My Day At Work In An Underground Goldmine



Copyright © G W Rehder

This story is dedicated to my sister Ina Boldhaus


This is something that I thought I would never do. But one day I arrived in Norseman with my partner Betty. I needed a job badly, we had just crossed the Nullarbor Plains, our car needed repair and we were running out of money. So I went to the Mine Office and applied for a job. To my surprise I was hired on the spot and told that I was to start the next morning at 8am. But I was told to be there at 7.30am at the latest.

 The Fellow then ask me if I had any Boots with a Steel toe caps, which I said that I hadn’t. After getting my size he got me a new pair of boots and told me that the money for them would be taken out of my first pay. I thanked him and drove home all excited. My Partner and I had rented a small Cottage not far from the Mine.

 Next morning I drove out to the Mine and was told to see the Foreman by the name of Jack Hindmarsh. When I found him I saw that he was a giant of a man, big but no fat on his body about 40 years of age. Naturally he was called “Big Jack”.

 After the introduction Jack took me to an adjoining building which was the Shower and Change Room. He showed me how everybody would come in here and get undressed and putting their clothes on a hook which had your number on it. This hook was on a rope which ran through a pulley at the ceiling and you would pull your cloth up and thus have them hanging from the ceiling. Next you walk naked past the showers into an identical room where you had your work cloth hanging. Jack explained to me that when you finished work, you came in here took off your dirty and most of the time wet clothing and hung them up to dry.

 Then you went for a shower and then fresh and clean you got into your everyday cloth and go home. I told him that I thought that this was a terrific idea. He smiled at me and said “Yeah, it also stops most people from smuggling Gold.”  This I had to find out for myself later on.

Next Jack took me again to his Office and handed me a Timecard also called a ”Plod.” I clocked myself in and went with Jack to the “Lamp room” where I was issued with a Belt and a Headlamp and Battery. Jack explained that I would keep the Belt throughout my employment, but the Lamp and Battery were handed in when I had finished work so that they could be recharged for use the next morning. The Lamp and Battery were also yours until the end of your Employment.

 Also Jack handed me a Safety Helmet which had a small bracket on the front of it where you put your Head Lamp.   Lastly he handed me over to a man named Bob Morten who was my “Shift Boss”. Shift Bosses are responsible for a certain amount of man working down underground in the Mine. Twice a Day they walk through the Mine checking on these men.

Not to see if they are working, but to make sure that there had been no Accident, or if the men need anything. Lot of the times I found these Shift Bosses at one of the many Tables, sitting and reading a Book. Anyway next it was off to the Mineshaft which went 4000’ feet at a 42° angle into the Gold-Mine. The Shift Boss introduced me to a fellow named George, who was going to teach me to be a Scraper Driver. This I looked forward to with great anticipation.

 Next I heard a noise coming from the Shaft, it was our transportation down into the Mine, and it was called a “Skip.” It carried about 12 People sitting next to and above each other. When all the men had been taken down then the Skip operators would take the seats out and take down gear for the miners. It usually consisted of, Pneumatic Drills and Accessories, also Explosives, like Gelignite and Anfo which was made up of Ammonium Nitrate (Fertiliser) and Diesel.

 While George and I were talking, the Skip had come up again and now it was our turn to go down. I have to be honest, I was shitting myself. The Bell rang twice and the Skip started moving. I found out that every time a new Person had started at the Mine they would give him Shit by telling loud Stories about the last time the Rope broke and the Skip went tumbling down the Mineshaft and more. Of course these Stories never happen, but later after I had worked in the Mine for a while, I found that some of the new People had actually gone up again and quit their Job.

Author with Pneumatic Drill

Anyway George and I got off at the 24 Level which is 2400’ feet deep. Here on the Platform it is very noisy from Air rushing out through the big wooden Door that shut us of from the rest of the Mine. I had to laugh, somebody had used a thick texture Pen and drawn a Cartoon Figure on the Door surface and written below it “Foo, was here!” It made me relax a bit.

 George grabbed what seem to be a heavy Carton and ask me to open the Door. I said “No worries!” and went to open the Door, but to my surprise I had to push as hard as I could to open it. When asking George what made it so hard, he told me that it was the Air from inside the mine pushing against it. Also as we entered through the Door I found we were in absolute Darkness and we had to turn on our Headlamps to see what we were doing.

 When I turned mine on it seemed like that I had a flat Battery and so I ask George to check it for me. He took one look, turned a little Knob on the Lap and it was bright like everyone else’s. George smiled and said to me “You Dummy! You have to check that it is on high beam.” And then showed me how. I thought that George was a nice Guy, about 56 years old, and he walked with a slight limp.

We walked another 10 meters into the Mine and came to a Tunnel that went in both directions. George told me that a horizontal Tunnel was called a “Drive”. It had small Railway lines running in both directions and I could see that there were a few Men standing around. It looked like they were waiting for someone.

 George was behind me carrying a big Box which he put up against the white Wall. George told me that the white rock was pure Quartz but there was also grey rock which was Granite. Next I could hear a rumbling in the distance and to my surprise it was an electric Locomotive with several flat Wagons. As it pulled up the men grabbed their Gear and loaded onto the Wagons.

 George ask me to sit our Box onto an empty flat Wagon. Everybody sat down on the Wagons with their Gear and George and I sat with our Box. One of the Men went to the Loco and climbed on, right away we took off. Every so often he would stop to let one of the Men off with their Gear. It wasn’t long and we got off too. When the Loco took off again I could see a Ladder that went up to a large Hole.

 George told me to climb up and that there was a Rope that I should throw one end down so I could pull up the Box. When I got to the top I threw one end down and George tied the Box to it. When I ask him what was in it, he told me it was “Gelignite” and so I thought to myself “Shit!”  I started to pull up the Box of Gelignite when suddenly the Box got hung up on one of the rungs in the Ladder. I pulled a bit harder and the Box fell back down towards George.

 What happen next was happen in less than a second. I didn’t know that Gelignite wouldn’t explode when it was dropped and so thinking that the whole box of Gelignite would explode, I threw myself flat on the ground behind me, right into a large puddle of water. Next I heard George singing out “Alright, try it now, but slowly.” I did and the Box came up to my delight.

When George came up to where I was, he ask me how come that I was all wet. When I told him what had happen and what I did, he laughed so much that I thought that he would never stop or do himself a injury. First he told me that the big Cave looking place we were in was called a “Stope” He said that the Machine-Miners would work in here first.

They would drill deep holes into the Rock Walls, to a certain pattern and in the Afternoon they would fill these Holes with Explosives called “Anfo”. Then at 2-30pm they would light the Fuses to the Explosives, after they would quickly depart from the Stope and then listen out to the amount of Explosions that could be heard.

 Every Miner knows how many of these holes he had drilled, filled with Explosives and then lit. If one or more charges had not exploded he had to notify his shift-boss, so that no one was allowed to enter that Stope until it was made Safe. Next he showed me the Rock-Wall where the Miner had drilled the Rock-Wall, which was called a “Face”

  After this he took me over to explain the “Scraper” to me. What I could see was a winch like looking machine, except instead of having one drum to hold the Cable it had two.  Both cables ran out to the Back-Wall, where at a certain spot a short hole had been drilled. In to it an Iron Pin with a ring had been solidly wedged into the Hole. Next you would place a Pulley onto the Pin and the feed one of the cables through it.

Author operating a Scraper

 The end of this cable would then be attached to the back of a Scraper- blade and the other cable-end to the front of the Scraper-Blade. By then pressing down on one of the drum brakes, you then can move the scraper-blade forward to fill it with ore or back to start a new run. In front of the Scraper is a big hole in the ground, which is the Ore-Pass.

