Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - Memories -

Well the “Silly Sea­son” of sum­mer hol­i­days (Christ­mas, New Year, Aus­tralia Day & Chi­nese New Year) is over, it is back to the grind­stone. Since the last is­sue of the mag­a­zine, I have re­ceived a few more let­ters from read­ers de­tail­ing some of their mem­o­ries. Mark Hooper from Quak­ers Hill writes –

“In time one looks back to rec­ol­lect where you came from. If think­ing about it was as sim­ple as all the walk­ing you did on all those dirt roads of the past.

The smell of the rain on Old Wind­sor Rd of the 1960s pro­voked my Cor­nish fa­ther to get the whole fam­ily to clam­our through colo­nial barbed wire fences to go mush­room­ing un­der a canopy of an­cient trees where the cow­pats lay and the farmer didn’t mind you tres­pass­ing. The at­mos­phere must have made my fa­ther yearn for his home in St. Austell, Corn­wall as the place looked like an English Glen.

Ev­ery­where we lived we walked on dirt roads and we walked to school and got there early to play on dirt fields. Pud­dles and mud didn’t stop you from play­ing 1,2,3 Red Rover or fight­ing off oth­ers to be King of the var­i­ous dirt hills on the school grounds.

Be­cause my fa­ther’s fa­ther was a suc­cess­ful Civil En­gi­neer hav­ing met Prime Min­is­ter Curtin for be­ing the first En­gi­neer to se­lected by Wil­liam Hud­son for the start of the Snowy Moun­tains scheme, my fa­ther felt obliged to match his prow­ess and be­come ‘well off’ fi­nan­cially with the wife and four kids.

It seems that we were the only fam­ily in the street to have a ute as that’s all my fa­ther could af­ford. He got a blue Morris with a canopy so all us kids could sit in the back get­ting knocked around on the many dirt roads we went on. It was novel, es­pe­cially the dust we breathed in and got all over us mixed with the smells of the new paint from the ute.

The ute was util­i­tar­ian, the way to get ahead to hunt for free re­sources on the week­ends and ‘kill two birds with the one stone’. We would go to the river as an out­ing along se­cret dirt roads and pick stones out of the river not know­ing what my fa­ther would even­tu­ally do with them. We would go to or­chards and pick or­anges on sandy white dirt roads, not know­ing where we were. We’d re­li­giously go out look­ing at vast ar­eas of va­cant land for what we weren’t told. Pick­ing up hun­dreds of young chicks was mem­o­rable and go­ing home with a goat and that un­for­get­table smell, along with the smell of dust from the road.

Sun­day af­ter­noon, af­ter the roast meal, you’d hear the crunch­ing of heavy tyres on the side of the road and you knew it was the ice cream man in a big blue van. Be­fore the sound of ‘Greensleev­es’ he just had a bell. There wasn’t many in the street buy­ing ice creams.

It didn’t oc­cur to me that, due to my fa­ther, we were get­ting “well off’”.

Thank you, Mark Hooper, for your rem­i­nisc­ing.

The other let­ters that I have re­ceived will ap­pear in a fu­ture is­sue of this mag­a­zine.

Don’t for­get to con­trib­ute your mem­o­ries and also any old pho­to­graphs that you would like to see pub­lished in this mag­a­zine’s “as we were” sec­tion.

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