I am going to put a heater on in the middle of the day and also the television. I read an AUSTLIT entry the other day. Austlit is where Izzy worked when I first met him. He was based at UQ in Brisbane. ( That’s University of Queensland). This week two of the Austlit people were giving a paper or somesuch on a matter which is ‘ assumed but untheorised’. Now there is an academic expression for you.
Sometime, way before the ‘assumed but untheorised’ came words like this which I have taken from LUC DEVROYE’s Main Page.
From Walter Crowley’s "Rites of Passage"
There is another legacy of the Sixties which is often neglected: tens of thousands of individuals who won the revolution at least in their own lives. They live within the system but they are not part of it. They organize their work and existences by their own rules, and have achieved a personal independence of thought, action and moral choice which does not require social sanction. They are free men and women and their examples might be the most subversive influences extant today.
And this from a Professor at the Canadian University where Luc Devroye is resident – sounds like a REAL university.
STAYING WITH THE PELICANS THEME TO REMIND MYSELF OF WHERE I AM.
I am experimenting with new themes again and not striking one I like at all.
THIS WAS ONE FINE LOOKING MEAL BUT TRULY, TRULY HOT.
A brief glance in the rear vision mirror. Its the day that Australia acquired its first female Prime Minister. That is all I am saying about that.
Its a cold, bleak day and well suited to one of my at home alone days. Izzy is off up North doing his Music Night at South Grafton Emporium, now known as ALCHEMY, for reasons which sound fine but don’t actually translate well.
Here in the cottage, we have critters who come for visits and treats. Its an easy way to have animal company. They go home for major caring.
I have been hesitant about writing lately, not wanting to sound too 60 year old woman esoteric nor too cynical and incisive. I was leaning to the incisive – but can’t quite pull it off.
IZZY WITH THE ANIMALS
I am going to do that “looking back” I was talking about, for an hour or so and do it disciplined instead of rambling around the chambers of memory.
I left you with LUC DEVROYE earlier and I return with another link now because FONTOLOGY is the main connection I have to him. Not that he knows that – but I do. I have some of my finest fonts either through his resources or directly as free fonts given by him.
He calls his pages ON SNOT AND FONTS. That appeals to me. One day, when I feel inclined, I shall do a Scribus Page or a PAINT.NET and show you some of them.
Here is his bio:
SCOOB LOOKING TO THE ROAD
OVER THE BACK FENCE
A few years back, before becoming a co-habitor, I did the Ignatian Online Retreat. 10 months it took.
I come from a long ago Methodist background, in a slack manner, so the venture into the Ignatian World was new to me.
Its connected to a University in the States. Creighton. I wonder if any of the American Universities specialise in such gripping courses as TOURISM, EVENT MANAGEMENT etc. How is one supposed to get a Job by doing a deeply spiritual retreat or exploring the depths of mathematics or fontology. As the new P.M. of Oz says – its all about HARD WORK. And more HARD WORK.
I, myself, despite being a resident of the WORKERS’ COTTAGE prefer the HERMITARY.
We have two dogs here. They lie about and they hang their heads. I am impressed by it. They stretch and look yearningly towards a distant horizon.
|PELICANS IN URUNGA JUNE 2010|
I have been active now for several days in a row. I, therefore, put the brakes on now. I shall shabbos the day. I would perhaps do well to add to my “METHINKS SHE DOTH PROTEST TOO MUCH” site, due to my being irritable and tooshy, Lolling about in the Raleigh sunshine bemoaning the state of the world. I have attempted to restrict my righteous indignation to the METHINKS blog.
Now, lets see where the thinking leads.
We went down to the River on Sunday to watch the boats. Sail Urunga is underway and Sailability is coming. I didn’t go out on the boat but that’s what I would like to do next.
Sail Away Days. I hadn’t thought I would need the special access dinghies but due to collapsing knees, it looks like I shall. I had planned to be rowing on the water. In Ulmarra, Edwina was lining us up for the Hobey Craft she had but we left before using them.
In front of me are the access dinghies, so I guess that’s where I begin.
I am not successfully ‘ doing’ Christmas this year. I successfully DID my 60th birthday and that’ has been a fine satisfaction – but Christmas has me ‘stonkered’. The MOB from Armidale have gone South to the family of the daughter-in-law – way up back of Eden. Kati B and IMM are in Bellingen and within one month of the baby’s coming. 17th January its due. And We are in Ulmarra.
These are simply images and thoughts arising from the imagery.