You scrape all your small ore down into here. The Ore-Pass goes all the way down onto the next Level, where a Train will pick up the Ore. George then explained to me, that when I had scraped out all the Ore that I could get, I would have to move the Pulley over a bit. He was going to show me how to drill a small hole into the Ore-Face.

 First he brought up a Air-Hose next a Water-Hose, then he brought up a Pneumatic Drill, he connected an Air-Hose to the Drill. He also connected what he called an Air-Leg, which looked like a hydraulic ram. To this he connected the Air-Hose. Now by turning on the Air, not only could he use the Drill, but also use the Air-Leg to support the Drill and apply pressure to it.

 Next he put a Drill-Bit into the Drill. All Drill-Bits were hollow so that water could run through them whiles he was drilling. This was to stop him from making Dust by drilling. In the old Days the Miners had to use Drills without Water and so they were making lots of Dust. Because the Miners breathed in this fine Dust they slowly destroyed their Lunges and died.

Thus the Drills of old were called “Widowmakers”.  George then put a short Drill-Bit into the Drill and proceeded to drill a Hole into the Rock-Face.  It didn’t seem that long, but next it was Lunchtime and we climbed down from our Stope to the Drive where not far from us was a Table with Benches. Some of the Men were already sitting there, George introduced me all around and then told everyone the Story about me and the Gelignite.

Of course everybody laughed and I could feel my Face going Red. But they were a good Bunch and soon everybody was telling their Stories of doing something funny when they first went underground. Here I also learned that the Table was called a “Crib-Table” and your Lunch tin the Miners carry was called a Crib-Tin.

 George told me that if I saw the Blacksmith on the Surface, he would for a small Fee, make me a Crib-Tin. All I could think of, was that there was still so much I had to learn. When we got back to our place of work George showed me a couple of large Rocks and he told me that we had to break them up so that they could fit through the “Grisly” I have to ask George later what a “Grisly” is, as I was sure that it was not a Bear.

 When I ask George how the Hell were we going to break-up a Rock that size, as it seem to be pure Granit. He told me this is where the Gelignite came in. He continued to tell me that you would then drill a Hole into the Rock and place some Gelignite in it and thus blowing it up. The other way we could do it and we will, is by placing a Stick of Gelignite with Fuse on the Rock and then cover it up with wet Dirt.

He told me that the wet Dirt on it would make the force of the Blast go down and thus break the Rock in many smaller pieces. Once he had that done, he lit the Fuse with a special Fuselighter and told me to quickly follow him. He didn’t have to tell me twice. I ran after him and we waited just around the corner. He lit a Cigarette and we waited for the Blast which happen after we had been around the Corner for only a few seconds.

 George finished his Cigarette and we had a look at what damage the Blast had made. The Rock was split in many small pieces except for two, which George said we had to break-up with the Spoiler. I wondered if they brought out a Dictionary just for Miners. Naturally George showed me what a Spoiler was he came back with this giant Sledgehammer and told me that it was a Spoiler.

 He then proceeded to hit the Rock till it broke up into more pieces and told me that I could break-up the other one. After about 8 hits I could feel myself getting a Blister on my Hand, but I didn’t dare to say anything. Just after 2pm George started to pack our Gear away and we went back to the Crib-Table. We sat down and he told me that we were finish for the Day but the Skip wouldn’t come until after 3pm to pick us up of the Platform.

 After a while we walked out to the Platform where already some of the Miners were sitting or lying about. There were 2 Fellows that had a lot of Gear like Chainblocks and Steel Slings. George told me that these men were Underground-Riggers and that they would go up before anybody else as they had to clean and store their Equipment. Eventfully the Skip took us to the Surface where I saw the Forman standing by the Door to his Office.

 When he saw me he ask me how did I like my first Day Underground. I just grinned and told him that I would see him tomorrow. Well that was my first day. I still worked with George for the next Week, but after that I was put on my own. Several month later Jack ask me if I would like to try something else.

Author (second from left) with mates at the crib table

 I couldn’t see any reason why I shouldn’t and so Jack put me with Bluey, who was the Rigger. All I could think of was that this Job could be interesting, especially since I had worked in Queensland as a Rigger on high Buildings. I soon found out that this was nothing like it. Bluey was an easy-going old Fellow, he wasn’t far of retiring Jack told me they were looking for a suitable replacement.

Somebody told me that he was called “Two-way Bluey” as his Light would shine one way and he would walk the other way. There were many of these stories about Bluey but that is for later. I also found out that the Riggers main work was to shift things, like a Scraper from one Stope to another. Later in my Career I even had to shift a large Loco from the Surface to the 25 Level. Bluey and I were always going down on the last Skip and most of the Time we came up at about 2-30 pm.

 I as the Offsider was supposedly stay down in the Mine and come up with the rest of the Miners. Bluey had told Jack that he needed me with him on the Surface. Jack knew that this was Bullshit, but he wasn’t all that worried as long as we got the Job done. After about 3 Month working with Bluey, Jack told me that I would have to work from now on without Bluey as he last night had a Stroke and would not be coming back. The first thing that I did was order some more Equipment.

What I ordered was; Chain-Blocks, D-Shackles, Slings, Chain and most importantly a 5ton Tirfor. Nobody knew what a Tirfor was and so I had to explain that it was similar to an Endless Chain. You could get different length of Steel-Rope for it, up to 100’ feet long. The main body was flat about 3’ inches thick 2’ long and 12” high, it had a lever on top with a separate Handle for it.

The Steel-Cable you would feed through it attach the back End of the Tirfor to something solid and then pull the Cable through until you reach the Item that you want to move. Attach the Hook of the Rope to what you want to move, the Handle to the Tirfor. Move the Handle to and fro and you will move your Item towards you.

Mostly the Tirfor is use with SUVs as Recovery Gear.  On my first Day as a Rigger I had to go down to the 32 Level to move one of the big Sullivan Scrapers. With me I took Chain Blocks and Slings mainly also I had a large Canvas Shoulder bag in which I carried several different Spanners, some Pins and a Hammer, which is called a “Gympie” I don’t know where they get all these Names from. By the time that I got to the Stope that the Scraper was situated in I was wet right through from Sweat.

 It wasn’t the Heat, but the Humidity that was so bad down here. When I got to the Scraper I saw that somebody else had already taken of the Blade which meant less work for me. So I sat down on the ground and undid the 6 Nuts of the Bolts that were holding the Scraper to a wooden Bed. Only Scrapers that are going to be there for a while have a wooden Bed. Having the Nuts undone, I was lucky to discover a Drill Hole right above the Scraper.

With a narrow Wedge I hammered the Pin into the Hole and attached a Chain-Block to it. Next I put some Slings onto the Scraper and then connected them to the Chain Block. By now it was time for me to sit down and have a “Smoke.” I found out early in the Game that you have to take it easy. Nearly all Accidents are caused by your on neglect. I got up and started to pull on the Chain, but no matter how hard I pulled the Scraper would not move.

 I walked around the scraper but could not find anything. What I needed was a big Steel Bar to try to loosen the Scraper, but as I didn’t have one with me I had to find other means. The only thing that I could think of was to use Hammer and Chisel. I found both in my Bag and so proceeded to try under one corner first. After a few hits I found that I was in Luck and so again I worked the Chain-Block. I found that still it was not lifting but just taking up the slack.

 I kept on hitting that chisel till it disappeared, still pulling up more slack I moved the Chisel to the opposite corner. There after a few hits the Scraper was free and I was able to lift it of the Bed. Next I looked in the direction that I had to drag the Scraper. By doing this I could roughly guess where I had to put the next Pin for the Chain-Block.

