8. Surfing the Net in Surfers Paradise.

 

My family and I before the word became fashionably had a saying that has stuck to us like glue and we adhere to it, that pun was intended. In the Dutch language ‘fok’ means breeding, but when used in Afrikaans as fuck as in sexual intercourse and is also pronounced the same Dutch way, we always say, ‘Don’t fok with the Lorenzo’s’ if someone tries to put one over us and we turn the tables on them. It again was also true and came in handy for the third time while at the firm, with the first time occurring with the Production Manager. Seeing that Reg had his son installed as Production Manager, and the upholstery foreman had his daughter working casually there, when a vacancy occurred for a spray painter I offered it to my son Harold jnr who was working as a spray-painter at Holden Motors. When another vacancy opened up for a machinist, my other son Chris who worked as a litho-printing machinist filled that position. Both wanted a change to what they were doing, and as I believed and had done, applied allied work is conducive. They both worked out fine, as I knew they would because of working with me in South Africa, and management was pleased with their work ethic. Then my other son Neil who was seeing how well they were doing also wanted in. Not wanting to upset the apple cart I advised him that he would have to work his way up from a machinist laborer, and he too fitted in well.

At the firm we had a Pommy bastard as a shop steward who worked in the upholstery section, but he had been unsuccessfully in trying to get one of his family employed in his section. He wasn’t only a whinger but also a ratbag (a trouble maker) over every minor work discrepancy, and because of that the upholstery foreman wouldn’t give him the time of the day, let alone have another of his family work there. His jealousy of my family working there was all that I could put it down to, for he started making waves about them not having qualifications and because they were my sons they were receiving easier work. When approached by the upholstery foreman about those allegations, which proved to me what a weak arsehole the Pommy and he was, I gathered my sons’ qualification papers together and waited for the opportune moment. It wasn’t long in coming, for my approach was direct to the union-rep when he came around. Producing the papers and explaining that half my workers hadn’t qualification papers due to that most of the work was a process operation, which didn’t require a qualification, and that all my workers were on a basic wage with the rest made up with their bonus earnings, his answer to that was that he was aware of it and that it didn’t go against any union regulations. Requesting him to explaining all of that to the Pommy and to the upholstery foreman, who knew of it but was also trying to be a smart arse, resulted in upsetting him because of me not coming direct to him, which I told him it was none of his bloody business in the first place, and the Pommy handed in his resignation soon after.

With my mother and father settled in Australia, and with my father at loose ends, a young sixty-seven and not eligible for an Australian old age pension because we had sponsored him and my mother, he was looking around for a spare time job to fill in time. My approach to management that it was about time we employed a store-man seeing that requisitions were not issued and the workers just helped themselves to what-ever they required, and that stocks were disappearing, stopped that immediately when my father was employed as a store-man at my suggestion. It didn’t end there, for when Joan was at a loose end and we were inundated with work, she worked as a casual seamstress in the sewing section. What they say about a family that works together stays together worked both ways for us, but also, all good things usually come to an end. Our daughter Regina had by then moved on from Sydney and was living and working in Surfers Paradise to which she instigated our wanting to see the top end of Australia. She was singing the praises of Surfers Paradise so much that when inviting the family to spend the Christmas holidays with her we jumped at the opportunity. The rest of the family, some of them adolescents and the others adults with girlfriends and still living at home, bussed it up to Queensland on a package deal with Joan and me. The pleasant journey, jovial companions, our holiday booking in the heart of Surfers Paradise on Cavill Mall, family Chrissie (Christmas) lunch, explosive New Year beach party, wall to wall flesh, particularly some of the women who only wore the bottom half of their cossie (swimming costume) and flaunted their white pointers (breast), water based lifestyle, combination of live entertainment with eateries and bars on or off the Broadwater, relax and laze places for viewing the beauty of the Gold Coast and the Hinterland, was a memorable and unique experience.