Following a few warm and pleasant days, the cold winds come from the west. They brought the brolgas out into the paddock opposite. Blue Brolgas, Jenni at Wide River told me. Thats because they’re grey. The fridge is once again supposed to arrive today.After 2.30pm. Yesterday I purchased 2 beds and they are to come on Monday. I am feeling very DELAYED this week. Kati B couldn’t get anyone to feed the horses on Saturday so she’s off till next weekend and the Sunshine People are likewise postponed and here it is COLD and WINDY.
No matter. I have work to do. The Net is allowing a little more access than is usual. I can work on my father’s 2/3 Pioneer site. I can continue unpacking and decorating. And I can wait for the Fridge.
I AM looking for the big birds this morning but they are not there. The waters are still there a little but that’s splendid. Wetlands it is. Traffic is back on Coldstream Street. I rather liked the boats and the young newspaper boy delivering on his pushbike through axle deep water.
Time for some reflection.
As is usual, the news bulletins lasted the duration of the crisis and then took their cameras off to newer fresher disasters leaving the DAMAGED to take care of themselves. Via my sister, I have heard a little more. Difficult to imagine. One of the houses which has been condemned is nowhere near the sea or the river.
This was no ordinary flood in Urunga…….80 cars were flooded and heaps of homes. Nearly all the shops had water through them… the museum, preschool and under Tambar Ct …. all the flats in Orara St … the whole of Newry Island was evacuated and heaps of homes had water through them… Julie and Steve had 7 ft of water through their house and it came from across the road. They said it happened so fast they felt lucky to have got out….they lost their car and the house has been condemned….there are heaps of people the same.
Image from RTA of DORRIGO BELLINGEN ROAD.
Bit hard to take in. My thoughts are with the Urunga and Bellingen people and even with Coffs Harbour, our traditional “enemies”.
It seems that it was indeed Brad. I am only getting this from my Facebook kids so far but they say it was a heart attack. My sister told me about Liz Allen and Kerry Marsh also passing away and these are sad times in URUNGA. Years back when I was teaching at Urunga, we lost several people in a cluster like this and the grief counsellor was called in to address the school and spoke of the Angel of Death HOVERING over the town. I found that a little disconcerting.
Turning away from the jokes, It is sad. Brad kept Staffies and Tyrone, a big pit bull. Our Staffie, Odin, who was gentle and timid and kindly by nature, always flared up when in sight or smell of Ty and then battle would ensue. We couldn’t leave the pair of them off at the same time. They were both rascals.
Urunga is one of those small towns which breed one million tales of eccentricity and humour. I shall get to the stories bit by bit. But not today.
Quote of the Day:
Houses should be more like ovens. Self-insulating and self-cleaning!
(while cleaning room)
SHE has, however , left these stunning creations on her FACEBOOK for those of you who are her FRIENDS and she does know how to make and sustain friendships. Off to Britain. Her male sibling is in Germany and her cousin Kati B weeps for losing her cousinal twin.
My parents came to URUNGA in 1948 for their honeymoon. Met, fell in love, were engaged in 3 weeks and married in 3 months. Stayed married for 53 years when my Mum passed away. Every Christmas holidays we spent in URUNGA. Then in the 1970s, we began to move one or two at a time from SYDNEY north to URUNGA and make our homes there. That led to marriages and births and then on to all the makings of an extended family life. Careers and deaths and etc, etc, etc. This morning I decided to take a look at URUNGA in my beloved NLA HISTORIC NEWSPAPERS. There seem to be only 116 entries for URUNGA but we will see.
Unfortunately, quite a few of these mentions refer to other matters. The NLA DIGITISATION PROJECT is a beta version – warm to my anarchistic, socialist, non-capitalist soul – provided free of charge unlike many of the historical sources which require financial reimbursement for public information ( usually sugar coated in their explanations of why this is necessary but the outcome is the same as being unable to afford a dentist). What the NLA does is offer the scans of the newspapers along with a column on the left of electronic transcription which is often gobbledygook. Then, without any obligation to do so at all, you are invited to assist them in this massive project by a wee bit of editing or tagging or commenting.
When it comes to URUNGA, the first entries refer to such things as LACE, or electronically translates ORANGE into URUNGA. Nevertheless, onto the next articles.
The first article I find which actually mentions URUNGA appears to refer to a horse in the SUBURBAN HANDICAP in, I think, Melbourne.