 I was in Luck and found a Pin-Hole right where I had wanted it. Old Bluey must have had them put there to bring the Scraper in. So from here on it got better. It was still hard going, pull it forward, shift the Chain-Block, then forward again and so on. After a while I had to take a break again and just as I sat down Jack came to find me.

 He greeted me and then sat down too. He then ask me if I could leave this Job for now and go to where Colin was working on the 22 Level. Apparently his Scraper Blade had fallen down the Ore-Pass as it had snapped one of the Ropes. I ask Jack if Colin hadn’t tried to pull it up with the other rope. Jack smiled and told me that Colin had tried but broke the other Rope too.

 I put my Tools into my Bag, slung a Chain-Block over my Shoulder and walked out to the Shaft to catch the Skip up to the 22 Level. Jack came out with me and so it was him that rang the Bell to get the Skip down to us. As soon as he rang, the Phone rang and the Skip Operator (Skippy) as why did we want the Skip. When he found out that it was Jack that had rung he brought the Skip down to us. I loaded my Gear and we went up to the 22 Level.

 Once we got there I grabbed one of the Locos that was sitting there and drove to the Stope where Colin was working. Just to make things clear, after a while at the mine everybody knows where everybody else is working. When I got into the Stope Colin was waiting for me. He was happy to see me and so ask how I was going to get his Scraper-Blade out of the Ore-Pass.

 The Ore-Pass is fairly deep as it reaches right down to the next Level where the Trains pull the Ore out to take it to the Grisly. I leaned carefully over the edge of the Ore-Pass and I could see the Scraper-Blade right at the bottom. I was glad that I had brought with me my climbing Rope. I attached on end to the Scraper as I knew that this was solid.

 By now a couple more men had arrived, I think mostly to watch. I told Colin that I was going to climb down on my Rope and then try to reattach the Steel-Rope to the Blade. The men that were standing around us told me that I was Mad. I think to do this Job one has to be Mad. Colin’s and my main worries were that there was about half a ton of Ore hanging up above the Blade.

 He told me that he had tried to dislodge it with no Luck. I just told him not to worry and started to climb down. As I got level with the Ore that was hung up I started to worry a bit, but then I thought “What the Hell” and kept climbing down. Once at the bottom of the Ore-Pass with the Scraper-Blade I carefully tied the Steel-Rope to the back of the Blade.

This way the Blade shouldn’t catch on anything and go up without any problems. One thing, I was going to make sure that I was out of that Hole before they brought up that Scraper-Blade. Here I nearly didn’t make it, as I got near the Top of the Ore-Pass. With all the Perspiration I had on my Hands, I lost my grip on the Rope and slid back down, with the Rope cutting deep into the Flesh of my Arm. Now forty Years later, one can still see the Marks from the Rope on my right Arm. Lots more funny things happen down here, but I will leave that for another time.

I hope you enjoyed reading this short-story.   

An Occurrence at Wallaby Creek Bridge

by George W Rehder

A man stood upon a railroad bridge in northern Queensland,

  looking down into the swift water twenty feet below. The man’s hands were behind his back, the wrists bound with a cord. His tie closely encircled his neck. It was attached to a stout cross-timber above his head and the slack fell to the level of his belt. Some loose boards laid upon the sleepers supporting the metals of the railway supplied a footing for him.

It did not appear to be the duty of these two men to know what was occurring at the centre of the bridge; they merely blockaded the two ends of the foot planking that traversed it. Beyond one of the sentinels nobody was in sight; the railroad ran straight away into a forest for a hundred yards, then, curving, was lost to view. Doubtless there was an outpost farther along. The other bank of the stream was open ground—a gentle acclivity topped with a stockade of vertical tree trunks,

He looked a moment at his “unsteadfast footing,” then let his gaze wander to the swirling water of the stream racing madly beneath his feet. A piece of dancing driftwood caught his attention and his eyes followed it down the current. How slowly it appeared to move! What a sluggish stream! He closed his eyes in order to fix his last thoughts upon his wife and children. The water, touched to gold by the early sun,  occurrence at Wallaby Creek bridge in the midst of life the brooding mists under the banks at some distance down the stream, the Railway station, the men, the piece of drift—all had distracted him. And now he became conscious of a new disturbance. Striking through the thought of his dear ones was a sound which he could neither ignore nor understand, a sharp, distinct, metallic percussion like the stroke of a blacksmith’s hammer upon the anvil; it had the same ringing quality. He wondered what it was, and whether immeasurably distant or near by—it seemed both. Its recurrence was regular, but as slow as the tolling of a death knell.

He awaited each new stroke with impatience and—he knew not why—apprehension. The intervals of silence grew progressively longer; the delays became maddening. With their greater infrequency the sounds increased in strength and sharpness. They hurt his ear like the trust of a knife; he feared he would shriek. What he heard was the ticking of his watch. He unclosed his eyes and saw again the water below him. “If I could free my hands,” he thought, “I might loosen the tie and spring into the stream. By diving I could evade the bullets and, swimming vigorously, reach the bank, take to the woods and get away home. My home, thank God, is as yet outside their lines; my wife and little ones are still beyond the invader’s farthest advance.” As these thoughts, which have here to be set down in words, were flashed into the doomed man’s brain rather than evolved from it the senior Constable  nodded to the sergeant. The sergeant stepped aside.

Edward Whitney was a well-to-do planter, of an old and highly respected Queensland family. Being a Tabaco owner and like other Tabaco owners a politician he was naturally an original secessionist and ardently devoted to the One Nation cause. Circumstances of an imperious nature, which it is unnecessary to relate here, had prevented him from taking service with the gallant army which had fought the disastrous campaigns ending with the fall of Corinth, and he chafed under the inglorious restraint, longing for the release of his energies, the larger life of the soldier, the opportunity for distinction. That opportunity,

he felt, would come, as it comes to all in war time. Meanwhile he did what he could. No service was too humble for him to perform in the aid of the One Nation, no adventure too perilous for him to undertake if consistent with the character of a civilian who was at heart a soldier, and who in good faith and without too much qualification assented to at least a part of the frankly villainous dictum that all is fair in love and war. One evening while Whitney and his wife Ruth were sitting on a rustic bench near the entrance to his grounds, a Jeans and T-Shirt-clad young man rode up to the gate and asked for a drink of water. Mrs. Whitney was only too happy to serve him with her own white hands. While she was fetching the water her husband approached the dusty horseman and inquired eagerly for news from Brisbane. “The Railroad Fettlers  are repairing the railroads,” said the man, “and are getting ready for a lot more work.

They have reached the Wallaby Creek bridge, put it in order and built a small Hut on the north bank. The “Brass” has issued an order, which is posted everywhere, declaring that any Person caught interfering with the railroad, its bridges, tunnels, or trains will be summarily Prosecuted. I saw the order.” “How far is it to the Wallaby Creek bridge?” Whitney asked. “About thirty miles.” “Is there anybody on this side the creek?” “Only a Fettler half a mile out, on the railroad, and a single Bloke at this end of the bridge.” I was there a month ago,” he replied. “I observed that the flood of last winter had lodged a great quantity of driftwood against the wooden pier at this end of the bridge. It is now dry and would burn like tow.” The lady had now brought the water, which the young man drank. He thanked her ceremoniously, bowed to her husband and rode away. An hour later, after nightfall, he repassed the Farm, going northward in the direction from which he had come. He was a Federal Detective.