We dragged ourselves back to Melbourne. But that same week after my singing its praises to my sister Rita and brother-in-law, Arthur, the two of us planned up to Surfers to ascertain if there was more than just the glitter and glamor, and to suss (search out) if there were any viable businesses going that were appropriate to our expertise, and we found a few. When we returned home I put mine it up for sale for there were two reasons for that decision. The first was that I had been receiving treatment for arthritis that I attracted due to Melbourne’s extreme cold winters, with physiotherapy first at a hospital and then by a private physiotherapist. Part of my spinal column was becoming calcified because the treatment wasn’t improving the condition and the medication prescribed was only for temporary relief. My doctor who recommended a warmer climate couldn’t have been wiser, because while up in Surfers I didn’t suffer much of the arthritic pains, and we had falling in love with the place. Reg was very upset but also understanding. The difficult problem he envisaged was the designing. Foremen are a dime a dozen, and he knew that someone with my expertise wasn’t there for the asking. My health came first, and even my children who had branched out on their own weren’t taken into consideration. I explored the possibility that an advertisement with the qualifications required might attract the right applicant. There were many who didn’t foot the bill except for one. He was a new immigrant with a family, a draughtsman with designing skills and was familiar with bonus systems, and my son Chris, who was by then the leading hand but not with his expertise, showed him the ropes and steer him in the right direction. My farewell at the firm was a teary one with me included. I though had pulled up roots before and traveled half across the world, and we were only moving interstate. I had our furniture moved to Queensland and put into storage, bought a Volvo and drove up to the Gold Coast with my wife and youngest son Gregory.

My first venture was a takeaway shop in an industrial area. It started off as a five day, nine to five, food businesses, but in a year it became a monstrous seven day, six to six, exhausting no-time-out-for-ourselves business, and that was definitely not what we had come to the Gold Coast for. We sold it, and after that tiring experience for both Joan and me, we just kicked back and enjoyed the paradisaical Surfers Paradise. The rest of our children were slowly filtering up from Melbourne to Surfers because they missed the family togetherness, and we all moved into a five-bedroom home with all the mod-comes, a swimming pool and on the water canal. With all the night clubbing, house parties, beach parties, surfing, boating and fishing or just by soaking up the sun, we became typical Gold Coasters. Not wanting to get back immediately into the cutthroat business of manufacturing, my inclination was to get back into my grass roots of cabinet making and work again with hand tools. When applying for such a position, the manager of Transpack thought I was best suited for dispatching. Although still receiving tradesman’s wages my position was one of collating component parts off cutting lists that were correlated to on site built-in cabinets for high-rise buildings on the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast. My arthritis problems had by then reduced its severity due to the fantastic warm weather, and I felt as strong as an ox when lifting and packing heavy components such as doors and panels of built-in wardrobes. After a while though I felt myself robbed when watching other cabinetmakers constructing and assembling custom-built furniture, and it was time to move on.

By then all of the treatment and medication taken for my aches and pains had ceased, for the arthritis had disappeared and my calcified spinal column was no more. With the aid of the health giving sun and the assistance of my self-healing method of mind over matter, it had become non-existent. I had tried without success in Melbourne to adopt my strength of mind procedure to rid myself of that debilitating ailment; I though hadn’t taken into consideration the hopelessness of competing against the bone marrow coldness of Melbourne’s winters. Over the years I had no call for doctors or medication of any sort except for that instant. By just using a simple method of concentrating on any physical pain whether it was a headache, from a bruised bump, muscle cramping, stomach-aches or any mind indicated ailment it would diminish in its severity and then go away naturally. My mum had trouble with that in my youth, for like all mum’s she was always ready with painkillers, liniment, ointment and medicine, and would chide me for my pigheadedness when not accepting her thoughtful help. What also helped to assist the arrest of my arthritic condition was when coming across a gentleman in Surfers Paradise who practiced self-healing through meditation, and he on hearing of my aberrations as a child and its ongoing aspects, advised the supplement of his meditation methods to mine.

I couldn’t go back to my favourite serene places on Table Mountain, the pleasantly relaxing localities to unwind in at Liesbeeck River or my favourite at sea when sitting forehead on the anchor hatch with nothing but the horizon bisecting the clear blue sky and glass smooth ocean that the ship was running with, and the only sound was the wash of it against the bow. The tranquility found to implement his method of quite deep concentrated thought was just before daybreak as the peeping and then creeping convex flame-colored sun arose on the horizon in between an early morning cloudless blue sky which reflected on the undulating waves that completed its course and lapped my feet on Surfers Paradise Beach.

Image

At Hawaiian Village Motel, Cavill Mall, Surfers Paradise with Joan, Chris my bof-head son and his girlfriend Kerry.

Image

Joan trying to play put-put in Surfers Paradise.

Image

Joan on Surfers Paradise Beach contemplating to get her bathing suit wet or not.

Image

My bathing beauty did it!

