fortunately, Alan had a few ideas about how to get us out and by cutting some brush
and sticks and placing them under the wheel, we were home free! Mum and Dad none
the wiser.
Gun Powder
While Alan was at High School, he learned how to conduct a few experiments and
when he came home, he would try them out. I remember him producing hydrogen
sulphide in Mum’s kitchen once, and we had quite a time getting rid of the rotten egg
smell before Mum got home from shopping. Another time he decided to experiment
with gunpowder. He had a large jam tin full of the stuff on the ground next to his feet
in a thatched shed. He had a few smaller samples on a workbench in which he was
varying the mixes. He struck a match, and the head flew off and landed in the big tin.
By the sheer speed of quick reflexes, he managed to kick the tin over as a jet of flame
shot out of the tin. He said it made the metal in the scrap heap glow red-hot. If he had
not had the presence of mind to kick it over, Dad would have had one less shed, and
who knows what would have happened to Alan!
Horses
When we were, little we would get on the back a draught horses. I can still recall
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being on a bareback horse that was trotting along with me clinging onto the mane for
grim death. All to no avail, as slowly, I would feel myself sliding, with no way to stop
myself from crashing to the ground, which seemed a very long way away. It was a
wonder that we were not seriously hurt. Mostly it was just bruised egos.
Phyl has a clearer recollection of these horses than I have, she can even remember
the positions of their stalls in the shed. The ones I remember are Topsy, Captain,
Bluey, Legs, Burt, Sonky (the one that pulled our sulky), Nichols, (the one we rode) ,
and Josephine, and there is a story about her. One day our gate was left open and the
horses got out. We all piled into the car and gave chase. Josephine took the lead and
decided to race the car along a sandy track and Phyl recalls us tearing through the
bushes at some speed. She says that we were not able to put our heads out of the
windows of a car for fear of being scratched by the prickly branches. Josephine was
clocked at over 50 mph, before we managed to round all horses up and take them
home. As Josephine was unbroken, Dad asked our neighbour John if he would break
her in, as he was good with horses. Dad had the idea that Josephine would be good
for the sulky. She never settled down enough for sulky work and so Dad sold her to
John, who was able to enter her into a few showjumping events. Eventually he sold
her to a police officer in Narrogin who tried to harness her in a sulky. He narrowly
escaped death as she kicked her way out of it. Therefore, it was just as well for us kids
that Dad had not persisted with his idea of letting her pull our sulky.
I remember one time when Phyl was riding a horse, she fell off and the horse
stepped on her stomach. She was in agony, and yet she did not want to tell our
mother, because Phyl knew Mum would growl at her for being careless. It was very
common for us children to feel like that, because whenever we hurt ourselves, the first
thing Mum did before reaching for the remedy, was get cross. (Years later, we realized
it was her way of dealing with stress, but at the time, we thought she was angry)
Although Phyl carried the scar for many years, there did not seem to be any other
damage.
One day, when I was riding our horse Nickols, he shied at the sound of a piece of
paper rattling across the road. I had not tightened the girth strap enough and the
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saddle slipped just as I was passing a tree. My head hit the tree and I was unconscious
for a short while. Fortunately, the horse after galloping a short distance turned around
and came back. When I had recovered sufficiently to deliver the message that I was
taking to a neighbour, I remounted the horse and continued slowly on my journey. On
returning home, when asked why I had a bump on my head, I replied, “I scratched it
on a tree.” thus I avoided any fuss. “Nickols” was our favourite riding horse as he was
lighter than Dad’s big draught horses. We had heaps of fun galloping him across the
paddocks. In addition, he was great to ride when we had to muster sheep, and that
brings me to another story.
Dad had asked me to round up a small mob of rams. For some reason, I did not
take a dog with me. As I herded them into a small paddock near the dam, one of the
sheep took fright, and charged at the horse, hitting him in the chest. The horse reared,
and his hooves came down on top of ram’s head stunning him. In his stupefied state,
the ram plunged into the dam. I raced home to tell Dad, what had happened, but we
were unable to save that sheep. It was one of the best of his stud stock; therefore, Dad
was not very impressed. I had lost him what was in those depressed times, a very
expensive animal that would not be easily replaced.
Dad came galloping home one day and asked Phyl and me to come and help him
pull a dead kangaroo out of the dam. He had been rounding up some sheep near one
of the dams, when a kangaroo bailed the dog up. Dad knew that a kangaroo could rip
a dog to pieces with the sharp claw on his strong hind legs; therefore, he hit it on the
head with a stick, stunning it. The kangaroo had staggered into the dam and
disappeared under the water. When Phyl and I got into the dam, we dived down in the
murky water to try to find it. We had to feel our way around in the blackness
searching for the dead animal. Suddenly, I felt this awful furry thing and got such a
fright that I swam quickly to the surface. Phyl had also felt the kangaroo’s fur and
being the tenacious one, grabbed the roo by its fur and dragged him to the surface. I
might have been the strong one, but Phyl was by far the tougher!
Joe nearly drowning
We had a soak a few hundred yards from our house, where Mum had her vegetable
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garden. We spent many happy hours playing in and around that soak. When Joe was
about 18 months old, we went down to the soak with Mum to have a swim. She asked
us to watch Joe, while she worked in the vegetable patch nearby. After a few minutes,
she decided she had better check to see if everything was all right and found Joe
floating face down in the water. We had been so engrossed in our fun that we had not
noticed that our brother was drowning. Phyl remembers being right alongside him and
not hearing a sound. He was lying beside her, face down in the water, arms out and
quite still. Fortunately, Mum pulled him out just in time. She certainly gave us a
roasting that time.
A second time Joe almost drowned was in a dam when he was about four years old.
We had set up a diving board (Most probably Alan had!) and Joe had seen us older
kids jumping off and splashing about in the water underneath. He thought, “This looks
like such fun, I will have a go.” He jumped off the board into the water.
Unfortunately, he still could not swim, however this time, we heard his gurgling noises
and rescued him; and so Mum was none the wiser.
There was another time that Joe was involved in our carelessness. When we got
home from school one day, we were unharnessing the horse from the sulky, and Joe,
who was quite small, wanted to have a ride on the horse. We had taken the bridle off
and so Joe did not have anything to hang on to except the horse’s mane. She was a
large draught horse with a broad back, and when she was freed from the sulky, she
took off with Joe bouncing around on her fat rump. Eventually, the inevitable
happened, and Joe tumbled to the ground knocking him out. Fortunately, he revived
after a short while, but as we thought, he could be badly hurt, we took him into the
shearing shed to tell Dad. The first thing Dad said was, “What has happened to
Bunny, he is as white as a sheet?” We then had to confess what had happened. I do
not think we got into much trouble as Dad was much more easygoing than Mum.
Fire
Another experience over Joe haunted me for many years. Every year, either Dad
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had to plough or burn fire breaks around the paddocks, to avoid the spread of
wildfires. This day, he had asked Mum to help him. She was to drive the truck,
pulling a lighted jute bag behind, to light the grass along the edge of the paddock. Dad
and Alan would follow with knapsacks; putting the fire out after burning the break.
Mum asked Phyl and me to get on the back of the truck with Joe, who was about 18
months old. We were given the task of not only watching out for Joe, but we were to
tell Mum when the lighted bag had burnt out. Unfortunately, we called out a little too
soon. The truck stalled and the fire crept up underneath the wheels. Mum had to get
out and crank the truck because it would not start. The fire crept nearer to the petrol
tank and in my vivid imagination, I could see everything blowing up, so I ran
screaming into the paddock, leaving my little brother behind. Phyl had started to
follow me, however, she returned for her brother. By the time, she got back to the
truck she says the fire had crept up right around it and as we were always barefoot, she
had to jump onto the running board to avoid the flames. She snatched Joe and then
leapt back over the flames to safety. Mum eventually started the truck and moved
away from the fire without it coming to harm. I got a real roasting from Mum because
I had rushed off without thinking about saving my little brother. Phyl on the other
hand had redeemed herself. She told me later that she had started to run, and then
heard Mum calling for her to go back and pick up Joe. The family were always teasing
me saying “Tim left her brother to burn.” and I felt a deep shame over the incident for
many years. It was not until I had grown up that I realised I was only eight years old.
However, it taught me a lesson with respect to my own family. Never give a small
child a responsibility too heavy for them to carry because, if anything goes wrong, the
guilt can affect the rest of their lives.
I have always hated wild fires. It may be because of an experience I had when I was
seven or eight years old. The railway line ran alongside part of our farm and the train
engines often dropped hot cinders along the track. In summer, these burning coals
could start a grass fire, which if not controlled, could lead to a bushfire. On seeing
smoke, Dad rounded us all up to go and help him put out the fire. I was beating at the
flames with an old hessian bag and did not notice that the fire was creeping up behind
me. Suddenly, a wall of fire surrounded me. I thought, “If you don’t get out of here.
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You’ll be roasted alive.” I can remember shutting my eyes and charging full tilt
through the flames. With a sigh of relief, I came out the other side, with a bit of frizzy
hair and scorched clothes, but nothing of major concern. However, it has left me with
a healthy fear of fire.
School Stories
Quotation: Teachers open the door, you enter by yourself.
Chinese Proverb
When it was time for Elsie to go to school, Mum thought she needed company and
decided to let 4 ½ year-old Alan, accompany her. They rode the 4½ miles (7 km) to
Bullaring on pushbikes. Alan says that to get on his bike he had to lean against a tree
and to get off, he just fell off. Along the way, they often met up with one of the
neighbour’s daughters. She was quite intimidating and she delighted in teasing Alan,
often switching him with the branch of a tea tree. He used to pedal furiously to get
away from her, often with no success.
By the time Phyl and I went to school, we drove in a horse and sulky. Elsie was
the official driver. However, because she always had her head buried in a book we
were often without one. As the horse knew the way home, it usually did not matter.
Sometimes though, we would hear a car coming and one of us would have to scramble
up the shafts to retrieve the reins that were dragging on the ground because of Elsie’s
inattention. In our mad scramble, and because the reins were tangled we would
invariably pull the wrong one. Panic would set in as the car came closer. I always
imagined the worst!
The Bullaring School had recently moved from the Bullaring Hall into the new
premises when Alan and Elsie started attending. There was the school building and a
cottage next door for the teacher. The yard had two outside toilets, a shelter shed,
tennis courts, a sports oval and a vegetable garden. The school was a one room
unlined weatherboard building with two verandas and an asbestos roof. Very hot in
summer, and very cold in winter. We did have a wood fire, however it gave out such
meagre warmth that you had to sit on top of it to benefit. The school also had a
couple of rainwater tanks for fresh water. There were two wattle trees at the front
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and three gum trees growing near the back fence. By the time Phyl and I attended,
there was only one teacher. When the numbers were higher, they engaged a monitor to
help. Monitors were girls (although there may have been boys) who had just completed
their secondary education but had not qualified at a Teachers Training College. When
Elsie and Alan went to school there were approximately forty children attending.
However, by the time Phyl and I went, the numbers were down to about fifteen, and
when we entered the sixth standard (grade seven), the school had to close, because
there were only six children attending.
My first two years at school were not particularly memorable, although on one
occasion when I was in Infants, I remember fighting with one of the girls over who
was going to sit next to the only boy in our year. I did not realise until some time later
that he was not the brightest crayon in the box; however, he was the only one! I also
remember the enjoyment I had in being able to read because it opened up a completely
new world for me, that has delighted me ever since. We had books like Lorna Doone
and Ivanhoe read to us, and I could not wait to be able to read them myself.
Molly
Quotation: Storms make oaks take deeper roots.
George Herbert, (1593 -1633)
I was to start standard two, now known as grade three and I was seven years old,
when the troubles began. Mum had sent us off to school on the Monday morning to
start a new school term. When we arrived at the school, we had a new teacher
waiting. He told us that it was still the holidays, and we were not due to start school
until the next day. However, he said, as we were already there, we might as well stay
and clean up the mess left from the year before. The four of us were not impressed to
have to spend what should have been the last day of the holidays cleaning blackboards
and inkwells. The future did not look very promising. Moreover, I assure you it was
not.
We nicknamed our teacher Molly. Because of the mists of time, I cannot remember
the reason for this. It may have been because of his unusual dress. He wore long
baggy khaki shorts, long white or khaki socks and brown sandals. To our eyes, he had
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the look of a stuffy Englishman, and I do not think we were far off the mark. (You
have to remember we were Aussie kids, with an exaggerated opinion of our own
culture)
As time went on, we learned that he also had a foul temper. Every child in the
school at some time or another received the brunt of it, sometimes with a smack over
the head and at others with a caning by what we called a binder slat. The reason being
that it was just like the slats of wood that were fastened to binder canvas. (A Binder
was a piece of machinery used to cut hay and bind it into sheaves.) The slat was at
least 5 feet long, 1 ½ to 2 inches wide and 1 inch thick. (1.5mx5cmx2.5cm) Whenever
it struck your hand, it cut the skin. Of all of us, Alan would have received it most
often. I think Molly was aware of Alan’s dislike for him and singled him out, for
special treatment. We all, though most particularly Alan had to duck flying missiles,
such as chalk, dusters or any other object close to Molly’s hand.
We had a radio in the school that Molly would turn on most mornings to listen
to a Radio Hour school program. As the commentator was speaking, Molly would
take copious notes on the blackboards in his scrawling long hand. He filled as many as
five or six of them. All the children, no matter their ages, as long as they could write
(I was only 7 or 8) had to copy down, copybook style, his notes, and be quick about it.
He would then stroll about the classroom checking our work. When he found a
mistake, and invariably he did, we would get the usual crack around our ears. One day
Molly lost his temper with a boy called Max because he could not read a word
correctly. He dragged him to the blackboard, lifted him up by the neck and rubbed his
nose on the blackboard saying, “Can you read it now?” Max was a rather fat kid and
as I saw his neck stretching, I thought it would soon be severed from his body. Max
was humiliated and he stumbled back to his desk with a flaming red face and tears
streaming from his eyes. Molly never seemed to notice our humiliation.
Because Molly wore, soft-soled sandals, he could sneak up behind you without
making a sound. If you had made a mistake in your work, you would very likely get a
smack behind the ears. Therefore, if you did hear the floorboards creak you would
instinctively duck your head, in anticipation of what was coming! He spared no one,
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not even his daughters. I remember one time; he caught one of his daughters reading
a book, out of sight underneath her desk. He hit her so many times I am sure her head
was ringing for hours. One day he left the schoolroom and went home. (It was only a
few yards from the school) While he was away, the kids started throwing a medicine
ball around the room. I was minding my own business, when this ball sailed through
the air towards me and I instinctively put my hands out to catch it. Just at the crucial
moment, Molly came walking in the door. He ordered me to take the ball outside to
the storeroom instantly. As I went to carry out this command, I sensed Molly behind
me aiming a kick at my backside. I arched my back and his sandal slid up my back.
The kids said later that he had barely saved himself from falling, and that was some
consolation to me.
One particular incident that left a lasting impression was about a crust of bread left
on the veranda. Nobody owned up to dropping it, so he gave the whole school a
caning. To add insult to injury, the next day we saw his dog raiding the rubbish bin and
pulling out scraps of bread. We then knew who the culprit was, and so did he. The
final insult was that he did not back down or apologise for his mistake. Molly had
once again violated our sense of justice!
Molly loved, English literature, especially poetry. He would order us to learn these
long and difficult poems off by heart and if we had not achieved this feat during school
hours, we would have to stay back, until we had mastered them. He was so
successful, that after almost 70 years I can still remember a couple. One of which is as
follows:
Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul, who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This city doth now like a garment wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie.
Open to the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
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Never did a sun more beautifully steep in his first splendour,
valley, rock or hill; Ne‘er saw I , never felt a calm so deep!
The river glider at his own sweet will :
Dear God! The very houses seem asleep;
and all that mighty heart is lying still!
Which of course is Upon Westminster Bridge By William Wordsworth.
The other one goes this way.
The Assyrian came down like, a wolf on the fold;
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like the stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls mightily on deep Galilee.
An excerpt from, The Destruction of Sennacharib: by Lord Byron.
I didn’t know what an Assyrian was or a cohort or even the deep Galilee. That
didn’t seem to matter to Molly, as long as we could quote the stuff. When I look back
now, I realise that it was quite an achievement for someone who was only eight years
old.
Phyl’s trials
Quotation: What does not kill me makes me stronger.
Friedrich Nietzsche (1884 - 1900)
Phyl found the learning of poetry particularly difficult. She spent many a lunch hour
in class still trying to learn a poem when everyone else was outside playing. Sometimes
it would be for several days in a row for the same poem. Molly had the bright idea of
keeping her down a grade; he said it was to give her more of a challenge, as the only
other girl in her class was not very bright. She says that this only reinforced her own
view that she was stupid. An opinion that she was later able to prove wrong. She
was Dux in her 5th year of High School and eventually became a qualified
schoolteacher.
The same treatment that was dished out over learning poetry was also applied if we
had not mastered our times tables. My poor sister Phyl had a real battle with
arithmetic and felt she not only had trouble at school, but at home as well. Dad knew
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that Phyl was battling with the subject and decided to help. Every night he would
make her recite her tables to him at the tea (dinner) table. Phyl said that she would
have everything spot on in her mind until she got to the table. Then she says her mind
would go a complete blank. She found 7x6 and 9x7 the most difficult. She learned
them off by heart, diligently practicing them before the mealtime. Yet try as she might,
when Dad asked her the answer, away it would go like a puff of smoke.
Playing Truant
It was only during the time, that Molly was teaching, that we played truant from
school. It was always at the instigation of Alan, and was most likely to occur if we
saw the Inspector’s car parked outside the school. Alan would turn the sulky around
and take to the bush, where we would spend the day doing all the things we really
enjoyed, such as climbing trees and looking for birds eggs. When it was end of school
time, we would return home with Mum being none the wiser.
I remember one time when Alan and I had skipped school. We had eaten our lunch
early, and by 12 o’clock, we were starving, so we decided to raid the school garden for
some turnips. We didn’t think it was stealing, because we only took what we ourselves
had grown. Unfortunately, I had on a red cardigan and as we were slipping back
through the trees, one of the kids saw us. Molly sent out a few of the older boys to
see what was going on. Alan in his usual, quick thinking way said that some of our
sheep were out and we were looking for them. Molly then had the brainwave of
sending the big boys to help us look for them. Unbelievably, we found a small mob
that had escaped along the railway line. When we returned them home to their
paddock, Mum and Dad thought us heroes, saving some sheep. Just one more scar on
the conscience.
One time when Elsie was still attending Bullaring School, we had to take the dray
to school. Dad needed some more kerosene (or maybe benzene) that he bought in 44-
gallon drums. We were to deliver the empty drums, and then collect the full ones from
Bullaring. On this day, we had the two empty drums on the back of the dray and Alan,
Phyl and I were messing about behind the drums where Elsie could not see us. Alan
decided that he wanted to play the wag and he wanted some company. He thought it
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best to leave one of us behind, so that she could distract Elsie. He did not want her to
realize that two of us were missing until after she got to school, in case she came
looking for us. Phyl drew the short straw, so Alan and I took off into the bush. When
Elsie got to school, Molly asked her where we were. She was fairly certain we were
playing in the bush somewhere, however to “dob” was not cricket, and being the
truthful girl that she was, she said, “I don’t know.” which happened to be the truth.
Later, Alan tried to explain our disappearance by saying that I had fallen out of the cart
and he had jumped out to see if I was all right, then when Elsie had just driven on, he
took me home. Elsie said that by taking our lunch with us, we had given our game
away! Her sense of fair play, however, stopped her from telling Mum the true story.
Another incident happened to us in the dray. We had just arrived at the last corner
on the way home from school. Phyl and I had been sitting on the back of the dray with
our legs dangling over the edge. When the horse realised where he was, he decided to
break into a gallop just as we were turning the corner. Phyl and I went sailing out the
back and onto our bottoms on the gravel. I can remember clearly how Phyl looked
sailing through the air, so with the two of us side-by-side, it must have been a funny
sight.
Molly seemed to be everywhere. He taught school, he sometimes took the church
service, and he seemed to take a particular fancy to visiting our farm. On one
particular visit, because Dad knew that we were having a lot of trouble with Molly at
school, he agreed to join in with one of Alan’s schemes. Dad and Alan were cleaning
out a tank that was on a tall stand and while Alan was perched on the rim acting as a
lookout, Dad was throwing shovelfuls of muck out over the sides of the tank. Molly
was walking about underneath the stand and Alan would signal to let Dad know where
he was. Phyl and I were watching, getting great amusement to see our teacher in his
immaculate white socks and khakis having to keep leaping out of the way of the muck
that was raining down on him.
Alan and his friend Gordon decided one Sunday, not to go to church. Instead, they
went bird nesting. It turned out that Molly took the service that week. On Monday
morning, Molly brought them both to the front of the class, made them pull their pants
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down, bend over a chair, and they got six of the best. We were all furious; however,
when we went home and told our mother what had happened, her comment was” He’s
a sick man.” she really did mean that he was unwell, not that he was unbalanced. She
told us that because of having tuberculosis he had had to have one of his lungs
removed. We knew that he was subject to fits of coughing, sometimes so severe that
he would go blue in the face and spit up blood. We all thought that these coughing fits
were due to his violent outbursts of anger. Mum’s remark did not elicit any response,
as our feelings had become so hardened by his treatment, that we had no sympathy for
his sorry condition.
Every year they held the sports day at one of the neighbouring towns, where we
competed against children from the various country schools around about. This
particular year, all of us Hewett kids had come down with the measles, and although
we were feeling a bit better, we could not attend school because we were still
contagious. It was early summer and Dad had us all helping him stook hay. (stooking
is done after the hay is cut and bound with the binding machine.) We had to gather six
or seven sheaves and place them in a wigwam shape, then move on to the next spot
and do the same again) It was a hot and dusty job that we didn’t like very much. As
we were working away, we saw all the children from our school passing by on their
way to the school sports. They greeted us with much waving and shouting. We felt
cheated, because we loved sport and considered ourselves quite accomplished. We
complained that we were well enough to work but not well enough to play!
I remember one day, one of the girls challenged me to a fight. I cannot remember
what it was about but because she was a year younger than I was, I told her I did not
want to. She accused me of being too scared and that soon changed my mind. We
gathered the usual group of spectators around us and stood facing each other. She
said, “You can have first hit” I did not need a second invitation, so I punched her on
the nose. She began to cry and sobbed, “You had first hit, I want last hit.” Needless
to say, she did not get it.!
I loathed bullies and the only other fight I had involved one. The Government had
arranged for underprivileged country children to spend two weeks on a holiday at the
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Quarantine Station in Albany. There were about 80 children that attended the camp,
along with a few mothers and teachers. We all had to take a turn at the various chores
that needed doing. One of the older boys was a bully and he would intimidate the
younger lads into doing his chores, or he would tell lies to get others in trouble. One
day after he had told a lie and gotten someone in trouble, I lost my temper and
challenged him to a fight. As soon as the news spread, a crowd gathered and we
proceeded to eye each other off. He was 14 years old and I was 11, however I was
very strong for my age and though he was tall, he was skinny. He did not frighten me
one bit, and anyway my dander was up! After prancing about a bit, I grabbed an arm
and a leg and swung him round my head, then finished him off by rubbing his face in
the dirt. As I walked away amid a cheering crowd he said “Running away scared” I
turned for a second round, however he scuttled off, completely humiliated by being so
roundly thrashed, and by a girl. I was hailed as a hero and I must say I lapped it up!
While we were at the camp, we went by boat into Albany. I think we had a look
through some woollen Mills, and a whaling station. It was on the way home that the
excitement began. We were about half way across the bay, when the boat motor
stopped. We kids thought it rather exciting as we were being tossed around in the
waves. The boat captain was telling us to keep calm, but he seemed to be the one that
was nervous. Eventually he got the motor started and we were on our way again,
much to the poor man’s relief, as there would have been at least 15 or 20 children in
the boat, and none of us were wearing lifejackets.
While Phyl and I were away in Albany, Dad had to milk our cows and he wondered
why all the cats were hanging around the cow shed. Cats on the farm were not pets;
they were there, as were all other animals to fulfil a certain role. Their job was to catch
mice. Phyl and I had to explain to Dad that we had been feeding the cats when we
milked the cows by squirting a stream of milk into their mouths. The cats were so
clever; they would hardly spill a drop. Needless to say, the party was over for the cats!
At around this time, Mum was feeling pretty frazzled and felt that she needed a
break away from the farm. She decided to spend a month in Albany, and while she
was there, she wanted to have a bottom set of false teeth made. She had lost all her
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teeth some time before because of gum disease. She wore a top set, however she did
not have the bottom ones. When she arrived home, Dad took one look at her and said
“Good God woman. You just looked like Bella Greig.” Many years before, Dad had
told Mum that the ugliest woman he had ever seen was Bella Greig. Therefore, even
though she had battled for a whole month to get used to wearing her bottom set of
teeth, she never wore them again!
Smashing down Mallee Saplings
After Elsie had gone off to Northam High School, Alan often led us into some
hairy escapades. On the way home from school in the sulky one day, he decided that
we would take to the bush. He thought it would be great fun to mow down some
Mallee saplings. After Mallee trees are cleared, if the roots are left in the ground,
many thin suckers grow from these roots. We had a large cluster of these saplings
growing about two mile (3km) from Bullaring on our road home. We took off
through the bush, urging the horse into a fast trot. As we went careening through the
trees, we were having great fun bouncing around in the sulky, shrieking with laughter.
Everything was going along fine until we hit a thick sapling that snapped off the sulky
steps. Suddenly we knew we were in trouble; what were we going to tell Mum?
Between us, we had to think up a story, a good one. On our arrival home, with a
broken sulky step and squashed bread, this was our story. “We were driving along the
road minding our own business, when a large haulage truck with a load of sleepers on
the back came tearing past. One of the sleepers fell off the truck and landed across
the sulky step and broke it off.” Mum was horrified and little did we realise that we
would eventually be horrified too. As time went on, Mum, repeated the story to all
who visited, about how close her children came to being killed. We would be
squirming in our seats with embarrassment as we thought about our lie. It was not
until we were grown up that we had the courage to tell her the truth.
Phyl’s tenacious nature was clearly seen one day in the schoolyard. She was
drawing with a stick in the sand when an older boy decided he wanted the stick. He
tried to wrestle it away from her and although he was bigger and quite a lot stronger
with large hands, he did not realise who he was up against. They struggled together
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around the yard with Peter trying to prize Phyl’s hands off the stick. She hung on
grimly and he eventually retired, defeated. I have also seen her involved in a wrestle
over a basketball with another boy who laid the boots into her shins (she still carries
the scars). Once again, she did not give in.
After Alan went to high school, Phyl and I rode our pushbikes to school. They
were very old and had no brakes. I recall this day we were riding along, and I think we
must have been daring each other to see who could ride the furthest with no hands. To
go one better than Phyl, I said, “Look, I can not only ride with no hands, but I can
watch you while I’m doing it!” As Phyl was behind me, I bent myself over backwards
to look at her. The only trouble was, we were going downhill fast, and my bike took
to the bush. When it hit the ditch on the side of the road I was flung over the
handlebars on to the ground, where I lay winded. I remember hearing Phyl’s voice
calling “Are you all right?” Because I was winded, I could not answer, and I just lay
there groaning. As the bikes had no brakes, Phyl could not stop and she went
whizzing on down to the bottom of the hill. She was quite concerned as she could
hear me groaning. By the time she got back to me, I had recovered sufficiently to
continue on to school. In my memory, I can still hear the scraping noise of her front
wheel against the front fork as she went flying past. We were the ones who had to fix
our own bikes and because they were very old and our mechanical prowess very
limited, it was usually a botched job. Our bikes were sometimes so hard to push that
we often preferred to walk. (a little oil and some new ball bearings may have helped!)
During the spring breeding season, the magpies used to nest in the trees along the
road to school, and they would invariably attack us as we rode by. Phyl had been told
that if you wore a hat, they would not bother you. She tried it one day, however it did
not work and I remember her getting a nasty peck on the head. We had to ride along
swinging a stick around our heads to scare them off. The birds did not seem to worry
our neighbour’s son Ian, who was in his late teens by this time. If we met him on the
road, we would ride on either side of him, crouching as close as we could, hoping to
be spared. However, that did not always work either, and so sometimes, we would
leave our bikes near the roadside and take a track through the bush to miss the trees
with the nests.
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When it was time for Elsie to catch the train to go back to Northam High School, it
usually meant a very early start. Dad would not leave home until he heard the train
whistle, as it was coming into the Stretton station. Stretton was about the same
distance away as we were from Bullaring. We would all pile into the car and take off,
hoping to out run the train. As our car tore around the Bullaring corner, those waiting
for the train would say, “Here comes Jim Hewett, the train must be on its way“. (If we
missed the train, Dad would have to drive all way to Quairading and catch it there.) If
we were meeting the train in the very cold weather, someone would light a fire in a 44-
gallon drum, and folks would stand around swapping news, and telling yarns long after
the train had come and gone.
Winter time
Quotation: If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant. If we did
not sometimes taste adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.
Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672)
If we had a wet winter, we would get a lot of flooding because the Bullaring
countryside was very flat. I remember one year, when we were driving the sulky to
school, the water came up to the belly of the horse and into the bottom of the sulky.
Water was lying everywhere making getting about very difficult. We had a stream that
ran through our property, though mostly dry in the summer, it could become quite a
torrent in the winter. This year it was running so fast, that it was washing away the
roads and fences. One Sunday Dad decided that instead of Mum taking us to church,
he would take us to a football match at a neighbour’s farm. On the way, we came
across a swiftly flowing stream of water crossing the road. On the other side, who
should be coming but the minister on his way to take the church service? Mum was
very embarrassed to be seen on her way to a football match instead of church. He
came through first and told us to stick to the middle and we would get through OK.
We were all hoping our car would not stall as the water came up to the door handles.
Later after the water had subsided, we could see how close we came to having a
serious accident. Most of the road had been washed away and there were very deep
ditches on either side of a narrow strip in the middle. After that dunking, the car was
so musty, that I always felt carsick whenever I travelled in it.
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Driving the sulky to school in wet weather was a pain, as we did not have wet
weather gear to dress in. We would go off with a thin grey picnic blanket covering our
heads. Usually it did not stretch far enough and we would be fighting to get a piece
each. When we got to school, we would try to dry out by the potbelly stove, however
without much success.
One good thing about winter was that we could take Alan’s canoe and go canoeing
down our river (The Tombarton). Alan had made it by flattening a piece of corrugated
iron, folding it in half, long ways, nailing a flat piece of wood to each end, then sealing
the ends with tar. It was very heavy, and although it did float, we would spend almost
as much time in the water retrieving it, as floating along in it; but we had a lot of fun.
When the winter was dry, it could get extremely cold, so cold in fact, that the grass
in the paddocks would be white with frost. We had cows to milk before school, and as
we walked barefoot through the grass, we would see our green footprints in the white
frost. After the milking, we would go into Dad’s shed and bury our legs in warm
chaff. When we had thawed out a little, we would go into the kitchen, where Mum
would have made a big pot of porridge to warm our insides; we would put our cold
feet into the oven to heat them up, a result of which, we suffered a lot from chilblains.
The oven door sagged because of this rough treatment. Dad kept a dish of water on a
stump outside the back door and on these frosty mornings, he would have to break the
ice before he could wash his hands.
Another highlight of a cold winter would be looking at the night sky and, if we were
lucky, seeing the Aurora Australis. It would appear in the south, as long streamers of
pink and green light, floating in the southern sky. It seemed to us it was magic, and of
course, that could lead to some more good stories!
Winter was the time for frogs, and we certainly had plenty of them on our farm.
Betty, who was Dad’s sister Mary’s daughter, loved frogs, and whenever she came to
visit, we would have to go and find some for to her to play with. Dad and Alan had
dug a well for fresh water that was quite deep and the frogs liked to gather down near
the bottom. On this day, I climbed down the ladder to where the frogs were, and then
Phyl lowered a bucket. I put a few frogs in the bucket, and she pulled it up to the
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surface. Most of the frogs jumped out; however, we managed to get one or two to the
surface for Betty to play with. Another time when Betty was staying with us for a few
days, we were painting our roof to protect it from rust. We were using bright red
enamel paint and because we were messing around, it was all over us by the end of the
day. Betty was worried at what her mother would say when she got home, so we
decided to go to the soak and try to scrub ourselves clean. Enamel plaint and water do
not mix, it just would not come off, and so we thought we would use sand as well.
Poor fair-skinned Betty was badly sunburnt, so she must have been in agony. Later
she told us that her mother had put her to bed, and she had stayed there for a week to
recover from her ordeal. Staying in bed after a visit to the Hewett’s was a common
occurrence, because she would return home exhausted by her attempts to keep up with
our hectic lifestyle. As the youngest and only girl, with three big brothers to watch out
for her, the family treated her like a young lady at home. She said that in spite of the
consequences, she loved coming to our place, because it was always tremendous fun.
Another thing we loved about wintertime was being allowed to stay up late on
Sunday nights and listen to “The Amateur Hour” on the radio. A talent show that
lasted an hour and featured various artists, all amateurs. On weeknights, we were only
allowed to stay up until about 7 o’clock to listen to “Martin’s Corner” and “Dad and
Dave“, then off to bed. We could also cook toast over the open fire and Mum or Dad
would make toddy. This was usually made with hot milk and a dash of chicory. A
wartime excuse for coffee.
Flora and Fauna
Quotation: The world is extremely interesting to a joyful soul.
Alexandra Stoddard (1872 -1970)
Alan, Phyl and I, spent most of our free time roaming around the farm, climbing
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trees, or taking our dog Towser to catch rabbits. I must say we were successful, and
often built a fire to roast a rabbit for lunch. Alan had a large bird’s egg collection of
92 different species, and he was always trying to find new specimens. It would
certainly horrify modern day conservationists. However, many of the boys of the time
did this. Some of the trees Alan was able to climb were very tall. On one occasion,
when he was high up in a tree with a bird’s egg in his mouth, (he needed both hands
for climbing) the branch he was climbing on broke, and he fell. As he fell his trousers
hooked on a lower branch, and although this branch also broke, it did slow his fall.
He was slightly stunned when he hit the ground, however he was more concerned
about the precious egg that has smashed in his mouth, than his own situation. He says
he often climbed tall trees not knowing how he was going to get down. Sometimes he
says he had some very close shaves but was never seriously hurt. I guess his motto
was “what goes up, must come down!” To me, my brother seemed fearless. I thought
that he could do anything. He could climb the highest tree, run the fastest, swim the
furthest, (especially under water), was the strongest, in fact, he was my hero and I was
his devoted slave! Elsie thought Phyl and I were mad to be sucked into his hairbrained
schemes. She was having nothing to do with them. A shame really, because
Phyl and I both have a wealth of lovely memories that have delighted us for years!
We kids must have looked feral, because one of the more upper social class
neighbours warned her music student to avoid contact with the Hewett girls. She
likened us to nomadic aborigines, calling us little “gins“. I could easily be mistaken for
one, but Phyl was as blonde as I was dark. I think her judgement was because we
rarely wore shoes and rarely combed our hair; often we tore our clothes when climbing
trees, and we certainly were free spirited children. Mum gave us very free rein after
school hours to wander as we pleased, as long as we were home by dark. Sometimes
the evening caught up with us (hence the doing my chores in the dark) and we would
come creeping inside when it was almost pitch black. Mum always gave the
impression of nonchalance, however in later years she said that she had ruined her eyes
by peering into the gloom looking for us. The area around Bullaring was as flat as a
billiard table and very nearly cleared of trees so she could probably see us coming from
miles away.
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Talking about clothes and shoes, I always felt that Mum picked better colours for
Phyl’s dresses than she did for mine. Phyl would get pretty blue and white or pink
florals while mine would be mustard and navy blue or some equally dull colour. Our
shoes were always very sensible, and longwearing, and certainly not very elegant. I
always hated wearing shoes and would kick and scuff at them to try to wear them out
quickly. It brings to mind another poem we learned when we were young.
Choosing Shoes
New shoes, new shoes,
Red and pink and blue shoes.
Tell me, what would you choose,
If they’d let us buy?
Buckle shoes, bow shoes,
Pretty pointy-toe shoes,
Strappy, cappy low shoes;
Let’s have some to try.
Bright shoes, white shoes,
Dandy-dance-by-night shoes,
Perhaps-a-little-tight shoes,
Like some? So would I.
BUT
Flat shoes, fat shoes,
Stump-along-like-that shoes,
Wipe-them-on-the-mat shoes,
That’s the sort they’ll buy.
By - Frida Wolfe -
One of our favourite haunts was Sewell’s Rock, which I recently discovered was
part of a very old volcanic outcrop of molten magma about 5 or 6 km from home.
There were many of these granite mounds, scattered throughout the area, the most
well known would be Wave Rock at Hyden. The aborigines used them as stopping off
points on their walkabouts, as water collected in the gnamma holes. (these were holes
made by aborigines in the rock for water catchment) Settlers also built their
homesteads nearby as they would dam up an area to catch the fresh water that ran off
these mounds when it rained. The rock was surrounded by bush and low growing
scrub and in season, there was an abundance of wildflowers. On the rock itself, lichen
grew, forming interesting shapes and patterns and giving our imaginations plenty to
work on. We would play up there for hours, often lying on our backs, staring into the
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sky, drawing pictures with the clouds; sometimes a character from a book or even a
familiar face. We would make up stories to tell each other about where they were
going or what they were doing.
Wild flowers
Springtime was probably the best time in the bush, as it would be alive with
colourful flowers and as a result, birds and insects would be plentiful as well. Near the
rock, we would find verticordias with their halos of feather like petals in pink, mauve,
yellow and white. On the other hand, the lovely pale flannel flowers with their soft
hairy grey green foliage and white velvety flowers were also a delight. We loved the
brightly coloured flame pea with its pea shaped orange and cerise flowers, and
Myrtles and Melaleuca’s of different kinds to delight us. There was also the smoke
bush with its panicles of blue-grey flowers that look just like puffs of smoke above the
lower growing shrubs. On the lower lying areas of the bush would be the dainty
enamel orchids with their shiny enamel-like purple flowers with darker purple spots,
also the blue orchids that had five pointed petals with a darker throat and a small
yellow eye. The strange yellow donkey orchid that had the two big petals that just
looked like donkey’s ears. We particularly loved, the little sundews, the upper surface
of their leaves are covered in a sticky substance that glistens in the sun, attracting
insects. We would watch with fascination, as these little plants would catch their prey
in their stickiness, then bend their tentacles to trap them and so have another feed.
There were also, what we called cat’s paws, a sort of low growing kangaroo paw and
the red leschenaultia with its velvety red petals. Many, many more, too numerous to
name. No wonder we both love our gardens to this day.
Birds
Honeyeaters and Wattlebirds loved the areas near the Rock, as there was an
abundance of nectar producing flowers and trees. In addition, we saw Silvereyes with
the distinctive white ring around their eyes fossicking for insects and hanging upside
down on branches searching for seeds and fruit.
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With the winter rains, the Grey Teal Ducks would arrive on the dam. They had a
dark brown body with lighter speckles, and they would announce their arrival with
loud quacking. The Australian Shelduck that we called the Mountain Duck was a
bigger much more colourful bird and it too would arrive, much to our delight. We
were especially pleased when the ducklings hatched. Dad told us that he used to
wonder how the baby ducks got from one dam to another, until he saw the mother
duck flying with ducklings clinging onto her back with their beak. Although I never
saw it happen, I presume it is true. Alan says that he used to swim around the soak
and try to catch the little ducklings. He said they could just disappear under the water
and he would not know where they had gone. When he dived down under the water,
he said he saw them clinging onto the reeds with their beaks, hiding from him. Grebe’s
or what we called Dabchicks also visited in winter. They were a smaller grey brown
water bird with a white breast, a black head with a patch of chestnut on it. They
would quickly dive under the water looking for prey, no doubt the reason they got
their alternate name. I cannot recall their sounds, but I have read that they are usually
quite silent, so that explains that.
A very cute bird that settled on our mud flats was the Red Kneed Dotterel, a kind of
plover, which was an olive brown bird about 7 or 8 inches(18-20cms) long. It had a
black head and chest, a white throat and long skinny legs that had a pinkish colour
around the knee area. It would scoot across the shallow flats at great speed sometimes
darting its head under the water if it caught sight of its prey. Another bird we
sometimes saw was the Darter. However, these were more often sighted at Lake
Yealering or deeper lakes. We called them Divers because they had the habit of
completely disappearing under water for long stretches and bobbing up in short bursts.
They were quite a big bird about 2 1/2 feet(.7m) long, they looked like a black
cormorant and had a long S shaped neck, with a long dagger-like beak with which to
spear their prey. They would sit on the branch of a tree and preen themselves, hanging
their wings out to dry.(I think this was because their feathers are not waterproof) One
other water bird that we found fascinating was about the size of a small bantam hen. It
was the Black-tailed Native Hen; a dark green-brown colour with a black tail that it
held cocked and flattened sideways. It would come after heavy rains had flooded the
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flats near our soak. We would watch it scoot about across the water searching for
food with its tail held high. Quite a funny looking bird, that amused us greatly.
To the west of our farm, a clump of trees and bush was home to many species of
birds and animals. Magpies would be warbling their musical song and among my
favourites were the yellow rumped thornbills (we called them tomtits), which is a small
bird about 4 inches(10cm) long, mid brown with a black tail and an underbelly of an
off white or buff colour. It’s song is a twittering warble and we loved to watch them
feeding on the ground with short jerky hops, constantly on the lookout for spiders and
caterpillars, making chipping sounds and fanning their tail from side to side. There
were also Robin Red-breasts with the male singing his high-pitched notes and flashing
his red plumage to entice us away from the nest where his little grey-brown mate
would be sitting on her eggs. Talking about Robin Red-breasts, reminds me of a type
of Cuckoo that would lay an egg in the nest of other birds, often the Robins or
Thornbills. Sometimes the baby Cuckoo seemed as big as its foster parent did. It
amazed us that the foster birds did not throw out the foreigner. On the ground, we
would also see the little button quails, that were fossicking in the grass. If we
disturbed them, they would fly straight up into the air for a short distance before
settling again. Occasionally we even noticed the elusive Tawny frogmouth that looked
just like a grey branch in amongst the trees with just its yellow eyes staring at us with a
slightly bemused look. On the other hand, we would catch sight of a Southern
Boobook (Mopoke) its cry being a mournful double hoot that sounded like “mo-poke
or more-pork” and thus its common name.
One of our predatory birds and Australia’s largest bird of prey was the Wedgetailed
Eagle, which has a wingspan of some 2.3 metres. These birds live on both live
prey and carrion. They mate for life and select permanent home territories in which
they build large nests in the fork of a tall tree and are reused year after year, getting
bigger by the year, until you wonder if they’ll topple out of the tree. Others were the
Sparrowhawk, and the Brown Gosh-hawk, (we called them both Chicken hawks as
they looked similar) and Alan would shoot at them with his air rifle to frighten them
away from Mum’s chickens. (the air rifle was not powerful enough to kill anything).
We also had Butcher Birds of at least a couple of varieties. They would wait by the
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haystack when we were cutting chaff and dive at the mice that we disturbed. They
could even catch them on the wing if you threw one to them. Also large shiny black
birds that we called Crows, but were really Ravens; they would sit on the horse rail
after demolishing an egg or mouse, and call with a powerful high wailing “aah-aahaahaah“,
the last note trailing off and then fading away. As a child, I never had any
love for ravens as I thought they were a cruel bird. On doing a little research, I have
developed a much deeper respect for them because of the good they do for the
ecology. As scavengers, they eat dead animals, maggots and flies and sometimes a
sick animal, so they keep nature in top gear. Breeding pairs mate for life and fiercely
defend their territories. They build their nests with sticks, line them with bark, wool
and fur, and place them in the tallest trees. They have the largest brain of any bird and
are very intelligent. They can also mimic many sounds, even human speech. They are
a very valuable natural asset to the farmer, consuming huge quantities of insect pests
such as grasshoppers and cleaning up corpses. Therefore, I misjudged a very useful
and important part of earth’s ecological system.
Parrots of various kinds were also part of the birdlife in the bush. There were times
when the sky would be alive with a huge flock of what we called parakeets, (possibly
wild budgerigars) hundreds of them flying in an undulating motion across the sky in a
pale green mass, noisily chirruping to each other in flight. We also saw plenty of
Twenty-eight parrots with their distinctive call, a sort of whistle that sounds as though
it is calling “twenty eight“. Alan seemed to know where all the various nests were, and
although he raided them, he never took more than one egg and would always leave the
rest behind for the mother bird to hatch. Another parrot we would see was the Regent
Parrot that we called Smokers. It is about 8 inches(20cm) long with a long tapering
tail of dark blue-green and a body of dull olive-yellow. A red band runs along its
wings, and its beak is a bright coral red colour. It nests in the hollows of large trees,
though this did not deter Alan in his efforts to find an egg. Sometimes in the early
morning when we were fetching the cows in for milking, we would hear a group of
them chattering away in the tops of trees. Later we would see them feeding on the
ground, fossicking for seeds and spilled grain. An unforgettable sight at dusk would
be a flock of them returning home to roost in the trees near the dam.
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A rare sight, at least for me, was the Rainbow Bird. A long slender bird about 9
inches(22cm) in length with a golden-green body and a sky-blue rump. A broad black
stripe runs through its eye and across its throat. It utters a high-pitched chirrup and
catches most of its food on the wing. Another bird that was becoming very rare was
the Mallee Fowl. About 2 feet (.6m) long and light grey-brown with darker mottling
on its wings; it is a very shy unobtrusive bird and makes a large mounded nest to
incubate its eggs. After the female lays her eggs, it is the task of the male to keep the
temperature at the right level, so he spends his time busily scraping off or building up
his nest all day. I have read where he has to shift at least 2 tonnes of nest material
during each breeding season. After the chicks hatch and claw their way to the surface,
they are on their own. A bird that was rarely seen, was the Curloo, however we often
heard its mournful cry during the night. Another bird that had a sort of song to sing,
was the Song Lark (we called them Skylarks) mostly these birds would feed silently on
the ground, fossicking for insects and seeds. However when necessary, the male
would defend his territory with song flights of a loud ringing grinding reel. In addition,
the bird we called a Squeaker (almost certainly a Triller), had a loud chatter that
ended with a trill, and that was not particularly musical either. We would also see the
Black-faced Cuckoo Shrikes (Blue Jays) and hear their metallic grinds and hisses that
were by no stretch of the imagination melodious. However, they do have very
attractive sleek grey plumage with a white or silvery underbelly and distinct black
markings on their face, which certainly makes up for any lack in musical prowess.
Nearer the house, the Willy wagtails built their nests in the machinery or in the
lower branches of trees, and most people are very familiar with these lovely little black
and white friendly little fellows, with their chatter-chatter-chatter, and their fantails
swinging about. We also had swallows that some felt were actually tree martins;
however I am not convinced. I think they may have been welcome swallows or maybe
we had both varieties. I thought our swallows had the longer forked tails than the
Tree Martins, and I certainly remember the cup shaped mud nests they built under our
eaves and verandas. I guess time dims the memory, so I cannot really argue my point.
Plovers often nested on the ground in our home paddock, and if we disturbed the nest,
the mother bird would scuttle off pretending she had a broken wing to lure us away
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from her precious brood.
One day, we found a mudlark’s (Magpie-lark) nest on the end of a high branch and
Phyl wanted to see the chicks that were in it. Alan warned her that the branch was not
strong enough to hold her weight; however, she ignored him and climbed out along it.
Snap! The branch broke and down she came. She said it felt good, floating, floating,
until she hit the ground!
Quotation: Silence is more musical than any song.
Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)
Night time sounds were the eerie call of a curloo, the squeak of bats or the bark of
a fox. Often however, just the beautiful sound of silence.
Snakes and Lizards
We all had a healthy fear of snakes; I suppose Mum was frightened that because we
always walked about in bare feet, we could have been bitten. So any snakes that were
seen were quickly killed, regardless of whether they were poisonous or not. I
remember one time; one of the big boys from school caught a rather large snake, with
a big bulge in its belly. As a nature study lesson, we dissected the snake, only to find a
completely undigested blue tongue lizard inside its belly. The snakes we came across
on our farm were mostly the Brown Snake, though there was the occasional Tiger
Snake and a few Carpet Snakes. We gave them all a wide birth regardless of whether
they were poisonous or not. Phyl and I very nearly stepped on one once on our way
home from school. It was curled up near a log that we had just stepped over and we
got a fright. We decided to kill the poor thing and grabbed a stick each. Standing over
it, we decided we would hit it on the count of three. One, two, three and down we
wacked; it did not stand a chance. We carried it home on the end of a stick and it kept
squirming its body and falling off, much to our discomfort. On arrival home we
proudly showed our parents our prize. I feel quite ashamed when I think of that
incident now.
Blue tongue lizards are actually large skinks, and the ones we had around Bullaring
were the stumpy-tailed ones. Sometimes the blue tongue lizards could get the better of
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a snake, however not this time. We called them bobtails. They are about 16 inches
(40 cm) long and covered with rough scales. They are omnivorous, but most of their
food comes from plants as they are slow moving and can only catch an odd beetle or
snail. As reptiles, they do not have the ability to produce heat, so they lay around
warming themselves in the sun. When disturbed, they lift their heads, open their
mouths, poke their purple tongue out and hiss, giving you a nasty fright if you come on
one unawares. Talking of blue tongue lizards, one day, one of the bigger girls at the
school threw one at Gordon (Alan’s friend) as a joke. It fastened with its strong jaws
onto the back of his trousers and Gordon fairly flew over the garden fence and ran
around until he managed to shake it loose. We had all been told that once a blue
tongue caught hold of you it would not let go, and it would leave a sore that would
never heal. Enough to scare any kid.
Talking about Gordon, the only time I remember Alan and Gordon having a fight
was over a bird’s egg. It was during the war and Gordon’s brother Charlie was over in
Queensland in the army. Gordon swapped a so-called very rare egg that, he said his
brother Charlie had sent from Queensland, for one of Alan’s. On examination Alan
found out that, it was a painted bantam egg, and he was furious. Alan challenged
Gordon to a fight after-school. All the schoolkids gathered around them in a circle. It
was such a funny sight to see each boy congratulating the other when a blow
connected. Finally, after prancing around each other for a while, they shook hands
and made friends. The friendship that these two boys forged in those early years lasted
to the end of Gordon’s life.
We had a variety of lizards, the largest being the Racehorse Goanna. It could travel
at a fast speed, racing along with its head up and its tail swinging from side to side, we
tried to keep out of its way in case it mistook us for something to climb up on.
Geckos and little fly catching lizards of different sizes and shapes were everywhere.
Our favourite lizard was the thorny or mountain devil. They are fascinating if rather
ugly little creatures that have rows of spikes along their bodies with conspicuous ones
on their head. They are able to change their colour to blend in with the surroundings
and they live on ants, licking them up by the hundreds with their long tongue. I
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recently found out that the naturalist John Gray, in 1841, named them Moloch horridus
after the Canaanite god Moloch.
Animals
Many of the wild animals that roamed our bush were very shy and hard to spot. We
saw the occasional Grey Kangaroo and in our ramblings, we might come across an
Echidna, though this did not happen very often. Alan says he has seen Numbats, which
are also ant-eating animals, and there was quite a lot of evidence in the hollow logs
that some other creatures lived in there. Possibly Woylies, Brush tailed Possums and
Tammar Wallabies, however these are extremely shy creatures and can only be seen
by torchlight, as they are nocturnal, others may have, however I did not see any. Of
course, we did see foxes at times and we certainly saw the damage they inflicted on
our sheep. Rabbits were in almost plague proportions and they would bob up
anywhere and everywhere. The large warrens were a danger if you happened to be
riding a horse near them as the horse could stumble into a hole and break a leg,
Trees
Most of the trees that grew around our farm were not very tall, except for the York
and Salmon gums and Red Morrell. We had the Mallee trees of course, Sheoak,
Gimlet (not many, Alan says they grew further east towards Corrigin)), Jam trees,
Sandalwood, Quandong and wattles of various kinds. The Salmon gum is a tall
majestic tree that has a long straight trunk. It starts a light reddish brown, turning to a
salmon pink in the summer and then fading to a pale grey before it sheds its bark. The
Red Morrell or scaly barked Yorrell has rough dark bark on the bottom of its trunk
with smooth upper limbs. The Gimlet is smaller, with bright coloured bark, especially
in autumn, and is often multi-stemmed. Mallees are small stemmed trees occurring in
thickets, and the honeyeaters and lorikeets love their blossoms. The Jam tree is a
smaller form of wattle growing in association with York gums and Sheoak. It grows
on poorer soils, and when cut, the timber smells like raspberry jam, hence its name.
The timber was commonly cut for fence posts, as it is resistant to white ants. We also
had wattle trees of many different sorts with their beautiful flowers in varying colours
of yellows, from soft pale cream to deep golden. One species of wattle (the Manna
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wattle) exuded a gum that could be collected and sold for a few pence a pound to
Plaistow’s in Perth for use in confectionary. We did not bother, as it was tiresome
work for little return. Those that did collect it say that because the bark is so rough it
played havoc with their hands. We did eat it sometimes as a kind of toffee and it made
good glue for school projects. We sometimes found the odd Sandalwood tree, though
most had been cut down for its beautiful fragrant timber. A similar tree to the
sandalwood, that was also parasitic, was the Quandong, it had beautiful red fruit, the
size of a large marble, which we would pick and take home for Mum to make
quandong pie. She would cook it with rhubarb and plenty of sugar as it was very tart.
The wrinkly stone, when cracked open has a nutty kernel, however not really to our
taste. This stone was painted and used in the game of Chinese Checkers.
Talking about kernels brings to mind our almond trees. We had two large trees,
down near the Yealering Road, and if we were hungry, we would climb in the trees,
and gather their fruit. As they were hard shelled, we would sit on the ground and
smash them open with a rock, and then eat the delicious nut . One day Phyl ate so
many, she made herself sick, and she has not been able to enjoy one since that time.
Not so, Alan and I, we have not been put off, and they are still one of my favourite
nuts.
Catching Rabbits and Towser
Towser was our constant companion and he would dig down into the rabbit
warrens to dig out rabbits. We would be waiting at the other end of the burrows with
sticks to clobber them. Phyl recalls a time when we caught 11 between us. She
carried six, and I carried five home and Alan none! When we got home, we would
skin the rabbit in one piece, and then stretch the skin onto a looped wire frame to dry.
We would get a few pence for each skin. She recalls once when she was running down
a narrow bush track, a rabbit was coming in the opposite direction. Taking fright the
rabbit leapt into the air, hitting her in the chest and winding her. After she recovered
enough to stand up, Alan said, “Why didn’t you catch it?”
Towsers love of chasing cars was finally the death of him. I remember being on the
Yealering road with Towser loping alongside me, when a car came tearing down the
Tim’s Story Part 1
road towards us. As usual, the dog started to run alongside the car barking furiously.
The driver swung the wheel deliberately hitting Towser, and then he drove off. The
wheels of a car had passed over the dog’s body, breaking his legs and crushing his ribs.
Blood was coming out of his mouth and he was in great pain. I knew that he was too
far gone to save, so I looked for something to put him out of his misery. I tried to hit
him with a small log, however, the wood was rotten, and it broke. I then found an
empty beer bottle, and hit him over the head with it several times until I was sure he
was dead. I dragged his body off the road into the bush, vowing I would never be
attached to another animal again. I was 11 years old.
War Years
Quotation: Either war is obsolete, or men are.
R Buckminster Fuller. (1895-1983)
There did not seem to be much change in the lives of us children while the war was
on. We had always grown most of our own food, so rationing was not very noticeable
on our food supplies. Tea and coffee may have been a factor for the adults however;
we kids did not drink these beverages until we were older anyway. The clothing
coupons seemed sufficient for our needs as well, because we were mostly dressed
simply for farm life. We did not go out very often so our good clothes did not wear
out, and families would pass clothes around so there were always hand-me-downs.
Some farmers had gas producers attached to the back of their cars to help conserve
petrol. We did not, because we would travel by horse and sulky or cart if we needed to
save on fuel.
Like many farmers of the time, although he was of an age to be conscripted into the
forces, Dad was manpowered to keep working his farm; it was the sons of the farmers
who had to go, some joining voluntarily, thinking it would be an adventure, while
others may have felt pressured. We had seven of our older cousins that went to war. I
will talk about them a little later.
During the war years, there was an intense nationalistic fervour with schoolteachers
making the children sing National songs and stirring up hatred for the enemy. One felt
that when old enough we too would go and fight for King and Country. Australia was
Tim’s Story Part 1
hailed as the best place on earth and our ties with Britain were reinforced, especially in
the early years before the Japanese threatened our own shores.
Occasionally an aeroplane would fly over the school, and we would all rush to a
window to see who it was. Most of these aeroplanes were small single seaters and
flew just above tree height to attract our attention. If we were in the schoolyard, we
would shout and wave frantically at the pilot and he would wobble the wings of the
plane as he flew over. One of the pilots, a neighbour’s son, wanted to attract the
attention of his parents and threw a toilet roll out of the plane, and it spread out across
a paddock, much to the family’s delight.
Our cousin Hugh, who was Betty’s eldest brother, died in a plane crash in 1943.
He was only 22 years old. He enlisted at the age of 19 and eventually, became a flight
Sergeant serving in New Guinea. He was flying as tail gunner in a Beaufort bomber,
the only aircraft able to fly bombing missions at night. Evidently, on returning from
one of these missions, they got lost, and then while flying about to get their bearings,
the aircraft began to lose height and eventually struck water where at broke in half.
Hugh and another member of the crew were trapped in the gun turrets in the tail of the
plane and were unable to escape, whereas the front section stayed afloat long enough
for the pilot and his observer to survive. Natives from a local village paddled out in
their canoes and rescued them. Hugh’s body was never recovered. It was a
devastating blow to his family, and certainly to his young sister Betty. He had always
been a lively daredevil kind of lad, and I know he was one of my brother Alan’s
heroes. After his death, Aunty Mary gave Alan some of Hugh’s books and among
them were a set of “How it Works”. Alan loved these books and learned how to
invent quite a few ingenious things from the instructions in them.
Hugh’s brother Ted was also involved in the war, but he served in the AIF. He
spent time in New Guinea and Morotai Island. It was a huge relief for his family when
he returned safely.
We had five other cousins in the forces from Dad’s brother Frank’s family. Bert the
eldest served in the AIF as a signalman in the Middle East, Crete, Greece and then
Borneo.
Tim’s Story Part 1
Norman served in an infantry Battalion in Palestine, Egypt and Greece, and
eventually joined Bert as a signalman, travelling to Syria. As the Japanese were moving
closer to Australia, they were recalled home to serve in New Guinea, and that is where
he served out the rest of the war.
Raymond (Nick) joined the R A A F and was posted to England. He was a Gunner
involved in bombing raids over Germany. First, he flew in Wellington bombers, and
then the Halifax bombers. There was a tremendous amount of casualties among the
bombing raids. In one raid, only 96 out of 800 planes returned to base, and many of
those were badly damaged. Nick was involved in 35 operations and was fortunate to
survive. Many of his friends did not.
Ted, the youngest joined up in 1942. He said that as all the others had joined
up he had better join up too. He was posted to New Guinea and Morotai Island.
Later, he went to Tarakan and Laban (islands off Borneo). From there he went to
Japan before being demobbed and coming home.
Their sister Vera was in the WAAF as a transport driver in Laverton Victoria.
The experiences that these country boys had must have been very traumatic. From
the easy-going life, they had lived on their farms to fighting in the grimmest battles in
various theatres of war, would have no doubt shocked and unsettled them. I know
that when they returned home, they were reluctant to talk about any of their
experiences. Nick was the only one to bring home an overseas bride, and I have
stories to tell about Elaine.
When Nick bought his young English wife Elaine home, they stayed with us and
Dad gave Nick a job on a farm for a few months. Elaine was supposed to help Mum in
the house. She had been very spoiled at home, and tended to want to be waited on by
us kids. Therefore, in the beginning we resented her a little. Although Elaine had lived
through the war with the terrible bombings and deprivations of wartime England, farm
life must have been quite a cultural shock for a girl who had been brought up in the
city of London. She was a good sport, and would often laugh at herself and her
naiveté. Once she came to watch us do the milking, and as we ambled down to the
Tim’s Story Part 1
cow shed, a couple of young poddy calves came to greet us. We were greatly amused
when she asked us if they were the cows we had to milk. She had never seen a cow,
only pictures in books. Another time, Mum had gone out to help Dad with some work
on the farm and left Elaine and her 18-month-old baby home to look after things. It
was 100° in the water bag, and when we got home from school, we found the house
closed up and Elaine on top of our kitchen table, clutching her baby and looking as if
she was ready to collapse from heat exhaustion. “There’s a monster in the house.”
She cried. “I don’t know if it can fly.” It turned out that a blue tongue lizard had come
in looking for a drink, and as she had never seen one before, she did not know if they
were dangerous, poor girl. I managed to chase it outside with a broom and she soon
settled down.
We used to tease her quite cruelly because of her lack of understanding of bush
life. Mostly, she took it all in her stride and we found her a good sort. Once,
however, we went too far and had her in tears. We decided to go for a swim, and
Elaine tagged along as well. She could not swim, so she sat in the shallow water at the
edge of the dam. Alan, Phyl and I were good swimmers and could swim long
distances under water. We decided to play a trick on poor Elaine. We would take
turns to swim underwater from the middle of the dam, pinch Elaine on the bottom and
then swim back to the middle again. As the water was muddy, we were invisible.
Elaine soon twigged that it was us kids teasing her, and she went storming home in
tears. Even Dad had something to say to us about that!
I had one more tussle with Elaine over some taps. I wanted to fill a bucket of water
from a laundry tap and she refused to let me because she said she was doing her
washing. I got annoyed, first because this was our house, and second because there
were four taps over the troughs and copper. I did not see why I should have to wait
for her to finish her washing when she could easily share. Unbeknown to us, Mum and
Nick were watching us through a window. Mum wanted to intervene and tell me to
back off, however Nick said that Elaine was acting like a spoiled brat and he wanted to
see how it worked out. I won!
Another time she caused much amusement to our family, was when we were all
Tim’s Story Part 1
sitting at the table, having our tea and Dad cracked the top of a boiled egg, only to find
it had a chicken inside. “Will it fly? Will it fly?” Elaine cried, as she leapt up on her
chair. Four minutes in a cooking pot, would certainly ensure that that was an
impossible feat.
One holiday Alan brought home one of his friends from Albany High School called
Maurice. He and I decided to go for a swim and he dived into the dam, not realising
how shallow the water was. He took a long time to surface, so I thought I had better
investigate and found him stunned and partly submerged in the water. I dragged him
to the bank where he recovered. He had hit his head on the bottom and knocked
himself out, so I was very thankful that he had not gone swimming on his own.
Whenever I got into a temper, I used to take it out on the wood heap. This day
Mum had slapped me across the face because I was being cheeky. I did not think I had
been, and I was so angry, I made a beeline for the wood heap, only to see Maurice
already there chopping up some wood. I took off across the paddock to run off my
temper. Maurice said later that he had never seen anyone run so fast. He said “One
minute she was there, and the next she was gone! He thought I must have flown over
the fence. Amazing what a bit of adrenalin can do!
Maurice and I had another frightening experience together. Nick was driving a few
of us to Corrigin, and as there was not much room, Maurice and I decided to get into
the rumble seat at the back of the car. Halfway to Corrigin, Nick drove the car
through some loose sand and got into a fish tail. It seemed to go on for quite a while
before he got the car under control and in the meantime, Maurice and I were being
thrown around as though we were in a washing machine. Nick was so shaken up by
the experience; he could not drive the rest of the way and so Alan, who was under age
had to carry on. Nick reckoned that in all his years of flying in bombing raids over
Germany, he had never been as scared. He was sure he was going to kill us all.
Before he left for High School, Alan had developed a view that Mum did not
really love us and so he decided to run away. He would have been about 12 years old
and as usual did not want to go it alone. Phyl had no desire to join him, however as
usual; I was to be his companion. We put a bundle of clothes in a bag in anticipation
Tim’s Story Part 1
of the big day, and arranged that Phyl would bring us food every day or so. We were
sure that Mum would not miss us. In the meantime, Alan had to go to Albany High
School to start his new year. In the first term, Mum got a telephone call from the
Albany Hospital to say that Alan had to have his appendix out. When she got off the
phone, there were tears in her eyes and she seemed very upset. When Alan came home
for the school holidays, I told him of Mums reaction to the news of his appendicitis
and he said, “She must care; let’s not run away.” Therefore, we did not!
Remaining years
My memories of the final three years of primary school are not as vividly imprinted
on my mind. Strange that the more difficult experiences leave a more lasting
impression and happier times not so clearly recalled.
After Molly left Bullaring, we had a very softhearted young woman to teach us.
That year passed by with me developing a love of learning, especially literature. I
soaked up all I could, and my list of favourite books and stories grew with each
passing year. Some favourites in those early years were, What Katy did, the Anne of
Green Gables series, Pollyanna, then moving on to Dickens, the Bronte sisters, Jane
Austin and so on, becoming almost as avid a reader as my eldest sister.
Unlike my sister Phyl, I found school easy, which encouraged me to coast along
and not extend myself greatly. Molly had always suspected that I did not work to my
full potential, and although I hate to admit it, he was right.
The teacher we had in standard five was a young man called Mr Jones. Phyl and I
really loved having him as our teacher. Not only was he quite young and handsome but
he also involved himself with all the school activities including our games. Although he
kept reasonably firm control of us, he was kind and never embarrassed us, as Molly
had done.
One occasion sticks firmly in my memory during Mr Jones time with us.
Somehow, a fire had started in our school garden and spread to the bush outside.
Fortunately, we were able to put the fire out before any real damage was done. An
eccentric woman lived a couple of miles from our school and somehow she heard
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about the fire and came to have a piece of Mr Jones for his carelessness. She bailed
him up at the front of the school and began to abuse him shouting. “You should be
more careful with fires; you could have burnt my house down.” I was standing close
by, and became very angry at her tone of voice and said “Your house can’t burn down
it’s made of kerosene tins.” Although we knew this to be true, Mr Jones said I must
apologise for my cheekiness. He could not allow a student of his to be so
disrespectful. However, I was secretly sure that he admired my desire to stick up for
him.
Towards the end of that year, Mr Jones suggested that I sit for a scholarship exam.
These were called Inspectors scholarships and were awarded to reasonably bright
children who may otherwise not have an opportunity for further education. They were
worth 40 pound a year with extra for books. I was successful, and I am sure it must
have been a help to Mum and Dad when they sent me away to board at Northam for
my secondary education.
Unfortunately, in 1947, in the middle of Mr Jones’s second year, Bullaring School
had to close because there were only six children attending. The other three children
took a bus to Corrigin; however, Phyl and I with our young brother Joe attended
Sewell’s Rock School, which was 7 or 8 km southwest of our farm. We would meet
our teacher, (the same sweet natured person that we had had in year four) at the
bottom end of our farm on the Yealering road. She would give us a lift to school in
her car. It was a small two seater with a rumble seat at the back. Phyl and I sat in the
back and had great amusement looking through the back window at Joe, his mouth
going at full speed, no doubt with his usual, what, where, who, why, etc and Mrs
Ingram would have thought, “Now here is a pupil eager to learn.”
Phyl remembers how easy it was to convince Mrs Ingram, that we should do art
rather than geography. She wonders if we really did learn anything in those last few
months of our primary school life.
One of the children that went to the school was what used to be called a “blue
baby”. He had been born with a hole in his heart and as a result, venal blood leaked
back into his body, turning him a purple colour. Phyl and I were not familiar with this
Tim’s Story Part 1
complaint and we started to tease him, making up a song that rhymed with his name.
His older sister was a feisty little thing and would spring immediately to his defence.
Eventually, our teacher took us aside and warned us that Alec was very delicate and
we needed to look after him. It was a lesson well learnt.
At the end of 1948, this school also closed. As Phyl and I were leaving the next year
to attend high school, it did not affect us. Joe attended Yealering School, until we left
Bullaring.
Life at Bullaring coming to an end
Salt was becoming a very big problem in the district, and our farm was particularly
affected. Some of our dams had gone from fresh to brackish, and finally to salt. Our
lovely big trees were dying and large areas of the land were no longer fertile. Salinity
occurs when too many trees are removed , allowing the water table to rise, bringing to
the surface the natural salts that are normally kept well underground by vegetation.
Our pioneer fathers had no idea that by removing trees and native vegetation, they
would create such a monster. One day Dad came in to Mum and said, “We have two
choices, move to somewhere else, or starve.” By this time, Alan was home after his
three years in Albany, so he and Dad went looking for another property. In August
1950, they purchased a property at York.
There was another interesting story about the sale of the Bullaring farm. Joe would
have been about eight years old at the time. The man who had made an offer on the
property wanted to look it over, however, the day he arrived, Dad was not home, so
Joe decided that he would show him the various features of the farm. As they drove
around the property, Joe pointed out one thing after another, and they eventually
returned to the farmhouse to settle matters. It turned out that Joe had shown the man
all the worst features that were wrong with the farm. When agreeing to settle, the new
owner said, “Well at least I know what the worst problems of the farm are.”
When we girls came home for our holidays, the local teenagers gave us a good send
off. Only one thing marred the fun time for me. I was getting very self-conscious
about my weight, as I had put on some extra pounds. At a dance that was held in the
Tim’s Story Part 1
local Hall, one of the boys, who played the piano accordion, dedicated a song to me.
“She’s too fat, she’s too fat, she’s too fat for me.
I don’t want her, you can have her,
She’s too fat, she’s too fat, she’s too fat for me!”
I felt mortified and even though Elsie tried to reassure me that he would not have
sung it if he really thought I was fat, in my teenage insecurity, I found it hard to believe
her. In addition, that was not the end of the story; the young fellows had cut down an
old car and turned it into a kind of utility, and one night they decided to take us for a
spin in it. I was sitting in the back on a raised bit over a wheel, when smoke started to
come out from the tyre. My weight had pushed the body of the car down on to the
rubber, hence the smoke! How do you live that down?
What eventually softened the blow to my bruised ego, was that a young lad from
the Yealering district started to show an interest in me. We were great mates and
corresponded through the years until after I took up nursing, and our lives took a
different course. Although we went our separate ways, I have always remembered him
with deep affection. His mother and sister were also good friends and I corresponded
with his mother until her death.
I must say I had a wonderful life growing up on our farm and among our childhood
friends.
Quotation: Cherish your happy moments, they make a fine cushion for old age.
Christopher Morley. (1890-1951)
Like the mallee roots that burned so warm and bright in our hearths and fireplaces,
our memories warm our hearts just the same. With a million memories collected over
the years, I would not want to swap my life there in the Mallee country for a life in any
other circumstance! As this chapter of my life ended, another opened. That however, is
another story!
Tim’s Story Part 1
1
NEVER ALONE
By Alan Hewett, (see warning video 315)
Preface
I would like to acknowledge that some small sections of this book contain information taken from the
World Wide Web and wish to give my thanks and appreciation to those people that published it.
It is with some reluctance that I am writing my story but because to
the casual reader it may seem rather self indulgent or self focused,
the most memorable highlights only are included below.
However, my family has always found some aspects of my life
interesting and even intriguing, and insist that my life’s journey is
committed to paper, for my future descendants to see and note.
The Key to their Past is the first hand experiences of one of their
ancestors, and I am taking the plunge so to speak.
Please excuse the word I as it is, so abundant because I know no
alternative way to tell of these portions of my life story without
using the word I, (1932) excluding scripture (my birth date) times
as it is a first hand recollection for those interested to read.
If someone else can learn something from my journey through life
or get some enjoyment out of my experience then it will have been
worth the exercise. This biography is not in strict chronological
order, it is written with the memories as they are revealed to me,
after the first most memorable happenings have been put to paper,
the less prominent ones that come to my mind, and have guessed
where they should be placed. Also truly believe that we are all
travellers in this journey called life that it is a gift from God, and
that we must all do the best we can in our allotted time to achieve
our full potential, and help others achieve their very best also.
Friday, 8 February 2008 at this time my
family extends to 5 children and 13 of
their children and one child, that died,
and their children are now 6 living, our
great grand children, now 24 living
descendants. Please read my memories
and take note of them, I am sorry if you
are upset by so much scripture. If so,
take the matter up with God.