The Argus Monday 9 October 1916, page 5. Detailed lists, results, guides
Then later in 1916, an A.S. ATKINS of URUNGA is listed as dying of illness during WWI.
The Argus Friday 12 January 1917, page 8. Detailed lists, results, guides
The Argus Saturday 19 January 1918, page 21.
GEMBROOK, URUNGA.-Comfortable Accommo-
dation, farm produce, nice position, near sta-
tion, fern gullies. – E. Smith.
I suspect this URUNGA in Melbourne papers is someplace in Victoria and not OUR URUNGA. The other URUNGA which is mentioned often is a ship of some description which I shall look at some other time.
The Argus Saturday 8 March 1924, page 13. Family Notices
Percy Brown’s mother, ELLEN BROWN, died in Geelong.
The Argus Tuesday 5 April 1927, page 17. News
SWEPT OUT TO SEA.
TWO MEN IN ROWING BOAT.
Dredge Seaman Drowned.
SYDNEY, Monday – A telegram from
Urunga, 305 miles north from Syd
ney, states that two members of the
crew of the dredge Bellinger, who were in
a rowing boat, got into difficulties at the
entrance to the Bellinger River on Satur
dav afternoon Charles Butt, a single man
and a native of England was drowned and
Duncan Dees suffered so severelv from im
mersion that he was admitted to the dis
The men set out from Urunga to row to
the dredge, which was moored near the
north bank of the river. The tide was
running so strongly that no headway could
be made, and the boat was swept seaward
Llfe-savers threw lines from the break
water, and Dees managed to scramble
ashore. A heavy sea, which was running on
the bar upset the boat and Butt was car
ried away and not seen again.
EARLY RADIO DAYS.
The Canberra Times Friday 20 May 1927, page 12
RIVALS IN RADIO GOOD OR BAD ANNOUNCER
From Urunga, North Coast, came
word: “Canberra programme clearly
heard by large audiences, including all
the children.” A message from Young
stated: “Congratulations and apprecia-
tions on Canberra broadcast. A great
number of townspeople were delighted
with the transmission.”
So there you are-apparently every
listener claims the right to hear for
himself and express his own opinion
he Argus Monday 24 December 1928, page 6. News
STRANDED STEAMER NAMBUCCA.
SYDNEY, Sunday.-The position of the steamer
Nambucca, which ran aground on the south
spit at Urunga (Bellinger Heads) on Thursday night
is favourable, and the master (Captain Gould) is
hopeful that the vessel will be refloated at high
tide to-morrow mowing;. The vessel is in a pro
tectedl position, and has moved into deeper water
as the result of the several efforts made so far
to refloat her.
The Nambucca is a twln-screw wooden steamer
of 415 gross tonnage, and is owned by the North
Coast Steam Navigation Company
The Canberra Times Thursday 28 November 1929, page 2.
FIRE AT URUNGA
A block of buildings was totally des-
troyed by fire to-day . Four buildings
were involved, including Brldge’s store.
The bucket brigade prevented the fire
FOR MORE URUNGA NEWS CHECK THE NLA WEBSITE.
- A GYPSY MOTH AEROPLANE ATTEMPTS TO TAKE OFF FROM THE GOLF COURSE. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2268435 IN DECEMBER 1929
The Courier-Mail Tuesday 17 April 1934, page 13. News 215 words
… SOUTH EXPRESS HELD UP Goods Train Truck Derailed GRAFTON, April 16. The Brisbane to Sydney express tram Is held up to-night at Raleigh as the result of the derailment of a truck on a goods train between Urunga and Nambucca. The axle box on a truck attached to the’ Taree-South Grafton goods train…
ABORIGINE’S DEATH Post Mortem Ordered SYDNEY, Wednesday.
The Canberra Times Thursday 28 February 1935, page 2. News 79 words
… ABORIGINE’S DEATH Post Mortem Ordered SYDNEY, Wednesday. The police have been informed that Ernest Taylor, 53, a full-blooded aborigine, rigine, after having dinner with his family at Urunga last Sunday night, suddenly collapsed and died, and that a. doctor declined to give a certificate of death….
The Canberra Times Wednesday 28 December 1938, page 3
Shark Victim Feared
Daniel, Grahame. 19. of Deervale,
near Dorrigo, disappeared whilst
swimming in the surf at Northbank,
two miles from Urunga.