Image

Wassup! Hey it’s the Spunk Hunk.

Image

On the corner of Cavill Mall, Surfers Paradise then.

Image

On the corner of Cavill Mall, Surfers Paradise now.

Image

Ah! Tranquility!

 

 

 

Advertisements

7. On A Mission Of No Return.

 

As would have been noticed, I have translated the Aboriginal named places to English in my blogs because I like the way Australia from the word go should a respect to the different Aboriginal peoples by keeping their named places as such. There are about 500 different Aboriginal peoples in Australia, each with their own language and territory and usually made up of a large number of separate clans. Archaeologists believe that the Aboriginals first came to the Australian continent around 45,000 years ago. Aboriginals themselves, however, trace their creation back to the Dreamtime, an era long past when the earth was first formed. One Aboriginal man explained it thus: ‘By Dreaming we mean the belief that long ago these creatures started human society, they made all natural things and put them in a special place. These Dreaming creatures were connected to special places and special roads or tracks or paths. In many places the great creatures changed themselves into sites where their spirits stayed. Aboriginals have a special connection with everything that is natural. Aboriginals see themselves as part of nature … All things on earth we see as part human. It is true that people who belong to a particular area are really part of that area and if that area is destroyed they are also destroyed.’

When we arrived in 1972 in Australia, it saw the reformist Whitlam’s Labour Government replaced the assimilation policy with one of self-determination, and also established the Department of Aboriginal Affairs to meet the special needs of Aborigines. Between 1976 and 1983 the Northern Territory Land Rights Legislation returned large areas of land to Aboriginal communities. The Pitjantjatjara Land Rights Act gave Aborigines in South Australia rights to large areas of their traditional land. Eddie Mabo, who was a Torres Strait Islander, commenced a legal action against ‘terra nullus’, and Aboriginal Land Rights Legislation in New South Wales enabled them to make claims for crown land. The Whites in South Africa during that period were holding onto grim death everything the apartheid legislation laws had privileged them with, and more so the land. European settlement of Australia commenced in 1788. Prior to this, Indigenous Australians inhabited the continent and had unwritten laws, as documented in the case of the Yirrkala Aboriginal community. However, the Indigenous Australians did not have any form of political organization that Europeans could understand as being analogous to their own institutions, and the British could not find recognized leaders with the authority to sign treaties, so treaties were not signed (in contrast to British colonial practices in many areas of North America, Africa, New Zealand, etc.). The first test of ‘terra nullius’ in Australia occurred with the decision that the native inhabitants were only subject to English law where the incident concerned both natives and settlers, with  the rationale  that Aboriginal tribal groups already operated under their own legal systems. In 1835 Governor Bourke implemented the doctrine of terra nullius by proclaiming that Indigenous Australians could not sell or assign land, nor could an individual person or group acquire it, other than through distribution by the Crown. By the time of Mabo in 1992, terra nullius was the only explanation for the British settlement of Australia. Historians, more interested in politics than archives, misled the legal profession into believing that a phrase no one had heard of a few years before was the very basis of our statehood. There is some controversy as to the meaning of the term. For example, it is asserted that, rather than implying mere emptiness, terra nullius can be interpreted as an absence of civilized society. The English common law of the time allowed for the legal settlement of “uninhabited or barbarous country”. In 1996, The High Court re-visited the subject of native title, and the 4-3 majority in that stated that native title and pastoral leases could co-exist over the same area and that native peoples could use land for hunting and performing sacred ceremonies even without exercising rights of ownership. However, in the event of any conflict between the rights and interests of pastoralists and native title, it would be the former that would prevail. And so it is too with Aboriginals with pastoral and mining rights on their land.

With that bit of history out of the way, it seemed though that there weren’t any laws governing industrial espionage in Australia into which I walked with my eyes closed in the furniture department that I ran. The Melbourne Furniture Show held once a year at the Melbourne Exhibition Hall was where all newly designed furniture was displayed to attract sales. With new innovative designs produced by our firm throughout the year and copies been made by our competitors as soon as it was made available to the open market, at my third year as foreman I was introduced to the womanly wiles of the tactics used as a means to an end to achieve that outcome. I had redesigned our furniture display unit and was busy assembling it at the back of the workshop when called to the reception desk about a journalist there who wanted to do a write up about the forthcoming show. All my incoming phone calls was screened and appointments were first vetoed by reception, that one intrigued me though for I couldn’t fathom why me. She was continental in appearance, beautiful, curvaceous, with legs that seemed to go on forever up her pleated skirt, which both are my weakness in women, and her smile and voice was sugar sweet. Her story was that she was doing a spread for a furniture magazine, and our firm was one of a few that were the leaders in contemporary designs that would fit into their forthcoming magazine concerning the show.