.
2
CHAPTER 1.
THE BULLARING YEARS
My first memory is very dim, but being only a toddler around
eighteen months old and as time goes by, have come to realize it is
quite remarkable that I can recall this event at all.
There was a box of grapes on a table on the back veranda sitting in
the sun and being a curious toddler, climbed up on the table,
promptly sat myself down and ate as many as I could before being
spotted.
I must have passed out drunk with the fermented grapes because
the only other part that I can remember is the Doctor ordering a
dose of castor oil and bed.
I am sure the castor oil has a lot to do with why I remember this
event; it certainly was a remedy that was to be avoided at all costs.
There were many incidents of similar nature that happened when
my size was small and Mum and Dad often commented that my
companion was “Old Nick.
Of course, I never could figure out who “Old Nick” exactly was
until much later in life.
One day I thought I would help Dad by fuelling up the car, but
since I used the garden hose, it was a complete disaster.
Mum and Dad were all dressed up in their tennis whites, we were
all aboard and ready to go, but we only made it as far as the first
gate and then spent the rest of Sunday draining water from the fuel
tank.
Some time before this Dad had developed double pneumonia from
working the team of horses in the rain.
He was working the whole day in wet clothes with a chilly wind
from the south blowing hard and getting sick meant a large delay
in seeding the crop.
Twenty acres a day was a big effort with a horse team, finishing
the seeding of nine hundred acres a long way off, we needed help
desperately to make it profitable, my cousin Bert Hewett came to
help put the crop in.
3
Bert had run away from home because his Dad had threatened to
shoot him on sight, so Bert sought refuge with his Uncle Jim, my
Dad.
Bert’s Dad used to get into a jealous fit of rage over the silliest
little things concerning his wife Liz. If Bert showed up at that time
then he would become the brunt of his Dads furious temper years
later, this trait was explained to us kids.. Consequently, Bert was
always made welcome at our place.
I was only three years old when Dad caught pneumonia and my
noisy behaviour was having an adverse effect on Dads condition.
His temperature was 107 degrees and he was delirious and
suffering terribly.
I had been told to be quiet on a number of occasions, but as usual, I
was very ignorant of the reason why.
Finally, Mum threatened to put me in the boot of the car if I did not
cut out the noise and always one to push the limit, that is exactly
where I ended up. After tearfully begging to be released because, I
could not bear the confined space or the darkness, my rebellion
was quenched for a short time, and my stubborn nature took a back
seat shortly.
When Elsie and I were very young, we used to dare each other to
run under the 32 horses bellies while they were in their stall
feeding in troughs on both sides of the central lane to see who
could get through the line quickest.
. Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and
blood, but against principalities, against powers, against
the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual
wickedness in high places. 13Wherefore take unto you
the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to
withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with
truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel
of peace; 16Above all, taking the shield of faith,
wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts
of the wicked.
4
A lan & Elsie 1933-4.
We could fit under the horse’s bellies without ducking our heads
and our Guardian Angels must have been watching over us;
because we would have been crushed to, death had any of the
horses chosen to react badly.
We had good rain in March, so Dad planted some summer
Sorghum seed for the stock to graze.
The crop flourished and then after a particularly wet night, the
horses broke loose and gorged themselves on the wet Sorghum.
The next morning Dad found dead and dying horses everywhere,
so he had to phone around for some advice on what to do.
Vets were not common in those days and usually a farmer with
expertise in the problem would be willing to help.
He found a man in Corrigin who came down and spent the
morning giving oil and enemas to the horses, some standing, and
some lying in terrible agony.
He also used a sharp thin hollow pipe to pierce their bloated
bellies.
There were many deaths that day and the next, when Dad had to
shoot some of our precious horses to put them out of their torment.
I started having terrible nightmares at this time, perhaps due to
understanding all of a sudden the fragility of life and my
Grandfather who had previously been a missionary out in the field,
suggested putting a Bible under my pillow.
I slept with the Bible under my pillow for a number of years and
not only did, my beliefs grow strong, the nightmares and fear left
me, and so did my companion “Old Nick.”
My education on farming techniques took on new meaning, as with
the nightmares now gone, I could watch Dad slaughter the sheep
for meat once a month, or watch Mum kill a chook for Sunday
lunch.
Proverbs 19:18 Chasten your son while there is hope,
And do not set your heart on his destruction
Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;
But the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
5
I as always went overboard and gave a very graphic portrayal to
any visitor that dared come along of the death throws of these poor
creatures, kicking and gurgling and throwing myself on the ground
for the full effect.
When I reflect on this now I find it quite horrid.
Horses were a biggest part of our lives on the farm in the early
years.
They were used for travel, war, sport, hunting, show, transporting
goods, ploughing the fields, dragging felled trees and numerous
other tasks.
In the days before the tractor, farmers would never have survived
without a sturdy team of horses or farm hack.
One of Our mares had a foal named Josephine who turned out to
be a fine looking beast.
Dad asked John Marsden, a neighbour and a bit of an authority on
horses, to break her in for riding and to train, so she could be
harnessed as a sulky horse, but Josephine had other plans.
The horses were housed about two hundred yards from the house
on the south side in stalls under the stables.
These thatched stables were just past mum’s fowl paddock, and the
gate to town was a quarter of a mile past Mrs Buddies on the north
side, our favourite mallee tree Elsie named, it was terrific for
climbing, with lots of low limbs to climb and we had our swing
attached to the young healthy tree.
It provided plenty of shade in the hot summer months and in wet
weather, we raced home, as the view of the coming rain was
obvious several miles off to the west-southwest.
Towser was of very mixed bread, in other words he was a mongrel
black and white dog, but to us kids he was, so wonderful and went
everywhere we did, guarding us from much including snakebite in
the native scrub.
Following us everywhere and was obedient to our every command.
He chased the rabbits that were a real plague, unless seen
personally you would not believe just how many there were.
As Towser raced after a rabbit, he yelped with the joy of the chase,
often with the rabbit squealing in terror.
6
I do not remember where dad bought him, but he came home from
a clearing sale with him one day in 1937.
Young Towser took a shine to us kids immediately.
There was a power struggle one day between Towser, and one of a
dozen of our cats, which ran ahead of us towards Mrs Buddies, our
popular play tree.
This cat wanted our attention and could not get it, so she spat and
hissed running straight for the dog, and raked across his face with
her claws extended out, and it sent him yelping back home licking
his wounds
We laughed at this very jealous act, and the sheer arrogance and
tenacity of a cat that feared nothing to gain our attention.
However, if the dog wanted to, he could kill the cat with one bite.
Towser had one fault and that was to chase cars like crazy, giving
each one a piece of his mind.
Even in the middle of a rabbit hunt, he veered off the rabbit chase
to get a nip at a passing car’s tyre, that was his obsession and one
day it cost him his life, we knew it was inevitable we had held our
breath many times when a car with trailer came by.
As the trailer was behind the car and he did not expect or see it, he
did his usual trick, a circle into the middle of the road behind the
car. Then to slow down with a satisfied look on his face, only this
time the trailer ran over him killing him instantly.
We all felt that one of the family had died that day; it was not fair a
friend had died.
We kids felt it was very hot in the late thirties and it reminds me
now just how hard life was on those long summer days with no
cold water to drink and the tank near empty at summers end.
Water came from the waterbag on the veranda or the house tank
The Coolgardie safe was also a great invention in its time so
simple with Hessian and water evaporation to keep the milk, butter
and eggs fresh.
Rabbits were a real problem for the Australian farming people.
They spread from the Eastern states and the 1, 2 and 3 fences were
too late finished to hold them out of the farms. We had to fumigate
them with the same poison that Hitler used on the Jewish people at
7
the gas camps in Europe during the second war, disgusting, a
beastly inhuman thing to do.
Deep ripping the warrens after gas also was a big help.
The rabbit inspector called often to check if you were complying
with the Government rule of eradication.
In the quiet season, Dad used this tinned gas making cyanide that
was pumped into each hole in a rabbit warren and as the white
fumes came out the holes they were sealed with dirt and the
pumping continued until all holes were done.
Sometimes we could actually hear the rabbits sneezing and
bumping, as they died underground.
The State Barrier Fence, previously known as the Rabbit Proof Fence, the State Vermin
Fence and the Emu Fence, has undergone many Transformations in its lifetime, keeping
rabbits, wild dogs, emus, kangaroos and other feral animals away from our agricultural
and pastoral areas
The fence runs from the Zuytdorp Cliffs north of Kalbarri around the perimeter of the
agricultural district south to Jerdacuttup in the Ravensthorpe Shire, a total of 1170 km
It remains a key device in protecting Western Australia’s $43 billion agricultural sector
from devastation caused by animals, and is jointly managed by the Department of
Agriculture, the Agriculture Protection Board, the State Barrier Fence Advisory
Committee, local shires and stakeholders
The Department of Agriculture and the Agriculture Protection Board wish to cordially
thank the following for their committed contribution and ongoing support
:
In 1950 the contagious disease 'myxomatosis' is released. The disease only affects rabbits
and is transmitted by mosquitoes. The disease kills millions of rabbits and halts the rabbit
explosion, the rabbit is fighting back and the poison 1080 is also used on the tough pests.
Mostly meat had to be salted to get it to keep except the cooked
meat was stored there in the safe a day or so.
The Bullaring shop was about six or eight miles
west of the rabbit fence Gate 69 School, that
Mums Sister Helen taught in during the second
World war, before marrying Ted Wilson of
Pingelly to leave teaching and work with him in
the drapery shop he owned there. This school
closed about the time I went to Albany High
School or within a couple of years of that time.
Our farm was on the Yealering road at the near
right angle bend only east of railway line
8
Many a day we kids over did our activities in the sun until Mum
had to cure our reaching with Holbrook sauce and water from the
waterbag.
Some of the more advanced farmers or graziers made special
rooms for their meat to be hung in them.
Often a bower shed had very draughty ventilation so that the meat
could be hung in calico bags for a week or more.
Alternatively a special charcoal walled room with a water tank on
top to saturate the sides for evaporation to do its work and that was
a very effective asset.
In those days, the cook had to have a good nose to avoid trouble
for the people she served.
It was great just before the war when our first fridge came we set it
up expecting great feeds of ice cream but the best ice-cream was
still made with ice blocks from Narrogin occasionally and ice
cream maker and salt.
This fridge burned kerosene in large round burners and had a top
opening lid some improvement but it was several more years
before we got 32-volt power and that was the start of a revolution
for us on the land.
The town gate was left open and the sneaky horses were out before
anyone noticed, with Josephine leading them east to the main road
between Bullaring and Yealering.
Dad wanted to head them off before they disappeared into the
distance, so we piled into the car and gave chase.
We almost caught up to them, but Josephine who was still
unbroken at this stage decided to race the car.
We were astounded at her speed, clocking her at 50mph before
overtaking and cornering her at 60mph.
Of course when John Marsden heard this he was keener than ever
to train her, because he not only was interested in farm horses, but
horses of every creed including trotters, show jumpers and race
horses.
9
Josephine turned out to be a brilliant show jumper, and John
entered her in show jumping all around the neighbouring towns,
where she won every event that she entered in the late 1930’s.
Dad decided that she was not a safe horse for children, and
consequently of no use to our farm so he sold her by auction, to the
local police officer at Narrogin.
Unfortunately, the police officer also had trouble controlling her,
and one day she bolted while in the sulky.
Smashed both the sulky and the police officer up quite badly,
Josephine went to yet another new home, but I lost track of her
final destination.
I started school at the age of four, because my sister Elsie was six
and needed company to ride her bike the five miles to the little
schoolhouse.
Else and I got our bikes for Christmas, just in time for us to start
school the following January.
We learned how to ride by parking our bikes beside a post or a
tree, climbing on and peddling furiously.
Getting off the bike was not much easier because we usually fell
off, before we mastered the art of braking and dismounting.
I still remember the size of the bikes, and how small the wheels
were, not much over 15 inches high.
We were both very small but Elsie never even reached five feet in
adulthood. I do not remember much else about that first year, but
when I turned five, I can remember quite vividly, our neighbour’s
daughter Shirley started teasing me.
She lived right next door, was much bigger than I was, and took
the same route that we did to and from school every day.
Shirley loved to choose a swishy piece of scrub to hit me with all
the way home and, I can remember riding hell for leather from the
school to her house which was three miles, just to avoid the terrible
torment.
We rode the last two miles over a corrugated, narrow, and uneven
gravel road but at least I did, not have Shirley swiping at me with
her swishy scrub whip.
10
During the nesting season, usually around August to early
November, Elsie and I rode close together to try to avoid the
magpies from pecking our heads.
We hated that time of the year because they were ferocious in their
attempts to protect their young, and they could take out an eye or
leave a nasty cut on our heads, as they swooped and pecked at us.
In fact the loud screeching warning the snapping beak, scratching
feet, and sharp pointed beak had us terrified to go past a nesting
pair of magpies.
I took to carrying a stick and managed to clobber quite a few
through the years.
Mum was talking to some of the local women, and heard that the
Corrigin doctor was extremely good at taking out tonsils.
By now our family consisted of Dad, Mum, Elsie, myself, Phyllis
and Muriel. Mum thought that as we kids were all looking a bit
skinny, it would be a good idea to have our tonsils removed, just in
case.
I now know that it was most likely worms that we suffered from,
especially considering that we had numerous farm animals such as
horses, cows and sheep, as well as two dogs, hundreds of chooks,
turkeys and more than our share of cats, a dozen or more of them
in fact.
Never had time to wash our hands properly either, a lick or a
promise we were noted for.
The things known about cats now make my hair stand on end,
especially after reading the 2007 science news.
Just discovered is a tiny parasite that affects the brain in terrible
ways.
In addition, because it can jump from one species to another
without any obviously immediate symptoms makes it scary.
It gets into rats too and makes them strangely oblivious to danger,
the way drugs affect people who drive under the influence.
We were all bundled up in the car, and off we went to the hospital
where Phil, Muriel, and I were each given a bed on the veranda.
11
My youngest sister Muriel, who had affectionately been dubbed
Tiger Tim when quite small, and was now called Tim most of the
time, was the first to be taken away for her operation.
Phil and I heard this bloodcurdling scream and we looked at each
other with fear in our eyes, but neither one of us was game to
speak.
Half an hour later, they came for Phil and I heard another
bloodcurdling scream.
By this time, I was scared to death and feared I might wet myself,
if ever I wanted to run it was now.
My turn came, and there was no avoiding it.
They took me into a small room, sat me in a chair, and strapped me
to it with a wide bandage.
Round and round they wrapped the bandage until I could not move
anything, then they slapped something in my mouth and began to
screw it tight, making my mouth so wide that it began to tear.
Then they used an instrument that looked like an ice cream scoop
and down my throat it went, to clip away a lump of flesh.
The Doctor assured me that it would heal much quicker without
painkillers, and I gave him a look of pure desperation, but to no
avail.
Just when I thought they had finished, another gadget with a
peculiar hook was shoved in my mouth; it went down my throat,
up the back of my nose, a quick snip and out came more meat and
a rush of blood.
I had trouble breathing through the deluge of blood, but they took
the mouth gag out and untied the straps that bound me and all I
could think was “thank God I’m free”.
Medicine has sure come a long way since then,
Back at school, I was having a particularly bad day, but decided to
join in with the younger kids to play a game of hide and seek.
The teacher and the older kids were over the road playing a game
of cricket, so we were not really being supervised.
Shirley was “it” and home base was a three feet cube tea chest.
While Shirley was behind the rainwater tank counting to one
hundred, I saw an opportunity to hide under the tea chest, so I crept
12
up and got under the box thinking that no one would know I was
there for hours.
Shirley was cheating I am pretty convinced, because as soon as she
finished counting she came over to the tea chest and plonked
herself down on it very deliberately.
As she sat on the tea chest, her weight drove an exposed three-inch
nail inside the box, down and it stuck into my head and the more I
tried to get it off the further it went in.
I let out a bloodcurdling yell and the whole two cricket teams,
along with the headmaster, came running from across the road, full
speed back to the school to see what all the commotion was about.
By then the headmasters wife was consoling me, but as usual it
was a non-event, nothing serious, and no permanent damage done
except perhaps to my pride.
Shirley had a grin from ear to ear, which rubbed salt into the
wound.
At school while still in “bubs”, we had to share a desk and I shared
mine with Nancy.
On one occasion Nancy did, not come to school and when the roll
was called, her brother said that she had taken ill.
I burst into tears, because I was, so upset that she was sick and I
would not let on to anyone that it was because of Nancy.
She was my very first girlfriend at the tender age of five.
Another day at school when I was eating my lunch, I still felt
hungry after I’d eaten my sandwich, so in my best printing I wrote
on a piece of paper “Five appies please” and took my order across
to the shop, Mum did, this all the time before shopping.
Mrs S took one look at my order, said “Just a minute Alan”, and
disappeared into the back of the shop.
When she came back to the counter, she gave me the apples, which
I handed out to my mates, but when I got home from school, I
learned that Mrs S had phoned mum and got her consent.
Shearing time in Bullaring often fell during the second term school
holidays, and the wool shed was a great place to play and work at
the same time.
13
Dad had built the shearing shed to accommodate three shearers, the
wool bales were strung to the rafters by the corners with wire, and
the bales were set in a long row, which gave us a good place to
play.
The wool was thrown on the table where the rough bits were pulled
off.
Then it was rolled sorted, and dropped in the bale according to the
fibre quality.
We had the job of stamping it down and we often were caught
with, so much wool on top of us that it took all our effort to surface
for air.
It was a great atmosphere with everyone pulling his weight for the
team.
One day I thought I would be clever while riding my bike to the
shearing shed.
I stood on one pedal and leaned the bike away from me riding it
like a scooter at about 25 or 35mph, when all of a sudden, my foot
slipped off the pedal and I went crashing to the ground.
I stumbled and fell a terrible cropper with gravel rash, cuts, and
bruises everywhere.
Keith Gentle and I were swimming at Scarborough Beach we were
dumped by a twelve-foot wave that almost drowned us years later
and yet it was not as bad as the bloody rash I received when I meet
with disaster on my bike that day.
After shearing each year, Dad dipped the sheep in the plunge dip
saturating all the sheep, and dogs in a water arsenic solution to rid
them of pests.
A long pole with a t-bar on the end to hold the animal under the
water, to soak them evenly to their skin.
Then they swam the 30 feet to the steps up and out at the shallow
end into the draining yard
We kids had to take a part of course it did help as the sheep, once
they had been done once, shied away from the yards afterwards for
the rest of their life.
So it was all hands to the job we even had several Judas sheep to
lead their mates to the trap yard.
14
The pet lambs were fed from the start at pre weaning in the dip trap
yard, and never forgot the pleasure of a feed there, so it only took a
shout “lamb” and they headed for the trap yard, leading the mob in.
I was dunking them one day, and a big weather decided he would
beat the system.
He jumped zigzagging from one side of the dip to the other the
length of the dip; unfortunately I was leaning on the dunking pole.
That was propping me on my perch on the dip fence and he
knocked it out of my hands, and I over balanced into the dip
headfirst.
I came up spluttering and spitting the filthy liquid out of my
mouth.
After that I was a bit shy of dipping, almost as shy the sheep.
I wonder why my head was not spit open on the top rim as I fell
into this two foot wide cement lined sheep bath.
I was very interested in school and aspired to become a doctor, but
most of my memories seem to be centred on the trouble I got
myself into, and I am still the same now.
My sisters and I were playing after school in the reserve scrub
nearby.
Mum was waiting for the train at the station, which was near the
shop, so Phil, Tim, and I were climbing trees and messing about, as
usual always on the move.
There were few trees that I could or would not climb, it was my
ambition to have the best bird’s egg collection, in Bullaring and it
totalled ninety-two species, before giving it away to attend AHS.
I had climbed a mallee tree and decided to drop down from quite a
height; on landing, I felt this stinging pain and a squishy feeling in
my foot.
I looked down and the sand had turned red with the blood that was
gushing from my foot.
On examining my foot, it appeared to be almost cut in half by the
broken beer bottle hidden in the scrub, and I got a terrible scared
feeling that I was bleeding to death.
I had witnessed sheep die like that in 2 or 3 minutes.
15
I hobbled to the headmaster’s house where they wrapped it in a
towel very tightly and then took me across to the shop where Mum
was waiting for the train.
Mum took me home and unwrapped the towel, took one look at the
cut, and then carted me off to the doctors to have it stitched.
This doctor was not there at the hospital that day, so they gave me
a bed for the night and in the morning, the same doctor who had
removed my tonsils greeted me with a grin, and he had a cruel
streak in him for sure.
I was laid face down on the operating table and held still by straps
while he cleaned bits of beer bottle out of the wound, and stitched
it with no painkillers, and the steel pins they pulled the cut together
with hurt much more than initial cut the day before.
I have always been a sceptic where doctors are concerned and I
wonder if my early experience of them is the reason.
I earned my first pay packet while I was in fifth standard.
Arthur Baker was an older boy who just happened to be my mate.
He was in need of an assistant to help him carry the sanitary pans
up to the reserve next door to the schoolyard, where we would
bury the contents in the loamy sand.
The Government paid us quarterly and since it was a depression, it
was a nice feeling to have money in the Bank.
It was this early training I am sure, together with living through the
depression that instilled the value of money into me and was a
driving force in my quest to be financially secured in later life.
Three years after Dad had his double pneumonia we were very
lucky to acquire a wonderful farmhand named Bill Hassett.
When the war started, Bill joined or was drafted into the army
where he quickly rose up the ranks
Although we lost, his service on the farm Bill was a very valuable
asset in the armed services and finished in the top ranks.
Dad was a keen sportsman and was captain of the Bullaring tennis
club many times over the years.
He loved nothing better than to compete in tennis tournaments and
was an active committee member.
16
One of his proudest achievements along with the other twenty to
thirty members was to build four tennis courts out of anthills
collected from the sand plains.
The courts were terrific to play on and many players over the years
complimented the club on the surface of the courts.
Dad, also played footy at the local Bullaring football club, but that
was a year or two before I was born and once he had a family Dad
let his footy career slide.
My first milking cow was Daphne and she had an unbelievably
large udder with huge teats.
She was a black and white Friesian cross hybrid and I have never
seen a cow since produce the volume of milk and cream that
Daphne supplied.
When she gave birth to a calf, her udder was, so distended that the
milk was pink with blood and could not be used for the first month
after the birth.
Once the calf had been taken from her, I could fill a four-gallon
bucket twice a day with her rich creamy milk.
No one else liked milking Daphne because her teats were, so big,
there was a real knack to it and I had it down to a fine art taking
only thirty minutes to complete the task, while others took much
longer.
Years later when I was first married and lived at Burge’s siding
farm with young children; we bought a cow that appeared to be
quite mad.
She tried her very best to gore the kids because she seemed to
think they were dogs, so we sold her before she did, major damage.
One day in Yealering, still only a young lad of six, I wandered
down town to the ice cream shop run by Mrs W.
Her son John and I would one day, share the same dormitory at
high school in Albany and then as adults meet again at the York
tennis club.
While outside the shop one of the local bullies spotted me.
He was older and bigger than I was and with plenty of
encouragement from his mates proceeded to provoke me into a
wrestling match.
17
I was quite shy of town kids and did not intend to fight him, but he
had bravado on his side with his mates urging him on.
He managed rather quickly to give me a substantial blood nose, but
then when an adult came along the bully and his mates bolted,
obviously not so brave after all.
It upset me quite badly at the time, and I disliked going into
Yealering for a long time after that.
Strangely enough, I met that bully more than sixty years later in
Geraldton where we had both retired to and we got along
famously.
We both remembered, so many of the same people, the lifestyle,
and the Corrigin, Bullaring, and Yealering area that we had a great
time reminiscing.
Another drama unfolded at the tennis club in 1937.
Mum and Dad were playing tennis and we kids were getting bored
and restless waiting around.
Eventually we were ordered to go and wait in the car, “And stay
out of trouble”, Dad said sternly.
The car was a 1936 Ford and I can remember stretching myself out
along the front, my foot resting on a button on the dashboard.
That button I had no idea what it was for until then, because no one
in our tribe smoked.
After several minutes I saw smoke coming out from under the
dash, so I promptly removed my foot, the cigarette lighter flew into
the back seat where my elder sister promptly slapped it to the floor.
Thankfully no fire started, our Guardian Angel was working
overtime, and Mum and Dad were never any the wiser or we
would have had a good strapping.
I milked my cow morning and night from age six and became quite
good at it.
One day a neighbour got sick and was rushed to Royal Perth
Hospital, and his wife was desperate to have someone help with
the milking.
Their son had never milked a cow in his life, so Dad volunteered
my services to go over every evening and milk it for them.
18
Everything went according to plan for a couple of weeks, then one
day I turned up to do, my job and could not find the milk bucket.
I went into the shed and yelled “Ian where are you?”
Before I had even finished the sentence, an angry and aggressive
female dog sprang and knocked me flat on my back she had her
mouth open, teeth bared just above my throat, and every time I
tried to move or yell, she threatened with a vicious snarl.
After what seemed like an eternity, Ian finally came whistling
around the corner, and I had never been more pleased to see him.
He explained that the dog had pups that she was protecting and
they were in the shed I had ventured into.
Ian was only a couple of years older than I was, but as youngsters
often do, I looked up to him as though he was a hero.
In fact, a few years later I bought my first motorcycle from him,
CR13 and had it many years before selling it to a collector for
restoration.
While Ian’s father was in royal Perth hospital, he demanded that
somebody stop that mad son of his racing around outside the house
and to quieten him down, it was the traffic in Wellington Street
that he heard.
It was a week or, so later that Ian’s father came out of his coma
and he came home.
The doctors never found the reason why he had suddenly passed
out, but I was free of my milking duties and life returned to
normal.
I have never overcome my fear of dogs completely and when door
knocking as a volunteer collector have had many scares, as the
dogs can smell my fear.
In 1938, we had another catastrophe with the horses.
Zenna our mare was sick on that day, so we had to use Blue the
draft horse and he was a bit scared of the sulky.
We forgot to tie him up after we got home from school and he
kicked the backboard out, took fright, bolted, and jumped the fence
sulky and all.
The sulky broke up as it tumbled end over end and Dad had a huge
mess to try to fix.
19
Zenna recovered and went on to live to a ripe old age of thirtyseven
years, which is extremely old for a horse.
Perhaps the daily trot to school and regular feeding paid off for
her.
My sisters and I spent a lot of time playing down at the soak on hot
days, digging in the loose sand, one day John nearly drowned.
If Mum had not called our attention to watch him from her garden
patch he would have because we found him face down at the other
end of the soak, bobbing about unable to turn over.
Once I had another of my brain waves, something I am still noted
for today, and which has created quite a lot of trouble for me over
the years.
I took a sheet of galvanized iron and dug a trench, put the iron on
top, shovelled sand on top of that and made a lovely hiding place.
Mum could not see us or get close enough to give us any chores to
do, and we thought we were, very smart.
However, Mum was smarter and one day she decided to teach us a
lesson.
She waited until we were all inside, crept up and poured some dry
sand into our hiding hole.
“Quick it’s caving in,” I yelled“, Get out.
In the 1930’s dances were held at Bullaring usually monthly and
they were a great source of fun.
Mum helped the CWA (Country Women’s Association) cater, so
we had the night out finding lots of things to get into while Mum
was busy with her chores.
We were usually home by 10pm, even though the dance continued
on into the night, but it was a great outing for kids and we always
found plenty of exciting things to do.
A problem one evening came about when one of the C W A
members’ husband parked Their T model Ford truck right next to
the hall toilets.
That was close to the kitchen door to unload their goodies for the
evening supper, being early arriving he left it unattended, was
sidetracked and he forgot to move it, so it stayed there Instead of in
the usual parking place.
20
His dog was on the back of it and when the girls wandered by on
their way to the toilets, the dog chased them away.
I was called to help, and being a brave gentleman, it was my
pleasure to help out these ladies in distress.
When I got to the truck the dog put me to flight very quickly with a
lot of noise, and crestfallen I had to get this truck owner to shift it,
before anyone could visit the toilets. He did move the truck
eventually.
His wife made all us kids shy away from her as she was in the
habit of getting right in your face, and when talking she spat spit
all over you In her enthusiasm to tell her latest story.
Bill is her husband and he amused us greatly with his strange
English ways.
Friday they always shopped in Yealering at the new farmer’s coop,
and to get there they passed our farm dam.
Every time they did, Bill got his permanently placed holy, and
rusty old bucket off the back of the truck and raced, over the bank
of the house dam for water to top up the radiator, and as the years
passed, he needed more buckets of water each trip. Both the truck
radiator, and bucket leak, got bigger and the dam saltier, but he
kept on using it for years.
We could see his stick like figure, silhouetted against the white
dam bank, running too and fro.
He always had to crank his ancient vehicle to get away to the next
water stop.
As parts were not available during the war, it was difficult.
Another comical thing happened regularly at the wheat bin or
siding, if we or anyone else came along and he was parked in front.
He dithered about from one side of the truck to the other all of a
jitter, waving his arms and apologizing for being in the way, then
jumping to crank the T Ford to get out of the way; it would be
embarrassing for all concerned.
The other character that amused everyone was a strange wife who
wore men’s boots and bought veggies from us at our school
garden.
21
When one day we asked what her husband thought about the
lovely cabbage, lettuce and turnips we sold her, she said
indignantly “my husband won’t get these they’re for my chooks
I’ll have you know.”
This was the wife of another English man, Bert he had married late
in life and he was a real battler on poor sand plain land near by the
shop and school.
Where his wife came from we did, not know but she suffered from
being a bit simple and that she did, not have normal thinking
processes as her produce handling indicated.
In those days, people like this finished up in institutions; most
likely, some relative gave his daughter to Bert to save her the
trauma of being institutionalized.
We were always exploring new avenues to make life exciting and
wherever I went my two younger sisters were right there with me.
They always said that I made things interesting and even though
they were my Guinea Pigs on numerous occasions, they never
wanted to be left out of anything.
The bulk wheat bin was another of our favourite haunts and
whenever there was a dance, we played out doors at the bin or
siding.
The sweepings were heaped up at the bin by the workers and lit,
they smouldered for weeks, and by swatting the smouldering heap
with sticks, we made great balls of fire.
How no one got hurt, I can only put down to our Guardian Angels
who must have worked overtime on our behalf.
We often raided the railway siding for fresh fruit that had arrived,
much to Mr S chagrin.
One time Gordon and I noticed, George’s Ute about to drive away
from the dance hall toward the shop and we assumed in the
moments time we had that he would stop at the shop.
We sailed past the shop, and started to go toward his father’s farm
about five miles away.
Panic set in instead of banging on the cabin roof to let him know
we wanted to get off.
22
We decided to pick the bit of sand we were coming to, and jump
off the back, well what a landing we had do not ever try it we
became somersaulting fools as we hit dirt only to find sand can be
very hard.
He was a large German man who was friendly to all, very affable
with a lovely wife a daughter and two sons, to help with the shop.
George their son was a character who loved to play jokes on us and
I well remember the time he held me under one arm, grabbed a
bottle of caster oil and threatened to pour it down my throat.
The customers who all came to pick up mail on Fridays thought
this hilarious, but I was not laughing. He had a pet blue healer dog
that he tormented us kids with setting it onto us, to get a laugh at
our expense.
George had a pig paddock with a plain wire running along the
bottom of the pig netting, we assumed to keep them from rooting
underneath it, and we were encouraged by lollies to help catch his
piglets one day.
Not having any pig experience we said we were willing to help
him catch them, as it was not far from the shop.
Everyone climbed into the back of his Ute and when we arrived,
George made sure that he scared the piglet into the wet corner by
rushing up with gusto.
Piglets ran into a wet corner. Well George said right kids lets get
them, of course we kids, dog and all crowded into the corner in
excitement and everyone grabbed a piglet.
Then there was a great cry as the High voltage electric fence
pulsed its current though us all including the pigs and dog.
Which squealed and yelped louder than we did, it was like a mad
house, it made George almost kill himself laughing.
This is how it’s tested to-day
The other son Bill had a more serious nature but was a real
businessman, not at all a prankster like George.
23
By the time 1939, arrived Mother had a thriving little business
selling eggs to the Perth firm Bairds,
Cartons of day old chickens were bought regularly from Narrogin
to begin the flock, and the chicks grew fast into good laying hens.
When laying began, some fertile eggs were put in a brooder to
maintain the number of layers adequately.
She had invested in laying types and Dad had built a great high
netting fenced paddock, around ten acres of standing timber for
them.
It was a nice shady place for her five hundred laying hens and
dozens of turkeys.
We made quite a good living from the crates of eggs and churn’s
of cream, from my milking efforts and twice a week we would
deliver them to the train station to go to market, the eggs to Perth
and the cream to the Narrogin butter factory.
Wheat prices were around one shilling, and sixpence a bushel and
wool prices were no better at sixpence a pound, the depression was
having an impact on everyone, and the extra income was a
Godsend for our family.
It was because of the poor prices that farmers formed Cooperatives,
to make an improvement to the conditions and prices.
At the second war outbreak, I was a skinny kid of enormous
energy that Mum used to the full, with the many chores associated
with her enterprises.
The cattle tried to push the fowl yard fence down, so Dad placed
barbwire, tied and held by the existing tree trunks out ten feet from
the fowl run and just a metre above ground level.
He also put up a shed for shelter from the hot, cold, or wet weather
and to provide a safe place for the fowl roosting at night, also nests
to lay their eggs.
Mum, with our help cemented the floor in the usual custom.
Dad and some workmen placed stones on the floor, we laid them
out across the floor and my job was to break the stones up into a
flat level surface with a fourteen lbs sledge hammer, which was it
seemed to me to be my own weight.
24
I had worked most of this day, when I finally lost my patience and
along with it my temper.
Mum lost her cool, and hit me with a piece of fencing wire that
was in her hand at the time, which was the last straw for me.
I never let Mum forget that whipping, even though I am sure that
my insolence caused, and no doubt, I deserved.
Mum had after all, been working just as hard as I had been and was
most likely just as sick of the job as I was, but she was a very
determined woman and certainly not a quitter.
We would work until the job was completed, as simple as that.
One day I was all dressed for tennis waiting outside for the rest of
the family to get ready.
To amuse myself, I threw a jam tin lid at one of the chooks that
had flown over the twelve foot netting fence and I was, so intent on
chasing it, not watching the direction we went, I forgot about the
barbed wire.
I remember a terrible pain in my head as I hit the wire, which
because luckily I hit straight on, it flipped me onto my back
instantly as it tore my forehead, just above my eye.
Mum was not pleased about the soiled clothes, or that my face was
a mess, but was relieved that my eyes were not damaged.
At the height of the depression, one of our neighbours was having
a difficult time making ends meet.
The Bank manager paid Dad a visit and asked him if he would take
over the neighbour’s mortgage and work the land.
Dad said, “Okay, you tell George that I’m happy to do that,
The Bank sent the paperwork to us and told Dad to start in August.
Dad set to work at the appointed time and was busy fallowing one
of the paddocks closest to our farm.
Mum was at home when George the neighbour paid her a visit.
She invited him in for morning tea and while he was quite polite to
Mum, she could see that he was not his usual chirpy self.
George asked. Jessie where is Jim?” She pointed Dad out
fallowing the paddock on George’s property next door.
When Dad came home that night, Mum asked him whether he had
had a visit from George and what was it about.
25
Dad said very casually, “He came over to shoot me dead and even
pulled out his pistil, but he went home happy.
Dad had a very charming manner with everyone, and was well
respected in the region, it had seemed that the Bank manager had
not deemed it necessary to tell George that they were repossessing
his farm and offering it to the neighbours.
Once things had settled down, Dad took possession of George’s
farm, my sisters, and I found it a terrific retreat.
The bush house was made with barked saplings, Hessian walls
whitewashed, with local kaolin clay and wooden floorboards that
were riddled underneath with rabbits.
A couple of straw sheds, and a horse propelled chaff cutter
assembly that we gave rides on, to each other.
There was a fresh water tank and we could spend hours there out
of Mums hair, and doing our own thing, mostly my thing all day
long.
There was also a sand soak, a veggie patch and lots of kangaroo’s,
but we spent most of our time every weekend catching rabbits and
barbecuing them or getting the tadpoles and frogs to play with.
A large area still had not been cleared, and it was thick with
kangaroos, some were huge, frightening in fact.
If a big one decided to attack, you would not stand a chance
without a gun.
One day I was running along a kangaroo track, watching a
wedgtail eagle soaring overhead and I looked up just in time to see
this seven-foot tall grey boomer bounding, from the other direction
straight along the track. My mind instantly saw myself being
hugged by his sharp clawed hands and my belly rip open by his
hooked big toenail that had no doubt fought many male contenders
for his tribe of females. The tee tree timber was crowded together
not a foot between them, so we stopped dead not ten feet apart, and
unable to leave the track. I prayed he would turn and after what
seemed half an hour he turned, and bounded back the way he came
and so did I very relieved, by now the eagle had gone, my precious
bird egg collection could wait for another day.
26
There was a patch of big timber we had to go through that was
known as the graveyard on the cart track side of the uncleared part
of the neighbours farm Dad had bought.
Anything that died such as a horse or an occasional calf, and could
not be burned because of the fire danger, we dumped it there for
the meat ants or wild life to clean up.
Whenever we drove the horses through there they acted jittery, and
scared, and of course with our very vivid imaginations, becoming
overactive we got scared too.
Some years later Dad and Bill D built a scrub roller to clear this
land.
The men selected a large white gum tree with no dead branches in
it to ensure the trunk of the tree was sound inside.
Cut it down, and to length of 20 foot with a crosscut saw with a
man at each end.
Dragged it home to the blacksmith shop or our workshop by horses
and barked it.
Then heated the forge and a wagon axel to act as pivot in the centre
of the log.
With the sledgehammer and anvil, they cut the axle in half.
Shaped both the cut ends into thin flat pointed spear shaped objects
with key slots punched in them, to be secured each with a long iron
bar threaded one end, and squared the other end.
By drilling with a suitable auger through the width of the roller a
foot from each end for this locking device.
While red-hot, the axle was inserted 18 inches into the ends of the
centre of the trunk of the tree.
After several fitting and hammerings to secure them tight, one each
end.
Then a square frame was constructed of straight salmon gum trees
with a diagonal rail to each corner.
All bolted together to set up on the top of the 2.and a half foot
white gum roller with the wagon wheel hub on each end.
Bracketed and placed secure to the frame at each side three
quarters of the length back from the front stronger push rail.
27
Fixed to allow the roller to turn on the central roller pivot axel
stubs.
Along the left hand side of the frame and at right angles to the
roller was a long 18-inch thick white gum tree for the horses to
pull from.
Any large trees in the area to be rolled were weakened by axe first.
The tea tree, the small bush, and all the mallee trees were flattened,
left a couple of months and burned in season.
One day Elsie and I were watching them drive through the scrub
from a safe distance and Bill was caught between the team of
horses and the heavy scrub roller.
The trees were falling and Bill was ducking and dodging over the
frame of the roller.
Dad was trying to call the horses to stop, Bill tore a great strip of
flesh from his shins, and it was all very scary at the time.
He was very lucky that more damage was not done, and it was a
very real lesson for us all on how unpredictable frightened horses
can be.
Bill often seemed to be caught in the wrong place at the wrong
time.
We had an old Rugby car, before Dad bought the 36 Ford, and he
was having fuel trouble with it again on a tennis day.
The trouble was the condensation of water from the air,
accumulating in the fuel tank.
The modern day fuel dissolves some small amount of water to
eliminate these condensation problems.
The men tried a short cut way of keeping the car running, by
pouring fuel into the carburettor while the motor was still running
eventually it drew the fuel line clean.
They had a small jam tin, which they used with care.
Unfortunately, just as they were pouring fuel from the tin, the car
backfired and the open topped jam tin of petrol burst into flames.
My two sisters and I were watching the proceedings in the garage,
so we were all crowded into quite a tight space blocking the exit.
28
Bill had no way of getting the tin past the car or us, without
burning either the fabric on the car or us.
Eventually Bill managed to push past us, but not before the tin had
become red hot, it then shot out of his hands and set his trousers on
fire.
Poor Bill was in a pickle and he was rolling on the ground in a
flurry of activity as Dad ran over and slapped out the flames.
Bill had to pay a visit to the hospital for a time, but it was not too
serious.
In my life, it has come to me that God is perfect and his creation is
everlasting. He has not wasted anything that has been created.
Everything is recycled to renew it, even the stars when they decay
to dust, they fall into a black hole, then they come out as new ones
forever renewing. Now if he is to be consistent and to be perfect he
must be consistent. Proof he will recreate us to marvel at his
perfection forever.
This generation, as every future one should remember, if fortunate
in life, in 100 years give or take a few years, from their relevant
point in time, they will be just a pile of dust. If they thought more
on this aspect of their certain future, they might put some energetic
effort into life’s worthy causes. That will put them into the pages
of history, rather than just to disappearing unnoticed from the
earth.
Before Bills episode of setting his trousers alight, Phyllis almost
had a serious accident in the same car.
We were going on holidays to Albany and it was before my
youngest sister was born later in May, so there was Elsie, Phyllis
and I sharing the back seat with Grandma and Grandpa Hewett.
Phyllis leaned against the door handle hinged to open backward,
the wind caught it and back the door, flew, open at a terrific speed
1 John 2:3 And hereby we know that we know him, if
we keep his commandments. 4 He that says, I
know him, and does not keep his commandments,
is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
29
and it was only Grandpa’s knees, and quick reflex action to catch
her by her dress, before she was dragged out through the rear door.
(That type of door hinging was banned after much death in the
world) I do not know whether it was relief that Phyllis had been
saved from falling out of the car or just sheer stupidity, but on
arriving, I raced out the car ran into a low steel rail, and knocked
myself out cold.
Of course, I bloodied my clothes and was in Mums bad books yet
again.
That holiday was full of chaos because we stayed at Emu Point in a
rented cottage and managed to take an infestation of bed bugs back
to Bullaring.
This problem was very difficult to eradicate.
The walls of the house were lined with tongue and groove threeinch
boards and Mum puttied them up with, a creosote mixture of
putty poison, linseed oil, and bread kneaded together, she made the
mix as needed to poison the little critters and fill all their hiding
places.
We did, get rid of them completely eventually. Dad solved a stick
fast flea problem that attacked the horses and every other animal
from fowl, cats, dogs, rabbits in fact anything with blood flowing
in their body.
By shutting a large mob of sheep in the horse stable and yard for a
couple of nights running and it got rid of them completely.
The hungry blighters jumped on the sheep and the lanoline in the
wool soon smothered them and the urine soaked ground, killed
their eggs, so that settled the problem, and we were not bothered
by a plague like that again at Bullaring.
We always boiled the copper on Monday for the weekly washing.
There was no running water we had rainwater from the roof and an
underground tank, the water was carried in a bucket to wherever it
was required.
Sunday for our weekly bath the other days, we washed our feet in a
big dish at bedtime.
30
Phyllis was helping Muriel to do, her feet and the water was too
cold, so she got the boiling kettle off the stove and poured it into
the dish while Muriel had her feet still there.
Did, she get blistered I can see it in my head still poor kid, but after
a lot of yelling she quietened down and went to sleep we had our
good old Rawley’s medication supply
The regular agent came on a bike every six months, with remedies
for any ailment they came with their sample case full with their
many remedies’.
The house had gas (or shellite) fuelled lights in two rooms only lit
on Sunday or special occasions, and the rest of the house we used
kerosene lamps.
The lamps that were carried with us, safety lamps we even went
out in the wind with them, to the chaff shed if it was feed up time,
or any other job.
I had just struck a match to light the lamp and remember it flew to
pieces and went out, so I dropped the dead match it landed on the
sheet in Muriel’s cot.
I saw nothing happen, so lit the light with a new match as this one
lit properly.
Do not let matches get wet because wet matches splutter and are
usually useless.
Mum called us for tea we went for our tea, to the kitchen.
A little while later Muriel started to yell and we raced in to the
bedroom to see why, there was the sheet smouldering all along the
bottom of cot.
We promptly got that sheet into the bath and water from the cold
kettle, to water it down and thanked God there were no flames.
The other regular six monthly caller was the saddler who mended
the harness for Dad, during the depression we had casual men
callers looking for any work to get a free meal that was available,
and I know that a weeks wage, was anywhere from ten shilling to a
pound a week.
Albert Sibley had a great melon and tomato patch just inside his
boundary fence and whenever we were near we quenched our
31
appetite by helping ourselves to his produce, instead of trudging all
the way home for lunch.
Of course we were very discreet and always had a guilty
conscience, but many years later he told us that he really did not
mind as long as no damage was done.
Besides energetic kids, need good food.
Albert had a very successful soak, so we thought we might be able
to tap into the same underground stream on our place.
We used the auger to bore a hole thirty feet deep, and by that time
the sun was setting and we stopped for the day.
The next morning there was fifteen feet of water in the hole.
I remember a narrow escape while digging a well there, when a
great crack appeared in the side of the well wall, and then a lump
of the wall came down on me.
My Guardian Angel was there once more and from then on, we
had to case the sides of the hole as we went down.
Albert always said that we had drained his soak to build ours, as
we had a better water supply than he did, but he said it in jest.
Albert was a very creative guy his family had grown up and left
the farm for academic life.
Therefore to pass the time in the off-season, it pleased him to
invent things in his well-equipped workshop.
He built a replica steam train and circular track that he took to the
shows each year, and gave us kid’s rides on it.
The miniature steam train he drove round and round the football
oval with pleasure rides available, and it was very successful and
popular with everyone.
Occasionally Mum and Dad took a day trip to Narrogin and we
always begged to stay at home, where we could get up to all sorts
of mischief.
Narrogin was always too hot or too cold and it was a long and
boring day for us, spent mostly waiting in the car for Mum and
Dad to complete their business.
The agricultural Bank was where they spent a lot of time; this was
the beginning of the Rural and Industries Bank that became Bank
West eventually.
32
One of our greatest delights was to slide on a cushion down the
house roof on to the wide veranda.
I always had an ambition to fly so I would, also tie a three-ply
sheet of wood to each arm and attempt to fly off the veranda roof.
Many years later I would achieve my ambition to fly when in
1951, I built my own flying wing glider from a blue print, but as a
kid there were many hard landings, scratches, and bruises from my
attempts to fly.
After the Christmas holiday one year Mum sent us off to school to
start the New Year a day early.
She had forgotten that the Monday was also a holiday, so my
sisters and I arrived at school only to be laughed at by the rather
nasty new headmaster.
We called him “Mollie” and he and I clashed from day one.
He called us “dopes” for turning up on the wrong day and
promptly put us to work sweeping and dusting to “get the
classrooms into shape,” ready for when school started “officially”
the next day.
We were not impressed because we all felt that he should have sent
us home, after all it was not our mistake being only junior primary
school age.
My younger sisters and I rebelled at the indignity of it!
Having to work hard most of the day while “Mollie” seemed to
spend his day coughing and gasping for breath.
He had come out of hospital after TB (Tuberculosis) had cost him
a lung, in those day’s treatment was limited and knowledge scarce
on the disease, and antibiotics were not thought of yet.
In an effort to smooth things over a bit, Mum invited “Mollie” and
his wife out to visit Mum and Dad, for afternoon tea.
They arrived early and Dad and I were cleaning the muck out of
the soak, open top galvanized iron tank with a broad mouth shovel.
Dad had taken over from me as it was hard work heaving out the
filthy salty sludge, and he was now in the bottom of the tank, while
I sat on the rim, in the fresh breeze talking to him while catching
my breath again.
33
I told Dad that I could see “Mollie” coming from the house on his
way over for a chat, and Dad thought it would be fun under my
direction to land a few shovel loads close to him.
Of course Dad couldn’t see where “Mollie” was standing well back
from the tank stand, shouting greetings to us, so I now seated high
on the tank rim, would signal with my thumb to Dad, in what
direction to throw the junk.
Dad would make an extra effort to throw a full shovel load and
land it as close to “Mollie” as he could.
As he walked around the tank stand on his skinny legs with his
long white socks stretched blow his knobbly knees, he was
continually prancing and dodging the sludge.
I had an excellent view and thought it terrific that Dad and I were
co conspirators in this little plot, but “Mollie” never twigged at our
private joke. Our feud continued for the entire time he taught at the
Bullaring School, and it was another four year before he was
replaced with the good Mr T. I would meet him many years later in
Geraldton where his son taught at the local high school.
After school one summer afternoon, we were at the Bullaring shop
when the train started a fire along the track.
A number of school friends were there at the shop so we all
clambered into vehicles, and headed along the track to try to stop
the fire from burning out the whole district.
As luck or fate would have it, I found myself working alongside
“Mollie,” swatting out the fire with wet bags and green tree
branches. After a long exhausting struggle, we finally got it under
control.
Being a Londoner “Mollie” had never seen a bush fire before and
to my surprise, the next day he brandished me as a hero.
“Mollie” was known for his temper and he used to stand beside me
as I copied his homework instructions, a terrible scrawl from the
blackboard and he clipped me across the ears every time I made a
mistake.
I excelled at maths but spelling was my biggest weakness and
many a time “Mollie” would fly into a rage and hurl the duster or a
piece of chalk across the room at the offending student.
34
I was often the cause of his anger with my poor spelling skills and
to this day, I believe that being fearful of his venomous attacks is
why I battled with spelling.
I wagged school one day and “Mollie” was in a foul temper about
it.
I copped six cuts on my bottom with his famous full-uncut binder
slat that was six feet long and very painful.
In fact, Alan Dunn was to get it one day for answering back to
some trivial thing and when he could stand it no more, he grabbed
it and lashed out at “Mollie,” for which he was expelled from
school.
He left school and Bullaring and went into the workforce finding a
job in Albany.
Sports day was approaching fast and I fancied that I could do,
really well in the high jump, so I started practicing using the horse
rails to jump over with hands on the rail and feet through my
hands, a sort of leapfrog style jump.
I met with disaster on one spectacular attempt, the rail was a bit too
high and bendy, so it pushed down, my toes caught under the rail,
and as I misjudged I landed head first in the sloppy wet horse
manure on the other side.
Nothing but my pride was hurt and I immediately glanced about to
make sure no one had seen the incident, spitting out the smelly
mixture of manure and mud with haste.
I must admit that I led my two younger sisters into many
mischievous deeds.
They seemed to think my ideas were as terrific as I did, and usually
wanted to join me in my hair brain schemes.
When we were practicing the pole volt one day my minds a bit
vague but Muriel I think or may be Phyllis, knocked the bar off its
pins then landed on her bottom on top of this and fainted.
We thought she was dead, but a few slaps and she revived we had
learned that she often fainted when hurt, or complained of a
headache when we were asked to do a job of work.
35
One day at my suggestion we wagged school, not having any
specific tasks to do, time dragged consequentially, so we ate our
lunch too early.
By early afternoon, we were starving, so I had another great
suggestion, to raid the school veggie garden.
One of the other kids gazing out of the classroom window spotted
us crouching behind the leafy plants shelling, and eating the lovely
fresh green peas.
Calling Mollies attention to us, then they shot out of class and gave
chase, we were soon caught.
We had to explain our presence the best way we could.
I told them that we had to put out a railway line fire on the way to
school.
The brown coal used in wartime was notorious for giving sparks
and setting fires, so with this common happening, my excuse
seemed to do the trick, but no one questioned why we were even
near the railway line, since it was in the opposite direction to our
road home or to school.
I thanked God no one questioned it, but I do not think He would
have accepted my thanks on this occasion.
We used the sulky to go scrub bashing and it was exciting making
a trail of flattened scrub.
One particular day I got too close to a very tough mallee tree that
promptly broke the step off the sulky.
I had no conscience at this stage and told everyone who asked, that
a truck had passed us on the road and dropped a railway sleeper
onto the step snapping it off.
A couple of years later I developed a conscience and lying did, not
come so easily, but even though I felt very guilty, I never did own
up to the broken step.
My Grandfather had been a missionary and before he came to
Australia, he and his brother were stationed in Burma.
Grandpa Wood was devoted to the Bible and the most spiritual
person I knew.
I was very impressed by his mission stories and determined that I
would learn all I could from him.
36
He lived in Dilling, (one of the highest railway points in WA 900
odd ft ASL) which was a very long uphill bike ride for a kid, but it
was worth the trip to listen to all his exciting adventures and the
way he brought the Bible to life. Since then I have studied
extensively and now have a deeper understanding of the symbolic
prophecies of Daniel and how they relate to the book of
Revelation. How God in his wisdom gave pictures of the truth in
the word knowing it cannot ever be changed not as language can
be eroded.
I appreciate and value the lessons that Jesus our Saviour taught us,
and I now realize just how easy lying, cheating, and other evil
things come to us, without Jesus in our lives.
I realize that we live in a broken ageing world, where people are
searching but do, not really know why they are searching.
Once they find Jesus their search will be complete.
Spiritual things are spiritually discerned, but the lost are blinded to
the spiritual world.
When I was twelve and had a lot of playing time with Ian, he used
the word *****.
I thought he was saying whoa, which is nothing and we got that
way every second word we added whoa, and one day after I had
been calling everything a whoa, and Dad took me aside and said do
you actually know what you are saying in front of everyone.
He told me a ***** is the term used for a wicked woman and I felt
terrible wondering just who I had said it in front of. It taught me to
think in the future.
Some time about 1940 we arrived at uncle Watts place at
Mundijong, and it was a late night so we found it a good sleeping
night. We were up at dawn to get about the brand new day
activities.
I am not sure of the number of kids at that time because over all,
Mum had six, and Minnie had ten, but some were not yet borne
I had the ging or Shanghy craze, and had brought my old 303 slugs
I had collected at Yealering rifle range shooting range safety
mound, behind the target, while Dad played tennis on a Sunday
before the holiday.
37
I could hear a 28 parrot in the trees a little distance from the house.
I shot back inside to get my equipment and the little cousins got
interested in my activities, and trailed behind as I sighted up this
parrot sitting way up high on a dead branch about a hundred yards
away.
I took a casual shot at it thinking there isn’t any chance of hurting
it, and down it fell, talk about luck I had never hit anything so far
away and it had no sooner landed.
When my Cousins all raced over, and one grabbed it so it locked
on to his finger and bit it.
The next youngest he grabbed it to get it off, and he then copped a
bite, they were all squawking and the birds in the tree were joining
in the fuss, the little cousin grabbed his finger and raced home
yelling for his mum. The injured bird fluttered along the ground,
and it squawked, the next cousin ran it down and grabbed it, and
his fingers were nipped more yelling, but those kids were not
letting it escape, and was there a commotion that day, I was a hero
for one minute and those little kids put me way up there.
Jack was the nearest me in age being a year younger than me and I
must confess that it must have bugged him to have this cousin that
always triumphed him, as in their family he was the big boy and
when I came on holiday, he was forced down one peg.
The boy order was Jack, Cliff, Dennis, Stephen, Peter the younger
ones after the order I really get lost so will not try, sorry folks.
Girls order was Marjorie, Isobel, Rosemary, Alice, Gwen.
Their Dad bought the boys a set of boxing gloves for Christmas
and after we had all had a turn he put then on and challenged me,
so muggins me tried to beat him and he gave me several hefty
thumps on the nose to quieten me down I am sure.
On New Years Day each year, the whole district gathered at Lake
Yealering.
It was a local family tradition and had been happening for years.
The lake when I was a boy was fresh, but these days with all the
extensive farming in the area and clearing of land, has made it
became saltier and saltier.
38
When I was thirteen years old, on a particularly hot New Years
Day we made the annual pilgrimage to the lake, and it was
crowded a lot more than usual.
There were people swimming everywhere, so when I dived into the
water, it was from a slightly different and a wider angle from the
top of the jetty’s five-foot end post.
The water was more shallow than normal and I hit my head on the
bottom, or edge of the man made hole scooped at the end of the
jetty, knocking myself stupid and twisting my back badly.
I was knocked out, luckily because it was my first water contact
for the day and being cool the shock of it, jolted me and revived
me enough so as not to drown.
I came to and dragged myself with difficulty to the warm shallows
near shore, where I lay for ten minutes or more.
When able I staggered back to the tennis courts where I lay on a
rug all day under the pine trees feeling terrible.
I had a lump on my head as big as a hen’s egg and it took a long
time for me to get back to normal.
One day I was riding Nickels a good saddle horse that we had, and
I forgot that the telegraph line was sagging down on the east side
of our house (no one went that way on a horse).
I was riding like a mad thing and flying along, when all of a
sudden my eye caught sight of the two wires clipping across the
horses ears.
It all happened in an instant and my reflexes went into overdrive; I
lay backwards along the horse’s rump and the wires missed me by
a fraction of an inch.
However but for that split second glimpse of the wire coming
toward me across Nickels ears I would have been decapitated, and
not here to tell the story.
Proverbs 1::7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
8 My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your
mother;
9 For they will be a graceful ornament on your head, And chains about your neck.
Proverbs 5:”23 He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he
shall go astray.
39
My friend Keith’s second Daughter (our Godchild) lost her fiancé
in a similar way later in the 1970’s
My poor Guardian Angel certainly has worked very hard
throughout, the years to save this mere mortal.
Tempting fate yet again when younger, I had the bright idea of
riding cushions from the top of the house roof down onto the wide
twelve-foot veranda roof and got my two sisters doing the same.
We also played on the thatched stable top, which was terrific fun.
How we did not end up with broken bones or broken necks, I will
never know.
We put two fencing wires threaded through a pulley, as high up in
the trees as we could.
We then stretched the wire taut with wire strainers after fixing it to
another tree at the other end a hundred yards away.
We put a box under the pulley with a length of rope tied to the
bottom to slide it along by pulling on the rope.
I got Elsie in it by hiding her favourite book “Gone with the
Wind”, which she was part way through reading.
I promised I would give her the book back once she had tried the
new ride.
The only way she would get it back was to agree to try it.
With Phil’s help we gave Elsie the ride of her life, the tree tops
whipped up and back as we pulled the rope, it was like ringing
church bells and Elsie was whizzing along at quite a frightening
pace missing the line of tree trunks, to the sides the whole length of
the ride.
It is amazing in hindsight that no one was seriously hurt on this
dangerous piece of creativity.
One day in March at five in the morning we were awoken to the
sounds of howling wind, rain, thunder, lightning and the breaking
of timber.
I remember gazing out the window in the dim light to see the iron
ripping from the house roof, and I watched as it flew twisting
around the trees in the chook yard.
Trees fell all around the house and there was a terrible lot of
damage to repair, all around the property.
40
One very positive thing to come out of it was that Dad had to
almost rebuild the house and as he did so, he enlarged it with huge
verandas on all sides that he enclosed as sleep outs for us kids.
The big hundred foot salmon gums that lined the road to school
were all down lying head to tail, but luckily that road was
undamaged, as the storm seemed to follow the same parallel
pathway.
The whole state was quite badly affected by the storm.
Then in March around early afternoon at school in 1942, we were
all startled by loud bangs, shaking, and quaking that turned out to
be an earthquake.
It was the first time I had experienced one and it was a really
strange sensation.
The earthquake was centred east of Carnarvon, but being a
sparsely populated area no damage was done to any infrastructure.
On the way home from school Elsie was driving while the rest of
us were having an argument as usual.
The horse drifted off the road and the wheel hit an anthill, causing
the side of the cart to come up and crack me in the face.
It badly damaged my front teeth, leaving a chip that I could spit a
thin jet of saliva from.
That became my new favourite trick and I was very proud that I
could squirt saliva with accuracy, to about a six-foot distant target.
Not a very powerful weapon in the hands of a young boy, Years
later, I had to have the teeth removed under chloroform, not a
pleasant experience, a partial plate took their place, but I had
outgrown the urge to do, this wonderful spit squirting trick.
When world war two broke out Dad and his brother in law, Uncle
Fred worked the harvest together because of a lack of workers.
Things were very scarce at that time, including men to labour on
farms or business.
There was rationing of almost everything, so if you did not have
your own supplies, it could be really tough.
In 1943, our sheep dog bailed up a kangaroo in the house dam.
The dog swam into the dam barking and growling at the roo, which
proceeded to try to drown the dog by holding him under the water.
41
Dad smacked at the roo with a stick, but the stick was too flimsy
and it promptly snapped in half.
Dad was holding a short length now, so he threw that and it
knocked the roo out cold, saving the dog, but drowning the roo.
The next day Tim from memory had to dive for the body of the
kangaroo to remove it before the water turned bad
Many rabbits were caught to supply food to hungry families; they
were in plague proportions, and did untold damage in a number of
ways.
The rabbit holes were a hazard to the horses, the rabbits raided the
vegetable patch, the crops and they even ring barked our two
beautiful almond trees, where we cracked and stuffed ourselves on
the almonds until we felt sick on many days.
There was little poultry sold and the occasional fish and chips were
available, but only at select outlets a lot nearer the coast.
We spent many hours chasing rabbits.
Once I put a live buck in my shirt, but I was in for a terrible shock
when he sank his teeth into my belly, and then scratched the life
out of me as he scrambled out of my shirt.
The dogs were chasing a rabbit that doubled back along the track,
only to find five year old Muriel (Tim) blocking his path.
He started squealing as he took an almighty jump straight at her
chest, which tipped her over onto her bottom.
Tim fainted, as was her normal custom in confronting situations, so
we gave her the usual smart slap, which revived her almost
instantly.
Muriel and I often joke about our very different memory of this
event.
Some of the horses were quite vicious if frightened and one day
Dad came home after working with the team. Using a stick to
support his weight as he hobbled along. A horse named Satan had
got a fright and kicked Dad. When he was unhooking the chains, to
break the width of the horse team up to get through the gate. I can
still see the black bruise he had from his thigh to knee, today in my
mind.
42
One particular Sunday is very vivid in my memory because I can
still feel the pain of it. I was bored while waiting for the family to
get ready to go to tennis and I was messing around near the garage.
Dad had built the garage from wood and corrugated iron sheets; it
had swinging doors and he had nailed corrugated iron to the
outside of the wooden frame.
I decided to be clever and swing on the sharp iron doors, so
balancing on the frame I put my feet through my arms to do a
somersault, the edge of the iron cladding cutting into my hands.
With limited room to swing, the back of my head jammed up
against the iron and my legs already dangling through got stuck
between my arms.
I was far too high off the ground to let go, and if I had I would
have struck my head on the ground and possibly broken my neck.
There was no one in sight to help me out of this pickle, so I rotated
my shoulders, and purposefully dislocated them to wriggle my way
out.
I felt sick for the rest of the day and my shoulders ached for days,
possibly a week.
Later in life, I had problems with them, unintentionally putting
them out of joint far too easily, and putting up with a lot of pain
when trying to play tennis or join in other activities.
I went to numerous physiotherapists to rectify the problem but to
no avail, until someone told me of a footy coach who was good at
fixing broken footballers, and after three visits, with very painful
manipulations of a knotted lump the size of a fist under one
shoulder blade, it seemed I was cured.
There were a great crowd of us in Albany for holidays the year I
am now thinking of and we had many excursions one to the bluff
knoll, where we went to the top for great view from there and the
most memorable one was when we went to the king river for a
picnic.
The bridge had been burned partly at the side were we had to get
past this narrow unburned section for five or so feet and each of
the men took the food in their hands.
43
They were loaded up uncle Fred was making sure that the ladies
were safe and so as not to be in their way he stepped back into thin
air.
I can still see him dropping down from quite high into the river
below and a great stream of bread buns popping up one at a time
first then him and it looked so funny I laughed. He was a bit like a
drowned rat when he got a shore.
With the war raging and many family members involved overseas,
there was a huge shortage of labour available at home.
Sons who normally worked the farm beside their fathers were
instead fighting for our country.
Uncle Fred and auntie Mary had one daughter and three sons,
Hugh, Ted, and Wally, and while the two older boy Hugh was in
the air force as bomber flight crew gunner, Ted the army and
Wally who was still attending farm school, was an invaluable
replacement during the school holidays.
Hugh was my idol, a talented young man with strong academic and
gymnastic skills, and I wanted to be just like him.
Sadly, he was killed in New Guinea and it was a huge loss to the
whole family.
I was thrilled to be given Hugh’s books as I had shown such an
interest in them and they cultivated my interest in science,
mechanics, and astronomy.
Fred was very strong, but needed help to load open bags of wheat
onto the Chevy 4 truck.
Since Dad had alterations made to the truck in Corrigin it now held
twenty-nine bags, which was quite a load for Fred and one young
lad.
I had a very good incentive for helping because Fred bribed me by
allowing me to drive home between loads.
For a ten-year-old boy, that was a very strong motivation to load
the truck, as quickly as possible and Fred taught me well,
manoeuvring the bags into place with my knees after, he on the
ground and me the truck had lifted them onto the back of the truck
not spilling any wheat.
44
It was extremely hard work but it was worth it to have the sheer
pleasure of driving home.
Ted came home on leave from the war and he and Wally carted six
hundred and fifty bags in one day.
They worked like machines, lifting and manoeuvring the bags onto
the back of the truck, a bag every two seconds and I watched in
awe.
One of Hugh’s books had detailed instructions on how to make
gunpowder, and other experiment to do, so of course I had to give
gunpowder a go first off.
When I made the mix, I made several heaps to test the various
examples in the book and to get the best results through trial and
error.
I was in the machinery shed, not far from the horse yard and I lit
the first sample, which happened to have far too much charcoal in
it.
It fizzed like crazy.
Which mesmerized me and I watched in horror as one spark shot
out and landed in the five pound jam tin full of new powder?
I thrust my fist out just as it flared, luckily the tin flipped over and
a flash of flame shot out of the shed sideways as the whole tin
flared and blew up.
I expected the shed roof would catch alight, luckily, it did, not, but
the loose manure and fallen straw thatch on the ground began to
smoulder, and a great blue cloud of smoke drifted slowly across
the paddock.
Dad was at the far end of that paddock on the harvester, but he was
out of sight over the hill and did, not see my science project, so I
quickly hid the evidence by raking and burying the burning litter
and avoided much deserved belting.
I had another one of my science projects while at AHS (Albany
High School) that could have been a nightmare.
I bought a bottle of each nitric and sulphuric acid, from the chemist
in Albany, to make gun cotton by soaking cotton wool with these
acids and then drying it in the sun.
45
However, things went wrong as the bottles were packed in the
cotton wool in a shoebox, to bring home to Bullaring to mess with
during the holidays.
Once on the train I slid the box under the seat and after several
hours lying on the side the acid ate the tin top of the nitric acid
bottle or both bottles and acid leaked out onto the rail carriage
floor.
The first we noticed were Brown fumes started to fill the train, so
we investigated and found a sodden shoe box giving off toxic gas
there was a fearful scurrying, to carefully throw it out the window
of the speeding train that night, I had visions of a great explosion
as it hit the ground, but nothing happened.
We then rubbed the carriage floor linoleum with a wet cloth an old
shirt I think, and the acid made the lino shine like a new penny, the
acid got on everything, no doubt, it gnawed into every part of that
carriage before the train was cleaned again.
A very silly project the consequences do, not bear thinking about,
from blinded eyes to burnt fingers to exploding trains.
It was very cold in April 1942 and we were sitting by the dining
room fire trying to keep warm after tea.
Mum was heavily pregnant, a week overdue and she and Dad were
relaxing by the fire, both reading books.
Else was at boarding school and the other two girls had gone to
bed, so it was very quiet.
I had made a few firecrackers during the day, and one of them had
fizzed out earlier in the day, so I had pocketed it.
That night, while Mum and Dad were immersed in their reading,
I popped it into the fire.
Nothing happened immediately and I thought no more of it, when
all of a sudden, there was a loud bang and live coals flew
everywhere.
I jumped up and dashed around like crazy picking up the coals
while Dad in a calm voice said, “There must have been a live shell
in that Mallee roots”.
46
Mum had the fright of her life and there was some concern that she
might give birth right there and then, but my brother Joe was born
a couple of weeks later unaffected by wear and I kept my mouth
shut.
Most families suffered hardship of some sort throughout the war
years; shortages of food and the associated costs are well
documented.
Our family found fuel in short supply, on a number of occasions,
which meant we had to make use of the poor hard worked horse.
A visit to relatives could be quite an adventure.
Mum was desperate to show off the baby, my new baby brother
Joe to her parents. So a trip with the horse and sulky was arranged.
Dad was busy fallowing the paddock, using the team of horses,
trying to finish before the ground got too dry.
He could not take the time off to come with us on the trip.
Zenna was chosen to pull the sulky, and we set off early one
Saturday morning just after sunrise during the second term of
school holidays.
The bassinet was at the front of the sulky with baby Joe snug
inside.
Mum was just behind him and the rest of us were at the rear and
side of the sulky.
Everything was going great, we had travelled about seven miles,
and Zenna was trotting along at a steady pace.
Then it happened! The horses loins must have become loose, a
combination of the lush spring grass and the steady jogging.
She lifted her tail and let go a steady stream of green slime, she put
her head down and gave a hearty snort, the sulky shot forward, hit
her in the butt, and the green slime shot over the backboard and
started to fill the bassinet.
Mums reflexes were lightning fast as she threw a shawl over baby
Joe’s head, just before the bassinet filled up with the green goo.
We stopped to clean up and although the bassinet was caked in the
stuff, the baby was unharmed, saved by the shawl.
I will never forget as long as I live, the half-amused look on Mums
usually very serious strait-laced face.
47
My sisters and I cackled all the way to Grandma and Grandpa
Wood’s house and at ten years of age, I can remember this episode
quite clearly, although to this day I do not think Joe is aware of his
baptism with green slime.
Once we had a particularly wet year with the roads awash and
water lapping at the underbelly of the horses for the last two miles
of the trip to school.
We drove the sulky up the middle between the trees either side of
the road.
When all the muddy brown water dried up we saw that we had
missed a giant deep hole by inches every day for a number of
weeks.
Again I believe my Guardian Angel was working overtime, as the
sulky would have been overturned had the wheel hit that hole.
We had 900 acres of the farm under water that year and the
paddocks were soaked for weeks.
I made a canoe out of a sheet of iron and could paddle for miles, as
the water was deep, almost to the top of the fences in most places
overtop in other spots.
The sheep had found any high ground they could, but we had to
swim some of them to islands to save them.
Dad bought a ditcher pulled by the team of horses.
When the ground dried out, he dug trenches across the flats to act
as drains.
It worked well, draining water into the trenches, protecting the
sheep from waterlogged paddocks and it, also helped to slow the
salt problem.
After starting high school in Albany in 1945 at 13 years of age, I
had to have my front teeth pulled out because of an abscess.
This was done under chloroform and it was awful.
The following April at 14 years of age on my birthday I had to
have my appendix removed, using either much worse than the
chloroform they used during my teeth operation.
The phone exchange was closed for Easter, so Doctor Donnelly
was unable to get permission from Mum to operate until the
following Tuesday.
48
Whether it was because of the delay or something else I am not
sure, but I was extremely sick after the operation and broke out in
abscesses all over my face.
At one stage I had twenty-seven of them and it was well after the
May school holidays before I had fully recovered.
From then on my health improved vastly and I even managed to
gain some weight over the next couple of years.
I entered in the longest under water dive in the Albany Senior High
School (A,H,S) school carnival.
I was in my third year at the school and the dive was held at the
town swimming baths.
I practiced at every opportunity and easily won the dive by
completing a full pool length; my nearest opponents managed a
half-length, so my practice paid off although it was not without
drama.
While practicing at Middleton Beach, my dental plate fell out and I
was extremely lucky to find it.
I had trouble there years later when my car keys dropped from my
bather’s pocket, and once again was very lucky to see the glint of
the setting sun reflecting on them where they were half buried in
the sand under the water.
My new bride Isobel was very surprised at how quickly I found
them on that occasion.
One year I invited one of my school friends home for Christmas.
Morris had grown up in Albany and had no experience of farm life.
We got along famously and spent the holidays, giving cheek to my
Cousin Nick’s new bride Elaine.
We were a right pain in the backside to say the least, but Elaine
being new to the country from England and, also a new bride was
the perfect target for our tormenting.
Later down the track, my youngest brother would, also be named
Morris, so maybe my friend made a good impression on all of us.
Nick and Elaine planned to live in my Grandfathers house in
Corrigin, but the resident tenant would not vacate the premises.
The housing crisis was Australia wide, so although we tried
everything to convince them to move out, the tenant was there to
49
stay and Nick and Elaine had no choice but to come and stay with
us on the farm.