As Edward Whitney fell straight downward through the bridge he lost consciousness and was as one already dead. From this state he was awakened—ages later, it seemed to him—by the pain of a sharp pressure upon his throat, followed by a sense of suffocation. Keen, poignant agonies seemed to shoot from his neck downward through every fibre of his body and limbs. These pains appeared to flash along well defined lines of ramification and to beat with an inconceivably rapid periodicity. They seemed like streams of pulsating fire heating him to an intolerable temperature. As to his head, he was conscious of nothing but a feeling of fullness—of congestion. These sensations were unaccompanied by thought. The intellectual part of his nature was already effaced; he had power only to feel, and feeling was torment.

He was conscious of motion. Encompassed in a luminous cloud, of which he was now merely the fiery heart, without material substance, he swung through unthinkable arcs of oscillation, like a vast pendulum. Then all at once, with terrible suddenness, the light about him shot upward with the noise of a loud plash; a frightful roaring was in his ears, and all was cold and dark. The power of thought was restored; he knew that the Wooden Bridge had broken and he had fallen into the stream. There was no additional strangulation; the Tie around his neck was already suffocating him and kept the water from his lungs. To die of strangulation at the bottom of a river!—the idea seemed to him ludicrous. He opened his eyes in the darkness and saw above him a gleam of light, but how distant, how inaccessible!

He was still sinking, for the light became fainter and fainter until it was a mere glimmer. Then it began to grow and brighten, and he knew that he was rising toward the surface—knew it with reluctance, for he was now very comfortable. “To be strangled and drowned,” he thought, “that is not so bad; but I do not wish to be die. No; I will not die; that is not fair.” He was not conscious of an effort, but a sharp pain in his wrist apprised him that he was trying to free his hands. He gave the struggle his attention, as an idler might observe the feat of a juggler, without interest in the outcome. What splendid effort!—what magnificent, what superhuman strength!

 Ah, that  was a fine Endeavor! Bravo! The Tie fell away; his arms parted and floated upward, the hands dimly seen on each side in the growing light. He watched them with a new interest as first one and then the other pounced upon the Tie around his neck. They tore it away and thrust it fiercely aside, its undulations resembling those of a water snake. “Put it back, put it back!” He thought he shouted these words to his hands, for the undoing of the noose had been succeeded by the direst pang that he had yet experienced. His neck ached horribly; his brain was on fire, his heart, which had been fluttering faintly, gave a great leap, trying to force itself out at his mouth. His whole body was racked and wrenched with an insupportable anguish!

 But his disobedient hands gave no heed to the command. They beat the water vigorously with quick, downward strokes, forcing him to the surface. He felt his head emerge; his eyes were blinded by the sunlight; his chest expanded convulsively, and with a supreme and crowning agony his lungs engulfed a great draught of air, which instantly he expelled in a shriek! He was now in full possession of his physical senses. They were, indeed, preternaturally keen and alert. Something in the awful disturbance of his organic system had so exalted and refined them that they made record of things never before perceived. He felt the ripples upon his face and heard their separate sounds as they struck. He looked at the forest on the bank of the stream, saw the individual trees, the leaves and the veining of each leaf—he saw the very insects upon them: the locusts, the brilliant-bodied flies, the gray spiders stretching their webs from twig to twig. He noted the prismatic colors in all the dewdrops upon a million blades of grass.

The humming of the gnats that danced above the eddies of the stream, the beating of the dragon-flies’ wings, the strokes of the water spiders’ legs, like oars which had lifted their boat—all these made audible music. A fish slid along beneath his eyes and he heard the rush of its body parting the water. He had come to the surface facing down the stream; in a moment the visible world seemed to wheel slowly round, himself the pivotal point, and he saw the bridge, the Railway Station, the men upon the bridge, the senior Constable , the sergeant, and the two men, he had seen earlier in the Day. They were in silhouette against the blue sky. They shouted and gesticulated, pointing at him.  

The man in the water saw the eye of the man on the bridge gazing into his own through the sights of the rifle. He observed that it was a grey eye and remembered having read that grey eyes were keenest, and that all famous marksmen had them. Nevertheless, this one was just staring at him. A counter-swirl had caught Whitney and turned him half round; he was again looking into the forest on the bank opposite the Railway Station. The sound of a clear, high voice in a monotonous singsong now rang out behind him and came across the water with a distinctness that pierced and subdued all other sounds, even the beating of the ripples in his ears.. How coldly and pitilessly—with what an even, calm intonation, presaging, and enforcing tranquillity in the men—with what accurately measured interval fell those kind words: “Get that man out of the water”!  Whitney went under again, for he never learned to swim, dived—dived as deeply as the River would take him. The water roared in his ears like the voice of Niagara, yet he heard the dulled thunder of the volley and, rising again toward the surface, saw men swimming towards him. As he rose to the surface, gasping for breath, he saw that he had been a long time under water; he was perceptibly farther downstream—nearer to safety.

he was now floating vigorously with the current. His brain was as energetic as his arms and legs; he thought with the rapidity of lightning. God help me, I cannot go on much longer. An appalling plash which stirred the very river to its deeps! A rising sheet of water curved over him, fell down upon him, blinded him, strangled him! The water, the banks, the forests, the now distant bridge, Railway Station and men—all were commingled and blurred. Objects were represented by their colours only; circular horizontal streaks of colour—that was all he saw. He had been caught in a vortex and was being whirled on with a velocity of advance and gyration that made him giddy and sick. In a few moments he was flung upon the gravel at the foot of the left bank of the stream—the southern bank—and behind a projecting point which concealed him from the men that were searching for him. The sudden arrest of his motion, the abrasion of one of his hands on the gravel, restored him, and he wept with delight. He dug his fingers into the sand, threw it over himself in handfuls and audibly blessed it. It looked like diamonds, rubies, emeralds; he could think of nothing beautiful which it did not resemble.

The trees upon the bank were giant garden plants; he noted a definite order in  occurrence at Wallaby Creek bridge in the midst of life their arrangement, inhaled the fragrance of their blooms. A strange roseate light shone through the spaces among their trunks and the wind made in their branches the music of aeolian harps. He had no wish to perfect his escape—was content to remain in that enchanting spot until retaken. He sprang to his feet, rushed up the sloping bank, and plunged into the bush. All that day he travelled, laying his course by the rounding sun. The forest seemed interminable; nowhere did he discover a break in it, not even an old wagon track.  He had not known that he lived in so wild a region. There was something uncanny in the revelation. By nightfall he was fatigued, footsore, famishing. The thought of his wife and children urged him on. At last he found a road which led him in what he knew to be the right direction. It was as wide and straight as a city street, yet it seemed untraveled. No fields bordered it, no buildings anywhere. Not so much as the barking of a dog suggested human habitation.

The black bodies of the trees formed a straight wall on both sides, terminating on the horizon in a point, like a diagram in a lesson in perspective. Overhead, as he looked up through this rift in the wood, shone great golden stars looking unfamiliar and grouped in strange constellations. He was sure they were arranged in some order which had a secret and malign significance. The wood on either side was full of singular noises, among which— once, twice, and again—he distinctly heard whispers in an unknown tongue. His neck was in pain and lifting his hand to it found it horribly swollen. He knew that it had a circle of black where the tie had bruised it. His eyes felt congested; he could no longer close them. His tongue was swollen with thirst; he relieved its fever by thrusting it forward from between his teeth into the cold air. How softly the turf had carpeted the untraveled avenue—he could no longer feel the roadway beneath his feet! Doubtless, despite his suffering, he had fallen asleep while walking, for now he sees another scene—perhaps he has merely recovered from a delirium. He stands at the gate of his own home.