Full of my own importance and pride, her questions alluring to any new designs made me tell her that they were only at prototype stage and that I was redesigning the stand unit. Asking if she could take a quick look I obliged. She was taken aback though when seeing that the prototypes were only in its embryo stage of the pine framework and not in its entirety of upholstered lounge suites. Her further request of taking photographs of the finished lounge suites when completed for a splash on the front cover before the show received my answer that the proprietor had to approve that. She then suggest that when we had the brochures of the suites printed, which we did a month before the show for distribution there, if I could let her have them then as she might be inundated with work and maybe not have the time to take photographs of the completed lounge suites. On telling her that I might be able to arrange it, she squeezed my arm while drawing her body up against mine. It was after she had left that the receptionist mentioned that the journalist had work before also as a receptionist for one of our furniture competitors. However, when someone in the factory also commented that she still worked there but had been promoted to sales, it clicked with me then that they were out to copy our furniture for the open market before it was shown at the show, and to corner the sales. Not mentioning it to anyone, not even to Reg, because of not wanting anyone to know that I had been almost duped and wanting to teach her a lesson that she would never forget, I came up with plan that would also embarrass her. I had in my possession a lounge suite catalogue brought over from South Africa from the last furniture firm worked for. The designs were only suitable for that countries deco and would never sell on the Australian market. Again I used my amateur skills as a forger and counterfeiter by doctoring the catalogue with the firm’s logo onto the pictures, and it looked authentic.

I was going to play that one to the hilt, especially when she phoned a week before time to confirm my arrangement with her. My innocent sounding request to meet with her so as to fill in the rest of the details was met with an instant reply of having dinner at her place for it was private and she needed the company. What she didn’t know was that I had made extensive inquires about her and had found out that she was married, that her husband was away on a business trip interstate and that she did work for our competition. Her husband never came up in the conversation, which I didn’t also mention; however, although I was lying through my teeth about the false market research done concerning our newest range for the show, she was all ears and buying it. Eager for the brochures that I had also told her would be in a covered book form, which was the way the false one was, she was then plying me with drinks while ever so nice to me. What seemed to shatter her though was on telling her that it might not be a good idea to have our exclusive furniture in the magazine, because she had tried convincingly to assure me that it only would come out on the show-day. That had all been part of my prepared thought out plan to lead her up to what I really wanted to succeed with. By not continuing that line of conversation but rather showing an interest in a collection of music displayed caused her perplexity, and she became disconcerted. Carrying it a bit further by putting on music and asking her to dance, brought her a puzzled expression, but my request was accepted. The tables had turned then and she didn’t know where it was leading to, especially when removing my tie and jacket and kicking off my shoes. The music was soft and slow, and that was the way she was played, for I had begun to switch off the room lights one by one when dancing around the room with her. She had begun to slowly get the message that I was again falsely implanting, for she was hesitant at first, perhaps for the reason that she was married and hadn’t told me or was weighing up the consequences if it was worth it. It must have been really worthwhile for her work position as she interacted by also kicking off her shoes and moulding her body to mine. She had begun trembling though when slowly unbuttoning her blouse and removing it, and then doing the same with my shirt, and when slipping down the skirt, her fingernails dug into my back. Not knowing if the turn of events was causing her consternation or if it was sensually conducive, the removing of my daks (trousers) proved the latter. Her clinging to me then like a limpet would have been just as difficult to prise loose.

