Posts Tagged ‘gambling’

Bus rumbles along

Through hours of red dusty landscape.

One diversion, cards,

More engaging when

Playing for money.

Mr Ellem joins in.*

Pontoon, for cash.

Coins on a makeshift table

In the aisle of a bumpy bus

We play for hours.

Mr Ellem loses heavily

Schoolkids win,

My winnings … big – about $9.


* I am pretty sure this game took place along the Stuart Highway as we headed towards Alice Springs. The map below gives you a rough idea of our itinerary.

A, N=Penrith; B=Mt Isa; C= Camooweal; D=Three Ways; E=Katherine; F=Darwin; G=Alice Springs; H=Uluru (then known as Ayers Rock); I=Coober Pedy; J=Port Augusta; K=Adelaide; L=Mildura; M=Canberra




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Everyone is in action

For the Melbourne Cup.

The favourite is

My first bet in The Cup.

Previous years – sweep tickets only,

Random selection.

Drawn from a hat.

This year – it’s my choice.

But he’s scratched an hour before the race.

Big Philou – nobbled!

For me … message repeated, but unheeded.

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Regular trot nights,

A punt with Nana or Uncle Frank

There’s gotta be a way to beat the odds.

A system!

Try greyhounds – easier calculations

8 starters maximum.

Hours spent at night in bed

Listening to race calls

Tabulating results, working on systems

Evaluating them.

All fail.

Something’s not right.


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Thursday night, trots,

Poppy’s visiting

But no roof tonight

We’re all going.

Mum places my bet


“Strands fly back, they’re off!”

Two laps later

“I’ve won!”


It pays $20.

Mum returns from collecting.

“Sorry, I had the wrong numbers!”


Between ecstasy & agony: A worthy lesson.

And I missed it!

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Menu & prices cater

To families.

Comfortable, affordable meal.

A little bit “posh”, mmmm!

The club bistro at Panthers*.

Snack Bar Decor, Murals circa 1967. Love the “Chicken Dinners” mural. Phil’s demand was a bit later than this.

Most tables occupied – plenty of patrons.

Phil** – 6 or 7  – brazen, mischievous.

Announces loudly:

“Hey Rodge! I want a beer
and a go at the pokies!

Your the boss, aren’t you?”

Heads turn.

Crack up!


* At this stage the name hadn’t changed … it was still Penrith Rugby League Club.

** Youngest brother Phillip aka The Fat Man.

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Nana offers me a pick.

She loves a little play on the horses.

I scour over names,

Fascinating, colourful.

Nana, I pick this one.”

Pointing, unsure how to pronounce.

Uncle Frank applauds. Nana nods.

“Except the Sun, it’s the closest star.”

Ken Howard calls it:

Bet – ell – gurz.

Written: Betelgeuse.


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