All is as he left it, and all bright and beautiful in the morning sunshine. He must have travelled the entire night. As he pushes open the gate and passes up the wide white walk, he sees a flutter of female garments; his wife, looking fresh and cool and sweet, steps down from the veranda to meet him. At the bottom of the steps she stands waiting, with a smile of ineffable joy, an attitude of matchless grace and dignity. Ah, how beautiful she is! He springs forwards with extended arms. As he is about to clasp her he feels a stunning blow upon the back of the neck; a blinding white light blazes all about him with a sound like the shock of a cannon—then all is darkness and silence! Edward Whitney was dead; his body, with a broken neck, swung gently from side to side beneath the timbers of the Wallaby Creek bridge. His Tie had been caught by one of the many rusted nails!!

My Golden Cage

By George W Rehder

So why do I call it “My golden cage”? Well I am 81 years old and disabled and so I finished up living in a Nursing Home in a town in Western Australia. To me it is a golden cage that I live in because this would be the lovelies Nursing home that anyone could wish to live in. So now let me tell you about my life here and my thoughts & dreams. I live in a modest small room with an ensuite. I have added some extras to make my life a bit more like home. I have added a small desk, a bar-fridge and a small cupboard. For entertainment I have my computer, TV, Samsung Tablet & Phone. So why, golden cage? Golden; because I have everything that a person could desire. A perfect diagonal controlled bed, where the sheets get changed whenever I desire.

 As soon as I take off my clothes, they get picked up by one of the many carers to be washed and returned by the next day. I have morning, afternoon and evening Tea and snacks brought to me three times a day. The main meals are either delivered to your room or you can eat in the dining room. We are lucky to have excellent cooks tha provide us with restaurant quality meals with deserts twice a day. A nurse is there 24/7 to look after your medical needs. We also have two physios and an Occupational Therapist present. But more about the staff later. Now why do I think that I am in a cage? Apart from myself there are 30 odd other residents (They don’t call us patients anymore) living here and most of them are incapacitated and all of us are here for the same reason, we are waiting to die! Sounds terrible, doesn’t it?

 But it is true and the staff here make the transition as lovely as possible. So there is my cage! As I am still to a certain degree ambulant, I will go to the shopping centre a couple of times a week on my mobility scooter. I am the only resident that is cable to do so. Sometimes I bring back items from the shops for other residents. At no extra cost we can have things like fresh fruit, Ice-creams, potato chips and even non-alcoholic wines, of which I get 2 bottles per week. The management does not take away your independency or freedom. Except we are somewhat restricted with covid-19 being around.

let’s go back a bit.

Sitting in my big leather chair back at my old home, wondering what to do!

I have just been told that I got one week to get into the Nursing home or loser my place.

I am afraid of the unknown. I have heard so many bad things about nursing homes and how the treat their clients.

My friends encourage me to go, also my doctor wants me to go and so reluctantly I give in and let Juniper know of my decision.

Next, I sell all my furniture, but you never get anyway near what it cost you. Plus, there are so many memories attached to each piece.

My Chair

I pack 15 boxes full of memorabilia that I don’t wish to lose, these will go to my daughter in Fremantle. Until she can pick them up, they will be stored at the Juniper office. The co-ordinator from Juniper was kind enough to offer to keep them at their office until my daughter can pick them up.

Even so I have lived here for the past 11 years I did not make any real friends that I could rely on to help me in this time of need. But all the carers from Juniper who had been looking after me for the past few years were fantastic.

I had never seen so much care in one person until I met the team from Juniper.

But back to my predicament, I asked my neighbours to help themselves to anything that was in my unit. Which they reluctantly did, I think that they were embarrassed as we had been good neighbours for several years.

This still left me with a terrible lot of stuff, all the electrical items in the kitchen were still there, bedsheets, blankets, towels and lots of other things that you use in your daily life.

Then I had a brilliant Idea, I would donate everything to a Opp-shop and so I rang the Opp-shop and told them of my problem. They, of course were thrilled to be given so much stuff and came around the next day to pick everything up. I still had a lot off office equipment which I had been using over the years, also a bag full of First Aid Items. So, one of my carers told me that I should donate these items to the nursing home that I was about to enter that morning. 9.30am came and we had to be at the nursing home by ten o’clock.

Nursing Home

One of the Juniper carer’s had volunteered to take me there in her car as I had no transport of my own except for my “Gopher” another word for my mobility scooter. When my carer took me inside the Nursing home, we were greeted by lots of smiling faces, which made me feel less apprehensive. We were first checked out at their COVID-19 station after which the senior staff made me very welcome and kept remining me that if I had any concerns or needed something that I should just use the call-bell in my room, and someone would come and see me.

Well, we got to room 8, which was going to be my home for the next umpteen years. I thought it was a very nice room. Spotless clean with welcome flowers and card on my bed. Apart from my bed there were build-in wardrobes and a bedside cupboard. After my carer left, I closed the door to my room, sat on my bed and for the first time in many years I cried. I felt so hopelessly alone and forgotten. All I wanted to do was leave and go back to my old life. Shortly after there was a knock on my door and a young lady came in and brought me a cup of coffee and some cake. She saw my tear-stained face and reassured me that I would eventually love my new life in the nursing home. The next day I realised that I had not made any arrangements to have my unit cleaned and so I rang around trying to find someone to do the cleaning. After a couple of frustrating days, I gave up. Nobody I knew could do it as they were too busy living their own lives and I could not afford to get professional cleaners in. As a after thought I should have paid the professionals as 4 weeks later, I got a $1600-00 bill from Homeswest which I am still trying to pay off. So, beware if you are living in government accommodation you can expect a big bill whether you left your place clean or not.

My Room

After settling into my new home, I made some enquiries to see if I could get a small desk so that I could set – up my Computer which I can not live without. Next day the maintenance men brought me a small desk that he had found in his shed. (fantastic) In time I also bought myself a small bar-fridge and my daughter bought me another bedside table.

Yawn! 7am and I am waking up, but just enough so that I go back to sleep. I am thinking “just a half an hour” and so I wake up at 8am. I carefully get my feet out of bed onto the floor and after a drink of stale coffee I grab hold of my walking frame and step into the corridor where about 5 meters from my door is the linen & towel trolly situated. I grab some towels and a face washer, and it is back to my room. Into my ensuite and I turn the water on, lousy pressure! Normally one of the carers must be with you to help you with your shower and getting dressed, but in my case, I told them not to worry about me. So, with being short on staff and having lots of other residents to look after, I now have a shower by myself.

I feel the same then when I was a child and my mum finally let me have a shower by myself. Lol. After getting dressed I check my Email and do a few things on my computer. After this done, I am off to the dining room. There are still a few people sitting there. I sit down at my usual table and observe one of the pretty carers coming over to me. We pass the time for a moment and then she is of to the kitchen to get me my coffee. She knows how I like my coffee and so after a few minutes she comes back with my own cup filled with hot coffee. She also knows that I never have breakfast, a habit that I developed a few years ago.

Every Nursing Home has it’s good and bad and after 3 month here I have not really found any bad. Maybe the one thing is at no fault of the management and that is that we are short on staff. But so are most of the other Care Institutions.

 I just heard that in a Wanneroo Age-Care Unit a resident passed away and the relatives were not told about it for 5 days. How awful and sad, this should never happen and there are NO excuses for this. So sad!

The Nurse

First thing in the morning you will find one of our nurses making her round dispensing tablets and medication. I don’t mind the tablets, but I hate the Movicol.

Next the dayshift carers come around to help with your hygiene (showers etc.) and then make up your beds. Some of the residents will need their hair done and a bit of make-up put on. (makes you feel much more alive)

After this is done breakfast is brought around to the residents that can not go to the dining room. Usually you have a choice of Porridge, scrambled eggs or toast with a drink of your choice (Coffee, Tea, Milo etc.).