That wasn’t my intention, for she was only simmering and my purpose was for her to broil, and with her husband away for two weeks, time was on my side. We were as close as two peas in a pod, because while still swaying to the music she had interlocked her legs around mine while my hands supported her, but wanting to get closer she had begun to tug at my jocks (underwear). Not wanting any of that either, even though I was getting up a head of steam, my aim was to divert at every occasion when seeing her ready to succumb, because in that way she wouldn’t know if she was coming or going. My telling her that there would be plenty of other times to do what she had in mind, really threw her, and with the excuse of having a heavy workload the next day, I left. Her phone call the next day was one of apologetic embarrassment to the way she had reacted because of not ever having done anything like that before, especially as she was a married woman. She also went on about picking up the brochures as soon as they were ready because her husband was returning in a few days. Knowing positively it was lies about the husband, my obtrusive reply was that it was immaterial to me if she received the brochures or not, and as nobody else at the firm knew of our arrangement it would be unthinkable to come around to the factory. After telling her I was married too and also my first time indiscretion, and with problems at home I had almost thrown caution to the wind, and that her unexpected response had been good for my ego, caused the phone to go very quiet for some time. Her tone was more subdued then when asking when the brochures would be available, and my reply that the printers had advised that very morning its readiness within two days, made her voice go sugar sweet and drip with honey when inviting me to bring it around when ready.

So much for the husband, and knowing she was then in between a rock and a hard place, my arrival with the doctored brochures got her all excited. The lounge suites designs although pleasing to the eye because of its presentation was of the over-stuffed variety, which the Afrikaners thought was the bees knees (best), but in Australia loose cushions was the absolute go. Of course my fabricated market research and the brochures did the trick. The next trick was to put my plan into its final operation, and when asking to continue our dance of the last time, her switching off the lights confirmed what she had in mind. She must have been really pumped up about getting her hot hands on those brochures for it was also all over me, and she had not only wrapped her broiling body around me but her torso gyrations really pumped up the tempo. Getting her into the bedroom was a breeze; however, as she lay there spreadeagled on the bed ready for me to fulfil her torrid desires, what I did instead was to excuse myself to first go to the toilet, and then I dressed and shot through (leave unexpectedly). Her repeated phone calls the next day was of why and if we could meet up again. My replies was that seeing her laying there willing to give herself because of the brochures made her seem like a prostitute and that wasn’t my thing, and that it would be the same if we met up again, but that I hoped the brochures would be a means to an end for her, and then I hung up. Needless to say their mass production of the lounge suites went down like a lead balloon (crashed), and when trying to resurrect them at the furniture show it received the same reception. She was at the show with her boss, and on seeing the completely different designs to the ones they had received, the penny must have dropped for I was receiving icy stares, and if looks could have killed I would have dropped dead on the spot.

Image

Gina climbing the ladder of success in modeling.

.Image

Gina modeling in a shot of bathing wear.

Image

Party time at the Lorenzo’s again with Moi, Joan & José Gonsalves.

Image

Party time again with Gina’s boyfriend George & Joan looking good with her new hair style.

Image

Eddie Mabo with his legal team.

Image

Australian Aboriginals celebrating in dance.

Image

Australian Aboriginals celebrating with didgeridoo music.

6. Exploring This This Aussie ‘Sunburnt Country’ From Sydney To Queensland Border. (Part 6)

On another break-neck speed trip up to Sydney from Melbourne in my Ford Capri, which flew like the wind, to visit Gina and Neil who were modelling in a fashion parade and we wanted to see what the competition was like seeing how Gina had won that trip to Fiji. Joan and I were pretty proud when we saw her doing her stuff on the cat-walk and knew why she had won. After that, Joan and I ventured further up the North Coast from Sydney. It was a pleasant one where we encountered everything country, running rivers, seaside resort towns and strings of beautiful beaches all the way to the town of Gosford and to the city of New Castle. The approach to Newcastle from a distance when seeing the vast array of steel girders with the sun glinting off it, smoke stacks and steam emitting from the industrial sites, reminded me of the steel works in Pittsburgh (USA). It stopped there though because the surroundings were a perfect compromise of the robust with the leisureliness of its picturesque harbour at the mouth of the Hunter River, and was in easy reach of the boating at Lake Macquarie and the wineries of the Hunter Valley. On the way, Myall Lakes with a chain of lakes that not only had palms and other wetland vegetation dense on its shores, but also exotic bird life and house boats that could be rented to cruise the lakes. Then a slight detour to Taree; Aboriginal for ‘tree by the river’, on the banks of the Manning River that had a number of beautiful riverside parks and reserves. There were plenty of boating ramps for boating enthusiasts here, as well as in most of the smaller surrounding villages and towns, allowing you quick access to the Manning River and the many tributaries. Just to the north of Taree, the ‘Coorabakh’ National Park; meaning ‘bloodwood tree’, where the remnants of ancient volcanoes dotted the landscape, including the Big Nellie, Fat Nellie and Little Nellie. There were some great walking tracks to try, offering magnificent views of the surrounding rainforests and volcanic formations.

