FROM THE CITY TO THE BUSH, PART THREE.

CONTINUING ON FROM PARTS ONE AND TWO, THIS SECTION WILL DESCRIBE SOME MORE OF WOOLLOOMOOLOO AND OTHER PLACES OF MY RAMBLINGS FROM THE CITY TO BUSH.

PEARS IN SUGAR SYRUP, AL LA PALMER STREET, WOOLLOOMOOLOO.

Did I mention the choko vine; this vine vegetable was is a fairly bland thing, shaped like a pear, green with prickles and greenish flesh. Cut in slices and boiled as a rule and served with a hot meal it helped to supplement the plate and nourish one.

Sneaky companies used a recipe borrowed from my Grand Ma, (fibs), the choko was skinned sliced and boiled, sugar syrup was prepared using sugar, water and some treacle.

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Chokos are taking over.
The chokos were cooled, covered in syrup and placed in the ice cabinet, served with plumb pudding and custard; one was hard pressed not to say they weren’t pears. Hence the reference to “sneaky companies”.

Now, I have a recipe you might like to try;

Par boil fairly small-halved vegetable / fruit until just firm. Add some hot sauce, Wooster of course, to the hollow area where the seed came from.

Prepare some bacon by cutting into pieces so as just to cover the slices, place the prepared chokos under the griller and heat until the bacon is just cooked, you had grated some spicy Bega cheese, sprinkle the cheese over the bacon and return to the griller, cook until runny and a little brown, pepper and salt, Farley’s Kilpatrick, enjoy.

For supper, Grand Ma would heat water on the vent top of the black upright kerosene heater, prepare some ARNOTT’S “Sao” biscuits by slicing garlic knobs and the spicy Bega cheese. To the hot water she would add Cocoa, that’s supper, Palmer St. fashion.

GRANDMA WAS A PARAMEDIC.

Must tell you about the medicine cupboard, about every week or so a preparation of sulfur and honey was administered, this was to keep away the coughs and colds.

When the plumbing got blocked you got to take Epsom Salts, Condies Crystals in a solution of warm water helped with mobile dandruff, iodine was used for scratches and abrasions, boils were treated by application of calico bandage with a small hole cut in it, you pull down on the boil to extricate the mess.

For relief from the “morning after”, a dose of bi-carbonate and citric acid helped with an aspirin, foot problems? Salt water and Condies Crystals, copper sulphate. So Grandma could cure “coughs and colds and itchy holes and pimples on the knackers”.

THE BUNDEMAR BIRD AND THE DOMAIN.

The bird, the bloody Galah. We came home from Bundemar Sheep Station with our pet bird, I was about 10ish and it ruled the tenement for several years. Although its wings were never trimmed, “squawker” never flew away it simply fluttered and walked everywhere leaving odd jobs here and there.

THE DOMAIN, A PLACE FOR “SPRUIKERS AND RADICAL PEOPLE”.

He had a cage and seed and water but the door was seldom closed accept at a night time when a cover was placed over it. Basically the bird lived on the nearest shoulder in particular Grandma’s.

There is photo in the newspaper archives showing her and the bird in the Domain Park on Sunday morning, a place she would frequent often to listen to the radical left and right wingers orate standing on a box.

Sydney Domain Spruiker, orator and radical commentator
Sydney Domain Spruiker, orator and radical commentator

All types of people would voice their opinions on any matter they felt strongly enough; it was great to hear the mixed audience heckle and cajole the speakers. There would be several speakers within meters of each other all with a small crowd of onlookers.

The bird would sit happily on Grandma’s shoulder as she circulated through the assemblage, no doubt thinking what a bunch of wankers, the bird that is wanker was an unknown adjective to her, put simply its indicates a person of doubtful intellect, some of these people were actually very out there. https://www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/

One-day “squawker”, simply put, fluttered his wings and flucked off over the back fence in the direction of Kings Cross these days Galahs are quite coastal, his precedence? Is out there, he left us with broken heart but with a legacy of remembering some of his tricks, like rolling up a pencil in a piece of paper and then proceeding to shred the pencil and the paper into tiny pieces, remembering his peculiar pigeon toed way of walking, loved ya.

DIGRESSION.

Thursday, October 11, 2007, have just completed two long shifts during a State Emergency, Lismore City NSW was trashed on Tuesday by a violent hail storm, it caused heart breaking damage to houses and cars and infrastructure and crops. Our area of the Byron Shire suffered as well and we went “Operational” dispatching SES crews and NSWFB and RFS and VRA people to fix the mess at about 20 locations, Lismore had over 500 calls for assistance. Hailstones were tennis ball size.

By an in creditable coincidence as a trainer I had been present at Lismore during a Storm and Water Damage course the previous Saturday, we had taken our candidates for a walk discussing various roof structures and how we would provide temporary repairs.

One of the buildings we observed was the Splendid Catholic Church resplendent with a very steep slate roof and the beautiful lead glass, regrettably no more.