Poor Elaine really was an English rose, and the rugged conditions
on the farm were foreign to her.
One day Elaine was home alone with her baby when a bobtail
lizard found its way into the kitchen.
When she saw it, she grabbed the baby with its bottle, climbed
onto the kitchen table, and stayed there all afternoon in the heat
and nothing to drink.
We arrived home before Nick who was in Corrigin for a job
interview, and found Elaine upset and miserable.
She had no idea whether the bobtail was dangerous or not and she
was not taking any risks.
Nick was keen to go to Corrigin again and Dad offered to lend him
the Ford.
Even though he flew bombers over Germany, Nick had never
driven a car, so it was decided that because I drove I would go too.
We all piled in with my mate Morris and Muriel in the Dickey
trunk, Nick driving and me in the seat next to him, so that I could,
keep eyes on his driving.
It was only a twenty-five mile trip, which took about an hour as
long as there were no punctures in the tyres.
The road had been graded and for a change was quite good, until
we came to a stretch that had only been graded that Friday
afternoon late.
We were the first vehicle to come along behind the grader, which
had left a pile of sand up the middle of the road.
Nick managed to hit the pile of sand with one front wheel and
promptly lost control.
We headed for the bush before I could get to the steering wheel,
the car was bucking all over the place, and we were packed in like
sardines.
By the time I stopped the car we had crossed the road from one
fence line to the other, and mowed down a lot of scrub, finally
bouncing along on top of it and poor Muriel and Morris in the
Dickey seat had been clinging on for dear life.
50
We were very lucky that there were no big trees along that stretch
of road, and once we were back on track, we all became hysterical
for several minutes before continuing the trip.
The car only had minor damage, a few scratches here and there and
we had many bruises to show for our cross-country jaunt.
I had to drive the rest of the way, hoping that the police were not
about as I was still under age, because Nick lost his confidence and
refused to drive any further.
Life in the bush was and is and always will be, exciting and full of
unusual happenings.
At tennis one day, we kids were playing in the scrub as usual, with
other local kids, when we spotted a racehorse goanna.
Attracted by all the noise we were making, Siemens dog came
rushing over and frightened the racehorse goanna, which ran up the
trousers of my closest friend Gordon.
The racehorse perched on top of Gordon’s head and seemed to
hover there while Gordon froze on the spot.
The rest of us thought it a huge joke and laughed until Gordon
leapt into action and got the animal off.
Gordon had another fright in the same scrub but on a different day.
A bobtail was picked up by a bigger kid, who threw it at Gordon in
fun, but the bobtail grabbed him by the back of his pants, and
Gordon ran off down the road shrieking hysterically and trying
desperately to shake it loose.
We were always trying to outdo each other, as we could not match
the older boy Bill who was almost a year older and was more
developed in build; he thrashed us regularly at sports.
We competed against each other in everything, one day he, Gordon
would come out second to top, the next day it would be my turn to
come second to Bill.
The one thing that he couldn’t beat me on was the pushbike and
neither could the older boy Bill.
It must have been all that early training, trying to outrun Shirley.
Occasionally I went over to visit Gordon at his place and we
usually put our heads together to find something interesting to do.
One day his parents had gone into town, Keith was away.
51
We were messing around near their new machinery shed.
Gordon’s older brother Keith had built; he used his own method to
build the shed, which was unique.
He made a mould for the wall flat on the ground, then poured the
concrete over steel rods laced into it, once the cement had set; he
pulled the wall upright with the tractor and anchored it into place.
Many years later this would become the preferred method for
constructing commercial buildings but back then it was unheard of.
Gordon was showing me the new tractor and started it up, so that I
could hear how the motor sounded.
He didn’t know much about tractors at that stage, we were only
kids at the time, but he pretended that he did, he was like that in
everything.
He turned the starter key, but as the tractor was in first gear, it leapt
forward into the concrete wall, and the front wheels tried to climb
it.
He jammed the clutch down twice as his foot slipped the first time,
and it made another jump up the wall.
Finally, he held it in and Luckily Gordon was able to stop the
machine before it caved the shed wall in or flipped over on its
back.
We flew out of there in a great hurry not wanting to be held
responsible for the unexplained cracks in the new shed wall.
I heard nothing more of the incident so can only assumes that the
cracks were blamed on the new building method.
Gordon and I got into a fight one day, the only fight we ever had.
He painted a chook’s egg and sold it to me as a genuine wild
turkey egg.
It must have sounded quite bizarre, as we took it in turns to punch,
and then congratulate each other.
When I landed a punch Gordon would say, “Good one Alan.
Then when he landed one on me I would say, “Great shot mate.
We always took it in turns, neither one taking unfair advantage of
the other, and neither one really wanting to do, any serious
damage.
52
Real little Gentlemen and at the end of our “fight” we shook hands
and were best friends again.
Around the year 1940 we still used horses to do the drudgery and
Dad had thirty-two of them.
Each one had their own stall in the stable, which had a central
walkway for access to the row of feeder troughs each side and they
were filled with chaff morning and night to keep the team healthy
and strong.
Therefore, they could do their alternate shift in the team.
A drum of molasses was purchased once a year to boost the
appetite of the working horses.
We loved to dip our fingers into it and lick them because it was
sticky and sweet, and a real treat; in those days lollies were
unheard of and we never bought any from the store, I remember it
was a year between thee penny ice creams.
I see in my mind quite vividly when Dad brought the 20 run ridged
tine drill to plant the seed.
We thought it would be just the thing to ensure a good crop,
digging through the very hard blue clay in no time.
One morning Dad had just rigged the 12-horse team up to the drill
and had gone around to the right side of the drill wheel, which was
made with an iron rim and spokes, when the American warplanes
zoomed overhead.
They were only about 150 feet high and the horses leaped into
action, and bolted with Dad clinging to the reigns yelling “woo
boy, woo”, to no avail.
The horses raced around in a tight circle at full gallop, fell on top
of each other, and everything disappeared into a cloud of dust.
The main spreader bar with a team pulling connection, broke at
one end, flipped and jammed right into the middle of the outside
speeding drill wheel and still the horses were pulling in panic.
Half the team had fallen into a mighty heap, some were even under
the drill, and many were lost due to the sheer stupidity of those
thoughtless pilots.
53
Dad spent a month fixing the broken harness, drill wheel, and
tackle, also had to phone around the neighbourhood to find
replacement horses.
He also lodged a complaint with the authorities about the whole
incident, which had also affected other farmers in the area.
To collect the replacement horses I went with Dad in the truck,
taking a saddle with me, so that I could ride one of the horses
home while the others followed behind.
We made it home without any fuss, but within days the horses got
sick and the one I rode was the first to die. This taught me a
valuable lesson, stock that grazed on sandy soil must be examined
for sand, if they are short of fodder at any time in their life.
We did a post mortem and found the grazing horses had filed
themselves up with sand and were bursting their stomachs or gut;
three others suffered the same fate and died.
Dad was extremely upset that the horses had been neglected; he
spent so much time hand feeding our horses, giving them all that
they needed to work hard on the farm.
He was eventually refunded his money, but that was of no use to
the poor horses that had suffered.
The small dam in the hill paddock where some of the sheep were
kept had a habit of drying unexpectedly because the morrel tree
clay was very porous.
In 1941 when the hill dam suddenly dried up, the dam near the
house was, also dry, with just a soggy bottom full of mud.
In the middle of the night, the sheep were desperate for a drink and
all pushing against the wire gate, when the wire loop broke, they
all made a dash for the mud-filled dam near the house.
They all buried themselves waist high in mud and in the panic of
trying to get out, about 50 sheep were smothered.
Our neighbour, Mr M was up early training his spider horse when
he saw the commotion and after notifying us, he then helped to
drag the muddy sheep from the dam.
Everywhere there were muddy sheep, too heavily coated in mud to
even walk.
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After rescuing the sheep we had to scoop mud from the dam with a
three-horse team, and with the weather really hot all day, at the end
of it the horses were in need of a good long drink. Dad asked me to
drive them down to the soak and as soon as it was, smelled they
bolted upwind towards it, dragging me at full gallop. I was taking
gigantic chain length strides, as I held onto the reins tightly daring
not to let go for fear of falling on my face, and was dragged along
behind them for the two-mile trip. Fortunately I was not hurt and it
must have been a strange spectacle should anyone have witnessed
it. The mud in a dry dam was dangerous for animals as they went
farther out from the edge to get a drink, and eventually it trapped
them and they perished, as the ones behind pushed and tried to
drink, then it was their turn to be trapped and trampled and so on.
We had to clean the mud out of them with a scoop that three
draught horses pulled; it was a very laborious time-consuming
summer job. It is a wonder to me now looking back just how lucky
it was for us kids as many times the mud would dry and crack on
top as we walked across the top of it just testing our luck.
If it dried out all the way down it was like making a new dam
again. So the job was done with it still damp but one time we had
trouble with it being too runny and Dad had to think of a way to
improve the scooping of this watery mud as none stayed in the
scoop long enough to reach the bank and it just ran back all the
time. What he did was cut an old foot wide harvester wheel in half
and used that. The two halves were bolted with iron plates on top
of each other, to create a u shape two-foot deep skid less object.
It was pulled forward and back by two horses attached to cables
each end and it took two men to do the work. Cables attached front
and back had quick release devises to be connected and released
each time alternately. The horses were driven in circles each end
and hooked up to the new scoop at the dam edge each time.
That solved the problem for sloppy dams to be cleaned out it was
better to use this new version as the old (linkie) made the dams
larger and larger and the fencing was having to be altered each
time the dams were scooped out. This was one less job that had to
be done as each paddock had a dam we had some each year to
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attend to. The American pilots were back in the air, flying far too
low and much too close to the farm. The horses were scared out of
their wits and as I was nearing the shed, I saw them rearing and
bucking all over the place, finally breaking open the gate.
My horse Nickels was already saddled in his stall, so I set off to
round up the mob of horses. We shot across the house paddock
parallel to the phone line and out across the hill paddock to get in
front of them. When I turned in front of them, all of a sudden, the
girth strap broke and the saddle with me on it went flying through
the air. It was a bit scary, watching thirty odd draught horses out of
control all around me, but as I scrambled to my feet, thankfully I
only had a few bruises and my hurt pride to show for the spill.
Nickels joined the mob of galloping horses and I was left to walk
home. My horse adventures were by no means over and I managed
to get myself into a real pickle when riding alone in the tipcart one
day. I was standing on the back edge of the tray when the horse
gave a jerk, the tipping linkage being sloppy let the cart body tip a
little, As I involuntarily leant backwards all my weight pulled on
the reins of course, the horse feeling this promptly stopped, and my
body bent further backwards until I was upside down with my
heels or rather ankles pressing onto the tray’s back edge.
The horse began to reverse and the quicker it moved backwards,
the less inclined I was to let go the reigns, picturing myself
squashed under the reversing horses hooves.
The horse was reversing quite quickly by then, and after what
seemed like an awful long time, the cart reversed off the road and
collided with a tree, coming to a sudden halt.
The reigns slid out of my hands with the sudden stop, and I landed
on my head, but very quickly sprung to my feet.
It all happened, so quickly, no planning on my part and no control
over the situation that I can only give thanks to God that I did not
end up crushed, by either the horse or the cart or tree.
When at high school in Albany I had, also had a fright with yet
another horse incident.
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I was with a group of hostel boys, they were, also boarding away
from home, and we were walking along the road past the tennis
courts on the side of Mt Clarence overlooking the harbour.
A group of girls on horses were riding past and we started chatting,
the usual bragging stuff that teenagers do, and I made the casual
remark, “Horse riding is nothing!” One of the girls reacted to my
challenging statement and dared me to ride her horse, so of course
I was only too willing to oblige and prove myself. Once on the
animal, it turned homeward and started to pick up pace, and before
long it was going at breakneck speed, a full gallop that I could do
nothing to stop it, the brute was determined for it’s home.
It had an extremely hard mouth, and was it seemed unstoppable.
I was struggling to stay in the saddle as the horse raced up the main
street of Albany. Everyone stood wide-eyed in York Street as we
flew past them; the horse was a good riding type so my elbows
held their place. Finally, the horse reached the gate into the holding
paddock near the stables at Centennial oval, several miles from our
starting point and promptly stopped. I casually got off the horse, let
him into the paddock, shut the gate, and headed for home over near
Dog Rock, not letting on that I had been in a state of sheer panic
just moments before. The next day the girl who owned the horse
came over and said, “My Dad wants to know if you’ll be his
jockey?” He must have been in town when I went dashing past, but
I refused on the spot, not telling her that it had near frightened the
pants off me and that horse riding for a living, was not really my
cup of tea.
There were 18 of us CWA hostel boys and the Army got most of
the fifteen-year-old kids there into the cadets to train us up for the
future use of the 303 rifle. We had to attend the barracks on
Monday night for two hourly study sessions. Saturday morning we
went to the rifle range for a couple of hours of target shooting
practice. The sergeant was a master shot and passed on his skill to
us boys. This particular night when we were walking down to the
army barracks to class, we started to aim pebbles at the streetlights
as we walked through backstreets, it would be a couple of miles.
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There was tiger, tich, piggy, bullfrog boomer, squib, lanky, four
eyes, fatty and several other kids. Someone in the group got lucky.
In this case very unlucky as a stone hit its target, with a pop the
light went out. We all bust out laughing. Bullfrog the smallest got
so carried away laughing that he doubled up on the sidewalk and
did not run as the rest of us did. A resident came out, grabbed him,
by the scruff of the neck and he squealed. We were treated later to
a scorching lecture and all gated for a month by Captain our strict
English housemaster. We had a ban on all our outings, including
the usual Friday night pictures. A night spent smooching in the
back row at the pictures with our girlfriends. Up before the courts
a week later, trembling, we faced up singly, one at a time and were
reprimanded by the most stern and ferocious looking Justice of the
Peace. The only time in my life, I got in trouble with the law. This
episode set us up for solid study and providence did us all a good
turn as the final exams were coming closer, proper revision of all
past years learning was essential and now we had lots of time to
study because of our gating.
I had completed high school in 1948 and was very pleased with my
results, gaining my junior certificate with seven, out of seven
subjects. I was interested in furthering my education, but it was not
an option because being the eldest son, I felt my duty was to help
Dad on the farm. I joined the Bullaring Football Club the same
year and as I matured, I improved enough to join the colt’s team
with Mr R as the coach. We travelled to Perth for our first serious
game and were trounced by the very ruthless opposition. They had
many dirty tricks up their sleeves, but they, also knew how to get
away with it, whereas every time we tried one of their tricks we
gave away a free kick. We were not used to playing that brand of
footy, but we enjoyed the experience and the members of the other
team were nice enough off the ground. The team went to Wickepin
one Saturday and it was an extremely windy day. We kicked points
by the dozen and I remember my tally for the day was 30 points. I
got a very solid push in the back towards the end of the game and
because I was running, so fast, I landed very heavily on my chest
and got winded not at all a pleasant experience.
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Not long home from Albany high school we had a visitor come to
Bullaring our Uncle Watt. The Walter Hewett kids quite often
spent holidays with us at Bullaring or we would stay with them at
Mundijong. They were close because their father and Dad were
similar aged brothers and their Mother is Mums older sister, the
Hewett and Wood families had three brothers’ married three
sisters. I remember this particular holiday with Uncle Watt, as he
was called, came to stay with us. I had started work on a
permanent basis on the farm and was full of enthusiasm.
He had my room on the veranda and I moved to the other end of it
but I faced the door to where he slept. I woke early and glanced
down to wards my old room door, as I could hear him getting up
and was stunned when he pulled the door wide open suddenly.
The shelf above the door had every conceivable thing stored on it,
uncle pulled the supporting prop sideways as he opened the door
inwards too far. The shelf loaded to the roof with horse medicine
and junk, collapsed partly on the open door and on his head and he
was knocked silly temporarily.
I giggle every time I see the look of startled horror on his face as
he emerged from a cloud of red lead, blue (stone) copper sulphate,
and sulphur dust that filled the air.
He could see the humour next day but not right away.
One day while driving the tractor along the banks of the soak, I
ventured too near the edge, the ground caved in, and the tractor
landed on its side in the bottom of the soak.
The hole was filling quite quickly with water, so Dad and I went to
ask Ian Cole if he could bring his tractor over to help us out.
Ian’s tractor was not powerful enough, so we then went to Ross
Mooney and asked him.
Ross brought his tractor over and with a bit of local figuring and
ingenuity we managed to rescue our tractor, by chaining a long
sapling across the back wheel.
The two neighbour’s tractors hooked on the end of this leaver by a
chain and the chain put over a forked pole, to get height to start the
lift. This worked and we levered the Case back onto its wheels.
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We all celebrated the fact that we had overcome this difficult
challenge and I was very grateful that I had managed to get clear of
the tractor before it had landed on its side in the bottom of the
soak. After that, I never drove on the banks of the soak but instead
through the water, as all the mud had been scooped out and
traction was not a problem.
Gordon my best Bullaring schoolmate remained a close and trusted
lifelong friend. Over the last six years of his life, he visited me
regularly while in and out of hospital.
Initially I was the patient and he was there to support me, through
the long two-year duration in and out of hospital and the slow
rehabilitation after my strokes.
Unbeknown to us both, it was Gordon who was in serious trouble
and he departed this world first, losing his battle with prostate
cancer in 2006, he had thought that he was in control of his
problem that had developed eight years before.
He was very cool about it, and asked me what to do, and I said my
only answer was asking Jesus, to guide him in his time of trouble.
One day, in the late forties an older school friend and neighbour
named Ian invited me along to his engagement party, which was to
be held at his fiancées home, some distance away to the southeast.
The weather had been very wet and these roads were covered in
blue clay with mud and water holes everywhere across these flats.
We were racing along on Ian’s motorbike, which he was keen for
me to buy from him because of his forthcoming marriage, so he
was showing off and putting it through its paces.
A bad skid developed half way there as we skirted a pool, and I put
my foot down to help balance the bike, the muddy water shot up
my leg and covered my good trousers in slime.
We eventually made it to the engagement party, where we both
hurriedly cleaned up before all the relatives turned up for lunch.
The formal dining room was huge, with a very large table in the
middle of it, loaded with goodies for the celebration.
“You sit here Alan”, Ian’s girlfriend Gwen said, as she pulled out
one of the many chairs around the table and seated me next to Ian.
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She then took her place on the other side of him.
Everyone else was seated and Ian’s prospective Father in Law Mr
S n, said grace, asking a blessing on the food.
We were all squeezed tightly around the table and as I reached
forward to get a spoon of sugar for my tea from the table.
My chair collapsed underneath me and the spoonful of sugar shot
all over the place.
I recovered and peered over the edge of the table to see all twenty
pairs of eyes staring at me in stunned surprise.
The hostess Mrs I, was extremely mortified and most apologetic,
and I was terribly embarrassed, at having made such a spectacle of
myself on such an important occasion.
Not long after that episode, Ian asked me to accompany him on his
tractor to Perth, to get the gearbox modified.
The tractor was a Normag, made in Germany at the end of the war,
and had been part of a heavy advertising campaign.
Ian had been struggling to keep up with the work on his farm with
the very small, slow, and noisy Massey junior tractor that he
owned, so the advertising hooked him in and he rushed out and
bought the Normag.
Dad and I used to be amazed at the amount of time Ian spent on the
Massey, crawling around the paddock at a snail’s pace.
Our machines were much wider, stronger, and faster, and we got
through twice as much work in a lot less hours.
I was very sympathetic to Ian’s dilemma, as he was a good friend
and a terrific neighbour, who was always willing to help us out at
the drop of a hat.
The trouble is, the advertising was too good to be true and the new
tractor was geared far too high, and not capable of pulling anything
on a broad acre scale, so it was even far less useful than the
Massey was. Ian decided that there was nothing else he could do,
except to get the gearbox modified, and this could only be done in
Perth.
I agreed to make the trip with him, which was long, slow, and
arduous and while Ian sat in the driver’s seat, the only spot for me
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was on the drawbar at the rear, standing up and hanging on for
grim death to any thing within my reach as we travelled at 30mph.
Leaving early in the morning, timing our City arrival to miss the
cops, it was dark by the time we reached Green mount, the
outskirts of the city and in those days, a hazardous descent.
The road was very poor, narrow, and winding, with many sharp
turns and blind bends.
Ian was tired after many hours of driving, impatient, and anxious
to get there without being stopped by the police, as he had not
obtained the necessary permit to drive the tractor on the main
roads, a drive to Corrigin and back to get it, and his time was
always short.
He said to me, as we descended, “Al, I think we’ll give ‘Angel
gear a go!” and he promptly pulled the hand clutch out, the tractor
took off and we were hurtling down the hill at a frightening speed.
When we reached sixty miles per hour, Ian panicked and tried to
slow it down with the clutch lever, but the tractor tyres let out an
excruciating scream, as the back wheels locked up and the machine
lunged forward leaving the ground.
It jolted us around badly until Ian decided to use the hand brake
brakes on the transmission, blue smoke poured out and the brakes
got red hot, we could even see the transmission brake cover
glowing red and smoke pouring out of them.
He had to ease off and loosen that or they could seize.
We were still flying along; I can only imagine what speed we were
going by then.
I was hanging with my hands to what ever I could and onto the
drawbar with my toes, gripped like superglue, with my life in Ian’s
hands as he manoeuvred the sharp bends and managed to keep us
on the road.
I was feeling relief when we reached the bottom of the Mt, the
noise was deafening as it bounced off buildings along the side of
the road.
It’s amazing that the whole city couldn’t hear it and Ian was
terrified that any minute we would hear the police sirens wailing,
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though I doubt it would be possible over that of the tractor’s
racket.
How we survived that trip is a mystery, but I am sure there was
divine intervention, because we almost defied gravity on more than
one occasion, there were many hairpin bends, rough patches of
road and a sheer drop into oblivion on the left hand side of the
road.
We were exhausted and utterly relieved to be still in one piece as
we continued along at a more modest speed to our destination in
Victoria Park.
We finally made it to the workshop; in those days, it was quite safe
to leave the tractor there unattended until morning.
We caught a taxi from there to Ian’s sister’s home in Cannington
by then it was four o’clock in the morning and we climbed into bed
to get some well earned sleep.
I am sure I will never forget the experience and the sheer terror of
that trip. I cannot imagine what Ian was thinking, putting it into
“Angel” gear in the first place.
The sad thing about it is, that a month later after all that effort, Ian
was driving his tractor home, toward Pingelly, went to sleep at the
wheel and crashed into a tree, wrecking the Normag tractor
completely and putting it out of commission for good.
For my next adventure, Ian finally talked me into buying his
motorbike, despite Mum and Dads objections.
The plate number was CR13, but since I was not superstitious, it
was not a problem.
I rang the police at Corrigin to make an appointment to get my
license and the police officer said to come in the next day.
I set off early the next day for my appointment and upon arriving.
The police officer had left a note on the door of his office be back
at 2 PM. When I returned, he asked me, “How did, you get here?” I
admitted that I had ridden the bike, and thought I would get a fine
for being unlicensed, but the officer asked me if I could, also drive
a car and a truck and then put all three together on my new license.
I have had a clean driving record all my life, until my license was
revoked when I had the first, of a number of strokes aged 69 years.
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There was an Easter tennis tournament being held at Yealering
tennis club in 1949 and we were out on the second court playing
and a tiger moth plane dived us to simulate an air raid the plane
was piloted by a local dare devil young farmer war ace that was
always doing hair-raising acts in it. When he banked high above
and came flat out at us we stood to attention. He got a little too low
before pulling out of his dive and when he did, the plane continued
to drop tail first toward the court and us. By the time it steadied the
tail plane was below the twelve foot surrounding fence luckily it
hit nothing or he would have crashed on court. His skiting gave us
all a nasty taste in our mouths and the next time we saw him he got
a roasting of a telling off from us all.
Elsie had a new boyfriend, named Martin who was at Bullaring
working for Siemons as their accountant, when they first met and
they invited me to go along as driver to a dance in Yealering.
Phil and Tim were away at Boarding school in Northam, so most
of the time Mum, Dad, Joe, and I were the only ones on the farm,
unless Elsie came home for a visit from teacher’s training school.
Martin and I got along very well, but since I was used to the
country roads, which were all gravel, he insisted that I drive to the
dance.
As we headed along the Stretton road, I saw the headlights of
another car reflecting in the air from over the hill to the right, and
decided that instead of being behind it in the dust, I would make a
dash to get in front, and they could have our dust.
I slid left around the tee corner onto the Narrogin, Pingelly road by
Stretton siding. Then planted my foot, thinking myself quite clever,
but completely forgot that the stretch of road ahead was built up
sharply, by about six feet where the railway line crossed the
wetlands. The main road crossed this sharp mound, which lifted
the rail line road crossing above flood level in winter.
We hit the railway crossing and instantly, I realized what was
about to happen, and yelled, “Hang on”, as we flew through the air.
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We were almost as high as the treetops, and everything seemed to
happen in slow motion, then all of a sudden we were on our way
down and the bumper hit the ground.
Then the back wheels thumped down with a mighty jolt and
although the car landed slightly skewed, I managed to straighten
up and keep us on the road.
Else complained of a bruised chest where Martin had elbowed her
on the heavy landing, but other than that, everyone was safe as we
made our way to the dance.
Dad was getting increasingly concerned about the salt problem we
had on the farm, it was starting to spread quite badly into the
flatlands.
We thought it a prudent time to sell, as the Government was
looking for land for returned soldiers, so Dad offered it to them
and was very pleased to get a fair price.
It was the home of my childhood and, so many fond memories and
wonderful people.
Dad and Mum found another farm they wished to purchase in
York, just near Burgess Siding and in 1950; they were successful
in their bid at auction, and became the proud owners of
Wooregong.
Our neighbour in Bullaring, Mrs C, met Dad and asked him what
the house was like and she threw her arms up in despair when Dad
said very dryly, “Oh, it’s got a tin roof and a wood floor.
The following few months were very busy as we prepared for our
move to York.
During our time in Bullaring, we had faced many trials and
tribulations.
Vivid memories of having my tonsils out, teeth removed, all the
usual childhood afflictions such as measles, sandy blight, barcoo
rot, colds and flu and stomach problems will always stay with me.
I had a particularly severe bout of measles, where I kept hearing
things, a man chanting repeatedly in a noisy voice and I
complained to Mum, “That man is not fair, because he won’t keep
quiet.
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Elsie contracted Scarlet Fever when she was aged seven and I had
many, many cases of conjunctivitis, which I will always remember
as being very unpleasant.
When Polio was epidemic in the fifties, Uncle Don who was Dads
young brother contracted it and died of complications in 1959
leaving Margaret, Mum’s other sister that married Dad’s younger
brother, a widow with a young family.
Two brothers, mates from the hostel in Albany, also caught it in
1948 and their whole family of four all died from it.
Complications from a bout of the Asian influenza claimed Grandpa
Wood’s life in 1965 and my Grandma Wood died aged seventytwo
of a heart attack.
Her sister, Auntie Nell was stricken by partial paralysis when only
in her thirties, but lived in the Home of Peace, to the ripe old age
of ninety five.
Mum was very proud of her family history; her brother Roger had
left school in standard five, farmed for a time, then gained a
scholarship and became a tutor at Oxford in England.
The other siblings in her family were all teachers except Mum who
was given the task of taking care of the children, my crippled Great
Auntie Nell and housekeeping at home.
Elsie and Phyllis, two of my sisters, also became teachers, while
Tim (Muriel) became a nurse and my brother’s carried on the
tradition of farming as I did,
Elsie would succumb to breast cancer many years later in the
seventies, leaving behind a husband and three very young children.
John farms at York and Morris went to live in Tasmania a few
years ago after Mum died and the estate was settled. Morris is the
only one to break a bone in our family I fractured my wrist.
The Geraldton year’s chapter it may appear with discussion of my
thirteen grand children; and of the grand kids only Glen.
Gail’s second son broke his arm three times from a trail bike
interest. On the whole, we had a trouble free childhood in
Bullaring, despite the many things that could have ended in
complete disaster and it was the end of a chapter in my young life
and the beginning of a new one.
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Elsie Alan Phyllis Muriel John Morris
Genesis 28 .20 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and keep me on this road that I go, and will give me bread
to eat, and a garment to put on, 21 and I come again to my father’s house in peace—then shall Jehovah be my God. 22 And this stone,
which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house; and of all that thou wilt give me I will without fail give the tenth to thee
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly
places in Christ: 4According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame
before him in love: 5Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure
of his will, 6To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7In whom we have redemption
through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom
and prudence; 9Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
10That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and
which are on earth; even in him: 11In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him
who workethall things after the counsel of his own will: 12That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
CHAPTER 2
THE AVON VALLEY
CHAPTER 2
Wooregong”, our new farm in York,
The only way then, in the fifties to enter “Wooregong”, our new
farm in York, was via an access road called a right of way through
the neighbouring farmland, also owned by the Burgess family.
They had Mr Etridge as manager living in the main manager
residence west of the Northam road and another on Wooregong to
the east and Dad, I stayed with him, and his wife until the
settlement was completed. Paying board while we were in the
process of moving our machinery from Bullaring and again while
we fallowed the land on the new farm. Settlement date was still a
little way off, but we had bought the farm including the growing
crop with the condition that we could begin working it straight
away. I stayed on and finished the fallowing in York, then went
Sulky
Matthew 9: 35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages,
teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the
kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease
among the people. 36But when He saw the multitudes, He was
moved with compassion for them, because they were weary
and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37Then He said
to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the
laborers are few. 38“Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to
send out laborers into His harvest.”
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back to Bullaring to wait until the harvesting of our crop there,
with all the grain included from, both farms the profit turned out to
be almost double the return of the previous few years.
We moved 1500 sheep from Bullaring to Burgess Siding by rail
and then had to move them on foot to our new property,
approximately ten kilometres from the train station.
OUR SHEEP LOADED AT STRETTON 1950 ARIVE HERE
They were agitated after their lengthy train journey and difficult to
deal with because we had no sheep dog to assist; the sheep were
not co-operating at all, as we set off along the gravel road toward
the river. We came to the very narrow bridge across the Avon
River, where the sheep balked and refused to cross.
Despite our attempts to drive the flock over that bridge, they
persistently refused and eventually we managed to take them
across in small numbers of thirty or, so at a time.
It took ages to complete the crossing, but we finally made it just as
a neighbouring farmer appeared on the scene and huskily barked,
“Ot t hell yu dooink?” He was very difficult to understand, but I
soon realized that he had no voice box only a hole in his throat and
that was all the sound he managed to force out.
He was a victim of cancer and was very sensitive about his
condition, getting very angry with people who stared at him or
made mention of it. We continued along the road sheepherding our
disgruntled sheep until we reached the main bitumen Northam
York road. We only had a short two-mile stretch to cover along
that portion of road until we reached the gate to the access way, but
it turned out to be the longest part of our trek.
Proverbes 23:9 Speak not in the hearing of a fool; For he
will despise the wisdom of thy words.
2 Timothy 3: 10But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, 11persecutions,
afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12Yes,
and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and
being deceived. 14But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them,
15and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17that the
man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
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Just as we turned onto the main road, a car came along honking
and blasting its horn, spreading the sheep everywhere.
The driver made no attempt to slow down and yelled as he passed
us. “Why did, you pick today to move your flock?” I replied, “I’ve
got no control over the railway schedule!” No sooner had he
disappeared from view, than the next car appeared and then the
next and the next, the cars seemed endless, all bulldozing their way
through the flock and distressing the sheep even further.
It seemed we had chosen Central Districts Footy Grand Final day
to relocate the sheep and the road was very busy with fans in a
hurry to support their team. The chaos with the traffic caused
another problem. The paddocks fences on either side of the road
were in poor repair and as the sheep scattered to the edges of the
road, the ewes became a target for the Suffolk rams housed there,
desperate to mate with them. By late afternoon, we finally got the
sheep down the access way, onto our own property and safely into
our paddock. We thanked God that we had made it and would
never need to repeat the exercise.
We settled into our new home quickly, finding the locals very
friendly and helpful. Not long after we had moved in, our
neighbour Keith Gentle brought some tomatoes over on horseback,
no doubt to see what kind of people we were.
We hit it off from the start and became life long mates.
He took me with him to Northam one Friday some months after
our arrival to visit his Mum who had a thrombosis in one leg and
was in Northam hospital.
Mrs Gentle was a terrific cook and was well known for winning
most of the prizes in the local and royal shows, she took one look
at our unkempt hair and insisted we go and get haircuts, which we
dutifully did.
Sadly, it was only about a month later that June her eldest
daughter, went into her room as always, and kissed her Mother on
the cheek, only to realize that Mrs Gentle had died unexpectedly
during the night. June got a terrible shock, as her mum was very
special to her because of June’s delicate health.
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The northeast corner of our farm shared a boundary with Keith’s
that made it very easy for us to visit each other regularly.
We became as close as brothers, sharing many common interests
and schooling and a sense of adventure.
Keith and I went to Perth for a holiday in 1951 in his new A70
Austin Utility.
We stayed at a boarding house on Cottesloe Beach for a fortnight.
When we came down for breakfast on the first morning, I looked
across the table and saw a beautiful Brunette looking my way.
I was very nervous, being a novice with women at that stage and I
accidentally flicked sugar all over the table for the second time in
my life. She was chaperoned by her Mother who was always
hustling her away, no doubt having a strong mistrust of strange
teenage boys.
I remembered that girl long after the holiday had finished and I
thought of her often, even though nothing much had come of it at
the time.
We spent a great deal of our holiday time on the beach and noticed
a guy in a black suit (mafia like) who kept taking his stark white
handkerchief out of his pocket and dangling it against his jet black
suit, as though it were a signal to someone.
He pushed a childless pram in front of him when he returned to his
car.
Keith and I were mystified by his actions, but we came up with our
own theory when we noticed the flotilla of ships in Fremantle
Harbour next day, all locked out by a strike on the wharf.
He must have collected a load of contraband, blown into shore by
the strong sea breeze and we estimated that it would have been
something of reasonable value because of the size of the pram he
was pushing. (A TV program in 2007 had a lot to say about a
connection to the mafia back then, so it was drugs involved here)
Our holiday ended and it was back into farming as usual.
We did, not have scheme water on the new farm because of
pressure restriction, and we relied on rain tanks and a fresh water
soak to supply water to the house.
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The soak had a windmill with a pump to push the water the
considerable distance across the fields from the southern boundary
to the homestead.
One day the pump stopped working and Tim (Muriel) and I went
off to fix it.
I pulled the pipes off the pump and shoved them up into the clamps
in the windmill tower, while Tim climbed up the tower.
I set the gasket in the top of the pump and when Tim bumped the
pipe it came crashing down and caught my fingers that were still
fitting the sealing washer in between the pump top and the pipe.
“*#@#*#@**##” I let out an expletive, leapt out of the tower leg,
ran around in circles, did, summersaults & rolled in the dirt
groaning in pain and cradling my poor bruised fingers.
My vocabulary had expanded into the normal teenage vernacular
and my short temper reared its ugly head at the drop of a hat.
While Tim scuttled down the mill in fits of laughter, telling me
how funny it all looked from up there, I was in pain with five big
black fingernails to prove it, and they throbbed a week to remind
me of the experience.
Another day Dad and I went to check the water at the same site and
because Dad did, not need my help on this occasion, I went off
exploring. There was a steep rocky hill covering approximately
five acres that I had wanted to explore and this was my first
opportunity.
It was extremely rocky and un-cleared, there were white gums
everywhere, and as I stepped over a fallen hollow log, I almost
landed on a very large brown snake.
I am not sure who was more surprised, but I watched in
amazement as the snake opened its huge mouth and vomited out a
stinking rabbit.
Then the snake was ready for action, rearing up on its tail to attack,
but I grabbed the nearest stick and managed to kill it quite quickly.
Luckily, for me it was still groggy from hibernation because it was
a very large brown most poisonous snake.
A photo was taken which Pix Magazine published and it showed
me holding the snake by the tail above my head with another few
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feet of it running along the ground. It must have been at least eight
feet long and very venomous.
The second year at wooregong, we found that in most of the
paddocks there were many big stones that the mouldboard ploughs
had pulled up over the years. The previous workers found it too
much trouble to shift them so they drove around them, it made a lot
of ducking and diving while using the machinery. Dad and I
decided to drag them to the creeks; we only had the LA Case then
at that time. We used a long chain behind it to drag them there to
get better wider machines, like our new Mitchell, scarifier to work
the land, as they were far too heavy to lift by hand this was the
cheapest option. This day we were working on the paddock in the
North West corner of Wooregong. I drove down to the gully with
a huge stone behind the tractor and as the rock had slipped a
couple of times, it had to be reconnected. I stood on the platform
on one side of the tractor seat to save time instead of straddling the
tractor seat and sitting. I could not use the foot break because of
that, when the brake was needed and it was necessary to stop to
change the gear. I got to the gully and turned to face the tractor up
the hill. Once the machine began reversing down hill, got
momentum and a slack chain, when I tried to change into the other
gear the tractor kept rolling backwards. It was moving
consequently, of that movement, the gear would not change or I
was unable to stop or move forward. At the same time, the tractor
was pushing against a nasty looking broken, splintered York gum
stump five feet high with a bend in it. As the crank in the stump
took the tractor weight, it screwed round in the soft wet clay soil
and the jagged splintery end caught in the right side leg of my
shorts. I was transfixed in a pickle, as it turned inside one trouser
leg getting tighter and tighter on my leg and torso until the fabric
burst open; if I had sat on the seat with my legs each side, the
stump would have sandwiched my right leg against the metal seat
support. Was this all luck that no bones or skin was broken or any
punctures incurred in my body, I wonder? Fortunately, the tractor
came to a stop by then hard upon the stump. The wheels were two
feet from the six-foot sheer drop into the rock-strewn waterway.
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My mind raced; how long before the gully bank would give way or
the stump pull out? My Angel held it together I am certain as I got
the tractor into forward gear and drove off.
One day Keith, his brother in law Richie and I were out shooting
and decided to go for a swim in the Mortlock river east branch.
Richie was married to Keith’s youngest sister, an expert at the
piano. A music teacher with great skill, who was sadly killed in a
car accident later, when driving with Richie towards Mandurah.
His older one Jewel was a nurse and married an energetic local
farmer who came to both Kalannie and Geraldton after us. She was
also badly hurt in a car and suffered dreadful life long injuries.
It was very hot, so we decided to skinny dip in the waterhole,
having a great time larking around as young guys do, when
someone said, “Does this water taste okay to you?” I said, “No it
tastes bitter, there must be a problem somewhere upstream.
We got out and dressed ourselves before heading up river to
investigate, where only 150 yards away we found a stinking rotten
maggot infested cow carcass floating in the water.
That was the end of our shooting, swimming trip for that day as we
all hurried home to clean up from the dirty germ infested water and
freshen our mouths with a nice ice-cold lemon drink
Shooting was still one of our favourite past times, especially since
foxes, rabbits and kangaroos were a major source of damage to our
farms.
Richie, Keith and I decided to go kangaroo shooting down the
Perth road and we kept quite about our destination because it is not
legal to have firearms in a state forest. We were determined to try
our luck and to test our skill at hunting it would be a one off thrill
and we figured we would kill may be a roo or two with a rifle not a
car.
We set off for the 13-mile bridge where we knew of a track into
the forest. Keith drove his Ute several miles along it until we found
a good parking spot. Went forward on foot together as quite as
mice, to sneak up on a sleeping group of roos we knew that there
were lots in the bush in the type of undergrowth we now entered.
They camped in this dense scrub during the daytime. Going to
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Perth any time we slowed down opposite this region, as it was
Hazardous on that piece of road as they crossed the highway to
feed toward Berry Brow Estate, north of the highway from that
daytime hiding place and they were very dangerous to cars with
many roos killed on the highway there at night.
The squeakers were very keen to see what we were doing as we
walked along the roo trails and they squeaked their warning as we
moved forward slowly. After a half hour, their attention with us
vanished and we could hear them a couple of hundreds yards away
signalling to us that, the roos were starting to move out of their
hiding spots as we neared them.
It was shortly after this that we spotted our first one and we raced
after it. Next thing we had roos all round us so it was everyone to
his own. We each stalked the nearest one and continued for an age
to go after it. We soon were miles apart and the roo each of us was
chasing escaped us as the wind gave our position away and we
were separated and the sun was getting low so my instinct told me
the way back to the Ute. I headed back to the Ute and by twilight
arrived right on target. Sat in the vehicle and waited and waited.
By ten that night the other two had not come back and I began to
think I had better toot the horn and make a noise. After ages
changed my tactic and fired a couple of shots that did not cause
any reaction, so I assumed they were going in the wrong direction
Were miles off course and out of earshot of my attempts to attract
them? Silence was all I got so made up my mind to drive back the
way we entered the forest. By doing this, I was hoping headlights
would show the glow on the top of the trees. By driving very
slowly and tooting, I made my way back along the track. About a
mile and here, they come straggling along very tired. The two of
them had joined up at sundown and headed miles in the opposite
direction to find the highway and trace it back to the forest track.
Rather than trying to guess the location of the Ute they decided to
find the main road and track not realizing just how far it was. We
estimated they had a ten-mile hike. They said why are you moving
the Ute and making me out to be the villain by doing so as a joke.
My feelings rose as it was very disturbing to me on my own that
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night after their absence for hours in the dark. At least they were
found and I did not have to go to the cops and admit our offence as
I intended if they had not found me before I reached the highway.
So ended our one and only disappointing state forest excursion
hunting anything and learning a lesson that you can easily get lost.
The yellow cross was an approximate mark of our Ute parking
spot.
The rifles mostly used were our, 22 rifles, but on a couple of
occasions, we did, use a handgun or a shotgun.
Keith and I chose to take his pure white roo dog named Snow on
the Ute as was usual when hunting at night, and while Keith drove,
I shone the light from the back of the Ute.
Things were a bit quiet but finally I saw a pair of eyes glinting in
the darkness and shone the light in the general direction for Keith
to follow.
Just as he fired the, 22, Snow, also spotted the eyes in the
blackness and leapt over the cab top of the Ute, copping the slug
from the rifle in his foot.
Luckily, the wound was not too serious; it could easily have been
fatal for Snow.
We spent the next day at the Northam Vets getting the bullet
damage removed and the dog stitched up.
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Another night whilst snow got better we went off chasing rabbits
and it could have ended in a real disaster for us, if my Guardian
Angel had not been looking after me.
Keith had rigged the spotlight up in the front of the Ute, so that he
could drive and spot at the same time, while I was the catcher on
the back. We had found it quite easy to catch the rabbits by hand
rather than shoot them, as the spotlight blinded them momentarily.
I sighted a rabbit and leapt off the back of the Ute to grab it when
there was a loud bang that roared in my ear.
Just as I jumped past the driver’s seat, Keith had fired his single
shot long rifle hand gun out the window, testing his handy work.
He had not seen me about to jump after the rabbit and I was
millimetres from being shot by my best mate with an illegal
homemade pistil that he decided to scrap after the near miss.
Keith had his Austin A70 Ute and we went everywhere in it; we
met a worker from the main Burges farm who always could go one
better, no matter what was being discussed or by who.
Keith and I were off on holiday and this chap talked himself into
getting a free ride to Perth with us.
He was doing his usual bragging on the way down about how good
he was and Keith got this look on his face, I had seen it before
actually I told him once to get more poker faced as anyone could
read him like a book.
I knew the guy had got to him and hung on to the door as he slowly
put his foot down further and further until we were flying.
The road was being swallowed as we hit the bends near Sawyers
Valley when suddenly he yelled; “hang on” as we entered this
particularly sharp left turn.
The only way we stayed on the road was by Keith’s excellent
driving.
With skill and by dropping the left side wheels off the left edge of
the broken bitumen edge of the road.
It was to stop the Ute from sliding with the centrifugal force
throwing us to the other side of the road where a car was
approaching fast.
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The scare quietened us all and the trip slowed to safe speeds but
our bragging mate got silent at last.
He had come over from the next-door bragging as usual a few days
before and we went riding on my motor bike. He scrambled on the
back it was only a day or so before this Perth trip. When anyone
came to the farm and it was my duty to show them the sights. it
was usual to fly up to the top of a sharp rise in one of our lush
clover paddocks. It took their breath by the sudden precipice in
front. The ground sloped steeply down it always made the visitors
gasp for breath as they felt their heart jump up into their throat as
the vehicle dropped suddenly under them. With my mind on this,
we were going flat strap across to the exciting spot and a
washaway suddenly appeared most un-expectantly. I yelled hang
on as the brakes went on, he jerked forward and broke the pillion
handhold off as we skidded to a stop. It took the wind out of my
planned surprise and we did it very leisurely.
After the homemade gun incident Keith and I had, we heard about
another friend of mine who accidentally shot his own nine-year-old
brother in law and killed him.
What a tragedy for those people but considering the fact that most
farmers owned guns in those days and used them regularly,
shooting accidents were not common.
Travelling in the truck at the farm at Bullaring once when my.22
was brand new it discharged inside the truck when the safety catch
was checked one time lucky for me it happened to be pointed out
the window.
Keith Ritchie and I decided to invite some town boys on a shooting
day at the Quelington district, in a timber and scrub reserve that we
knew had lots of rabbits in it.
These chaps were very enthusiastic, it was not long before one of
them let out a shout “here’s one he ran into this scrubby patch”,
and the boys all got around the bush ready to blaze at anything that
moved.
I realized that there could be trouble and some one could be shot,
so I shouted a quick warning, and they realized just how silly it
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was to surround on all sides, and start shooting automatic rifles
furiously, not thinking about the other people in their excitement.
Dad and I were busy in the workshop with the forge that was used
when we wanted to shape or bend steel materials.
We had an old worn out sunder-cut disk over the top of the coals to
keep the heat around the object we intended on bending and I had
the hammer and anvil ready to force it into shape while still redhot.
Dad used the tongs to remove the disk, quickly putting it on the
ground and then grabbed the object out of the fire, which I
hammered quickly while it was still hot.
This meant we were always in a hurry because keeping the metal
object hot was imperative to have success in reshaping it.
Three year old Morris came down to the workshop to watch us in
action and as he was about to step on the hot disk with his bare
feet, I pushed him forcibly backwards and he landed on his
backside with a thud.
All of a sudden, he started choking and vomiting and making all
sorts of scary noises, which was frightening.
We took him back to the house and by the time we got there, he
seemed to be breathing better.
Mum and Dad checked his throat, which seemed okay and
eventually Morris went off to sleep and we went back to work.
At tea that night, every time Morris tried to swallow his food, it
came back out of his mouth and when he tried to drink, the fluid
shot across the room.
It certainly was puzzling, because he seemed to be breathing okay.
The next morning Mum and Dad took him to the Doctor in
Northam who could not find the problem either.
The Doctor decided to do, an x-ray, which showed a thin black line
in the oesophagus and it turned out that Morris had swallowed a
three eighth of an inch washer (the exact size of a halfpenny) he
was sucking on, when I had pushed him backwards the previous
day.
The very small hole in the centre of the washer was the reason for
his difficulty in breathing and swallowing, but if there had not been
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a hole in the washer, he would most certainly have choked well
before help was at hand.
The Doctor removed the washer and Morris was rewarded with ice
cream for his ordeal and was indeed one very lucky little boy or as
I like to believe, blessed by an Angel.
Joe’s birthday was coming up and I found him the perfect gift, a
pair of roller skates that I thought he would really enjoy.
I bought them in Perth during one of our trips there and then hid
them, supposedly until his birthday arrived.
Keith and Richie came over for a visit one day after work and I
told them about my terrific present for Joe.
They insisted that we test them out, so we drove down to the main
road where I put the skates on and quickly realized that there was
an art to skating and it would take some time to learn.
Always eager to help out, Keith and Richie decided to speed the
process up and with one on either side pulling a hand each and
propelling me down the road to get me started.
Unfortunately, my legs started to drift apart, getting wider and
wider and as the guys got to their top speed they, gave me an extra
special powerful tug, and then let me go altogether.
I hurtled along the road with legs at breaking point stretched
widely apart until something had to give and I came a tremendous
cropper on the bitumen.
By the time I was ready to pick myself up I had already made my
decision to put the skates back in their hiding place and forget
about them until it was time to give them to Joe.
I was stiff and sore all over and skating was not for me.
That cropper equals the bike accident in childhood.
Like the dumping on holidays at Scarborough Beach with Keith.
When we bought the Lincoln welder, I set too and built dozens of
pipe gates.
It must have been three or more dozen it was a surprise I got one
day as the red-hot slag got inside my right boot.
Then it was instant action and was it a battle royal to rip that boot
off before the red hot metal sizzled and worked to deep into my
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foot. The burn stung for quite a while and it was a good learning
experience for me, as my fire fear was not developed until the farm
at Fern Hill York was purchased and careless people were always
setting fire around town.
We had the terrible Dwellingup fires that woke everybody in WA
up as it cost lives.
Years later lightning cost Dad and my brothers dearly as it set fire
to their crop burning thousand of acres all told many shade trees.
The singed grain poisoned the sheep to make it worse as well as
burned sheep, they had burned wheat poisoned ones die too.
Elsie and Mum spent the Christmas holiday’s one-year crazy
paving the courtyard in front of the house.
We supplied them with rock from many places around the farm,
but mainly from the many-heaped rocks on the hills and the
smooth ones in the creek bottoms.
The smoother round ones were used in the wall garden and the
flatter odd shaped ones were used on the ground for the paving
jobs. They did, a terrific job of the paving and finished it all off
nicely by planting a lovely rockery for that type of plant and a lush
garden around it which included herbs for the kitchen.
Mum was a very keen gardener, growing all the produce we ate,
raising chickens, and turkeys that provided food for the table and
Dad supplied the rich creamy milk from the cow he took over
milking at the new farm as I refused said my milking days were
over until married with kids.
We had all kinds of fruit trees including a huge big Mulberry tree
and a fig too and a variety of hand-grown vegetables including
strawberries and fresh peas, which grew by the acre right next door
to the house.
Elsie was a kindergarten or infant teacher who was extremely
talented in her field.
She was posted too many places including Shackleton, Pingelly,
Brookton, Bruce Rock, Kellerberrin, Lake Varley, Marble Bar,
Dongara, and Cowaramup.
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It was at one of these small country centres that Elsie would
eventually meet her husband John who was Headmaster of many
of the same schools and together they would raise three children.
When Elsie was learning to drive the car, there were numerous
incidents that are locked away in my memory; one of them was
when she and Mum had Isobel in the back seat.
Stopping at a train crossing at Burgess siding when going for our
mail. Elsie still had not quite mastered the gears and clutch, so the
car kangaroo hopped onto the tracks then stalled.
Isobel looked up the line to see a train coming and as she was
about to bolt out of the car door, Elsie managed to get the car
going again and lurched forward out of harms way.
Another day Elsie was driving with me in the car and as we
reached the farm gate, she stopped to let me out to open it.
I got the gate open and looked up just in time to see Elsie and the
car shoot backwards across the bitumen and into a ditch on the
opposite side of the road.
Luckily I was experienced enough to be able to drive the car out of
the ditch, but Elsie was crestfallen at the time.
She did, eventually, with a lot of practise and patience become
skilled at driving, skills that often seem to be lacking in the drivers
of today.
One day Dad and I were loading three-bushel bags of wheat onto
our snub-nosed Austin five-tone truck.
The wheat had been stacked in rows three bags wide and twenty or
more rows of bags long and they had been wet through the week
before by a recent thunderstorm.
As we worked, I noticed that the ground under the bags was
riddled with mice holes and loose red dirt where the mice had been
digging.
There in the loose soil was the barely discernible outline of a
snakes body, and just a few inches from Dads feet was the snakes
head, held flat and just peeking out from behind the bags.
“Dad, don’t move!” I yelled.
He saw my agitation and froze as I pointed the strike ready
monster out to him.
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He gingerly stepped back off the mouse-riddled ground, grabbed
the tyre leaver from under the trucks front seat, and flattened the
snake’s head in one swift blow.
Carefully we carried on loading the bags keeping our wits about us
in case another snake appeared on the scene.
The previous day, Dad had hurriedly had to remove his pants when
a mouse ran up the trouser leg and got disorientated there, tickling
Dads leg as it tried to burrow further up the trousers.
Dad was never seen without long trousers, not even in the middle
of summer on the hottest day.
He never wore shorts, only long pants even for tennis, and white
pants on those days and it was unheard of for us to see his lilywhite
legs, so it remains etched in my memory as a day to
remember.
A single operator was attending the weighbridge and elevator; he
weighed our loaded truck then proceeded to the bins.
And we were unloading at the hopper, meanwhile he climbed up
the elevator to the top, some 35 feet up to adjust the grain shoot
connection.
All of a sudden, there was this almighty bang, we all jumped, one
of the truck tyres exploded from the wear and tare and sway from
our unloading movements.
The tyre, it could not hold the 90 lbs tyre pressure any longer, so
gave up with a boom, like a shotgun being fired, I have never seen
anyone come down a bin elevator, so fast, he got the biggest fright
of all of us.
Might have been because, a nice young fellow when sober, who
living in town next door to him, drank at the local with him, had
been married a short time.
Who beat his own wife up every time he came home from the pub,
beat her silly, only to apologize when he sobered up, and he got to
such a depressed and guilt ridden way, that he shot himself because
he loved her, but could not solve his problem with the grog.
Another time at the bin this happened, I was unloading the last few
bags of wheat on my own.
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Dad had climbed into the front seat, ready to move the truck to the
weighbridge, and was hidden from view, when a fellow farmer
actually the younger brother to the guy that shot himself.
He, went to get up on our truck to help me finish the last few bags,
and as is usual the empty bags, were placed in a stack to my right
side, back of the truck tray.
It happened that my empty bag would sweep across his face, as he
sprang up to help me, so I twisted vigorously to my left up in my
top body half, with my legs twisting right still.
I promptly fell in a heap in agony, with a back problem from the
diving accident at Yealering, surfacing with vengeance.
Although at this time, I did, not connect the previous event, and
was in the dark as to what was wrong with my ribs.
The pain when I moved transfixed me, this sciatic rib pain in my
left side upper body was excruciating, and after at least three days
of being flat on my bed I could move again that was the norm,
though this was the beginning of a lot of changes in our farming
ways.
My problem kept surfacing at any heavy load I met, so full bulk
handling from then forward had to be considered with no option
for us Hewett’s.
We bought a bin that bolted on the truck tray it served for carting
grain at harvest, and sowing at seeding time.
It, also handled the bulk super, it was to revolutionize the farm, so
good comes from bad, providence again this allowed me the big
farm concept we developed in years to come, with four wheel drive
tractors auto harvesters direct drill and more enervative farming to
boost production way up five or ten fold by acreage area.
By the shear size of the operation, and before I left farming these
great changes to farming methods became the norm.
Many farmers who wish to stay on the land do this repeatedly.
Since those days, farming has gotten harder in southern Australia.
With expert advice, that causes too much debt as one of the
reasons. With drought, as well as unpredictable seasons adding
hardship, too unbearable that causes farmers sons to suicide as an
escape from their reality.
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Looking back I feel we were warned by God in 1968 to be ready,
things are to change from now on because look at the terrible
happenings since then, thousands of deaths all over the world by
every means.
A time of trouble as Mathew 24 states.
Take note the bible is true, if a lie would the friends of Jesus
commit suicide, by not deigning, him to save themselves.
There will be wars and rumours of war as in the days of Noah &
Lot, so will it be in the end.
Some will be taken (to glory after the tribulation) most left (to
destruction). All provable.
We always went to Meckering New Year dance and saw the
morning dawn it was a fantastic time there were young people
from all most every town in the west, so it seemed to us.
The dance bands were good, it capped the year, price of wool was
up to a pound a pound and wheat ten shilling a bushel and fuel was
shillings a gallon the farmers were only small but extremely
profitable in terms of real wealth
On my twenty first birthday, we held in our new shearing shed,
Dad and I and two shed builders (one with the name Hewett, but
not related) put up all our new sheds and silos for storage of grain
machinery and shearing, a new outfit all round.
We had it all decked out and the girls brought their friends from
the Northam High School, Phyllis was selected for but declined
head girl that year and Muriel was in the same year as Phyllis after
standard 4, when she jumped a class, Joe was eleven and all the
local Junior farmers came we had a great celebration.
Psalm 71:8 My mouth shall be filled with thy praise, And
with thy honor all the day. 9Cast me not off in the time of
old age; Forsake me not when my strength faileth.
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I took one of the girls home, she is a lovely looking good natured
and gorgeous girl at that time in the fifties, and I do not think I
knew a better person.
I had hoped to make more of our friendship, but sad I was when
she left Northam, to work in Canberra, and the next time I saw her
was when she had a steady guy, from one of the Northam car sales
yards.
Therefore, my interest had to go elsewhere, I pointed her out to
Keith Gentle years later, after my single days were over and they
were married.
Phyllis my second sister went to teachers training college after
high school and when she had done the training, she started to
teach at Pingelly
She developed a persistent cough and found that she had caught
TB while boarding in Perth while at training college.
So had a much-stressed year at Wooroloo to be cured of her
complaint she was married then to Keith Bauer and moved to live
in Mt Pleasant.
Muriel my youngest sister did, nursing at several hospitals around
Perth and married Kell Boag.
He was an army man that joined up at the war’s first days as things
turned out.
Worked in the tax department all his working life he loved the
family and the quiet life at the farm, gardening, and football and
played tennis all he could.
.
When thinking of Wooregong it makes me, see the old farmhouse
and the new sheds in the centre of a square hilly farm.
With a giant letter, C spread across the two miles, a side square
piece of almost blood red dirt.SOB, SOB.
The head of the flat laying c is a volcanic like, high spot a couple
of hundred feet higher than the farm average. This C is surrounded
with tall salmon gum trees.
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The letter c head starts in the southeast corner and the curving part
of the c, extending in a gradual slope down to the southwest corner
arching over one third of the farm.
The ridge was originally white gum country and tussocks where
the shaly schist quarts rock was not too shallow as the ridge varied
fifty or so feet in height, only narrow in width and flanked with
jam, York gum, and yorrell trees.
The Avon valley stretched away in the west from north to south for
twenty miles each way.
It was some three years after our marriage while we lived at the
first little two-bedroom house, Dad and I built on Wooregong
before Isobel and I were married, we were working at the shed one
afternoon and we noticed large high cumulus thunder heads all
around the district.
No thunder yet but soon there was a vivid flash toward the hills
and we thought the world had blown up.
The thunder from that flash was absolutely deafening it came from
the high ridge to the southeast.
Just one almighty bang and silence that was the extent of the
storm.
Going around the sheep later, we drove the Austin A40 Ute up the
ridge and this ring barked lonely massive dead white gum that
must have been hundreds of years old was blown to bits and
scattered over fifty acres of our paddock.
It was still showing signs of having been wet with the only patch
of rain for weeks.
It took us ages to collect all the shattered lumps of wood we had
some consolation as it served for Mum’s kitchen slow combustion
stove fire for months, and very little chopping.
The A40 Ute was bought for uncle Rodger to drive around on his
only home visit to his mum and dad my grand parents and all his
relation. Later that year Isobel and I were married and we went
south in it on our honeymoon. After Rodger went back to England,
that day I drove it back from Fremantle and the steering broke
going up green mount, and we patched it up with a washer to
clamp the broken steering arm. It only collapsed with me thee
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times taking me into the bush before getting safely home by
creeping along. It was fixed simply with a new part at the Kelly
garage. Rodger must have been charmed as he could have crashed
too. It was a guardian angel that protected us from disaster, our
future to be, must have been set, don’t you think.
Gail was just over two years old that Christmas when this took
place. Elsie comes home for Christmas and she was going steady
with Martin now, after Rudy had died suddenly. Martin was
staying at his mum’s farm on Perth road a couple of miles out of
the York Township. He visited on his motor bike, and I used my
bike in those days to check the sheep often taking Gail on the fuel
tank with me.
This was a very high, 6 feet tall strawed crop year and we had the
front paddock in which surrounded the road to town on both sides
for a mile to our right of way gate on the front boundary fence.
We had started to setup the new massy header to harvest that
paddock. Martin visited Elsie for an hour and then went back to
town, the bike noise got Gail chasing after it thinking it was me
and she chased his sound thinking she would have a ride home but
Martin kept on his way not knowing she was running behind.
Isobel was tending Garry as he was just a baby and she did not
miss Gail thinking I had her at the shed with me. When I came for
lunch on my own we realised she was missing
The search began and we had no idea where to look I raced
everywhere on my bike. There were open soaks in every paddock
and our minds visualized all the possibilities, a lost child is a
chilling thing. Then I happened to go down the road to town on the
off chance she might have heard Martin and followed the sound.
There she was all dishevelled and balling her eyes out, with flies
crawling all over her. Lost at our front gate, she had gotten into a
terrible mess dirty pants from panic and a running nose, she had
plastered herself poor kid. She was heart broken, with big sighing
sobs. I was overjoyed to find her, and she clung thankfully to me
tightly as we rode home. Because the crop was so dense if she had
ventured in there she would have gone up the rows of crop until
she perished.
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We went to Northam to the regular Saturday night dance and we
were early there and waiting for the hall doors to be opened.
It was west of the hall we parked on the side of the street.
The girls primped themselves ready for the fun of the dance.
There was a train crossing very slowly just in front of us.
It slowed preparing to stop at the station.
This car driver waiting impatiently for it to cross and no sooner
had it passed, then he the first car moved fast onto the rail with the
red lights still blinking. Another train hidden from our view came
from the other way, and the impatient driver was hit, pushed down
the line some distance before getting free. It must have scared the
daylights out of him, he was lucky to be still alive. It taught me
never to take a light view of rail line crossings.
The cow had to be milked regularly, and for some reason that
escapes me now Joe had to do it this time, he and Isobel had put
her in the bail, and Joe kept at arms length and tried to start the job.
The cow wondered what he was trying to do, so after the job was
half done she put her hind foot on top of his head.
Gave him a whopper of a kick, he was more scared then ever and
Isobel was not game to try either, so the job was abandoned until I
could do it.
I gave them a demonstration at my first chance, and showed him
how to get in so close to the cows side that they missed you.
Their foot passed behind your back with their attempts to kick, but
you have to get in real close to her udder and away from the front
foot because that is their alternate weapon.
I found that the stock firm paid cash for pigs and thought it would
be good to get some free of tax cash, as all my money went in tax.
We got three lage sows, and built a pig yard and sty to hold them
and it was my spare time job to run my pigs.
These kept the garbage eaten and it only took the waste grain to
keep them happy with a dead carcase now and again to keep them
continuing their growth and breeding.
The old sow got after me one day when some friends came to visit.
I grabbed one piglet from her litter to show how cute, they were.
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He squealed so hard his mum took after me, and I ran for a tree
with her a foot behind me snapping her slobbering jaws, and
grumbling and snorting furiously, as I went round and round the
York gum tree, with my butt tucked in tighter at each snap she
made. The girls stood well back in hysterics, wondering how it
would end. It scared me and made me more careful of loose pigs.
I watched the way they tore a dead sheep to shreds in minutes and
did not fancy the same end. The pigs were not a long lasting
farming practice for me it might have lasted five years but doubt it;
they are sure dirty garbage eaters, recycling their own excreta, not
for my plate thanks!
Dad and I decided to go to a distant farm sale one day and we got
to the farm in the Ute a little late. As we got out we heard the
auctioneer say at the top of his voice to the sales record keeping
clerk “Hewett and son”. He knocked down the first heap of
miscellaneous junk, down to us. We hurried into the yard to see
just what junk we had bought, without placing a bid. I don’t think
it was worth paying for or collected from the farm so there it
stayed.
At Goodlands ten years later there was a young farmer that was
always buying the junk piles and he was called by the auctioneer
and every one else the 2 bob man. It was surprising the amount of
good stuff he collected. It kept him in work year round sorting and
selling to all. If an item was wanted he had it for sure.
Uncle Charlie, dad’s older brother was selling some sheep at a
neighbouring farm near Corrigin, The farmer was selling up and
the farm was to change hands. Charlie was chatting to dad and the
auctioneer was stuck trying to get bidding started. When one of the
local farmers jumped into the pen of 100 sheep, grabbed one and
mouthed it, he shouted to the auctioneer it’s a gummy. Knowing
the sheep were from Charlie the crowd looked at him with
expectation of protest, without a smile, stammer or pause he said in
a dry voice, “Yes heavens they haven’t had any teeth for years.”
The crowd roared laughing, and the bidding took off and the sale
was a good one.
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Dad at Bullaring cut sixty acres of hay for the horse team every
year before tractors were bought and we used what we call a binder
to do this. It cuts and tied the straw from wheat or oat crops into
sheaves that were dropped in rows around and round the paddock
as the team pulled the binder. There were thousands of them that
had to be stood up to dry-cure. In what was known as stooks. After
this thorough drying the sheaves were put into a haystack it was
intensive work. To stop it bleaching out in the sun or spoiling with
rain, they had to stook the crop quickly after cutting it. Dad hired
this young Bullaring identity in the late 1930s . It was his first job
and he put one sheaf at a time in the stooks as they worked hard all
day. When it was knockoff time he said to dad you know you do
very well for an old chap you can even keep up to a young fellow
like me. Dad laughed because he used his hands to do two or three
sheaves at a time, but the young fellow had not noticed that, or that
dad was only thirty four, an old man to him.
The year before I was married dad was still a keen tennis player
and he and Collin Lodge, Hector Smith were among the contenders
for York singles championship and Hector won with dad winning
the plate.
I was at the York town hall at a dance and the patron and mayor
gave out the prizes and dad never went out at night so the mayor
called me to the dais to receive the trophy. He said in a loud voice
give your brother his prize. Dad had no time for the man as he
thought he was much better then anyone else, one day when dad
was talking business to the local international agent, and he walked
up and spoke to the agent he had deliberately ignored dad and dad
was not impressed.
We had another chap that our farm boundary fence joined
and he was a very strange guy. He had a notice on his gate. ‘Be
aware I shoot every second agent and the last has just left”.
The only event we had with him in twenty years was when one day
he came around through the right of way to our farm. Five gates,
the ones we had to negotiate to shop, plus (his own three) in his
jeep he roared up and instead of getting out of it, he drove flat strap
round and round one of our shade trees, tooting the horn and
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fuming no doubt. Waiting for us to rush out from lunch, to see
what he wanted, but we carried on with dinner. He gave up and
went home, we never found out what was his problem.
A young fellow lived near us and he came over just after we had
bought the Wooregong farm and he sat in the lounge room one
Sunday afternoon, and first dad would ask a question of him, to get
him talking and then I would. All we could get was yes, or no.
After spending five hours of pumping him to try to help him to talk
he hopped up, thanked us for the marvellous chat we had and left.
My thoughts now were on my beach times at Cottesloe, where we
went again, Keith and I went back to the same boarding house
again in 1952.
There was this Kalgoorlie girl again and this time we had a
wonderful relaxing holiday with a lot more interaction with the city
people and nightspots. The time went too quickly until we were
invited to Lofty’s engagement party in Cottesloe’s main venue for
the elite parties. We met him earlier at Pearce air show, and later
that evening trying to impress the women Keith and I over did,
ourselves with a bottle of Champagne on top of a beer or two in the
afternoon.
That night I slept at the beach, not getting up until called at sunrise
by an hallucination, or God called me with a voice I will never
forget.
The sound of many waters is my best description of it, my name
three times I heard from every grain of sand and drop of water
along the beach, after the third call I bolted back to my room, to be
greeted by Keith and Richie, where you been? The last time I had
seen Keith was being bundled in his Ute and spewing all down the
side of it but all that was forgotten it was a new day; the hair of the
dog cured our hangovers now there was cleaning up to do.
We fell in one night at this newly begun craze for Perth, an eating
joint a takeaway they started, for after a dance or other
entertainment.
This eating place we all were gathered there, along the Swan River
along Stirling Highway and with about 20 young girls and guys.
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After they had all eaten, they disappeared, leaving Keith and
myself to pay the bill, which hurt us and it never happened again.
For some other prior engagement or reason, the Brunette was not
there that night.
The next year, we decided because Keith had a friend from
Kalgoorlie, he had met in Cottesloe and was courting; we decided
Kalgoorlie was the town to visit. We went in race season and I
remember the day spent in the TAB my short shot at gambling I
risked a 100 and gained 25 pounds for the day far too slow for me
it was not on my list of things to do, after that one-day affair.
We had an enjoyable time in Kalgoorlie, and I met a blond woman
who I heard finished much later with a career in Hollywood in
years to come.
This blond, she was good to go out to the local dances with; also I
met up with the Brunette again, so Kalgoorlie was the place to be
on holiday.
One night after a picture show, we Keith his girl friend, the
Brunette, and I, went to this Italian coffee shop and he brought us
our coffee, and we had a sip then all burst out in laughter.
This recently immigrated Italian manager came hurrying over all
flustered, ‘what’s up he kept asking but we had never had such
strong black coffee in our lives and it just tickled our fancy to
laugh, it must have been our high spirits.
I mentioned we were leaving Kalgoorlie soon, as the holiday was
fast coming to an end and the Brunette said oh come say goodbye
to Mum, sure I answered. So I said sure tomorrow.
The next day Keith and I left the pup to see his girl and her Mum
and Dad, so he dropped me at the Brunettes front door when I
knocked on the door she invited me in for a soft drink then she said
Mums shopping, and after a bit of chatter she said come see my
room.
I went with her and it was a very nicely setup private bedroom
with a nice bed and bedspread and the usual furniture and girly
knickknacks, she was an only child her father had died some years
before and I could see how her Mum doted on her by the room
furnishings.
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She was a stunning girl that was standing there and it made me
tremble and feel awkward and clumsy
Then we looked at each other for what seemed an age, each of us
too shy to speak, I felt quite self-conscious.
There was a bang from the front door, which broke the tension as
her Mum got back from shopping, and we shot out to the kitchen.
I said goodbye and walked back to Keith’s friend’s house a couple
of streets away where Bob had come home from his shift and they
all were saying their good byes.
We were sad to finish the holiday and were due to leave Kalgoorlie
in the morning.
Keith’s friend’s brother Bob (a winder driver), pulled the skip up
and down in Great Bolder mine; Bob tormented the blond
bombshell unceasingly at the pool ducking and splashing, holding
her under water, in the end she came to Keith and I for help, she
feared he would drown her.
Keith liked, to spend the last of the time together this day.
He was, so proud that we were able, to travel between York and
Kalgoorlie, both to and from in three hours.
I was on the balcony of the pub we stayed In, I was talking to this
other guest and he said to me “lets pinch a car,” I was horrified and
told him so.
A bit later, he suggested we could make a fortune by nicking this
gold, I promptly told him not interested.
Then there was a smashing sound on the main street below, and he
said what happened, we had been watching the cars, but neither of
us still could identify the culprit, who had caused the crash.
I found out later he was a cop from the gold stealing squad and he
had been checking my character all the time unknown to me.
He taught me to be a little careful with strangers, until you have
been with them quite a while to let their mouth prove to you their
character or motivations in this life; this is Christ saying by their
fruits you will know them or? What come out of the mouth
condemns the man.
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Christ rejects the wilfully ignorant who care not to be taught, he can have compassion on
the ignorant that are willing to learn, Heb.5:2.
If the Pharisees, who made void the law, be offended, let them be offended: but this great
peace have they who love the law, that nothing shall offend them, but, some way or other,
the offence shall be taken off, Ps. 119:165.
Bear and digest strong meat.
(2.) Where a weak head doubts concerning any word of Christ, an upright heart and a
willing mind will seek for instruction.
The Pharisees were offended, but kept it to themselves; hating to be reformed, they hated
to be informed; but the disciples, though offended, sought for satisfaction, imputing the
offence, not to the doctrine delivered, but to the shallowness of their own capacity.
2.
The reproof Christ gave them for their weakness and ignorance (v.16); Are ye, also yet
without understanding? As many as Christ loves and teaches, he thus rebukes.
John (Joe) my next Brother to me is ten years younger bar five
days and when we received any visitors, it would amuse anyone
who looked out toward the machinery shed, where we men were
usually working, when they came, they noted the fact that Joe, a
pint sized kid showed up; he was always known as Rabbity Joe.
Not shy he would eagerly join us grown ups, this kid with air brake
like ears, ten years old and having his turn in the conversation,
with such an engrossed look on his face.
Enthusiasm in his participation, adding this or that solution, to the
topic of the moment, nothing fazed him, always had a conclusion,
and it was generally spot on.