Then we wound our way through miles of forest to Port Macquarie where we found the prettiest beaches with golden sand and a chain of ocean lakes where the fish were really bighting. The tree-forested highway began to change to banana plantations and lush greenery from the town of Macksville on the Nambucca River; meaning ‘entrance to the waters’ to Coffs Harbour. We found it to be a strange combination of a deep-water port with freighters just about docked in the town’s centre, and as a holiday resort with many tourists like ourselves enjoying not only the perfect weather but also the many varied attractions like a prawn stud farm and a performing sheep show. Then back through a forested highway that emerged at the city port of Grafton on the navigable head of the Clarence River. It had the Jacaranda Festival with the streets a mass of purple and the carpet of fallen petals on the ground around the tree trunks took on and looked like a reflection on water of the jacaranda trees in bloom.  A stretch of alternating rivers and cane fields continued from there to the beach town and fishing port of Ballina, meaning ‘place of many oysters’, and branching off we took the coastal route of breathtaking coastal scenery to the village of Lennox Head and continued on to Byron Bay.

The reason for going there was because of information derived from some of our friends who had spent some time there on vacation. Although it might have been a bit of a shock to the system to some when seeing the kaleidoscope of colours and transcendental designs throughout the town’s centre, to me it was like I was back in hippie land. More so when seeing a few kombi V-dubs (Volkswagen panel vans) blazoned with peace signs and flowery designs, womenfolk dressed in the traditional long loose fitting traditional homespun embroidered garments and adorned with bangles and colourful beaded necklaces as was their children, and the menfolk who seemed usually bearded, bare footed and wore either flared or three-quarter cut down shredded bottom jeans with flowery motif shirts. Also a pleasant surprise when finding a group of them at a restaurant singing flower power rebel songs accompanied by a fiddle, guitar, flute and tambourine, which afforded me to shout them a round of drinks for the nostalgia brought; however, what I didn’t expect to see was a group of Hare Krishna’s in their saffron robes chanting and dancing along while handing out flyers and blessings. Locals and visitors seemed to take it all in their stride, even to the whiff of marijuana that mingled with the herbal aroma of incense sticks burnt by the Krishna’s and hippies. We were lucky to be there on their market day, for the whole potpourri of the population were there in all their glory selling commercial and handmade arts and crafts made by the locals in their craft-shops, and we bought and ate the most succulent subtropical fruit on display at stalls. We had seen those fruits (banana, mango, avocado, pineapple, pawpaw, nectarine, peach), and macadamia and pecan nuts that grew in green valleys as the tropics appeared in our drive through and past inland towns, and on our way to the town of Murwillumbah; meaning’ place of many possums’, it still continued with a vestige of sugarcane fields until arriving in the town of Tweed Heads. It was our last stop, and completely driven out all we wanted to do was soak up the sun and unwind so as to rewind our tourist bodies for our return trip back to Sydney. We did though first enjoy our stay there by seeing the sights, which was mostly at the beach and playing the pokies at various clubs. We also sighted Queensland that was reached by walking down Boundary Street, which was the main one that ran through both Tweed Heads and Coolangatta that was the twin town across the New South Wales border, and by stepping across the line clearly defined on the pavement, we arrived in Queensland.

We didn’t go any further though, but we did make our way back to Sydney via the New England Highway to Tenterfield that was a must stop for me. It was beyond my comprehension why Harry ‘Breaker’ Morant’s defender at his trial, Major J. F. Thomas, had built a Boer fashioned house there, which although when seeing it brought back nostalgic memories. The town was also later to be made famous as the birthplace of Peter Allen’s grandfather, due to Peter who was an expatriate Aussie singer and performer living in America, who topped the charts with the song written and sang by him called “Tenterfield Saddler” dedicated to the life and times of his grandfather. With that out of the way we headed further down the highway to Glen Innes with the New England Ranges seeming to follow suite until coming upon the New England Plateau of rugged peaks with streams that tumbled into deep gorges on its Tablelands. There we wandered through Inverell’s Pioneer Village spanning the period from the mid 1800’s to early 1900’s of authentic historical buildings that were transported intact from its scattered original sites and set up as an outdoor museum. Also, at Glen Innes where a third of the world’s sapphires are mined we had a go at fossicking, but we never came upon any sapphires, garnets, jasper, agate or any other precious stones except for a few colour lined rocks that we took away as souvenirs.