UNCLE CHRIS, “NELLIE”, THE HARLEY DAVIDSON AND FISHEN’.

Back to past, going fishing on Sunday with Uncle Chris. We loved to fish for Luderick, a blackfish with light vertical stripes. We had three piece split cane rods and a small reel, fishing bags with floats and spare line and split sinkers and the secret green weed and cabbage weed collected around the harbor, aaaannnndd the wonderful black Harley Davidson and sidecar. And a bottle of “Nellie” for Chris.

We traveled far and wide in search for the Luderick, like Watsons Bay, Nilsson Park, The Spit, Lady Macquaries Chair / Point, Lillee Pilly, Lugano, Bobbin Head, Manly and many other places around Sydney. Chris has decided Watsons Bay is the go.

Date: Sunday, possibly Feb. 1952, about 7am, loaded the Harley, packed some sandwiches and cordial and the “nellie”, intrigued? And off. Out the double gates drives Chris while I close them and clamber into the cocoon of the sidecar and proceed on our journey to Watsons Bay. We will travel up William St to The Cross, down Bayswater Rd., past Rushcutters Bay, Potts Point, Double Bay, Elizabeth Bay, Rose Bay. We pass close by Neilson Park where we also fish, {some times catch the ferry), through Vaucluse past the infamous “Gap”, down the hill to Watsons Bay and park the Bike.

That didn’t take long will it, time frame about 25 mins. from home. We grab our gear and head for the ferry wharf, we set up our position and assemble our rods, commence to bait the hooks, bugger, forget to describe the “burley”.

Now any fisher person will tell you that the fish need enrichments and burley is the secret, and Chris will forgive me for letting the cat out of the bag, no you cat lovers, no cat fur! We would mix beach sand and finely shredded green weed and cabbage weed in a canvas sack, I dread to say our secret addition was some rock crabs pulverized and added and all was keep moist, so now you know why the older man and the young fella would catch fish 4:1.

Several hours were spent fishing and talking, Chris never talked about war things, however we would chat away and exchange banter with visitors enjoying the sights of Sydney. Of course we had hand lines and would fish for other species if the Luderick were slow, using our secret burley.

“PLONK, IT WARMS YOU UP”, Quote: Christopher Lovegrove.

From time to time the observer will notice the older man sipping from a bottle wrapped in a brown paper bag, it’s the “nellie”. All right, try Penfolds Brown Muscat, a nourishing and warming drink good for the health, so Uncle Chris said.

WERE IN ORBIT.

When we have had enough, and that could be several hours because fishermen are very patient, it would be time to head home to Palmer Street. We would wander down the wharf, clean our fish, pack the gear in the boot of the sidecar and the the big leather bags attached to the “power unit”, gently place the dismantled rods in their covers beside me.

It was then or maybe another day I noticed the distant look on Uncle Chris’s face the “nellie” had taken effect, as a young boy trust was inseparable from respect although wise in the streets. Half way up the hill from Watsons Bay was a very sharp left hander, I realize now that Chris took the corner forgetting about the sidecar and its young occupant, we struck the gutter with the sidecar tire.

Up in the air goes the sidecar with me hanging on with great trepidation, and for an eternity the bike and I am airborne. My grammar is crap but you have the picture, down we came and we proceeded home at a slower than usual pace and had fish for tea. This experience did not faze me from other fishing experiences; in fact we went too many fishing holes later including The Spit Bridge.

WHO HAS MUSSELS ON THEIR PILES?

Before the bridge piles were flashed with copper sheathing huge colonies of a bi-valve thing called mussels grew on the wooden piles, Chris and I would collect a harvest and bring them home to provide a meal for the family, want a recipe?;

A large heavy skillet is needed, some butter, some garlic, pepper and salt, flour and Wooster and mustard and some chives, home grown. Add the Mussels’ and the sauce heat until the valves open.

Previous; prepare a sauce of plain flour and Wooster and salt and pepper and mustard. and spoon the sauce on and add chopped chives. Oh yeah, Chris and I had been to Bennelong Steps, that’s where the magnificent Opera House is now, and caught several small yellow tail, preparation; brush the small scales off with a small wire brush, cook the fish with heads and guts lightly in olive oil and add with the mussels.

Don’t use these ingredients from the harbor now.

So that the CIA, ASIO and the THOUGHT POLICE don’t monitor our conversation we must observe secrecy for the following foray into the “Big Bang” story. Somewhere I discovered that some Nitrate substance and Sulfur as a mixture would produce a colorful blue explosion. We would use a hollow key and a nail, fill the key with the concoction, attach a string and belt the explosive against the wall.

Hang on I have an Email, Mr. Farley be careful, signed Mr. Bush, CIA, FBI, NCIS, ASIO

Before they come to take me away a large bolt and a nut was prepared in the back yard of 112 on the ground with a quantity of this substance inside the nut, a yard broom of a triangular dimension was used to drive the bolt into the nut, BLUE BANG, RESULT; no broom head, no bolt, no tea. What was the question? Oh last cigarette?