Anyone who can not feed themselves has a loving carer assigned to them who will feed them after which they will be moved into the activity lounge where they can rest or watch television on the big screen. Usually after a while they will be joined by other residents.

After breakfast everyone does their own thing or joins in at the games in the Activity room. Today we had Bingo!

Our non walking residents here get moved about in wheelchairs and in princess chairs (see enclosed Picture)

These Chairs fold right back and are so comfortable that a resident can stay in there for most of the day and also be brought into the dining room to eat with the rest of us.

About ten o’clock we have morning-tea served at our room or to where ever we might be. It usually consist of Coffee, Tea etc. and some sort of a snack (Sandwich, Biscuit or Cake) At one time the Chef came around and served everybody with freshly made pancakes and topping!

Lunch is usually a substantial meal of (Today we are having – baked salmon with lemon-pepper sauce and vegetables) also a desert of Fresh Fruits with Ice cream. Yummy!! Also again drinks of your choice!

I must mention that at anytime you can get the following from the Kitchen; Fresh Fruit, Ice cream in Cones, or on a stick, Fruit Drinks etc. and even the occasional Bottle of non-alcoholic wine.

In the Afternoon we have word games, sport games (Cricket etc.) or Movies which we have over a 100 to choose from. At this time I usually have an hour laydown. I forgot to mention that every morning I print-out the daily Northam weather report and the thought for the day, which I put up on 2 notice boards. In time to come I will hope that I can also write a monthly newsletter.

Activity Room

Afternoon tea is usually the same as in the morning, again served with a smiling face.

Five o’clock is dinner. Which begins with a soup being served. I love the mushroom soup! The main meal consist of Italian Meatloaf with Italian sauce. For the dessert we have Mango Mousse with topping and then of course drinks are being served. The kitchen usually have a staff of 2 – 4 persons and have extra helpers to take meals to the Residents that do not eat in the dinning room.

Whiles being here the afternoon Nurse comes around with our (my) tablets

Dinning Room

Well, it is now time for me to watch a movie on Netflix. About nine o’clock I get my sleeping pill and then at 9.30pm it is of to sleep for me.


Let’s talk some more about “Pedophiles” they make a good subject. I personally would like to eradicate the lot of the Face of this Earth. The Problem being, if you get rid of one, another one pops up. So how can we win? I passionately think that we can’t. The best we can hope for is to slow them down by getting into their Face, “So to speak” So what do we have to do. Here are some Ideas of mine which have been used in some Countries. If you know of one, put a Placard with his Picture and Information in his Front Yard for all to see. Put an Ad in the Local Newspaper and tell People about him and his whereabouts. If you see him talking to someone say “Excuse me do you know this Person is a Pedophile?”

Do everything possible to annoy him. But don’t break the Law!  Don’t look for the stereo type in a Pedophile because they come in all shapes and sizes. I have seen Pedophiles as young as 19 years old and he was the worse I had ever seen. It surprised me when I found out there are also Female Pedophiles. But why not. I just thought that with “Motherly Instinct” that this could not occur. But there are. Look at your own Family Members. I know you couldn’t believe that about “Uncle Hector” Look for signs.  He is taking Pictures of them. He goes into the Kiddie Pool with them. He volunteers to Baby Sit them.

Then shower or Bath them. He might even show them “Funny “Pictures. He knows more tricks than you can imagine. Pedophilia is a Disease a Sickness; it makes him do these things. But there is NO excuse for this.  Be vigilante, your Children are precious, don’t let them get hurt. Scars from this act will last a lifetime. Remember exposed Pedophiles can’t hide, someone will recognize him. I have seen Pedophiles live in Australian Outback Towns trying to hide. But everyone knew. I will be forever be on the lookout for Pedophiles, will you?


I like to tell you a story (a true Story} that happened many years ago

We just moved into a House that was supplied by the Government. From the Caravan Park where I had been the Manager. Anyway it was a nice house and big enough for the 5 of us.

A couple of days later a Friend of mine came visiting and he took me aside to rely a story my youngest Daughter had told him.

He said that she didn’t tell me, because she thought she would get into Trouble.

But she knew that if she told him, that he would tell me.Apparently Matt one of the Caravaners, Quite a pleasant Fellow approached my


Apparently Matt one of the Caravanners, Quite a pleasant Fellow approached my Daughter to come to his Caravan to look at some petty Items that he made from Fiberglass. She had seen me quite often talking to Joe and even having a Cup of Coffee there. Anyway she went with him looking at all the pretty things. He told her that he also had some Home movies. That he was going to put on. (They were of Naked Children from Thailand)

While she was distracted, he had pulled out his Penis and started to masturbate asking if he could touch her improbably, she ran home, but didn’t say anything. But she found out from other Kids in the Park that they had been approached by Matt too. One Mother when she found out that he had touched her 8 year old Boy, took the Boy and a large Kitchen Knife and confronted Matt. Said to him he could pull his Penis out now and she’ll cut it off. I believe that she would have done so but he ran off into the surrounding Bush.

After my friend told me I asked my 10year old Daughter if this was true. When she confirmed everything I got so mad that I jumped into my Car to confront him. But in my hurry I hit another Car doing quite some Damage. So instead of confronting him I told the Police the Story. Matt got arrested and after a lengthy Trial. Even so the police found out that he was wanted for the same thing in Kalgoorlie He only got 12 month Jail. 9month with good behavior. So much for Justice. At least he got some justice dished out to him in Jail. I am very proud to say that my Daughter now is a Policewomen.

Not all Disabilities are visible.

This is something I think I can talk about. People look at you and think a young man in a Wheelchair; I bet there is nothing wrong with him, or there goes another Dole Bludger.

Let me tell you, pushing a Wheelchair is not an easy job, whether you are sitting in it or walking behind pushing it.

OK, I am not a young man anymore, but I still went through it all. It started all with a back injury naturally not at work; at least I would have gotten compensation or a Pension. No I did it helping a Friend out. When it happened I fell to the floor and stayed there, I just couldn’t get up again and I was lying behind the Shed where nobody could hear me. After a while which seemed like hours a delivery person found me. I was taken into the house being in screaming agony.

We were on a Farm some Kilometers from Town. They all tried to get me to the Car, but there was no hope. I had too much pain. Anyway I finished up seeing a Doctor and another and another and so on. I don’t want to mention that I Family to support. Life went on, but I didn’t have a Day without Pain. I managed to walk around with the help of a walking stick. When you are a big and strong Person, there is nothing worse than feeling helpless.

By this time I was sick of Doctors and Hospitals. I felt like I was being used as a Guiney Pig.

Then one day what is now Centrelink got in touch with me, wanting me to see their Government Doctor, so that I could go onto a Disability Pension and get of Sickness Benefit.

That was very nice, but I was having a bad Day and so I took it out on the Doctor, in fact I blew the shit out of her. I still got the Pension.

I tried at lots of times to get Work. But because of my back injury I could not get Insurance.

No Insurance, no Job.

This went on for many years, my Kids grew up and left Home. My back condition never changed; sometime my pain went bad other times it was less.

Some years later my marriage fell apart and I remarried, by which time I had developed chronic Angina.  We or she bought us an ex Ambulance and a 32” Caravan and we went travelling all over Northern Australia. We did all this while being on a Pension, but in 1996 I had a Job offered to me driving a Bus for a few Days for the local YMCA. It looked like a permanent Job and so we went of the Pension. My Wife being a Nurse was offered a Job in the Kimberley’s.