He wanted a hair cut this day and I could cut hair, a twenty year
old can do anything in fact, that is what I though at any rate.
It was a job that required no skill, nothing to it mind, you, I had
never done it.
So I started to remove hair, well it was a bit short on the right, so I
had to snip some more off the left to match.
That is a bit much now it is shorter than the right, so more came off
to match.
By the time it was done, he only had a strip on the top, and did, Joe
have a fit, he said you would never do, that again, his school
friends would laugh at him.
Joe wanted to come, this day, as he was keen to come and
persisted, so on to the pillion seat of my motor bike he climbed.
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I intended to decoy a fox that had killed a few of Mum’s chooks,
so off we went two miles to the front gate carrying my trusty 22
rifle, and we went along the boundary on foot a couple of hundred
yards.
Then we both squatted down keeping very quiet except I blew the
decoy whistle for five minutes, and a fox came trotting toward us.
When it was thirty yards, away I blazed away and got a shot, into
its head and it dropped.
Joe slipped over the fence and grabbed it by the tail, and we took it
back to the bike.
I got on and he got on the pillion, with the fox on his knee, as he
wanted to show off our handy work.
Well we were racing back home and Joe let out a startled cry, and
back flipped off the pillion and did, a couple of summersaults.
I stopped and went back and asked him what did, you do, that for
you could have broken your neck, he snapped back at me “he’s
alive”.
The spasm was from a very dead fox, it took me a while to get him
to get back on the pillion and hold the fox.
Mum was very pleased with our prize.
John or Joe has not long ago had a very lucky escape from
paralysis as he got Gillian bar syndrome, many months have
passed, and he is very much better
Back to 1951 again, because room was a bit short in the house, we
looked at it for ways of expansion.
After Bullaring it was tiny, so Mum and Dad decided the best bet
was to louver in both the back and front veranda, that would give
enough room temporarily as the girls were away, only Joe,
Grandpa and myself beside Mum and Dad needed to sleep some
where. Morris was a baby in his cot.
The road through the right of way to York was rough in places,
because of the steep shale slopes any rain caused wash ways and
erosion and left gutters and rubble strewn about, when Mum
ordered the louvers and they came on the train; the stationmaster
phoned Thursday to say a crate box had come and to collect it
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I went to York on Friday after School and picked them up.
Just fitting the box in the Dodge boot I completely forgot about Joe
at School, got home and Mum said where is Joe.
She had told him he need not return on the school bus, as someone
would get him after school.
Good Heavens I forgot all about him, feeling bad I got back in the
car and headed back to Town.
The blessed gates again were to be opened and closed, so I was
making up for lost time as best as possible, Joe was still waiting
and he jumped in the car, and home we went, same gates again,
ruts and rubble forgotten.
I went blank about the stuff in the boot we finally made it home.
Mum said the Louvre’s, I had forgotten them, so drove to the
pepper trees that shaded the front veranda, where we unloaded the
crate, Mum could not wait she got the lid off, and what do, you
know.
Every Louvre was broken in pieces, useless what a blow; I was
feeling humiliated, we went though the whole thing again the next
week, but this time I drove a lot more carefully.
We had a club called the Junior Farmers and we enjoyed good
times some of the town youth joined, it was open to any one farmer
or not.
We held a monthly meeting and lots of competitions it was good to
meet the local residents in the town and district’s young farmers.
York being an old settled place tended to have its class system.
The longer you had lived there the higher up the chain you were
placed or regarded, not a Christian way at all but this blinds those
that won’t open their eyes.
I must say though, I was never myself treated with any disrespect
at any time.
Mind you, I was a naive person who liked every one for
themselves, a trait inherited from Mum if anyone found fault with
someone within her hearing she saw good in them and took pains
to point it out. I believed my Mum was 99% perfect and Dad the
same as they never criticized or argued or swore about any one or
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anything or smoked or drank alcohol or forced their view on
anybody.
We should have guessed that Meckering would have an earthquake
because when we first arrived at the Farm called Wooregong,
which we bought in 1950 from Burges.
Keith’s Gentle’s Mother told us, on the day we first met her, don’t
worry if you hear strange bumps and bangs, it happens a lot around
here, so somewhere in 1960 I heard my first rattle one lunch time
the house shook (we had warning) and in 1968 the town of
Meckering was flattened it will happen again one day.
“We should no have feared for the future unless we forget the past.
Amen.”
Although the Meckering earthquake of October 1968 was not the
largest in WA's history, it was certainly the most significant in
terms of damage done.
Dad purchased a Massy Ferguson Header for our second crop at
York and it was just the shot for the massive amounts of straw the
crops produced compared to Bullaring, and sometimes they would
lodge or fall over and the header just cut through what ever the
header knife or comb came to.
This year the crop was extra tall, so we had to adjust the height of
the header comb.
It was done with a coupling that was adjustable, any way this
morning, we set the jack under the comb to support the ton weight,
and Dad undid the connection link.
Well I was on the header seat and thought it was only that the
lifting leaver had to be moved to pick up the link again, so I
grabbed it and tripped the foot toggle.
When my arm was slammed back with unbelievable force as the
combs weight, balancing spring’s power was released from its
foot-locking toggle.
Lucky for me my hand slipped off the top of the moving lever as it
hit the steel grain bin behind me with a mighty bang, and made a
big dent in it.
Dad came over to me, to see how I was, I was rubbing my
wounded wrist, and he looked relieved.
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That I had only been damaged slightly; Dad said he forgot to warn
me, that the spring that got me, had killed many people as they
were hit in the head or their vital body parts.
When the ton weight of the comb was taken off the balance spring,
(my guardian was there that morning).
We did, not know the bone had been chipped, and I would have
years with a wrist problem.
I endured pain whenever my right hand was used, using my left
most of the time because of this pain.
After retirement thirty-five years later, when it was not vital to be
available for work or not, I had a doctor fix it.
By grinding out some diseased wrist bone that I had broken in this
action of altering our header.
The sheep required having a store of baled hay and we had to get a
hay bale machine, we got one from Massy, they were a popular
brand and, we got all the necessary loaders and stackers to match
eventually, to mechanize as much as possible.
The baling was a difficult job in some years, because the weather
is crucial for hay, it has to cure dry, or it will spoil or worse still,
burn in the stack.
Some times when the weather is perfect, away one goes and gets it
cut and mowed, then raked then baled, but the weather can catch
one at any stage, and quite often in the middle, of the job one is
held up for days or weeks even.
It was my job to stack the bales in order to get the most on the
truck and to make the load stable.
The truck Dad drove home, back to the stack after the bales were
loaded, they come over the top of the cab with a loader that was
driven with an engine, to turn cogs driving a cleated chain, up and
round the elevator, and I caught the bales and stacked the truck.
It was tough, and could be dusty and itchy work, we were thankful
when the job was done.
When the stock got short of food, all we had to do was cart it out,
and spread the hay in rows for the stock to eat off the ground.
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The worst mistake we made was in the first year’s baling, we made
them too heavy, and that year we had to load by hand, what a job,
5ooo bales each 150 lbs.
Throwing them up, after the first row on the truck, became real
hard work for one stacker.
That is when we made, sure of a loader for the next season, my
side trouble was bad and I had to go to the Doctor.
I suffered terrible sciatica pain across my left ribcage for about two
years, forgetting all about the accident in the lake.
I think had damage my spine and it was only when Dr Ch
frightened me with a huge needle inserted in between my ribs to
cover a complete circle injecting something as he move the tip
around a five-inch area.
He was called to the hospital immediately and as he drove out of
the surgery drive, I had got to my car and was on the point of
fainting as he reversed out of his drive, he paused to enquire if I
would be ok.
I remember saying yes but was not to sure, if I could drive home,
so stayed for ages.
The pain finally I was able to ignore, rather than have the needle
again thank you. The problem eased over years. However, for the
grace of God, I could have been crippled.
He frightened the life out of me with his big needle; I left never to
get his help again for that trouble.
It is the twisting that I avoid and, so far, so good.
It was baling time, and the mower knife needed to be sharpened
often, so I decided I will make a grinder that is engine driven, the
Briggs and Stratton on our air compressor will do, the job because
it has a threaded pulley on the starter rope side.
One of the many boxes of junk, we had picked up at some clearing
sale; we found this grindstone with a hole in it, and just the right
sizes too.
I made a threaded shaft and bolted the stone on it, and the thread
screwed into the Briggs engine’s threaded pulley, we were now
ready to try out my contraption.
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I started the engine, and it picked up revs, as it got to several
thousand revs per minute, I saw in a flash that trouble was coming,
but was on the wrong side, to shut off the motor.
The balance was out and the shaft was bending sideways as it sped
up, and it would soon break off, by the time my hand reached the
switch, the grindstone was circling at a right angel to its proper
balanced position like a heavy stone in a whirling sling, and it
stripped the thread out of the pulley.
The heavy stone and bent shaft flew off and hit my right boot wow
not our heads we thanked God.
I had Dad pouring cold water, out of the water bag until it was
empty to keep me from passing out, and was left with the idea, that
a bought one would do, me, thanks blow the short cuts.
I did, invent some thing one day that worked well though, a tulip
poison machine, it was done on the Coolgardie Safe idea.
A two-inch diameter 10-foot length of pipe, had a slot cut its
length of ten feet, a plug screwed in one end, a right angle bend in
the other.
Another plug that has been drilled with a small hole and threaded
to take a small pipe to feed the poison in, a strip of woollen blanket
wound around the pipe, and the sides squeezed into the slot with
rope.
Hand stitched on each edge of a strip of woollen blanket that was
pulled through the pipe with bung and bend out of the way until
this is done.
The pipe had a skid clamped each end, to hold the pipe parallel to
the ground four or five inches above the ground surface and
adjustable.
Then tow ropes attached to the skids, then ( 2.4.D ) a poisonous
herbicide was fed in the drilled bung on the two inch pipe, by a
small pipeline fitted into the bung where it slowly seeped from a
container strapped above.
Into the ten-foot pipe and the blanket that wrapped the ten foot
pipe, when with a filled pipe and saturated wool covered pipe, then
the Ute towed the contraption fast over the tulip, it placed a smear
of herbicide on the taller tulip leaves.
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The poison did, not get on the other plants that had been grazed
short previously.
It did, not kill any of the useful fodder in the field like barley grass
or wild oats that was not affected by 2.4.D.
This contraption I made, caught the eye of a guy from the Ag Dep,
and he asked me if I minded if he patented it, I said yes you can,
and he brought out a tool, for garden weeds named a weed wiper,
that must have made a fortune for him.
Bunning’s sell it and other firms too, I feel sure it most probably
has worldwide sales for some one.
My guardian angel did, not want me Spoiled by money I think.
When I walked into Norm Re shop, one day to buy a packet of
champion ruby ready rubbed tobacco, I spotted this girl behind the
counter, and she was a dish in the making, so I thought, any way
she had not long left school, and was working her fist job.
I was very shy; I got the gear and left, and forgot all about it, until
a couple of years passed.
I had been going steady with Vena, she got too serious, and I took
fright, so ran away from her. My conscionce always bothered me
for my treatment of her as she was very unhappy for a time but met
a wonderful man from America she adored. Whom she married
and lived with in the USA. The strange sequel to this story did not
end for another 40 years. One day on my daily walk to town, I did
a most unusual thing, I bought the mid week west Australian and
when back home, opened the page to read it and there was her
death notice jumping out at me. Was this providence to prick my
guilty conscience?
Then at a ball in York town hall, in 1953 I saw the shop assistant
girl again and I enquired her details from a mate, and sure had she
blossomed.
I could not get my eyes off her, and had dance after dance, she
seemed to like the attention, so I got another date that night for the
next Friday night dance, and we were soon a couple never apart.
In February of 1954 a year later we married, after getting the
whole families blessing, including the Grandma Duckham, who
lived a couple of months but died soon after the grand ceremony
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we had in York town hall that Nana catered for with 200 relation
and friends. Because she was just seventeen and a month old, it
was necessary to get consent from her parents; I was almost
twenty-two.
Some of the Town people said it will never last, but it has stood the
test of time until now.
fifty odd years later, if I was able I would not live in a nursing
home, it’s my choice as at this time a wheel chair are my legs, and
my dressing is done for me.
I have had too many strokes, which is why I am a quadriplegic
now and too much work for Isobel.
The Queen in York on March 31 1954 Isobel and I had been
married just over one month and this was to be a memorable
occasion for York.
The place was packed with people, and it was not that easy to have
a good look, so while the dignitaries were occupying the limelight.
John Fisher, my brother in-law and I decided we would get a good,
look at the Royal couple, we knew that to get back to Perth the
entourage would have to use the only way to Perth.
In addition, that meant if we went down to the main Perth road
corner of town the spectators would be thin or non-existent, so we
did, that.
Within a few minutes along the royals came, and John and I were
the only two there waiting.
When she first saw us, as the open touring car came round the
corner she looked a little apprehensive.
Probably the thought went though her mind are they on the level
way out here, any way when we started to wave in a friendly
manner with cheesy smiles all over our faces, she returned that
special wave, just for us, and it felt like a personal blessing from
our beautiful queen.
She had inspired me from that day to this, with her impeccable
style, an example to be proud to follow.
Dad and I had loaded the D2 on the truck ready for the trip to Perth
that morning I put a line of bags full of oat grain to stop the
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tractors iron tracks sliding forward on the wooden truck floor, in
the event of an accident and sudden stop that would crush the truck
cabin then me driving it.
Isobel wanted to see me, as she was sick and staying with her Mum
in town, I cannot remember why the hurry now but it could not
wait, so I headed for Fishers in the truck.
I got almost to the railway line I looked right, then left for some
reason then right again and coming fast was a diesel passenger
coach.
I just saw it and slammed on the truck brake the tractor cut the
bags of oats in half and I stopped with the Diesel flashing by not
more than two feet from the snub nose of the truck.
Was I relieved that he blew the whistle in the nick of time and it
had made me look right that second time.
The sound of the heavy tractor sliding forward toward the cabin
haunts me still.
When Yvonne was 15 we took her on holiday with us Isobel
Yvonne and I all set off in the car towing a caravan that Dad and
Mum had taken to Albany for their holiday.
We set off the day after with this same van.
I got almost to Sawyers Valley the van gave a lurch and a van
wheel came off, came out from underneath and shot past our car
giving us a real surprise.
The van sagged to the road and sent showers of sparks as it
dragged some way until we stopped, a couple of vehicles passed
and we had a look at the damage and the wheel we retrieved from a
paddock where it lodged.
I set off for the garage for help.
We came back and the mechanic took all the spring assembly on
the left side back to the garage to fix it.
All the bolts were warn off and had to be altered.
The rest of the day passed before we were under way again, the
van was not much worse for ware only the wardrobe was broken
and a bit of other stuff damaged, but not enough to curtail out
holiday.
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We had to stop at 3 in the morning, as I just felt it too dangerous to
drive any further that day, At sunrise we went on to Geraldton.
The holiday was very good as we spent all day at the beach
swimming it was only over the sand dunes a short way, so we all
had a memorable swimming trip.
Then it was only a small town, in those times of around eight
thousand people, and one day I ran into an old swimming mate
from Albany, who I have not seen again to this day.
The only complaint anyone had was that the distance to the shops
was too far from our camp; we come home as brown as berries
three weeks later, to my Uncle Watt’s orange orchard in
Roleystone to return his van and say sorry for not checking the
wheel nuts before we set off.
He was good about it and gave us a lovely sugary Water Mellon to
eat from his creek garden in his orange orchard, as well as a couple
to take with us, before we left for home and the Farm.
Our first child came in due time, after a difficult time with morning
sickness, and liver jabs once a month to boost vitamin B, she
delivered, with no complication for the baby girl, we named Gail.
Isobel had a problem with her gall bladder, and they had to remove
it, we had an appointment to have a Hospital bed, booked at St
John’s in Subiaco on this day, I do, not now remember the date.
We arranged for Eva Fisher Her, Mum to look after baby Gail, and
she jumped at that to look after Gail was her delight.
While Isobel was to enter hospital the next day, she arranged to
stay the night before with her Mother Sister, Isobel’s Aunty Amey.
We just got to bed and the pain came on very severe, and I took her
to Royal Perth in the car, with Amey comforting her on the back
seat.
When I tried to get into the Royal Perth Hospital there was no one
there at the front door, so after a while security came to see what
all the fuss was about when I banged on the door hard, I always
said the squeaking door gets the oil.
The intern at the Hospital performed, because he said we should
have gone to Subiaco, to make it their problem and not his.
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So he balled us out, I remember he was terrified of the specialist,
and would not phone him in the middle of the night, for fear of a
reprimand from a superior.
Amy’s house where we were was three or four doors from the
Hospital, I thought her pain would be eased quicker, but experts
have no common sense only protocols, he acted as if we were
idiots.
The Doctor took the gall bladder out at St John of God Hospital,
and Isobel slowly got back to health, but when she caught sight of
this woman standing in her room, she wondered whom it was.
This wreck, staring back at her; slowly she realized it was her own
reflection, in the wall mirror. A coincidence, June Gentle was in
for epilepsy treatment at the same time and they chatted often and
became real good friends. After three weeks, she came home to the
farm again to get a lot better but still as thin as always, it was no
time before things returned to normal in a couple of month and life
was sweet again.
One Saturday we were resting on the double bed, after lunch and
were the only ones at home on the farm, when there was an
unusual pop, and I said to Isobel what was that noise? I heard
above the pounding of the lighting plant.
I got up to investigate and the lighting plant, that gave us out 32
volt power was making it’s usual knocking noise, but then on
looking out the east kitchen window, there was a cloud of smoke,
the garage was on fire, the lighting plant had blown a spark out
into a skimpy bit of grass, which caught fire.
Then the rubbish tip, we had next to the wood heap and then the
grass to the garage. The pop was the bursting of a screw capped
bottle we had saved with a box of returnable ones in the garage.
I quickly got the hose to douse it, and we were very lucky that day
not to have been asleep, or there would have been a lot less
Hewett’s to boost the Australian population.
There was no trouble getting pregnant for us, it was a piece of
cake, so to speak, I only had to change my trousers, or hang them
on the foot of the bed, and it happened and that’s how Garry got
started in life.
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He made a dramatic entrance to the world too; Time arrived to get
to St John of God in Northam.
Isobel was not in a hurry at 2 am in the morning and said I need a
bath, so she lifted her leg over its side, and she bellowed, quick get
me to the doctor.
I threw her case in the Dodge car Dad and I shared, and we headed
to the first of five gates; I did, not shut them, unheard of that, we
were off.
Foot to the floor on rounding a corner, two men in the middle of
the Northam bitumen, were all eyes as They heard and then saw
me full tilt near 100 mph coming at them, they parted to opposite
sides off the road as I roared between them.
They were mouthing something obscene, and were gone behind
me, I hit St John’s in 21 minutes, for 22 miles and gates.
I pulled up at the hospital door, the night sister came out as I
stopped got Isobel out into a chair, and wheeled her inside, so I
drove off.
I was told later that the baby was there, born before I had gone 50
yards out the gate the nurse could see my taillights fading down the
road.
On the way home, the two men, one the mayor of York, were a
couple of miles father up the road than when I scattered them, so I
stopped to apologize for scaring them earlier.
They asked, “What was the great hurry”? I said the baby was
coming, and took them to their gate, where their vehicle was
parked inside the property gate of a relation of the mayor.
In the morning the phone rang and my neighbours who had
checked my story by phoning St John’s, and learning that I had my
first son born that night, they congratulated us and sent their best
wishes,
I was settled down now and no more holidays with Keith.
He took a cruise by himself, and my interests of farming and
family and the glider were all that mattered to me.
It was more or less an occasional visit from Keith and his sister
June who called when they had anything they want to do, over our
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way. They went to Northam most of the time, where as we went to
York, the Shire boundaries had been changed.
Isobel got on well with the Gentle family and they came
occasionally to see us.
We were a bit restricted in those days, so spent most Sundays at
Fishers in York.
Eva and Bert Fisher’s we made home from home we spent a lot of
our weekends there feasting on Nan’s lovely spreads, on holidays
the fisher gang would all turn up, and the kids had great fun.
These days gave them a great environment to grow.
In 1958, the winter rains started on June 3, with good rain we were
forced to get the crop in quickly, as after June it really was too late
to expect much of a yield.
A new scarified was used instead of the plough as usual, we sowed
the hill paddock near the house water supply mill.
That paddock we had never cropped, as and as it sloped steeply;
and it grew lush clover, so the ground was full of nutrients and the
crop flourished, it was the best crop I ever grew some 18 bags to
the acre.
It set the farm up for lots of improvements, the machines in
particular, we, also bought an international truck to use, a 10-toner
diesel.
We harvested this crop with the use of Case machinery, as they
had a scheme, for us to use an auto header free.
To see if we liked it, and if not no question asked, so we did, Fern
Hill my new farm first and then they brought this new style auto
header that the operator, was setting up for us,
He went too close to a big rock on the outside end of the comb, and
it picked the rock up and bent the feed auger right up.
It was very hard to straighten and we were worried that we would
get the bill; no Case covered it because they said it was their fault
the setting was too tight, if it had been set right no breakage would
have resulted. We did the harvest and bought a Case header and it
was great and now we started to improve methods of harvesting.
1958 At York I remember the Elder Smith agent came one day to
mouth, some sheep we were selling. He and a new help arrived at
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just after eight in the morning with the agent, He introduce us and
his helper said to dad, I know your face and dad said casually “oh
I’ve had it a while now” giving us a laugh. Then, they asked who
was driving that Ute we met down the track.
The agent said they thought the Ute had rolled away down hill
from our gate on it’s own without any diver, so they drove out in
the paddock to avoid it hitting them.
It seemed like there was no one driving as Morris was only eight
years old and could just peep to see through the bottom of the
steering wheel.
They noticed it followed the track as they past, so they knew
someone steered the vehicle.
We had a deep well sunk in very hard rock unfortunately it was
only partially successful but it was fresh and like an underground
tank forty feet deep it was great to hang things down in the water
to keep them lovely and cool like rock or water melons.
We used a contractor to dip our sheep, in those first years, for the
protection from pests; it was a compulsory job for all sheep
growers.
Dad decided to build one of our own, a sheep shower, we picked a
site handy to the existing sheep yard, and set out the shower items
we had bought to complete it, and the sump for the chemical was
marked out, and then we had to dig this hole in the ground it was a
very hard shale rock.
What a job, a crowbar just bounced off and rung like a bell, so
dynamite was bought from the co-op in York, after the necessary
permit was obtained; we bored the hole with a 1and a quarter inch
auger and the crow bar.
It was a slow job but at the end of a hardworking week of chipping
the rock hole, we were down the auger hole, the four feet required
to make the sump.
Put a charge in then tamped it down tight, and lit the fuse after a
minute the detonator went pop.
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The gelignite failed to explode, so we now had the problem of
either drill again or remove the tamped down sand in the hole we
had made first.
This was a very risky alternative thing to do, but fearless or stupid.
I got the auger and bored the same hole out, old explosive and dirt,
and taking one horror of a risk, I would never do, that again, but
my Guarding Angel was there and the auger was not blown though
my chest I thank God.
The shower sump was cement lined and the structure completed.
The dipping was done yearly after shearing time
Some years later, the day to dip came and I put the thirty sheep in
lot after lot.
The shower was turned on until they were wet through, then that
lot were let go and a new batch done, this continued all day until
the three thousand sheep we had were all done.
There was a mesh crush gate to facilitate filling the shower, and it
opened out to my right, and was pulled tight against their bottoms
as each lot were squeezed into the shower, while the spray was
turned off once the shower was full the sprayer turned back on.
After the first time they hate dipping, and objected thereafter, it
became like after lamb tailing time with lambs, their memories
were awakened to a probable ordeal ahead, and they baulked
whenever being yarded up.
This year we got the three thousand sheep done before sundown,
and I was rolling a smoke afterwards standing by the crush gate,
when I happened to look down at a slight movement.
To my horror I saw this yellow very skinny emaciated snake with
his tail tip stuck, caught in the mesh by the broken tail tip, and
hanging there upside down, it had been whizzing past my bare leg
at every lot of sheep I had done, and must have had many times
been within a centimetre of biting me. (My Guardian again!).
Keith and I decided to rob a beehive that was near the gate on the
track to his place, it caused a problem opening that gate.
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You could get stung, so this night after tea we used a brace and big
bit to bore a hole in the trunk of the tree a couple of feet below the
bee entrance, after a lot of leaves and green wood had smoked
them stupid, then we put in a stick of gelignite and I lit it.
Well it made quite a bang and the top of the tree was blown off,
honey dripped from everywhere, and half-dopy bees were ready
for action, we did not get much honey, but had a great laugh, as it
dripped from the leaves, we did get some honeycomb to share and
to enjoy.
This day we were doing the grain grading and pickling from the
wheat bin on the truck it was when we still used the bags.
They were sown up stacked in the shearing shed because at the
other end of the shed having a ramp to load up the truck at seeding
time with rubber wheel hand trolleys.
Everything was going fine and then, I heard above the petrol
engine that was running to operate the machinery, this shriek from
Gail, “he is stuck” and on investigating Garry, about four years old
was disappearing in the bottom of the wheat bin.
The grain had been trickling out from the bottom, and the two kids
were jumping in the wheat, but a trap was set, and in time, it was
inevitable that Garry being small would be trapped first in this lion
ant like trap. Lucky Gail was free to give the alarm, if she had
stuck, in addition, we would have had them both smothered.
I got my hands around his chest and with a mighty tug got him out.
He was disappearing fast another minute and he would be covered,
so Gail alerted me just in time.
Thanks again Guardian angel.
There were all sorts of things we experimented with at Keith’s
place.
We tried making wine and whisky, and one day we got all our
town friends to taste the whisky we experimented with and they
said it was unique, made their legs feel queer.
The Tesla coil was studied, and flying saucers all the stuff that we
found interesting like air ionizers, we had a go at a ram jet, which
got white hot and blew up we dabbled in all sorts.
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Tesla tried to get the USA Government in the last centaury, to back
him, he claimed to be able to make rain from a clear sky some
how. I have not looked into this claim.
One of the girls that came with her brother, had this most peculiar
laugh, she would go out of control into fits of laughter interspersed
with snorts, sounded, so funny we all would get hysterical,
spontaneously joining in, not able to stop, as it was infectious we
all got out of control with laughter, until exhausted.
They were a great lot of people and of very sound character, no
bad morels there.
We had a rat plague one year and my passion was to shoot them in
the shearing shed at night with a strong spotlight and dust shot.
It was only a deflected pellet that nearly knocked my eye out that
made me give it up.
The rainwater we had to trap and store as the scheme could not be
connected to our place at Wooregong.
We had a twelve thousand gallon rain tank at the machinery shed
attached to a water-pumping mill, to pump it to our houses.
The tank had a lid so no one thought any more about it but the
water got a taste every now and again.
No one worried it’s just a bit low it will come right but one day I
looked in the tank.
There on the bottom of a full twelve thousand gallon tank were all
these patches, and on a closer inspection found, they were dead rat
skeletons, YUK.
Floated rotted and then had sunk and disappeared.
We had to drain everything and clean it and make it mouse proof
in the guttering and everywhere else.
We all should have got sick but no, we all thrived.
One time early at Wooregong the shearers were at Mum’s washing
for dinner at 12 noon and there was not enough room in the small
bathroom for the men, other than one at a time, and we were
squatting on the veranda chatting.
I happened to have a short length of dowel in my hand, and a
mouse shot along the wall and my reflexes gave us a surprise as
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with a quick slap with this thin bit of wood, I hit it on the head and
killed it.
The person, “Toby” his name, was dumbfounded, as it looked, so
easy for me, to fall a streaking mouse.
He wanted to sign me up in the York footy team immediately; it
was sheer luck, and you could not repeat it in a lifetime.
A large brown snake came over the rockery garden and
disappeared under the rainwater tank before mum could kill it.
I worried that it would come out when the kids were around so
decided to flush it out.
The garden water pipe came miles along the surface of the
paddock from the hill top cement tank.
The water got very hot in the middle of summer so I ran the water
under the tank stand and after a couple of minutes out the snake
shot, straight up in the air five foot through a knot hole very near
me.
I had never noticed the hole before it was a good home for pests to
sneak in and hide.
Once out in the open the snake was soon killed.
I wasted one thousand hours of farm work by working on my plane
time stolen from the farm. (According to Mum)
Actually I did, my usual work besides the plane, I had worked on
the farm with out any break from high school days, and the glider
building was well due relief for me from this grind of heavy farm
labour.
The clock sometimes hit 2 AM before I hit the sack, it was no
more than most young people had at dances and parties; so
obsessed was I with this new challenging undertaking.
I spent weekends slaving over this marvellous thing; I got into
trouble with DCA for not telling them.
I did, not know it was compulsory to get a permit, and they had to
inspect the work every, so often.
To keep me on track with the quality of the workmanship.
Finally, they threatened, me with a stiff penalty if I did, not stop,
that made me keener.
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When I was finished, I had to interest a gliding instructor and got
from Fremantle Mr G F over to Cunderdin; he came and spent half
a day testing it.
The Gliding knobs from Perth all came, pulled, and pushed
everything to see what faults they could find.
One person H, was most obnoxious, and did, his best to find a
reason why G F should not fly it.
Who not dissuaded eventually took it to twenty feet and found the
nose a bit heavy, so wanted to have me take some of my weights
out that had been put in the nose to get a correct balance.
I had not divided the weight into several units, and we had to take
it home to get the tools required before altering it.
A strange twist of fate happened to Mr H, years later at the same
aerodrome.
He forgot to turn his main fuel tap on in his light plane, and it ran
out of petrol on takeoff and stalled, it killed him.
A careless action for a fanatic on safety yet look what his downfall
was.
Keith Bauer my brother in law, and I did, the next test, in one of
the Home farm paddocks, a place called the four soaks.
It was only half a mile long strip of quite sloping ground, not an
ideal landing spot but the best available at the home farm
We took out a fence panel a chain wide between two paddocks to
make enough length to operate the glider.
Away Keith drove faster and faster, he said he touched seventy
MPH before the glider left the ground.
I remember just how quick the length of paddock disappeared, so I
decided to let the toe wire go.
Being hooked to the bottom of the pod near the wheel, I had to
hold the joystick hard forward to fly level at fifteen feet while the
wire pulled me.
Consequently when the pulling wire was released, the nose went
down with surprising speed, I hit the ground with a bang and stood
on the planes nose for what seemed an eternity.
Finally, the tail dropped back, and Keith drove back and we all
went home very relieved.
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I had only bruised my neck rather badly, so flying had a back seat
until many lessons by experts had been arranged and done.
Thus, my Plank was too hard for a novice to control being, so
sensitive to control; it is for the experts to play with.
1960 We decided to buy more land and it was quite hectic to find
suitable land, we went to the Bank to inform them to expect us to
make a large withdrawal.
After telling the Manager, the amount he got our balance, and said
reluctantly I suppose it is your money, so we have to honour the
cheque.
He was not a happy chappie and said “you’ll break us”, so things
were not that rosy for them at that time probably, he had just
committed a fortune to one of the local knobs in Northam.
Therefore, the farm I had looked at we let go, much to Dad’s
protests
This farmer unfortunately was killed a month later.
A head on smash at sundown after the beer session at Sawyers
Valley ended, it, also ended his life, as an inpatient patron did, not
see him in the glare of the setting sun.
My guardian angel saved me at the same place. Coming home
from holidays one year before.
I disgraced myself in front of my mother in law by swearing as we
would have crashed only the driver being passed by the car coming
at us went bush giving room for the idiot, I went straight as the
trees were ominously big and thick on our side of the highway.
We bought Fern Hill at auction, at the same place Wooregong was
bought, and we had to negotiate a lease that was on it, to buy it out
before we took possession.
I paid out another 500 pounds, and then we took over the farm, for
17, 500 Pounds to buy the 818-acre farm, cheap compared to
today’s prices
Who knows what it could be worth today, it could make millions if
sold as town blocks, being along side town,
Therefore, we carried on with my land in the partnership as usual.
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Cropping all of it for several years, building a three bed roomed
house, finished for five thousand pounds, putting 2000 South
Australian merino Ewes on it.
In addition, rebuilding the fences, and making water holes with my
D2 bulldozer, this was a terrific machine for any cleanup job.
We made good use of it from moving rocks to grading tracks, to
pulling machinery, front raking, fence holes boring, pushing up old
rubbish, ripping, and rabbit warrens.
Wooregong had lots of high ground that was only ever ring barked,
so we cleaned it all up, and the fires burned at night on these
ridges, the neighbours thought we never slept.
One day when pushing a large dead tree I was too rough, and, the
top limb fell down.
With no protective roof, I should have been dead meat but my
guardian angel was there.
In addition, cleaning an overhanging limb I came close too, the
complete big York gum was riddled with white ants, not
recognized by me as risky, I pushed on a low over hanging branch
to tidy it up.
The whole tree broke of at the base, and rolled over hit the ground
rolled, over tractor and me only bruising on my left wrist as it
rolled down the steep hill. ”Thanks Lord”!
The D2 you name it, it did, that too, it was the best thing we had
ever seen or used on the farm.
Worth its weight in gold, I thought I wrecked it one day, and it
scared the life out of me.
Started harvesting in the morning and I had not done the air cleaner
oil, so rather than turn the D2 off I thought a short cut was in order,
so parked at the site over from the shed and left the engine running.
Took the cleaner bowl off, filled it with clean oil, and put it back in
place.
I got back on the seat and touched the throttle; well there were
instant clouds of smoke, as the air got some extra oil sucked up in
the intake manifold.
The machine took off, we hit 10 mph still gaining speed, I feared
the tractor motor would explode any second, so I pulled the
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decompression lever to decompress the cylinders, to stop them
firing but it only made a slight difference.
I was flying on a track tractor at over 10 mph in crawler gear, and a
ground drive harvester behind, with clouds of black smoke all
about but, ever, so slowly it slowed, if I had let it gain any more
revolution per minute, it would have increased until it’s
destruction, “thank you again”.
We started renting in the Town of York at Newcastle Road, nearer
my new farm, also Isobel found Mum a bit too intent on looking
into our lives, so took the option to go before trouble welled up.
I checked the stock on Fern Hill before I drove the 10 miles to
Dads Place and then did the job at hand.
There was a drought over east and good sheep could be bought,
landed on your farm for 2 pounds each, cheap for quality ewes, we
could not go wrong, (that is $4 in to day’s coin.
It had been five years since Garry and we thought it time for
another kid.
Kareen was to be her name, and when she was able to get about.
Isobel had a day at tennis and after being there all morning.
When she came off the court one of the other women did her
Narna and told Isobel that she had better do something about
Kareen as she had bitten her kid.
Instead of doing it nicely, she did it with agro and it made Isobel
hurt. The way she was treated, she never got over and did not like
that woman from then on.
We had to put a restraint harness on Kareen, to go shopping or she
would be run over she was so hard to restrain.
One day when going up the street and being dragged by this tiny
energy full kid, an old chap we thought he was simple but I think
maybe, lazy or cunning, he remarked, as Isobel went by, gee Mrs
you got your work cut out there.
When at Newcastle road one morning, I checked and filled the
kerosene refrigerator as was customary, before going to the farm.
After putting the twenty litres tin away I went to work, there was a
teaspoon of kerosene spilled from the little hand pump used for the
job.
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It did, not get wiped off the lid, so Kareen at the mischievous age
of 2 years found the tin and put her mouth to it and slurped it in.
She got a lung contaminated with the kerosene and started to froth
at the mouth, Isobel threw her in the car and straight to hospital.
However, she soon was back, nothing stopped Kareen she was a
real tough kid, as everyone in town knew this,
Our New House on Fern Hill was finished, and we had lots to do,
to start our life there.
We bought new furniture, a colour television and Ariel for it and
town living was most enjoyable for us, as we settled in to the brand
new surroundings, old stuff was dumped, new and clean
everywhere to be seen.
In addition, our new Holden car was bought to go under the first
Tilta Door we ever had (A newish invention)
There was quite some time spent making a house yard, to keep the
kids safe from the traffic on the main road to Perth.
We were doing this one day and the kids were in the shower on the
veranda next thing Isobel, came out in a panic,
Gail and Garry, very little kids went in and turned the hot tap on
only until the water was near boiling, and they could not turn the
tap off, because to reach through the boiling water would scold
them.
The door was situated, so the hot water streamed across, blocking
the way out, so they were in there pressing into a dry corner
yelling, luckily Isobel heard them and called me.
I could just turn it off with my fingertips still getting some small
burns.
It just goes to show that the only thing that could go wrong will go
wrong we call it Murphy’s Law.
The two kids were joined by a third, two years prior to going to
live there at Fern Hill, and we had our first problem when Kareen,
the little one went next door one day, to our neighbours house
when the wife had gone down town to her husbands shop in the
main street.
The house was empty, so Kareen poking around climbed up on the
fish bowl stand on the veranda to get a better look.
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Her weight tipped it over and broke the fish bowl, making them
quite angry.
Their kids had lost a pet they were angry too, we were not popular
on that day.
The old tulip corms under the ground, they got so dense that when
the shire burned the road as a precaution against fire in the hot part
of summer.
It smouldered underground, and would come up out in my
paddocks under the ploughed fire break at any time until it had
some heavy rain to soak the fire source.
It was a month after the shire burn one year when a fire burst forth
and some one called and warned me, I had to race down to quell it
in time before it went wild.
We had a group coming to the new house regularly, as Isobel had a
singing part in a play called ‘Aladdin, and she and the others
practiced to perfection over a couple of months.
Her duet Partner was a teacher and had a lovely tenor voice, when
the play was performed in York town hall the costumes were hired
from Perth and were professionally done, they looked stunning too,
and it brought the house down.
I will never forget that day after the show was over and the people
came up to me and said how beautiful it was.
They were blown away, especially by a particular duet that she and
her Partner had performed.
I was a proud husband and felt like the cat that ate the cream.
The group continued for years but gradually one went here another
there and in time we were all gone elsewhere.
John or Joe, as we know him, he had married Lorraine Twells from
Morsen.
Gail was one of two flower girls and looked like a little Angel; the
wedding was in a church to the west of the railway near her
cousins “The Mills family” in Grey street York.
At first, they leased Fred Mo house, that farm Dad eventually
bought.
Joe and Lorraine had to have somewhere to live, so they built a
house on the new land bought from the Bill Burges Estate.
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They got a builder from York to build a house, and sheds and all
the farm buildings required.
More small parcels of land they have acquired, also.
When he died, we bought Bill Burges land east of the road to
Northam and Joe and Lorraine set up this new house there.
Near the road it was, only the portion on the South side of the
Meckering road and was, originally almost 2000 acres of good
land a heavier and stickier type than Wooregong, but a good start
for them.
When they were to split off the partnership; Dad was keen to buy
N Burges home place, but my instinct said no to me and I,
influenced Dad and Mum to let it go to a wool buyer Mr P. who
turned out to be a very friendly good absent neighbour.
Holidays were organized for John and Myrna Isobel and I to head
to North Beach, all went well at first, and then we went shopping
by bus into Perth.
All of us were having a great time the kids got on great, and then it
fell apart Kareen a little more than a toddler went into John’s room
and smashed a mirror belonging to Cheryl, their only daughter and
that day the heat was on all.
When John found the breakage, the holiday collapsed because he
lost his temper, which was finely tuned at that time particularly by
chronic health troubles.
It was a year or two before we got back to the old friendly times,
the only hiccup in a lifetime of associations.
The Plank was the name of the gliders that Keith and I built as a
project consulting together.
We thought the type would be easy to build, reasonably
economical with good flying characteristics.
Keith got the blue prints from a Victorian man named Fred who
had built and flown the first one in Australia; he got the blue print
from America.
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It was an experimental type category glider.
We located a place in Fremantle to buy all the bits and pieces
required to build the glider, such as aircraft quality plywood,
aircraft quality bolts, pulleys, metal fittings, one twenty five foot
long spruce log, dope and fabric, turnbuckles, rope nylon and steel
sheeting.
The wing profile was unique with inbuilt stability and turned up at
the trailing edge to act as the tail of a normal aeroplane, the cord
four feet wide and ten inches thick with a twenty-five foot
wingspan, the ribs we cut to make the centre hollow to reduce
weight
We had to get CSIRO to do, some calculations on a changed rib
material and once the results came back, we started work on the
machines, making everything according to the plans.
The main spars for the wing we made at Keith’s shed, cutting a log
of spruce wood in half down the grain by hand saw.
It was twenty-five feet in length and a lot harder than we
anticipated.
The timber was marked on both edges and the saw had to follow
the line on both sides exactly or we would ruin the timber and have
to wait for it to be re supplied from America.
The thickness of both pieces had to be constant all the way to the
end, so we took weeks to finish it, sawed, and planed to perfection.
Once the main spar was finished and plied on both sides, the ribs
were glued to it by a type of resin and hardener that was clamped
tight and left to set for six hours.
The grip was, so good that the timber would give way before the
glue.
After that, the pod or cabin was constructed and an eight-inch
inflatable tyre built in at the bottom with a three-inch wide metal
skid in front of it.
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The pod was bolted on to the main spar with four metal plates
especially made for the purpose.
The two tail fins were on the wing tips with the drag flaps, which
popped out when the normal rudder pedals were pushed, to do, the
turning when airborne they really were drag flaps.
A canopy of lightly framed Perspex was warmed and bent into
shape and covered the pilot’s head and the front shield was set in
place, so all could be closed by a single catch to secure it shut at
the right shoulder.
The back of the head had a head rest, a half oval of five ply
attached to the front edge of the main spar, extending up to make a
small roll bar above and down at the left side the wire release lever
was set.
All instruments were in front on a dash type five ply board across
the pod.
The metal fittings were fashioned and welded as per the plan and
then inserted into place and bolted with aircraft quality bolts.
While I was welding, my protective eye shield had a hair crack in
it, which I thought would be of no significance, but after welding
all day my eyes started to hurt.
Later that night my badly burned eyes were excruciatingly painful
and nothing eased the pain.
A lesson learned the hard way, but obviously, the protective shield
was not up to the job.
All the metal fittings were now installed and the wire rope
measured for splicing.
Therefore, the end loops fitted to the correct length and testing the
controls worked, I had to mark the length; there was some
adjustment that could be made with turnbuckles in each section.
I then had to take them to Perth to a yacht shop for splicing, as it
was the only place that it could be done.
When the fittings were securely back in place and working, the job
continued.
I put the sailcloth wrapped over the wings to the rear of the main
spar and dope on all over, then car lacquer to get the smooth finish,
balanced it with nose weights, tidied up and it was ready to test fly.
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Keith had the same test pilot to test his, as he had taken note of my
problem of not having regular inspections done.
He followed the procedure more rigorously than I had so had no
hitches and the pilot did, several one thousand feet flights, and
passed the glider as a good flying machine, though quite sensitive
in it is response to the controls.
Keith did, not fly his machine himself, he never had the skill at the
time, and felt it would be better to qualify, as a well-trained pilot
before he took it up.
Then he got married and more or less the machine stayed in the
shed, for some years as life became more involved, with
responsibilities to family and farm.
His father was a lovely gentle man, in the true sense of the word,
and Keith’s three sisters were great.
Though a little older, June was born on the same date as I was,
though some years previous to me, she was the main stay in their
farmhouse, and was unfortunate in her health.
Sad to say died quite young in her mid thirties of the dread cancer.
We farmed as usual went flying in Gnowangerup in the Pelican a
duel seat machine, with two very nice farming guys who taught us
to fly on many weekends the two seat glider Frank built himself.
George did, my tuition and Frank did, Keith’s we went down when
the season was slackest.
The farm we flew on belonged to another farmer named Ray that
never flew himself he had some hang-up about flying but loved to
be involved on the ground part of gliding using my green dodge
car to toe us up.
After we had quite a lot of lessons and got reasonably comfortable
with this new sensation and they were confidant in us we took the
controls and did, the whole thing taking off and soaring and
landing it was a good feeling to be up in the sky like a bird and
free.
One day I was taking off, we were a hundred foot up, and the wire
broke.
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George banked around and headed back to the starting point on the
runway and as we got to the other end I was ready to push the
control stick hard left as the lower wingtip was barely above the
grass on the ground it was scary.
On another weekend, it was thundery weather, I was up with Frank
for a change, and we hit this updraught of air going into a massive
black thundercloud.
Frank started to get agitated because we had no blind flying
instruments and once we disappeared into cloud that was it for us.
He was diving now, at more than the placard speed for our glider
to get out of the upward lift rate and even though we were pointed
down the instruments showed, we were still gaining twenty foot
per second toward this dirty grey misty cloud base hanging around
and below us now in giant ugly hanging columns.
At that moment a brown eagle shot sideways past us with a huge
sideslipping motion going flat out, so I said to Frank “quick follow
him” and that bird got us out of trouble just by us imitating it, or
was it my guardian again?
Then George and I were up one day and we were a thousand foot
high, near the maxim for the wire we had toeing us, and a bolt of
lightning flashed ahead of us and we let the wire go in a great
hurry and landed several minutes later with rain falling and
washing out our weekend.
At a flight at Cunderdin where Keith and I went solo in a single
seater called a Grano Baby glider, from Perth club, I had a ride
with this instructor in the Perth club twin seater on another day and
it was one hundred and nine Fahrenheit, on that day at the airport.
Up we went and soared for two hours to reach a record height that
day of just short of thirteen thousand foot it was, so cold there that
my shivering made the instructor feel sorry for me and give up
going higher we would have been unwise without oxygen but that
record for a no oxygen flight lasted some years.
Unknown to me the instructor had placed a height-recording
device on board the twin seater.
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My machine is now in the Beverly air museum and being restored
as funding is available and Keith has given his to some other place
to exhibit for interested people in flying or gliding.
In 1957, the Asian flu came calling and the Asian flu was bad, it
made everyone very ill, and I can remember the horrible sweats
and chills, the vomiting too it flatten most people, and killed quite
a few; Like Grandpa Wood. He got complications and died in
years to come, in 1968 he come down with this dread complaint.
Our two elder kids had been born and they were quite sick Garry
near two yeas old was badly affected.
He had the biggest trouble, he had a running nose with mucus that
hung down his face for weeks, and he lost an eardrum and
developed many allergies. He was nick named bungy-eyed bill
after that.
We had a holiday at Mandurah or Safety Bay, in the company of
Myrna and John, Isobel’s brother and his wife and two kids and
ours Garry would not sleep; he was still off colour from the flu a
year earlier, so he would sneak in with Isobel and me, and that we
allowed. We gave that up later as, one night I wakened up with
him at the bottom of the double bed not breathing; I think a
premonition or my Guardia Angel made a move to save his life.
Back to this early holiday time before the squabbling year, he wet
the bed every night, and it gave me this terrible back.
I would have to shuffle slowly to the outside toilet in the rain, and
could just move; my painful back it was bad, very bad for a threeweek
period.
That holiday was ruined, for the whole time steady continual
soaking rain, leaked on us through the hired van we were allocated.
This cyclone came from the north as a rain bearing depression,
Isobel and I and the kids cooped up in the van all week, Gail and
Garry only. The year before Kareen was born,
This rain bearing system dumped eight inches of continual rain.
When we got back to York, the river was in the main street of
town.
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The kids Gail and Garry got the chicken pox at school when we
moved to the rented house in York, and brought it home, while
they could not go to school, they played with Kareen a day later
she was fretful, and kept getting in bed with Isobel and me.
We saw why because the spots were now appearing on her
everywhere.
Then I started to feel crook, the back veranda seemed might make
me better, if I went out there and got fresh air, so I did, and
collapsed in a heap. Woke up feeling nice and relaxed after the
previous rotten feeling it should go on forever I wished, but some
one was dragging me into the kitchen.
All I wanted was peace, she persisted “I can’t get the Dr Out here
it’s too untidy”, I was beyond caring by then. I just wanted bed, so
went, and collapsed there. The fever started me alternatively
sweating and chilling, my back hurt it seemed there was a length of
wood, with 6 coat hooks lying on the veranda, and when I fainted I
collapsed right onto it with my back.
Four days and I was stinking, the spots were touching each other,
and it was as a scab or crust of dead skin covered me from head to
foot, and gave off the smell of something like a dead cat.
My ductless glands between my legs saturated the bed.
Isobel had moved to another room because of the smell.
She went to tennis the fifth day and I was home alone.
The president of apex called, I had to answer the door.
In doing this, I called through the door, “I have trouble” as the
door opened, he took one look, and jumped back into the garden
behind him, “I don’t want it he shouted”.
The next day I went back out to the Wooregong farm in my dodge
Ute, and did just a little work to kill time.
A week later and I was back to something like normal again, well
almost maybe.
Several months after this trouble started, my bowel got irritable,
and I started to spend most of my time at the toilet.
I was going thirty or more times a day; had gotten skinny as can
be, so went to the Dr in Northam who had seen me before.
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He sent me to Perth to a specialist, who filled me with barium and
did, x rays it was tough getting out of there.
I drove home after a hectic day of tests, when the test came back,
the Dr said you have good news and bad news which I will give
you’
Good news first well it is not cancer, the bad is its incurable, its
ulcerative colitis and there is nothing we can do.
So go home and take it a bit steady that is my advice, and do not
worry it makes it worse.
I did that for thirty-five years and found after a struggle it is gluten
intolerance and finding this is great news, it has cured me if I keep
my diet free from gluten.
Eva Fisher (Nana) came on holidays to Albany, and helped Isobel
with Gail as Garry was not about yet, and we spent an enjoyable
three weeks there, on the trip home Nana, as she was always
called, had to look after Gail, who was getting teeth and got a very
upset stomach.
The car was a pretty confined place as she was very car sick,
emptied at both ends continually, we went to Uncle Watt’s to
return the van, the trip home, was horrible for everyone.
Yvonne and Isobel hatch up a trip the next year, to hire a railway
coach at Middleton beach, Isobel put a deposit on and booked it
early, and the whole year they talked of this trip coming up.
Eventually, we arrived at the address only to be told, bad luck we
double booked, so you can have this shack instead.
Well did, Yvonne have a fit, we could not pacify her, she wanted
to tear strips off the proprieties, a sixteen-year-old kid, and she will
still get angry to day, if she is reminded of this raw deal, we were
given.
After the first week things went smooth and the only incident, Gail
ran into a rail fence and bloodied things a bit but otherwise it was
good fun and the swimming and weather was lovely we all enjoyed
the holiday.
Met old York friends our bridesmaid and her husband but as usual
we had the long trip home, which without the Van this year was
quicker.
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This time we went to Bunbury, There were a big crowd of our
York friends meeting there.
Lots of them too many to name, we used to go drag netting with
the Tilley lamp at night for shrimps and fish with scoop nets.
Well this night we took Bert my father in law, who had never
learned to swim, in a boat up the estuary, and after catching many
fish fifty dozen gaudies, we headed back.
When we hit the boy post’ we had left a light on to identify our
return path
The light we put it back in the boat and just then, some big
cobblers appeared in the shallows, so we got after them.
After the boat was practically full of fish and cobblers, we started
home.
The bloke we trusted to know where to go, had lost his bearing.
The fuel tank was getting low, and the swell was getting like the
open sea, Bert said I think you had better turn back this is the
wrong way.
I agree there is the Southern Cross down that way, so back we
went.
Now a very relieved group finally got back to our estuary units,
with a huge amount of seafood.
Next night was fish netting and we walked along in water up to our
chest trailing these fishnets all night catching prawns.
So again we had prawns to eat, they were yummy.
This time it was terribly hot and sultry weather, so we went after
crabs, and caught a four-gallon bucket full for each family, but we
were late home all tired, so left the crabs on the kitchen table, and
climbed into bed.
In the morning the whole bucket of crabs, they had putrefied in the
hot night air were useless, and were thrown out.
This time we decided to go for marron and we knew that it was a
protected site, so we gave Garry and David the caught ones to
carry in their bucket and to lag way back.
They were seven or eight years old at the time and were given
strict instructions if they saw anyone stop us grownups they would
ditch the catch in the bucket out into the bush.
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The night progressed and the catch was not bad but quite a lot of
undersize stuff, so we went on until a car came up to us and the
boys panicked when they saw it.
Promptly they dumped their bucket and came on up to find this
guy an illegal catcher himself, wanting directions.
He was not the inspector of the fisheries; we went back but by that,
time the marron had headed to the water and only one or two runts
could be found, so we called it a night.
All the fences on Wooregong and everywhere else were gone.
Over in every valley the water had swept, the panels to safeguard
the main lengths, they had gone, so Dad and I had months of fixing
ahead of us.
The tractor driven post hole digger was purchased, to aid us renew
miles and miles of fencing, especially boundary that was the first
priority.
The stock wanted to wander all over the place, and we had
merinos, and all our neighbours’ English breeds, for the lamb meat
industries.
Existing old rabbit fence netting was stretched back to 3 feet, and
new posts set in place of the old, which had to be split off the old
plain rusty not galvanized wire.
Old posts were taken home and stacked for fire wood, that was
handy it served for years to come, the old wire let dropped to be
out of the way sandwiched in between the new posts and the
netting, so that machinery did, not catch and drag it every where.
Wooregong was 98% first class soil, the balance rocky outcrops it
was roughly a square two miles on each side.
Rabbit fence all round, the ground rose in height to the southeast
corner, where there is an outcrop of iron like rock, which appeared
to be an old volcano.
There are two gullies on each side to run the water off the hills,
and the two permanent creeks joined, and trickled all year except
winter, when they flowed strongly to the northeast were Keith’s
farm was.
When the flood came that year, there was thirty inches of rain in
the twelve months, we had started to renew the posts in the
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boundary fences, it required a lot of jam posts and after Dad, and I
had cut all we had on Wooregong
We went searching for posts to buy, Mostly Pingelly,
Popanyinning, Narrogin way
We had several miles of internal fencing to do, that was easier
because that was sub divisions, and we did, not have to dismantle
old stuff, which is time consuming.
The washout of the valley panels had to be attended to and the
rabbit netting had trapped a lot of muddy straw against it, we had
to shake or dig it off the netting a lot of the way.
A miserable job it is to clean muddy straw off rabbit netting in the
heat of February, before it set hard.
A big job but to renew that netting, dig it in and to rabbit proof the
place, would cost a fortune, so we repaired it instead.
When tightening a section of internal ring lock, that we were
working on.
Dad put his hand on this section to test it for tightness, and it broke
and the ring loch slid through his hand and the sharp dropper wires
tore his palm, it grabbed a big jagged lump of skin out he almost
fainted from shock.
Me to when I looked at it, we were much more careful, with
stretching and staining wire after that happened.
The boy’s, David and Garry were cousins Isobel’s brother John
was David’s father.
These kids are the same age and played together at every
opportunity, this day they were playing at the back of the house in
Newcastle road. Isobel heard this giggling and the toilet flush
several times in succession, this went on for a while, and she
thought, I had better see what they are doing.
The two pre school boys were flushing our pup down the toiled.
A great joke to them and they were giggling furiously to see the
pups head fly out of above the seat,
She noted later in the day a scurrying pair of kids in and out the
bathroom, with beach buckets of old bathwater splashing as they
hurried all of a scurry
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On investigating she found they had set the tall wild oats in the
back paddock on fire, were trying to put the house yard out.
York voluntary Town fire brigade had to put the paddock and river
timber out, they were not happy, the boy’s, though very little still
had early fire drill that day. They saw black smoke clouds
everywhere it was scary for everyone.
The boys caused us to laugh later in life they went shooting rabbits
for their first shooting expedition one summer night and in the
morning Isobel went to the refrigerator for breakfast milk and there
fur and all were several Whole uncleaned unskinned dead rabbits.
Jack Chi came to see me at Newcastle Road, when Isobel and I
moved off Wooregong because, of being to close to Mum, and she
liked to have her input into our personal lives, which some times
was not welcome and wanted.
So we went to Town I was keeping my eye open for a farm of my
own anyway, Jack called and said he would nominate me for
Apex, so I joined them and every month a Dinner was put on, and
the proceeds went to a charity.
We had a president who conducted the evening and it was
enjoyable company, as there were about twenty-five young men
who he, would delegate one each time to give a talk at dinner
before sweets were served. On whatever hot topic he thought for
the evening, the subject scrawled on a bit of paper with the name
of the person to give it, came down the table during the first course
of our dinner.
I did, give two or three of these, it is surprising once settled in how
much you can think up to talk about, and some were very good at
it, usually the quit ones were best. A meeting was held after the
meal, and business was done on what good could be made
available as a free service to deserving members of our town.
Something like lawns mowed or rubbishes cleaned, wood chopped
pruning, or any other service, for the people that were handicapped
in any way.
After a coupe of years, I was given the service management job.
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Members of the club in this particular year gave over a thousand
hours of free service to York, so it was very successful.
Work increased, so management expanded and an assistant was
appointed to help and I continued until May 1966, when I left York
to take on the farm at Goodlands.
The assistant took this managers job then.
It was a memorable day, when the annual afternoon tea for the
members, all came to our new house that particular year.
We were waiting out side under the Tilta door of the garage
chatting, three or four of us, and next thing this two year old
latched on to my backside with his teeth, almost took the piece out.
I jumped up in surprise, and his dad did, not turn a hair, oh don’t
worry about him.
It seemed that if you or anyone did, not face him, he had a problem
and drew their attention the only way he knew, bite hard draw
blood; I often wonder if he turned out right.
CHAPTER 3
GOODLANDS FARM.
In the red truck loaded to the roof as we set out for the homestead
it was May 1966 when we moved to the wheat belt, to the outback.
The buildings we had where we lived on the homestead was a four
by four of cement brick with a wide veranda, kerosene heated
running water to kitchen, laundry, and shower bath room.
A sleep out with an iron roof over all, and with cement floors
throughout, a twin carport and seventy foot television aerial, a
thirty by forty foot steel cement floored, workshop, an almost flat
large lean-to machinery shed with cement floors, a 32 Volt lighting
plant, and batteries in a shed.
Alongside a one thousand gallon overhead fuel tank, a five
thousand cement rainwater tank for each living quarter, and a ten
thousand gallon stock water cement tank.
A one thousand rainwater tank on a stand, with a shower under it, a
small wind mill, and two shearers cottages, a bowsers for petrol,
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and a small iron shed fully enclosed for sleeping in times when
Italian root picking teams of workers were needed.
The savings were huge, because all these improvements were on
the lease, with an option to buy in ten years we had no need to pay
insurance, or maintenance, on these improvements as the owner
did, and the lease was a tax deduction for us.
The Case auto the auto header that I bought from the partnership in
1969 was well worn after we had used it a year or so.
When I saw this Massy in 1970 at Dowerin field day for $8000 I
thought it a bargain.
I decided it was going to be perfect for harvest, so I traded the
Case in on it and started the oat harvest, to find it was a very dusty
machine, the open front was designed to work in the English or
Canadian and the cool European conditions.
I was quite disappointed, within hours of starting the harvest that
year, unlike a lot of employers they would simply have an
employee to drive the header, and not worry about them sitting in
dusty circumstances.
I did the driving myself and had a few miserably unpleasant days
when the wind did, not blow hard enough or moved about, and
made you dread the time it was going to be uncomfortable again.
Sometimes it blew from the wrong direction, so I was plastered in
straw and wheat chaff all day.
To make things worse as well as that, the Ruther glen bug, a
stinking midge became troublesome, as they stung viciously and
incessantly, in any crop with radish in it, as well they would be
chasing around after the header.
With the hotter the day the more persistent they were, for a larger
distance past the weed patches.
These pests suck moisture from these weeds radish and ‘turnip.’
(And anything else),
Which was most rapidly spreading, because it broke away and
tumbled in the wind scattering seed?
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Made huge piles along and on fences, and any such obstruction, or
rolled on top of the standing crop tangled and threshed some grains
out of the crop.
Clogged the harvesting machinery, causing more wasted grain
These piles were then a trap for sand, which coved up to six feet
deep and smothered fences and shade patches.
Farms in all types of farmland even the roads were covered in
some places.
The light sand plain land grew turnip mainly, and it increased
yearly as it spread district wide? Getting back to the massy header
years, we used it on some new land paddocks in which we had lots
of flat tyres to mend.
I remember the day when we had a near miss with Garry as he had
jacked the machine up to take weight off the flat tyre, to fix it and
it was on a loose soiled slope, so because the 100 bushel box was
full it was very heavy.
He was under this header and the jack started to give way, I have
seen some quick movements but I don’t think a quicker one than
him that day, as he came from under it.
Just before it was flat on the ground, the machine was 5 ton and
add the wheat a similar amount, so that is heavy for a five ton jack,
I can not imagine Garry under that load; it is too terrible to
imagine.
Kareen and Garry sware they saw a flying saucer one early
morning in 1970, a huge cigar shaped thing very high reflecting the
pre dawn sunlight and it had no wings, just port holes, I was out on
night shift and did not notice anything. My guess is it was one
space station in the right place to be seen by my kids for a few
minute.The only strange thing to me was one night a sudden flash
of light, and the whole visible farm turned white with frost.
I made certain of my next buy, and bought two International
headers that were a lot more satisfactory to me in 1974.
The machines did, not have a sealed air-conditioned cab to work
from, unfortunately but were a cheap sound brand at $15000 at the
time.
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I did a couple of years with them, before the New Holland, which I
bought in 1976 for $35000 with water-cooled cab; it was the best
header I ever used. I bought my second, New Holland header from
my old Apex day Partner director in York, in 1977 for $50000 that
is how much things had inflated by then, doubled since leaving
York.
It astounds me now at the escalation, of farm machinery prices
over this time at Goodlands.
Because the purchase and trade, were treated differently in
taxability, as new machines attracted an investment allowance as
well as deprecation, it was partly tax deductible, and all machinery
went up fast, to take the tax advantage.
Making this turnover to new, to be the way to operate, and keep
moving up in scale, but things sure changed when Mr WH had his
day in federal parliament.
Garry would start school at the High School soon, so we had an
interview at the boy’s hostel for him to board there while at
Northam Senior High School, it had a good reputation and Gail
was in private board, she promised to watch out for him while they
both attended school there.
It worked fine the first year, and most of the second, and Garry
phoned from Northam one day towards the end of the year, to say
the housemaster was interfering, with some of the other boys and
he wanted to get away from the housemaster before he was next.
As soon as I heard this, and knowing it was no trick on his part, I
drove to Northam that day, and I took him with me and told the
Head master of the school Garry was leaving school.
The Headmaster was very unhappy, but I told them he was not
going back the next year, as his birthday was near any way, so they
said, if he has a job to go to, they would not protest.
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134
That is why and how he became a farmer, and was destined to
enjoy, the sport and work when he left school as a young teen.
He practiced his tennis for a couple of years, to beat me that was
the aim, and was he pleased when he did, after some great tussles.
Then Gordon Reynolds was his objective and as the time went by,
he got closer and closer to it, and eventually was able to beat all in
the region for miles around.
One day at some time in the morning, he went around the house to
his room to practice his tennis ball hitting for a few minutes as
usual and we were having a drink of tea.
When he let out this shout snake, so I grabbed my rifle and here
was a six-foot snake behind his wardrobe, so I shot it and he
disposed of its body.
The same shed job was continuing again the next day, and at
morning tea time he went off to his room again, and I called
jokingly “watch for a snake,” and I washed up to have tea again
then this deafening shout came “snake”.
I thought he’s kidding me, but low and behold, a second one was
in the same place, so I got the rifle again and when I fired, he
launched himself straight back at me in the confined space, before
I noticed his head was pulp from the shot.
I do, not know where the two bullets finished because it was in a
cement brick enclosed room I was shooting.
After the two snakes, he put a close finished addition to the bottom
of the door, so he would get no more of them hunting mice in his
bedroom.
There was a snake on our lawn at the homestead a yellow brute
with red stipes on it.
A savage tiger snake and as it slid down this hole in the lawn that
was near a sewerage vent.
I had nothing handy to kill it with so grabbed the last foot as it was
disappearing.
It had a terrific grip it was so tight I thought it would snap in half
but it came free and I flicked it in the clear.
By then one of the kids had a garden shovel so I clobbered it thank
God we could all rest easy again?
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One day when walking across the paddock and there was a dead
fox lying in the fallow so I walked fifty more yards and here was
the back half of a tiger snake.
The fox had eaten its head and been bitten it must have died very
quickly to be so close.
Sooty was our Kalannie sheep dog and she was rarely used for
sheep too spoiled with playing with our kids Kareen tormented the
life out of her by jiggling the yard gate that had a chain hanging on
it and it rattled.
The dog held a two or so inch stick in its mouth just like my smoke
and flipped it about with her lips she was fascinating to watch.
Kareen gave her hell but it was all show that dog loved the kids.
Keith Bauer and Phyllis, sis, moved to teach at Moora, and when
there they knew, it was difficult for us to have our annual break
from the farm, and they both liked the quiet life out there.
They would come, and spent three weeks of their holiday at the
Homestead, so we could get away for a time to the coast.
The time that is memorable to me, was the time we had been away
at the beach for three weeks.
Coming back to the homestead, and Phyllis told me Keith was at
the o8 block, so down to o8 I went, and because his wireless was
going he never heard me drive up until the car was almost
alongside, as he cleaned a trough I came up to him and he got the
fright of his life.
He found the farm as quiet as a tomb, he reckons if he was left out
there much longer he would go crackers. It was, so quiet during the
warm part of the day, but night and morning the birds squeaked
especially the galahs they were extremely noisy. Constantly
pealing the insulation from our 32-volt power wires and the TV
tower coped their notice too. The television was no good on the
farm at the homestead because it was so snowy, we did not watch
it much, the kids were little, and we were not keen for them to
grow up in the secular type environment that was offered on most
stations.
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We hardly ever went out only to the grocery shops in Northam
every month and picked up the bread and mail when we passed
through Kalannie otherwise they were delivered weekly.
Miscellaneous items were bought out by the school bus.
Isobel had a fetish for Mills and Boon paperback books reading to
fill the long lonely days. I did nothing but eat, sleep, and work
seven days a week and they were fifteen or more hour days.
The fetish for books got a little less intense when, minties became
her thing, and it was unusual to see her without a mintie in her
mouth. The time came, Bradley was born, and then a little later in
1972 we moved to the new house in town with better TV but much
more noise and great times.
Then Isobel did her back in November of the year 1975.
Bradley was just a little tacker at the time three, he and I were
looking for Christmas presents in the local shop one day and he
spotted this jumbo-sized minties packet on the top shelf, and it was
his insistence that I bought it and it held thousands of mums
beloved minties.
He was so proud of his Christmas present for his mum.
It was a Friday taking the stores to the car from the shop we met
Glenys outside the shop and she was asking how Isobel’s back was
and the conversation turned to Christmas.
I told her about Bradley, and the minties we had just bought, I said
she will look like a mintie by the time she eats them all, and
Glenys got a twinkle I her eye as she said with a wry smile, what
screwed up at both ends and we had a big laugh.
There was a fellow in Goomalling, that frustrated Garry for a
couple of years in the tennis pennants, he beat him every time they
played, so Garry practiced on the front veranda on the north side of
the house, keeping the ball bouncing from his racquet to the door
into his room.
That gave a true bounce, his eyes became better, and better, so the
bounce of a tennis ball continued for ages, at every spare moment
he had he, also played table tennis as well in Dalwallinu.
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This Guy in Goomalling had the annoying style of play, it was of
looping well-placed shots, and he never got impatient with his
game, and got every ball that was hit to his court back in play.
I remember how frustrated Garry got; it certainly got him
motivated about the game.
Eventually he could belt any of the opposition off the court, and
the name Hewett was talked of in tennis circles.
I know because Isobel and I decided to play in a big Easter
Tournament one year, and we had to send our entry fee early,
stating what games we were going to enter in as, it was a handicap
event.
Eventually the day came to go to Goomalling, to be there for the
start of this Easter tennis match.
After an hour the captain called, me out in a game of singles, so we
had to play on centre court which I hated, playing on in front of all
but there was nothing I could do, and then they called my handicap
out.
I was -30, and my opposition was +30, which was ridiculous, the
committee had the wrong Hewett, it was better suited for Garry,
though he would have battled.
The bloke was an A reserve pennant player and very crafty, I was a
B player, so I was thrashed, in front of hundreds of people and was
humiliated by the handicap.
In addition, my mixed doubles Partner was furious, because they
gave her a huge one too, so the weekend was a big disappointment
all round.
The area on the map inside the blue line is most, but not all of the
tennis and golfing towns we competed against, while living at
Kalannie. Pennants were played on Saturday afternoon, and were
very competitive competitions; the winning pennant trophy was
always much more seriously sort after.
Psalm 55 22 Cast your burden upon the LORD, and He will sustain
you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.
23 But Thou, O God, wilt bring them down to the pit of destruction;
Men of bloodshed and deceit will not live out half their days.
But I will trust in Thee. NKJ
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I played in the B section the first to nine in the singles, and doubles
were the usual six games per set. After the singles, we always had
a light afternoon tea then both the mixed doubles started.
I always will think back to this one particular day, away at some
town I will not name to save embarrassing, the other person but it
happened that our team had all played their singles, and I was still
slogging away against my opposition, and they called “how long
have you got to go, we’re going to eat.” I yelled back “I am being
thrashed, I am yet to get a game, but my (opponent) has eight, so
we will soon be there”.
This statement seemed to be all that I needed to turn my playing
around, because from that moment on, I crept point, by point
nearer, and nearer, as everything, he tried to finish the set was a
flop. He had turned to water as the saying goes, and after the team
came back to the courts from the lunchroom, we were still slogging
away. He only needed one point to finish, but found it impossible
to score every thing he tried failed, and I finished winning the set
nine games to eight, it made my day (tennis life) but he was
devastated.
Gail got a job in Northam after N H S, some time in the late 1970s,
and we bought her a car to drive to work from my brother’s farm at
Burges siding each day.
She and Chris were lovebirds at the high school, and it was not
long before they were married and moved into a rented house in
his home town of Northam.
The flu nearly drove me mad I could not shake it for weeks, it gave
me the impression I should give up my love of Champion Ruby
tobacco, as smoking was tasting foul.
After making up my mind, I set my tobacco on the mantle were I
could sware every morning “got you beat you devil”.
In addition, after three weeks of the shakes and all the withdrawal
symptoms beaten I was free to smell the flowers properly again
and that saved my health and pocket, I had just turned forty.
At that time, my finances were only just starting to build, so it was
a year or two before we bought the house in Newcastle road for
Gail and Chris.
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After a few years, Chris finally applied for work at the guardian in
Geraldton as his aprentership with the Northam advertiser finished.
They went up to Geraldton to check out the job that the Guardian
news had offered him and he came back to Northam to tell Gail
that he was going to take the job.
Some weeks of boarding there, he was travelling there and broke
down in their car some fifty miles from Northam.
He rang us in Kalannie to ask us, if we could cut over to his
breakdown spot, to toe him to Geraldton.
Garry set off in the Toyota, and toed him and Chris said by the
time they travelled all the hundreds of kilometres with only
Garry’s Ute lights in front, he was blinking in tune with the
Toyota’s hazard lights, and they continued blinking in his head for
hours as they had mesmerized him.
His beautiful orange red V8-powered Torana Car was a dream he
slaved years for us, to get that car for him.
We had waited ages for it, as it was a special order.
Eventually it came and Garry was working out at Denton’s at
North Goodlands his car came and I had to deliver it to him.
I set off out there, the v8 power it had was enormous, and being
very light it had lots of go and it frightens me.
When I came to the gravel road I nearly lost it the weight seemed
to light at the backend to me; when Garry saw it he was thrilled
and drove everywhere in the first few days.
His mate had some other brand I do, not recall the make now but at
the first weekend the pair of them were in Dalwallinu and his
friend went racing down the main street and Garry chased him,
well he was pulled over by the cops his mate got away.
Someone had rung the police about hoons in town and Garry
copped the three month suspended license.
That frustrated him tremendously after the long delivery it was a
cruel lesson for him.
When I attended a clearing sale up Calingiri way, I met Max an old
mate from York.
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He chatted for ages and we decided to have a drink, as it had
become very hot, we went to the shed where the drinks were set up
but not served until the auctioneer stoped selling.
As soon as he did, we ordered a drink each, in seconds the mob
rushed in, and I have never seen any thing like it, they came
storming in and trampled anyone in their way, it was discussing.