“AS YOU COGITATE YOU WILL DISLOCATE”.

Get out of here! I think my head is dislocated. These experiences were in a period between 1947 / 1949 I think; the memories have been consistent in my minds eye so that makes it all authentic and largely true.

SCHOOL DAYS.

Prior to and in between these adventures we lived in the city, these are other stories. At this stage I will try to relate some facts on my schooling which conversely will demonstrate how much we travellllllllled.

In some sort of order Plunkett Street Woolloomooloo was my first school, followed by Blackfriars Correspondence School, then Plunkett Street, and then; Katoomba Catholic Primary, St Bernards College Katoomba, Bega Primary, Milton Primary, Coolah Primary, (how am I going), Nambucca Heads primary, Yamba primary, Plunkett Street, Darlinghurst Junior Technical School, Telopea Park High (ACT), Carrathool Primary, (that can’t be right) slip it in between before “Darlo”.

My schooling concluded at good old “Darlo”, that’s near Kings Cross, year (9) was as far as I got, the Intermediate Certificate and plenty of “new boy scars”, don’t worry I gave plenty back, incidentally all of these schools are in N.S.W., good old OZ.

At no time then and certainly not now did your writer hold any remorse to any person for the constant upheaval, particularly my Mum and Dad, bullies and yes, there is a step father in there. These were times to remember and relish, can’t tell you every story but here goes, remember we are still in THE BUSH.

THE BLUE MOUNTAINS AND THE THREE SISTERS.

I’m thinking Katoomba is the go, for one thing that’s when I last saw Captain Denis Payne Farley, ex WW#1 RFC, AFC fighter pilot, probably much decorated world wanderer, and he was my dad. We lived in Katoomba for some time where I can see a small Garage Store and Post Office near Bell, a “Devonshire Tea Shop” and residence at the bottom of the high street down near the Three Sisters, you have to live there sorry, I will describe.

3 Sisters, scenic attraction Katoomba
3 Sisters, scenic attraction Katoomba

This period in my life had many physic experiences, the least being told to “wag” school by a mysterious voice. Eventually I was punished and sent to St. Bernard’s Catholic Boarding School where the treatment was just ordinary, AND I must say mighty irregular, something I forgave, lots of kids didn’t.

After the preceding comment please note any opinions directed to any person of a derogatory note are not intentional as are any suggestions of improper actions, I have set out to tell my story and not my history, boy, leave the head jobs to Freud.

WAGGING SCHOOL AGAIN.

Strange things happened at Katoomba, the Three Sisters do exist and for anybody who has observed the wonderful scenery of the area including the Megalong Valley, the Minnie Ha Ha Falls, and the Devil’s Railway and Narrow Neck including scenery from the poignant Australian film “Jedda”, you will attest to its beauty.

But, I shot a crow with my digit finger, it dropped like a rock, I saw misty visions of my father standing beside my bed when he was miles away, he talked to me and consoled me, I have this apparition to this day.

Don’t dwell on it, how about the “real” vision of seeing Jack Frost peering and beckoning from behind a tree at the service station mum and dad owned at Bell, I saw him, fair dinkum, it had nothing to do licking the frozen liquid that had accumulated on top of the 44 gal. PETROL drums.

I can describe Jack, but you will say I was a petrol sniffer. Katoomba is a mystic place. The Boarding School, well I can’t go there except I met a boy from Plunkett Street I knew, he looked after me, I was one of the lucky boys. We left there; never saw Denis Payne Farley again.

MASHED ‘TATERS, ARE HALLUCINOGENIC.

Then there was a place I know not where, very young my earliest memories? I can see Nuns and kids and beds and Gremlins.

Running by outside the windows grimacing and calling, but only after eating mashed potatoes. Imagination is a kids best friend, my little buddy Michael, (my son), had a friend, never got to meet him, diet may play a part, we all had dreams, and nobody can take them from us.

Importantly, keep the thoughts in the context of a young mind and protect the innocent little people who grow up to be us. Holy mackerel brother, you deviated something dramatic.

THE BEGA VALLEY, A PLACE FOR A YOUNG BLOKES ‘DREAMTIME’.

Bega Primary seems a good school to re-visit, the south coast of N.S.W. is incredible, the dairy country is renowned for its rich harvest and the close proximity to the coast.

Soon after leaving Katoomba mum dragged me to the Bega Valley, if she hadn’t of this adventure could not have happened, thanks mum.

Mum worked at a hotel in Bega, she was pretty good looking and took up with the son of a dairy farmer, Clive was his name. They formed a tumultuous partnership for many years and again they carted me all over.

Moon Bay, Tathra, what a beautiful place.
Moon Bay, Tathra, what a beautiful place.

For a period mum and I lived in town, had already commenced school at Bega Primary then found ourselves on Clive’s’ Parents dairy property (3) Miles north of Bega, 90 plus milkers plus Bill and Grace the loveliest people I have ever met, Peter became my step brother and we had some interesting experiences, wonder if Peter can remember the day Grandma Snowdon asked us to go and fetch mushrooms in the north paddock.