He was swimming not far from the
beach when he threw up his arms and
sank. , It is believed that he was
taken by a shark
- PTE J P BRADLEY WAS LISTED AS MISSING IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2567165 The Canberra Times Tuesday 14 July 1942, page 3. Detailed lists, results, guides
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2641536 URUNGA BECOMES THE SETTING FOR EVENTS WHICH LEAD TO A CAPTAIN OF THE 9th DIVISION BEING COURTMARTIALLED. IT APPEARS THAT SAID CAPTAIN AND AN AWAS STAYED AT THE SAME HOTEL ON THE SAME NIGHT. 1942
URUNGA DONATED THE REMARKABLE SUM OF 33 POUNDS TO THE CHRISTMAS HAMPERS FOR THE SOLDIERS. THE COMFORT FUND. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2649258 The Canberra Times Thursday 16 September 1943, page 3.
IN THE 1940s THE URUNGA SOLDIERS ARE FEATURED IN CASUALTY LISTS. They include the Vaughan boys and Marting and Lowe.
The Canberra Times Monday 9 July 1945, page 2. News
ARMED HOLD-UP OF
OLD MAN IN HUT
Armed with a pearifle and a hand-
kerchief over his face a man held up
Richard Strange, 72, in a hut in the
bush three miles from Urunga, on the
North Coast, on Saturday evening.
“This is no joke. Stick them. up.
Your money is in your pocket,” the
bandit is alleged to have said.
Strange ran into his hut and he
told the police that two shots were
fired, one entering the roof.
Detective Pollick is investigating.
Strange told the West Kempsey
police that he had £10 in his trouser’s
pocket at the time but he had not
He said that the intruder was about
l8 years old and of medium build.
WHO WAS THAT YOUNG MAN ?
The Argus Wednesday 5 September 1945, page 2
COLLIE.-On September 3, at Urunga,
North Coast, New South Wales, Frederick
Charles, son of the late Joseph and Jessie
Collie, beloved twin brother of William Rus-
- http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2722234 SECOND PRIZE IN THE STATE LOTTERY WENT TO MRS PATERSON OF URUNGA AND HER BALCK CAT SYNDICATE. The Canberra Times Saturday 9 August 1947, page 4.
- THE POLIO OUTBREAK WAS EXTENDING AND A 32 YEARS OLD URUNGA MAN HAD DIED AS A RESULT.
- http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2822232 The Canberra Times Thursday 22 February 1951, page 4
AND TO WRAP IT UP, EVEN THOUGH THE PERSONS INVOLVED WERE ONLY COMING TO URUNGA EN ROUTE TO KEMPSEY, THIS IRRESISTIBLE WEDDING PARTY;
The Courier-Mail Tuesday 5 September 1933, page 18. News
At St Mark s Church of England
Warwick on August 19 the marriage
was solemnised by Canon Neal of Mr
V C (Jim) Knauer (second son of
Mrs K Knauer Frederickton Kemp
ey New South Wales) and Miss Edna
Lilian Whitmore (eldest daughter of
Mrs Whitmore Commercial Hotel
Warwick) Miss M Anstey presided
at the organ. The bride wwho was
given away by Mr R W Potter (Bris-
bane) wore a gown of old gold romaine
made on directoire lines and on the
shoulders a series of frills were ar
ranged to form epaulettes. Her pale
gold filmy veil was inlet with gold
lace and she carried gold and red
flowers. Her two sisters, Misses N
and I Whitmore who were the
bridesmaids wore tomato red frocks
with turbans of old gold Romaine
They carried muffs of red and gold
flowers. Mr O Free was best man
and Mr Cliffoid Walsh (Adelaide) was
the groomsman. The reception was
held at the Commercial Hotel On
leaving for Brisbane and Urunga en
route to Kempsey the bride wore a
travelling frock of navy blue with a
hat to match in fur felt.
AND IN TRUE URUNGA TRADITION – UP THERE WITH OYSTER CUTS IN THE FOOT AND SANDLFY BITES IS THE STORY OF THE FISHHOOK.
The Courier-Mail Tuesday 6 February 1934, page 12
FISH HOOK IN EYE
Man May Lose Its Sight
GRAFTON, February 5.
A Sydney visitor to the seaside re-
sort at Urunga, Mr. J. Highbrow, may
lose the sight of one eye as the result
of an accident whilst fishing.
Mr. Highbrow’s companion was pull-
ing the line in when the end of the
line flicked upwards and the hook
entered the ball of Mr. Highbrow’s
rieht eye. The hook was so firmly em-
bedded that surgical assistance had to
be sought, a delicate operation being
performed to remove the barb. The
injured mani left for Sydney to consult
a specialist, but it is believed that he
will lose the sight of the eye.