Garry wanted to see the world, so decided to join the I A E A
(International Agricultural Exchange Association), become a
young trainee farmer in Europe, so he went with my other trainees
for the year 1975 to New Zealand first, and then to a job arranged
in Germany for several months then to work in various places. He
visited dozens of European countries then went to Canada.
Kareen had terrible toothache one time and we made a phone call
to our dentist at Wongan hills.
We wanted to see if he could help us, for Kareen was frantic.
The only appointment time was in his lunch hour, so over to the
dental surgery we took her. After she had been in the surgery for
half an hour, he came and asked me to come in and hold her head
still.
The tooth was stuck fast and Kareen was starting to feel the strain
Kareen had beads of sweat on her brow but no complaint after the
week of toothache she had endured.
When the tooth finally came out it had three big angled roots on it
that locked it firm in her jaw.
She was so glad to have it out and the dentist said it was the
toughest one he ever had done, the whole of his lunch hour to take
one tooth out and his wrist was very tired from all the pulling.
The dread of the blowfly was always with me as it meant the sheep
had to be inspected regularly.
On one occasion, it nearly cost my daughter Kareen her life as she
rode in the back of the Ute with the intention of jumping off and
catching any blown ones.
As we raced after the mob in a large old paddock to find the bad
ones it meant drive, them hard for a hundred yards and any sick
lagged back and could be caught easily, if there are only a few this
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is better on the stock than taking them several miles to the sheep
yards.
This day racing along after the sheep and unexpectedly out of their
dust a large mallee root appeared directly in front of us.
A very quick decision had to be made. Brake, no Kareen would be
tipped off, turn in a sharp way the same result.
This is what I did; a hard left and a hard right, and she went over
the side, as the Ute went around and past the stump.
She locked her arms on the Ute side and her head was down the
outside of the Ute.
When the Ute came back on track she was set back inside again, it
gave me as big a fright as she got.
That guardian Angel was once more at hand for us.
I was awakened one night with the phone ringing at some unusual
hour to hear a strange woman ask if I had a son named Garry
Hewett and I answered yes Then Garry came on the phone to ask
me to send five thousand dollars quickly to him in America.
He was being held in customs with no visa and he had to have
money to get back out of America or they would lock him up in the
clink as an illegal immigrant.
Therefore, the way I solved this was to ask him for his beautiful
V8-powered Torana Car that we had bought for him the year
before he left on the world sightseeing trip.
It seems a tough thing to do, but I felt he had to have this painful
lesson immediately for his own, and our peace of mind
Therefore, I wired the money and traded his and my old cars for a
Ford LTD. From the local ford dealer in Kalannie.
He came back home through Asia and Thailand and by ship to
Fremantle in 1978.
Last year at (part 2) Kalannie postcode: 6468, to Waggrakine
postcode 6107, the year 1981 and we sold the house at Kalannie to
J & A Harris
Gail and Chris left the house we bought them in Newcastle road in
Northam because Chris had taken a better job in Geraldton, so they
142
left it with real-estate agents looking after the house as it was to be
rented through him.
Isobel and I decided to visit their new place, so we all had a
holiday in Railway terrace and they showed us the town of
Geraldton.
We returned to the farm at Kalannie to start working again.
Chris and Gail had trouble with getting satisfactory tenants for
their house, so we sold it and bought a brand new home in
Spalding Park Geraldton and after a year or two they got the first
homebuyers grant by us signing over the title to them and because
it was their first owned, they got the grant.
Enough money to add a big boy’s room at the back for their three
boys.
I can remember the two Chaps I knew from York coming to visit
me at the homestead one day in 1968-9 at ploughing time and they
had a look at my four-wheel drive tractor pulling double or tandem
ploughs, they wanted to see this in action.
It was only a couple of years afterwards we heard that one of them
was coming to take over the excellent farm at the corner on the
bitumen road to Goodlands bin near where we dropped the kids off
to catch the school bus.
It was the gathering point to meet up with our next door
Neighbours as their two boys and one girl met the bus, also their
manager had one boy and our kids all met the school bus there,18
miles north of on the bitumen to Goodlands bin opposite to the
public phone box.
Garry was nine and we needed him to act as a marker for the crop
duster pilot to space his drops of nitrogen fertilizer at the correct
spacing, so he wheeled his bike tyre, so many turns each pass of
the ex fighter plane until we eventually ran out of fertilizer.
On the last run, the pilot asked me if I would like to squeeze in the
space behind him in the wirraway aircraft and have a free ride in a
very fast plane.
I did, and we made the last run and he flew up to gain height and
then banked in a very tight turn, straightened up and dived down
toward Garry.
143
He panicked and after the second dive bombing like action he
bolted thinking we would smash into him, it looked funny but it
was a scary incident in my life and in Garry’s life being, so young
he did, not appreciate the joke he certainly knew the job was done,
so did, I.
We always had a good chat it was a great time to be alive
Because in the slack part of the year there was no great hurry to get
back to work, we often talked at the bus stop until morning teatime
with the local gossip and the political situation.
The Dalwallinu Shire decided to put hundreds of truckloads of
gravel on two miles of the road down to our school bus stop.
This hindered us taking the kids to the bus in the mornings and
picking them up at night with all the activity down that road it
meant going to town by an alternate route.
That changed for the worse when the heavy opening rain of two
inches fell in one night, and saturated the half-compacted new
gravel, so we had to take the kids two miles in the opposite
direction at a different time in the morning to meet the bus at a
different time and place.
That was not too troublesome but a contractor arrived walking to
our house a night or two later.
He had got part way up our road with forty ton of superphosphate
on the truck and bogged it on the soggy gravel road, so the only
thing I could do, was to get my long bog chain and the four-wheel
drive tractor and toe the loaded truck to our shed.
In the process, the tyres sank about two feet to the old road surface
and ruined the shires past several weeks work, and we were not
popular although no one said a word to me.
When the kids were at School the sports day was special as Gail
was a very competitive runner and always did, very well at
whatever she tried always had the same girl from Latham to try to
beat but usually got second.
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Garry was good at everything too, he fought out top running spot
with the kid who’s father sold-out to Mr G.
Kareen had a tussle on sports day with a girl that had aspiration of
being a state runner.
Kareen always was pipped but she made her run a very determined
effort.
A cyclonic wind blew up one day when we lived in the homestead,
the large lean-to with a flattish roof on it that was our machine
shed lifted up vertically, and I remember how dangerous this
looked as hundreds of twelve foot sheets of iron roof came off.
It was the year Les and I were in a crop sharing arrangement and
he was frightened his precious new ford tractor would be damaged.
He was out in this very serious storm trying to get his machine on
the other side, away from the flying sheet iron and we held our
breath for ages but he saved it without any damage.
One of the first thunderstorms at night we experienced there was
not what we knew usually happened in storms.
Until then as the television aerial top made a zip zippy zip pulsing
sound all night, as Saint Bernard’s fire flipped from it skyward and
we had never seen this phenomenon of a blue light pulsing
skyward before it was unique and eerie.
After the crop was sown, we spent many a night listening to the
spots of precious rain on the iron roof.
Praying for it to come heavier or to watch the southern horizon in
the daytime and see the distant, heavy rain clouds passing us with
just fly spots for us
What long testing years they were, our patience was always
rewarded thanks Lord.
The wheat quotas were a troubling time for some as it was based
on historical averages for an allocation.
We were very lucky quota wise, and in many other ways, my
guardian angel once more saw to that. “Thank you Lord”.
Mr G, and many other people were most disappointed, and it
created an uproar at the bin when Mr G, would not move his truck
145
from the weigh bridge, until the Perth powers that controlled wheat
production, gave him room for his wheat at the pig pen.
Mr G directed the weighbridge Clerk to get in touch with his head
office, for permission for him to weigh and unload.
The thing called a mobile phone was not invented then, and two
ways wireless, was not yet established until ten more years had
passed.
That morning the trucks were backed up waiting for the
weighbridge, to let them weigh their trucks, coming out from both
the empty truck side, and the full truck directions.
Farmers who had empty trucks wanted desperately to get back to
their harvesting job, so they vented their frustration to all the fifty
farmers gathered there waiting.
The weighbridge Clerk was quite shaken, as he was doing his job
as instructed.
Because the phone was back three miles, at a public telephone box
toward town (actually our bus stop), so he raced to and from this
phone box to get in contact with head office in Perth.
A way was eventually setup for the over quota wheat to be
weighed and stored, and a separate set of records kept for over
quota wheat, but it was of no value to the grower until CBH could
sell it.
It was illegal to sell wheat to any private person; only the CBH
could trade and store the wheat.
The way to get around this if the quota was large enough, was to
let your neighbour put it in the bin on your account or quota, then
pay him for cartage at a previously agreed balancing equity, then it
was fair because it made no overall difference to the total grain
supply.
We made sure to keep quiet about this, so it was never discussed in
public.
The quota was only to control total quantity, no more than the
board could sell could be grown.
As the world, grain market was glutted at that time.
A young fellow on the next farm, in 1978. Set up our two-way
radio systems in all my machinery, and my Ute and truck it was a
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God send it only cost fifteen hundred dollars, for several of these
simple systems and each farm had its own channel like a party line
phone, only no wires to maintain, it was great.
In the district, we started a group called the Goodlands progress
association that came up with ideas to aid farmers in our area at
Goodlands, like agitating for piped water and power.
We got the power, but when I left the district did not have the
piped water, all the way, we had a good repour with Government,
and the Agricultural Department that followed our farming needs.
We had a meeting one night at the million bushel Goodland’s bin
and a chap and I were the first to arrive, while waiting I happened
to be looking to the now faded light, on the western skyline and a
white jet of white cloud came sailing over the horizon, and this
flared jet widened and grew bigger.
It was a Russian astronaut out of control, it was him desperately
firing his retro rocket, that we saw, and we heard next day, he had
tearfully died in an accident of their space experiments, rather
chilling to see, I must say that fifty miles above us a real drama
was taking place.
I was chosen after some years there to take the secretary job by our
group, it was fine with me and I enjoyed it.
We even had a shearing shed dance there in our shed, and the
neighbour adjoining my place set up his truck with drums of water
and a fire fighting setup, we had beer on tap and it turned out a
good fun evening.
The only blob was this neighbour when going to unload the water
drums next day, he overbalanced rolling a vertical drum of water
and they both fell off the truck.
He landed partly on the drum, and it hurt him but he continued
farming and six month later on he visited his doctor, they found his
liver full of cancer, and he died a youngish man still.
Two months later the whole district harvested his thousand acres
wheat crop, and binned it in one day in respect for his wife and
son.
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Not long after we had done, the harvest for his wife she drove past
our house, and as we had noticed before whenever going to town
she sped; was like a bullet in the car to overcome the tyranny of
distance. Like our weekly mail carrier, we watched the road for
dust streaming up as they carved up the distance before them.
I met her one morning when I was going to my 08 block and I was
in my unlicensed farm hack, or Ute when I saw her car speeding
toward me, I got as far off the road as I dared.
She did, the same, thinking I must have something over width on
my Ute that she could not see.
The camber on the road was too much, and when she got past me
steering back a bit sharply onto the road crown, her car skidded in
the gravel, and went into the scrub, and it gave her young son a
nasty bump on his head, the poor kid had a bump bigger than a
chook egg.
She was stuck on the top of the scrub and I pulled her back on the
road, to let her make her way to town, but what a fright we all got I
had visions of dreadful consequences.
Bradley was in the bassinet in the back of out 202 Holden station
wagon and Isobel had been to a house warming twenty miles out at
a house near the rabbit proof fence, and headed home on the gravel
road.
Sailing along she arrived at the only right angle bend suddenly and
somehow got out of a real predicament with out a scratch to either
her or the baby, only the scrub scratched the car a little but it
scared her for life.
That guardian angel helped again as it was the only big tree free
spot, on the normal large trunked salmon gum and gimlet tree lined
road.
Dad and Joe were just finishing the harvest, at Wooregong it was
on January 20, and the total crop of wheat for all farms we worked
exceeded 100000 bushels that year, with more in the next year.
We were at Fishers Gail, Garry, Kareen, Leith, was a baby we
were showing her off we all had been away from the farm for a
week, and the stock water supply had to be looked at.
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Bert and I drove up to the Goodland’s farm, just before we arrived
it began to rain, I checked the rain gauge near the old house and it
read 20 points, it was lunch time so we sat down to eat it. We had
sandwiches and fruit with us that Nana had prepared. I made the
tea; we did, not hurry as it was pouring by now after an hour it
slowed a little, so I checked the gauge again and there had been 2
inches of rain.
We checked the stock down at o8 as that location is known, drove
back to the homestead, and the rain in the gauge had climbed to 4
inches by then, and o8 is 10 miles east of the homestead.
By the time we left there, the lakes were all full and water for the
stock would be no problem for a month,
The seeding was done with the two trash seeders I bought with the
farm, and was done with help from my two Brothers, and Brother
in law Kevin Mills and everything went well there, the total of
5000 acres was sown to wheat on fallow.
The fallowing was nearly finished, I was on night shift it was some
where near 9 pm when the Ute lights made me wonder, yes it was
Dad come to tell me it was time to get Isobel to the hospital.
The kids had gone over to the shearer’s quarters where Mum and
Dad stayed while the crop was sown, and any odd time they came
to visit, there was the pick of two three-bed cottages.
I shot back to the homestead and we headed to hospital. We got
there in stacks of time and was resting out in the car when I heard a
noise, so went back in and Leith was born, all had gone well and
she rested at last, her ordeal of looking after us all and her
pregnancy was over at last.
The season was fine most of the time with the rain that came on the
death knock each time we thought, but I learned that wheat is a
mighty hardy plant. It was no bumper but it was surprising, just
how much grain, was in so little straw; we were pleasantly
surprised because every paddock was better than we expected.
We had the international truck and Dad bought a Ford ten-ton
diesel tipper to alternately drive with the old International truck, to
get the wheat carted.
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It was up and back like a yo, yo, seemed endless something like
two hundred and fifty loads and they were mostly overloads but
that depended, on a bit of the usual district bush telegraph to make
us very careful. My thoughts go back to this day Dad got back
from his load, and warned me, go have your lunch and keep away
from the bin for a couple of hours before you take that load of
yours down there because the Weights and measure cops are there.
The fertilizer was always an urgent occasion, as it did, not matter
how you ordered it, the train one per week, brought it all together.
Two or three hundred ton of fertilizer took some handling, because
it was expected to be done the day of arrival, but admittedly, it
came mostly on a Friday, and Monday was the deadline to clear it.
It always was a hectic time; one reason was that I was on my own
usually then, as the Homestead farm was two hundred miles from
the main farm at York.
We used the bags to load the trash seeders, it was hard manual
labour for our teamwork, to get the job done quickly, and it was
the busy part of the year for us. Those early days we were lucky
there were few weeds to start with, being new land we could sow
early.
But then after three or so years came radish and turnip, and I used
a mister from the back of the Ute, it was an eye opener to see just
how much we misted in a day, several thousands of acres in the
day was no exaggeration.
Later owing to disputes of damage to lupins and other crops, that
were starting to be grown, it was only possible in our first three or
four years farming there.
Then the wind was crucial to us, any probability of trouble and
contractors were used; and they could take any heat from
neighbours when things went wrong.
The mallee roots were thick and an endless job mostly pulled up
with the plough, the cleanup was done in the first couple of years
of clearing, by mechanical rakes, or the Italian contractors.
The funny thing one of our neighbours took a load to Perth, the
cops pulled him up, and he said I am donating them to some
charitable organization.
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They followed and made him deliver the roots to them; it soon got
around it was useless to try that excuse to sell them, so millions of
ton of roots was burned on farms as waste, what a stupid waste?
It was hard on disc ploughs the higher speed and constant
hammering gave the bearings a terrible time and if you did, not
have the correct equipment for the job in hand it was impossible to
get ahead.
Therefore, the decisions were vital to stay in business, but by doing
it right, it was very good business growing crop on a large scale.
The next season gave a false start, and we had a lot of fallowed
land to sow, so we kept going on seeding when the ground was
drier than we were comfortable with.
We carried on and the wheat germinated from the subsoil, the
summer storms are useful some times, and being dry, once the
grain germinated it sent the crop roots searching deep into the
fallowed soil. That year failed everywhere else, but we had a
twenty-five bushel average at Goodlands farm because of summer
storms before seeding and getting an extra early start to seeding.
York it was the worst crop they ever had at seven bushels per acres
average, and that year had been declared a drought state-wide.
Seeding time came quickly and it had taken weeks to get the trash
seeders ready, this year as most of the disc bearings had to be
replaced before we could start.
Eventually the Holland yoke, or twin pull was made ready, the
seeders tyres were bomber tyres, and over covers on our wire
armoured tractor tyres. During summer we put most mallee roots
uncovered at fallowing into heaps and burned them, now we
waited for the first rain to come. Not as good this year but
reasonable the main trouble was the weed known as drake was
found in the entire crop. It is most undesirable because of a fungus
spore on it that will send people mad, if there is too much of it in
the wheat sample.( Persian Darnell (Lolium persicum) is a monocot weed in the
Poaceae family)
We found that by blowing some of the wheat out the back of the
header it reduced the drake by enough, to get it through inspection
at the bin, it meant constantly inspecting the straw trail behind the
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auto header according to the slope in the field, and harvest at the
same setting for the same slope and crop density.
Our sampler of course at the bin and the bin attendant had a very
constant workload of checking each of our loads, and the sampler
hated us being in the truck queue.
He had to get a sample and count the drake in the load, if it was
more than twenty seeds in the little cup measure, it was rejected,
and we dumped the load back on the farm.
I had to grade that wheat to clean it, to be able to deliver again.
It was my refusal, to take my first load back home and insist on a
decision from Perth head office, to give the exact requirement to
have it acceptable.
I remember it well, it seemed if a case of grog was made available
at the bridge, my wheat would slip in ok, but when that was hinted
at, I refused to bribe anyone, and the most rigorous inspecting was
done after that, the whole three hundred truckloads.
In the end, my wheat would make the attendant sampler snatch a
hand full of my load and exclaim as I weighed at the weighbridge,
eighteen seeds Ok, and I would drive to the grid and tip it in.
Kevin and Les helped this year and we had a fair harvest, so I
bought the block o7 that had been a lease, prior to that and for that
block it was settled my home farm share, I sold back to them at
York,
I would trade to the partnership my York share, and I would farm
Goodlands on my own.
The accountants divided the stock and plant, and I was free of any
York expense, it was done after the accounting for 1970 returns
and it meant my funds were poor by previous times
The children all attended Kalannie, for their primary training and
all of them were good at sport.
Gail and Garry had done some Schooling at York before we
moved to Goodlands.
The younger kids went to Kalannie School, until The High School
was opened in Dalwallinu.
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Leith and Bradley went to the state School at Waggrakine until
they moved on to Geraldton High School, to finish their education.
Once we went to live in the new house, we built in Kalannie the
two younger ones had a town upbringing and spent all the time
playing around town and the bin and station and scrubby reserve
that they could hide in the scrub from any chores we had for them.
We had the pool after the 1975 year, after Lars and Tova the
trainees had spent their time with us, and the pool had been setup,
that was where all the town kids congregated, and played
Leith had to leave her pony by the name Patches at the farm, so she
did not ride him as much as before and I think that other things
occupied her, like leading her following tribe of townies wherever
the whim took them.
One day, Bradley nearly met his end as he raced off the footpath at
the local shop, a fuel truck was going round the same corner and he
shot under the truck unable to stop in time, and the driver of the
truck slammed his brake on, as he recognized Bradley.
Jumped out, and ran around to the other side expecting to see a
very dead kid, but Bradley had scurried back on the bike and fled
up the back lane home, and the driver could not see him, so he
came to the house in shock, thinking that Bradley had wounds but
he was ok thank God. Bradley always had a lot more care after this
fright.
Then Kareen went to Dalwallinu for three years, then took off for
Perth, there was a guy she fancied going to university and she
chased him for a while until her, Aunty Lorraine set her cap to
tame her, and got her to go back to the Kalannie house with us.
She was my tractor driver and machine handler, until she took a
job she loved and excelled at with CBH, as a sampler all around
the area, excluding Goodlands where I delivered our wheat.
Until she met and got married to, Darryl Gangell and they took
work in Dowerin.
Leith came to Geraldton, and went to the High School there until
she left then lived here, there, and all round the place, before she
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married Lawson Landwehr, and he was in the navy, so they moved
house often.
I decided to have a share Partner that year to get started, we agreed
to a third of the crop, for his tractor and help that was back in
1970. He borrowed the international truck to bring his new Ford
tractor to Goodlands farm, it was before Easter that he borrowed
this and Easter Friday early, he came through the gate by the cattle
pit to the house. The first I heard was an unusual noise when I
looked, Les is stuck just through the gate, with phone wire hanging
down on the truck the wires were all down, the poles broken, what
a mess. These wires were two other neighbours’ phone lines, and
ours now Les was most angry. I was to blame, I did not remind
him of the wires being too low for truck and tractor; it damaged his
new tractor cab, minor I add. Now his long weekend was in
jeopardy
It did, not stop him unloading the tractor at our dirt ramp, and
going back to York, and after the week end. He brought a load of
super on the main road near Kulja he ran into a mob of sheep
killing some, maiming others they shot out of the scrub without
warning, he drove on not stopping; it was not his fault he reckoned.
Meanwhile I had a busy time fixing the phone wires it took all
Easter because, so many posts had been broken off at the base.
The crop was good, and kept Les and I flat out, actually, I do not
know now how we managed, all I remember is when the sixty
three thousand bushel quota was reached, and it started to look bad
because Les said it was his.
I had to give him more of the quota and, I was to get less but it had
not been agreed, as quotas were not in vogue when the agreement
was made, any way it was all solved.
All the wheat was accepted, even non-quota wheat, so we split that
the same way, and it worked out that way.
While he had the international truck at Easter, he carted the AL
harvester I gave him and other gear to his block at Ravensthorpe.
The Bank manager understood the situation, and helped me to
grow the business, at my request for assistance, he was a great help
as I bought sheep, 3000 young weathers for a few cents each, at a
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sale they were all passed in at auction, as the feed position of most
farmers was, so grim.
I had few sheep as 300 of 1000 ewes now lambing that had been
my share very mysteriously vanished, from the original mob driven
from the homestead into 07 block, they were counted before the
move.
We counted them again next day and were short by 300. They
were gone over night we had our suspicion as to who took them,
but never went any further, but I had stacks of ungraized feed and
stubble for the purchased sheep.
They grew a good crop of wool, in the following year and in fact, I
shore those sheep all up five times, over the years, and got a big
cheque each year for five years, then the Singapore weather market
boomed to $15 a sheep when I sold them, so the enterprise was
most successful. With the good proceeds, it made me decide to get
a clover harvester, and gather lots of Cyprus clover seed and to
spread this great feed plant.
I started with the trash seeders to scratch oat seed, direct into all
5000 acres, of the last season stubble, the whole crop scratched
into the year before stubble, and the fallowed land grew a good
crop at harvest time, this was my biggest crop ever 10000 acres.
In late September, we started harvesting the oats, and in this season
for some reason, most likely the previous good feed situation in the
south.
Particularly pooled oat feed grain was a glut, the oat pool were
only accepting top grain, and mine was one quarter self-sown
wheat, so weights were high and my price was to be $14 dollars
per ton, less any dockage which would be substantial.
Therefore, I got hold of the local Dozer contractor, and built a
long, long, gravel pit, and we dug it in a well-drained location in
the corner, of the most gravel part of my holdings.
Tipped all the oats into it, and put black plastic sheeting over top
with dirt on top of that with the front-end loader.
Forgot about it for several years; Then when the price of oats
soared to $90 dollars per ton, I looked for a buyer.
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The guy from south near Bunbury wanted them and was willing to
pick them up, and give me my full price on the farm.
That is what he did, and all I did, was lent my thirty-foot auger for
him to load them.
Our last child was born this year 1971, and it was not easy at the
hospital, as the matron said the Dr is not here in town.
Will you and I be able to handle the birth; this took me back a bit,
as I have not any training, other than the clover diseased sheep on
my farm that needed assistance.
Not as vital, as helping, a wife deliver, I knew that Isobel was well
experienced, and the matron was the best outside of Perth, so we
stayed in Dalwallinu, and after a long exhausting time, the birth of
a baby boy, we called Bradley Scott arrived ok.
Windmills over bores are the only water available in the
Goodlands location, in hot weather once our small lakes dried up,
so I got professional water borers, to bore for more water.
Holes were drilled, wherever the diviners suggested, they were
staying at one of the cottages where they slept, Isobel had to take
the phone messages from the owner of the drilling company, the
Boss as he was known by his drill crew, he was continually
checking up from Perth by the phone, and expecting Isobel to
deliver these phone messages.
The cottage where they camped was the furthest from the
homestead, so it meant wakening Bradley, a thee months old baby,
as we never left any of the kids on their own anywhere.
To get the boring man in question, in the end after telling the boss
not to ring anymore as it was not convenient but he persisted, she
took the phone off the hook and forgot about it.
Two hours later, a PMG man drove from Wongan Hills sixty five
miles away to tell Isobel to put the Phone back on hook, he
claimed she was breaking the law by leaving it off, I still wonder if
that is true.
Perhaps if she had turned the volume down, and put it under the
mattress and ignored it, but in the end I told the guys, if this
annoyance did, not stop they could leave.
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From then on, the drilling went fairly well but not without some
problems, they jammed the diamond bit down three hundred feet.
It delayed drilling for a week, which must have frustrated the boss
and competing mining companies who had sent an airplane daily to
spy, and try and work out by colour the mineral dust coming out of
the bore, to rush and peg in mining claims first if warranted by
circling the rig for an hour at a time.
Because they had guaranteed the job, they drilled two one hundred
foot holes in other paddocks for me.
Some of the bores made enough water to equip with mills, but the
04 block was dry, so we put a twelve thousand-cement tank and
pipeline to it, that was the only solution. Readers not interested in
description should skip a page here.
The one and a quarter inch Polly pipe was run, and buried in a
diagonal line from the north eastern corner of o8 block of four
thousand odd acres.
To the south western corner, the pipe fitted to a tank on a fifteen
foot stand above shearer showers and a toilet that I built myself; to
hire somebody to travel out there would cost a fortune; any job on
the farm, was my responsibility to perform and that makes one
self-sufficient.
That has turned ironic, because now I am in a nursing home, and
can only type with one finger, and I have had so many strokes that
I am totally dependant on help for life.
Going back to my farm, I am to tell of the process of setting up
things needed to operate at the farm sheds.
I did this on my own; the tank was lifted the 15 feet by two wires
anchored on the top edge of the special tank stand on top of
showers for the shearers.
I had made all the metal frame parts with the Lincoln welder.
To a permanent, simple pipe winch on the top wooden platform, I
fitted the wires that were wound by a simple pipe winch from on
the stands distant southern side top edge.
Until the tank rolled, up the opposite or northern outside side of the
shower, and over this stand edge, and then was manoeuvred into a
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standing position, and wedged on three sides by wooden blocks to
secure it from blowing off.
This all done by myself alone, it was done when the weather was
favourable, as it was quite an involved job for one person.
A very tense few minutes, as the tank appeared over the north top
edge of the platform, the winch wires became extremely tight.
The water heater was a copper water pipe that was curled inside an
old forty-four gallon oil drum; and a grate put in to rest six inch
above ground, on pins threaded though the drum; and a fire door,
built in the drum front, a metal chimney attached on top of the
drum. It was quite a satisfactory job, located against the west side
of the shower. The burned mallee roots made the bore water that
came two mile from the mill into the tank above very hot, and very
welcome at days end.
The flush toilet was on the north of the tower with a septic tank
north from there again. The showerheads, two of them on the west
inside of the nine feet wall to within a foot from the shower
rooftop, to let natural light inside, a bench opposite, and with an
iron roof on top of the enclosure, all of it was set up thirty yards
north of the shearing shed.
Three-stand sixty by thirty fully enclosed four windowed cyclone
steel shed, raised four foot with a tongue, and grooved wooden
floor above ground, so sheep could be held underneath.
With a ten foot sliding door, and wool load out ramp on the
northern end opening, and a sheep loading ramp south East side,
with sheep yards, to the south end of the shed.
The pens in the shed were filled by going up a grate ramp in the
southwest corner of the shed, which had a sliding door in it.
A machine lean too, on the south side of a twenty foot very tall,
fifty foot wide, east facing open end cement floored, bulk super
shed, built to the North West of the shearing shed, and the gate out
to the road was fifty yards west.
Then this road went north, it led to the rabbit fence about twenty
miles north, and it was on through station land to Mt Gibson Gold
mine, which was twenty miles further, on the Northern horizon in
station country.
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I was at the shearing shed one boiling hot day, just before harvest
and noticed dust, coming down the road from that Mt Gibson
direction, and it stopped near a gate of mine.
Looking more intently, I could see a station wagon with smoke
coming from it, so I raced down to it to see fire consuming the
vehicle, on the middle of the road while the driver stood back in
safety.
I was panicking, because with my biggest crop of thousands of
acres on each side of the road, and one spark in it, and I would
have lost everything, but my guardian angel was there again as the
day was, so still, it never got to the scrubby road verge, or my
paddocks.
The chap was a shearer, coming from up north and he had two
twenty litre tins of petrol, and two batteries with terminals still
attached, on the floor in the back and the terminals jiggled around
until they had shorted against one of the patrol containers.
Setting it a light, he was lucky to have got out of the burning
station wagon.
I ran him to Kalannie, as it was on my way home, after we had a
long wait for the fire to die down in the burned out wreck.
When I carted my bulk super after 1973, from the train at
Kalannie, I used my Clark shovel and loader, to load the truck
from the train. This was very or extremely dusty, but at my bulk
shed it was simply back the truck into position and tip the hoist,
once the load was off, I use my Chamberlin 9G front end loader, to
push the super up to its finished position, to get the three hundred
ton under cover.
Now at seeding, we loaded the grain section on the bulk bin on the
truck, with a twenty-nine foot auger for the grain from the seed
silo, and the front-end loader for super part of the truck bin from
the bulk super shed, the nitrogen varied according to type.
We had a self-supporting sheering team for three successive years,
and they set up their caravans, in the lean to shed to the south of
my bulk super shed.
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It was fine, until at seeding time, when I found all of my seed
hoses blocking with beer bottle tops, some of the lousy shears with
perverse natures had thought it great fun, to flick their three or
more bottle tops, five nights a week for weeks, into my bulk super
dump, probably thinking it hilarious.
After the first load, I solved the problem by making a screen, of
bird netting in an hour; then I loaded the super through this, and it
screened each front-end bucket load of super
As I filled, the truck and this also solved the lumpy fertilizer
syndrome, a problem with green fertilizer, as well as the hundreds
of bottle tops in the super dump.
I used a gold detector at Mt Gibson, on one of my several detecting
expeditions; years before any gold was found there, later the mine
was opened.
I was disappointed with Mt Gibson because I only detected iron
everywhere. Little did, I know (and all others as well) in those
days, the soil and rock is loaded with gold, dissolved into the iron
rock, and now there is a mine operating twenty four hours a day
with drawing gold by the ton, we watched the lights at night when
we worked the tractors on night shifts.
While living at the Homestead, we decided to go for a drive, up to
Payne’s Find via the road near by Remlap station, which is on the
opposite side of Lake Moore from our farms.
We set off and after we were well up the east side of the lake, a
Dada emu with chicks scurrying behind strolled across the road in
front of our car.
I slowed down to a, crawl as this emu very tenderly coaxed a
dozen chicks across the road with him and some panicked and ran
back the wrong way, and were lost I thought.
Muggins me jumped out and gave chase. I caught one Chick to
show the kids. I no sooner got hold of it and Dada emu came for
me with hissing beak, clapping wings, and kicking feet and he
looked frightening, as he fluff up his feathers to appeared huge, so
I promptly got back in the car, glad to be safe behind the steering
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wheel again and out of the bush. Loosing face to my wife and kids
but a lot wiser for this lesson in things relating to nature.
Early in my time at the homestead, a load of super was ordered, as
we were short, some had set in lumps as some rain had got on the
bags before the bulk shed was built later in 1973.
We had to get it when it came on Friday the station let us know
that it was there.
Kevin and I went to get a load he was driving and backed in to the
railway truck in the wrong place.
I said better move the truck in line with the door of the rail truck,
but Kevin said its ok, she will be right Al.
A trolley each and we got loading the international, we had three
quarters of the load on, and Kevin in his haste forgot the gap and
coming backward missed the truck tray.
The wheeled bag trolley, bag of super, and Kevin landed flat on the
ground over a metre below with a bang, the handles missed him
luckily or he could have been killed, he hurt himself but cracked
hardy a trait he always had. When we handled the bags, he jerked
them and wondered why his hands got sore.
I never got blisters, because I had learned early in life that your
energy has to be used correctly in all actions to avoid injury.
He and Les were terrific workers, none better for what we were
doing; both fully experienced in the wheat sheep industries.
For lunch, Isobel had to send a half sheep at a time for five of us.
Roasted chops, a half sheep, at a time, or a leg, of mutton vanished
as well a potatoes and sweets; we ate like horses as the saying
goes.
It did, not last, that long may be a month, and then a rest until, and
the next burst may be six months later.
Les had a dog he was devoted to, and that dog would do the
impossible if Les gave the order.
He would command up, at the bore tank, it is a twelve thousand
gallon one, seven feet high.
The dog would leap in to it as easy as pie, but we had to make sure
the water was not too far from the top, or he could not get out.
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Happened to my kids one day, it can be a trap as the inside cement
gets slimy, and you cannot jump high enough, its too high to get
your arms over to pull your self up onto the rim to get out.
I nearly failed at one time myself, if the water is near the top you
float to the edge, and it is easy but, half-full and its’ dangerous to
swim in a tank by yourself.
One day Les said to his dog get him, and Garry he was eleven at
the time, and it was a stupid thing because the dog went for him,
and it has scared him of dogs, he never forgave Les for this.
I remember the time I went down the homestead salt well it was a
last resort stock water supply on the homestead and the pipe broke
off, that left me down near the bottom of this hole sixty feet deep
and no ladder to get out.
Desperation got me up to the top, by putting the back of my neck
on one wall and my feet on the other.
I worked my way to the pipe that had snapped and got out that
way, but it gave me a fright because no one knew I was down there
and the farm was, so large it could have taken a month to locate
me.
Joe was helping me unload bags of super, from the international
truck; he was setting the bags on the edge.
I could take them on my back and putting it in the stack, he
grabbed a bag and pulled it across his foot, he had thongs on, and
he let out a loud yelp, “my toe my toe quick, pull it back Al”.
His second to the big toe, was bent back in the opposite direction
to normal, completely out of joint, I grabbed it and pulled it hard to
put it back in, it looked gross.
I said now you know why I always wear boots.
It was dry that year and we exacerbated things by adding nitrogen
fertilizer to quite a lot of the crop by air plane; it was the wrong
thing for that season, any type of nitrogen fertilizer, not being slow
release nitrogen made the crop worse, some of the crop actually
died and did not make six inches in height.
That made us more careful in applying nitrogen, takes my mind
back to Department recommendations they told us at the York
farm, use DDT to control the earth mites and grubs.
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Mighty how it worked the first year, and forever after we had to
use it until the recommenders banned it, because it killed more
good bugs making the bad ones more of a problem.
Let nature operate from then on, or a quick knock down spray that
was volatile and gone in a day, with no residual effects at all that
was the lesson we learned.
Isobel was fed up with the old homestead, I had promised to build
a new house and we applied for a new subdivision from the lands
department in Perth, they were making the town of Kalannie
bigger by releasing more blocks
Isobel and I applied for one and after jumping through the red tape,
we scored a block, the conditions stated a new house had to be
built in a limited time.
We had a look at my brother’s house at York it was quite well
built, so we hired this same builder, and it was not long before it
was under way after I carted several hundred tons of sand and
gravel to get the foundations solidified and level.
He finished the five-bedroom house in a year on his own and hired
one of his daughters to cook and run errands.
We moved into in 1972 it was good to be in a nice new clean and
comfortable, roomy house and Isobel was extremely happy.
The problem of design soon showed up, as the amount of walking
caused her to get aching legs, but we joined the golf club and we
both got stronger leg muscles, though mine were like Emu legs
very thin and wiry.
Golf was our passion and in the season, we scored many trophies
as our handicaps fell continually on the sand greens. We had
lessons to learn about grass yet.
Bradley was only very little when I recall this day at work with
him.
It came lunch time and we had sandwiches and a full big tin of
peaches and his eyes got very big looking at the tin, so I said take
your pick and he ate the whole tin himself and he was, so satisfied
he had a big sleep.
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Bradley and Leith loved to come out to the farm in the Ute and
they played all day while I did the casual chores in the quiet
season.
They tried to set fire to the Ute one day, as I was drip burning the
new land to clean it up.
They played at the Ute waiting for me, I heard this commotion
coming from them and saw smoke rising, and kids dancing about
shouting, so I ran back and Bradley had lit the scrub on the wrong
side of the firebreak.
It was burning toward the vehicle, so I raced over and moved it the
kids had a fright that day.
The bigger kids got into mischief occasionally we learned later like
driving about the farm when no grown ups were about but they had
providence on their side.
Isobel drove to Northam to pick Gail and Garry up from high
school one holiday.
As I was too busy and she got a migraine headache, so at dark she
rang me to say she had driven as far as Goomalling.
She was too sick to drive any further, so to come, and get them all.
I flew down in a very quick time and then we had the problem of
two vehicles to get home, so Gail who was still a school kid of 13
got the job.
We trailed behind her as we were getting near the homestead, we
watched Gail in front starting, to wander all over the road as her
concentration flagged and in the end, we could take no more of
racing close and tooting the horn to wake her up.
Isobel said stop her please, and I will drive, so we did, that.
I in 1973 I bought a 20 ton Leyland semi tip truck from
Trevor, our Kalannie Case sales agent and machine maintenance
guy, who I relied on for years to supply almost all my machine
purchases, not only Case but also all my requirements.
Trevor was a chap, that had been an aircraft mechanic and, he set
up a business at Kalannie on the east side of town and he did, all
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my machinery repairs for years, he was as good as or better than a
partner was for me.
I was a very dedicated Case tractor owner, Dad and I having
bought our first one a LA tractor after world war two in 1945 and
staying a faithful owner, until I sold out my interest in farming in
1994, and what a great run I had by sticking to Case.
My experience started with a 32 hp kerosene model, and finish
with a 2670 4x4 diesel with hundreds of horsepower.
Easter, was the busiest usually, a rush for me as almost always, the
train at that time had half my super on it and up to fifty ton of
nitrogen fertilizer as well, so the 20 ton Leyland semi tip truck that
year, like most was kept busy. Not long after I bought the Leyland
truck, it developed an air brake leak, and as the brakes were fail
safe it would lock on once all my air had leaked out
I was at the Goodlands bin, when a hiss from the airline was heard,
it was damaged some how on the trip down there, and they were
slowly loosing the air.
I set off for Trevor’s maintenance shed in town eighteen miles
away, and I was getting there as fast as I could get the truck to take
me.
Little did, I realise until it happed, with a hundred yards to get to
Trevor’s shed the brake jammed on.
Only one side, and for a few seconds the truck pull up violently
sluing to the right, in a breaking turn the trailer pushing me on up
the road sideways, in the cab.
I was facing the railway line on my right, parallel to the direction I
drove in a jack-knifed way, and my Guardian was there, because I
was off the bitumen and on the gravel road by thirty yards.
If I had been on the bitumen, the truck would have jack knifed and
tipped over, it would be anybodies guess as to the outcome then.
The gravel allowed me to jack knife and slide to a safe stop, and
walk up to get help fifty yards up the road from Trevor’s shed.
On another trip to town in the truck one day, and my tennis
pennant, partner’s wife Denise and kids drove past in their station
wagon waving as they went by.
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I noticed she had an almost flat front tyre, and just then, my nearest
farm neighbour’s wife Joanne, shot by me also, and slammed her
brakes on to pull up right in front of me, and behind Denise the
other woman in front who had pulled up by then with a flat tyre.
Both cars were loaded with kids, and I had just and only just had
enough room the stop the empty truck without running into them,
or sluing to the wrong side, as another vehicle approached and
came by, and I told her off for almost killing us all by her
impromptu action.
Martin came to us in 1973 a chap from the east; he had been
working for the Dalwallinu shire and came to help me, he helped
for the shearing, and grading the seed oats first then wheat, he was
a fun guy. While grading the itchy oats, he lay in the rejected dust
and all the stuff from the grader that was graded out of the good
seed, it was dumped in a heap and the galahs came and fed on it.
Martin, clothed only in shorts lay on this rubbish, covered himself
up by using his Hands, to dig into and hide his body under the
itchy stuff, so that these galahs came, and fed on top of him then he
sprang out trying to grab one.
The sun was scorching, yet he never claimed he itched even with
sweat pouring off us all, because it was forty-five degrees in the
shade, so how hot it was in the sun I hate to guess.
At shearing time, we had our smoko as its known one time early in
the job.
He got his motor bike revved up, out the front of the ramp where
everyone gathered at smoko to watch him show off.
That spurred him on and he started to do, these tight figure eights
faster, and faster, in the end he came a cropper we all laughed, so
he jumped back on, the bike and went berserk on it faster, and
faster, with dust flying.
Finally he lost it and did, he come to grief and a great strip of raw
meat, got ripped from his bare right shoulder, he never made a
sound just put his bike away, and got back to work, with a big one
eighth inch deep bloody, hand size graze that looked terrible, but
he would not admit it hurt.
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This time of year was very enjoyable, as there were many people
around the shearing shed, to bring good cheer, and to help get the
job done.
The Stanley’s always came, to help us to get this job finished, so
Don could do theirs afterwards, and they had two boys, Peter, and
Ian, and Annett, one of the three daughters came and helped us as
well, their other children where not available at the time.
The crop was good it was above normal, quite a delight to behold.
The year1974 we had joined in IAEA International agricultural
exchange organization and had a Canadian trainee help harvest the
crop.
Garry had one 18 ft International header and Bob the other 585, we
took the crop off in record time for us, and we only had one
mishap.
Garry filled up his header with diesel this day, part way through
the day, and parked the Ford Ute we had just bought brand new for
$1900 dollars, behind Bob’s header as we had a drum of diesel on
it for the machines. He did not think to mention it to Bob, who had
to back his header to get his entire load in the open silo, so he
backed into the door on the passenger side of the Ute.
I was driving back from the bin, I saw from a mile away this
Canadian boy.
He was very identifiable by figure; he was standing up on the 585
header, seven feet up on the platform near the engine at the back of
it. Wringing his hands as I came up, it seemed Garry had pulled his
leg, and told him he would be mincemeat, when I got back from
the bin. He thought he was going to be roasted alive, and I had not
yet noticed the damaged Ute, I said what’s up Bob and he
sheepishly told me what had happened.
I said this is a bit of bad luck Bob, will it get us home to-night, and
as only the door was bent he said yes, and was so relieved at my
attitude, and gladly went on driving the header around the crop.
Cyclone Tracy devastated, Darwin on Christmas Eve 1974.
At Christmas time, we were having our turkey at lunch and Bob
was expecting a booked call from his Mum and Dad to come, and
the phone rang eventually hours late, relieved Bob answered it.
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His parents told him, they were delayed from the booked time for
the call, because cyclone Tracey had caused, so much phone traffic
they had to wait. We got the dreadful news of Tracy, all the way
from Canada.
The early time there from 1966-72, we lived in the Homestead
house on the block I leased, owned by the same farmer that I had
bought land from called 08.
He granted an option, to purchase this at a set price in ten years,
which was convenient for us to have this lease, and live there near
my main land we called o8.
I agreed to rent the Homestead at a high price, with this option,
little did, I realize then that this option would be exercised later the
way it was.
The ten years were most prosperous for us, the Bank I used was the
same as the chap I rented from, and he was a gambler at the stock
market and needed funds because he had over estimated in some
dealing.
When I rang the Bank, to see if my money had been paid the
manager said he won’t accept it, he wants to get out of the option,
but don’t you worry I will see it is done.
It was five o’clock, and an hour after Bank closing time that I got a
call from the Bank, to say my funds had secured my option to
purchase the homestead.
This gave us land for its original value, when this land had soared
to ten times that price by inflation, and it was worth hundreds of
thousands of dollars to us.
We went to different family homes, every month in the slack
season to hold Church meetings, that were preached by an
Anglican chap and his family, of wife and two seven and eightyear-
old kids, a boy and girl, always came with them.
They left Dalwallinu early one hot day, and decided to have a
picnic lunch, stopping in a reserve along the bitumen on the way to
our house the Homestead. While their Mum and Dad are setting up
the lunch the kids raced through the bush, and ran straight into a
repair bitumen stash or dump, that was in a shallow trench a couple
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of feet deep hidden under a very thin layer of red dust, and it was
boiling hot from the hot sun.
The kids got very bad burns, to their hands and legs as the hot
viscous black tar, stuck to their skin and they were out bush, with
no cold water or any relief, and fifty miles from the hospital at
Dalwallinu.
Another church outing that had a surprise in store for us.
We went to Petra door Rock, and a lot of the district came too.
To amuse the kid’s one of the fathers and I, set up a paper chase in
the bush near the rock, for the kids to follow.
Unknown to us grown ups, one of my children and thee others got
going the other way, as a whirly wind shifted the paper trail and
these, kids ran for a couple of hours before we knew they were
missing.
The parents were all frantically searching for their kids, and
eventually most of them came back, but three out in the front ran
on down, one of several roads that crossed there.
We got the kids together, and began to quiz them, and one kid said
he turned back, and we all swooped on that, and asked to be shown
where he had got to before he turned back.
Off he ran, and I followed in the car, to the spot where he stopped,
and I drove on down the road for several miles, and here they were
scattered along the road, here one, there another, and Kareen out in
front still going flat out.
They were all lost, and not feeling very flash they were thirsty, and
tired, and that spoiled a good picnic; thank you Lord for saving
them from disaster.
The trainee boys thought that a nice swim in cool seawater was in
order, so Garry took them to the beach, surfing in Perth 1975.
At one of the beaches only to be caught in a rip, the three lads were
nearly drowned, that day.
When I say three, we finished up with Richard another trainee,
coming to our place, as the farmer where he had been working,
was so hard on him, giving him rubbish jobs for that type of hot
weather.
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He heard Bob say we were good to work for, so he came to help
us.
I found a job for him that suited him and me both, any way if it had
not been for Bob and the surfboard he used, that is what saved
them all from drowning that day.
Later that year David and Garry took a motor bike each on the
back of the Ford Ute, and headed for Darwin to check it out, as the
damage was something to behold.
They had several experiences like ram a kangaroo and tried to
drown in a fast flowing Ord river irrigation drain.
They had a look at Darwin and the whole place was flattened, so
they did, not hang around, came back and were in a particularly
sparse area and were hurrying at sunset.
The roo’s were now coming across the road, to nibble the odd
shoots of green along the edge of the bitumen, and wouldn’t you
know it, they hit one and busted the radiator.
What to do, way up there, they made the Ute ok to drive
temporarily and went on, keeping an eye on the heat gauge,
stopping and letting the motor cool as needed.
They found this guy on the only place on the road, for two hundred
miles in either direction, there was no competition, and he stuck at
this work of repairing break down traffic. We later found a
Mormon chap there in business.
The guy scrounged the road right and left for these wrecks, as he
had free range of the road up in that part of the world, all were in
his yard, all that were abandoned; he had collected all the broken
cars and any wreck that the wild life had caused.
The part was found with a sigh of relief the boys came home.
They got to Dalwallinu, to be pulled over on the road verge and the
cops searched the Ute.
Found Garry had put his 22 rifle under the Ute seat, of course they
put the boys through the third degree, thinking that they had an
ulterior motive for the gun, and it was confiscated until several
months went by making Garry angry.
They made him apply for a permit to get a new license, to get his
own gun back, this finished the Darwin story.
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Everything went well in the year 1975 just the usual except, I
bought two second hand twenty four run Chamberlain combines
seeders, with tynes and bigger boxes they made the seeding a
breeze, and it was done with a small seed box to spread the Cyprus
clover further.
The September rains were good, with thee inches in the first week
of the month.
October we had a thunderstorm on 9 October that filled the grain
crop to a bumper status.
I put in to IAEA for two trainees knowing that the wheat was, so
good I knew that it was a big job, for Garry and I, so it was
arranged to have a girl, and a boy, come for that year.
Providence must have ordained this action because in, November
the girl was kitchen aid and Isobel went gardening and blow me
down her back went out.
She was crippled for six months with excruciating pain, and this
Danish trainee took her place for the wheat and after those crops
were harvested, one hundred fifty bales of wool was shorn.
She prepared and delivered the meals at lunch 12 noon, twentyfive
miles from town to the 08 shearing shed, five days a week
with one near miss.
I had bought Isobel a new Gemini, a light green colour a good little
4-door sedan.
Graeme my brother in law talked me into it, when he was working
for Luscombe’s car sales at Northam
Tova the trainee, was shown the way to get to the shed, and I asked
her the first day of shearing, can you remember the way to get to
the shearing shed and she said yep.
When she brought the meal that first day of shearing, she almost
met with disaster.
She was sailing along and came unexpectedly, to a right hand
corner suddenly, and she had no option because she had no where
to go but round it, and she was going too fast, so fish tailed several
times before getting control again.
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She arrived, to have only spilled some of the sweets, this fright was
a good lesson, and she drove with more care ever after on the
gravel.
Tova took over every house chore for our family for months, she
was a gem, and my gratitude will always be extended to her for her
great response to a serious situation for us.
What an experience for a eighteen year old foreigner in a strange
country, to have the full responsibility of a five bed roomed house
full of people, all summer and a three member shearing team every
day of the week for a month, with two young children at home as
well.
The other trainee Lars drove one header and Garry the other until
the last one thousand acres in the homestead flat.
Garry then took Isobel to Perth to a Chiropractor, and she had
treatment for a month with no improvement, so went to Northam
hospital for three weeks, all the time they stretched her leg with
weights, which were terrible to put up with, and actually made the
problem worse.
Getting back to the 1974-5 harvest, when we had cleaned up after
harvest and shearing Tove, Garry, Lars left Australia to tour New
Zealand, and then Europe. Garry was starting an IAEA job with a
German family, it was for six months, and then he was going to
work six months in Canada, that was the plan.
I could tell it was useless, so brought Isobel back home.
The first night home, she stated to get screaming pain.
We went to Dalwallinu hospital to get relief and they gave her
morphine for a night, then I brought her home to go on waiting for
her next appointment with a specialist in Perth who her Aunt Grace
recommended.
When she had been given that first milogram x ray they could not
locate the problem, so she came home again for a week until, the
procedure could be repeated.
This time they found the trouble further down her spine and the
specialist operated, and removed the offending extruded material
from the disc.
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He was able to cut out a mouse-sized lump of problem; she then
began a long recovery period.
In 1976 this near disaster I had a pair of chaps from Victoria come
to see me after visiting the York farm there was some connection
with the Eastern state relatives of my Auntie Alice, Dad’s sister,
they suggested that while in the West see all the Hewett’s.
When visiting Dad, he suggested they might like to ask me for a
seeding job and they did, and I was happy to give them tractor
driving and preparatory seeding work
Their names being Norm and Trevor, it was an enjoyable period as
we came to like their company and they enjoyed working for us.
I was fully employed getting things for them to do, as being farm
kids they only had to see a job and it was done in next to no time,
The wide hydraulic harrows lifted and I used them on a large area
of stubble each year they put all the straw and loose mallee roots in
rows. We burned and it cleaned the ground ready for fallowing
again the rotation was very short as the land grew very little until
half a ton of phosphate had been used on it then the feed started to
grow voluntarily.
On this day, we were having a problem with the front-end loader
and Norm took the engine cover off to get at the engine.
Some small detail I do not remember now what it was but he fixed
it and put the cover back on when he clipped the catch to hold this
lid on his thumb caught in the generator fan belt and was dragged
under this belt.
It tore a big lump of meat from his hands and finger we raced him
back to the homestead and put antiseptic on it when Isobel saw the
mess she was taken aback at the cool way.
Norm was, unruffled and nonchalant we would get him to the Dr,
“no not necessary" said Norm; it got better in a week, but it did not
stop him working in the meantime.
The crop seeding was complete and the guys wanted to leave, so
they went to Dowerin and tried to cash my cheque there, and the
Bank would not cash it. It meant they had to go all the way to
Dalwallinu to my Bank to get the money, it was quite a big cheque,
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as they never drew any of their wages they left them to
accumulate, so to get fuel to go home east the cash was needed.
A couple of phone calls would have saved the boys two hundred
miles of time and travelling fuel, that Bank needed a shake up
think what the tourism industry suffered because of this poor
service at the Dowerin Bank.
Two nights after the boys left to go back Norm’s father rang to ask
us if he could speak to his son and as they had just gone.
Not knowing where to we could not help except say some where in
Queensland. It was sad that Norm’s younger brother had killed
himself by running his motor bike into a cow, and we could not
give their contact address to the caller.
Strange to say, the guy’s read the death notice in a paper their
purchases were wrapped in, at a place they stopped at in
Queensland a week later, what a dreadful shock.
The trainee for the 1976 -7 harvest was Peter, and he and I did the
poor harvest in record time as it was a very patchy harvest and
only yielded around ten bushels per acre, the galah’s and
cockatoo’s and the mice plagues had been bad that season.
The poorest patches of crop were left unharvested for the sheep, so
the sheep had feed that summer that is what the birds and mice had
left in these patches.
One day I returned from the bin just ahead of a terrible looking
thunderstorm and I remember the look on Peter’s face as we
watched this great rolling red dusty thundercloud coming across
the next-door farm.
It was terrifying for him because he did, not know what it was not
having experienced any Australian thunderstorms before and I
think it looked like the end of the world to him.
We jumped in the Ute after putting all the machines in a very poor
bare spot and racing back to home before the downpour started
It was funny to me on day after harvest when Peter the Norwegian
trainee and I were checking the water, a twelve thousand gallon
tank and troughs one very hot January and the sheep were camped
in the shade at one of my shady little dry lakes or sink holes and
they spotted us at the tank.
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That made them come to the water at the run, by the time they got
near they were racing in a three thousand mob, creating a huge
dust cloud of red dust and Peter started to get panicky thinking he
would be killed by the stampede of the sheep and I cracked up
laughing.
Isobel, Bradley myself helped the processes of Isobel’s healing by
taking a train trip to her Sisters in Canberra in the year 1977
The plans we made meant looking for a manager Graeme took the
offer, so we bought a Caravan and that was their home on the farm
as they only had the one child, then Mary was her name and pre
school still, so it was the way to go.
The one and a quarter inch Polly water pipe that I ordered came on
the train and Graeme and I shot into town to load it on my dodge
Ute we had almost finished loading and there was one roll left and
I had to move the vehicle forward to fit it on the tailgate.
Graeme stood behind and I moved forward, the large rolls tipped
back and caught Graeme on the windpipe, between the rail truck
and the huge number of backward leaning pipe rolls.
He was frantic for air, and I was frantic too because if I went
forward it would press harder on him, if I moved back it would
squash him, but somehow the guardian angel fixed things I don’t
know how we got out of trouble, but we did,.
We finished loading and took the pipe home to the shed.
Graeme and I put the crop in dry, as it was, so dry it did, not rain
more than a point or two before leaving for Canberra.
The crop did, not germinate until August that year, it was a disaster
for most of the farms in the wheat belt, and including us, we had 6
bushels to the acres seeded.
By the time, the train booking came due, our crop was in the
ground, and the trip to Canberra was to get underway on the Indian
Pacific train, to have a different holiday, so that the serious back
operation Isobel had gone through could settle promptly we
travelled to Canberra in leisurely style.
Bradley was four years old and being cooped up in the train got
him cranky by the time we arrived in Melbourne.
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He was hard to handle, so I remember as we waited for the
connecting train we waited by the Yarra River and fed the swans
and he had really had enough we were unable to calm him down.
We tried everything he looked, so rebellious in his little leather
cowboy suit Garry had sent him from overseas while with the I A
E A. organization
When it came time to board the train to Canberra, as we waited at
the station this old lady started to talk to us, and she had cases
everywhere and, Isobel found it most amusing as this older woman
subtly manoeuvred me into helping get her stuff loaded.
I went out of my way to carry her great big case as well, as ours
while she had a very modest two and, I struggled with my ‘now’
double burden.
On the connection at last and it moved off, the guard informed us
that Isobel was the only one that had a single sleeper, so he took
Bradley and I to a separate section.
In the morning, there was the guard again, telling Bradley and I to
follow him to the carriage Isobel slept in.
The guard, he by now was in a panic, she was locked in, as the
door would not open, and the train stop was coming very soon.
As the guard was trying to take the door off, as he could not stop
her panic, enough to explain to her how to unlock her door.
Hearing him, scratching around in the passage made her think
someone was up to no good and it frightened her.
What I did, I calmed her down, she unlocked it the way the guard
guided us, and we all got off ok but embarrassed.
We spent three weeks in Canberra, and I was very cold we went to
Perisha snow resort one day with Hans Yvonne’s Husband and had
a lovely day tobogganing in the snow.
By late afternoon the car park had turned to mud, it came in
freezing, we went to a nightspot, I sat next to this wee little lady,
and she ate that much food we all were stunned and amazed.
Had a game of golf with Yvonne and Brett her son he was eleven
and wanted more of it, but his step father thought Golf was for
toffs, so discourage him.
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Donna was thirteen, I think not certain but she looked after Brett
while Yvonne worked as a typist for some army head, high in the
army top Brass.
We flew to Sydney, one day and found it a, beautiful city there was
a round of things to visit and the bridge, and opera house, were
lovely, also we had lunch on the harbour saw the sights, then got a
hair-raising taxi back to the airport, and we flew back at dark to
Canberra as night came.
The holiday went too quickly as we now had the long train trip
back across the Nullarbor
It’s a small world as the chap in Bradley’s and my compartment
was the brother of a girl, I had taken a shine to at my Uncle Watt’s
place at Mundijong when we went there on holidays as kids, to
play with Uncle Watt’s and Auntie Mins ten kids in 1938-40.
We often went to Mundijong in the holidays, so I could see her and
play with all of the kids every day it was playing in bliss.
An interesting incident in Northam on arrival there we
disembarked, at four in the morning, so I decided to run up the
main street toward Newcastle road where Gail and Chris lived.
I was keeping warm by running, and this cop car picked me up and
wanted to know who I was, where I had come from, and what I
did, and did not believe me, thought they had bagged a criminal.
They asked the address I was going to, thinking it would trap me
they said hop in, we will drive you there it was a surprise when
Chris greeted me at his door; I thanked them for the lift.
We rested for the day went shopping the next day to get back to the
house in Kalannie it was almost Christmas 1977.
Graeme and family were ready to go back to York to take up a job
there he suggested Joshua might like to come to Kalannie for
seeding the next year. The rain had been scarce the crops were the
worst we ever had that Canberra holiday year.
Joshua Taylor from York who’s wife had got leukaemia later in the
year, 1978 my first contact with a person from the SDA family
church, and learned a few bits and pieces about those of that faith
but not much until ten years later.
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Joshua only helped prepare before Easter because his wife got ill,
and then I had a couple of other lads come, and work for seeding,
and some fallowing, Alan and his mate and Kareen, came home
from her city trials.
It was Kareen and Alan who helped with the seeding, and all went
smoothly except the mice had been bad, overnight when we
stopped work, they climbed into the hose pipe on my seeding
equipment blocking the seed and fertilizer to make my anger rise
having to stop seeding and waste time cleaning these blocks.
I got going in the morning and on looking back, I could see mice
popping back up and scampering away, one time I remember it
was the start of the seeding year and all the things were fixed ready
to go when it rained.
Except the thirty foot auger, had to have the motor set up, when it
was on its holder.
I started it for a test, and there was a pile of mice some chopped in
pieces, by the time they stopped coming out there was a heap that
would fill a half forty four drum, even though mice and dogs cats
kids and everyone had the time of their lives killing mice.
When we had the summer, rain and paddy, melons grew in some
fallow paddocks.
The mice loved dried paddy melon seeds and thrived, some years
the mice were, so bad that there would be a mouse family of a
dozen in holes at one yard centre’s over thousands of square miles.
The weather was just right and nothing wiped them out some
seasons if the summer rain fell just right
We had some fun at the homestead I would scatter wheat for the
sheep to find, then on a bushel heap of grain place a tarp.
Of course, the sheep would smell the grain and come stamping,
and the mice would panic and hid under the tarp and then are
squashed by the feet of hundreds of sheep looking for the grain
they could smell. Farms had millions of mice in no time they breed
that quickly. It was the cold; they were trying to escape late in the
year, so the pipes that direct the seed into the furrow behind the
tynes, were full.
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I nearly pulled my hair out at times because the person from the
land knows instantly what to do whatever it is, and what seems is,
so obvious to a farmer, yet it is not visible to the uninitiated farm
worker. A case in point I was sleeping after a long shift and Alan
was driving the tractor fallowing, he hit a big stump and the
drawbar pin bent, so it came out and would not stay in to pull the
machine, so he drives ten miles home to wake me and ask how to
solve this. I was half asleep but said place the pin on the solidest
part of the machines frame and straighten the pin with a hammer
then it will work. On an other occasion he got off the furrow (fell
asleep) and he was lost, so he sighted a light away on the horizon
and with the plough full depth cut a furrow diagonally down the
hill leaving this trench for one and a half miles to find the truck to
drive home, what a mess.
When next seeding time came, I bumped over this trench every
round of the paddock, when all he had to do, was use his hydraulic
leaver to raise the plough out of the ground.
He lost the plough one night, so he came home not able to find it in
the dark. What he had to do, was follow the furrow or back track to
where he first lost the plough.
However, drive a car there is none better I would never get in his
hot rod but one day I had no alternative and we sailed down the
road when he thought here we go.
He did, a hand brake turn, at sixty MPH on a narrow gravel road
with big trees on both sides, and we were going forward still yet
facing the way we had come, and when the tyres got hold, we shot
back the way we came.
Moving back to that year seeding we eventually got all the seed in
and Rod went to an other job but Alan had asked the garage in
Dalwallinu to get this hotter and bigger motor and like dill, I let
him get it before his wage would pay for it.
Any way after fallowing finished, he kidded me to let him get it
installed and he would take a trip up in the gold fields.
Therefore, off he went to Dalwallinu and Isobel and I were left
home to have for a short time, peace and quiet. A long weekend to
have to our selves as Garry was still away over seas.
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On Saturday at two in the morning, my phone went and it was
Alan up at Payne’s find, I said who is there and Alan answered
telling me his trouble, it seemed the guy in the garage had run a
plastic oil pipe where the motor got hot, and it had melted and all
the oil pumped out. The car seized he wanted me to get him several
hundred miles away I flatly refused and went back to bed I never
got my money from that deal.
Alan came back eventually but I told him to pack up and beat it, he
did pack up and leave as we had finished tractor work for the year.
We went to Fremantle to meet the ship Garry came from Thailand
on a and we could not see him, all the passengers were lined up
there yet Garry we could not see him, any way after the mob came
ashore. This Guy said hello Mum Hello Dad. It was Garry under
this two-year beard that he had grown, we got used to it in time,
and now rather like him with it as he now looked very
distinguished.
The trainee that came for harvesting 1978 was a Norwegian by the
name of Hans, this year we had a big crop I thank God after the
part failed ones. A morose boy Hans the moodiest we had
encountered, so he lived out in our campervan, his desire, I might
add, in the bottom of the yard by the swimming pool we had put in
when Lars was working for us Hans was still a good worker but
very reserved. He and I were invited to Wongan Hills Rotary Club
to give a talk on IAEA.
Lars was without doubt the best male trainee of half a dozen that
was our pleasure to employ. Lars had dug the hole by mechanical
digger and helped us install the fibreglass swimming pool in it.
After it was all set, I changed things in the second year to an
automatic chlorine salt setup.
The WATERMAID Chlorination system will drastically reduce purchasing or adding
sanitizing chemicals such as liquid or granular chlorine. It will, also minimize the
hazards of handling and storing of chlorine chemicals.
Not only will you have the peace of mind that the WATERMAID chlorination system is
keeping your pool, clean, clear, sparkling and sterile, but you will, also enjoy other
benefits of swimming in mild salt water, such as,
• No Sore Stinging Red Eyes.
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• No Smelly or Itchy Skin
We had all the natural salt lakes to bag up free salt from and add it
to the pool water. Then the electric filter box did, our filtering and
chlorine adding for us to keep it clean and I only had to skim the
leaves out once a week and add a small quantity of Demetrious
earth to the pool. I needed to complete it was a creepy crawly to
have made my pool arrangement complete.
Lars came back to Australia in the spring of two thousand he
dropped his son with a family of farmers in Victoria for experience
and after he had a big heart operation in hospital in Melbourne to
fit a new heat valve that had failed after arriving in Victoria.
He flew especially to Western Australia to visit us.
We were thrilled at all he told us about his tremendous
achievements of having developed the largest dairy in Denmark
Europe and that Tova was married to the then Minister for
agriculture.
The kids spent all their time in our pool, I had to upkeep it and
once the children left everything was too much work for me and no
one used it any more. Sometimes Garry or Kareen would have
some boozy mates over one in particular showed off, he climbed
well up the hundred foot television aerial and jumped from, twenty
feet up it and I began to wish I had no pool because it would be
only a matter of time before there was an accident.
I gladly let it run wild for six months not for long, because we
rented the house in 1980 to Ann, John, and the year later sold it to
them for a price fair to all of us.
We granted them a second mortgage with very low interest to pay.
Their kids were the right age for a pool; they invited their mates
over to enjoy it.
I hit several roos in my Kalannie Goodland faming days, taking the
kids to high school in Northam was the worst hazard because it
was mostly returning at night and sailing along at seventy
kilometres an hour and they came out of the scrub, which hid them,
and you, would have no chance to avoid the beggars.
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The green shoots that come after a thunderstorm attract them to the
bitumen for the succulent bite.
I remember at seeding time once when we had just bought a brand
new 202 Holden that was a bright blue station wagon.
It was only a week old just run in and I took the kids to Northman
this night.
On the way home, I came to open country and thought that I could
speed up, but this roo came out of the dark and I hit it with one
heck of a bang.
It shot under the right front wheel and up we went right up on the
right side, as I was air borne for a moment then skidded to a stop.
There was a chap in the paddock seeding and he was having a cup
of tea in the truck to warm up and not more than a quarter of a mile
out from the road
I examined my damage only bent panels thank God, so drove off
unknown to me until later the bloke in the paddock got in his
vehicle and drove round to the gate onto the road to pick up my
wreck, he was, so sure he would find me upside down but only
found a dead roo.
I return to my roo troubles here now.
Another time in the Ford Ute on the way home from harvest one
evening Garry was the driver, the trainee Bob sat in the centre seat
with me on the outside.
A roo just a flash, hit the door at my left side bang, if that roo had
jumped six inches higher he would have hit my elbow as I had it
on the ledge, and a foot higher he would have come into the cab,
that does not bear thinking about.
When thousands of emus came through a break in the emu fence,
the year was 1972 they got everywhere.
We had one that annoyed me every time I went down to look at my
sheep on the three blocks of land, as I came over the hill at the
cross road they went though that crop from corner, to corner, and if
a car came the other way down the main road they ran to the other
corner.
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From one corner, to the other flattening the wheat each time, in the
end we drove the Toyota flattop Ute after a small mob, and ran
them down to get rid of these destructive pests
It seems brutal but we would loose the crop, if they were not killed
and to shoot with a 22 was a worse death for them as they, would
go away wounded and linger for weeks, as that would almost
certainly be the case if the 22 rifle was used.
My neighbours land was sandier and he had a paddock where the
sand on his side of the uncleared fence line was blown up three
quarters of its height, so his sheep broke in to mine.
Now I was on my own, and he phoned me up to give me the news
our sheep have got mixed up.
To get them separated out we had to pick the pinker colour ones
from the whiter ones.
Pinker sheep were mine and that is how we drafted, I wonder how
many of my sheep went the wrong way and vice versa.
1979 a Fair season, so we bought a house at Beatie road
Waggrakine to refurbish.
1980 This was a very good year, so we made the arrangement and
leased to Mr X and Mr W from after harvest 1980, 1981
1981 Sold the house at Kalannie to J & A Harris after they had
rented it a while.
The camper van we bought second hand, was set up on the flattop
Toyota diesel Ute, we were going to Goldsworthy mining area just
north of Port headland, then turn south there to go down to
Wittenoom, for a look around with good friends Gordon and
Glenys. We were to meet them at Geraldton two hundred and fifty
kilometres away.
Our younger two girls Leith was at Chidden remedial school for
her reading difficulty and Kareen was at York with my Brothers
wife at their York farm.
Geraldton was where we dropped Bradley to stay with Gail, but
Gordon and Glenys where late and we wondered why.
Checking the windmill to ensure stock water was ok before leaving
home Gordon took the cover off to look at the gears, he slipped,
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and to stabilize himself grabbed the pump rod guide, as it was an
instant reflex to save a fall.
It moved up, as the breeze pushed the wheel slowly round and the
pump rod, caught his fingers eventually when he got free, luckily,
he could.
He had to have medical treatment for a broken finger, and we
ribbed him for the whole three weeks we were away, as he had the
finger stuck out and set in plaster.
We had a great time we went via millstream and we would stop
each day for a cup of tea in the tea breaks between our main meals.
This day we invited them to have a cup with us, we all lined up at
the door of our van.
When the door was opened, you should have seen the mess, the
fridge was emptied onto the floor.
Fruit, jam, honey, the cutlery and crockery had all slid out of the
cupboards onto a floor covered with thick red dust it was horrific
we were dumbfounded that morning, thereafter the units that could
be pinned shut were never forgotten again, this lesson worked well.
When we got to Mount Newman we decided to all go to a drive in
picture show in one car, so their Holden was the way to go, well
that night it was a Japanese Cowboy picture that was on, and we
laughed ourselves silly, it was a lovely memorable night.
From there we went to South Headland and set up at the caravan
park.
In the morning it was decided on go on a round trip to Wittenoom
Gorge we went in Reynolds Holden and it was a long way round as
we flew down this lonely track we met a vehicle with the
occupants waving us to stop.
It was way out in the dry withered Spinifex desert, on this flat
straight treeless track of a road, and we stopped to see what they
were waving us down for, they were highly excited babbling don’t
turn east whatever you do.
We got stuck in a sandy creek out there for a day, when a shire
truck came and pulled us out they told us they only travelled that
area once a month and no one ever goes that way.
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They were so pleased to get help in a little over a day, when they
knew if no help came in a couple of days they would die of thirst.
We did not intend to go anywhere, other than to Wittenoom Gorge
to look at the tourist places Glenys, Gordon, and I flew over the
whole place.
We had just about completed out tour and the pilot got right down
with wingtips below the gorge cliff top, and that was Glenys’s final
straw she lost her lunch and had to use the paper bag.
I had told the pilot I flew gliders and he probably thought to
himself, I’ll see what he’s made of or fix him.
We hung on but we started to feel a little green when the pilot went
back to the strip and landed, Isobel could see by our faces it was
better she had kept on the ground.
The little tourist shop had lots of things to look at we spent hours
looking at the trinkets and jewellery, before continued back to Port
Headland, and we got home late after a very long sightseeing day.
Early in the morning, the four of us were going into the town to
have a look at it and this tall black guy took a shine to Isobel and
myself.
He latched on and we were his long lost friends he would not let us
go, and he was slightly inebriated and without doubt, the ugliest
man I or any of the others had ever met, but a nice chap from a
mission, you certainly do not, judge a book by its cover, because
you cannot.
The next trip was back from Headland to Marble Bar we followed
Gordon and Glenys in our Toyota flattop.
The road was shocking it was the bumpiest road I can remember
driving on up until this time.
Dusty and corrugated loose gravel, after hours of his dust we
passed this little van, it was so small the smallest I have seen, and
we followed it for miles before he eventually stopped to let us pass
as he was crawling, so slow he actually stopped with a flat tyre.
Eventually we got to Marble Bar and set up for tea and a chat with
Gordon and Glenys then went to bed.
In the morning we looked out of the van window in the early semi
light, these two blokes were banging and making an awful noise
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for that time of the day, and later Isobel was telling Gordon how
these two dopey men had woken her up with all their noise.
Gordon very sheepishly said, “That was me” helping the guy in the
miniature van fix his tyre that he busted the day before when we
passed it coming to town.