 

MUSSHIES, SLING SHOTS AND BLOODY PLOVERS.

We set of with “Grannies” basket, a slingshot each and pride in our step; the plovers were “Stukas” protection of their young was by brute force, equipped with spurs on their elbows.

As one picked musshies the other let off, who’s my proofreader! I mean, shot a missile in the direction of the diving plover. Now it’s my turn with the anti-aircraft weapon and lets go a rock to protect Peter, the bloody stone hits Peter and he drops, well, like a rock. In between helping Peter, (Prof. Peter Snowdon now!), fighting of dive-bombers we did have mushrooms for dinner.

NATURE BOYS AND DUCK EGGS.

Must linger with the Peter saga because we shared many stories as farm kids, the poor bugger had some ill health as a boy but he survived, just like most things in my life I lost contact, however, I do know he is a very respectable member of scientific community.IMG_0925wm

He won’t mind me relating the story regards climbing out on a tree limb over the creek below the farm. You see we were looking for Wood Duck nests, and eggs, yum, yum.

Peter has clambered along the overhanging branch and slipped into the creek, splash and help me!. in that order, he flails and displays obvious panic, I leaps into the water to assist my friend and, and, and, “Peter you goose stand up the water is only bloody waist deep”. Had to get Peter home soaking wet to his mum, Grandma Grace was quite displeased.

Me because of Peter, became a “Conso”, we grew green frogs from slimy bunches of eggs collected from the creek, we transposed the egg sacks to a water filled small corrugated tank with suitable furniture, like rocks and water foliage.

As they became tadpoles and grew into frogs Peter the note taker would record their progress, smart bugger. To supplement his need for edifying information we would take the .22 and shoot eels in the creek. Clive, (Peters older) had an obsession to hunt and we wandered through adjoining properties on occasion in search of rabbits.

I must relate that mostly all rabbits suffered from “myxomatosis”, this syndrome were an incredibly painful human induced method to combat a problem we established in the bloody first place. Let me tell you how two young boys intended to solve the problem.

Firstly. Peter and I used to chat a lot, Peter talked and I would listen and argue, the hunting expedition commenced with Clive in the lead. Peter and I would follow constantly discussing various issues; there were many polite requests for silence from the lead, “shut up you little pricks” was his favorite expression.

During one hunting trip as we stumbled behind we came upon a warren and discovered several small kittens, (baby rabbits) in hiding.

With great innovation we stuffed several weeping bunnies into our shirts and said naught to the “great white hunter”, our intention was unclear expect for their survival. When we arrived back to the Farm House Peter and I discussed our plan for their future existence, Clive’s sense of hearing, remember his survival skills, was exemplary.

“What have you little bastards got hiding in those shirts”, the game was up! No intention was deliberated into regards relating “off” stories so don’t read further. One by one the kittens were disposed of by this farmer’s son.

Clive was a dead shot, a good fisherman, a returned serviceman and a carpenter, he had the same inherent problems every returned service person has, “you sent me, now let me forget with dignity, at least respect me”.

BEGA VALLEY SNOWDON’S, GREAT FOLK.

The Bega Valley Snowdon’s are well respected, they are Scottish and proud and will have a similar hierarchy to my Lovegroves. Graham Lovegrove, my cousin, may help me. God I love the Bega district, Tathra is a seaside town about (11) miles east, it was a Port in the past days of coastal maritime traffic.

Loading produce on to small steamers was no small feat on a wharf built inside a partially protected headland, Tathra Wharf south coast N.S.W., go and see, in fact don’t hesitate it’s got a great Pub.

Tathra Beach, Mum, Me, little girl friend
Tathra Beach, Mum, Me, little girl friend

Will not bring myself to say “step”. Grandparents Grace and Bill Snowdon were the best people who ever milked a cow, preserved in a “Fowlers”, worked from dawn to dusk, suffered hardships but never complained, Bill worked for the council, he died for the council, he was hospitable and I am biased, why, he would take us to the wharf on a Sunday to go fishing.

TATHRA WHARF, I MUST GO BACK ONE DAY.

Oh yes the payoff; 0530 start, help with the milking the Jerseys, in the old Ford and off. Grace always smelt like butter and cream and flour and cow shit, things like country mothers should smell like, she also smelt just like my mum and together could churn butter and brand a calf.

tathra-wharf-view-three
Tathra Australia Sea Wharf.

Incidentally Betty Isabella Matilda Elizabeth Farley / Lovegrove is still waiting to return to “Rosedale” and Bega; I have her ashes with me, THEY WILL GO WITH ME.

My problem is a separation thing, if some of her ashes are spread at each place can she “join up”, don’t hate me for this, that’s mums humour / humor.

COUNTRY GIRLS AT HEART.

I have read several stories relating to women from the country, some are suspiciously biased and sexist, let me tell you country girls have been holding their head high forever, they have contributed and are largely responsible for the generation of our country values, they were capable of any task and willingly contributed, any person who denigrates their contribution or questions their equality, male or female should have lived then and so get a  life.