Back in BILAMBIL after 10 days down south and less than pleased to be here. Seems to me I am destined to become a NORTH COAST NSW specialist whether or not I like it. Despite the endless green desert viewed from STARWAGON and train windows or roaring through the dark night from CASINO to TWEED HEADS in a fully crowded COUNTRYLINK coach with a DVD of GARFIELD 2 hypnotising the Desperadoes of 21st Century public transport. Some people cross the oceans and some people do fine restaurants in the Cities – and I go up and down the North Coast crossing big rivers. Encountered major heat on day 1 heading south. Unexpected heat. School holidays has begun as well. The familiar Queensland NSW overlap and cars were hither and thithering just like a true Xmas time which it wasnt. We stopped outside the Big Pineapple in Ballina. Avoided the BIG PRAWN which is now a mere shade of pink. I asked one thing – Iz says I – please don’t stop at TALLIMOBLE. So – with aches in his limbs he stops at BEEKEEPERS rest stop at TALLIMOBLE. With the gravity pulling Eco-Loo.
Why ? Iz ? Says I? WHY ?
Nevertheless , being one to learn from any circumstance – I looked for the Good in the Situation . I am still looking for the good in the situation. They did have a very well embedded table for picnickers and resters. Very strong it was.
I have been Looking for the Good in situations for a long time. I usually find something but its a DISCIPLINE to do so for me. I once knew a man – a young man whose name I shall not at this time use- and it was not a DISCIPLINE for him to LOOK FOR THE GOOD. It seemed to come naturally to him. It was a lovely thing to be close to.
Once when we were sitting at Bondi Beach – I said of a situation – ” I think this is worth a try even though it will be difficult “.
He said – ” Oh ! What I was thinking was ‘ THIS COULD BE GOOD ! ‘ “
For me, 20 years later – I still expect the Difficult. And in consequence, I frequently get the Difficult. However – sometimes I get the naturally joyful and unexpectedly good. Like the GATEWAY CARAVAN VILLAGE in Grafton West.
We headed on down to Gateway and took up residence in Van 255. Hot enough to swim so it was and I did so.
I am living in a place where I don’t wish to be. The Getting Away breaks that up and takes me back to my HomePlaces and my own People. Time in Kalang and Armidale and family around me. I wanted this time to go south to Laurieton and the Manning and explore there. But Izzy has music which is his passion and so he was back to Bilambil way before me. He had LUFFLEY CAFE in Murbah dressed as a jazz musician and then Sunday at Carool at ILNAM WINERY.
We did spend days in Armidale with my Kinfolk. Makes my step a little lighter and my heart brightens considerably. Then I myself spent more days in Kalang with my girl and her young man. We even did a Tupperware party – a matter which I will not discuss in this time of possible global depression. Suffice to say I do not like rip-offs and am anarchistically disinclined to Tupperware Parties and the people who dwell therein.
We ate brekkie at the BLACK BEAR CAFE in BELLINGEN where Kati B is cooking. Hello Sofi, Dave and Kate. IMM is building Bello houses and making Ortho Chairs from beautiful timbers. And me in sadness is looking for a wee pied-a-terre in my own world where they are. My Mum and Dad’s flat is for rent so i see on the REALESTATE.COM.AU. At a price I can pay – but there is familial complications there which could make things between me and mine more difficult and sad than they now are and I don’t want to risk further estrangement. Sure would like a home base however. And some new routines. I have never been able or inclined to STAY PUT and do the same things over and over. I have been here – stayed here- a wee bit too long.
One more drive down Kennedy Drive to park in the same carpark and meet the same people and I am thinking of necking myself. As Pat the Rat Gelahar of the Langton Centre would say. Izzy said this would be an adventure requiring a travel blanket and I am ready to ride camels across the desert but this becalmed state is sending me feral.
Another thing which happens in AUGUST is the birthday of CASSANDRA POMROY. She was born in MT TOM PRICE W.A in 1978. August 23rd.
That means that this year she is 30
CASSANDRA AT HOME WITH HER FAMILY AND AT HER GRANDPARENT’S GOLDEN WEDDING .
|CASSANDRA WITH HER COUSIN KATE ANOTHER 1978 BABY. AT SOUTH ARM VIA BELLINGEN & URUNGA.|
CASSI WITH ME.
