Archive for the ‘Riverside Rd’ Category

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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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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One of Noel's favourite albums.

One of Noel’s favourite albums.

HSC Art – Major Work.

Submission due: 24 hours.

Noel*,  panicking, organises workshop – friends.

Large backroom, stereo screeching Hawkwind, Can, etc.

We fold coloured cardboard into tetrahedrons. Hundreds of them.

He paces,

Non-stop & frantic.

Occasionally petitioning:

“Oh shit! What now?”

Folding complete, we leave.

Sleepless Noel constructs overnight,

Morning submits this “spontaneous” work.


* Noel Coughlan who lived in Woodriff Street. Always on the search for new sounds, unheard of musicians – recently Garry Cockle said to me, “A lot of people talked about artists like John Cage, Noel actually listened to them”.  You might remember Noel is captured on film playing table tennis – Short Memory #297. Unfortunately, Noel was later hit by a taxi while crossing the road at Taylor Square in Darlinghurst.  He suffered severe brain damage – he was in his early twenties. He often drove us crazy, sometimes to the point of fury & frustration, but he remains fondly fixed in many memories.

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Close to midnight arrive home

After afternoon shift

Hands coppered green (despite gloves)

Smelling of metal, metallic mouth.

Wash it all away & feel brand new.

Onto the porch,

River & plains stretching below night sky.

Everyone’s asleep.

Sit, watch, listen

Melt into the night.

The silence, solitude, tranquility

Touched with beautiful melancholy.


This wasn’t written back then but expresses the feeling of those nights after finishing work at Crane Enfield. The song was written by Jimmy Webb but this instrumental version from Pat Metheny & Charlie Haden is the one for me.


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A favoured workstation, tubing is

Counted, weighed, bundled, boxed.

Heavy work but a lot cleaner.

And the boss cracks me up

Helme Karachi (spelling?) – The Lion of Egypt.*

My hammer’s missing, they took my hammer!!
They take my hammer, I’ll take their whole fucking toolbox!!

5′ 2″ of Egyptian lion on the warpath.**


* A title Helme gave to himself … well, that’s how he introduced himself to me.

** This probably sounds like he was violent but no …he could act that way when really rile up. But he was a diminutive lion with a big roar, and little bite. Helme was also very smart and really really funny. Well, at least that is how I saw him … I think there were others who did not have any respect for him at all.




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Castlereagh Rd, Crane Enfield – Copper Division

Tim Armstrong* & I

Hit bundy clock – 3pm daily.

Enter cavernous factory hall.

Miles & miles of copper tubes.

And brassy characters.

The silver-haired “dogman”**, pommy, union leader.

Struts along factory floor

Roll-your-own smoke stuck on his lip,

Barking orders & profanities.

Until 11pm, home whistle blows.


* Tim Armstrong was a year below me. He was a teammate in the last football team I played with – the photo is here at Short Memory #323 – Tim is standing to my left.

** The dogman is the bloke who instructs the crane driver.

*** Bloody hell this is Short Memory  #351, as I write this it is December 19th … 12 days of 2012 to go, and 14 stories to get to #365!! Two behind … and I had a day in hand (there being 366 days this year). So, really 3 days have disappeared somewhere – don’t worry they regularly disappeared back then too. I’ll fixed it in the next 12 days.

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Fire trail, nature walk

Winding up the mountain

Emerging at East Blaxland.

Follow regular road back down

Through residential zone

Down steep sharp curves of Old Bathurst Road.

Reports back to Mum.

Spied your son walking Old Bathurst Road,
Dressed to lead a funeral procession.

Love my hat, cane, & coat.

Wearing my hat, someone poking me with my cane, ... that's a different coat (my robe chinoiserie)

Wearing my hat, someone poking me with my cane, … that’s a different coat (my robe chinoiserie)

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Lights low, volume up

Sound clear, crisp, almost visible.

Voodoo rhythms, erotic, haunting

Soulful croaking vocals,

Voices echoing from beyond …

Language unknown … somehow understood.

Gris gris, gumbo ya-ya.

The only tense is the present.

Let it roll, let go control.

Night – very cool

In the house with the purple pool.

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No wonder no photos

D’artagnan: wrong venue!

… the Tennis Club hosts Nepean High’s farewell!!

Oh! Confusion.

Memory apologises

(and thanks Ruth, for the elbow in the ribs)



Penrith HS has “farewell” in their hall.

No mistake!

Sadly, I can’t attend (officially)

I’m there


For after-party

With many old friends & new love.

Sciv’s vineyard, Orchard Hills. (Right?)*

Wild night consuming, ingesting

Rolling ‘n’ tumbling around

Life’s beginnings & endings.

Sun rises

Over vines,

Strewn with evidence of good times.

*No, wrong again! Yes Orchard Hills is right but the event was a few streets away at a different property.

Orchard Hills circa 1973 - at the party the vines were leafy and fruity

Orchard Hills circa 1973 – at the party the vines were leafy and fruity

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No school hall at Nepean HS

Borrowed Penrith HS hall for

6th Form Farewell*

Pre-event drinks & etc done.

It’s time!

Out of 18th Century.

A respectful bow,

Plumed cavalier’s hat flourishing,

D’Artagnan makes his entry.

Swishes & swashes through the night.

Sadly (thankfully!) no photographic proof

Of the time-travelling Musketeer’s visit.


* The 6th Form Farewell is the equivalent of today’s Year 12 Formal – though the Farewell as you would guess was considerably less formal than today’s version.






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