Your truly has got emotional with these memories and no, we can’t produce a video of our inner thoughts, baby you live your life, these happy days are ours, (thanks Fonsie?), join me soon ’cause this place has personal thoughts and things only a expectent mother should know.

So there you go, a very brief overview of a bloke’s life on the farm. Might help to give credence to the crappy poems, you know, ‘been there, done that’, no big deal. I have mentioned many times:

If you relate mate, and you will, you can enjoy re-writing my poems so that you get some sense from them. But I wager this, the essence is based on first hand life, all you will change is the grammar, if your game, regards john f.

PS:

There is a poem that covers me from litigation, “GIVE OR TAKE A METRE”, I know in my piss-poor brain that great poets have a professional duty to uphold ‘correctness’, I have tried that. From the above stories have come; “MOON BAY, ARAGUNNU”, “MOOSEFACE”, others.

MOOSEFACE, MY FRIEND.

So we move to Milton a small but worthwhile community south from Wollongong, N.S.W, just north of Ulladullah and the Marlin Hotel and a girl called “Moose Face”, another pub mum dragged me to.

Fact; as soon as I started school here the most chronic migraine pains commenced, you bloody wimp, went to the chemist and he prescribed eye drops all gone in days, maybe you medical folk will have an explanation.

Not many memories remain; maybe the guilt factor has entered the agenda.

OK we broke into the Showgrounds offices and chappied some soft drinks and got bilious from the CO2. Or was there a problem during the school holidays, explanation; a local farmer came to school and asked if any kids would like a job over the holidays picking beans, several friends including myself went “pick me”.

Now the money by the bushel was great, but the bushel by the kid = hard work. Beside the bean patch was a paddy melon field, when the overseer left the scene and we had eaten our fill of melons some of the skins found their way into the bean sacks.

Who knows what attracts us to the opposite sex, an affinity developed between me and this lady of twelv seems to have happened, she was a good swimmer and pretty, and when we went to the swimming baths at Ulladullah we enjoyed each others company. My friends called her moose face and I do not know why to this day, while I can’t see her face, I can see her smile. We left Milton soon after every boy in town came down with a strange illness.

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FROM THE CITY TO THE BUSH, PART ONE.

SORRY PEOPLE THIS CHRONOLOGICAL DIATRIBE MAY SEEM HIGHLY indecipherable, I suggest that the Translator may have some problems.

FROM THE CITY TO BUSH, PART ONE, the journey commences.

So what is “FROM THE CITY TO THE BUSH”, well it is Just a cryptic condensed biography of an ordinary Australian, please excuse the Aussie slang.

My Preface:

Generally, a Preface is customary in written works. The author writes it, and it will outline the contents there in. I am reticent to analogize. However, to put it in A nutshell,

Me my raft and my Galah, from the city to the bush
Me my raft and my Galah, from the city to the bush

this book of propinquity and crappy poems is hugely self-indulgent. The writings and “Bushy” stuff is derived from, and emanates into, a rhyming Aussie vernacular. I understand absolutely zilch about writing poetry, full stop. Sometimes I cogitate this is good thing, if one gets over awed with the science of correctness, one may despair.

My speaking voice will quite often stray into this slang, be that as it is, I am sometimes known to speak “proper”. It is important for me to “tell it like it is’’. I would like to describe these written words as a narrative and roaming words addressed at you the reader.

Essentially and importantly, the impetus to write these world-shattering snippets came from a particularly tragic accident in January 2008. Motivation to write a poem came from this sad event, it happened on (our SES) patch. Within a matter of weeks I had penned several other hugely received works of great note. And yes, I say all this with ‘tongue in cheek’. I had never written a poem before.

The format is largely chronological, but regrettably you will have to work out the time frame. You will ascertain that the poems sort of follow an Aussie young bloke’s life, but are from the City to the Bush, and back again. Writing becomes an obsession, I was obsessed, the works are not brilliant, and they will irritate and antagonize some. The term; “cultural cringe” springs to mind, I too sometimes have this feeling, but change? No way. Constant editing and re-arranging words is my scene, but never altering the essence of the poetic narration.

It is important to note that all my poems are based on factual experiences, and while some may stretch the imagination, or seem stretched, the truth is / will be; “been there, done that got the T-shirt”. And you know what? I’ll tell you what, don’t care who you are, where your from, I’ll bet you can relate to the inert and sometimes poignant hidden stories. My web pages are full of narrative from a 79 year old bloke, lots could have come from a 79 year old lady.

Read well these incredible propinquity, I am just a bloke sitting at the table in the corner. I am just a grain of sand on Brunswick Beach. I am just a no-body. I live the life of a bachelor, every brick in my flat has a name. But I wager you will see right through me, regards john f.

FROM THIS POINT ON CLOSE YOUR MIND, YOU WILL HAVE BEEN THERE, CERTAINLY SOMEWHERE SIMILAR, AM I CONCEITED? YOU’RE THE JUDGE. THE GOOD TIMES ARE FLEETING BUT PRECIOUS.

