MORE MEMORIES FROM READERS
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.