I am back in Bilambil and wouldn’t be too Blue if theKids lived closer. Just assimilating the mixed experiences of a fortnight away. On the way Down Izzy and I stopped into New Italy for coffee and brekkie. I love New Italy. In my struggles to locate the non generic – non globalised – New Italy remains unscathed right on the pacific Highway. Then again the Pacific Highway hasn’t really allowed the 21st century to touch it either. New Italy has a telephone Museum ( not something you see everyday) An Italian Museum – again not the most common experience. In addition the food was excellent. The Service was delightful and the grape vines were growing along the verandah and curling down the polls. Just the way I like it. Izzy said it were the biggest cup of coffee he had had. Bravo New Italy. Fine statuary as well.
Then we headed South. It was a right adventure for me with Izzy along to show him My World. For me to go back to the place I left in 2001. Since then Both my parents have passed away and many things have changed. Right adventure too because Kate and IMM have returned to the Valley after 8 years and The Mad O’Brians are only 2 hours up the Mountains.
We sneaked around the back of Grafton. The Brother in Law showed me that one years ago. He’s RTA. Centenary Drive and we were South and on the way to Coffs. We passed through as smoothly as we were able with Southern towns on our minds. Wonder why they changed the original Macdonalds which was a fine and salubrious setup into a Caravan Sales Centre and moved the maccas down the way and into the Generic Globalised Mini that it is. Just drove right on by.
Driving right on by was a good idea too because the starter motor was still not working without being hit with a stick and the orange hammer. Each time we stopped it was the 2 person attack just to get going again. Having spent a night in Byron where we were looked at askance as if we were ageing and possibly demented Hippies ( which we possibly are) – we tried to keep moving right on along.
Years back, Lindy Lombard, who didn’t even live in Urunga, came over the Hill into the Bellinger Valley. THIS – she said- IS MY FAVOURITE VIEW OF ALL. The view is a little altered with new highways etc carving their way through but there it is. The Bellinger Valley. Someone else told me – and more than one someone elses – that the lie of the mountains to the West is seen as a man lying – black man reclines. It wraps round the back of Gleniffer . Haven’t seen it myself but I do try to. I squint and close one eye but it still don’t look like anyone reclining to me. And I have a pretty imaginative turn of mind.
We came to Raleigh Bridge. I dont like Raleigh Bridge. I liked the old one which was mighty dangerous as it crossed the river around a nasty curve. I was fond of the Old Raeligh bridge. The new one would have been OK but its CROOKED. I have an PCD turn to me and the slope of that bridge worries me. Nevertheless we turned under it and were circling to cross it when a nutter trying to do Trunk Road 76 at “After work I’m on my way home” speed tailed us so we pulled of near the Raleigh truck Stop for a moment. Let him make his way home. I knew a man once – he did a suicide drive down the Trunk Road 76. His passenger had his arm out the window holding his bottle of spirits so it wouldn’t spill. As they hurtled off the Trunk Road 76 , so did his arm. The story is now a legend and the mythical details are clear to me but not the earthly reality. I know he was hurt but I seem to have mixed the Arm Losing with the one who had it lopped off in one of the small Mills – probably Wills Mill. Either way – the arms are still on. Stitched back in some way which always fascinated me.
Later on after the suicide driver had died at a far later date- mysteriously and prompting a hunting down of junkies in Bellingen – propped up out the back of the Federal with a bottle of whiskey in his hands – another of his mates died on a Trunk Road Bend. Head on with a car filled with basketball girls. Its a tough road that one. Calling it WATERFALL WAY hasn’t changed that .
Izzy of course doesnt know any of the Trunk Road 76 stories and he is a little disconcerted when he see the 100kh sign on the narrow road but I am not. Thats the thread leading home. Used to be MY TOWN this one. And my Girl is at the other end. The Generic Globalised effect has not reached this road, just kissed the town on the cheek and definitely NOT even caught a glimpse of Kalang.Later in the week we went on down to Urunga – THE LITTLE TOWN TIME FORGOT- and as i have said before – That is TRUE. That used to be MY TOWN too.
I am however not there now. I am back in Bilambil. Izzy is in Brisbane. Coming back tomorrow. I don’t have the Tweed Head Blues this morning. I feel Blue for my beloved DOS who has been left on his own at 82. Shocked , bewildered and confused. The property to be put up for sale. I could live like this within easy reach of My Kids. Thats what I would like. But I have a good man in my life and his music is here . So for now I am in Bilambil. In The Cottage. Takin my time to sort this one out.