AT THE RISK OF REPEATING MYSELF LATER;

Here are some facts and ground rules for you to contemplate;

  • The entries are largely “lifted” from my web pages.
  • This self indulgent and egotistical chronology is not chronological.
  • Every word, every Poem is as near the truth, as I will let you get.
  • Some trivia; I have been a Volunteer/ Emergency Service Volunteer for 44 years.
  • More trivia; Love me kids, me extended family, (they brought me up). Me bike, me camera, Brunswick Heads, anywhere I have been.
  • Still more trivia; My Mum’s ashes reside with me. She has asked me to scatter ‘Her’ at her birthplace, (‘Woolun’), New England), and Bega / Tathra. Her problem was; “will my parts ever join up”, her words not mine!!
  • As mentioned; my grammar and ‘Aussie’ strine and vernacular are intentional.
  • As mentioned; my poems are traditionally “Bushy”, sometimes obscure and cryptic.
  • I was 67 years of age before BDM, (Births Deaths and Marriages), discovered my original Birth Registration, and at considerable cost. Thank you MARTINA from BDM for your diligence and friendly and helpful participation, love ya.

And so, dear reader, THESE ARE EXCERPTS FROM THE BIG PICTURE, that is, poems and abridged ruminations, read on this obscure saga.

IN THIS SECTION I WILL DESCRIBE MY SCHOOL DAYS.

The two City schools I attended are dead set in the inner city, that’s Sydney Australia no less, let me commence with the inimitable Plunkett, (Plunko), Street Primary School, Woolloomooloo, line of sight three kilometers to Sydney’s CBD, and arguably the closest

Plunkett Street School Woolloomooloo
Plunkett Street School Woolloomooloo

school of any importance in “My Town”.

I am suggesting that “Plunko” was my initial introduction to greater intelligence, and not the least to becoming streetwise and City oriented.

For those of you familiar with Sydney the “LOO” is the area roughly bordered by William St. to the south, the Woolloomooloo docks and Garden Island, (HMAS Kuttabul) to the north, (Cowper Wharf Road), Lincoln Crescent to the west, and Brougham St. to the east.

The area was not what you would call a playground for the innocent, we are talking about a population of struggling citizens doing stuff to get a meal on the table, and some took shortcuts while the majority was salt of the earth working class.

At no stage would you have got any impression of my political leanings so you may as well know I am center left of the middle of the right dead set Social Democrat, I can’t be all bad because I follow Manly RUGBY LEAGUE FOOTBALL CLUB and before that South Sydney, regrettably both teams are now known as the “silver tails”.

“PLUNKO”, WELL WHAT’S A GOOD DESCRIPTOR? OFTEN QUOTED, NEVER DISPUTED, 15 NATIONALITIES, AND THEN SOME.

None but multi-denominational, racial but multi racial, ethnic but who gave a rats, blacks whites yellows and that was only the day wear, blacks whites yellow and they were the original colors, religious but who gave a rats, working class kids, now your talking, co-educational that’s good.

Our parents never discussed quasi-political and religious uneasiness in our presence we all came from the same womb and lived in the same country, what has happened in the ethnicity SENSE out there parents?

My school friends must be pondering the same question, there were many cultures and creeds but we hung out together, played sport together, visited each others homes. Some of the kid’s parents had little or no English but there was always a smile and Shalom, G’day bloke, Bon Journo, ‘Ella mesa’, Yasous or other suitable greeting stuff.

As a boy growing up, “you can take the boy out of the city but you can’t take the city out of the boy”, and in my case of course the reverse applies.

PLUNKETT STREET PRIMARY, WOOLLOOMOOLOO.

I can’t remember the exact year of commencing at the dock side school, guess 1944 is close, and we would have been traveling back and forwards from god knows where and at this stage lived with Grandma Isabella Lovegrove at 112 Palmer Street just up the road.

Probably visited Plunko a couple of times before being introduced to Darlinghurst Junior Technical School, mind you all of the other schools are interwoven. Now “Darlo” had the misfortune of being similar to the previous, the big difference was some of the boys (and girls) were shaving.

In relation to the girls, “Darlo” was a segregated school and we were separated by a low fence and we were subjected to home science experiments in the form of lock jaw. And well you might ask!

Wait, must relate the first day at Darlinghurst, you see somewhere between primary and high school, when we arrived back in Sydney and although I had progressed to the upper level mum had enrolled me at the “Tech”.

The big day arrived and my thoughts revolved around, “no way, not another bloody school”, soooooo I wagged it.

DARLINGHURST JNR. TECHNICAL SCHOOL, THAT’S NEAR KINGS X.

So here I am sitting in a park just off William St, near College St. down from the Museum and I am minding my own business and quietly contemplating the hole I have dug, “bugger me I’ll run away can’t she give me break, there’s bound to be bullies only now there getting bigger”.