From there we passed through Armidale that was a town of old English charm into spectacular country with rugged peaks and long plains dotted with old mining towns to Tamworth of old and modern musical charm, which is now ‘the country music capital of Australia’ with the yearly Tamworth Country Music Festival and national awards. Then we veered west to take in the Warrumbungle’s; the Warrumbungle’s are a series of volcanic mountains and the name “Warrumbungle” is the local aboriginal word meaning ‘crooked mountains’, before heading for Dubbo; meaning ‘red earth’, and although it looked like nature had really bungled it was worth seeing what fierce volcanic activity 13 million years ago had created with its spiky peaks, craters, ridges, jagged spires and domes that jutted out of the Liverpool Plains. The city of Dubbo was bang smack in the middle of a wheat belt that also had large sheep and cattle stations. What I thought though when visiting their Western Plains Zoo was a two-point consideration. Firstly, that they had the foresight when wanting to place a large variety of world wild animals in settings as near as possible to their native conditions was in penning them in by moats rather than fences and cages, and the other was that if it had to be in the wilds of Africa, those wild animals would have had a good feed of the sheep and cattle.

From there we made our way to Sydney past the town of Orange where they grew apples, and where Andrew Bastion ‘Banjo’ Paterson, Australia’s greatest poet, was seeded, born and grew up there. I also then recollected that he was the reporter called Mister Paterson that was with the Aussie troops at the Siege of Kimberley by the Boers that my grandmother had related to me about, what a small world it had become. The next town of Bathurst was another interesting one in relation to South Africa. There I found a Boer War Memorial carrying the name of Lieutenant Peter Hancock who had been the mate of Harry ‘Breaker’ Morant’s, and had faced a British firing squad together for shooting Boer War prisoners. To me it was a pity that they had died that way, for if they had lived they might have gone on to kill the Afrikaner ancestors of those who had introduced apartheid, and although the memorial was most appropriate, I thought a monument would have been better. The Boers had actually respected Henry Harry ‘Breaker’ Morant because he was buried in the Hero’s Acre Cemetery in Pretoria (South Africa) amongst historical Boer figures. And then from a sad memory to a sad place of unnecessary deaths at Cowra; meaning ‘eagle on the rocks’, where 231 interned War World 2 Japanese prisoners of war died while staging a suicidal mass escape. Because of the care the local people over the years had given to their graves at the only Japanese War Cemetery in Australia, the Japanese were that impressed that they have repaid them with an oriental laid out Japanese garden showpiece.

We knew we were nearing Sydney when sighting the Blue Mountains from which its residents commuted to there. Although not a true mountain in that sense, but in fact a sandstone plateau reaching a height of only 1 100 metres (3 600 feet), it is blue though. The vast amount of oil-bearing eucalypti trees that constantly released fine oil droplets into the air causes the blue rays of the sun to reflect off it, and that in turn produces a natural phenomenon that wraps the whole landscape in a deep soft blue. The road followed a ridge bounded by high cliffs, enclosed twisting valleys and narrow gorges that were forested with the multicolored sandstone walls that had eroded into rocky bastions and wildly beautiful formations. As a residential area, a cool retreat for Sydneysiders and a must see for tourist, it had heaps to offer not only in its resort towns of Blackheath, Katoomba; meaning ‘shiny falling waters’, and Leura; meaning ’laver’, but also in its combined attractions. A spectacular lookout at Govetts Leap, the Majestic Hotel that had the finest views from its dining room, the Scenic Railway with a real steep incline ride and a lookout at Echo Point that overlooked three towering stone formation pillars called the Three Sisters. Also, a magnificent mansion called Leuralia that we wandered around in, Everglade Gardens that was more than a garden because it was in a setting high above the Jamison Valley and comprised not only of a natural landscape but also a watercourse area, grotto pool and an Alpine reserve planted with masses of azalea. From there it was a straight run through the city of Parramatta; meaning ’eel creek’, to Sydney, and from there we bade our children goodbye and went back home to Melbourne.

 Image

Gina modeling on the cat-walk in Sydney.

Image

Gina modeling jewelery in Sydney.

Image

Gina at a clothing shoot.

Image

Newcastle’s hustle and bustle at night.

Image

Byron Bay of Hippie days nostalgia.

Image

The border marker between New South Wales and Queensland.

Image

Dinky-dye, true-blue Blue Mountains.