Came in on the Countrylink Coach last night. Into Tweed Heads. Been away 2 weeks. Yesterday morning I woke up in Kalang. In the little room with the high ceilings and the big double glass doors looking out onto the birds and the valley. Imm was off to work early . Up in Dorrigo. Kate and I slept in and Dreamed dreams.
2 weeks with my Kids and now I am back in Bilambil with the Tweed Heads Blues again. Kate went to work at the IGA Deli in Bellingen at 2pm. Interesting Job with tight fitting black hat, cut hands and burns and BUNDYING ON . “please enter by the front door only ” They say to the Staff. Wot ! She might be absconding with a slice of Devon. Then again we are of Devon stock and the other sides of the family arrived on free transports on various counts of LARCENY and COINAGE so mebbe Mr IGA is wise to be cautious.
We had tossed the accursed Purple People Eating Suitcase in the back of the diesel 4 wheel drive and IMM dropped me down at Urunga Railway Station . THE LITTLE TOWN THAT TIME FORGOT they call it and don’t take that lightly. The station once had a station master. It was wooden and elegant – petit chic – We took our luggage ( back then) to the station master who had a trolley and from that point it was no concern of ours. It travelled in the Baggage Compartment – safe and with others of its own kind. We booked our tickets there as well. And when the Station Master – as well as tending the ‘gardens’ kept his platform of passengers informed as to the progress of the approaching train. Which- when it came had such things as SLEEPING COMPARTMENTS, and DINING CAR, and even – as a dim memory – on the Murwillumbah Train ( RIP) a section which carried peoples cars so they could hop off the other end and drive off to the Gold Coast in their own vehicles.
So, IMM drops me off . RESMED( only $5 from Cobblers two in Brisbane CBD on Roma Street) laptop bag over one shoulder and leading the PURPLE PEOPLE EATER with the other hand – up the ramp to the salubrious blue and white shed we now call STATION. Bulldogs colours – says I . Police Colours – says IMM. Either one fits. You see TheY pulled the little wooden one down when theY decided there was no need for it a couple of decades ago and then theY had to build a new one. This one doesn’t have the station master and it doesnt have the men and womens bathrooms. it has a large stainless steel toilet room which cannot be locked or even closed really. The Loo itself is about 3 metres from the door so theres no arm reaching to hold it shut.
I sat there on the platform which has seen many stages of my life. Right back in 1948 My parents Joyce and Bruce Sanders arrived there for their honeymoon. Station Master , Baggage handlers and all. Many years I have been on that platform. Old and New. Yesterday there was just ME for am hour or more. In my old blundstones. me and some litter under the benches. Going North where mostly I have gone South. Leaving my Kids . Coming back to a Lover. Kind of. Sat there – took a couple of fotos with the self-timer since there was no family to take them. I last saw my mother there – other than on life support. She dropped me there in the Charade which I now drive.
Yesterday , the Bladerunner loudspeaker kept me informed in a honey female voice that the XPT was running 15 minutes late. In she came and on I hopped. Well not quite hopped. There were only 2 passengers getting on. One healthy young lad from NZ who arrived in an ambulance with a very fit looking young female ambo ( as they call them ) .
And ME. 58 years old and lugging more luggage ( Aha thats the connection between the words) Lugging the Purple. That didn’t mean the extremely strong looking young Countrylink Attendant was about to help me hoist it on board. THUMBS DOWN TO YOU YOUNG LADY. That was the 3.28pm XPT from Sydney to Casino. Didnt get her foto unfrotunately. So I hoisted it and found the baggage rack at the end of Car D. Pretty easy . Never do like leaving the Purple People Eater all alone and unsupervised but thats how it is nowadays and somehows nothing has ever gone astray for me. Seems like as organisation breaks down and crumbles like a rotting tooth – individual people become more decent. They are to me .
PUBLIC TRANSPORT. I LUV IT !!!!!
Sat down right in the middle of a Grafton Group of Young mothers and one disgruntled teenager being removed from Sydney to Live on the Clarence and one toothless little girl with a very big mouth. Hectic . One gentleman was stuck right in the middle of conversations more personal than I have with my own loved ones. I had the window seat thanks to ARMIDALE Station master. They still have a Station master there. They only have ONE train a day. But They have the Station master and he made sure I had the window seat. Thumbs up on that one. Pretty good trip it was . 3 hours. Urunga to Casino. That meant I was on board for DINNER. I dimly recall the Dining Car era. That was classy. We used to walk down to the Dining carriage , order dinner and eat at table. Sometimes we sat in the Dining car and played board games or did crosswords.
