4. Exploring This Aussie ‘Sunburnt Country’ Down South. (Part 4)

 

Back in Melbourne after exploring South Australia via Adelaide, we stayed long enough to catch our breath, prepared for a slap up New Year’s Eve party at our home, and then made plans to visit our daughter Regina who was in the employment of the government in Canberra. We traveled the Hume Highway that continued from the border town of Albury on the Murray River and took in Gundagai; Aboriginal for ‘cut with a hand-ax behind the knee’, which indicates the type of punishment dished out to wrongdoers as was their custom back in the days. It also had the ‘Dog on the Tuckerbox’ statue which is the most acclaimed in Australian song and verse. As the true story goes, they were hard and hazardous times with supplies and stores having to be transported along makeshift tracks over rough terrain by bullock teams. To pass the time while often being bogged, or for the river level to fall at crossings such as Muttama Creek;  meaning ‘take it’,  near Gundagai, ‘bullockies’ would recite doggerel and rhymes picked up on their travels – and, sometimes, even write a few lines. Often on such occasions the bullockies dog would sit guarding its master’s tuckerbox and possessions while he was away seeking help. We turned off at Yass; meaning ‘running water’, on the Yass River and made our way to the Federal Capital of political, diplomatic and administration in the Australian Capital City of Canberra, meaning ‘meeting place‘ that is appropriate as a namesake. A tailored city, amphitheater in design and if you didn’t take the right turn it would see you going around in circles, and the only city in Australia where we saw kangaroos wandering in the street and that could also be petted if brave enough at the nearby Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve that offered a range of Australian flora and fauna. The mountains that surround Tidbinbilla is a place of spiritual significance to Aboriginal people. The name Tidbinbilla is derived from the Aboriginal word Jedbinbilla – ‘a place where boys become men’, which is similar to what African boys undergo. Tidbinbilla is recognized as a highly significant Aboriginal place with the highest density of artifacts found in the ACT. Important sites in the Reserve include: Birrigai Rock Shelter – the oldest known Aboriginal site in the ACT region which contains evidence of occupation dating back to the last ice-age 21,000 years ago. Bogong Rocks – a Bogong moth resting site, this shelter contains evidence that the moth was an important seasonal food source for Aboriginal people. Tidbinbilla Mountain – it is believed this site was used for initiation ceremonies and is sacred to the local Aboriginal people. Apart from what Canberra most looked like as a pleasantly wooded suburb, its architecture and with Lake Burley Griffin separating administration and business centers, it was a showcase.

The old Parliament House has nothing on the new one, of which both I’ve seen, because of its modern design that from a distance looks like an alien spaceship with its stretched out leg like structure landing gear grounded and its triangle tapered nosecone and spire pointed attachment pointing skywards. But that illusion was dispelled when visiting it because of its adornment of many art and craft works, and because it was built into the side of Capital Hill with its roof grassed in order to blend in with the green environment. In its surrounds, Australian War Memorial Museum, National Library, Royal Australian Mint, Royal Military College, High Court, Mount Stromlo Observatory, the National Museum of Australia, Australian Archives and the National Portrait Gallery now housed in the old Parliament House, and Government House with foreign embassies and high commissions in their homeland buildings and garden settings, and the pleasure of my daughter’s company. In the background of all that was the Snowy Mountains of Alpine high-country, and travelling through it we encountered almost continuous plateau dissected though by peaks and valleys. We were then in range of Mount Kosciusko; Australia’s highest mountain peak, which as mountain heights go   2 230 meters wasn’t that high, and the road system we traversed that was built for the Snowy Mountains hydroelectric scheme aided in opening up leading ski resorts such as Perisher Blue, Thredbo and others. In 1840, Paul Strzelecki, the Polish-born explorer of Australia climbed from the valley of the great Murray River to the heights of the Australian Alps, naming the highest peak after Tadeusz Kosciuszko, the hero who fought for Polish independence.

On the many returns when visiting our daughter, we also at times returned to Melbourne via the Sturt Highway where we would pass through the country town of Wagga Wagga; meaning ‘dance of many crows’, which is imitated by aboriginals in their dancing, and proceeded further inland. One such deviation was to Mungo National Park, named after the patron saint of Scotland, via Hay that was a desolate drive with almost treeless horizons until arriving there to find it an oasis on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River; meaning ‘big river’. At the park was a geological phenomenon called the Walls of China due to 30 meter high walls of white sand running for 30 kilometers across. The dried up Lake Mungo with its world famous archaeological finds on its ancient dried up shores of a 30 000 year old man and a 26 000 year old woman’s skeleton took my thoughts back to the archaeological finds of older ancient men found in South Africa. Be that as it may, what was more interesting there was the finding also of tools, ancient hearths and middens that showed Aboriginal peoples inhabited that site over 40 000 years ago. We considered going further north to Broken Hill, which almost bordered South Australia, that had the world’s largest silver, lead and zinc lode, and to Bourke, which the colloquial expression of ‘Back O’ Bourke’ signifies a place of remote emptiness that extends far around it, that although on the Darling River it has around it dry plains of salt-bush and dusty coverings of mulga that takes on the landscape of the ‘Outback’, which is the back of beyond in Australia, but because we had been to similar localities before, we made our way back to Melbourne.