There went my job with the YMCA and we went to the Kimberley’s working in an Aboriginal Mission. There was no work for me there so having a good Computer I taught myself everything there was to know about computing. So a year later my wife got a job in the Hospital and I managed to get a job as a Clerk doing mainly Data input. By now I was managing nicely without my Walking Stick, but my pain was getting worse. I could only work 6 hours a day. A year later we went south to another Aboriginal Mission. Approximately 12 month later we went to work in the city again. We both worked in the Hospital. Here to I had problems with pain to and again I could only work 6 Hours. I was also got diagnosed with Chronic Sleep-Apnea. In 2004 my marriage fell apart when I walked out and shifted to Perth. Four years later I got married again. We lived happily in the Country till I started having Heart problems again, which was resolved with having Stents put into my Arteries. Soon I was experiencing more problems, like severe Fatigue, more pain.

After seeing the Doctor and having several test done. I learned that my Piturity Gland was malfunction.  It was getting so bad that we had to sell our home and shifted closer to Medical Service in the City. Here I was diagnosed with emphysema and having more test done due to the increase in pain. After approximately 6 month of ongoing test we found that I was suffering from Fibromyalgia a condition not unlike Chronic Fatigue Syndrome except with Fibromyalgia you keep falling over, and the Pain is much more severe especially in the joints and long bones. Now in 2013 I find I am using Crutches, a Wheelchair and I just been measured for a Walking Frame. The funny part is you still can’t see that there is anything wrong with me. –

How do I like my Wheelchair? I hate it, but it helps me to get around. We mainly use it when going to the big Hospital in the City and what I hate most about it is that my Wife has to push me as I get Fatigued too quickly. A few months ago I went to the shopping center; everything went fine until I had to go up a little bit of a ramp. Well no matter what I did my left Wheel kept slipping. Many People walked past me including two Policemen. Helping me couldn’t have been part of their Job description.

Such is Life. I eventually got into the shop by wheeling myself around to the other Entrance. My Wife had to pick me up. When we got home I was so fatigued that I had to go to Bed. I try to live as normal a life as possible. I always say, you have to learn to adapt. Yeh, try it; there are times when nothing goes right. We have a small Garden and my wife decided she would put in reticulation. While she was out shopping, I decided to help her by fixing a small elbow on the hose.

When I went to join the Elbow onto the pipe I fell down. Well I stayed there and just cried, because I felt so utterly useless. Then there was the time when my Knee gave way and I collapsed onto the floor, the pain in my knee was so bad that I could not get up. My wife was not home so I had to crawl into the bedroom and into bed where I stayed till my wife returned Home. There are so many incidents like that and people still think there is nothing wrong with you. On my last examination they found that my body is riddled with Arthritis.  What next?

Monica and I

Author in Brisbane/Queensland

This Story starts in Bucasia near Mackay, Queensland. I own 5 acres of land here and it goes right down to the Beach. On it is a 2 story house made from corrugated Iron. Here I live with my girlfriend Monica. We met 3 months ago in Mackay at Mitchelmore’s Dance. Well that’s how it all started. We had a few dances and by closing time we were dancing very close. That night I took Monica home to West-Mackay and we promised to see each other again the next day after work.  Her work that is, I work as a Freelance Photographer. I enjoy the work as it gives me plenty of time to myself. In between assignments I would play on my 23′ Catamaran which I had towed onto the Beach at my place. But let’s get to the story. I awoke to another Hot day. The hot Sun was shining down onto the corrugated iron roof and walls. Monica looked beautiful in her naked form. She turned over, smiled and we made love. Monica is something special. Her Dad is an Ozie from Adelaide where he was with the Air-Force for many Years. Her Mother is Chinese,

Which makes Monica a very beautiful girl. She said that today she was going to prepare things for my 26 th Birthday Party on the Weekend. The House is pretty secluded and not many people come by. It had 2 rooms, one downstairs; had a dirt-floor. In it we had a table, lots of chairs, a big wood-stove in one corner and the most important thing; a kerosene fridge. We had some cupboards in the room and big tree-like columns to hold-up the second Floor. Which is the bedroom. To get to the bedroom, you have to go outside where a wooden staircase led up to the bedroom. We had no Glass windows, just square openings with shutters. To have a shower, you had to go outside under the big rainwater-tank. When it got to cold we had a tub near the stove full of hot water and we washed each other. Which was always great fun. Good thing we had a dirt floor. The dunny (toilet) of course was outside hidden in the long grass which I will mow when I get the old Victa Lawnmower fixed. Oh yes, and we had Mosquito Coils burning everywhere. Back to the story. When Monica finally let me out of the bed, I spotted a Kangaroo outside in the grass. I grabbed my Rifle from where it stood next to the bed and rushed to the window, stumbling over my shorts which were still around my ankles. Yes, the Kangaroo was still there. So I took aim and “Bummer” no bullets in the rifle. Looked all over the room for bullets while putting my pants on. Finally found one only in my shorts. This is getting dramatic. The Kangaroo was still there, so again I took aim and fired. Guess what? The Kangaroo was still standing there. No more bullets. So I ran downstairs and if I had to, hit that Kangaroo with a piece of iron pipe which was laying on the ground. When I got to the Kangaroo it fell over. I had shot it clean through the head. The skin would come in handy for a mat in the bedroom. Next we both jumped under the cold shower together. Sometimes we would use the garden-hose to wash each other. No Garden. After Brecky Monica took the Customline into Mackay to do some shopping. She gets most of her shopping done in Victoria Street and she is also going to see a friend of ours, who owns a Snack-bar in Wood Street. I get a lot of my Photo Stuff from Mitchelmore’s, they get it in for me from Brisbane. I am going to spend the morning, what is left of it, on the Catamaran. I bought it last year for 600 Pound Sterling off a Fellow who sailed it to Mackay from Tasmania. So “Bitch” that is my Dogs name and I wandered off to the Catamaran to do some Fiber glassing on the Deck. I do a bit at a time, when I got some money to spare. Like I said it was hot and so Bitch played in the water while I put some fiber-glass on. It’s a sticky dirty Job, but I have to get it done. I would like to take her out and spend a whole weekend at St Bees Island. We take another couple and we go nakedly all Weekend. It’s only about 20 miles, but it is very relaxing and lots of fun. We sleep under the Stars and if it suddenly rains, we go onto the “Cat”. Anyway it is lunch time and I thought I heard the V8 arriving. Bitch & I got back to the House all sticky and dirty. So under the shower again. Monica bought us Rolls and Salami for Lunch. We also had a glass of Red.

After Lunch we climbed up the stairs to play, but we heard a car, and it was our friend Boris from Brisbane. He had bought himself a Vauxhall Velox Car, quite nice. So it was back downstairs and Drinkies. Boris’ Parents are Russian and they live in East Brisbane where Boris works at the Abattoirs.  Boris loves to drink and he loves Monica. He treats her like a Sister. He is also the youngest Alcoholic that I know. That Night we drove out to the Eimeo Pub and got terrible drunk on “Sparkling Rheingold”

Being a Swaggie and a Cane Cutter in Australia.

All my life I have travelled there is nothing more exciting than seeing New Places and Meeting New People. Making Friend sometimes only for a short time in exceptional Cases for a Life-time. I like to mention some of the Places I have been in this beautiful Country of mine. In Queensland; there was Mackay. Here I worked as a Cane-Cutter, the most backbreaking Job there is, so I was told. It started off by me hitchhiking. I left Brisbane as there were no Jobs to be had, anyway not for me and so I took to the Road and stood there with my Thumb out trying to get a lift to anywhere. As it was my Luck after a while I got a lift with an elderly Gentleman. He took me as far as Gimpy. On the other side of Town was a river and many People in my situation were camping there. While talking to two Fellows that were calling themselves “Swagie’s” which meant they were People that were Homeless and without Jobs much like the American Hobo.