Isobel was taken aback at not recognizing the noise makers.
We had a good look at this wet marble in the bar across the creek.
The pub had some special characters that latch on to any tourist
that called there, always put the bite on them for drink money.
My sister Elsie had taught school in the town, a couple of years
before.
When over on the rocks in the creek, I’ll never forget the time, we
were all talking and exploring the rocks.
Isobel let out a scream, “snake” and Gordon was instant action he
grabbed a stick and whammed it’s head, Glenys and I looked at
each other and smiled she commented in her dry way to me, look
at Sir Galahad.
The snake was down in a crack a good way off from us and no
acute danger to anyone.
The rest of that trip has faded from my mind because of other early
trips we had, especially the one Isobel and I took afterwards in
1986, in the four-wheel drive we purchased in 1985, this was one
that lasted thirteen thousand miles, over nine weeks and the Drover
pulled a cockle shell two wheeled camper van that distance.
For a total cost, of six hundred and fifty dollar fuel cost, that’s a
cheap nine-week holiday half way round Australia from Geraldton
north to Darwin, down to Port Augusta, and then back to
Geraldton, via York.
Most of our stops were in van parks, some were off the beaten
track, but we never felt comfortable unless people surrounded us,
there have been too many cases of loners meeting disaster, by
some demented type when alone in the outback, the Devil comes
out to drive them on in frenzies of killing.
On another holiday in the south of Western Australia at Kojonup
Caravan Park one night, I woke to hear some one trying to steal
our gas tanks.
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They were secured with light chain to the trailer and we were lying
in bed, inches through the tent canvas when they try to steal them,
so I yelled “get out you damn thief,” and all we heard instead of
rattling chain was, the pounding of hard running feet going into the
distance.
Back to my tale, I was on when this other thought came up.
Then a long haul to Broome on the way we stopped at Onslow
where we parked in the van park under some tamarisk trees. In the
night the dew, dripped all over out camper and the dyed red dust
caused blotches all over the tent part as it dripped the water mixed
with iron ore, a dust that coated every thing in the towns in the
north-west, it made the camper look a spotty mess.
There was a huge mud crab in Karratha that I hooked in the little
creek only to have it escape, as none of us was game to grab it.
On the way from the beach to Town Isobel and I were on our own
this trip. We called at the crocs zoo, it was late, and they gave us
permission to look at the crocs. In a hurry as we walked past one,
he looked asleep and we got a terrible fright, when one minute the
ugly brute lay over at the back of it’s pen perfectly still asleep.
The next instant it was just jammed against the rabbit wire fence
within inches of us, in a flash ready for a meal, if it could get
through the wire we would have been that meal.
When we got back to the Toyota the starter motor was too weak to
start the engine, Isobel panicked but I turned the fridge off and
waited twenty minutes then anxiously tried again, it started I thank
God.
We were warned that stingers were in the sea at Cable beach after
we had one swim, testing the beautiful cable beach, although we
never saw any of these pests.
Some people got stung we heard on the radio as we left for Derby
to camp in a van park there, while there Isobel had a green pair of
comfortable shoes nicked, when we were out looking at everything
in the area, including the boab trees including the one used as a jail
once.
Next stop was the trip out to tunnel creek where we camped in the
bush, and in the morning, we met a nice couple from NSW.
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Visiting the same sites as we were and at Tunnel Creek, we teamed
up and explored a tunnel that cuts through the hills together.
Then we visited some caves, and finally travelled on to Halls creek
where I bought an aboriginal shield, carved from the local timber it
cost me a five dollar note.
The next place we spent the night at was Turkey Creek, now it has
a different name Warming Birding.
Once known as Turkey Creek, this Aboriginal town has good
birding.
Birds seen there included Grey Fronted Honeyeater, Brown
Falcon, and Great Bowerbird.
If you are planning to visit this town, it is a 'Dry' town, so leave
your alcohol at home.
Turkey Creek when we stayed there was just a petrol stop and
eating house with some Temporary units to spend the night, it has
a beautiful setting, with a huge escarpment on the East rising up
blotting out the sun till ten o’clock before reaching the units; it is a
very attractive place.
We headed to Wyndham where we walked on the jetty and
watched the 30 feet tide come in; there where millions of mullet in
the first rush of water through the mangrove on the shore, with hot
mud and huge mosquitoes everywhere.
It was so hot there we headed for Kununurra to the park for a
shower and a rest, the town was only moderate in size in those
times, but good shopping by comparison to most other North West
towns.
When we had been there a day or two we had people camp next to
us. It was surreal I watched this guy setting up camp, and the old
lady with him disappeared, then on looking back that way I saw
her ankles and her ten toes pointed heaven ward from the shade
side of their tent.
She must have been overcome by a long hot trip, it turned out they
came up the Gibb river road, a terrible bumpy road.
I saw this guy come running over and grab the rubbish bin, and
then he clambered on to it to plug his power in.
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Then it dawned on me he was so small, and until he got onto the
rubbish bin it had escaped my attention, he was may be four feet
six inches high.
The next day at teatime, they had a barbecue blazing up cooking a
pan of meat chops next door to us, and all of a sudden, this
passenger plane came over the tent, it was not fifty feet above the
old lady and us we all got such a fright, she lost her tea in the fire.
It sounded as if the second coming was happening for a moment, a
sudden loud din.
All the Government ministers and press mob were up attending
their yearly meeting, and the pilot gave them a close up of
Kununurra that evening at sundown; as the van park is very near
the end of the runway the plane was only just airborne as it flew
over us.
We introduced ourselves to these two, and they had lived in
Geraldton, as he was a crayfish inspector in the past.
Being, short he had no authority, and he was scared off by these
blokes and their threats, he said one guy told him he would finish
up as Cray bait, in his pots, so he left Geraldton and the job.
After this, we moved on to see Lake Argyle and on the way in to
see the dam we noticed a little turn off saying Durack’s folly.
Isobel said go down here and I said no, well we went on to see all
the sights at the dam and on the way back, she insisted let’s go
down Durack’s folly sounds interesting.
I turned onto the track and after a mile or two; the track showed a
lot of deep central erosion so there was no way but forward.
The drover and Van would turn over if I tried a turn, so we kept on
going mile, after mile, there was no way out, and then when it
looked like we would never find the end.
We found a place were it flattened and came to the end of
Durack’s folly, it had stopped Durack, and it stopped us.
The idea that Durack had was a short cut from Argyle to Wyndham
and the mountains and ravines beat him, it was just too hard.
So we went all the way back the 20 miles at 5 MPH and I tease
Isobel to this day, saying Isobel’s folly that is what it was that day.
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From Durack’s folly we went on through Timber Creek, leaving
the fuel cap on the roof for at short time after I retrieved it, we then
moved on to this place Spring Vale Station, N.T we could shower,
swim, and freshen up it was very nice after the long un-showered
period. While at Spring Vale Station, one of the fellow campers
was swimming in the river and he came face to face with a fresh
water croc, after he mentioned that we stopped swimming there.
We drove through Katherine on to Katherine Gorge and as we
parked in the car park were surprised to see a huge ten-foot long
goanna as big as a dog, wandered across the park.
Not frightened of us, or in any hurry to get out of sight, the next
thing that caught Isobel’s eye were these lovely blue kookaburras
and she was smitten.
We had a swim in the gorge pool where most people swim and
then I decided it was time to go on our way.
I remember that night we spent at Geikie Gorge one of these lovely
gorges near the Katharine gorge, it is the next one nearer to Darwin
and being late almost dark the ranger gave us this site which was
covered with scrub, because the park was full. Therefore, it was
difficult to get the ground sheet to cover this properly.
After tea, we went to bed and just as we were in for lights out
Isobel noticed, this huge white spider crawl up through the ground
sheet, where it crinkled over the scrub, and it was huge.
The size of a mans fist, we had an uneasy sleep that night,
wondering what else was going to come through and get into bed
with us. Then we went on to Pine Creek, this road is where if you
turn right you go to Kakadu the back way, if you stay on the Stuart
highway as we did, it’s on to Darwin. Not far now as Darwin was
the next town and as we came into town, I was travelling slower
than the other cars because it was very busy, they all drove at high
speed, they are all speed hogs up there and have multiple car
crashes, we saw nine in one pileup while there four days.
When we stopped at a road junction, and as I drove forward the
guy next to me leaned out his window and was furiously pointing
to my trailing van indicating something but what?
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We could hear the tyre scraping on the mudguard, behind, so at
that moment I turned right at the lights turn in front in front of us,
and low and behold, there was a caravan park. We booked in and
they found us a site. We had not gone fifty yards from the spot, at
the turn were we knew we had a serious problem with the camper
van.
After a night’s sleep, I jacked the van wheel securely, and slid on
my back under the trailer, to see the damage I had to mend.
A broken axle was the problem, after I got the axle almost off I
was almost done when these things were biting, me in fact they
were in my clothes all over me, and these ants were, so small I
could just see them but bite they did with vengeance, we had
parked on top of the nest.
The wheel was soon off the camper.
After unhooking the Drover, I drove down to a mechanic repair
place and had the axle welded up, we came back and it was
necessary to put a tarp over the ant nest to get back under to put the
axle on again. It required several attempts to get it done, because of
the ants and the heat and humidity it was unbearable.
Isobel and I went into Darwin and looked, at a housing display
where we met this nice demonstrator. He knew instinctively we
were strangers, and asked “where you from” we told him and got
talking, and commented about the hot humid weather, and he said
oh this is unusually mild to-day; you try the wet season for
uncomfortable sweatiness.
While camped there Isobel had all the windows of our tent rolled
up to try to get some slight breeze.
She was sitting with her back to one of these windows, and
suddenly a voice spoke over her shoulder, out of the silence “Dear
Diary” she whirled around and was face, to face through the
window opening with, the old guy from the tent next door,
throwing a silence breaker, to get a conversation going.
Every time he walked out of his tent, he made that same remark.
Isobel is very reserved, and just smiled each time.
When I came in she told me, and my comment was I bet his wife is
sour on him.
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When, later she came out side, we saw a woman with a face that
looked like she had eaten bitter lemons for breakfast.
We got to know him after a day or two, and he said he had a small
postal business in Queensland’s out back that they had just sold it.
To come on this trip and his wife had wanted to go somewhere else
in Adelaide South Australia.
He was not a bad person, but as I guessed, his wife was a bitter
person; she had a grudge to bear.
After four days we were pleased to leave, to visit Kakadu on the
Way we came to this Snake farm, this man collected venom, the
ring he worked in was a round tank ring of galvanized iron, a big
circle probably the same size as a single round ten thousand gallon
tank ring.
People gather all-round, and watch as he caught snakes that have
been released from a bag, they try to get away but he picks them
up with a stick and has no fear of them.
He has since died of a bite.
Some are giant carpet type snakes, and others pythons from
Kakadu and the deadly brown, snakes of all types. He did some
thing that I did not think possible, he kidded Isobel to handle a
python, and she did it very gingerly.
We went from there to fog dam, a big swamp with all sorts of wild
life and water lilies flowering away, among very sparsely spaced
paper bark trees, and with large leaved floating plants covering the
shallows, it looked pretty with the flowering lilies supporting little
birds walking on their floating leaves.
I am sure, by the occasional splash we heard, that it had fish, frogs,
crocs, and snakes living there under the water.
The storks waded there and wild geese honked, squawked, and
flew around by the million.
The gravel road we turned down that turned to the right, well along
the road east toward Jabiru. We came to Mary River, it was there
we met this old couple that had retired several years before, and
they had not, seen all the sights in the north of Australia yet. They
had lived, and travelled around in their caravan for the past ten
years.
192
We were chatting to the guy, and he was wearing only a pair of
shorts, and while talking he leaned his fat pot stomach on the bare
Drover bonnet. Did, he jump back, it was red hot with sun and
engine we were very amused he gave us great mirth for months
every time this subject came up in the conversation.
From there we went on our way to Jabiru crossed some rivers with
croc signs everywhere.
After looking over Jabiru we did, not feel welcome there, so we
headed back the way we had come, to the Coorinda turnoff to the
south, Situated amongst the natural beauty of Kakadu National
Park looking at the draping creepers of wild passionfruit in many
places, and ate a couple of them they are a bit tart.
Coorinda is the perfect place to relax, and explore the wildlife and
natural sites of this world famous Park.
Surrounding Coorinda is Yellow Water, a large billabong that
floods in the wet season and joins with both Jim Creek and the
South Alligator River.
Coorinda is the base, for the worlds renowned Yellow Waters
Cruises, where crocodiles, birds and occasionally wild horses are
seen amongst paper bark forests, pandanus, freshwater mangroves
and exotic tropical trees; we brought a cluster of pandanus seed
home with us they look, so attractive growing, only to have them
confiscated at the WA boarder later.
It is, also home to thousands of Australia's magnificent bird
species.
We parked in the parking bay next to a unit, and every time we had
a shower we had giant mosquitoes waiting outside the showering
water ready to get us, so it was out side into the blazing sun again,
as soon as possible as that was more effective, as mozzies hate
strong sunlight.
The half-day river cruise was lovely, we saw wallabies, the saltwater
crocs, and bird life, wild cattle, buffalo.
The fruit bats were thick and very noisy as the sun went down, and
the fish frenzy when tapping on the water they all gathered waiting
to be fed, it was a spectacle to behold when done, I sure would
keep my fingers clear of them.
193
The humid weather was very hard to bare, we noted wallabies at
the lagoons, and water was plentiful in the timbered flats.
Made us realize just how much water there would be in the wet
season, as the towering gorge cliffs showed great fallen tree trunks
stuck fifty feet up, in the forks of higher standing ones, and flood
debris everywhere high up on them.
The road was flooded in front of us, and all these motorists parked,
not game to cross, we just squeezed by, and bucked and rocked our
way across, the flowing creek water forming a wave in front.
Across the water, we then sped up and headed toward Edith River,
down the Road from Coorinda we could see the mining tenement
tracks, over to the south on Coronation Hill, and on we drove to
meet the Stuart Highway, which is only a little way from Pine
Creek.
We had run into Bull Dust on the road, I had never experienced
this hazard before, and it is terrible thick powdery dust a foot or
more deep. It is impossible, to pass anyone on the road when in
bull dust, we were lucky as the only vehicle we saw was a truck
going like a crazy thing many kilometres further along.
Gave me a fright because we were coming, on a bridge a hundred
yards ahead, and then this truck appeared on the far side, as it
roared round a corner, onto the bridge.
One vehicle wide taking all the bridge, then whizzed passed us,
twenty meters short of starting to make our crossing, we just
missed a crash by seconds, and he was gone in a cloud of dust we
were shaken.
Coronation Hill this we could see in the distance to our left, as we
travelled to Pine Creek.
This is a town in the Katherine region of the Northern Territory, Australia.
Now it has grown to, according to the 2001 Australian census 665 people live in Pine
Creek.
The town was founded in 1870 during the construction of the Overland Telegraph line
from Adelaide to Darwin, in 1871 workers digging holes for the telegraph line found gold
in the soil, triggering another Australian gold rush.
The Northern Territory Railway was built between Pine Creek and Darwin, reaching Pine
Creek in 1889 but closing in 1976.
The old railway station and some old rolling stock remain.
194
The Alice Springs - Darwin railway (used by The Ghan) now passes near the town.
Pine Creek Goldfields Limited opened an open-cut gold mine in the region in 1985;
however, the mine is now closed and its main pit, the Enterprise Pit, has been carefully
filled with water to prevent acid build-up.
Pine Creek is just off the Stuart Highway (the road from the south to Darwin) and is still
a notable tourist stop.
A number of events are held each year to promote the town in the region.
These include the annual Gold rush Festival, featuring the NT Gold Panning
championships and Didgeridoo Jam, the Pine Creek Rodeo and Pine Creek Races.
In 2005 a prominent resident of Pine Creek, Edward Ah Toy, was recognised as the
Northern Territorian of the year.
Arriving there in the late afternoon we turned left, continued down
onto Stuart highway, through Katherine, and back to stay the night
at Springvale Station Caravan Park, our stop on the upward way to
Darwin.
Next morning we shopped, in Katherine then drove south to
Mataranka.
Mataranka is a community of approximately 400, in the Top End region of Australia's
Northern Territory.
The town is located approximately 420 km (260 mi) southeast of the territorial capital,
Darwin, and 107 km (66 mi.) south from Katherine.
Mataranka town is located near Roper River and Mataranka Hot Springs.
This area is the setting for Jeannie Gunn’s autobiographical accounts of the year 1902
"We of the Never-Never".
The homestead, which she shared with her husband, Aeneus Gunn, until his death, has
been reconstructed near to the hot springs.
The Mataranka Station is part of the Katherine Rural College of Charles Darwin
University.
Mataranka is a township in the Northern Territory about 107 km south-east of Katherine
along the Stuart Highway.
Natural thermal pools in nearby Elsey National Park have made the town a favoured rest
stop.
Travellers can enjoy the warm turquoise waters of these natural
lagoons, read all about this; as if you dive in any of these springs
up there, take care of the very hot pools that fill from caverns that
are very deep and boiling.
Bitter Springs is a fantastically crystal clear, warm, and natural
spring.
The river banks are lined with grasses and trees, spider webs and
birdlife.
We swam 100 meters up stream, past long rushes and floated for
an hour watching, coloured rainbow birds perch in the tree-tops.
195
There is a 1.5 km loop trail walk around the river area, with signs
explaining the district vegetation and the history of the spring.
After about an hour, swimming made us weak, and we found it
was wise to get out, Isobel went back to camp, and on the way a
big roo scared her, as it raced by to find another hiding spot.
I went for a hike round the trail, and stretched my legs, and it was
interesting to see different vegetation and water holes along this
track.
The resident Little Red Flying Fox bat colony is interesting to
watch, particularly at dusk when the group leaves en masse to
search for food with a lot of noise.
We met the other couple John and Mary at nearly every stop we
made, and this continued for weeks Isobel called Garry and their
first child Elise was born and our fourth grand daughter.
That meant a celebration, we went to a show, with them that night,
to an old well-known singer, in Slim Dustie’s class his name it has
slipped my mind, yes Smokey Dawson that is his name.
We drove further south from here until we first came to a turn to
the east that led to a man made dam that held a lot of water.
It was a place for inland boats, there is a picnic area there from this
site it is a mile or two in to the town, on the other side of the road
is the airport.
Tennant Creek Airport is a small regional airport located near Tennant Creek, Northern
Territory, Australia.
Located one kilometre from the remote outback township of Tennant Creek, the airport
caters to mining companies and small predominantly Aboriginal communities in the
surrounding area, providing an important link for the local population with Alice Springs,
Katherine, Darwin and other regional centre’s.
We travelled on down the Stuart Highway to Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve;
Karlu is Tennant Creek region’s most spectacular landmark with thousands of huge,
precariously balanced boulders.
The Aboriginal people believe that these boulders are the eggs of the Dreamtime’s
Rainbow Serpent.
This collection of giant rounded boulders is strewn across a valley; these Smooth rocks
resulted from granite intrusions that occurred years ago.
Geological evidence exists that molten lava from deep within the earth’s crust was
squeezed into huge domes just below the surface and the rocky overlay was worn away
over time to expose the Devils Marbles some people say, (not me).
196
We would have gone here if I had studied the area map, as the
crater at Wolf creek back near Halls Creek in WA is a big one.
Amelia Creek crater is an impact point, one of several meteors to
crash in central Australia.
On down to a famous spot for tourists, it is just out of Alice
Springs we did not pay much attention at the time, but in time after
the US base, at Exmouth was closed in 1999, this one just out of
Alice Springs was upgraded.
Pine Gap is the commonly used name for a satellite tracking station at 23, 799 S, 133.
737 E, near the city of Alice Springs in the heart of Australia that is operated by Australia
and the US.
It consists of a large computer complex with eight radomes protecting antennas, and has
over 800 employees.
It is officially called the Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap.
It is believed to be one of the largest ECHELON ground stations and appears to be
physically and operationally similar to the signals intelligence facilities at Buckley Air
Force Base, Colorado and Menwith Hill, United Kingdom.
US government personnel at Pine Gap are believed to be mostly from the National
Security Agency and subordinate service associated agencies, and the Central
Intelligence Agency.
While much of its operation is secret, Pine Gap is known to be involved in numerous
military satellite operations.
As a result, it is occasionally targeted for protests, most recently during the war in
Afghanistan.
In 1999, with the Australian Government refusing to give details to an Australian Senate
committee on treaties, Intelligence expert Professor Des Ball from the Australian
National University was called to give an outline of Pine Gap.
According to Professor Ball, since 9 December 1966 when the Australian and WE
governments signed the Pine Gap treaty, Pine Gap has grown from the original two
antennas to about a dozen and a half in 1999.
The number of staff has, also increased, from around 400 in the early 1970s, to 600 in the
early 1990s, and then to an expected 1000 early this century.
The biggest expansion occurred after the end of the Cold War.
He described the CIA-run facility as the ground control and processing station for
geosynchronous satellites engaged in signals intelligence collection, outlining four
categories of signals collected telemetry from advanced weapons development, such as
ballistic missiles, used for arms control verification signals from antimissile and antiaircraft
radars transmissions intended for communications satellites; and microwave
emissions, such as long distance telephone calls.
He described the operational area as containing three sections: Satellite Station Keeping
Section, Signals Processing Station and the Signals Analysis Section, from which
Australians were barred until 1980.
Australians are now officially barred only from the National Cryptographic Room
(similarly, Americans are barred from the Australian Cryptographic Room); however,
this bar is not strictly adhered to.
197
Each morning the Joint Reconnaissance Schedule Committee meets to determine what
the satellites will monitor over the next 24 hours.
With the closing of the Nurrungar base in 1999, an area in Pine Gap was set aside for the
US Air Force's control station for infrared satellites that monitor heat emissions from
missiles, giving first warning of ballistic missile launches.
Pine Gap is, also the subject of many UFO reports, part of what is sometimes called
Australia's version of Area 51, the portion of the Nevada desert on which much of
America's UFO interest is focused.
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.
Warning sign on the road to Pine Gap say US Air Base, we
continued to Alice Springs, found a van park, setup the campervan,
and went to bed.
In the middle of the night, I was wakened by a drunken man and
his wife as they meandered down the dry Todd River, shouting
abuse at each other at the top of their voices.
Eventually I went back to sleep, and it was morning in no time we
explored the town, and saw all the best sights the art gallery, scenic
display centre, or panoramic view building which was great, we
were attracted to paintings of landscapes by Hank Guith, and
bought a half dozen of his best prints.
At lunchtime, we went to a pub self serve, and the meal was eaten
in a large room, which had long open-air push out windows.
There were about fifty people mostly tourists, from all over the
world having lunch, all of a sudden on the sidewalk outside, this
black man waving a bottle of wine, at his wife started a domestic.
Swearing at the top of their voices, they had absolutely no restraint
in the language used.
It lasted for ten minutes every one in the pub was red faced, when
the couple moved off, further down the street thankfully.
Directions to the Rock below, it are not a short drive.
From: Alice Springs.
1.
Head southeast on Hartley St.02km.
Toward Stott Terrace.
2.
Turn right at Stott Terrace 0.3 km.
3.
Turn left at Stuart Hwy 130 km.
Isaiah 8:19 And when they say to you, “Seek those who are
mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should
not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on
behalf of the living? 20To the law and to the testimony!
If they do not speak according to this word, it is
because there is no light in them. 21They will pass
through it hard pressed and hungry; and it shall happen,
when they are hungry, that they will be enraged and curse
their king and their God, and look upward. 22Then they
will look to the earth, and see trouble and darkness,
gloom of anguish; and they will be driven into darkness.
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4.
Turn right at Ernest Giles Rd 96.9 km.
5.
Turn left at Luritja Rd 68. 6 km.
6.
Turn right at Lasseter Hwy 153 km.
To: Uluru.
Drive: 449 km (about 5 hours 38 minutes).
After a couple of days we headed out to Ayers Rock to park there
it was a big drive that day and it was good to set the camper up and
go to bed.
A once in a lifetime experience to See Uluru, The Olgas, Kings
Canyon.
In the dark about thee in the morning, this dingo pack passed our
camp with blood curdling howls and growls, and we were
reminded of the Chamberlains five years before, when their baby
was taken.
This article below is copied from the web.
On the night of August 17, 1980 Lindy Chamberlain raised the alarm that a dingo had
just been seen leaving the family tent and that Azaria, who had been sleeping in her,
bassinette was missing.
Three hundred people formed a human chain during the night and searched the sand
dunes near the campsite.
Azaria was never found.
One week later, a tourist from the state of Victoria Wally Goodwin, discovered Azaria's
heavily blood-stained, jumpsuit, singlet, booties and nappy near a dingo lair.
Goodwin was later to state that when he found the clothing, he did, not touch it, but
called a police officer.
While travelling in the top end in Kakadu, one day we surprised
one of these animals carrying a huge dead animal with ease, and
some people have argued that they could not take a baby, I
guarantee they are capable of dragging a big child.
We rose early to view the changing colours coming from the rock,
a marvellous sight it is to see the rock, in first light of morning, a
mystical experience, then after breakfast we went in the Drover
over a mile or three to climb this rock of ages.
199
Isobel decided not to, as she was getting bad cramps so, I set off up
the slope, and it was quite a hard climb at the start, once up a few
hundred feet it became a lot easier and pulling on the guide chain
was not necessary, on looking back down, I decided that the
challenge was gone.
It was to be a lonely day, if I continued, as it would take most of
the day to do, the whole trip up to the summit, so I turned back and
joined the big group on the ground again.
Isobel and I circled the rock in the Drover, and left the area to
continue fifteen km to the Olgas, we spent the day exploring them,
and we finally decided to climb them.
I found them more slippery, as a lot of loose material made it risky,
then later next day after seeing Kings Canyon a narrow gap in
towering rock that stretches skyward.
The drive back to Stuart Highway was uneventful but took ages it
was almost the 400 odd km back to Stuart Highway.
As we had to backtrack, it was boring, and then we headed down
the highway a long trip over the border of South Australia, to Mala
a nightmare road of unsealed gravel, and dust covered corrugation
that even unscrewed Isobel’s sunglasses.
We were lucky only screws came loose other people broke springs,
burst tyres, popped van rivets, and the trouble was enormous all
because the politicians had a new road ready but it was unlawful to
drive on as they had not opened it officially.
When we reached there in late afternoon, we got all the complaints
and saw with our own eyes and the limping busted vans arriving
with livid owners with a week’s wait, parked for any required part
to come from Adelaide.
Poor John and Mary had broken a spring and had to wait a week
or, so before they could head east on the Oodnadatta Track to
Queensland.
We had a final night tea there with them at Marla, and next day
went on down the highway on the old road to Coober Pedy.
The opal fields there are no trees, there it is scattered with mine
heaps of white soil, or rock soft in nature but hard enough to dig
houses out under ground even a church.
200
We went on a tour of the town with a group tour and it was most
interesting a unique town is Coober Pedy, We stayed in the van
park under a shed like shade structure while there.
I have set out the towns we made stops at, as the weather changed
and we, ran into cool, wet weather all the way to York not much
was seen of the local sights from Ceduna to York.
To Coober Pedy 232 KM.
Coober Pedy to Port Augusta 543 KM.
Port Augusta to Kimba. 176. Km
Kimba to Ceduna 309. Km
Ceduna to Nullarbor 633 Km
Nullarbor to Mundrabilla. 834 km
Mundrabilla to Norseman. 641 km
Norseman to Merredin 464.
Km Merredin to York 164 km.
York to Waggrakine 488. Km
Home Marla to Waggrakine the short way across the Gun barrel
2516 km no deviations.
My elder sister Elsie died in 1978 of cancer at 49 years of age, it
started as, breast cancer and she struggle with no complaint for
seven years before it did its work, and she died.
I visited her the Day she died and it was a peaceful quiet death in
the early hours of the morning.
She asked me to be exec of her estate and I was glad to do, it as her
husband John, a nice fellow when not drunk.
He was a perfect gentleman in those circumstances but he was
taken over by the grog as, so often happens, and Elsie knew that
their kids would miss out if he managed things.
Their kids were school kids Matt was eight years old he is
youngest.
When she died I had to stay in the back ground and make sure if
the case arose that, they inherited her things as she wanted them to
She had bought a house in Augusta for retirement with a little help
from the partnership to kick off with.
201
Her home at Augusta was for their retirement, it was to be rented
in school season was the original idea as their jobs had them away
in the bush most of the time.
Renting it out required some work for me, the money in the Bank
was to be invested in a safe way, and the three kids had to go to
university where they all flourished to become mighty citizens for
Australia.
Although the eldest became a top geneticist consultant in America
and lives in USA, she is a credit to us.
In addition, the other two are well setup in good jobs.
I used my CPR to oversee all this and everything was handed over
when the middle girl Ann turned twenty four.
The latest news in 20007 NOV is Ann has just had a double
mastectomy after being diagnosed with the same horrible disorder.
Now at the end of 2007 Gail also and some other more distant
cousin so the gene is to be watched.
I can recall it was a mouse plague year and the little pests got into
everything.
A friend from the area did, a little exercise he found a hole in one
shed he had that they ran to when anyone came near, so this day he
set a three bushel wheat bag on hooks hung to cover the hole
outside the building and went in the door.
The mice left via the hole as usual, he was waiting to tie the full
bag up, and he had a scoop but could have got more if he could
have changed bags quickly enough.
The crop was eaten out from the scrub along the road verges, and
they ran all though it, the yield was some were in the nine or ten
bushel range.
My huge quota was not a worry, it is a blank to me now who was
on the header Garry was one, driver I must have been the other, it
has gone from my mind.
We set up wireless, to all the machinery and the truck and Ute and
it was, so handy talking to the men.
We got all of the district news, all you did, was to dial the station
that was nominated as theirs, and found out all the local gossip.
202
The truck was hooked up, and the Ute, it made many short cuts in
the job, as parts sometimes were needed urgently from town.
Don and his defacto had the homestead house as we lived in town.
They kept their eye on the farm for thieves, who were on the
prowl, as is always the case in modern Australia, not like the early
days, now there is someone looking for an opportunity all the time.
The grain bin at Goodlands was raided one year in the off season
when unattended, but in the dark the thieves left a dribbling trail of
wheat to their farm, and of course the police had no problem
tracking them and it went quiet then for a time.
The fuel, also vanish at times, some sheep too, as I found out wool,
also. We had three bales disappear, so until ours was sent to market
I guarded the shed with gun in hand several nights running.
We think we knew the culprit but were never sure; it could have
been several thieves as things were tough for the owners of
average sized properties.
Garry, Isobel, and I were pennant players.
Tennis and golf players, it was great fun on Saturdays we went to
pennants where ever it was held, the games were around the
district for a hundred miles in all direction, and most enjoyable to
partake in and enjoy the company of so many like minded people.
We got to know, so many great people, it was a high time both
winter golf and summer tennis all and every week end.
Golfing one day in a threesome men’s championship round and.
being club champion Mr champ, Hit off first and I was last, all
went well until we came to number two hole, which was a long
dogleg hole and very scrubby off the fairway, with some round
wattle bushes, ant hills tussocks and mallee trees on each side.
Two of us were straight down the fairway and the other guy Mr
champ went bush with his tee shot, trying to cut the dogleg out.
Off we all went to our balls and the scrub ward guy called watch
for my shot will you, as he blasted his way out, but missed, being
fifty yards short of the fairway still, so had another shot saying
watch in an angry voice.
He landed his golf ball in the fork of this very many stemmed,
droopingly branched tree and the ball stuck fast.
203
We yelled back, “it’s stuck up the tree”.
He was still hidden, from our view and shouted back furious by
now, “well shake it down, damn you shake it down”.
We dared not move, and waited for him, to show him the ball in
the tree.
He started to push with his hands and his body at the tree and the
ball fell down after some rough stuff, rolling into a bad position.
He walked over to get set to hit again, and one of the tree trunks
that leaned at 45 degrees was in the way, so he went around to the
other side, and tried to set up his stance there.
Not possible to get out from there.
That way was worse, so he went back the first way, and by pushing
back with all his strength, he got a lousy shot to grubber it out on
to the fairway, and his face was purple red by now.
We kept our heads down, not daring to say a word and shot two,
near perfect shots landing up close to the sand green. That did it;
he uttered a few choice words, and took off back to the club house.
We had a great day and when it was finished asked the barman
where’s Mr champ our third, and he said what did you guy’s do, to
him, it seems he got in the bar and tipped all his golf clubs over the
bar, grabbed some bottles of beer, and drove home shouting
terrible things about golf as he went.
Garry and I seeded the crop in 1980 and we had a reasonable run I
had the two Chamberlin combine grain seeders and now they
where in Good order we had put new gearboxes in them because
we had slippage trouble the season before.
In these old cone drives, leaving horrible gaps in the previous years
crop, the new Case 2670 was a pleasure to drive and the two small
trucks the Inter and the Thames trader that I purchased second
hand let us get the job done in good time.
The rain was good to us and we had lots of subsoil moisture for
emergency, thunderstorms in the spring were early that year to fill
the heads.
I drove our green Ford LTD to the homestead one day at the end of
September.
204
I can name the day every year the wheat turns yellow at
Goodlands, its 27 th of September if there is rain of significance
with in a fortnight of this date, you would grantee a bumper crop of
wheat.
I went to examine the crop on the thousand-acre paddock
homestead red flat portion of that block, and there was a track that
the trucks used to take loads of wheat to the bin.
It was partway along the long side, crossing it to the bin was more
convenient to cart that way, but we just ignored this track when
seeding, working the paddock as one piece of land.
The track was partially destroyed by the combines when drilling
the seed in, any way I got half way across this day, and I noted the
crop was going yellow, and then the car started to bog.
A real scary and slippery piece of land, it was a most difficult job
to keep on the old track where the ground was firmest. Luckily we
made the distance and it pleased me greatly not have in to get
home on foot the eighteen miles, and, also because I knew that the
crop had copped a soaking in the last gasp of life, and it would
yield a treat, and it did, the rain bleached the straw, but still
boosted the yield.
The trainee this year was a Norwegian his name Axel and he was a
very tall guy six feet ten inches and looked like a thin post, he told
us his brother was four inches taller than he was.
He was a good bloke and very reliable, we had a good run with
harvest and it was a pleasure because he joined in all our activities
and even though he was not a born tennis player he got reasonable
at tennis he just looked awkward.
Alan-M was share farming some of my light land and he had some
storm damage we scored as the wheat went on the ground, he
probably had insurance, so wound up ok, the problem was it was
very late in the year when he did, his harvest.
The Neighbour farmer next door had several share farmers, and
one of them knew we had two cottages vacant, so asked us to let
them borrow one.
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I said yes, they moved in, at this time Leith was four I think, she
wanted to play in their car with the share farmer’s kids and ran to
get in, and their dog had other ideas.
Any way she was savaged on the face missed her eyes thank God,
but she went to hospital for the day it gave every one a scare, she
had no permanent damage, and it never scared her of animals.
In fact, we bought her a pony, Patches was his name, she loved
him, he came to Waggrakine with us and after school, and at
weekend, she rode it everywhere.
While still living at the homestead at Goodlands we bought an
albino milking goat, I decided to try it for milk for our baby
Bradley, it was supposed to kid we were told when we picked it
up, but I think it was barren, I am guessing as no kid ever was born
and we had it months.
I used a long international auto header elevator drive belt, with
loops on the end and a neckpiece.
An anchor peg driven into the ground but that goat never learned
and it sure was well named GOAT.
When ever anyone approached it, then it bolted the full twenty feet
of slack, and of course the belt flipped it over backwards and it
finally broke away after many attempts, thousands of them we
thought it would learn, not a chance.
This share farmer in our shearing quarters had a fright one night,
the dog woke the husband up with it’s insistent barking, so he got
up to see what all the fuss was about, he opened the back door to
get to the noise.
As he did, this white thing flashed past him in the dark, into the
house and it seemed the dog had cornered it in the built in bath
room on the veranda.
When the back door opened, it saw its chance of escape, so shot
inside past the husband.
The dog and husband raced after it, and it then jumped up on the
double bed, leaping from side to side, on top of the wife.
Who nearly died of shock as the dog, and thing went berserk in the
bedroom, the problem was our escaped goat, it was investigating
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things to chew, when the dog got after it; eventually after all the
fuss, the husband grabbed it and ran it outside again.
This is the note I made for this year 1980 bumper season
happening, so we bought a house on Beattie road.
I remember we went to Geraldton and had a look at houses to buy;
it was only top houses that we looked at, and saw a house in
Drummond cove we loved.
This chap was robbed by the same mortgage broker who took us
down, but he had over half a million loss.
It was on forty acres or some such area we decided in the end it
was just too much for our budget, so we finished buying a house
up on Beattie road that had potential, and the owner was keen and
promised to get it ship shape in the month if I signed.
We went back to Kalannie and let him stew for a while; I saw Mr
X, and Mr W, to lease our land; we got a little off the price at
Waggrakine and signed up for 1981 January thirty first.
He got even though, later you will see why.
I then decided to lease the Goodlands farm on the rent in arrears
plan, as the crop was good and tax would be a problem if it was
paid, as usually, it is, before possession, taxation would take it all.
My next-door Neighbour Dick was cross with me for not asking
more rent as he rented his farm and said I would muck up his deal.
My idea was he was far too dear, his charge was too much, and I
told him so.
I rented the house at Kalannie to Ann and John for the present time
we would sell if the chance came, we were uncertain at that stage
but Mr W and Mr X had definitely told me they wanted to lease the
farm, so we left the seed and machinery there for them, so were
able to leave.
All I had was a mob of sheep to shear and Mr W agreed to
willingly keeping an eye on the sheep for me as there were not
many now, as most had been sold, so feed and water was no
problem for them. I could stay in our house as a boarder, and they
would let me come to stay to shear my sheep later after we got set
in our new house at Beattie road. Ann and John would board me
while he shears my sheep. The trucks, the Semi and International
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were loaded to the hilt with the stuff we wanted in Beattie Road,
the Toyota Ute with Patches loaded on it Axel drove, Isobel drove
the LTD, Garry the international with the Gemini loaded, I drove
the semi. The Thames Trader I left in the shed to shift the wool
later. I went back to Kalannie and it was time to get the sheep
shorn. While doing that it was most embarrassing for me one,
Friday night, John had some phoning to do.
John and Ann had been renting the house next door and the phone
had not been disconnected there yet.
We had our place disconnected, so there was no way to call out,
unless we went to the house where they came from next door.
They had told the owner they were leaving that day.
Some time after tea, John said do, you want to phone Isobel, I said
ok and we both went next door, when we got there we were no
sooner in the back door and John found he had forgotten the list of
phone numbers of the people he wanted contact.
So said to me you wait here, I’ll only take a couple of minutes to
get them.
I waited it was nearly dark and I could hear these women talking as
they opened the front door and marched in.
It was the owner because I knew her, when they spotted me
standing gaping in her kitchen, there was an exclamation.
“What are you doing here we thought you had gone to Geraldton”.
A big pause while I became tongue-tied with my embarrassment as
all three ladies were waiting with accusing looks on their faces.
I had to explain my presence to three doubting ladies, which was
not easy when confronted, so suddenly, I stopped blushing when
John came back in and corroborated my story.
We all relaxed a lot and the whole atmosphere changed.
I had thought to buy more sheep, but left it for a later date.
The old Thames trader truck we had left was handy, and I carted
the few baled to the station, said good bye to Ann and John, and
went back to Waggrakine and Beattie road.
Axel our trainee was not well he had a throat infection and had a
miserable time in the first week.
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We were in the house at Beattie road we had to take him to the
emergency health clinic to get him right.
The previous owner of Beattie road was very slack in the clean up
of the house.
We were very annoyed with the filthy way he left the place and I
remembered the delayed decision in signing up to buy it.
Even a dead dog in one room that had been left to die there I can
only assume this, may be it was shut inside by accident.
The carpet had dog urine stains on it in several rooms in fact.
The garage was full of odd rubbish from houses demolished and
salvaged by him, being a house inspector he accumulated lots of it.
Quite a lot of good stuff included but not expected.
The stove was a disgrace looked as if the last time it had been
clean was when it was installed ten years ago at least.
We had fleas and they were a pain to get control of, but we did, in
the end all those problems were solved, new carpet we bought at a
carpet sale.
We got a builder to have a look to see how the house could be
upgraded and he gave good quotes for the alterations too,
Therefore, we had the house modified by him.
The next was an improved change to our living area the kitchen
bench tiled by a local specialist; I cleaned and painted the whole
house to make the place more as we wanted.
We spent a fair amount of our savings not more than we had
expected though.
On generally improving the place every where we saw the need
including the front porch with lovely gold colour ceramic tiles was
the next thing done.
The front garden was planted, a lot of plants put in the garden, and
a bore for it was commenced by our new neighbour.
It looked a lot better with the back veranda paved with one yard
square slabs that every one put down and the under house garage
that led to the kitchen, the floor had a coat of paving paint applied
to it.
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The front circular drive we planted shrubs and I put one and a
quarter inch Polly pipe under the circular lawn to boost the water
pressure which we were preparing for when the bore was installed.
I expected to have it in a week or, so but what a hassle the guy had
with sand caving in, it was not straight forward, and it was a year
in the making.
An electric line to the electric water pump as it was pumped into a
thousand gallon tank on the twenty foot stand to the side of the
bore to boost the pressure.
My daughters horse lived in the seven acre rabbit netted paddock,
to the east side and a bush block to the north meant it was very
quiet at night; to look over the twinkling lights below us along the
coast was nice and peaceful.
I was very involved in the Geraldton town golf club and took
weekly turns at driving the new power mower for the lovely greens
and many a morning I watched the sun rise as I mowed these
green.
For the first couple of years it was a sure bet for the locals, that I
would three or four put each of the holes, but after a lot of practice
it became a lot easier to get into the seventies in a round of golf.
In fact, we started to get embarrassed by continually getting up to
collect the day’s trophy and hearing the radio announcer next day
mention who won the day before competition.
Isobel played tennis with the hard-court girl’s pennant team and we
spent a lot of our retirement playing sport, only golf for me.
Isobel later joined the bowling club as well as the other sport, at
which she does very well.
Still getting great satisfaction with her time at any of the grass
bowling greens.
Eventually falling in love with that game too.
The paddock was my driving range and every day I would spend
an hour hitting golf balls to a sighted mark halfway down the horse
paddock.
Everything was perfect in our minds, the family had plenty to
occupy their time, and the farm was going good.
Ann and John paid the rent faithfully nothing can go wrong.
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The farm ran without us to bring an excellent income
My PCA, accountants had the finance under control, the kids were
settling down, this is the life
At times, while relaxing my conscious seemed to be a trouble to
me as I enjoyed this marvellous lifestyle.
It bothered me quite a bit but of course not sufficient to give it up
then we were hooked.
No one has the right to be, so well set up, it felt obscene to be, so
privileged, when the world had so many poor and starving, we
gave to charity but it was crumbs in reality, we had a couple of
orphan kids we helped monthly, but that seemed still a small drop,
not good enough for claimed Christians.
We did, not understand the meaning of it until later when we had
been fleeced of some of our hard earned savings by a trusted
mortgage broker recommended by a good friend.
I thank God only some funds, were lost, not like other people who
he caught, and they lost huge amounts even all of their savings.
It makes me very sad to see the way the agricultural scène has
changed in my life, by the steady decline in the numbers of country
people. There is a gradual move from the land to the city and this I
feel is bad because it is setting up the country for eventual
starvation. As the farms are forced off the land by short-sighted
policy of government and financial institutions and as a result the
services dry up. It must stop or we will pay dearly. When I was
borne, there was a farm family every three or five hundred acres
but now they are miles and miles apart.
Zephaniah 3: 8 Therefore wait ye for me, saith Jehovah, until the day that I rise up to the
prey; for my determination is to assemble the nations, that I may gather the
kingdoms together, to pour upon them mine indignation, —all my fierce anger: for
all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.
Leith was not too bad at tennis and Bradley was a little golfer until
he was nine in 1980 when we left to live at Beattie road
Waggrakine we had cut a golf club down to his desired length and
he practiced with it after school and at weekends.
Leith rode patches around all the time and spent all her days with
him it was great to see her, so contented.
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She had a few problems at school with her English the different
style, of her teachers had messed her up at the start of her
education at Kalannie.
Changing the way the spelling was taught from phonetics to
standard.
That was changed in her first couple of years at school and she
never ever got her confidence back.
Having my dyslectic problems and inherited my same tendencies
of trouble with spelling and reading, unable to recognize mistakes
in words.
I think of recognition of people or things like crouching rabbits in
the bush, they are invisible until the art of spotting becomes
developed, then it is so easy, this is all tied up with the interest of
the person, like the native Australians being excellent trackers yet
poor school pupils, generally speaking.
Pennant tennis was the main interest in Isobel’s activities in the
morning on Tuesdays’ and they finished at twelve o’clock or a
little later.
This Tuesday she was hurrying home after a hard morning and did,
not see anyone coming toward her at the intersection, so she turned
on to Chapman road.
Our LTD was very hard to see being olive green and real dark, so
very hard to see on dull days a real mistake if ever there was one.
We made with our colour choice never that colour will I choose
again.
She turned and there was a similar one coming from Northampton
and it evidently did, not notice her or it would have slowed but it
missed the tail of our car by a hairs breadth, thank you Lord.
It gave her a fright as she had no idea of his approach she did, not
hesitate even for a fraction of one second if she had he would
certainly have hit her, and who knows the outcome, only God.
We had only been at Waggrakine a year when John and Myrna
brought the family, Nana, and Bert to visit us to have some time
staying with us and to see the house we had bought and having a
tour of Geraldton and the North Hampton Kalbarri gorges.
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Isobel had been having heavy bleeding like the woman in the Bible
that had it twelve years and was cured by Jesus. This trouble had
given her doctors a problem to cure and she had gotten pretty
frustrated with them dithering around try this and that..
Having the family come to visit, she put in one huge week to get
everything perfect for them and after they arrived and we had
chatted for hours it was time for bed, so off we went.
I fell asleep straight away to be woken at two in the morning with
Isobel screaming my leg, my leg, cramp. I had it held up and was
rubbing hard to get the muscle to relax, when Nana burst into the
room. I am sure she thought that I had flipped my lid, and was
attacking Isobel. She took a bit of convincing and time to realize
that it was a bad cramp, which slowly died away to leave her with
a black leg where the muscles were damaged.
She hobbled about next day and we drove the family around the
beauty spots and shops, to give them a good look at the place. Next
day we went for a drive to Kalbarri town and then out to the
gorges, where Bert was most height conscious.
We were near the edge of the gorge he hung onto bushes and
leaned away crouched down and was very scared of the height of
these even though we could not get within a chain of the gorge
edge.
We travelled down the coast to return and John had this brand new
car. He was most careful with it, and it was with reluctance he
ventured on to the corrugated gravel, making some protests when
we stopped to see the views. Especially near Hutt river area that
was rough, eventually we got back to our place and after a nights
sleep they left to get back to Bert’s bird and good old Horly St.
For years, she had a passion for raw carrots and when visiting the
vegetable counter at the supermarket, she had to bite into one
immediately she got there and would buy great big packs of them
to be well supplied until the next trip to town.
It must have had something to do, with her lack of blood.
Isobel had to have blood transfusions as she had real trouble and
these treatments caused great concern a few years later.
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Aids became the most dreaded thing for blood-transfused people,
as the blood bank was found to be contaminated.
Isobel was assured she was not to fear as her blood donor was
known and had no problems to pass on.
We eventually took her to have surgery for her trouble and that
cured the problem at last, after suffering several years.
Bradley and I stayed with Muriel and Kell in Forrest-field while
she was in the hospital. Tim and Kell had six kids their names are
Kim, Rex, Jennifer Brendon, Gillian, and Pam.
I remember Pam their youngest child was a great help with
Bradley as he was our nearest in age to her.
She took him under her wing, taking him to the water slide up in
Kalamunda which he loved, after a week or, so Isobel recovered
and we had a another week at Nana’s in York then we went back to
Waggrakine.
Some ten years later in the mid nineteen nineties when we were
making the Church well, and I had to go under the water in the
well as some items on the bottom had to be taken out.
Next day after this dunking, I went to Church and afterwards in the
afternoon we had two of the members over to have our usual most
enjoyable Sabbath discussion, they noticed my face was swelling
on one side.
By night, it was grossly swollen out to the side like mumps only
bigger. I went to the Doctor the next day to try to find the problem.
He got the nurse to use ultrasound on it for about an hour to
unblock my saliva ducts
Then it took three consecutive antibiotic courses to get it right after
two of them the Doctor gave me a great batch of blood tests
including an aids test.
Because of Isobel’s blood transfusions years before.
When the nurse who got those samples she was, so careful not to
get contaminated herself, her attitude to me had changed.
The Dr even said if this next lot failed, I would have to go to Perth
and find a doctor who had done hundreds of facial operations.
A large nerve affects the whole side of your face if you damage it
in any way.
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He was not prepared to try himself but I thank God the third lot of
antibiotics did, the trick and I have never had that again and Isobel
had the exact same wog a year later. We fixed that a lot quicker
and it was not as worrying as we had with the previous experience.
We had a Japanese girl Cosiko or similar named girl we were still
at Waggrakine and my Mum brought her up there for a couple of
weeks. She was a university friend of Louise Buggins and some
how was staying with Mum for some time as a companion. After
several months, she came to stay with us and she was such a nice
girl. We got worried because she had no idea of the vulnerability
she was in wandering around on her own day or night.
We tried to tell her but she did, not know Geraldton and at that
time to be, so trusting of people.
We also were in for a shock as the Geraldton rapist had not then
come to make, so much trouble for the next five years.
He eluded capture stole things and raped dozens of women before
he was captured coming home from his nightly prowling.
He broke in to my next door neighbour’s house one night and was
too quick for him to hold as he went out the kitchen window we
were living at Phelps St then and had to put bars on our windows
to make it safe to sleep.
After the umpteenth rape and five years, the police brought a
special fast running officer to set traps to get him.
One night they parked on my lawn after asking me and telling me
that the town dogs gave this creeps position away as they barked at
his movement around the streets at night.
After a week of using well placed officers around town, they
worked out the direction he always went from these sounds.
So after he was reported out on the prowl one night they went to
the area he seemed to always go by analysing many consecutive
nights. They waited there for many nights not having any luck but
eventually they spotted a person who acted furtively in a little side
street, they challenged him, and he bolted into a backyard.
Where he was trapped after charging a fence and breaking through
it but the fast officer gave chase and wrestled him to the ground.
215
With help, he was overcome after finding the guy was supper
strong and fit, so his mate got in to help to subdue him and for an
mysterious reason the guy had a massive heart attack and died on
the spot. He had a coloured young wife who had no knowledge of
his crimes and defended him but after lots of scientific work, it was
proved that this Kiwi shearer was the right man, also no more
rapes happened.
The people he worked with remembered now, how many times he
returned to work at the shearing shed covered with scratches and it
was obvious. After he was found out that, he had been up to
something sinister all the time they had worked together.
The LTD was getting to need some mechanical repairs in 1985 and
because it was a luxury car, the car repair people charged through
the back teeth and did, not give any specials.
I had a look at the Silver Laser and when we moved to Kononen
place the double garage was not a comfortable fit to get in and out
of the door, as it had to be too near the wall.
I turned to the hatchback Laser a silver one that we drove for
twelve years and gave it to Garry as a second car for him.
We bought one three hundred dollar starter motor and that was all
the repairs it needed in our time with it beside fuel and oil and a
head light.
The first day I got home with it, Isobel was at golf, Ebonnie was
just walking, and I put her on the seat while checking all the
gadgets then I started the motor and being automatic, nothing
moved. Ebonnie fell headfirst off the front seat, I made a grab to
save her and my foot pressed the accelerator, and the car leaped
forward into the games room wall and cracked the brick.
I was thrown off balance but got my foot on the clutch and the
bumper had been flattened, so my brand new car was in the dock
until I got the bumper straight, which came out good, and Isobel
knew nothing. Ebonnie and I had a big secret until the cracked face
brick were noticed then I explained.
Leith became friendly with Merry, a girl her age in Geraldton who
rode as well and one day they both went riding, to the east of our
216
place in Beattie road, across several streets and coming home the
horses, galloped for home at full speed.
When the girlfriends’ horse, shied at the bitumen road they were
crossing and baulked, stopping instantly, she flew over its head to
land on her head, and it knocked her out cold.
Leith panicked, and got me I went down to her and dared not move
her so, we got the ambulance and she spent a few days in hospital.
If she had not had her helmet on she would have suffered,
permanent brain injuries or been killed
Geoff and Bradley were of the closest age, to all his nephews and
nieces being our last child, he was only borne a year before Geoff.
He is Gail and Chris’s first, child of their three boys and one girl.
Their kid’s names are Geoff, Glenn, Adam, and Emily.
They played together at every opportunity; this day stands in my
mind.
It was not long after we moved to Waggrakine, and the boys were
away playing in town, and the Geraldton police called me and gave
me the news first as Chris and Gail worked.
The boys had gotten into trouble, and I was to come and get them
at the police station down town right away.
They need to be taught a little about other people’s belongings, so
on getting to the station, there are two very guilty little boys there
in the company of several burley police officers.
They were caught in the Target shop as they helped themselves to
a list of pencils ruler’s rubbers, and all for their schoolwork.
When the detective said what should we do, I promptly said lock
them up for the night, thinking that it might be a good lesson.
He paused for a while, to let the situation drag on, and then he said
no, you punish them we do not lock kids up.
However, they looked, so terrified I pitied them but thinking back
it was, so good a lesson.
It was because of this early experience that they have always been
very conscious of truth and honesty ever after their fright.
They have never forgotten this after thirty or more years to be
without a blemish to their characters.
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Bradley became the Junior manager of that same establishment for
seven years, and had dozens of times having to deal with the same
problem himself, ironic isn’t it.
It came out of the blue, as they say, but as I worked on the front
lawn one day, this car drove into our circular drive and the driver
said, “you Alan Hewett” I replied yep that’s me.
He then grinned said “ah I got you at last, I’ve been looking for
you for weeks” and he handed me a summons from the tax
department which made me say what have I supposed to have
done.
The tax man wanted a fortune which I did, not then have, as we
had not had a clearing sale. Or anything, to create this cash, we
lived just on the money Anne and John Harris paid and from past
wheat payments from C,B,H, (cooperative bulk handling) as it
flowed in steadily from wheat payments and a bit of interest.
That was in the accountants hands, so I promptly rang them and it
was their entire fault they admitted they had not submitted my tax
by the deadline. Because the income was above a certain level, it
had to be declared in a certain time. They would attend court and
pay any fine.
The law had been altered and the department jumped to the wrong
conclusion that I was trying to evade tax, the fools did, not even
check with my tax consultants for my changed address.
Another problem surfaced the next year when my accountant
advised me to invest in the Australian film industry, as the
government had made it legal to claim 150 percent tax deduction,
so I invested 10,000 dollars, which at that time was more than half
a house in value.
Then later they tried to get me for bottom of the harbour tax
evasion, and I refused to pay up.
We even wrote to John Howard the treasurer at the time, and
accused the government of changing the rules after the game had
started; it coined a saying by politicians often heard now days.
After the accountants went to court and the case had dragged on
for four years costing me nothing.
218
Then one day a surprise the tax department called me on the
phone, and I expected the worst, but he said will you settle, if we
give you thirteen thousand dollars, and I jumped at it before they
changed their mind.
About that time I was in Perth to see the accountants, and as usual
no time to spare when in the City. I stopped in the arcade and
bought a big lottery ticket and scrawled, “just my luck” on it and
stuck it in my trouser pocket and forgot all about it.
A year later, Isobel was reading the paper and commented to me,
look at these dopes; they have not claimed their lottery winnings.
The prize will be going to the government, by next month if, just
my luck, and several other numbers are not claimed and collected
immediately with their receipts.
That set me into action, but to no avail as the butts had been
thrown out, long ago with all the other failed tickets that my
golfing mates forced on me.
My main interest after golf was learning computer skills and they
were, the only topics that I pricked my ears up, when these subjects
came up anywhere within my hearing.
The three granddaughters I chaperoned to dancing and twice
weekly keyboard music lessons.
It was time and money well spent as they each gained great skills
for life from the years of learning to play dance and sing.
When the youngest was a couple of years old she, and her one year
older cousin were playing in the garden lane where I parked the
rubbish trailer, and the older girl called out to me, Ebonnies’ eating
the berries on your trailer Granddad.
That stopped my computing immediately, as I was supposed to be
watching them, as Isobel was at Golf I called Ebonnie to me, and
looked in her mouth to find some green lantana berries, and I
panicked, and phoned the poison hotline for advice.
They advised me to see the chemist, and tell him what had
happened.
He would inform me what I had to do. Which was to give the
medicine he gave me, and give her some immediately.
Then I gave a plastic bucket to her to hold.
219
She was to hold it until she vomited, then I was to examine the
bucket for the berries, if there were many I was to get hospital
advice otherwise she was ok, if none were found.
Isobel arrived home from golf, and said to Ebonnie what are you
hugging my wash bucket for?
I then told Isobel what to expect as the time would come soon that
she would vomit in it.
She was, so cute obeying my instructions by hanging on to the
bucket, as if her life depended on it, and so innocent as she, and
her little cousin continued to play,
Oblivious as to what was going to happen in the next few minutes.
Eventually she was sick in it, and did, not want to let the bucket
go, so that I could inspect the contents, which proved to have no
berries in it.
Garry, and I went looking for land to invest in, and we located this
ground at Nabawa. Alternatively, as it can be called Chapman
Valley, there was almost the thousand acres of first class hilly land,
and we fell for it as it was wooregong in miniature.
Now I was quieted down in my conscious mind, as there was a lot
to do, and we brought the sheep up from Kalannie, by contract
carters, and our machinery with our, two trucks the international
loaded with the bulk seed, and super bin.
The semi trailer and the four wheel drive Case 2670 the One New
Holland header the wide scarifier the one Chamberlain combine
half the seeding gear.
One New Holland header, Trevor sold, the harrows, Case thirteen
fifty, two wheel drive, Trevor put in his yard to sell, as he was the
Case dealer.
He sold the Thames trader much later, as well the bulk super
loader with Clark shovel, and we took one round silo left two
behind.
I sold privately over time the clover harvester it was Alan-M who
bought.
The welder, the compressor, the Conner shay thirty two disc
ploughs, were left on the homestead one Chamberlin combine one
eighteen disc premier plough; these were left on Goodlands farm.
220
Being two hundred, and fifty kilometres from the farm at
Waggrakine it was critical that my lessees took care of the stuff left
behind.
It turned out they were not watchful, and several items vanished, a
seventy foot TV aerial, an electric welding plant a chamberlain
twenty four foot combine drill some small items from my
workshop that was padlocked until the S,E,C, had to get meter
access, so from that time things vanished.
It was quit a lump of cash I had to find as the guy selling the land
wanted cash.
We scratched up a quarter of a million with difficulty because of
all my purchases, and hanging on to everything it would have been
pointless to have a clearing sale at as the land there was still mine.
I did, not know if Mr X, and Mr W would pay the rent even at that
stage, as it turned out my guardian angel was guiding me any way.
We cropped a portion of Nabawa farm, and it yielded well but
what a difficult time it was getting the grain dry enough to have it
accepted in Geraldton CBH bin.
The moisture was, so high, this was to be the pattern always for
this property, and we did, not expect this.
I remember just how frustrating, it was to sit all day waiting for the
grain moisture to drop.
Where as at the Kalannie place I could harvest at any time except,
while it was raining, even all night it was possible, but it’s a
different story up here now.
The truck was loaded more lightly as the weights, and measures
police were always prowling around to catch me, I was only caught
once but was stopped, and checked on many days.
The truck queuing was dreadful because of the number of huge
trucks; it was only possible to cart one twenty ton load a day, only
one fifth of the tonnage.
I was beginning to think why bother with the problem, when it it’s
not necessary for our living, and Mr X, and Mr W put the agreed
wheat in the bin at Goodlands in payment of the rent.
Garry was keen to buy more land, but to get it to be a viable option
required a lot more outlay.
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I did, not want any debt, as my retirement would be ended to, so
we coasted along for the time just, with break-even farming at
Nabawa.
Garry met his future wife at a religious rally, and began to spend a
lot of time away, and the garden on Waggrakine property he set up
became my job.
Garry was convicted that Saturday is to be kept sacred, and his
sporting activities were confined to any other day of the week
In addition, having been a top player for several years, winning the
club championship a number of years running, the hard court club
wanted to have him compete in all the club activities to make a
better competition.
He would not play on Saturday, and would forgo the championship
rather than break faith with his belief, so the opposing players
agreed to have his matches delayed to be finalized Sunday.
Away they went, and Garry had not played much tennis that year
played right through set after set improving as he went, and still
won the championship.
We had planted melons, and they got ripe, Garry went on a break
we had the Grand kids help deliver melons in Geraldton.
Those watermelons were lovely some split when touched, and
were the sugar melon type beautiful but we had so many there was
a glut, and no one wanted melon, so most just wasted.
Garry got a big fright this day he started the header, headed for the
crop, and got to the gate to go in to start stripping the crop.
On looking back, the fire the header lit was catching up fast but as
luck was on our side the Next-Door Neighbours saw the whole
thing from his paddock, raced over, and got it out pronto the
Guardian Angel was watching.
This day I was at the house at Waggrakine on my own as Bradley
was at school.
The guys, and Kareen had taken the Toyota Ute to the beach
fishing, and netting fish, and it was getting near thee in the
afternoon when the phone went as Isobel was out I took the call,
and it was Kareen all breathless.
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I ask where are you. She said at the public phone box at the turn
off, and the problem is they are bogged.
She sounded scared, and out of breath, then she said, “Dad get a
toe truck quick”, I said why she said they got bogged on the beach,
and the waters coming up fast. How I said, and then she told me
they tried to cross the Chapman river estuary.
Were stuck in the mud, and the tide was coming in quickly, it’s got
to the wheel hubs.
The only rock of limestone for miles was near, and they got out by
the time I got they were on their way home, if it had not been for
the winch, and rock the Ute would have gone under, it taught them
not to play on the beach with road vehicles.
Life consisted of the farm or block with Garry keeping it going,
when required seasonally.
My wife, and I playing golf one Sunday afternoon mixed days, the
Monday we shopped at the supermarket, on Tuesdays Isobel
played ladies tennis, I played old timers golf in the afternoon,
Wednesday home in the garden, and yard, Thursday men’s
scroungers golf in the afternoon, Friday mixed, and Saturday
men’s day.
Alternately up early to cut the golf greens then play men’s club
golf a real formal day.
This is great the handicaps came down, and the mantle got loaded
with trophies, and practically every week the airwaves announced
the winners, and it was getting embarrassing to hear Hewett, so
often any way the handicaps stopped us eventually, and then it was
just good to play the game, and meet the different people
continually.
One thing about golf it is a great game to bring the best or worst
out in people, and that you are able to enjoy a game on your own if
you want to practise.
The Geraldton Open championship every year guys gather at one
or other club, and competed state wide.
I got to meet some champions at this time as we hosted alternately
with Spalding club.
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They came from everywhere to enter, and that weekend was
special each year.
One year we had the champions from the City of Perth, Glen Ca,
and Bill Re in our round with our club champ, and me.
My eyes were opened to these great guys as men, they were
excellent to play with, and there was no snobbery at all, they hit
the ball a literal mile.
Some more names I could drop but I would misspell them, so will
just say they later became pro players Representing Australia.
Having come to be guns in the golfing world, the only time I
noticed a cheat was a local business man an older bloke, and it did,
him down in my estimate, and gained nothing for his stupidity.
Kicking the ball from the rough when he thought no one observed
him.
Our daughter Gail, and husband Chris Searle, he was production
manager at the local news paper.
They lived in Spalding, and between the games of golf, and tennis
Gail did, well by sporting standards, she won the ladies hard-court
tennis championship year after year, and our eldest boy Garry won
the men’s hard-court championship every year that he entered,
until his religious beliefs convicted him of playing on Saturday, the
Sabbath is breaking the Sabbath.
At first it was he alone that gave up sport on Sabbath, years later in
1992, the rest of us did the same.
Now Saturday the Sabbath, we consider the best day of the week,
because we can use it the way that is rightly taught, by life’s
manual, given solely for the best in this life, and the future life to
come.
After Mr W, and Mr X approached me earlier in August 1982
wanting to buy my land instead of the lease they did, offer a lot of
money as a deposit with the balance on terms but something held
me back.
It was my guardian angel again I am sure, because if I had the
receivers would have taken everything I owned at Kalannie.
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It was too good to last, the share farming was good, I would not
sell, so Mr X and Mr W decided to buy new equipment instead, as
they were looking at a bumper crop in August1982.
Then new equipment, was bought on hire purchase, to the
maximum they could finance even unknown to me, they trading
some of my, machines in to help them raise the deposits.
Then disaster struck, the worst frosts known in the area.
It wiped out their crop, so Mr W pulled out, and Mr X said I’ll
carry on, and square you up next year, of cause it never happened,
there was not enough to pay everyone, he owed money to, so many
people.
No seed no rent the machinery of mine, he owed the companies the
Bank everyone lost money.
What annoyed me was an other S F Partner friend of Mr X had
bought his sixty five thousand dollar motor launch for a couple of
thousand dollars, six months before when things looked to be
collapsing if only we could have got our creditors meeting in time.
They both spent their time around Rottenest Island watching the
America cup Yacht Race against the USA on September 27th,
1983 the final race, and Mr X ignored his trouble, killing time, and
hiding from his creditors, and later when I asked what he had done
with the launch, he answered my question at this receivers
meeting.
Telling us all there, that he had sold it to his friend for two
thousand dollars, and as that was the only offer he had so he
accepted it.
I did, not come down in the last shower I told him, but the
receivers believed this garbage, or did, they.
Because of the delay in the meeting there was nothing they could
do.
The thing I read from the West Australian news that this expensive
launch owned by Mr X had caught fire, and burned.
It was two or three years after he supposedly sold it. Now it was
being reported as his devastating great loss in a mysterious fire,
funny thing that.
It was a write off, and insurance would cover it thankfully.
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Now I learned he had gone into the trucking business with a new
rig.
He had a header once that did, the same; I often wonder if the
insurance company know the rotten luck, the man has had in life,
whenever money was tight.
I had to go back to Kalannie, as it was my intention to attend some
clearing sales to build up our sheep numbers to get back into
farming.
Goodlands Station was having a wined up sale the old setup was
ending I had heard there were good sheep there, so that sounded a
good place to buy from as the sheep were noted for quality, and it
was only a short distance from our Goodlands farm to transport
any thing bought there.
Beacon, also had a sale a day before, so I went there first before
the one at the Station.
Daryl Gangell my second daughter’s husband came with me in the
Ford LTD; he is a fantastic golfer on a 3 handicap, and had
holidays at the time.
Daryl share farmed there with his father when younger, and he
lived there once with his share farming father, and knew everyone.
We checked my farms, and the block o8 as through carelessness
Mr X, and Mr W had burned two miles of Polly water pipe that
had worked above ground surface there by expansion and erosion.
Then we continued to go through to the lakes road, to get to the
Beacon sale.
We passed our nearest 'neighbours' Son’s front gate, and I thought
as I was passing, may be I can interest them in taking on the lease
at a satisfactory price.
Being next door in a numerous location as well as shearing their
sheep in my shed.
I drove the half mile in to their home, and only Robin Stanley was
home, her husband was out at work in the paddock but she said she
would pass on the message to Ian, and Don head of their company,
so we went on to the sale.
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I bought nothing, we headed back to Waggrakine, and good nights
sleep deciding to see if Don was interested at all, and gave
Goodlands Station sale a miss.
Back to Kalannie was coming, and a land care meeting was to be
held that Friday in the club, and Gordon, and Glenys Reynolds
asked us to stay for the week end, so we went, and it was a very
good time we had.
I remember sitting with the Stanley men, they had agreed to my
lease terms, and the option to purchase after a ten years lease.
The seminar started, we were all to give a suggestion on how to
run a property, after a lot of input I was asked my idea as to where
do, you start, and no one had even considered the funds required
starting or continuing the organisation.
My suggestions were to look for a profit first thing; any or all
improvements could follow only from profit, and several others at
the seminar agreed.
The suggestions were very interesting but it is only a certainty to
succeed if you do, things that the world requires.
Do them better, and cheaper than your competitors.
Gamblers use averages to win some, and lose some.
You hope the odds can be manipulated honestly to suite your
situation, it’s a numbers game like the stock market, These are my
observations most of the time the experts are followers not real
leaders, so be your own expert, and put their ideas all together, and
select practical combinations, and persist to your uttermost, that is
my advice.
It is useless to fight against what will be will be that is nature.
It can only be fore sight that works, and God is in command have a
friend in him, and think what, will he do, next, and then be close to
him.
Getting back to Reynolds place we got up in the morning had
breakfast, and Gordon said I’ll run you over the place as farmers
like to do.
He suggested we go out and get in their car, as we left to do, this it
was necessary to enter the garage from the house by a side door.
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I was doing this when Glenys and Gordon said mind out, as they
spoke I looked down at my foot but should have looked straight
ahead.
I moved forward into the top of the doorway frame with my
forehead.
Banged the top and it stunned me, and the rest of the day I was not
my best as my head killed me all day.
The door is right for the garage levels not the house, it should be
altered before some one gets real damage to their neck.
Now our lifestyle was a little less carefree in one way but surer in
the distance of time, we went back to golf and I developed an
interest in computers that became a real obsession.
I had my wrist fixed by a Dr Ca oh, (that name might be spelled
wrong), but he sure knew how to fix rotted bone, as it now was
easier to play golf.
Because all those years that it was painful if I could have known
this was possible thirty five year before, but progress is wonderful
if we could only see into the future.
We went fishing from the Drummonds cove beach, and had good
catches in seasons when the fish were running.
One day Bradley and Leith gave me a fright they came home
playing with old syringes that had not been destroyed or burned.
They got using them to squirt water at each other, and Bradley got
carried away, and stabbed Leith in the hand.
We shot her to hospital, and they played it down, we were terrified
of aids as that were the main topic at that time, thank God, she has
never had any problems from this experience.
We leased Nabawa for a good lease to a coupe of farmers in the
Location who only had five hundred acres, and we let them
increase their farm by leasing out ours to them.
It made good sense for both parties as I was selling off the
machines one at a time to ease the tax and before they became
obsolete, it suited me.
Garry got a job in the suburbs nearer to his girlfriend.
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We traded the Toyota flat top for a normal Toyota Ute, and he had
that.
He took it to Bunbury one weekend, and in the night a bloke bent
the side by running his motor cycle into it, so we got three
insurance quotes to have it fixed and submitted the claim, and
waited, and waited.
Three months went by, and I was fed up of the insurance
company’s tardiness at paying, so I rang one day and told the
manager do something or I would put a sign on the Ute, this mess
is insured by the Company Y, and it has been three month’s since
the claim was sent, and they ignore me.
When he heard how wild I was he phoned and said I will come up
to morrow, and settle ok, I’ll said see you then.
He came offered two thousand dollars, and Garry and I agreed, it
was a little more than the mechanic wanted, so we got all the parts
from the wreckers for one third the new price, and put in thee days,
and it looked new again with money to spare.
The natives in Geraldton gave the town quite a bad reputation as
many of them got drunk daily accosting, and punching any one
who gave a stare or a reprimand to their rude abusive, and
provocative actions.
Race day the TAB was packed with them, also pension day they all
came to town, and got drunk. I watched them straggle back across
the paddock over the road from our house, these groups with
varying sized kids lagging back some sobbing, and their mums
shouting savagely at their drunken partners, and any sundry whites
that they walked past.
I shook when half a dozen big black guys came toward me abreast,
and would not break rank. They forced me to go out on the street
to get by; as I did, they said to each other we should have hit him.
We had a problem with the young black teenagers breaking, and
entering houses in some areas of town there was one bunch that
had lookouts posted, and when someone drove out of their garage
the nearest lookout would bird call his mates, and that was their
signal, that a latest target had been found.
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I got caught once but my neighbour had his home raided six times
in one year as both husband, and wife worked as teachers, and is
was common knowledge that they were away for regular hours.
The night we were raided was a weekend when my eldest son and
his family had come for the holidays, and we all went out on
Friday night.
My wife and I left the house first, a few minutes later, my eldest
son, and his family left the house, the lookouts saw this, and broke
in.
