Archive for December, 2012

The last memory has passed.

To anyone who has read one – thank you.

If you enjoyed it – that makes me feel as I did in #139.

A special mention:

Bill Joyner’s box of memories & memorabilia, enthusiasm, insight – valuable, valued.

Now, Bill, … the River project?*

A collaboration?

“I’ll let you into my memories, if I can be in yours.” (Apologies Bob Dylan)


* We (Bill & I) have discussed the idea of a project aimed at giving expression to the vital role The Nepean River has had in shaping us as individuals and communities – if you have any thoughts on this, I’d love to hear them.

The final words …

I hope your 2013 is filled with
events, experiences, adventures that become
wonderful memories in future years.

Happy New Year!

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Mum & Roger (circa 1954)

Mum & Roger (circa 1954)

Hey! Mum’s crying. We’d better … !

Tears rarely interrupt the stoic,

But when they do …

We are more conditioned to

Loud laughter livening parties

Or frustration driving a flailing “iron cord”.

But tears!! No way! Worlds melt.

Amidst our raggle-taggle chaos,


Bold italics, strong fun.

And so,

Our worlds’ heartbeat.*


* Not only for us boys but almost everyone I meet from the region has been taught by Mum or is related to someone taught by Mum. As a primary school teacher she seems to have had an immensely positive impact on those who found themselves in her classroom. Primary & infants teaching is perhaps one of the most under-appreciated and under-paid roles in our society … yet it is also one of the most important. Much the same as being a Mum … so weren’t me, Steve, Pete, & Phil exceptionally fortunate?

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At first a battle of wills

Novice parent versus wilful child

History transforms post-war gratitude

Into anti-war anger

Generation gaps becomes personal.

Paths set to political differences.

My capitalism finances your socialism.

Framed in paradigms, caricatures and “isms”.

Lifetimes of fun, fights & insights,

Finally revelations, understanding:

Roger’s a legend.*


* My involvement in the restructuring of Panthers in 1991 provided a major insight into Roger, helped reveal fundamental errors in my thinking.  The restructure  was taking a traditional organisational management pyramid completely dismantling it and rebuilding it as an organisation driven by a network of self-directed teams. A daring, radical, innovative move that gave practical life to a belief that organisational health is dependent on building: structures that distribute power away from individuals; cultures that allow individuals to grow, create & flourish (to be individual); and the tools to give people leverage.

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School excursion to a key place - past, present, & future.

School excursion to a key place – past, present, & future.*

A school excursion, rocky junction.

Glenbrook Creek meets Nepean River.

A history lesson from Mr Street.

Our own histories yet to be made,

Pivoting around these waters.

Waters flowing through our town

Irrigating lives & memories.**

Some included here, others omitted,

But always there, constant, this river.

The Nepean River.


* In the photograph:

(l-r) Back: Gordon Hall, Sandra Hall, Peter Elzer, James Corr, Mark Haines (?), Me, ?.
Front: Margaret Martin (?), Christine Smith (?), Bruce Turner, ?.

Some of these have made appearances elsewhere in 365 Short Memories.

** To the south we water-skied through this point (the narrows) and down Nepean Gorge, swam at Bent’s Basin & hunted for crayfish there, swung off a rope at Menangle, witnessed water thuunder down Warragamba’s spillway.

To the west, along Glenbrook Creek we picknicked and swam at Jellybean Pool and the Blue Pool

To the north we jumped off Victoria Bridge, cooled down at the Weir, kayaked through to Yarramundi.

Nepean Gorge - to the south of the school excursion site

Nepean Gorge – to the south of the school excursion site

Our River irrigating our past, present, future

Our river irrigating our lives & memories.

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This was the boat, wasn't the day - the people here are (l-r) cousins Jenny, Jeffrey, Susan, Auntie Clare, Phil

This is the boat, not the day – the people here are (l-r) Cousins Jenny, Jeffrey, Susan, Auntie Clare, Phil.

Along Nepean River

The jet-boat progress slow

Water-line high on hull,

Family, friends, supplies – fuel & food.

Riverbank beach base found, claimed.


Day camp set up – it’s still early.

Friction, flash, fuel, flames

Leap high, burn to water-line.

Boat gone

Skiing finished.

“You should’ve seen it, flames to the sky”*


* This is a family memory … I wasn’t there on the day but it is a story told time after time.

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J stays with Paul K

For summer work in the city

Transitioning school to university.

They share a Mosman top floor.

Windows surround spacious room

Where we lazily lounge

Harbour breeze blows through,

Fresh chilled watermelon,

Voice of Baez, pure crystal chimes.

Combination perfect (if transient).

While, out west …

Summer winds burn.





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My unique singing voice,

Unwanted by school choirs,

Released – with gusto!

Only under strict conditions:

– no-one within earshot
– volume is drowning loud,
– alcohol is performing its equalisation function (for listener & singers)

Always best,

A choir of friends,

With songs shouted not sung.

Often accompanied by instruments invisible (eg air guitar).

A choir of friends with a song shouted not sung.

A choir of friends with a song shouted not sung.


The choir picture is (l-r) Ross Goodfellow, Steve Carr, Glen Davidson, me. The photo was taken by Greg Totman (who was undoubtedly also contributing to the vocals). It is almost certain that we were singing along to The Yardbirds. Glen reckons the most likely song for this choir is Hot House of Omagarashid (listen to the lyric and you’ll understand why) but I have a distinct memory of warbling along to I Can’t Make Your Way – in fact, I think we may have sung our way through the whole Roger The Engineer album on this night.



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Skis strapped, boat pulls Paul*

He glides the water, two circuits, home.

Speeding towards “home beach”,

Sudden turn whips skier’s speed,

To reach shore unpowered.

Is he going too fast?

Shore looms.

Drop! Paul! Fall!


Hits beach – speeding.

Skis stop.

Paul continues – momentarily upright, running,

Finally tumbling into campfire.



* Paul Smith again – previously makeshift surgeon and advisor on the medicinal properties of plants. This was on the family holiday at the Gold Coast … the journey their is told in Short Memories #307 – #311.



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Norm’s in his chair,

Facing B&W TV screen.

Cricket Test MCG – viewing compelling.

Fan facing him cools.

Our heat escape,

Short trip south to Menangle

Nepean River bend, perfect swimspot.

One bank:  beach & paddling shallows,

The other:  deep water, steep cliff, overhanging tree (with rope).

Safe(?) diving, jumping, swinging.

Brothers & cousins frolic.


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Threepence – most desired prize at Christmas

Camden Nana’s baking dish,

Flavours of years released into

The great Christmas Day roast.

In this little house in Elderslie

Everything feels just …

Well, … just right!!

Excitement mounts for the piece-de-resistance.

The plum pudding, where threepences hide

And discovery invokes little feet to run to Mum:

“Mum, I found one!”

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