It was about this time when Joan’s sister came over from Cape Town for a three months visit. It seemed that South African family and friends just couldn’t believe how quickly we had landed on our feet with my top job, a bought new house and onto my second car in such a short period of time. The photos taken and sent to Gladys about our new acquirement’s in Australia they said, belonged to other people that we were only posing with. Not that I gave a shit but it was damn annoying, and told those that mattered to put their money where their mouths were and to get their arses over here to check it out. Well Gladys’s family sent her over and was she ever gobsmacked how we were living in the lap of luxury, as she put it. It worked because her family began to trickle over and so too her husband, Joan’s nephews and nieces and some of my family. Job wise and living wise, life was good, although sex wise my libido had been starved. Joan was going through the womanly period of menopause, which was well named because men have a long pause between having sex, and her mood swings and hot flushes were at times frustrating, with nookie or a root (sexual intercourse) far and in between. There was a lot on offer around me by women more sexually frustrated than me, and I had been propositioned subtly on many occasions. And although I had been sticking to my guns considering my resolution for fidelity to Joan, there were a few who tried to get through my guard at times. My work position also involved me in raw material negotiations and ordering on site, upmarket timber machinery demonstrations, bankrupt furniture factory auctions, and inspection of opposition furniture at their showrooms posing as a potential customer, and business lunches and dinners. It wasn’t always businessmen that were trying to negotiate sales or giving demonstrations, for with them it would end up with a hand shake after drinks when a deal was satisfactory or not, but with some business and saleswomen it was a different kettle of fish though.

At times I almost came a cropper (fail badly) by having been too nice and polite, and when pressing for a sale they would conclude that pressing the flesh would also assist them. I could always hold my liquor, but when they tried consuming one on one with drinks they were plying me with, my niceness backfired on me because their intoxicated induced niceness then turned amorous when the sales deal wasn’t to my liking. When invited to their home for a private dinner that was one of their ploys or when lunch was extended to their homes for further discussions, I played along most times. However, my intention of seeing just how far they would really go, and although I always drew the line, it did relieve my sexual tension felt. The first sales-rep who extended our business negotiations for lunch at her home because I wasn’t satisfied with the deal, tried to give me the impression that her sales figures must have been wrong, and that if we went to her home where she had been working on the paper work she was sure that an amicable solution could be found to satisfy both of us. That was my first time and I was naive in thinking she was genuine. The paper work was presented and so were more drinks, and when telling me that she didn’t have to return to her office and if I didn’t mind she would like to get out of her business suit, my mind was more on the paper work than that piece of work. She came back wearing a terry towel gown with the excuse of that was what she wore when at home to relax in. She was up close pointing out and trying to rectify her sales mistake, but there was no mistake that the gown was the only thing she was wearing, for when bending over and across me her opening gown revealed her naked breast down to her naked pubes. Showing no embarrassment she proceeded to draw my attention further, for after going over to the bar to recharge our drinks, she not only returned with it but also with a smile as she sauntered back with her gown undone and dangling open. I was that famished that a three ringed circus could have performed in my pants, which she had noticed, and she didn’t wait for any preliminary enactment but went straight with her hungry mouth and lips to make a meal of me. With promises of more to come from her, my hasty retreat and excuses to get back to work before the Production Manager left so that I could advise him on the negations and for her to phone, saw me tell the receptionist to defer all her calls as I was very busy, and she never received any sales orders.

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Meanwhile back at the ranch! Joan being the bar-maid.

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At the OK Corral! Harry, Greg & Joan getting familiar with the Aussie thongs…on their feet!

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Hanging out in the saloon! Gina, Greg & Harry.

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New Year Garage Party. My sister Rita, Gina, Me, Rita’s granddaughters Debbie & Toni.

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Where the big knobs hung out! My dad, Rita’s husband Arthur & Moi.

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New Years Eve Party. Joan’s niece Gladys Gonsalves, and Joan & I smooch dancing.

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And the party continues. Arthur and Joan’s sister Gladys mucking around.

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Our next door Aussie neighbours at the party with Gladys.

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Guess who didn’t see out the party and crashed out in the garage.

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The Australian Capital City of Canberra on the Yass River.

 

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