Remember streetwise? This bloke sits down on the bench alongside and attempts a conversation, “no school today son? You must be on holidays lucky boy”, now I know where he’s coming from, bloody pervert. OK, I can out run this guy so why not string him along, “no mister, just waiting for the other school kids so we can go the Museum”, replies, “and what school do you go to son? Seems your teacher should be here”, yes well he was getting pushy.

Well anyway the conversation continued and retreat was imminent, UNTIL this dude says, “I would like you come across road to the Child Welfare Department for a little chat”, and here I live locally, how did I miss that?

Oar More Got, (say it phonetically). This man really was a Truant Inspector and the long and short was being marched all the way to “Darlo”, met the Headmaster, reprimanded and led to my new classroom where we were greeted by Mister……., he was the biggest bully who drew breath. However, more later.

So here’s the more later, as I took my first step into the confines of year seven my cynical impressions of “Darlo” were shattered by several voices; “its Farls, hey where yer been” and “ Plunko rules, great to see you”.

Yes you good thing, many old friends from Woolloomooloo made up the class of 1952 and here’s the rub, logic is my strong suit, it never dawned on me that the nearest High School in location to “Plunko”, IS, and as dramatic as it seems my basic impressions indicated I did have friends. No hesitation existed during the ensuing three years in returning to Darlinghurst Junior Technical School.

BLODDY LOCKJAW.

OK the girls of “Darlo”. You will remember reference to girls during my journey, there’s always a girl in there and well there should be, you see girls can be an important element of society if you let them view their opinions. Many girls of the opposite sex will have progeny as is their wish, sometimes a boy child slips out there. To all of the girls in my life let me inform you that at the special time where you let me be a part of your existence I gave it my best shot, AND NOW I have dug the biggest hole in this foray of life things, BUT REMEMBER FOLKS ‘tongue in cheek’.

Some girls that have shared my life have names similar to Shirley, Robin, Alison, Cerise, Denise, Dana, Lorna, Julie, Hinemoa, Jillian, Charlie, Capuchin, (fair dinkum),

Lockjaw is a nasty thing, the reference first came about from the girls and their Social Sciences, and means Home Sciences, read; “how to look after the home ‘cause that’s your lot”. “Darlo” was being wound down from a segregated school to eventually being a girl’s school and the young ladies would experiment on the boys using various recipes.

THE RECIEPE, RECIET, RECIEEPTE, HOW IT WAS MADE.

The most notorious being a compilation of sugar and flavorings to form a toffee encased in a party cup, AS an excuse to chat up the girls, boys would gladly accept the incredibly rigid sweet and politely sink their teeth into the mess, first problem, the opposing molars would meet separated by a film of unbelievably adhesive vacumatic qualities, this my readers formed the basis for “The lock jaw Syndrome”.

I know that further description is not necessary, later I formed the opinion, largely accepted by the greater medical fraternity including Orthodontist’s, (stumped the spell checker), as a conspiracy to silence boys and promote a “spin off” to the generation of income.

Incidentally I sat next to a boy of Asian extraction his name was Arthur Yip, you out there old friend, remember the racial thing? Sports days are following.

SPORTS, AUSSIES ARE GOOD AT SPORTS, WE ARE GOOD SPORTS TOO.

Playing sports was mandatory at all of my schools; at least it was in the sense you got out of the classroom. We had a choice of many activities, soccer to rugby, rugby league, cricket, and swimming in the warmer months. There was baseball, basketball and rounders and athletics, most sports were team oriented but allowed for individual excellence.

Me? I was a team player then and I am a team player now. Regrettably I carry into my senior years with less than attractive feet, you see a lot of football has past water in my time, and I am the average player, if a try was awarded its because Farls fell over into the in goal area with the ball, my feet? Never wore football boots for most of my career couldn’t afford them.

Managed to have a go at most sports, about average in the main.

RACIAL INJUSTICE, WOGS AND CHINKS, ETHNICS AND REFFOS, PISSOFF REAL WORLD.

I maintain the above comments made about “Racial Terms” came from sports participation and nowhere better place to start than my City Schools; an example will be the team game of rugby league.

HammerHeadCrane
The HammerHead Crane, Anvil, Woolloomooloo

Sometimes when the ethnics allowed me I played “hooker”, please forgive memory loss, George was prop and Greek, Nick was prop he was Greek, Sergio was Lebanese and resided in the second row with Tony who was Italian.

The lock was Jewish, the wingers were Jewish, ’cause when they got the ball they could run fast and find two other balls, (sorry), the inside backs were sometimes Asian, selected for their ability to manage.

And so it goes, on and off the field we were friends. OH, on the bench were guys with excellent suntans, these were the original AUSSIES, at an appropriate time when the opposition seemed to have the upper hand their job was to re-address the status quo.

Plunkett Street Primary and Darlinghurst Jnr. Tech. won some games but mainly we lost because the other schools had bigger ethnics and black blokes.

