Kyabram Free Press

Has a new editor

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(Bethune) garage roof was a vantage point from which you could clearly see the giant screen of Echuca Drivein.

It must have been 1980, because the Village People in Can’t Stop the Music were staring back at me.

Tongala was home until I was 11, growing up next door to the Vick family and convenient­ly directly opposite the consolidat­ed school that I attended.

Battling it out on the school oval with the likes of Watto, Docca, Kirky, Sauce, Reags, Young Hec and Tubbsy were some very good times.

Dad’s role as a water bailiff had us on the move to channelsid­e living, which we treated like an extensive in-ground swimming pool at the time, at Wyuna East and picked up by Raggsy (bus driver Alan Raggatt) for school right at the front door.

Regular doses of oil on the dirt road directly outside the house kept dust to a minimum, although most drivers (the ones who knew Dad, anyway) slowed to prevent any extensive dust flow in through the loungeroom windows.

Wyuna was just close enough to civilisati­on to climb on the Malvern Star and, with a decent tail wind, be in Kyabram — which, at the time, seemed like a thriving metropolis — half an hour later.

Occasional­ly I’d have company on the trip if cousins Simon, Matt or Corey (Carver), the latter who was probably too young at the time, were feeling energetic.

Two of the three now occupy senior educationa­l roles in the district — the youngest of the four, Barton, another to don the yellow sash at Lancaster where Mum’s brothers Colin and Bert (Chatter) held legend status.

Some kids packed groceries at Fitzgerald­s, others had a paper run, but pocket money for me came from lending Dad a hand in relief milking for holidaying cockies or footballer­s otherwise engaged on a Saturday afternoon.

And business was good. I remember a two-week stint while the Websdale family holidayed in Queensland netted me enough to buy my own stereo.

I still remember having Adam Ant with Johnny Be Good on the A side blasting out of the stereos, thinking ‘how good is this?’

Country living was a terrific place to start, things getting better when footy gave me the chance to rub shoulders with some of the region’s living legends.

As a 16-year-old I still remember looking at the elbows of Doc Kennaugh when we played Echuca and wondering what I had gotten myself into.

The Mcphersons gave me a further kick along in 1987 when I got a call midway through the school day on the phone outside the principal’s office I had visited a few times in my six years at Kyabram High School.

It was the chance to start as a cadet journalist at Seymour.

Fast forward 15 years and an opportunit­y to work in sports, and for myself, had me transferri­ng the people skills to sales. Having dealt with everyone from politician­s to police and army officers to chief executives, it was a smooth transition.

But just like for everyone who is reading this article, things changed in March last year and who knows when they will be back to normal.

A return to the region, a few months in the fruit picking ranks, intermitte­nt stages as a painter’s labourer, and the call back to the newspaper world was a welcome and exciting one.

I look forward to renewing old acquaintan­ces, making many new ones and enjoying a life alongside the Murray where so many good times were had in my youth.

Feel free to give me a call, or fire through a text, drop in for a chat or just say hello in the street (if you can recognise me behind a mask and 30-plus years later).

Rohan Aldous

0415 892 415 rohan.aldous@mmg.com.au

 ??  ?? Rohan Aldous. editor
Rohan Aldous. editor

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