They proceeded to clean us out but my son’s daughter got sick, so
they returned to our house after ten minutes.
As he entered the back door, the thieves shot out the front with
several hundred dollars we had.
I had my wallet full of my health fund cash, near a thousand
dollars claimed that day.
It was easy to make a claim for some of the cash but my youngest
son who managed Target in Geraldton.
Had put hundreds of fifty-cent pieces in a very big tin moneybox
for months.
The thieves struggled out with that with no problems.
The house was ransacked, every draw had been emptied on the
floor, and clothes were scattered about as they went through the
place only my youngest daughter’s room was hardly marked as my
son came home when they had just started on it.
Another day my youngest son was cleaning his teeth in our second
bathroom fairly late one weekend morning, and had left the
bathroom door open.
In the mirror, he saw behind through the other room window a guy
pulling the fly wire screen off, so he grabbed a hockey stick, and
gave chase but never caught him thankfully.
Bradley might have had worse trouble to face ahead.
The young boys were making calls to each other one afternoon,
and were squatting on my front brick fence, and I made it my
business to walk around the house with my video camera held in a
shooting position, and they promptly turned their backs, and
scurried out of sight, and left me alone from then on.
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I had an office in the old porch, a tinted glassed in room at the back
door entrance to the house in Kononen place. As I sat at the
computer desk watching some DVD I had the strip blinds slightly
open, and suddenly a large black face with cupped hands pressed
up to the glass peering in. I let out a bellow at the top of my voice
“what do, you want”, and he bolted towards my downhill side
Neighbours yard. Vaulted the joining fence I raced out after him as
he went over the fence. Below was a ten foot drop onto cement
paving, but he was gone no doubt the drop gave him plenty to
think about, I know it amused me greatly.
In 1988 we decided to go on an around Australia grand bus tour we
looked forward to this as we read the adds, and did, not ask enough
question before signing up, to go as it was going to spend time at
the Brisbane expo that was going to be special. We parked our car
at Yvonne’s place, and she drove us to the meeting place.
We arrived there in plenty of time but we were mystified the bus
was not there or the one that was pictured in the add but this little
hired one was there instead.
Yvonne drawled oh Isobel is that the big bus hmmm!
Now this 30 day tour is a book in it’s own right, so all I’ll say here
is there was at the least one drama every day for the whole 30
days, Oh what the hec here goes, I’ll give you a simple shortened
version.
John 1:14And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the
glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. 15John bore witness of
Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is
preferred before me, for He was before me.
John 16:21“A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as
soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that
a human being has been born into the world. 22“Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will
see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you. 23“And
in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the
Father in My name He will give you.
Acts 11:18 When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying,
“Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.”
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CHAPTER 4.
EXPO1988
Days of drama on the road to Queensland.
Day One Midland Junction was behind now, we start the long
drive north. We travelled all day from the base at Midland at vastly
varying speed as the bus was, so feebly powered. It was not
designed to pull 18 people, and the kitchen, and luggage trailer at
all. Even though it had a diesel engine that ran well empty, it could
only just creep up the hills. We had to fly down the other side to
try, and keep up with our thirty day schedule that on paper had
been set out to meet our destination bookings. The company had
set the deadlines we must adhere to or it would muck up the
bookings.
The driver had to collect the fuel money at various prearranged
post offices as the company had a fine line to walk. It was almost
bankrupt from an awful court case they where involved in.
It was being sued for stranding the previous passengers on the gun
barrel highway out near the WA border, and one of them had taken
sick, and died. So all hell had broken loose in the courts,
unfortunately it took place after we had paid our booking.
The main big bus had gotten delayed, and to keep everyone happy.
They hired this small bus to keep going even though really it was a
poor decision in my opinion.
The poor bus driver could not keep an even speed he had to rev the
engine, and change down the gears to climb the hills, and change
them up to fly down the slope.
We had very long days of nothing but road with no time for the
sights as was advertised.
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Consequentially missed many of the sights that were supposed to
be included in our trip.
It was false economy on everyone’s part as it turned out.
The wife of the company director rode along to keep us all in line,
and arrange any necessary changes that had to be reorganized,
which by the way, was a common occurrence as it transpired.
Paired seating meant we had to rotate back to give everyone a
changed view each day.
Wubin came up at last that first day, and we had a pit stop for
several minutes for those who needed the toilet, then carried on.
We had travelled to some where about forty miles from our
planned fuel stop at Payne’s find, when the motor died, and we
were stranded, lucky for us after an hour a road train came up, and
we flagged it down, and bought a two gallon tin of diesel which
was put into the fuel tank.
The driver then tried to start the diesel motor with the starter, and
the thing ground to a stop with a flat battery before the diesel had
reached the injectors.
His inexperience with diesel motors showed, I said to him let me
have a try, as my farming experience with diesel motors was
invaluable.
I knew there is always a hand pump on the fuel pump, body to get
the pressure up to the motor to prime it, so that it would start.
After loosening the injector pipes to release any air I started,
pumping the red hot hand pump furiously.
It took what seemed like half an hour for the fuels to start to
dribble out of the pipes.
I got the pressure back on the injectors before I tightened them as
tight as possible with the spanners the driver carried, though they
were not really the correct ones for a diesel motor.
The battery had recovered for an other attempt to start the engine,
and the motor luckily came to life.
It ran rough for a moment sputtered then after a while smoothed
out, so we got going to Payne’s find for more fuel.
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The camp that night was kept awake by some loud snoring it was
uneventful except for that noise, all of the night.
We found out next morning that Rob was the one; his wife said he
was terrible at home.
It was the worst snoring that any of us had ever heard, and from
then on his camp was always farthest out on the perimeter.
To have complete silence, and not hear him at all a half-mile
distance from his tent, would be necessary to move too for silence.
The camps had to be pulled out of the trailer each night, and
erected it was a bit hard for a single person to manage.
Kevin a ex sailor about thirty three years old, and still single, Paul
the drive, and I, volunteered to do, all the extra work each night.
Marge the cook got the meal, and big Billy boiling.
A community trestle table, and chairs to set up by the rest, it was
reasonably quick to do, but we liked to find camp half an hour
before sun down.
Have it all set before dark set in, unless it was a stop in a van park
that night.
Nevertheless, as we went further north, the shorter time we had as
the sun slipped down quicker, and quicker.
If the camp was in the bush, a fire was built that we could sit by
and chat after the meal.
The dishes were cleaned individually, then stacked away by the
ladies on a sort of roster, and we had Marge the cook serving or
rather dishing up the food, and tea.
There were some greedy people who always got to the line-up first.
They hogged the food; all that they could every meal.
It was, so predictable each time, with the line order at any main
event.
Then day two was started with a guided tour to the state battery
gold crusher, which was interesting.
Payable gold in Western Australia was initially located in the East Kimberley, by
Saunders, in 1882; however, the Kimberley rush did, not commence until 1885, following
the publication of geological reports, and maps by Hardman on gold occurrences in the
Kimberley District.
Fraser’s Reef was discovered shortly after at Southern Cross in 1887.
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This was followed in 1892 by the phenomenal discovery at Coolgardie, made by Bailey,
and Ford, and the discovery of gold at Kalgoorlie by Hannan in1893.
By 1900 all the currently known goldfields were declared.
A little Gold history we learned that morning.
Fraser¹s Mine
Fraser¹s Mine can be reached by heading west on Orion Street onto the Green mount
Road. It is located over the hill behind the Palace Hotel. Although Thomas Risely, and
Mick Toomey may have discovered Southern Cross it was Hugh Fraser, an experienced
prospector, who pegged out the most important rich lode, and it was Fraser¹s Mine
which became the centre of the town¹s continuing growth. The old head frames, those
symbols of early underground gold mining, are still on the lease and, nearby, is the
modern open cut mine which is still exploiting the quartz, and greenstone fault which
Fraser identified as being rich in gold. It is one of the ironies of gold mining that Fraser
died penniless. The town mayor paid £20 to have him buried as a citizen rather than a
pauper.
Hunt¹s Soak
Then after morning tea, we were on the road travelling to the next
camp for that evening.
John 8:40But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have
heard of God: this did not Abraham. 41Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they
to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. 42Jesus said
unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and
came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. 43Why do ye not
understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44Ye are of your
father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the
beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he
speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 45And
because I tell you the truth, ye believe me no
We are commissioned to go forward until the Bible truth is taken worldwide and to
baptize and make Disciples for Christ. To teach the truth and good news that if they
rigidly live by faith and keep His commandments, not the commandments of men like
the chief Jewish priests enforced. IF the plagues have not started, the Door of mercy
is still open. Accept this, & we will escape all perils through the times coming when
the world is to be destroyed with hail, earth quake and FIRE. God to renew it for us
after we spend 1000 years in heaven, then to live forever with God on the new earth.
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Our trek continues
Karalundi North of Meeka Located on the site of a former
Seventh Day Adventist Mission, which closed in 1975, the
current school retains strong links with the Seventh Day
Adventist Church.
In common with the three CAPS Schools, Karalundi operates
within the context of a strong Christian ethos.
It is, also, like CAPS Wongutha, a co-educational boarding school.
Address: PMB 6 Meekatharra WA 6642 The school it was now run
by a joint venture with the Government, and Church together.
Holidays were on, and it was arraigned that we could use these
facilities overnight, and have a tour of the orange orchard which
they operated at that time.
We had our camps set up on these grounds, and used the mess
room, and showers to clean up, and refresh our selves it was good
to experience this.
We enjoyed the opportunity greatly after the long drive; we had a
tour of the orchard, and the wonderful fresh water supply that is
only ten feet below the surface unlimited, and perfectly fresh to
drink.
A part of a huge water basin that is the start of the river that flowed
to the coast, most of us have the cold now and are coughing very
often, and so ended Day Two.
Day three began at the crack of dawn as usual, and we headed
north on the highway, after several hours I noticed the road sign on
the left side saying centennial road construction project ahead slow
down.
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We came on new gravel works there were miles of it.
I looked back toward the back seat, and it was impossible to see it.
We all started to gasp for air as the cabin filled with this brownie
red cloud, and the complaints got thick it was terrible, eventually
we came to the bitumen again after what seemed forever.
We looked over Mount Newnan Iron open pit, and saw the huge
trucks that moved the ore. After the kitchen, and trailer were
opened we found the dust had got into everything, and poor old
Marge had to clean up before Dinner while we got the tents up.
End of Day Three
After our tents were packed away, and all ready to go for the new
day I crawled under the bus to find why the dust poured in, and
found that there were holes in the floor where the seats had been
moved to their new spot, and the old holes were only covered by
the carpet inside the bus.
The dust from the wheels was forced inside the bus. Easily fixed
with tape.
Day Four we camped on the road not far from Pannawonica in an
old main road gravel pit just away to the side of the highway.
So that the traffic did, not disturb us as we were tired from the long
trip.
Every one felt the cold that night as it was a cracker of a frost, and
morning came at last with, some hesitation we emerged from our
tents, and packed up before breakfast.
The day was uneventful, and we got a little better average speed as
the hills seemed to be gone, the surrounding countryside was flat
and treeless just red soil, and it was Spinifex as far as the eye could
see.
Ecclesiastes 9:16 So I said, “Wisdom is
better than strength.” But the poor man’s
wisdom is despised, and his words are no
longer heeded.
17 The quiet words of the wise are more to be
heeded
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A portion of the people blamed Andréa for the horrible influenza
that raged as she had almost cancelled her trip because she felt, so
bad the day before we left.
I commented on something to Andréa the English Girl who glance
up from her book, and said, “Not another tree is it, I had been
pointing out the different kind of timber along the way, and finally
she bit, at last she was coming back to life.
Day Five passed, eventually we came to a roadhouse halfway
between Port Headland, and Broome the only buildings along that
stretch of highway, it was getting late, and as everyone needed a
shower we pulled in, and set up camp, and raced through the
showers then had dinner, and past a quiet night in our skinny
stretchers.
The roadhouse was very remote, and the man in charge it turned
out was a Mormon who had two wives.
We’d had little contact with Mormons before except young clean
lads who called at home occasionally, so I thinking this bloke
wasn’t genuine.
He was using the name Mormon as an excuse to gratify himself,
the fact that he looked like a real hippy, shaggy beard, and flowing
robes it all made him look gross to me.
I was glad the get on with the trip next morning, It was a long
uninteresting drive, Ken had his leg propped up, and he was agro
with everyone that looked his way, when leaving home he had
dropped his heavy video camera on his big toe and blackened the
nail.
By night we arrived in Broome, and located the caravan park.
Where the extreme boundary they allocated for our camp site.
Day Six It was early but still dark when this roar came from near
by, ‘shut the noise you ******* cant a man get some sleep this is
impossible, be quiet or I’ll fix you up’.
The problem was the old pair of Pensioner women, being slow at
camp setup or pull down had got up, and were pulling their tent
down, at four in the morning.
By shouting instructions to each other at the top of their voices.
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Each shouting their idea of the best method to do, this, and that.
As they were both deaf they really yelled, and this guy in the house
adjoining the van park had done shift work, and could not get to
sleep, he was, so very angry with them.
Some of the places to see while in Broome.
•W Heritage Purnululu National Park
•the Mitchell Plateau
•Mitchell Falls in full
•Gibb River Road
Ord River and Lake Kununurra
•Geikie Gorge
•Wandjina, and Gwion (Bradshaw) r art
•Emma Gorge, the jewel of El Questro
•Windjana Gorge, and Tunnel Creek
•Mitchell Falls
•Kimberley Gorges
•Aboriginal Art of the Kimberley
•National Parks of the Kimberley
All the rest of our group got up quietly for breakfast got our seat on
board, settled in the bus for our early start on the road to our next
stop.
This was as far way as possible on the road ahead.
We camped by the road that night as we ran into the dark.
It was a campsite near Fitzroy Crossing, about twelve hundred KM
from Katherine we built a fire had tea, and chatted until late
looking for satellites, and all marvelled at the barmy air, and clear
starry sky.
It seemed like the stars hung down over us, and they were, so close
to look at, one felt you could reach out, and touch them, a perfect
night it was simply gorgeous.
Day Seven the good food was all gone by now it was basic tucker
of bread, and cheese, and Billy tea, so some of us sat by a
campfire, and told stories until it was time to settle down in our
skinny tent bed stretchers.
Ken the guy with the infected toe continued with his temper, and to
keep the leg propped up bared in the isle of the bus making it very
hard for anyone to get by him, being handicapped with the stroke,
he was a grunting, dribbling, bad tempered, and infuriating mess.
With a very poor mannered protective wife, and Daughter, who
thank God had got off the bus at Broome, giving quite a lot more
room?
The back seat stretching the width of the bus, and was crammed
with all sorts of stuff from linen to an esky, and cases to rugs, and
junk of every type, anyone wanting a sleep in the daytime settled
239
there, and we sniggered at them as they adopted strange facial
expressions.
Some days at lunch time Marge spread cheese sandwiches there
when we where way behind our scheduled
Day Eight. BUNGLE BUNGELS
I get melancholy when I think back to my early life with the
changes that have occurred in the farms and country towns as they
are slowly strangled by our relentless rush to globalisation where
competition is increased more and more until who knows what will
come. The only way to forget this is to think back to my child hood
and previous experience with the dreamy days when the skylark’s
fancy fluting climb to about 100 feet then locking it’s wings at
45% it gliding steeply down to mark it territory and impress it’s
Psalm 65:6 Who by his strength established the
mountains, being girded with power; 7 Who
stilleth the raging of the seas, the raging of
their waves, and the tumult of the peoples.
8 And they that dwell in the uttermost parts
are afraid at thy tokens; thou makest the
outgoings of the morning and evening to
rejoice. 9 Thou hast visited the earth, thou hast
watered it; thou greatly enrichest it: the river
of God is full of water; thou providest their
corn, when thou hast so prepared it:
There burns a fire of sacred heat white hot with Holy Flame
And all who dare pass through its blaze will not emerge the same.
Some as bronze, and some as silver, some as gold
Then with great skill all are hammered by their sufferings on the anvil of His will.
Refrain:
The Refi ner’s fi re has now become my soul desire,
purged and cleansed and purified that the Lord be glorified.
He is consuming my soul refining me making me whole
No matter what I may lose, I choose the Refiner’s fi re.
2. I’m learning now to trust His touch to crave the fi re’s embrace
For though my past with SONG: “The Refiner’s Fire”
1. sin was etched, His mercies did erase.
Each time His purging cleanses deeper I’m not sure that I’ll survive,
Yet the strength in growing weaker keeps my hungry soul alive.
240
mate with a beautiful song that sent a thrill through me and I was
glad to be young and alive doing my own thing.
From my early days, always the bird life fascinated me from the
Bullaring region my name for these birds, the kingfisher and the
rain bird were the most striking. The robin red breast to occasional
blue wren. There was blue martin, tomtit, silvereye, yellowtail,
warbler, cookoo, pigeon, dove, owls, mopoke and tawny
frogmouth. A small green treetop parrot, rosella. Smoker parrot
and 28-parrot. Next the magpie, crow, honeyeater, butcherbird,
mud lark, ground lark, pluver. Then black cocky, and wedge tail
eagle, various hawks. Willie wagtail, black Willie, squeaker, stalk
ibis, curlew, swallows, wader, mountain duck, teal duck, Blackduck,
Wood-duck, Shag, dabchick, water hen. The singing skylark,
quail, blue jay, silver eye, red-capped dotterel, various scrubs
birds. These birds were all prevalent but diminished as the clearing
was done they thinned year by year. The York district had the
kookaburra as well. The Goodlands farms had millions of galahs
and some of the previously mentioned birds, and some yellow
crested cockatoos finches parrots crow magpie pluver scrub birds
some mallie hen, hawks wedge tail eagles wild turkey pelican, but
no kookaburra. There are some forgotten birds surely.
241
The bus arrived first, at the arranged site at Turkey Creek, for those
on the sight seeing flight this day.
The bus driver had to get us to Halls Creek in time for a joy ride
over the Bungle Bungles.
We landed later at the Turkey Creek landing field where the bus
driver had parked, to pick us up there at night.
There were only three takers for this trip, and we arrived at the
plane in good time, so got on board.
The bus driver then left us, and set off for Turkey Creek several
hundred kilometres further on the way to wait there for the night.
The English girl Andréa, Kevin the single guy, and I were the only
ones on board with the pilot he turned the starter key, and the
motor spluttered a time or two but failed to start, so he tried again
persisting. Soon the battery gave out, so they got an other battery,
and tried again with the same result. Therefore, they said look we
will give you three lunches in town while we fix things up.
While having lunch back in town Andréa said this is an omen we
had better not fly today it‘s going to crash.
I said how you going to catch the bus then? Andréa said “OH”, so
we have to go then, Kevin, and I chimed yes.
When the pilot and his Partner came back for us, we were a little
jittery but got on the plane, the thing started first pop, and we
headed for the hills, so to speak.
Elsie’s Kids Louise, Matt, Ann Buggins
Paslm 71:17 O God, thou hast taught me from my youth, and
hitherto have I proclaimed thy marvellous works: 18 Now also,
when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not, until I
have proclaimed thine arm unto this generation, thy might to
every one that is to come. 19 And thy righteousness, O God,
reacheth on high, thou who hast done great things: O God,
who is like unto thee? 20 Thou, who hast shewn us many and
sore troubles, wilt revive us again, and wilt bring us up again
from the depths of the earth; 21 Thou wilt increase my
greatness, and comfort me on every side
1 Timothy 1: 1 I exhort therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers,
intercessions, thanksgivings be made for all men; 2 for kings and all that
are in dignity, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all piety and
gravity; 3 for this is good and acceptable before our Saviour God, 4 who
desires that all men should be saved and come to the knowledge of the
truth. 5 For God is one, and the mediator of God and men one, the man
Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself a ransom for all, the testimony to be
rendered in its own times; 7 to which I have been appointed a herald and
apostle, (I speak the truth, I do not lie,) a teacher of the nations in faith and
truth. 8 I will therefore that the men pray in every place, lifting up pious
hands, without wrath or reasoning
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We got a great view of the whole district including Lake Argyle
the diamond mine, and the Bungle Bungles, and flew to the
landing strip at Turkey Creek in time for Dinner with the rest of
the Mob.
Unfortunately Andréa was not able to hold her lunch down as the
pilot tried to fly a little recklessly close to the hills, and I must say
we all were pleased to get to the strip.
Spent the night there a very pretty place with looming mountains
reaching skyward on the eastern side of our camp, on rising in the
morning the sun did, not show over the mountain until we were
way on the road to Kununurra in time we booked in to the caravan
park for a two day break.
The Guy Ken’s toe looked black, and angry, and must have hurt a
lot, it had near driven him mad by the time his wife got him in to
see the emergency department Doctor.
He had it dressed, and somewhat drained, and was told to bathe it
in hot water, and an antiseptic solution every night until it eased
off.
Isobel, and I, as the camp tea towels were filthy we went shopping
in the supermarket, and bought half a dozen new ones.
We, also got a souvenir tea spoon as that was her passion at that
time she never went to any town that a spoon was not located, and
bought.
After inspecting the Agricultural Research Station farm, and had a
tour to the irrigation farms, and gardens on the other side of town,
went to the famous zebra rock demonstrated souvenir farm, and
more junk was bought. Climbed up on the special rocky tourist
lookout to the north of town, and went back to the van park at
night tired.
We called in at Lake Argyle next morning got photographs, and
had a tea break there at the Homestead of the Durack’s. I told the
busload of people all about “Isobel’s folly” as we passed the turn,
then on to the border of NT. Soon after we had a toilet stop and
there was, one lonely tree and it had been used very often so we
did not spend long there.
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Day Ten we made camp at Timber Creak along this long lonely
road, Marge did, the usual for lunch, and spread cheese, and
gherkin spread sandwiches for lunch, and we kept driving with
only a couple of toilet breaks all day till dusk we set up the tents,
and kitchen, and we had Dinner by dark. Chatted by the open fire
while Ken soaked his toe in big Billy the only option until bedtime.
On again at daybreak as Katherine was our next intended stop it
was an uneventful drive that day before we camped a few miles
short of our target, and had the evening meal. As I stoked the fire
Marge put the Billy on, and the people started to come around the
fire I found it surprising that Marge rushed over, and put the tea in,
and the greedy ones wondered why I tried to whisper, so Marge
did not hear,” that’s the toe Billy, do you want to drink that.”? I
found it most difficult to let the crowd know without Ken or his
wife being offended. We finally told Marge our concern, and she
dug up an other small Billy, we used that from then on.
Day Eleven Marge stocked up our good food.
At Katherine, but hot weather, and no fridge made Marge cautious,
as we were liable for a bellyache if the tucker was off.
Katherine Region - Adventure Territory
Wherever you travel in the Katherine Region, you’ll pass through country
traditionally associated with different Aboriginal language groups.
Aboriginal people are proud of their land, and welcome visitors who come
to learn about their country, and culture. The Katherine Region stretches
from Dunmarra in the south, to the Daly River region in the north. From
east to west, we embrace both the Queensland, and Western Australian
borders, and in total cover around 480,000 sq km. The Katherine Region is
Adventure Territory, boasting the magnificent Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge)
National Park. Around Katherine, you will discover such treasures as
Borroloola, and the Gulf Region across the Roper River – Elsey National
Park, Macarena Thermal Pools, the majestic scenery of the Victoria River
Region, Pine Creek, and the Douglas, and Daly River areas.
Katherine is ideally positioned as a base from which to explore all the Top
End has to offer. Located only a couple of hours from Kakadu, Litchfield,
and Gregory National Parks, the town of Katherine is the central hub of the
region.
We did, our shopping in Katherine early, and sailed down the road
to Mataranka to the hot springs where we camped, and had a nice
relaxing dip in the hot pool.
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Matt 5 17 “Do, not think that I have come to do, away with the Law of Moses,of the prophets. I have not
come to do, away with them, but to make their teachings come true. Remember that as long as heaven,
and earth last, not the least point nor the smallest detail of the Law will be done away with—not until the
end of all things. 19So then, whoever disobeys even the least important of the commandments, and
teaches others to do, the same, will be least in the Kingdom of heaven. On the other hand, whoever obeys
the Law, and teaches others to do, the same, will be great in the Kingdom of heaven. 20I tell you, then,
that you will be able to enter the Kingdom of heaven only if you are more faithful than the teachers of
the Law, and the Pharisees in doing what God requires
1 John 5 ;18 We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God
keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him. 19 We know that we are children of God, and that the
whole world is under the control of the evil one. 20 We know, also that the Son of God has come, and has
given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true., and we are in him who is true—even in
his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God, and eternal life. 21 Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.
Rev 3;10Because you have kept my command to endure, I will, also keep you safe from the time of
trouble which is coming upon the world to test all the people on earth. 11I am coming soon. Keep safe
what you have, so that no one will rob you of your victory prize. I will make those who are victorious
pillars in the temple of my God, and they will never leave it. I will write on them the name of my God,
and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which will come down out of heaven from my
God. I will, also write on them my new name.
13 “If you have ears, then, listen to what the Spirit says to the churches!
Micah 6 ;8. Hath shewed thee. The answer Micah gave was not a new revelation, and did, not
represent a change in the divine requirements. The objective of the plan of salvation, namely, the
restoration in the human soul of the image of God, had been clearly revealed to Adam, and a knowledge
concerning this objective had been passed on to succeeding generations. This knowledge was confirmed
through the personal testimony of the Spirit (see Rom. 8:16), and amplified through subsequent
revelations of the prophets. The men of Micah’s day had the Pentateuch in writing, and doubtless other
portions of the Bible, as well as the testimony of contemporary prophets such as Isaiah, and Hosea (see
Isa. 1:1; Hosea 1:1; cf. Micah 1:1).
However, the people seemed to have forgotten that outward observances are valueless without true
godliness. One of the chief functions of the prophets was to teach the people that mere external religious
practice could not substitute for internal character, and obedience (1 Sam. 15:22; Ps. 51:16, 17; Isa.
1:11–17; Hosea 6:6; cf. Jer. 6:20; 7:3–7; John 4:23, 24). God desired not their substance but their spirit;
not alone their worship but their will; not alone their service but their soul
Rev 16 16And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
17And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple
of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. 18And there were voices, and thunders, and lightning’s;
and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an
earthquake, and so great. 19And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations
fell:, and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the
fierceness of his wrath. 20And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 21And there fell
upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent:, and men blasphemed God
because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.
Deuteronomy 14: 11 “You may eat any clean
bird. 12-18But these are the kinds of birds you are
not to eat: eagles, owls, hawks, falcons; buzzards,
vultures, crows; ostriches; seagulls, storks,
herons, pelicans, cormorants; hoopoes; and bats.
19 “All winged insects are unclean; do not eat
them. 20You may eat any clean insect.
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Bats came flying over toward dark making an awful noise it was
new to us to see the sky filled with, so much activity as all the
birds came down to drink at these pristine water holes. We all got
souvenirs at the shops, so the cases bulged making the loading a
squeeze, and more stuff on the back seat.
Then we travelled on down south early next morning until we
came to the turn to the east, known as three ways where we tuned
left.
It was morning toilet stop time, and word came from Paul to watch
for big bus.
We would meet soon, and sure enough, it came toward us, so we
stopped in a roadside camping place partway under the shade of a
large tree.
Big bus came flat out toward us, and we all rushed out to wave it
down.
They stopped, and we met this ragtag bunch from the big bus of
course we asked where have you been?
They told us a terribly sad story of how the bus broke down.
While they waited for a new motor, they started fighting amongst
themselves.
The driver quit he just walked away, and half of the passengers
flew back interstate by plane, someone else got sick.
We were the lucky ones not to have boarded the wreck, and to
thank God we had not gotten to travel on big bus.
It had been nothing but trouble from the start.
After the young driver of big bus told us how he came to be the
driver.
No driver could be found in town, they had now been stranded
with no one to take the job.
He finally out of desperation took it unpaid just to get home, as
they were broke.
After all the unexpected expense, they found themselves in
We said our Sentinel angel was in action again, as we waved them
goodbye.
North of Tennant Creek about 30 km or so, then it was some miles
to our camp stop for the night.
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Poor Nell was feeling the strain, as she was a very heavy sick
woman, and had to sit all day on one cheek of her bottom, the other
cheek in the isle airborne with no support.
She was, so wide her right side was under huge tension the whole
trip to this time, she did, not complain.
All the time during travelling, it must be hard on her.
She was glad to use a chair at the campsites, this night she sat
down a bit suddenly, and the chair collapsed under her, it was quite
a battle getting her up, and onto another one, it shook her up badly,
and put a damper on the day.
It was the usual trouble to fit the cases, and tents in place as we all
had bought more tourist junk, and teaspoons.
Paul took this as his problem with a lot of grumbling, and threats
about resigning the job.
In the morning as we got ready to travel toward Mt Isa the next big
Town, we had to get our fuel money at the post office there.
It was a stifling trip, as the air con was not working well enough to
clear the smell of diesel fumes that filled the bus.
By now, every one was grumpy.
All day long, it was a terribly stuffy bus ride.
Eventually we got there to the post office.
Where we were in for more trouble as the bus driver came out with
a disgusted look on his face, to get the bosses wife to go back into
the post office with him to sort the situation out with the
postmaster. After an age they came back, that problem solved.
A hurried drive on to find a mechanic before closing time to see
why there were, so many fumes being produced, he found the
problem was the injector pipes I had tightened, they had worked
loose, and the fuel was leaking on the hot motor.
This is a warning to remember how those who disregard God will be reaping their own reward.
When that was fixed it did, not take long with the correct tools, we
drove to our camp for the night.
Hebrews 1:: 1 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short
of it. 2For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them,
not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. 3For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: “So I
swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest,’ ”
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Now early next morning we drove north to the Gulf of Carpentaria
to Normanton, that was a gravel road, and more problems arose as
the air conditioner had lost its gas, so it was again a troublesome
trip.
It had gotten very hot, and humid, and the group did a lot of
complaining to the Bosses wife, we were determined to get the airconditioning
fixed before we went on from Normanton.
Mark 13::4 “ Tell us, when will this happen, and what sign will there be when all these things are about to come to an
end?”
5 Jesus began to say to them, “See that no one deceives you.
6 Many will come in my name saying, ‘I am he,’ and they will deceive many.
7 When you hear of wars and reports of wars do not be alarmed; such things must happen, but it will not yet be the end.
8 Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes from place to place and there
will be famines. These are the beginnings of the labor pains.
9 “Watch out for yourselves. They will hand you over to the courts. You will be beaten in synagogues. You will be
arraigned before governors and kings because of me, as a witness before them.
10 But the gospel must first be preached to all nations
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The scenery was attractive flat with anthills everywhere, and
swamps most of the way interspersed with small trees that were
getting thicker though not very big or high.
The brolgas a big bird stalked proudly around very regally the
male’s danced for their partners.
A ranger handles a brolga.
Normanton is an unusual and fascinating town near the coast of the
Gulf of Carpentaria.
Normanton is a genuinely delightful town with an excess of old
world charm.
By the time Paul had the bus air conditioner repaired we had
looked the town over, and were glad to get back on board again to
set up camp an hour on the road to Atherton, and Cairns. Here
below are some facts about Normanton.
Located 712 km west Of Cairns, and 681 km west of Townsville it started life as a port
for the Gulf of Carpentaria cattle Industry, and grew in importance with the discovery of
gold at Croydon in 1885.
The area was first explored by Ludwig Leichhardt on his epic journey from the Darling
Downs to Port Essington.
The next Europeans through the area were Burke, and Wills who made their final Dash to
the Gulf (or, more correctly, to the mangrove swamps somewhere near the edge of the
Gulf) only 26 km west of the town.
The location of Burke, and Wills last northern camp is signposted on the main
Normanton- Burketown road.
It is only a 1.5-km drive into the bush to the spot which is marked by a couple of Plaques.
The dedication reads: ‘This monument marks the site of Camp No: 119 of the 1860-61
Burke, and Wills expedition occupied on Saturday 9 February 1861 by Robert O’Hara
Burke, William John Wills, John King, and Charlie Gray.
On Sunday 10 February Burke, and Wills left on the attempted journey To the Gulf of
Carpentaria returning on Tuesday 12 February. All four abandoned the camp the next
Day for the return journey to Coopers Creek, Depot No: 75, and home to Melbourne.
During the Return journey all died with the exception of King who survived with the
assistance of a friendly Aboriginal tribe.
Genesis 6: 20 Two of every kind of bird, animal, and crawling thing
will come to you to be kept alive. 21 Also gather some of every kind of
food and store it on the boat as food for you and the animals.”
22 Noah did everything that God commanded him.
(NCV)
249
This monument was provided through, and with thanks, to the generous donation Of Mr.
Douglas Jolly of Brisbane, and the historical advice of the State Library of Victoria, and
was erected in 1978 by the Normanton Lions Club.
It was Frederick Walker, one of the many explorers who went looking for Burke, and
Wills, who Discovered, and named the Norman River after the captain of a ship named
Victoria.
In 1867 William Landsborough sailed up the Norman River, and chose the site for the
settlement of Normanton.
Over the next decade it became an important port.
The large Burns Philp building at the end of the town’s main street is evidence of its
importance at this time.
There were even Suggestions that it would become a port to rival Darwin as the main
centre on the north coast of Australia.
In 1892 a boiling-down works was established on the river, and shortly afterwards a meat
works was Opened.
The town experienced a major boom with the discovery of gold at Croydon.
By 1891 the population had reached 1251.
However the gold diggings were short-lived, and although the Normanton- Croydon
railway line was opened by 1907 the whole area was on the decline.
Even the cattle which had been the town’s mainstay started heading south as the railway
line was extended out towards Mount Isa.
By 1947 the population had dropped to 234.
It has since picked up with the Development of prawn fishing at Karumba, and the
increasing interest in tourism.
Things to see: The Gulflander, and the Railway Station The town’s greatest tourist
attraction is undoubtedly ‘The Gulflander’.
The railway line was originally planned to service the beef industry by running from
Normanton to Cloncurry but the Discovery of gold at Croydon redirected it.
The rail is a masterpiece of adaptive design.
George Philips, the supervising engineer, designed Special steel sleepers which proved so
successful that they are still in use today.
They can be seen at the railway station which is listed by the National Trust.
It is an unusual building which has Distinctive decorative patterns on the cross-braces
which hold up the corrugated-iron roof.
It has become one of Normanton’s most distinctive landmarks.
The railway line was only a brief success.
When it opened it was planned that it would become a Major line, and that Normanton
would grow to become a major port.
In its first year of operation There were 55 railway employees, and the train was carrying
10 000 passengers each year.
As a result of the Croydon goldfield’s demise in 1906 the Gulflander has not made a
profit since 1907.
Today it runs a once weekly service leaving Normanton at 8. 30 am on Wednesday, and
Returning from Croydon at 8. 30 am the next morning.
It is occasionally booked to make the tour at other times.
Buildings there are a number of interesting buildings in the town, including the
distinctive ‘Purple Pub’, the ‘Albion Hotel where Captain Percy Tresize drew a series of
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humorous paintings on the bar room Walls, and the Bank of New South Wales which is
now a listed National Trust Building.
It is an unusual building which looks more like a house than a Bank.
Designed by Richard Gailey in 1896 it is an extraordinarily beautiful timber building
with cross bracing on the veranda, and a fashionable Exposed frame.
Tourist Information Carpentaria Shire Council Office Landsborough St Normanton QLD
4890 this is taken from an internet page to describe this historic place we visited on our
way to expo88.
It was a real surprise to us as just how important that this place had
been, and how once it had thrived so much. It was worth seeing.
The next day all went well, on toward Cairns, and our rondevu at
expo in Brisbane, the route still 2,222 km – about 1 day 5 hours
drive From Normanton QLD to Brisbane, but first we had to see
Green Island on our way.
The trip to the Atherton was boring until we started to descend the
mountain, and then the bus was pushed down the hairpin bends at a
fast rate, too fast in fact hair-raising, by our heavy kitchen trailer.
One of the ladies had been in a car accident just before the trip
started screaming, and she got hysterical, and demanded we slow
down. She, and her husband were at the back, and felt every push,
and shove the trailer gave the buses’ backend, as we lurched
around the sharp turns in the road. The trees were along the
mountain thick as the fur on a cats back, and we sailed by, at the
top of those on the down slope side of the road, it was scary, and
Paul was getting crankier as we raced down. Finally, we came to
the flats, and a fuel place where Paul stopped the bus, and held the
bus keys out asking who wanted them because he was packing the
job in. Isobel, and I were in the front row, and it took us ages to
pacify him. Eventually we kidded him into continuing until we
camped in Cairns in a van park once there he settled down, and we
had a good night
Cairns has some of the most beautiful beaches in Queensland. Swimming enclosures are
provided at most beaches during the Dangerous Marine Stinger season, typically from
November to May (subject to seasonal variability). View current beaches status here.
Cairns City Council operates a number of facilities of interest to tourists including: The
Esplanade (including swimming? lagoon, Harbour Walk, Muddy's Playground, Skate
park, beach volleyball courts, Esplanade North Parklands, and markets); Tanks Arts
Centre; Flecker Botanic Gardens; Cairns Civic Theatre; ? ? Sugarworld Gardens; Cairns
Regional Gallery; and? Cairns Libraries.
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In the morning, we looked around the street, and shops until the
catamaran ride to Green Island it took about an hour to arrive
there, and it was packed with tourists.
The toilet facilities could not cope, and were overflowing out of
the ground everywhere around the building, and it smelled,
spoiling a lovely island only inches above sea level, and absolutely
swamped with sightseers buying stuff at the stalls trying to keep
clear of the pollution.
A Glass Bottom Boat at Green Island.
After we got through our turn at the toilet finally, we found that
they were even more disgusting inside. We went strolling around
the island sightseeing it only took an hour as the island is so small
John 21: 8 The other disciples came to shore in the boat, pulling the
net full of fish. They were not very far from land, about a hundred
meters away. 9When they stepped ashore, they saw a charcoal fire
there with fish on it and some bread. 10Then Jesus said to them,
“Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”
Luke 12:37 How happy are those servants whose master finds
them awake and ready when he returns! I tell you, he will
take off his coat, ask them to sit down, and will wait on
them. 38How happy they are if he finds them ready, even if
he should come at midnight or even later! And you can be
sure that if the owner of a house knew the time when the
thief would come, he would not let the thief break into his
house. And you, too, must be ready, because the Son of Man
will come at an hour when you are not expecting him.”
Revelation 21:4 “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be
no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the
former things have passed away.”
Mark 16:15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to
all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does
not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who
believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;
18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison,
it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they
will get well.”
19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and
he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached
everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the
signs that accompanied it.
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We looked at the lovely swimming spots, and diving, and
snorkelling places were spectacular.
The Coral views, and the trip down under to the underwater glass
observatory, and we saw beautiful fish swimming around
everywhere underneath the waves
We were glad to crawl into bed that night the boat ride swimming,
sightseeing had worn us all out, and tomorrow Paul said we were
going for a day trip to the Daintree River, and Kuranda rail it
turned out something special
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Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected
knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast
forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. 7As they were increased, so
they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame. 8They eat up the
sin of my people, and they set their heart on their iniquity. 9And there shall be, like
people, like priest: and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings.
10For they shall eat, and not have enough: they shall commit whoredom, and shall not
increase: because they have left off to take heed to the LORD. 11Whoredom and wine
and new wine take away the heart.
We all boarded the train at Kuranda, and it was quite romantic to
travel to the Daintree, see my picture below.
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My father in law had told us all about his work in world war two in
the Townsville camp, and of trips to Tully of the tremendous
rainfall there, so to go through the area by train was most
enjoyable.
Sea horse
.
We had a boat trip on the Daintree River, and from my memory, I
do not think it was extensive.
I am writing this, and it is not, so clear in my mind for some reason
it does not remain vivid as the other parts do, like the train, and the
water falling down the Tully falls, so I will not try to describe that
event.
The bus met us at the Daintree river tourist depot, and we
inspected all the prominent sights then drove back on the road
south to the next camp.
This map below is the next couple of days of the route some
eighteen hundred KM, finishing at Ipswich where I was very sick
from a drumstick that I had for lunch, a couple of days before on
the way down the coast.
I remember the group toured out to another Barrier Reef coral
Island, the day was rough, and Isobel and I decided to have the
time to ourselves on shore.
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The day was wet, and not very good for the sea.
At lunch time we went into a local restaurant, and had chicken, and
salad I remember as I finished my drumstick, saying that meat is
off, and we continued to look at the town I could not even name it.
What I do remember is the Yacht moored at the jetty, was sailed by
one of the big wigs from the Sydney Racing fraternity.
From the Daintree to Brisbane is 2000 km approximately.
We looked at the towns along the way, and the plantations as well
there are, so many to see it’s a book on its own.
Isaiah 5:13
Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their
honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst. 14Therefore hell hath enlarged
herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and
he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it. 15And the mean man shall be brought down, and the mighty man
shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled: 16But the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in
judgment, and God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness. 17Then shall the lambs feed after their
manner, and the waste places of the fat ones shall strangers eat. 1
1The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.
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Townsville
349 km south Cairns
is a major arts, and cultural centre in North Queensland, and is home to Dance North (one
of only a few professional dance companies located outside a capital city), the Townsville
Civic Theatre, Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, and Pinnacles Gallery; amongst many other
performing arts groups, and museums, and galleries Townsville Civic Theatre is North
Queensland's premier cultural facility owned, and managed by Townsville City Council.
A play that entertains, and stimulates debate, and enquiry plays contributing to the quality
of life in the tropics. Dancenorth Australia is only one of two regional based
contemporary dance companies in Australia. Its mission is to produce, and present.
Continuing to Surfers Paradise.
Then the main group docked they told us they did, not having
much of a trip due to the weather, we went to get our tent up in the
van park.
Isobel was sick that night, recovering after one short episode.
I on the other hand could not be sick, only felt terrible, but next
day was shocking for me as we travelled down from this camp all
that occupied my mind was you are going to be sick soon but it
would not happen I felt dreadful.
I remember at one stage walking around a car park in a shopping
centre wanting to vomit.
With everyone, watching and sympathizing it just was not
possible, and eventually we headed off on the road.
It was not long before I asked Paul to let me off quick, he stopped,
and as I rolled around near the front bus tyre, I noticed just how
dangerous they were, with the wire showing, so after recovering
slightly I got back, and we continued the trip south.
I reported my observations to Paul, and he said we have no money
for new tyres.
By this time everyone on board the bus wanted to know when we
would get new tyres, Paul reminded every one they would have to
pay if the tyres were that important to them.
We had long travelling time that day, got to Brisbane by dark, and
told it’s not far to camp now, but Ipswich was still an hour away,
so we had some way to go.
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I do not remember much as by now, it was the bug that really had
me, I went to the toilet at midnight, and fell down in the rain lying
face down.
There in a dirty puddle outside of the toilets, I don’t know how
long I was unconscious for but eventually woke up, and was sick
then staggered back to bed.
To day was the day we had come to Brisbane for expo88, it was
the main reason for the trip.
In to the Royal Brisbane Hospital emergence was the first point of
call for the bus.
I was sad to say good-bye to everyone in the group at the hospital
not knowing when, or how I would catch up with the bus group
again.
The boss’s wife aided me, and when I had been there most of the
day in a cubicle on my own until thankfully, my turn came, and a
young doctor saw me to give me some questions, and checks.
The doctor said he thought I was getting over food poisoning, and
it was ok to leave Brisbane on the bus.
Unknown to me at that time until reading a paper next day an older
woman had died in the emergence at the Brisbane Royal, of food
poisoning because of delay in attending to her.
The others had a great time at the expo, and returned to pick me up
in the centre of Brisbane near a park where I waited outside the
gate with the boss’s wife she had some jobs to do, in the city,
which she did, while I was in the emergency.
The fellow travellers of mine soon filled me in continually with all
the details of the wonders they saw at expo that I had missed sadly.
Brisbane World Expo '88
Expo '88 was a World's Fair held in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia between April 30 and October
30, 1988. The theme of the Expo was "Leisure in the Age of Technology" and at a cost of AUD$625
million, Expo '88 was the largest event of the 1988 Bicentennial celebrations of the British settlement
of Australia.
The first bid to bring an exposition to Brisbane in 1988 began with James Maccormick, the architect who had
designed the Australian pavilions at Montreal 1967, Osaka 1970, and Spokane 1974. The Australian
Bicentennial Authority (ABA), under John Reid, wanted an Universal Exposition in Australia as part of
Bicentennial in 1988, and the Federal Government was prepared to fund half of the cost of an exposition in
Melbourne or Sydney. However, when these states turned the offer down in 1981, Reid approached the
Queensland Government with a proposal for a cheaper International Exposition. In late 1981 the State
Cabinet funded a study that identified South Brisbane as the preferred site. The State Cabinet approved the
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study on the condition that the Federal Government share the capital costs, but Prime Minister Malcolm
Fraser rejected this notion in December 1981. After much to-ing and fro-ing and further negotiations, there
was a renewed bid by the Qld State Government in 1982 who offerd to would lend money to a statutory
authority, which would be tasked with buying and developing the land, and managing the exposition.
Brisbane's application was approved in June 1983.
On to Surfers Paradise at four in the afternoon arriving at dusk too
late to go shopping.
We thought that we would stay there but no not, here in Surfers it’s
too dear, the bus driver informed us. Then we became a very angry
lot of passengers, as he drove straight though the main street on
south to Coolangatta to a van park.
.
EXODUS 31: 16 ‘Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout
their generations as a perpetual covenant. 17‘It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever;
for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was
refreshed.’ ”
This is why Sabbath still is and will always we kept by a remnant
forever.
Main shops.
He got us to setup our campsite, and promised that any one who
wanted could go into the shops next morning.
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The site was quite a nice van park, and it had a good beach where
some of us swam.
Next morning while the others went in to the Surfers Paradise
shops as promised, and they bought up big time.
After the break, of swimming, and resting all that day my health
improved quickly.
We left next day early in the morning for Coffs Harbour, the
region where Andréa was getting off the bus to meet her sister who
had come up from Sydney.
Paul was very quiet about this stop, but at days end we came to this
larger pretty town called Grafton, then on 68 km to Coramba, a
tiny place just out from Andréa’s departing point, and out of the
blue he stopped.
10 km from her destination, we where shocked, as “he said off you
go Andréa, we turn west here to Dorrigo
1 Timothy 6:4 he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments
over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, 5useless wranglings of
men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of
gain. From such withdraw yourself. 6Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we
brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8And having food
and clothing, with these we shall be content. 9But those who desire to be rich fall into
temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in
destruction and perdition. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which
some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with
many sorrows.
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We all protested that we where not in Coffs Harbour yet, we hoped
to have a send-off for her overnight, but our protests were to no
avail, he was adamant she get off the bus.
She had to catch a train, bus or taxi, and did, not yet have any
details, and darkness was closing in, but having done lots of
travelling she would handle her Problem ok.
Leviticus 19:17 “Do not bear a grudge against anyone, but settle your differences
with him, so that you will not commit a sin because of him. Do not take revenge on
anyone or continue to hate him, but love your neighbour as you love yourself. I am
the LORD.
19 “Obey my commands.
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She sent us a postcard months later, from her home in England, to
say what a great time she enjoyed in Australia, and what nice
people she spent time with on our tour.
The group felt very sad, as Andréa looked, so lonely standing there
on the side of the road, as we drove away to the next van park, on
the outskirts of Dorrigo an hour away.
When we got there to our first camp since Coolangatta, Paul told
us to quickly setup camp, and then it was off to dinner at the
bowling club at Bellingen from memory that they had booked, so
we had to hurry, for we could not miss our booking.
It was a good dinner, and afterwards we were stuck on the poker
machines.
I popped my ten cents in several times, and all hell broke loose
after five minutes it gave me a start, the bells, and whistles all
sounded at once, as all these ten cent coins poured out, hundreds of
them all told fifty dollars in change, so the night was great for me.
The effort to play the pokies was not, so happy an event for the
others.
When we got back to camp in Dorrigo, we had no sooner
disembarked from the bus then the boss’s wife, and sick Kevin’s
wife confronted big Nell, with accusations, and drunken threats
with lots of yelling.
Kevin’s wife started to pull Nell’s Hair, and slap her about the face
in her drunken anger.
Job 5:8 But as for me I will seek unto •God, and unto
God commit my cause; 9 Who doeth great things
and unsearchable, marvellous things without
number; 10 Who giveth rain on the face of the earth,
and sendeth waters on the face of the fields;
11 Setting up on high those that are low; and
mourners are exalted to prosperity1
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I stepped in to hold them apart, and everyone joined in to break the
fight up, and settle the angry wives down before retiring for the
night.
The two of them had stopped with the bus, and Paul joined them
part of the time to drink themselves into believing, the half heard
gossip, mostly about Andréa’s departure, turning it into lies, that
the two wife’s built on, until they convinced themselves they were
True.
After the fight everything went smoothly as we headed from
Bellingen Bowling & Sporting Club Ltd
Dorrigo through lots of forest, and hills we came to Armidale
University (the Uni of New England), Armidale has become an
ever mesh of ideals, history, and lifestyles, marking it as one of the
more interesting towns in NSW. Armidale is situated high on the
northern tablelands of New South Wales, and is midway between
Sydney, and Brisbane on the New England Highway, and just over
a two-hour drive from the coast.
Then went a couple of hours on before the famous town of
Tamworth. Noted for the music festival held there each year but
we had nothing of interest much other than farms, and trees as the
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countryside was suffering extreme drought, the land flattened out
the further we got away from the Blue Mountains.
Which had made it, so slow travelling, and it were not brown
paddocks covered with cowpats that we saw out of the bus as had
been seen in the paddocks earlier
We think Dubbo is one of New South Wales’ best kept secrets.
This vibrant centre is coming into its own these days, with an
attractive mix of the old (like Old Dubbo Goal, which is a must
see), and the new.
There’s now a Farmers’ Market to showcase the remarkable
produce of the region, grown in the rich soil of the Macquarie
Valley.
Restaurants, hotels, bars, and clubs all reflect Dubbo’s growing
confidence, and sophistication.
Visit the Dubbo website, and you’ll see what we mean.
The usual wayside breaks, and a lunch break for half an hour
before continuing to Dubbo on the roadside we saw grape vines
fruit trees mainly irrigated paddocks.
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We did, not stop until Narrabri; camp 3 then continuing until
Broken Hill, Camp 4 from Coolangatta There are many good
reasons to Visit Narrabri Shire, in heart of the rich Namoi Valley
in North-West NSW. Reaching here is easy! Narrabri Shire is a
scenic seven-hour drive from Sydney, or Brisbane, and is
accessible by train and plane from major centres perhaps the most
spectacular sight of the Narrabri Shire is Mt Kaputar National
Park. Here, there is a huge range of activities for the outdoors
lover, including bushwalking, camping, and sight seeing. From the
mountains highest point of 1511 metres, there are 360-degree
views encompassing one tenth of NSW".
Tips about Narrabri.
Broken Hill
At heart, Broken Hill or "Silver City”, as it's been nicknamed is
still very much a hardworking, hard drinking mining town. Its
beginnings date to 1883, when the trained eye of a boundary rider
named Charles Rasp noticed something odd about the craggy rock
outcrops at a place called the Broken Hill. He thought he saw
deposits of tin, but they turned out to be silver, and lead. Today,
the city's main drag, Argent Street, bristles with finely crafted
colonial mansions, heritage homes, hotels, and public buildings.
Look deeper and you see the town's quirkiness. Around one corner,
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you'll find the radio station, built to resemble a giant wireless set
with round knobs for windows, and around another the
headquarters of the Housewives Association, which ruled the town
with an iron apron for generations. Then there's the Palace Hotel
made famous in the movie The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of
the Desert with its high painted walls, and a mural of Botticelli's
Birth of Venus on the ceiling two flights up. Traditionally a hard -
drinking but religious town, Broken Hill has 23 pubs (down from
73 in its heyday), and plenty of churches, as well as a Catholic
cathedral, a synagogue, and a mosque to serve its 21,000
inhabitants.
To Flinders Range was 420 km about 5 hours 5 minutes. Many
Adnyamathanha people live, and work in the area today.
Nepabunna in the Gammon Ranges, Leigh Creek, and Port
Augusta are central townships for the Adnyamathanha people.
Family, and work responsibilities enable Aboriginal people to
maintain the link with their country. Some work on cattle stations,
and in towns. Others are involved in cultural tourism, several
working as park staff in the Flinders parks.
Flinders National Park to Port Augusta is 93 KM 1 Hour 21
Minutes.
We stopped in a lookout-parking place on the Range at Flinders
National Park.
The naturally sculptured Remarkable Rocks formation lies atop a remnant granite
outcrop, and Admirals Arch displays the ability of the ocean to carve, and shape the
coastline. The nearby Kell Hill Caves offer a visually stunning example of limestone
caves, and fantastic cave formations. The western coastline of Kangaroo Island is
dominated by tall limestone cliffs overlying metamorphosed sedimentary rocks, and
topped by high, rolling calcareous sand dunes. The uplands of Flinders Chase (Gosse
Lands) are formed by an ironstone plateau (called laterite), deeply incised by streams
exposing folded, and metamorphosed sedimentary rocks. Soils within the Park Range
from acid duplex soils in the Gosse Lands area to deep calcareous sands in the south
west.
Looking over what is known as the “pound” because the ranges
lock in the wild animals, by the high ridges on three sides.
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The steep slopes made me think of the front tyres, and I thought, I
wonder how the tyres are holding up.
On inspection, I called Paul over to have a look, and he agreed
they were dangerous now.
We held crossed fingers, until we drove the ninety or, so
kilometres to Port Augusta, and set up camp there for the night.
Port Augusta is situated at the head of the Spencer Gulf, in close to
the spectacular Flinders Ranges. Off to the west, and southwest lie
a range of hills, which once marked the territory of the Nakuma
Aboriginal tribe to the North West, are two remarkable flat topped
mounts.
In the morning, while Paul had new front tyres fitted.
Madge did the final shopping for groceries, until Western Australia
while the group went shopping for our usual stuff.
I bought a coconut that was a bit troublesome later.
We made a start from the shopping centre car park about ten thirty,
and headed out of Port Augusta.
Paul headed north, after half an hour I suddenly noticed, because
we had done a previous trip that we were going on the wrong road
to get to the Nullarbor.
Moreover, told Paul you had better turn back, or we would end up
in Alice Springs.
He took some convincing, but did, eventually turn around.
We had lost about an hour because of this error.
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As often, happened lunch was on the run.
The next camp site was at The Nullarbor a bush camp at the
eastern start of this landscape Plain, a solitary camp in the bush.
Tips if you are crossing the region from west to east.
Nullarbor Plain Nullarbor Plain is the section of southern land between Norseman in
Western Australia, and Ceduna in South Australia. Nullarbor means 'no trees', which is
exactly what you will see as you drive through sections of the Nullarbor. Although the
land within the Nullarbor is barren, the road is surfaced, and so doesn't make for too bad
a drive.
The Eyre Highway heads along the southern section of the Nullarbor Plain, although the
Trans the Eyre Highway was named after John Eyre, who along with John Baxter who
unfortunately died on the journey crossed the Nullarbor in 1841. It wasn't until 1912,
however, that the first car crossed the Nullarbor.
Heading 193km east from Norseman you will get to Balladonia, where you will find
accommodation. Continuing east the road is straight for a distance of 145km, until you
reach Caiguna where you will find more accommodation. East again is Cocklebiddy
where you will get directions to find some ruins of an old Aboriginal mission.
Cocklebiddy is, also home to the largest of all of the Nullarbor Caves, and close to
Twilight Cove on the coastline south of Cocklebiddy. A further 90km is Madura, and the
nearby Hampton Tablelands, with Mundrabilla another 116km east. The final town which
you will pass before crossing the South Australia border is Eucla where there is a
quarantine restriction. More of the Nullarbor Caves can be found in Jobs Eucla, including
Koonalda Cave. Eucla, also hosts the ruins of the old Telegraph Repeater. Once you
reach Eucla you are over half way across the Nullarbor, having driven 725km from
Norseman, with only 480km left to Ceduna
Australia Railway runs directly through the centre of the Nullarbor. If you don't fancy the
drive then the train is a good idea, as you get to see plenty of what the Nullarbor Plain is
about.
We had our dinner late that night after a long continual, drive, and
we had set up the tents in flickering firelight.
After the cleaning up was done we gathered by the camp fire.
Ron had said very little up until now as he had a dreadful flu. He
had a lot of trouble shaking it off all the way, since the start of our
trip of a lifetime.
He got going with his tale getting very animated at the fire as he
told his story, of how savage natives had bailed people up on the
highway, and compelled them to buy their artefacts.
Buy or else who knows what could happen on the long lonely road
ahead they threatened.
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There had been newspaper reports in the west Australian I
remember.
He was very dramatic, and told how after we all went to sleep they
would creep into camp, and slit our throats or bashes our brains
out.
He was very scary, and not only the women did, not want to retire,
but before anyone did, retire an old wreck of a car loaded to the
hilt with darkies drove the mile over to our camp from the
highway.
We watched the lights slow down as it neared the gravely turn off,
the track we had driven in from the bitumen.
Sure enough, they worked their way up to us, around the patches of
scrub, to make enquiries; Shouting as they approached something
about where’s the tribe’s camp fire but we did, not know what they
were after.
They stopped, and a drunken woman shouted, several times what
we thought was native gibberish.
We were all stunned, and as we could not make any sense out of
their lingo.
They shouted more abuse at us, then headed back to the highway,
and disappeared.
All of us began to fear, and tremble, as we went to bed to ‘try to
grab some sleep’.
We could not sleep very well partly because it was freezing.
The tent in the morning had ice lining the inside from our breath,
and outside the tea towels Isobel had hung out were frozen stiff,
and if bent would brake, so we had to pack up with care, as nothing
was dry, frost was everywhere.
During the drive to Norseman, and the border, my coca nut was
rolling about under the seat, and it annoyed some of the group. It
was ok for them to jam their stuff under the seat by the hundred
weights, but the one thing I had they complained about.
One couple were terribly selfish they considered no one, and even
wore big brimmed felt sombreros, hats that blocked the view of the
people who happened to be seated behind.
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If it happened to be your turn to occupy the seat that they had the
previous day, their gear would be jammed under the seat, until you
challenged them, other wise it was there all day or until someone
else complained.
We had to have every thing searched at the border check point.
Everything in our luggage was searched, and some foodstuff
confiscated, and I ignored my coca nut, and thankfully, no one said
a word, so we went into Norseman for the final Camp night for the
trip.
Norseman Van Park
Up very early as it was to be a big day, and it was. Every one was
tired, and cranky, fed up with travelling, and every one was going
to sue the boss for the troubles that they endured.
It did, not resemble what was advertised as a wonderful relaxing
trip around Australia in a big luxurious, and toileted bus.
However, no body has written about the bus trip of a lifetime, so
after twenty years I think I am the only one game to try.
Geraldton, and the year was 1988 fast disappearing into the past
the stomach cramps were bad, and I had gone to the doctor for help
but he had no idea what was wrong, so I gave up trying to fix it.
By Easter time next year I had a spell in the hospital, and was
placed on a drip all the Easter break. The lack of food seemed to
fix it but by the following year I was admitted again. This time
after several day a different doctor came to fill in for my usual
doctor, and he took one look at my chart, and rushed over, and
removed the drip from my arm, and said you’ll blow up if that drip
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is left in any longer. I said to him do you know what’s wrong with
me, and he said look you are doctor Ws patient, so I cant treat you
but when you get out of hospital come, and see me, and I went in a
fortnight.
I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance in next to no time, and my
troubles got better at last.
The job had kept Kareen, and Daryl in Dowerin for a time until
their Daughter was borne then we suggested they come to
Geraldton, and Daryl got a job with the mineral sands company.
He had it for many years, working up to a very good position in the
company until they were taken over, he took a settlement and left
Leith the youngest daughter went to Geraldton High School, and
did, fourth year before leaving never had a job before marriage,
and after some time she married, Lawson Landwehr a sailor who
moved house a lot as his job required, and they had three nice kids
Ebonnie, Luke, Carrie now grown up.
Bradley was to start Geraldton High soon, so we built a nicely
designed home.
On a block, next door to St Pat’s oval in the best possible location
at the time.
We purchased for $17000 It is two kilometres from the GPO, and
on a block in a cul-de-sac, so we had, double access to the house
from Phelps Street, and the cul-de-sac.
He was driven to G H S in the morning by car or Ute, and the
move made it possible for Bradley to walk home after school.
There was an ulterior motive in this as we all played sport almost
every day, and the house was very close to a primary school for the
grand children as they could walk to our house very easily, and
safely.
The golf, tennis, and bowels clubs were near it, it suited us to move
there, and we moved into our sixth home in1985 this was the
fourth new one that Isobel had drawn out, so she became an expert
house designer for living comfort.
Bradley got his HSC, and got a job with Target close by, and spent
seven years, there working twelve hours a day five days a week
with Saturday uncounted, before he spat the dummy one day.
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Bradley was constantly being harangued by a favoured employee
who could crawl out of any situation, even when he was in the
wrong.
The share market collapse in 1987 cost my Family Trust a big loss
as it was the first year I had decided to invest there, and most of the
investments that I had were bought at near their peak, so only
Westfarmes shares I had bought much earlier were to be a bonanza
eventually.
Many stocks were written off as tax losses, so what became of
them is irrelevant to me, but some came back in value although
were never much good.
It makes me mad to think that the Directors of these companies are
operating again, and sucking people into their shaky, if not shady
ventures. I firmly believe our government should look into these
matters, and change the law to make them responsible for every
action.
When Bradley was old enough to drive Isobel, and I thought it
would be a good idea if we looked for something good, and cheap
to run, and reliable to have as a car for him to start his driving
career as all our other kids had done.
It happened that we were at Graeme, and Carols home in York for
Christmas in 1988, and the subject came up, and Graeme said well
Al I’ll be trading my Golf car in, so why not have that so it was
settled we bought it.
When it came time to take delivery of the car he said could you
come down, and pick it up on Monday, so we went down, and both
Isobel, and Bradley came, as we had to bring both cars home.
I set off from their place, and Isobel came behind in the Lazer we
had at the time.’
I drove through Northam, and out the other side of the town, I got
stuck behind a big wheat carting truck, and could not get by as we
came to the top of a hill I, could see under the truck, and the road
was clear.
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I pulled out to pass, and got almost level with the cab, and I saw a
car on my right swing around on to the same lane he came onto the
road without stopping.
He swung toward us abreast, so all I could do, was to hug the tray
of the truck I was passing, and the bumper of his car continued to
swing, and we missed colliding by one or two inches
He continued into the ditch while I passed the wheat truck.
Wiped my brow meanwhile my wife witnessed the near miss, and
shouted to Bradley he has done it this time.
She could not believe that I missed crashing, and she said to
Bradley, I bet he has a comment about that when we catch up.
We did, at home, and Bradley enjoyed his golf car for enough time
to learn how to look after a new one a couple of years later.
I bought Bradley a new car to drive to work, also lent money to
family members, and two years later Bradley bought the block on
the waterfront the one he liked third best at auction, and I lent them
funds though our Family Trust.
When the stock market crashed the Trust lost may be fifty
thousand or, so dollars in hard-earned funds at that time but even,
so by having the right mix after that lesson it gained value quite
fast again. To net us hundreds of thousands
I headed for Queensland, I had planned a four-wheel drive to
Queensland for the year of 1991, and this actually took four days
for me to get to Keith Gentles farm.
His farm was in the grip of a severe drought, and when I drove up,
I remembered stopping at a yard full of sheep.
Three people with rifles Keith, Danny, and his girl friend were
shooting those to save their suffering.
Then I enjoyed my time there looking over their big place, and
noted the constant long days that Keith worked no doubt to take his
mind off the shocking drought, Margaret visited their neighbours
wife, and went to CWA, and painted her scenery painting for hours
on end.
One day I asked her to do, a painting for me, which in fact, I
commissioned her to do, a set of certain things to be included in
the painting, and it is now hanging on my kitchen wall.
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The shearers were finishing there after a few days, and Keith had a
lighting plant in his shed that we had to transport to a neighbours
shed.
For the lighting, at a function that Margaret and the CWA women
had arranged.
They were to use it to light up the shed for an evening get together
of friends, and neighbours.
Therapy for drought relief for the district farmers who were
desperately looking for a diversion to the extensive drought.
I had my fifty-ninth birthdays at a party next day organized by
Stephens’s wife Donna who is Keith and Margaret’s daughter in
law.
The party was just before we left to drive back to the west
Margaret was getting over Ross river virus, so thought that a
holiday in with her daughter Rosalyn Martin would be nice as I
could deliver her to Rosalyn’s door, so she came with me.
The first night I gave the motel owner a finance lesson on his
computer until quite late, so I was not my best for the next couple
of days but we had a lot to chat about after not seeing much of
them since being neighbours at York ten years before.
We had a good trip to where I stayed the night with Russel and
Roslyn then next morning we said good-bye, and I got away, and
made my way home.
CHAPTER 5
FINDING THE TRUE UNDERSTANDING OF THE WORD OF GOD
IN THIS END TIME
We had a lot of mail when we got home from the trip.
Arriving back from Queensland found a flyer in the mail box that
interested me.
Prophecy in the Bible that if they came to the coming seminar the
evangelist running them would explain every aspect of this
intriguing subject. I showed it to Isobel, and said I am going what
about you, and after reading it, she agreed with me this would be
one great achievement if what they promised they could do, it, and
with no gaps in the theology.
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We were hooked, and could not wait for the day for it to begin.
I have had a lot of searching in my life to find the belief that the
Bible through its past happenings, forecasts, pictures, stories, and
characters, could be proved with no gaps.
Every time I found that, the teaching could be found to have faults
Sometimes I had taken years to see the lie.
Until I could be convinced, I would continue to search.
Now I thought that to be a mirror of Jesus is the only possible way,
and he was perfect as a man as the bible says an example for us to
follow.
Rev 12
17And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which
keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
And as the bible says all have sinned except one.
That means me, and everyone dead, and alive has sinned. (Jesus is the only one without sin)
Also only one is eternal, and that is God so all these mysterious spirits that appear in various places must
not have eternal life yet if ever.
What that means is there is change coming some time, and by
reading the signs that Jesus spoke about.
It is being like a woman in travail now that describes the present
world to a tee.
The second coming is explained as a noisy bright event that will
come on the entire world suddenly, and not be expected like a thief
does.
It describes how the whole world is led astray except the few elect,
and they could be caught if not wise as owls.
1 John 2 4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the
truth is not in him.
5 But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him. This is the way we may
know that we are in union with him:
6 whoever claims to abide in him ought to live (just) as he lived.
7 Beloved, I am writing no new commandment to you but an old commandment that you had from
the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard.
2,John 14
14 If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do, it.
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
16, and I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always,
John 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with
you always,
The New American Bible, (Nashville, Tennessee: Confraternity of Christian Doctrine)
1997.
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17 the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows
it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you.
After the entire seminar was finished the Evangelist had convinced
my wife, and I as well as twenty-five other people that attended the
seminar, that he was spot on in his teaching.
We still had lots to learn, and now we have been baptised by
immersion in 1991.
Following the correct teaching of the bible, and the bible only to
explain its self, we are fully convinced, and happy to call ourselves
Seventh Day Adventists.
Some time in the early nineties and I had not very long been a
SDA, the members were all very dedicated, and full of the spirit
eager to please, and we had great fellowship among the members.
Visited each other any time, had prayer meetings, and many
singing sessions.
I had a vivid dream one night that my second daughter Kareen and
Isobel and I were in this thinly treed forest and a lion was stalking
us. I woke up as it charged at us and I remember how frightened it
made me, thinking which one will he grab first.
Then I woke to find it was a nightmare only, thank God. We were
studying scripture at time, it might indicate deeper spiritual things
the devil is a roaring lion the Bible states, after whomever he can
get. We had intense training to the various jobs, and positions in
the Church. Our Church life was very active while Isobel, and I
lived in Geraldton it was not many years after joining, that I was
given a deacon job first.
After a couple of years the Head deacon job, and it was a great
honour for me.
It required I attend all meetings, and keep the Church in a safely
locked condition doing any maintenance required.
As well, the treasurer needed a helper to help carry the appeal
money, and safeguard it on the way to the bank.
A couple of years later before I became an Elder, which required
me to see the church was kept in a good state, and all the half
dozen Elders were rostered, to give some sermons to visit the
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church members regularly, and help the local pastor who looked
after several towns, and had to drive long distances
This treasury assistant job was offered, and I was record keeper,
and appeal gatherer, in that time of the year when we elders
canvassed the towns of Dongara, Geraldton, Mullewa, Morawa,
and once North Hampton.
The Salvation Army, and the Red Cross, had similar days that we
did, their appeal as well the pathfinder club at the Church had, and
the telephone distribution for several years, to raise funds for the
pathfinder club.
There was always something on, as we travelled to differing towns
to Sabbath service, also the deacons had to take an occasional
service themselves.
This time was hard unless you liked public speaking.
Being a backroom boy as I am I would rather support someone else
to be on centre stage.
Some Sabbaths I remember going to Morawa at times, and I did,
Carnarvon, and the service at home in conjunction with two other
brothers.
The one service I preached on my own was at Carnarvon, it was
quite an undertaking, and several of the Geraldton members came
to support me.
It was a reasonable day, but it is too great a stress for me to be a
preacher than just the usual sound controller, or projector operator.
We had the satellite dish on our church some services had to be
taped.
Some services copied, that job was my favourite one.
Isobel sang both in solos, and duets, in the choir when it was
operating, we all loved to sing the hymns, and church worship
song, those days that we went to Dongara were especially nice, and
intensely spiritual.
The friendship was, so great, and today after being absent from the
town of Geraldton we can always call those special people, our
dear Brothers, and Sisters.
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A fellow Adventist from Perth had a portable house removal
business.
He came to see me as head Deacon to ask a favour for him, as he
lived in Perth he wanted me to keep a watch daily on several
houses.
He had bought from the housing commission in a suburb that they
were clearing up, so that the shire could change the town streets or
some such thing.
He did, not want the local riff raff, to set up squats or vandalise his
purchased houses, before he moved them, so I said I would keep a
look out for him, and he left town.
Now the pathfinders informed me, that the phone books would
come next week to the local wrecker’s steel shed, we were to
deliver them to the address given, which would take several days,
because Geraldton had many phone connections, and each one got
a book delivered to them.
There were about seven or eight helpers to start the job, but as the
town, or rather city was covered those helpers one by one they
found other things of their own to do.
One church lady, and I were left to finish the task, which we did; it
was funny as it was two in the afternoon on this very hot
November day, and the last books we dropped from my four-wheel
drive. We decided to visit chicken treat to celebrate our work with
a cool treat. We were enjoying a lovely cold soft serve ice cream,
and along came this house removal guy.
He spotted me, and this lady sitting in the parked vehicle, and
because he knew my wife, and I was with this lady, he got this sly,
and embarrassed look on his face.
As he sheepishly came to thank me, for my part in his house
venture, I introduced them, and told him that we had just
completed our deliveries of phone books, and then he got more
comfortable as he left. In addition, we smiled at the whole deal of
him jumping to conclusions.
The elder friend said to me I heard on the bush telegraph that you
are a wanted man.
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He spoke loud enough for many people at church to hear, and I
thought what is going on.
Then he told me he happened to be listening to the ABC network,
and it was a radio program they ran called the bush telegraph.
Alan Hewett, was wanted he was missing from the class name list,
It consisted of the name, and address that the back to AHS
organisers were gathering for the invitation.
To a coming, get together reunion after fifty years, and the ABC
were calling anyone to help locate the people, or those possibly
interested to ring a certain number.
To be sent an invite to the fiftieth anniversary of our class.
Because a few years after we left school, a fire destroyed a part of
the records.
They wanted people to know that some address were unavailable
to them, so the best solution was a public appeal for participants to
call them, which I did, next Monday morning.
When the ABC receptionist gave me the number, I scratched it
down on my note pad, hung up the phone, and straight away
dialled the number, not even recognising it to be a Geraldton
number, until I asked the obvious question, where are you? Then
the penny dropped that I had just dialled a Geraldton number. The
voice said yes what could I do, for you. I told her why I was
ringing, and she said where are you calling from, when I said
Geraldton she said where?
I repeated my name, and address, she told me about the class
reunion, she was a member of our class, and that she was doing the
organising for the celebration they were putting on in Albany later
that month.