I am however long into the routines of the XPT. One woman once told me she called it A PEOPLE CARRIER. The attendant “passed through the carriages” with tickets for dinner. I went for the green one this time. Only $9. The Sydney to Grafton Crew hand out the tickets and the Grafton to Casino crew hand out the meals at 5.30pm. That meant dinner was in peace after the Grafton Horde were gone. I wanted to reach out to the depressed teenage girl and tell her to run. RUN girl. You are going to hate this one. But instead I sat quietly as one does at 58 and waited for DINNER. I didn’t have the REUSABLE CARDBOARD TRAY – because I had to that point only eaten CARROT CAKE WITH FORK and a can of lemonade. So they handed me a new REUSABLE CARDBOARD TRAY and I handed them my GREEN TICKET. I had a hope. A small flicker of hope – connected to the USE BY DATE. And that hope was richly fulfilled. BEST EATEN BY 2/2009. Yes !!!! The Railway has not let me down. A meal which I could still eat ONE YEAR FROM NOW. All I need is an 18 month old apple from Woolworths and all my nutritional needs can easily be met.
I am near professional on these journeys – but I could see the fear and trepidation in some of my travelling companions. I caught a hint of American Accent and a frequent checking of ticket details. Wise move because just ahead was the ARRIVAL AT CASINO. Having been compelled to rebuild Urunga Railway Station – TheY finally entered the 21st century by leaving the stations intact and closing the ENTIRE LINE from Casino to Murwillumbah. Little ghosts of better times stand beside the unused tracks and large , airconditioned coaches with videos and toilets AND seatbelts hurtle along the backroads to various destinations.
Wise of you to be alert American Woman. As we approach Casino – the Voice begins to explain the transfer from Train to Coach. each labelled with a capital letter. I have done this before. I KNOW what to do. The Purple People Eater is in the front baggage racks waiting. I have the ticket open and i KNOW that the letter M which designates MY coach to Tweed Heads has NO relevance to ANYTHING AT ALL. The coaches are NOT parked in alphabetical order. The M coach does NOT stop at ANY town with the letter M anywhere in it ( other than LisMore ) . It is in fact at the front of the lineup of flash airconditioned coaches with toilets and seatbelts.
Even with my hardened experience I wasn’t quite prepared for this one. 5 passengers on the 48 seat coach. Robert the coach driver was a gentleman and hoisted the Purple People Eater happily. Then he put the Garfield Movie on for us. That kept us all pretty happy as we hurtled along the narrow backroads between Casino and Tweed Heads. Through the otherwise sleepy villages. Where once a train wove its way with the siren call of the train horn. Didnt mind Garfield and then Robert wrapped it up with a sing along of Neil Diamond – opening with Sweet Caroline and wrapping up with RED RED WINE as we pulled into the ‘TWEED HEADS COACH STOP”.
Something is sadly amiss with me because I actually ENJOY this. I even enjoy the tweed heads coach stop. This is the GATEWAY to the Gold Coast. No Loos. No Lights. One bench. No Fones. Just Joanne Pascoe and Thea waiting for me. and a deserted Bay Street. No Taxis. This is it. Welcome to Paradise.
Into the Futura and out through the night to The Cottage. Lynne is back in Bilambil.
Been away now for 11 days, Disoriented and peculiar. In Armidale now after a great week in Kalang. Not that its really wild country that I ever travel in except the venturing into these thoughts and emotions. One more night in Armidale and then into a flash car for the trip down the mountains to kalang to Kate and IMM. Carrying the Purple Suitcase which weighs an inordinate amount. Loaded or not. Had hoped to have laptops fixed this trip but doesn’t look like it unless I get to MacMan and Robyn in Bello ( Bellingen)
Caught the Keans ( We’re Kean to have you travel with us ) Coach up the mountains the other day and arrived here in Armidale behind Hungry Jacks right on Noon. Very do-able for $23. Only 2 hours and the driver declared the Purple Suitcase was ‘ not a problem Madam.” Felt safe immediately despite Dorrigo being ahead of me.
The Mitsubishi Magna preceded us into town and I met up with Mad O’Brian, Jolene and My little Poppy. Izzy by then was back up north following a succesful Bello Musical Debut at the Federal Hotel and some very good times with my daughter and IMM.