There will be somebody out there who can substantiate my claims, (15+) nationalities at one time were enrolled at “Plunko” and probably as many up the “hill”, whatever, where did the acceptance for who you are get to, it really can’t be that bad, can it?

And reference to wogs and chinks? Well, in our school days using these derogatory words got you a bloody nose.

DON’T PIDDLE IN THE POOL.

Now swimming for public school pupils was a buzz for us city kids regrettably we found the environment less than Spartan, our Harbourside pools were largely unfiltered, un-cleansed, un-sanitized, un-homogenized, unheated mistreated and were downright nasty places to cohabit, nevertheless the ROSE BAY BATHS, (Red Leaf), RUSHCUTTERS BAY, and BALMAIN BATHS while leaving a lot to be desired were the venues for swimming sports.

However, in relation to Woolloomooloo, one must not forget the inimitable, sometimes grotty, ‘Corporation Baths’, or Fig Tree Baths, or Farmers Pool, now known as the Andrew ‘boy’ Charlton Pool, Google it. As kids from Plunkett St. we swam, sometimes walked in this pool.

We are talking about the greater SYDNEY HARBOUR basin, correctly described as the most beautiful place but the cesspool then for everything that lived and died.
These harbor side pools had a protective barrier of wire mesh allowing the swimmer to negotiate a shark free course while dodging the flotsam and jetsam from this great place;

I will leave your imagination to the likely objects that could be encountered, not pretty, any body from a big city harbor? You will know what I mean.

I guess that if I had an Olympic medal you would have to put up with bragging rights, and I don’t so you are spared. As close as I came was in the noble art of fencing, saber/SABRE was my forte’.

HOW I STUCK IT UP THEM.

Saint Mary’s Cathedral is a splendid edifice not far from our place; a school friend introduced me to the fencing school situated in a hall on the eastern side of the great church.

Our fencing coach was a teaching Brother, he was an excellent exponent of the art, I very quickly learnt the skill of attack and parry and the rules of engagement, and a short time later became school champion using sabre. I found an aggressive streak in me and applied it vigorously, that is until a visiting team of Austrian champions were invited to demonstrate their skills to the assembled school.

These men and women were thermodynamic, my word for; they would not stand still long enough for you to get a strike, most of us got one or two in and then they were gone. Their favorite pastime was to allow you to have the attack position, that’s when you have the right to cut and thrust.

Very deftly your attack was dodged exposing your back to the full length of their saber, they struck fast and hard, boy that smarts. Looking resplendent in my white canvas coat and long sleeves and a long glove to protect the entire arm, my fine mesh helmet and my prized sword, white thigh length pants and “Volleys” you addressed your unfortunate adversary.

THE GREAT DUNLOP VOLLEY. (A worthwhile digression).

I was way down the track in my yarn, about 1968 in fact, when I realized some people use another word to distinguish their personality. My description of the fencing saga

The Famous Volleys, you can't kill them
The Famous Volleys, you can’t kill them

included the term “Volleys”, some people associate this word as ‘footwear’, they will be very wrong, it is a term that donates a being, a symbol of how you ‘stand’ in society.

Me Volleys.

You have no right to live on this earth if you have not had the pleasure of being a “Volleys” person. Nobody will enjoy the peculiar and personal aroma of their person unless they are a “Volleys” identity, you will have moments of pleasure with your body that only the “Volleys” can unlock.

OK, this may seem like nepotism and a parochial approach to life, you are bound by certain laws of society, I will tell you if you want recognition and acceptance, if you want to be seen and the essence of your being graciously accepted by all concerned be a “Volley Person”.

Remember my words of wisdom; He who says, “what’s that smell down under?” should vote Labor, or should wash their feet, it not the “Volleys”, it’s the person”. And remember, the Volley was invented the year I was born I was destined to be its friend and worshiper.

READ ON, THE SABRE CHRONICLES.

Standing with one’s leading foot pointing at the opponent and your other foot at right angles, one addressed the assembled group at the other end of the ‘Piste’. At about ten paces stood the antagonist with his seconds on either side, your seconds stood beside one. NOW are you ready for what follows?

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT, MY IMPRESSION, AND I WERE GOOD AT IT.

You acknowledge and salute the fencing party thus; one held the saber in an upright position close to your face. Pointing your saber downwards you addressed the opponents second on your left, he is the second on the right of the opponent, secondly you acknowledge the opponents second on your right, he is the second on the left of your opponent, right?

Thirdly you address your own second, on your left first and your second, you are on his left, next, right? Fourthly, one addresses the only person left, he is the one directly ahead,

The Dunlop Volley
The Dunlop Volley, not just a shoe

the one in the middle of his left and right seconds, you know that he is the one because he has a sword, you raise your saber to an upright position in front of your face then point the sharp end at his face and gallantly sweep it away making a “Zorro” sound.

And finally if he is still awake the unfortunate does likewise, now if you are left handed? I continued with this sport for some time and just like most things found other interests. Alarmingly, I have an idea I may have plagiarized, these can’t be my thoughts!

MORE TO COME, JOHN F.