She told me where she lived, I recognised the street address
straight away because I had often called next door to her house, to
see the treasurer of our church whose name is Avis, and on my
enquiry about knowing her neighbour she said, we have been their
closet friends for years.
When the time came, we went to Albany where our daughter Gail,
and Chris had come to live from Tasmania; they found it was a bit
too cold there in the winter.
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The reunion was great, the people had come back from all over the
world, where many had gone to live, and work. I got to chat with
many, of my old friends that had been my close mates at school.
Finding that some of them had done real well in life, from
television presenters, to mining managers of giant companies.
One of the girls there had married a Dalwallinu farmer, and all the
while, The near 20 years we were in the area we never knew until
this time, how small a world it can be , it amazes me at the
providence that occur from time to time throughout life.
It was great to catch up with my old high school flame Norma, and
find that her two daughters were prominent people.
One an airhostess, the other one of Australia top models. In
addition, she had been widowed ten years. The game of golf was
now her passion, after selling the several clothing shops she owned
in the city of Perth main shopping area.
Her son in law was a scratch player in the art of golf, and had taken
up the challenge to teach her, and now she had the golf bug, a
game that grabs most people who take time to relax with it.
The SDA church we joined was desperate as it was costing
thousands a year for excess water as our system wastes it.
The lawn were costing us lots for the sprinklers to operate on
scheme supply, so we thought a bore was a good idea as the golf
course had several, and they had plenty of free water.
Therefore, Alan, and I decided to drill a bore; he was most
enthusiastic as was his nature with all his ventures.
The bore hit water after a short time at twenty foot, and there was a
good fresh supply not salt, as some bores around here are loaded
with it.
We put casing down, and bought a pressure pump, and then Alan
moved to live in Dongara, so the job became another thing for me
to upkeep.
The delivery pipes had to be altered so we dug up the pipes
throughout the lawn. Some sprinklers had problems, so they were
changed. Then as the bore was continually being silted, we thought
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the best solution for the problem was our members could have a
busy bee to dig a well.
With liners to install in the very sandy soil, we hired an excavator
from town for a day, and dug a huge hole to get the liners as far
down as possible.
We could dig to water level, could not get any more depth, so put
the heavy cement liners one on top of the other until it was above
the ground, and then filled in the hole around the liners.
Then we used the excavators’ weight, and its hydraulics to push
the liners down all at the same time.
One brother dug inside we all took turns to do, this, any way this
chap was digging the sand out as fast as he could but it came in
just as fast, the weight was on with the excavator pushing down.
I could see the ground all around move down with the pressure,
and suddenly it broke though a two foot band of a hard layer.
The poor chap working inside the liners thought this is it, I am
done, but only a big fright that everyone got and no more.
The well was finally finished; we only had two to three feet of
water, so I had a brainwave, go to the scrap yard and get a wrecked
stainless steel solar water tank from the junk yard that sold
anything acquired from the town dump.
I got one that would act as an inside sleeve to our heavy cement
liners in the bottom of our well.
Rigged an air jet arrangement to the bottom of the sleeve, to
burrow into the sandy bottom, to get an other two or three feet of
depth into the water stream, then by driving it down with a big
hammer. With the help of a brother, we set up my air compressor
to blast the sand while pushing the slot prepared stainless steel
tank, with open or cut off ends. I made it into an open-ended
slotted cylinder, to get the pump system as far under water as
possible, below the bottom cement liners. After lots of fitting, and
rigging, the system was finished; we had over four feet of a good
supply of free fresh water.
Since I am no longer living in Geraldton can only hope it is all
working satisfactorily as water now is the biggest problem in the
region, as well as most of the world.
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This day while still there several of us were in Dongara canvassing
the residents as is normally done once a year and a portion of these
funds are used to help the people in hardship in our area.
It may be sickness or a widow, or some one destitute without work,
or a single mum or defacto relationship gone sour; and our church
had a voluntary yearly commitment to the woman’s refuge.
The funds gathered are quite substantial, and have risen year by
year until now they are approaching twenty one thousand dollars
per year for all of the area we canvas.
This is a great boon for any one in trouble, as the funds are all
distributed with one quarter local, and three quarters else where. In
addition, they are all freely gathered, so there is no deduction, not
like many other charities. This day, as I wandered from door to
door, I called on this Cray fisherman, and gave him the appeal
spiel, or you could say. I put the bite on him He said here is a
couple of dollars, now look see the wife, she is round the back with
her friends, try going there to the back. I went on around to this
square courtyard full of doors, and I rang the bell at the first door.
The guy came out, and I started to ask for a donation, a woman
appeared on the balcony above. She literally flew out of a room on
hearing me, and yelled at the top of her voice “what do, you think
your doing canvassing my guests, who gave you permission.”
I calmly turned around, and a strange voice that came from my
mouth said, your husband around the front washing a boat, any
way let us ask them if they want to donate ok. It struck her dumb.
Every guest was at his or her door by now to offer me money, they
came to me, and she crept back into the room.
After that unusual incident, my spirit soared as I continued to go
door to door.
Having a very successful day, and before night we volunteers all
drove back to Geraldton together, all having had a great day
These are my feelings now, peace, peace perfect peace, and pray
daily that it is never lost.
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Ephesians 6: 19And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my
mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20For which I am an ambassador
in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak
The rest of the family at Kononen Place except me, decided to go
to see the phantom of the opera in 1992 at Melbourne, and Isobel,
and Bradley went by plane, and Daryl who had a business
commitment over there at the time, joined them, and went too, and
they enjoyed it greatly.
I met the plane in, Bradley’s new car it was delivered before they
got back home, so we all drove in it back to Geraldton.
Gail, and Isobel, in 1993 went to check the sights in Tasmania,
and see how it would shape as their new living state because her
husband Chris wanted to live in the cool climate, and while they
did, that checking, I stayed home and did, not see phantom of the
opera but enjoyed my new Del computer instead.
Things carried on as usual at Kononen Place the family all came by
at odd holidays, and played pool, and the noise was deafening.
My taping the kids performing their songs was lovely, gave them
great confidence to perform their recitals, and brought out their
skill at writing songs.
We profited by many tens of thousands of dollars before from the
sale of my stocks.
One of the members, and his wife I became friends with, had an
Idea to make a business out of tropical fish.
He tried to interest all of us in this venture but only one person was
interested to join him, so off they went to the Solomon Islands to
set up the venture.
We forgot all about it, and then one night the phone got me out of
bed at a very early hour, and it was this church chap and he wanted
to have a serious talk with me in a couple of days when he got
back to Australia.
He brought his father up to our place from Perth, we sat at the
dining room table, and he spilled the beans, so to speak, he was
having a terrible time with his Partner, and wanted to buy him out,
and could I help.
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I said no I am not interested, and his father said look I will
guarantee he will pay you back if you lend us fifty thousand with
ten per cent interest. Therefore, to cut a long story short I said ok a
personal loan is all it is.
Because the two people were, in it together, they both had access
to the accounts, and Hawk eye saw my phone number on the phone
bill, so he rang me, and accused me of being a thief.
We did, the scriptural thing, I did, my best to say how sorry it had
turned out like this, and had it all settled that night I shook hands,
and hugged him, and his wife it looked like it was a storm in a
teacup.
Next day he was madder than ever, and swore at everyone in his
sight and in church he behaved like the devil making it almost
impossible to preach a sermon and he was dis-fellowshipped.
That caused him to sue our church for many thousands, and he
spent thousands only to have the judge throw it out of court.
We have not seen him for years now but have heard some sorry
tales as his character seems to attract trouble no matter where he
goes, and he is still creating sorrow for some, and needs our
prayers.
Bradley built a lovely house on the waterfront on a selected site,
and I helped him with the money to get established, unfortunately
his marriage came apart after four years, and that settled his
patience, and I’d say cost him the Target job.
Today he has a job in a gold mining region of the West, and flies
in, and out every nine days.
He has a lovely wife again, and they have a house near us to visit
Isobel, and me but, there are no kids as of this time, and the clock
is ticking.
After we returned from the trip of a lifetime, we stopped with
Fishers, and told the family of all the tribulations we had gone
through it made them laugh as we now could too.
Nana‘s health was deteriorating, and Lois Mills, and Carol were
keeping an eye on things, Nana hated the fuss or someone else
doing her cooking, she always was fussy with food but now it was
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much worse, she would not go into the old peoples home, and she
said, she hated the thought of being shut up with oldies
She had a nice place, she finally accepted in the York Lodge.
Bert was vague now, it was a year or two before Nana went into
the Lodge; when smoking he sat on his box out at his workshop,
and was obsessed, with pulling weeds out of his lawn by hand.
A plant at a time even when the summer, came later in the year he
still sat, there in the boiling sun most days, and kept his coat on,
and one day he cried, when Isobel asked him how are you today
Dad, and he said I think I my loosing my marbles.
After he got too hard for any one to handle at home, and it was his
only option, to have a bed in the York Hospital it became his final
home.
Bert came back to spend the day at home with Nana at odd times
He even forgot how to roll a cigarette, they with the cussing, and
the trots had been the only vice’s he had, and now they were all
forgotten since 9 years of age he had smoked tobacco, and now he
could not remember it.
He knew he had to do, something with the teapot as he picked it
up, and put it down continually a pot of tea made him contented
before the sickness.
It makes us all, so sad to remember these occasions because from a
very capable man now he was less than two years of age in the
brain.
At one time Nana got sick, so was admitted to the York hospital
When Nana and Bert met in the corridor he, would ask vaguely
have you seen mum.
Have you seen my dog, oh, I have to find my dog was another
plea,
He had a pure white cockatoo, the surviving one of two that he got
from a nest, at the Goodlands farm in 1966, by getting me to drive
my 4x4 tractor, under the hollow limb for him to climb on top of,
and hook them out with a wire hook.
On the first trip of many, he had there when he retired from the
water supply department twenty-two years before.
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That bird copied his smokers cough, and loved Bert, and he loved
the bird chatting to it all day.
John and Graeme sent it up to the hospital yard, in its big cage Bert
made at the water supply yard
For a time he was able to go out, and talk to it but as he got worse
he did, not go out any more he seemed to confuse it with a
childhood dog he had at Beverley when nine years old.
It was the ending of his Alzheimer’s plague on our 40 th wedding
day anniversary in 1994 he died at 87 years of age, six years after
our trip of a lifetime.
Nana fought on until the year 1997, and it was her 87th year.
Living for the last two or three years in her room at the Lodge at
York comfortable, and secure at last, and accepting the help she
deserved after her busy life bringing up the kids solely during the
war and working at Harrisons shop afterward and slaving for, and
thinking only of her family.
Dying after her heart failed for the second time that day in the
presence of John, and Myrna.
My Mum would not leave the farm where Dad died in his 80 Th
year of respiratory failure in 1981 even though he never smoked in
his life.
My mum flew to England on her own at seventy six years of age,
and visited all the English relatives in the beautiful lakes district,
had a great time.
She had one of the best remembering minds of people, their
family, and their age, and birthday, as well as where they were.
The details you needed to look them up, and to find them.
Four years later, she relied on the family to help when needed, and
her eyes began to fail more and more but she still insisted on living
at Wooregong in her own home alone.
One day, and after Keith, and Phyllis took her home from Perth
after an appointment with the eye doctor she fell, and was not
found for three days, and the shock was more than she could cope
with. She died in York Hospital 17 days later at 92 years of age in
the year 2003
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I have no doubt she would have made a century if she had gone
into care
Back in Geraldton after the trip of a lifetime we had our roof
colour changed at Kononen Place from the original snow white
which now was a dirty blotchy grey white we were talked in to
changing it.
We chose green, and it turned out fine to look at but was a mistake
because it made the house too hot for us.
I had to insulate it with a wool pellets type material blown in to the
roof cavity to help cool it down we, also bought an eleven horse
power 3 phase ducted reverse cycle air conditioner that cost the
earth to buy, and, also heavy on running costs.
You live, and learn. may be it is hard to believe but the
temperature in the house went up in summer by 20 degrees, and
the solar hot water system actually boiled over some days, and
burnt all Isobel’s garden plants, so I had covered half of the glass
panels that heat the water up from the sun.
We sold the beach cottage that Kareen and Leith shared until they
squabbled over everything, and left it vacant, so we sold it, and
recouped our money.
Kareen and Daryl had lived there for several months before she
walked out of their marriage one day for a reason I cannot
understand because she had nothing but praise for him.
Her daughter Simone is Daryl’s only daughter although Kareen has
two more, Cassie and Demie that are fathered by Bradley
Ramshaw, her youngest Demie will not leave Bradley, her Dad.
He is a very nice chap, who is bringing up their youngest daughter
on his own Kareen has moved out from living with him in
Geraldton his hometown that he will not leave, and she moved to
cool Busselton, she was a rolling stone. I am now sure she has
settled with John, a good solid and likeable chap.
There are some things in this world that are hard to understand or
impossible for the average person; but I think now if I had a
second chance I would not do, what I have done in the past, would
put more emphasis on family and the things to explore in the world
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together. This time the children would have the education I could
afford despite their protests.
Much more of morality, and financial training with discipline when
young; then send them out from home to do, one of these
occupations, sign up for medical units in the forces, or aged care or
medical nursing or missionary service while looking after them
selves for five years.
The more spoiled they are the poorer they do, on their own when
the time comes as it surely will.
When I compare my sister Elsie’s self-sufficient kids with my own
there is very little comparison in their achievements, and ability I
take all responsibility as I have let mine down through ignorance,
and not doing what my sisters children were encouraged to do, by
attending university. My kids have had a much harder job to
achieve their satisfaction in life all because of my misconceptions.
My children are kids I am honoured and proud to claim as mine.
That is why I am including this for them to read, and not make the
same mistakes as I have, because I love them all.
I can only apologize to my kids for not being the perfect parent
that I should have been, I pray that they do, not make the same
mistakes as I did, and read, and learn from my autobiography.
The politicians of Australia need to have an education system that
teaches all of morality, life skills, and parenting included in its
program of schooling.
CHAPTER 6
WORLD TRIP
I had promised Isobel years before that if I ever sold the farm we
would go on a trip to England and Europe at our first opportunity.
My ten-year lease ended in 1994, and so when the option to buy
was exercised by our lessee, I had no excuse, and when I
purchased a video camera, off we went to fly to England on an
organized tour with WA news paper tours of 43 days of popular
sightseeing places. It was one of the most tiring days that I have
had to endure before landing at Heathrow airport. It was a flight
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that I heard the constant hum of the motors, for twenty-two hours
in fact, listening for any falters in those engines.
The tour director for the Europe portion took thirty-three days to
direct the drive. His name was Luc First to his homeland Belgium,
then Holland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, The Vatican,
Monte Carlo, Liechtenstein, France, and back to England and
Scotland. We were escorted on a grand tour of England’s best
sights, and moved on to Scotland, up to the island of Skye then
came back to loch Ness for a look by boat finally back to London
Giving us a total tour of forty-three days. We visited most of the
cathedrals Castles and ancient sights, it was non-stop touring and
of long tiring days.
I was ashamed at the behaviour, of the fellow travellers in the five
star hotels, the way they stashed away the food that they could
carry by hand, to last for the whole day because they did, not want
to pay for lunch. The ugly Australian came to my mind the rolls
were useless for me as I am a celiac sufferer, so did, without bread
or any flour products. When we arrived back in London we had a
free day, so we visited the London zoo saw all the exhibits, and it
was pleasant at the zoo. At the grassed area we gathered there at
the days end to get our taxi home, and the ladies decided they had
better visit the toilet before I rung a taxi. I went to the toilet before
ordering the taxi as suggested on getting back to the others one
lady was missing, so Isobel went to find her. She was hiding in the
toilet searching though her purse, that was jammed full of loose
coins of all European currency we had used, but not enough
English money to get two pounds Luke had instructed us to get rid
of it as we changed countries. Or else it was useless as no one
would change it, and the converting in each country had her beat,
and she left it all to gather in her handbag. I lent her two pounds,
and then we could go back for our tea at our hotel. In addition, she
was broke to return to Australia in the morning she only had her
flight ticket prepaid luckily. We waited until early afternoon, and
went to Heathrow airport again, and flew back home.
We woke with jetlag back in our beds in Australia absolutely
exhausted still from the huge flight back to Australia, and swearing
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even though we loved the trip, never to do, it that way again as we
took a month to recover.
Isobel Mary Hewett & Alan Hewett & My Favourite Text As Well.
I have tried to give my life’s prominent experiences in this
biography, and I hope that you my children of all the ages to come
can glean some sound lessons from this work.
Christ warned us
John 14. 30Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of
this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. 31But that the world may know
that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I
do. Arise, let us go hence.
The main thing is to remember that life is full of choices, and
mysteries that are not to be understood yet and are to test faith,
they will determine what you reap, on into eternity, living or dying.
Remember that your life is a sermon to every soul that you come in
contact with, and God in his heaven is watching, to see the
influence you have in your life, on your fellows, and He is judging
to see who He is able to trust in His new world.
In the end of the world when His number is full, He will utter these
fateful words “IT IS DONE,” no changes can be made.
He said “evil will not arise a second time”.
Take heed of your lives, and as the wise man Solomon had these
words to say
Solomon 12
1 Thessalonians 5:16
Rejoice evermore. 17Pray
without ceasing. 18In every thing give
thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ
Jesus concerning you. 19Quench not the
Spirit. 20Despise not prophesyings. 21Prove
all things; hold fast that which is good.
22Abstain from all appearance of evil.
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10 The preacher sought to find out acceptable words:, and that which was written was
upright, even words of truth.
11 The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of
assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.
12, and further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no
end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his
commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it is
good, or whether it is evil
The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.
Bradley our youngest son married in a park setting it was a great
celebration.
He built his house on the new block doing a lot of the artistic work,
and painting him self.
Living out at Spalding Park while we went for our trip in 1994
Before going on our trip to England The farms were all sold, an
option was held by Stanley’s, and was exercised even the seven
acre block at Waggrakine had been sold to a cool drink distributer.
John and Ann Harris bought the house at Kalannie; it was bought
on second mortgage terms through the Bank.
Garry and Sheryl moved to Perth to be closer to her family, so for
the first time in my life, I owned just one-quarter acre block, and it
seemed strange.
When selling the Nabawa land I had put an option available for the
people that were leasing it. The last day for their money to appear
in my account came, and it was not there when the shopping cash
was withdrawn. I was in Woolworths at three in the afternoon, and
I happened to meet one of the brothers, so I told him if the Bank
did, not do it that day by closing time they missed out. It would
suit me money wise if they did miss. They badly needed to get
hold of my thousand acres to make their’s more profitable. It is
amazing how things turn out. The younger brother married and not
half a dozen years past and he was killed in a collision with a Crain
that was on the wrong side of the Chapman road. He left a young
family and my son in law Daryl, who was deserted by my second
daughter, has now after twenty years married into their family and
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they have built a dream home in Geraldton. Truth is stranger than
fiction. I wish you all the best folks you deserve it.
Land was rarely sold in the best country in Chapman valley or any
good area. I heard the whispers on the grape vine my land would
be worth a lot more, if these other neighbours bought it from me,
not knowing about the option that I had previously given over it. I
visited the Bank at a minute before closing time, and the deposit
had been entered into my account, so I had no way but to let it go
as originally agreed.
My machinery, I sold to a chap who needed machinery, for a farm
he just bought at Mullewa, so he bought most of what I had left,
and that meant, we were for a change pretty well off, so I went to
the local mortgage broker, and he had some investments for me to
get involved. All went well until 1998, and one of these
investments stopped paying interest, so I thought I had better get
out of that one, when I tried, they promised the funds would be
safe, and I believed them to my regret. I had sent some funds to a
sharebroker in Switzerland to buy shares which he did, and from
five dollars each that I paid for them, they escalated to fifteen
dollars a piece, and I was set to cash in but before that could
happen I was stopped, with my investing any more because of my
stroke on the 17-11-1999.
CHAPTER 7 sudden stroke
Another dream was just before my first stroke and I was dreaming,
I was in my workshop and there was a whip like crack.
The next moment I was peering through steel bars that were very
close together and it was very hard to move, or to see though them,
and a gloating voice cried got you, and I woke up with a start
I had a stroke, and finished in Geraldton Hospital, and after a
couple of days was flown to Royal Perth stroke unit unable to tell
anyone or quit, and sell my stock, and these fell to nil before I
came out of hospital again, all because Isobel would not take any
interest whatever in my finance or investments. After a couple of
weeks, I was sent to the rehabilitation section at Shenton Park to
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get me walking again which by hard work we had done that in time
to go home to Geraldton for Christmas with the family.
Kell my younger sister Muriel’s husband had a funny day.
When my stroke had me recovering in Shenton Park
my treatment along with many others with depressing complaints
had to have, happy pills every day to keep us going, the day that
stands out in my mind most.
When Tim as we all call her was cheering me up, we had the place
in an uproar one time when she told the story of her husband Kell.
He was having a trip to the old people’s home to visit his Sister
Doris failing with Alzheimer’s disease.
He got inside the security door, and the nurses said call me with
this phone here when you wish to get out.
Kell saw many similar people who were having the same trouble,
as he spent the afternoon with Doris.
Later he noticed his watch; the last bus would go by in five
minutes, so he went to phone the nurse as arranged.
There was no answer, so he waited as long as he dared, and she
must have had the stomach trouble or other unexpected problem,
because she did not return. So he tried the numbers several times
on the security door lock but to no avail, he thought of the other
patients, it’s pointless asking any of them the escape door number.
Therefore, he shot out in the back yard, and there was a table there,
and a rubbish bin. He dragged them both in a rush now, to the
fence, and climbed on top he dropped over the fence but the
ground sloped steeply toward the river. In addition, he skidded
down into the mud, scrambled back in time to see a worker for the
shire council lopping, branches off the street trees, who stared
intently, and looked at him in a strange way. All Kell could do,
was hurry by just as the bus stopped at the stop.
He got on trying not to draw attention to his muddy condition, and
simmered all the way home.
Tim had been out visiting her friends all day, walked in the door,
and said how has your day been. That was the last straw for Kell;
he exploded telling her the story of his quiet visit to see, his loving
sister.
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I called the elders and asked them to anoint me with oil and pray
that I might be healed from my strokes, and the church
congregation prayed every Sabbath for many weeks. Individuals
prayed for months and I am sure that it has kept me alive these
extra years.
I still worked hard to get my body functioning reasonably again in
the hydrothermal pool for an hour a day. and I rode my exercise
bike for hours to get some energy back, which was very slow to
happen, but it did. I found radox bathes of great help, so every
afternoon I made time for a lovely hot radox bath, soaking if
possible for half an hour at least. On counting the days, I had over
two hundred of these bathes before the next serious stroke came.
I could beat my Geraldton physiotherapist up the eight floor
hospital stairs before long at my twice-weekly sessions.
I still had a few shares left at Macquarie Bank that I sold by the
internet through eBay after stroke number one.
I decided as the tingling of my hands, and tongue kept returning
letting me know that strokes were about, that I would have a
treatment called Chelation therapy it is effective in the treatment of
heart disease, and peripheral vascular disease. In addition,
chelation improves blood flow to the organs I will give it a free
plug below, as one fellow being treated with me.
Had over one hundred sessions, and had outlived all his four
brothers who had heart problems, and died untreated.
CHAPTER 8 Chelation
How does artery disease affect your health? When blood vessels are blocked by
calcification, cholesterol, or inflammation reduction of blood flow is seen, thus starving
vital organs for oxygen, and other nutrients.
This then causes the cell walls to become weakened, allowing calcium, sodium, and other
elements to enter.
When calcium accumulates to a critical point, deposits form, like concrete.
This can cause coronaries, and other arteries to go into spasm, reducing the blood supply
to vital organs.
How does chelation help? Chelation therapy promotes health by increasing the blood
flow with enhanced collateral circulation.
EDTA removes metallic irritants, allowing leaky, and damaged cell walls to heal.
Scientific studies have proven that blood flow improves after chelation.
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Your doctor will discuss a complete program with you that should include regular
exercise, vitamin, and mineral supplements, proper nutrition, and avoiding tobacco, and
other damaging habits.
Is chelation therapy safe, and does it have side effects? Chelation therapy is a very safe
medical procedure.
Over 400,000 patients have been treated with chelation, and not one death has been
directly caused by Chelation, when it is properly administered by a physician who is fully
trained, and competent in the use of this therapy.
Side effects are possible, as with all drug therapies.
You may experience vein irritation, mild pain, headache, and fatigue.
Occasionally a mild fever occurs.
Adjusting the frequency, and Length of treatments easily controls these side effects.
Side effects usually diminish after a few treatments.
Most people do, not experience any side effects At all.
I went to a Dr in Perth who gave me this treatment in a group
situation twenty-nine treatments lasting three hours each time that
was over three months.
I had a day between each session, and just before each I felt my
condition deteriorate, then improve after the next, and this feeling
gradually went away as my treatment number increased
I then returned to Geraldton as I had received the maximum
amount of treatment in any one year.
After all the treatment that Gail and Chris drove me to. Also my
Brother in law Keith Bauer who without their prayers, and help I
could not have had the treatment. My gratitude goes to them my
wife Isobel, my grand son Geoff particularly as he held his
university study back, to look after me at home for years.
I then did, walking, and swimming, and cycling to keep fit but I
still battled fatigue a sort of chronic tiredness that would not get
better.
CHAPTER 9
Back to home life
I got back to my position, and usual jobs at the SDA Church the
sermon downloads I did, with another chap but because he had a
job I had to do, most of the taping copies for any one that wanted
one.
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It kept me real busy, and with the Banking, I did, each week, and
kept all the records on computer up to date issuing receipts for all
tithe, and yearly appeal funds by our hundred odd members.
At this time, we had a bit of a panicky night because one of the
Church members had bought a couple to our house not knowing
what to do, because Isobel, and I were the carers of the poor for
our church. We had the job that year, and handed out the groceries
to the needy, and the like, so they were brought to our house.
Isobel was away playing golf, and I cooked a roast dinner for these
two hungry people, and they were enjoying it when the garage
door was opened, and Isobel saw my visitors, and looked at me
please explain. I said meet these two Joe, and Jill, and told her they
would stay that Sunday night as the bus back to Perth left in the
morning, and they were broke, so there was no alternative I knew
of, but would look for alternatives for the future. Our spare room
was empty, so they slept there. I showed them our second
bathroom for them to shower if they desired, and showed them
their beds.
I Joined Isobel in our bedroom, and she scolded me who are these
jailbirds you have in our house?
In addition, I said you know Joe is the only one who has been a
jailbird, feel pity for Jill she is mentally retarded.
Isobel was not a happy lady, and let me know it.
Then I said I better get my brief case from my office, and hide it.
Isobel said why, and I whispered is got two thousand dollars of
church funds in it.
Then she really got mad, and with our door locked, we slept
occasionally that night.
On the way to the railway station, Joe said take me to centre link
will you, so I did, and he furtively went in while we waited a few
minutes.
When he got back in the car, I asked him why are you, so timid,
the guy was a six foot four giant, and acted like a mouse, and he
told us the reason
He was married, and separated, and had been in goal, and had not
seen his kids for several years.
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He had hitched a ride to Geraldton just to see them, and the last
time he had seen his wife’s lover he had been told, “If he ever
showed up in town he would cut his throat”, and this bloke was an
even bigger, and uglier kiwi that had done time in jail.
Several months after my first stroke I woke up one night and
looked at one of our wall pictures
Each time I endeavoured to get up, the room spun around like mad
it shook me as I was thinking this is another stroke, and I glanced,
again and the room started to spin as soon as I lifted my head the
room spun it was shocking.
The morning came and I tried to get up, as I was expecting a friend
to call at ten AM for a tape I had copied for him.
Isobel had no knowledge of how to get it for my friend.
I delayed as long as possible before I made a dash with legs wide, I
lurched from wall to wall to get the tape out of the taping machine.
Once walking I was able to get to the doctor and he took one look
at me and proclaimed I had viral Labyrinth tis and a dose of
antibiotics for its cure it is a very uncomfortable condition.
I had been at the hydro pool two hours then rode twenty
kilometres, and flopped on the lounge to get my breath when a
slight giddiness hit me, so I dashed to get the water bottle in the
fridge, and the lid was tight.
I just got it off, and gulped down a mouthful, and I knew then I
was in for another Stroke.
CHAPTER 10
MORE TROUBLE
Paralysis soon began in earnest, so I yelled for Isobel get me to the
hospital quickly, and by leaning, and hopping got into the front
seat of our car.
We were at the Hospital in five minutes where I was taken in, and
put on a bed.
Each time the lights went out for me; by raising the foot of the bed,
I came round, and survived to receive a good sound soothing sleep.
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The shock of the stroke came down a little for me to be out of the
main danger; this event came one year, and a week from the first
stroke that I suffered
I went into Geraldton Hospital again.
In the bed opposite to me was an older man who had suffered one
too.
He, and I one night listened to a man in emergence gasping, and
coughing continually all night, and he sounded desperate for air.
I asked the sister what is wrong with him, and she told me he had a
stroke that had affected his throat.
I said to the older man I pray that never happens to me, and it was
just as well I did, not know then that my fate would be the same
later that month.
After a month, and I could stagger around my bed again the Dr
called, and said you will take months the get any better you might
as well be home.
I was preparing to go, the nurse brought lunch, and I felt the meat
was like rubber to eat.
Little did, I know then that my jaw had lost strength, and it was not
tough meat because an hour after lunch my mouth, and tongue
started to suffer terrible pins, and needle like sensation?
I was sick, and next thing I was battling to breath through a deluge
of thick mucus that poured down my throat out of my mouth
continually.
I had lost my ability to swallow if it had not been for one of the
young male nurses using suction continually in my throat, and
lungs, so I could breathe it would have ended me then.
There were all these visitors staring at me as my left arm had a vice
like pressure building up in it to giving my left arm a twisted
hooked position across my chest.
Unbearable an unbelievable tension felt to be coming from my
central back.
Slowly moving through my chest, and left arm, it was frightful to
say the least everyone there was sure I was dying I saw it in their
faces.
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I would have drowned in my own fluids that night without the
young male nurse.
Who stuck by me all night with a suction tube working overtime?
I had inserted in my mouth a plastic breathing tube that I could not
be parted from for a week.
In the morning, it was back to Royal Perth stroke unit again.
A nurse named Vinca convinced the Doctor to arrange that I be
flown by air ambulance. (My guardian angel again.)
After I left the Geraldton hospital at ten in the morning to go by
ambulance to the plane.
He was waiting for the other private plane to get out of the way.
The air ambulance pilot was furious when he became an hour late
landing at Geraldton because of this mix up, and it was boiling hot
by then.
We got to Perth mid afternoon, the other patient had died several
times on the flight, and he had to be revived each time, so he was
taken off the air ambulance first.
By the time, it was my turn the plane was real hot on the sunny
side.
Then the ambulance got me to the emergency after a half hour
drive to Royal Perth Hospital now it was another long wait in a
cubicle that began, for the Doctor to get time to see how sick I was
before admission could happen.
I sure had a long dry wait as I could only grunt as my voice was
blocked by the breathing tube, and my movement getting worse by
the minute.
When admitted after a long wait for a bed I got it after nine at
night.
I had got thirsty, and hungry by then, as it had been an all day fast
with neither food nor water.
The tube came out long enough to sip water before I had some
grapes that a visitor had brought me in Geraldton.
The nurse gave me them for tea one at a time as he only had bread,
which I dare, not eat for fear of choking.
All I did, that night was count the square pattern in the ceiling.
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At one point in the night, my oxygen mask fell off, and I had no
way to notify any body that it had
I remember calling to the pastor who happened to be a friend in the
next bed to me but he was unable or too sick to work out my
grunting sounds, so his bell was not pressed, and at length morning
came with no sleep that night.
Isobel, and family were sure I was on the way out of this life.
After a month, I started with blinking once or twice to indicate yes
or no.
Then a little movement in my left finger, so could communicate by
moving my left index finger on a letter card that was four or five
inches square, and as I indicated letters of the alphabet, they
scratched them on note paper, so they knew my requests.
I remember one morning asking my Eldest daughter that my right
eye brow wanted scratching, and she really grasped my
predicament.
When the morning came, and the shift nurse saw me being
transferred from a ward to the critical ward.
She exclaimed not another wreck I have more than enough already,
and they send this hopeless case here, and she “cried thank, you
very much” to the orderly as he pushed my bed into the room, she
was angry, and tired, and “growled at me die quickly will you”.
A couple of days later the general election polling guy came I was
the only person of four in the ward awake, and he called out votes
please, and no one could answer, so talking to himself said I’ll add
four more, so he put four names down reading them from the door
post identity sign.
Put down as voted it was the labour party you might guess.
This thing made me furious, and determined to live even if I was
not able to communicate with anyone for a month.
People came, and went away again day after day I lay there in my
filth at times, as I could not work a call button.
Not able to escape move, or shout, and no one turned me over in
the bed.
Doctors came in the daytime, and pricked pins in me to define the
extent of my numbness.
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By finding pain or lack of it, and to drew blood in both the pin
pricks, and extracting syringes full of blood for samples.
He shone a little light in my eyes, some days there were dozens of
student doctors.
The inside of my mouth, and throat became infected with a fungus,
and got extremely sore, and the skin went into a brown slime that
was sucked off every day for weeks.
Finally that cleared up I lay in the same position for thirteen hours
one day as the wall clock indicated.
It made me wonder just why they were feeding me through this
nose tube why not give up I did not care any more.
The hoist was used to get me up the first time, to go on to the bath
table, and as the nurses got me in the sling, and lifted the thing up
my head fell back.
I thought my neck would break off, it left me with a damaged
neck, and eight years later, it still hurts to turn my head.
I told my wife by pointing at one letter at a time that I needed more
turning.
I was getting, so uncomfortable, and afterwards the hospital had a
team of turners came around at night.
One guy grabbed me by my left arm, and the muscles had gone, so
it almost pulled off as he pulled on it to roll me over.
I screamed in pain, and he looked at me as if I was a whining piece
of rubbish.
I had the habit of grinding my teeth, and the coordination in my
jaw was, so bad that I put my eye tooth through my cheeks or lip
every night it was numb, and only hurt after several seconds had
passed.
One of the kindest patient turners would say each time the three
came to roll me “hay, got your lippy on,” anticipating my bloody
face.
I dobbed the guy in that was rough as by now some nurses took the
moment to wait while I pointed to the letters to give my message.
After some months, they operated to install a peg in my stomach,
and it was a lot better than the rotten nose feeding tube they
replaced.
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The day arrived that I was to be transferred to the Shenton Park
Annexe, and they all joked, and talked about how their favourite
patient was leaving.
I was showered, and all of a fuss dressed in my best.
At ten am the orderly came, and we said our good by’s to all, and I
went off to the departure lounge to wait for the ambulance.
The nurses at the desk were paper shufflers, and not dressed to
tend patients.
They kept glancing over eventually one came by my bed, and
offered me a drink, and she had no facilities to give me one
eventually they found a straw, and offered me some to suck up in
the middle of the afternoon.
They gave me nothing to eat or drink it was as if I did, not exist.
After five o’clock, the nurse that had said good-bye to me in the
morning when starting her eight-hour shift looked in to the
departure lounge to speak to her friend at the departure desk.
Now she was completing her shift to leave for her home, and she
saw me, and let out a gasp.
What are you still doing here, and she bustled about, and it was an
other hour when they came for me, and I was loaded into the
ambulance by the offsider, and driver.
He said to me in a very surly way oh we got held up, so went to
Charles Gardner we are only volunteers you know.
Then I got to Shenton Park, and dinner had finished, so I thought
it’s the squeaky door that gets the oil, so now, I let them know I am
unhappy any time I have needs
I was moved to Shelton Park, and given an exercises program
every day for three hours from one to four.
This was the normal program for a month for all us cripples.
When the changes came, I had recovered my legs because the
physiotherapists worked on them after their usual work time.
She, and her assistant one afternoon forced my right knee up to my
chin then said now you try, and low, and behold up it moved, and
continued to work again, and the movements lasted for a week.
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In the morning on waking about a week later, I felt sick I was
placed on a shower chair despite my protests of telling the nurse I
am having another stroke.
After a lot vomiting in the shower, and of insisting she get me back
to bed, and call a doctor.
When she got the Doctor, he found I was in crisis again.
Back to Royal Perth stroke unit I went again for three weeks.
Thirty of us were operated on that day at Royal Perth Hospital for
various things, and it was bad luck for us to be included that day
because the theatre had been infected.
We were all, three months in isolation because of this infection
having been found in the operating theatre there.
Next day I had been moved to Shenton Park annexe, and I was
given a room to myself as soon as the hospital germs at Royal
Perth Hospital were discovered.
Anyone who came into my room had to put on gloves, and a gown,
and scrub on leaving consequentially not many nurses came my
way.
When they did, some of them inferred it was my fault for their
inconvenience.
My legs I could not lift any more, I have never had any lifting
movement since that stroke, and it was the one that was one too
many.
Up, and back to back to Shenton park again, and again.
They must have thought I was like a yo, yo going up, and back all
the time they used to “say not you again”.
Before I was allocated my electric wheel chair I was pushed about
in my manual, as my left arm was completely useless I was unable
to get around without help.
One day as I sat in my room with the door closed, as it usually was
I dropped my Handkerchief, and thought I can reach that, so I
leaned down, and my chair upended.
I went head first into the wall in front of me then falling sideways,
and I finished my chin over the floor bucket that was used to clean
my floor.
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My air was cut off from my lungs by my weight on the bucket
edge I was caught in a trap.
If I were not able to free my airway quickly, it would be goodbye.
Thinking fast with the small movement I had I pushed the mop
sideways making it fall over, and the handle falling was sufficient
to turn the bucket on its side letting me breath again.
It was half an hour I was lying on the floor before one of the nurses
saw me. I think now it was my occupational therapist Heather. a
rare call to some patient, knowing my room she glanced in my
window as she raced past in the corridor, and saw my empty wheel
chair. Where is Alan, I wonder she thought, he cannot get out of
that chair, and, so came to investigate thank God?
To describe my circumstance at that time if you drew a line down
from the left top of my head starting to go down in both middle
front, and back of my body to meet at my left big toe.
The feeling to the left of that line had gone stupid numb tingly, and
going back up my right leg to my knee.
The nose hair, and taste were twice as sensitive, my ears rang, and
my nerves very overactive other wise I was ok.
Several months passed before Heather the occupational therapist
got me an electric wheel chair from the Government on loan for as
long as required. They reasoned it was much cheaper for the
Government to send me home in an electric wheel chair than keep
me in hospital. Several of us patients got chairs and were released
into our wives care. For the first two years I was home, I had to
drink thickened fluid, and was a very messy eater. Dropping food
and spilling drink at every meal, my wife had to watch my food as
I cannot have any wheat flour or I have stomach cramps, as I am a
celiac, and have been since married.
Sickness makes you very conscious of the shortness of life and
makes one very determined to survive at all costs. I am afraid it
makes one self centred, the bigger the trauma the more it affects
you. Each stroke takes months to partially recover from and
strengthens your resolve to survive but the flesh is weak.
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My trip back to Geraldton had been an ordeal, so Isobel said how
about a shower that will freshen you up, and she wheeled me in to
the bedroom. Helped me to our shower where I hung on the glass
surround to stay upright. Isobel turned the hot water on, and said it
will warm up soon well I was freezing after five minutes of cold
freezing water, and struggling to hold up, and yelling where’s the
hot water. I squeezed out of the shower stream, and Isobel said I’ll
try the other one. In one minute, it warmed up. I had asked Isobel
to have the shower taps fixed as she was complaining that they
were leaking. She had the use of the other main bathroom shower,
and had not used this ensuite since the Plummer fixed the taps.
The plumber had inadvertently put the colour tags in the wrong tap
that was why we had all the trouble.
For the last, seven years under care both in the Geraldton house
and now at Merriwa, I never feel comfortable until the hot water is
flowing this is the result of that past experience.
Isobel went to look at new retirement setups and after a lot of
selecting out what she liked the best she asked me to see what my
opinion was. We got a maxi taxi and I travelled to see what she
had picked. It was at Cambraivillage RAAF, 2 in Merriwa lot 187
the one I selected. Thinking that the house would be wheel chair
friendly we arraigned to have it built to the closest design I wanted
or was possible, to live there at the front door of the proposed
nursing home until we needed help but they had their own set idea
unfortunately. I was there 2 years but the toileting is useless.
Then we put our Geraldton place on the market and there was a
bad downturn in the Geraldton house market.
We waited months eventually they told us the house at
Cambraivillage was ready, so we had a little time to be sold up at
Geraldton. No one had the finance to buy the house only one or
two came who loved the house, but had no money, and time was
running out. We even considered raising a mortgage, but Isobel
and I prayed and then it happened; Isobel had just finished her
morning prayer this day that someone would walk in and make an
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offer. It happened two men came, one local and his brother from
South Australia was visiting his brother for a two-week holiday.
They drove past our place, saw the for sale sign and dropped in
without any agent.
Had a good look and fell for it on the spot, the next day he went to
the real estate early in the morning to set up a conditional contract
to buy, and raced back to South Australia to sell his own.
Behold, the time had almost gone when he had the same thing
happen to him, someone walked in of the street and bought it so
now all was finalized within a week.
While thinking about food I must tell this truth, as they say it is
stranger than fiction.
The first meal my wife got for me when we set up house after our
honeymoon was in March 1954
She prepared my favourite fried tomatoes, and onions, and I
squatted down to cook the toast in front of our brand new number
two meters wood stove when cooked she whisked the frypan off
the top of the hot stove with a girlish flourish leaving me covered
in my very warm favourite food.
I can’t remember what happened then but knowing me; it was
likely to be too graphic for me to write about here; and I don’t
mean I was angry.
Life goes on sometime good sometimes sad but it has got a lot
easier to cope with, and if you are interested in symptoms of stroke
the following page is a brief description for stroke victims to study
this is only for anybody interested in strokes.
Here below is a short description of my predicament; every stroke
has its own signature.
Itching skin patches I can’t scratch is a trouble that is getting more
unbearable as time goes on.
Swelling ankles as the day progresses, they swell to twice normal,
and that is stable at this time.
Swollen abdomen very bad bloating.
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I have problems that are very slow to get over if ever, one of the
worst is cramp in my lower legs on waking in the morning; my
finding is a very slow improvement over time.
I am too weak to remove my blanket when too hot at night; my
finding is a very slow improvement over time.
Lie on my back like a mummy all night if tense unable to get my
legs to come up to roll on my side, my finding is a very slow
improvement over time.
With gravity aiding me plus my right hand, pulling on something
secure this is sometimes changed by the following actions.
I sneeze or stretch my stiff left arm with my right arm to force my
left above my head with all the power I can muster then it allows
my legs to bend at my knees, and come; up if I have relaxed for
half an hour first, my finding is a very slow improvement over
time.
There are a lot of problems like when on the toilet to move
position to clean up; my finding is a very slow improvement over
time.
Also it is hard to use toilet paper as my left hand, and fingers are to
weak, and clumsy to hold the paper to tear it off the roll or even
hold, my finding is a very slow improvement over time.
If at the toilet I sit on my dangly bits because my legs are
practically useless, I can not lift up to get free or comfortable, and
the pain is terrible when ever that happens, my finding is a very
slow improvement over time.
My left leg is constantly trying to cross my right leg causing sweat
to annoy me in the groin regions; this is getting worse very slowly.
My taste buds are very sensitive, and I have trouble eating some
foods as they are, so tart not lemons though I eat them like
oranges, this is stable.
My food sticks in my throat, and mouth, and my tongue is unable
to clean it from my mouth or teeth.
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My body gives very little warning to involuntary movements,
which are twice as strong now this is stable now.
Only the reflex muscles work, and conscious effort is of little use,
as some of the muscles don’t get the message, it has changed since
very little since my several strokes.
My brain has lost all the memory of some body movements, of
how to initiate that particular action I am trying to achieve, this is
getting worse very slowly.
End of stroke description.
Another time at Geraldton Isobel forgot the break on my shower
chair, and the toilet door was too narrow. I had to have her support
me as I went in, this day when I came out to sit down the chair
upended, I fell to the floor and Isobel was unable to get me up, she
ran next door. Luckily my neighbour came, and with an effort got
me safely back into the shower chair
The morning was going well, and I sat in my electric chair I looked
out the games room window. Isobel was out hanging the washing
on the rotary hoist I decided to get closer to the glass sliding doors,
and stand up to relieve my bottom from the constant pressure.
I stood for several minutes, and decided my seat should be lowered
before sitting back down, and while standing not looking down.
I pushed the leaver. The chair was in fourth gear, not lowering
mode as I had anticipated, so the chair leaped forward, and as I fell
forward, and my head hit the glass sliding door, the chair climbed
over my feet. I went to my knees on to the stubby vertical four inch
high rods that keep my feet in place on these peddles.
My knees had all my weight pressing down, and my voice was not
loud enough to get Isobel’s attention.
I waited there my Head near breaking the glass, and the vertical
rods puncturing my knees, also the weight of the chair was on my
feet my brain was racing, and I prayed the door glass would hold
from breaking, and not cut me.
308
I was in agony, and panicking when Isobel came back inside, and
with difficulty got me out of my predicament.
These are some of my dramas since hospital days.
I have fallen thee times since I came to live at Cambrai village.
The toilet is not right for me there as it has only one hand rail, and
because of the toilet’s location to the left of the door.
I fell when either taking my taking my pants down or pulling them
up.
I bounced off the raised seat, finished on the floor, and went stiff
all over.
When Geoff phoned his Dad it took twenty minutes for him to
arrive, and when I was lifted back into my chair I went into shock,
and vomited all my tea over everything.
I thank my God that when falling my fall was broken by hitting my
head on the towel rail both times, and it broke my fall to slow the
impact of hitting the floor hard, and it only bruised me badly, and
no bones were broken
I have met some nice people at Wattle house where I have spent
the last year, and have only had two or three dramas here other
than mess my pants.
The food is five star, and more than plentiful.
The bathroom is perfect for my needs; the water is nice, and hot.
The bed is good but not as good as my own at Cambraivillage as
the head only lifts up, and I like to raise my feet sometimes.
There is only one main fault that I find here, and that is the call bell
is not answered, as it should be I have waited over an hour for help
on more than one occasion, also the cups of tea are a little erratic.
It should be consistent, so that we can have confidence in the
system used if I was still being cared for by the silver chain I
would wear my bell, and be tended to much quicker.
309
There has to be a change in this system as some people have
suffered quite badly while yelling for help, and not getting it.
One Friday night a month ago, I went to bed as usual, and woke at
five in the morning unable to hold on any longer, and I called my
favourite night staff carer Michael to get me to the toilet.
So he sat me over the toilet, and told me to press the bell when
finished I think that this is the only time I have had to call a carer
at night to take me to the toilet.
He was off to have a coffee, and I did, ring the bell then he came
back, and he took one look in the toilet, and it was full of red
blood.
I was bleeding internally, so of to Charley Gardener Hospital they
sent me, and I had to have medicine to clear the view for the
procedure.
The shock made me violently ill, and before morning next day, the
bloody mess filled; the bed as there was no way to get attention or
to move.
Considering my physical handicap, it was for me a reasonable
success with the inspection they had, and I have a case of
diverticulitis they told me.
Thankfully, the bleeding had stopped, so my blood pressure is back
to my normal again.
I go for a follow up. On Wednesday, the 14 November 2007 three
days short of eight years since all my trouble began.
I have been discharged from the hospital all clear until another
emergency arises.
You would not guess but in that hospital in the bed opposite me
was the older brother of John Harris who bought our house when
we left Kalannie for good.
When he left a Jewish wool buyer that had bought my wool clip
thirty-five years before, possessed the bed.
310
Yesterday after dinner, and after getting my medication for the
night. I went out in the garden at evening, and when turning my
electric wheel chair to go back inside I ventured too near the
concrete edge, and got stuck. The back wheels turned but could not
grip the concrete lip, and I looked like having a long cold night
until some one found me. I tapped for an hour at a window that
was within my reaching rod’s range, but it was the empty tivally
room, and no one came. I sang out with my rather feeble croaky
voice, and finally gave up, as my voice sounds are, so weak. Then
behold my thanks to my Guardian angel, who came to my aid as
one of the nurses with a very unusual, and memorable name Rhian,
who distributes the medicine was coming on her shift to the other
house section. She thought a cup of tea before work would be nice,
and she faintly heard my plea for help. So raced around a lot of
connecting corridor to find me. A great big shove, and I was free,
and the sun had just set, if she had missed my cry, one of my usual
carers would put me in bed at ten pm, so it would have been a
lonely cold wait.
It has been a good life for me and my gratitude goes to God for
always being there in my presence, even when not apparent to me
I was given a hard lesson on smoking being bad, the polluting of
the body is sinning to The Holy Spirit, and it took me thirty years
of smoking to get the message and to quit.
Self-reliance, self-importance, being materialistic, and secular and
having a carnal, nature are my next big problems; being a loving
Father, it is certain that God has given me a needed lesson, by
letting me follow my own choices in life. The Devil could not help
himself and struck me by injuring me partially, as he has been
allowed. Having to continue life in a crippled way, but with Gods
help I will make Satan tremble, constantly reminding him he is
finished, and will be turned to ash for the evil, pain and death he
has caused. He had to have a go at me as he does with everything
living. The bible gives us the picture, just read the story of Job.
I thank God; he has not allowed the Devil to kill me or my family
before we can prepare for eternity. The lessons of these choices of
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ours will bring their results, to give me and all that choose Jesus
and his truth for today, the chance to get more reliant on our
maker, less on self and repent of all the mistakes made. For me
Alan Hewett to be made aware of all my sins and thus be able to
repent of them. I pray daily God will bring all forgotten faults to
my attention before I finish this life and thus can be saved for the
next. Before He allows me to rest in peace, oh what a wonderful
sleep that we all hope to be raised from. My Guardian angel True
to form was there again as I have always found, so the only
appropriate name for this recording of some small portion of my
blessed life has to be “never alone”.
25 times my Guardian. Appears in my book only a fraction of the
times he actually appears in my life.
My rambling memories end.
“So Beware of impersonations”
The Dead are sleeping . RI P.
Singed Alan Hewett
Me in 1994
Daniel 12 2 Multitudes who sleep in the
dust of the earth will awake: some to
everlasting life, others to shame and
everlasting contempt. 3 Those who
are wise will shine like the
brightness of the heavens, and those
who lead many to righteousness,
like the stars for ever and ever. NKJ
A Tree and Its Fruit Matthew 7:-15 “Watch out for false prophets. They
come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.
16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from
thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise every good tree bears good
fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit,
and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear
good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you
will recognize them 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will
enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father
who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we
not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and
perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew
you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ .NAV
The Wise and Foolish Builders Matthew 7:M24 “Therefore everyone
who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise
man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams
rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall,
because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these
words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man
who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose,
and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great
crash.” 28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were
amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority,
and not as their teachers of the law. NAV
THIS IS ON NOW. Daniel 7::9“I watched till thrones were put in place,
And the Ancient of Days was seated;
His garment was white as snow,
And the hair of His head was like pure wool.
His throne was a fiery flame,
Its wheels a burning fire;
10 A fiery stream issued
And came forth from before Him.
A thousand thousands ministered to Him;
Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him.
The court was seated,
And the books were opened.
1“I watched then because of the sound of the
pompous words which the horn was speaking;
I watched till the beast was slain, and its body
destroyed and given to the burning flame.
12“As for the rest of the beasts, they had their
dominion taken away, yet their lives were
prolonged for a season and a time. NKJ
Psalm 31:1 In You,
O Lord, I put my
trust;
Let me never be
ashamed;
Deliver me in Your
righteousness.
2 Bow down Your
ear to me,
Deliver me speedily;
Be my rock of
refuge,
A fortress of defense
to save me.
3 For You are my
rock and my fortress;
Therefore, for Your
name’s sake,
Lead me and guide
me.
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Devastation of cyclone Tracy.
Gail Hewett flower girl Brides maid Lorraine Brides maid other flower girl.
Exodus 35:1 Then Moses gathered all the congregation of the
children of Israel together, and said to them, “These are the words
which the LORD has commanded you to do: 2“Work shall be done
for six days, but the seventh day shall be a holy day for you, a
Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it shall be
put to death. 3“You shall kindle no fire throughout your dwellings
on the Sabbath day.”
Ge 2:3 The seventh day of creation is the Sabbath.
Mark 2:27 And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made
for man, and not man for the Sabbath. 28“Therefore the
Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.”
. Revelation 1 17And when I saw Him, I
fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His
right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not
be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 18“I
am He who lives, and was dead, and
behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen.
And I have the keys of Hades and of
Death. 19“Write the things which you
have seen, and the things which are, and
the things which will take place after
this. 20“The mystery of the seven stars
which you saw in My right hand, and the
seven golden lampstands: The seven
stars are the angels of the seven
churches, and the seven lampstands
which you saw are the seven churches.
Revelation 3: 14“And to the angel of the
church of the Laodiceans write,
‘These things says the Amen, the
Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning
of the creation of God: 15“I know your
works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I
could wish you were cold or hot. 16“So
then, because you are lukewarm, and
neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out
of My mouth. 17“Because you say, ‘I am
rich, have become wealthy, and have
need of nothing’—and do not know that
you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind,
and naked— 18“I counsel you to buy
from Me gold refined in the fire, that you
may be rich; and white garments, that
you may be clothed, that the shame of
your nakedness may not be revealed; and
anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you
may see. 19“As many as I love, I rebuke
and chasten. Therefore be zealous and
repent. 20“Behold, I stand at the door and
knock. If anyone hears My voice and
opens the door, I will come in to him and
dine with him, and he with Me. 21“To
him who overcomes I will grant to sit
with Me on My throne, as I also
overcame and sat down with My Father
on His throne. 22“He who has an ear, let
him hear what the Spirit says to the
churches.” ’ ”
SDA CHURCH IS LAODICEA
313
Lorraine, and Maids
Bridal party
Mr Mrs Buggins John Elsie Mrs Mr Jim Hewett.
( Mum & Dad)
Roger Wood
Left Back Jessie Hewett (my mum), Isobel Davy, Minnie Hewett, (Mum’s Brother)
Granpar Wood, Walter Hewett, Alan Hewett.The Walter Hewett Kids
and Morris Hewett in Front (my youngest Brother)
Matthew 8:11“And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham,
Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12“But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into
outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Psalms 37:23
The steps of a good man are
ordered by the LORD,
And He delights in his way.
24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly
cast down;
For the LORD upholds him with His hand.
25 I have been young, and now am old;
Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken,
Nor his descendants begging bread.
26 He is ever merciful, and lends;
And his descendants are blessed.
27 Depart from evil, and do good;
And dwell forevermore.
28 For the LORD loves justice,
And does not forsake His saints;
They are preserved forever,
But the descendants of the wicked shall be
cut off.
29 The righteous shall inherit the land,
And dwell in it forever.
30 The mouth of the righteous speaks
wisdom,
And his tongue talks of justice.
31 The law of his God is in his heart;
None of his steps shall slide.
32 The wicked watches the righteous,
And seeks to slay him.
33 The LORD will not leave him in his
hand,
Nor condemn him when he is judged.
34 Wait on the LORD,
And keep His way,
And He shall exalt you to inherit the land;
When the wicked are cut off, you shall see
it.
35 I have seen the wicked in great
power,
And spreading himself like a native green
tree.
36 Yet he passed away, and behold, he
was no more;
Indeed I sought him, but he could not be found.
314
Keith & Phyllis Bauer Family
John & Lorraine Hewett & Family
Kell Muriel Boag Family
Psalm 19 :1
The heavens declare the glory
of God;
And the firmament shows His
handiwork.
2 Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals
knowledge.
3 There is no speech nor
language
Where their voice is not heard.
4 Their line has gone out
through all the earth,
And their words to the end of the
world.
In them He has set a tabernacle for
the sun,
5 Which is like a bridegroom
coming out of his chamber,
And rejoices like a strong man to
run its race.
6 Its rising is from one end of
heaven,
And its circuit to the other end;
And there is nothing hidden from
its heat.
7 The law of the LORD is
perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the LORD is sure,
making wise the simple;
8 The statutes of the LORD are
right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the LORD is
pure, enlightening the eyes;
9 The fear of the LORD is clean,
enduring forever;
The judgments of the LORD are true
and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they
than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the
honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them Your
servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great
reward.
12 Who can understand his
errors?
Cleanse me from secret faults.
13 Keep back Your servant also
from presumptuous sins;
Let them not have dominion over
me.
Then I shall be blameless, NKJ
Cousins Bert Hewett &Vera
Ted Pitman Phyllis Muriel Elsie Hewett
Meg & Don Hewett Ted & Helen Wilson
315
Isobel, Bradley, Alan, Gail, Kareen, Garry, Leith & Ebonnie.
Isobel, Bradley, Alan Hewett, Gail, Kareem, And Garry, Leith, Ebonnie.
Garry, Elise, Michele, Chrystal Sheryl Hewett
Centre Simone and friends
Romans 1:20 For since the creation of
the world His invisible attributes are
clearly seen, being understood by
the things that are made, even His
eternal power and Godhead, so that
they are without excuse, 21because,
although they knew God, they did
not glorify Him as God, nor were
thankful, but became futile in their
thoughts, and their foolish hearts
were darkened. 22Professing to be
wise, they became fools, 23and
changed the glory of the
incorruptible God into an image
made like corruptible man—and
birds and four-footed animals and
creeping things. 24Therefore God
also gave them up to uncleanness, in
the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor
their bodies among themselves,
25who exchanged the truth of God
for the lie, and worshiped and
served the creature rather than the
Creator, who is blessed forever.
Amen. NKJ
Matthew 8:3And at once some of the scribes
said within themselves, “This Man
blasphemes!” 4But Jesus, knowing their
thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in
your hearts? 5“For which is easier, to say,
‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say,
‘Arise and walk’? 6“But that you may
know that the Son of Man has power on
earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the
paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go
to your house.
Matthew 12:48But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are
My brothers?” 49And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My
mother and My brothers! 50“For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother
and sister and mother.”
316
Chris, Gail & Kids
1 Corinthians 2:6 However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this
age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7But we speak the wisdom of God in a
mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8which none of the
rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9But as
it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
1 Corinthians 2:10But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all
things, yes, the deep things of God. 11For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of
the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12Now we
have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the
things that have been freely given to us by God.(NKJ)
I would like to thank all the hundreds of carers that have been here
for me these last eight years of my most marvellous, and complete
life, that God has given me to share, and enjoy to the full.
Romans 8:27 And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones
according to God’s will. 28 We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his
purpose. 29 For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the
firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified; and those
he justified he also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not
spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him? 33 Who will
bring a charge against God’s chosen ones? It is God who acquits us. 34 Who will condemn? It is Christ (Jesus) who died,
rather, was raised, who also is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 35 What will separate us from the
love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?
Matt 8:1 When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. 2And behold, a
leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” 3Then Jesus
put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was
cleansed. 4And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest,
and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.
317
Revelation states the whole world is fooled except the remnant.
I dedicate this to the love of my life Isobel Mary Hewett
John 11:24 Martha says to him, I know that he will rise again in the resurrection in the last
day. 25 Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believes on me, though
he have died, shall live; 26 and every one who lives and believes on me shall never die.
Believest thou this? 27 She says to him, Yea, Lord; I believe that thou art the Christ, the
Son of God, who should come into the world.
Friday, January 11, 2008, 90404 PM
My study of the scripture is on this DVD data disc
book on line 20 June08 http://www.scribd.com/groups/view/8971-showing-the-world
my nearest finished book on line = showing-the-world folder
Number 1 Copy of NEVER ALONE
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7278766956791576096
This is a list of all the electronic books I recommend (See folder) !
READ & Listen Over to WORDS From INSPIRATION
TO READ THIS USE 200% IN THE MENUE
Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he
revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
318
This End time chart is entirely from Ed White + is worth studying
John 13:31 So, when he had gone out,
Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is
glorified, and God is glorified in Him.
32“If God is glorified in Him, God will
also glorify Him in Himself, and glorify
Him immediately. 33“Little children, I
shall be with you a little while longer.
You will seek Me; and as I said to the
Jews, ‘Where I am going, you cannot
come,’ so now I say to you. 34“A new
commandment I give to you, that you
love one another; as I have loved you,
that you also love one another. 35“By
this all will know that you are My
disciples, if you have love for one
another.”
36Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord,
where are You going?” Jesus answered
him, “Where I am going you cannot
follow Me now, but you shall follow Me
afterward.” 37Peter said to Him, “Lord,
why can I not follow You now? I will lay
down my life for Your sake.” 38Jesus
answered him, “Will you lay down your
life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say
to you, the rooster shall not crow till
you have denied Me three times.NKJ
My thoughts on caring are here for all to
see and either agree or disagree with. I think
that it is not sin to be helpful in aiding
suffering humanity to die with ease and
dignity if they have a pe-written will and
have agreed, are now in a terminal
condition, and have three doctors, to agree
to that fact. Each Doctor prescribes the
needed scripts with a double placebo, put all
these together to make it impossible to
know the one responsible. If it is sin, the
martyrs were guilty by continuing their
actions to cause their own death. After all,
we believe we sleep in the grave waiting for
Jesus at His second coming.
It is far better to have comfort in life and
death not niggling things that painfully
annoy continually day and night for may be
years. The system Terminating life with no
hint of its approaching happening, or have
the timing disguised some way by a lottery
system to free carer guilt, which would not
scare the patient. Those that care should
have more consideration of the persons
comfort. Be selected by specialists to cover
only enough patents to be able to give
constant personal attention and given high
enough wages to encourage them to put
their best foot forward. Not like now where
a career is so pressed for time they are not
able to do their special work with devotion,
as God intended for the old and sick.
319
!!!A IS THIS THE END OF THE AGE JESUS SPOKE
ABOUT. !!!A IS THIS THE END OF THE AGE JESUS
SPOKE
ABOUT
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evidence lectures William Miller
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LDE - Last Day Events (1992)
LET THERE BE LIGHT cathlic blasphemers
320
LETTER TO E D WHITE
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PAMPHLETS
PROPHETIC FIGURES. views of prophecies
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Response to an Erring Brother Rebuking of Apostasy
Sabbath Q&A
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SDA Bible Commentary 1x7
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SOP05-Hymns
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SPIRIT OF PROPHECY 1SP, 2SP, 3SP, 4SP.eep with them
that weep. 16Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind
not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not
wise in your own conceits. 17Recompense to no man evil for
evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 18If it be
possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
19Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place
unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay,
saith the Lord. 20Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him;
if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap
coals of fire on his head. 21Be not overcome of evil, but
overcome evil with good. 3
Why cloak Bible prophecies
in Symbols?
Luke 8 :10 And He said, "To
you it has been given to know
the mysteries of the kingdom
of God, but to the rest it is
given in parables, that
'Seeing they may not see, And
hearing they may not
understand.'
Many of the apocalyptic
prophecies were given while
the prophets were in a hostile
foreign land. One reason God
cloaked the prophecies in
symbols was to protect the
messages.
Use these symbols to know how to
understand scripture
Animals and their Parts
3The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge)
1769.
• Horse = Strength and Power in Battle Job 39:19,
Psalms 147:10, Proverbs 21:31
• Dragon = Satan or his agency Isaiah 27:1;30:6,
Psalm 74:13-14; Rev. 12:7-
9; Ezekiel 29:3; Jeremiah 51:34
• Beast = Kingdom/government/political power
Daniel 7:17, 23
• Lamb = Jesus/sacrifice John 1:29; 1 Corinthians
5:7
• Lion = Jesus/Powerful King i.e. Babylon Rev. 5:4-
9, Jer. 50:43-44, Dan.
7:4,17,23
• Bear = Destructive Power / Medo Persia Proverbs
28:15, 2 Kings 2:23-24,
Daniel 7:5
• Leopard = Greece Daniel 7:6
• Serpent = Satan Revelation 12:9; 20:2
• Tongue = Language / Speech Exodus 4:10
• Wolf = Disguised Enemies Matthew 7:15
• Dove = Holy Spirit Mark 1:10
• Ram = Medo Persia Daniel 8:20
• Goat = Greece Daniel 8:21
• Horn = King or kingdom Daniel 7:24; 8:5, 21, 22;
Zechariah 1:18, 19;
Revelation 17:12
• Wings = Speed / Protection / Deliverance
Deuteronomy 28:49, Matthew
23:37
Colors
• White = Purity Revelation 12:9; 20:2
• Blue = Law Numbers 15:38-39
• Purple = Royalty Mark 15:17, Judges 8:26
• Red/Scarlet = Sin/corruption Isaiah 1:18; Nahum
2:3; Revelation 17:1-4
Metals, Elements, and Natural Objects
• Gold = Pure Character Precious and Rare Isaiah
13:12
• Silver = Pure Words & Understanding Proverbs
2:4, 3:13-14, 10:20, 25:11,
Psalms 12:6
• Brass, Tin, Iron, Lead, Silver dross = Impure
Character Ezekiel 22:20-21
• Water = Holy Spirit / Everlasting Life John 7:39,
4:14, Rev. 22:17, Eph. 5:26
• Waters = Inhabited area/people, nations Revelation
17:15
• Fire = Holy Spirit Luke 3:16
• Tree = Cross; People / Nation Deut. 21:22-23,
Psalm 92:12, 37:35,
• Seed = Descendents / Jesus Romans 9:8, Galatians
3:16
• Fruit = Works / Actions Galatians 5:22
Unlock Bible Prophecy Page 1 of 2
• Fig Tree = A Nation that should bear fruit Luke
13:6-9
• Vineyard = Church that should bear fruit Luke
20:9-16
321
• Field = World Matthew 13:38, John 4:35
• Harvest = End of World Matthew 13:39
• Reapers = Angels Matthew 13:39
• Thorns / Thorny Ground = Cares of this life Mark
4:18-19
• Stars=Angels/messengers = Revelation 1:16, 20;
12:4, 7-9; Job 38:7
• Jordan = death Romans 6:4, Deuteronomy 4:22
• Mountains = Political or religio-political powers
Isaiah 2:2, 3; Jeremiah 17:3;
31:23; 51:24, 25; Ezekiel 17:22, 23; Daniel 2:35, 44,
45
• Rock = Jesus/truth 1 Corinthians 10:4; Isaiah 8:13,
14; Romans 9:33;
Matthew 7:24
• Sun = Jesus/the gospel Psalm 84:11; Malachi 4:2;
Matthew 17:2; John
8:12; 9:5
• Winds=Strife/commotion/"winds of war"Jeremiah
25:31-33; 49:36, 37;
4:11-13; Zechariah 7:14
Miscellaneous Objects
• Lamp = Word of God Psalm 119:105
• Oil = Holy Spirit Zechariah 4:2-6; Revelation 4:5
• Sword = Word of God Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews
4:12
• Bread = Word of God John 6:35, 51, 52, 63
• Wine=blood/covenant/doctrines Luke 5:37
• Honey = happy life Ezekiel 20:6, Deuteronomy
8:8-9
• Clothing = Character Isaiah 64:6, Isaiah 59:6
• Crown = A Glorious Ruler or Rulership Proverbs
16:31, Isaiah 28:5, Isaiah
62:3
• Ring = Authority Genesis 41:42-43, Esther 3:10-11
• Angel = Messenger Daniel 8:16; 9:21; Luke 1:19,
26; Hebrews 1:14
• Babylon = apostasy/confusion/rebellion Gen. 10:8-
10; 11:6-9; Rev. 18:2, 3;
17:1-5
• Mark = Sign or seal of approval or disapproval
Ezekiel 9:4; Romans 4:11;
Revelation 13:17; 14:9-11; 7:2, 3
• Seal = Sign or mark of approval or disapproval
Romans 4:11; Revelation
7:2, 3
• White Robes=Victory/righteousness Revelation
19:8; 3:5; 7:14
• Jar / Vessel=Person Jermiah 18:1-4, 2 Corinthians
4:7
• Time = 360 Day Daniel 4:16, 23, 25, 32; 7:25;
Daniel 11:13 margin
• Times = 720 Days Daniel 7:25, Revelation 12:6,14,
13:5
• Day = Literal year Ezekiel 4:6; Numbers 14:34
• Trumpet = loud warning of God's approach Exodus
19:16-17, Joshua 6:4-5
Actions, Activities, and Physical States
• Healing = Salvation Luke 5:23-24
• Leprosy / Sickness = Sin Luke 5:23-24
• Famine = Dearth of Truth Amos 8:11
People and Body Parts
• Woman, Pure = True Church Jeremiah 6:2; 2
Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians
5:23-27
• Woman, Corrupt = Apostate church Ezk. 16:15-58;
23:2-21; Hos. 2:5; 3:1;
Rev. 14:4
• Thief = Suddenness of Jesus' coming 1
Thessalonians 5:2-4; 2 Peter 3:10
• Hand = Deeds / Works / Actions Ecclesiastes 9:10,
Isaiah 59:6
• Forehead = Mind Deuteronomy 6:6-8, Romans
7:25; Ezekiel 3:8, 9
• Feet = Your Walk / Direction Genesis 19:2, Psalm
119:105
• Eyes = Spiritual Discernment Matthew 13:10-17, 1
John 2:11
• Skin = Christ's righteousness Exodus 12:5, 1 Peter
1:19, Isaiah 1:4-6
• Harlot = Apostate church/religion Isaiah 1:21-27;
Jeremiah 3:1-3; 6-9
• Heads = Major powers/rulers/governments
Revelation 17:3, 9, 10
“Knowing this first,
that no prophecy of
the scripture is
of any private
interpretation.”
2 Peter 1:20
Future of the world told to
Daniel.
Daniel given the interpretation of
a Vision of the Four Beasts in Daniel 7:1
The Bible interprets itself
“These great beasts, which are
four, [are] four kings, [which]
shall arise out of the earth.”
BEFORE THE SUNDAY
DEATH DECREE IS
INTRODUCED AS
PROPHESYED. FLEE TO
GOD’S LAW NOT MAN.S.
322
His Law is written in our hearts by the spirit
www.3abn.org/Rusisa
servantry.
John 12:26.
“If anyone serves Me, let
him follow Me; and where
I am, there My servant will
be also. If anyone serves Me,
him My Father will honor.”
Matthew 23:1 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his
disciples, 2Saying,
The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: 3All
therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and
do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
4For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and
lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not
move them with one of their fingers. 5But all their works they
do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries,
and enlarge the borders of their garments, 6And love the
uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the
synagogues, 7And greetings in the markets, and to be called
of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
8But be not ye called Rabbi: for
one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are
brethren. 9And call no man your father upon the
earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
10Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even
Christ. 11But he that is greatest among you shall be your
servant. 12And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased;
and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
13But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees,
hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven
against men: for ye neither go in yourselves,
neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.
The Ten
Commandments as
given by God.
1. Have no other gods before Me see
(Acts 14:15; John 4:21–23;
2. Make no idols or images see (Acts
17:29; Rom. 1:22–23; 1 John 5:21; 1 Cor. 10:7, 14).
3. Do not take His name in vain see
(James 5:12; Matt. 5:33–37 and 6:5–9).
4. Remember the Sabbath Day. See
(Matt. 19:16–20; Mark 10:17–20; Luke 18:18–21;
5. Honor father and mother see (Eph.
6:1–4).
6. Do not murder see (1 John 3:15;
Matt. 5:21–22).
7. Do not commit adultery see (Matt.
5:27–28; 1 Cor. 5:1–13, 6;9–20; Heb. 13:4).
8. Do not steal see (Eph. 4:28; 2 Thes.
3:10–12; James 5:1–4).
9. Do not bear false witness see (Col.
3:9; Eph. 4:25).
10. Do not covet see (Eph. 5:3; Luke
12:15–21).
Note these “summaries of the Law” in the NT; not one of
them mentions the Sabbath: Matt. 19:16–20; Mark 10:17–
20; Luke 18:18–21; Rom. 13:8–10. Of
course, the “New Commandment” of
love is the basic (LOVE TO GOD TO MAN.)
r. 8:6).
All of the OT Law is but an
amplification and application of
the Ten Commandments. in the
NEW TESTAMENT
Proof Matthew 5:18
Though the Heaven
and Earth pass away
God’s Ten
Commandments
would not have a jot
or title in them
changed.
-MAY GOD BLESS YOU.







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