Anyway these two Swagie’s told me that every two weeks I could go to a Police station and get what they call “Relief money” and they convinced me to go. When I got to the Police Station I was surprised to find the attending Constable to be very Friendly He gave me some Money after I told him that originally I had Jumped Ship here in Australia. He said showing me a piece of Paper “We know all about that, but were told not to arrest you unless you had broken the Law.” What I didn’t tell him was that I had just been released from Jail. They put me in Jail for not having a Job, I thought that this was stupid as when I got out I still didn’t have a Job. This gave me the Idea to hitchhike up North as there was Work to be had as Cane Cutters. Anyway after getting the Money I went to the Local Shop and spend all my money on Food and a Packet of Tabaco. When I got back to the Camp by the River I cooked a big Pot of Stew. I invited the two Fellows to join me, which they did with gusto. There was one Fellow there that was trying to fix his old Truck with parts that he gotten of an old Truck that was sitting in a nearby Paddock. With a lot of hard work against all odds we got the Truck fixed. Next job was to find fuel, but as that was expensive and cost more money than we had, we decided to use Kerosene.

After spending a Day trying to start the damn Truck we decided to go at night into the Town and syphon some Petrol out of one of the many Cars that were parked on the Roadside Kerb. Here I learned that Petrol tasted awful when it was my turn to syphon a Car. Anyway we got away with about a Gallon of Petrol. Next morning we put a little Petrol in the Car and when it started we added the Kerosene. The Truck engine ran but blew smoke that you could see for miles. The 4 of us took of driving North along the Back Roads as the Truck was not licensed and neither was the Driver. At the end of the Day we found an abandoned Farmhouse, in it was nothing of use to us but we found two cooking Pots. We lit the Stove in the Kitchen and cooked Stew again. We each had our own Bedroom that night. The next Day after traveling for a while the Truck broke down again. This time only 3 of us moved on. That Night we got to Rockhampton where we slept on the Cemetery, me on one of the Slabs. I always was a bit of a Clown. Next Day we got to Mackay and by this time I knew the Names of my two Companions to be Ben & Joe. Ben was the older more experience Person. He told us that First we had to get a Union Ticket, before we could get a job. Well we did that and soon all three of us were hired by the same Person. He seemed a nice Fellow and told us to call him Bob. Bob lived on his Cane-Farm between Sarina and Mackay. He was a Farmer with several Cane Properties around a 100 kilometer radius. When asked, we told him that we had all done Cane Cutting before. I am sure that he didn’t believe us, but didn’t say anything. As it was Weekend we settled into the workers-quarters and Ben tried to teach us all about Cane cutting. The Boss (Bob) brought over some Food which would come out of our Pay. After Dinner Ben showed us that first you take the Cane-Knife (Looks like a Machete) and put the Blade into the hot fire in the Stove. When it is Red-Hot you put your Foot (make sure you are wearing Boots) on the Blade and bend it at an approximately 45° Degree Ankle. Ben says it makes it easier on your Back when you are cutting Cane. Come Monday morning Bob told us that we were going to do some cutting and stripping to get some Cane that he could use for planting. Ben said to us to put on long sleeve shirts so that the Cane leaves didn’t touch our naked arms.

Smart-Ass me wore short sleeve, after all it was a hot day. I soon found out why you wore long sleeve shirts. The Leaves from the Sugar-Cane have tiny barely visible hairs on them and when they come of onto your arms, they never stop itching. Every Dope knew about it. Except me. When we had a break Ben showed me how to get them of your arm, and this was the only way. It was quite easy; you split a piece of Cane longways and then rubbed the inside over your arm and it would pick up the hairs and “Bingo” no more itching arm. By knockoff time I was F*&*&ed. The next day Bob said we were to drive out to one of his places about 80 klm away. Ben was the only one with a Driving License and so after getting Directions from Bob we loaded up and drove to this place where I do not recall its Name. But it was only a Fettlers Camp and some Farms.  When we got there Ben explained to us that he was put in charge and that we would settle in that day and started work the next day. I was glad as I was still pretty sore from my first taste of Cane Cutting.

Next let me explain something. You don’t work for wages, no you are a Contract Worker and before starting you will make a deal with the Boss how much you get paid for cutting 1 tons of cane, you get paid extra for cutting the green tops of each stalk and you get more pay again for loading and carting the cane to the Railway siding where you load the Cane into Railway wagons to be carted to the nearest Sugar-Mill which was in Sarina. So first Ben explained that we had to cut 3 rows of Cane this Afternoon. He further explained that we had to burn off the leaves of the Cane and just leave the Stalks. This was to make it easier cutting for us, got rid of the Rubbish (being unwanted weight) also it got rid of Snakes, Cane toads and the Kangaroo Rat. Which is a small Marsupial about the size of a rabbit. We had lots of Snakes (Taipan) As soon as it got dark we lit-up. Hell, a fire like a cane fire is something special to look at. We had wet hessian bags to make sure the Fire didn’t jump our Firebreak. Next morning we started Cane-cutting. In the Evening when we stopped, I just wanted to die. My hands were a mess, I had Blisters on top of Blisters and I had trouble straightening-up. Ben said the best thing for the Blisters was to Pee on them, and Pee I did. By the time it was time to eat, I was sound asleep on my Bunk. Black as a Black fellow.

Next morning I was going to quit the Job, but Ben talked me into staying. So I wrapped my Hands in Bandages that we found in an old First Aid Kit. That day I worked very slow, kept on peeing on my Hands. It took 2 weeks before my hands were health and hardened. Nobody said anything about me having to catch up. Every 2 weeks Ben went into town to pick up our wages and did the shopping. By now we had an Account at the Grocery store in town and we would pay them once a month. By now I also had learned to drive the Truck and did most of the driving. By the way the Truck had no Brakes, but I learned that when I wanted to stop, to turn of the motor at the right time. After about 10 weeks on the job, Ben, as usual went into town, but didn’t come back. He had shot through with our wages. I asked the Boss to make out a new Cheque and pay us. He gave me a very firm No as an answer. Joe said he was going to leave too and left on the next train. After a couple of days I decided to go into town to. I ask the train driver was there any shops before we got to Mackay as I had nothing to wear then my tattered work clothes. He said yes, in a place called Kumala and he said he would stop a little longer to give me time to get something to wear. All they had in my size was some Kaki Clothes which I changed into on the Train. This was still in the first 12 month of being in Australia. So I was still quite “Green”. So when I walked to the Café to get something to drink. I saw a good-looking Girl crossing the Street. So I let go with a “Wolf-Whistle” I got the shock of my life at her reaction. She just turned around and said; Get F*$#ked. I was lost for words for the first time. While in town I was talking to some Fellows about what happened to me, about not getting paid. They in turn told me to go straight to the Union. When I told them all about it they said not to worry and that they would make Bob pay me plus waiting time. I felt great. A few days later Bob found me where I was staying and paid me. He said no hard feelings, and would I come back to work for him till the season finished. He said he still had to do about 2 weeks work in the Home Paddock. But first of all I had to drive the truck back out to the Farm and pick-up everything. I didn’t have very much not even a change of clothing. I drove up at Night and every time I saw a Vehicle approaching I moved right over to the side and stopped. Coming back next morning was easier. I went back to work for him, but didn’t last long. Bob’s Wife was trying to tell me how to load the Truck. So I told her to do it herself and quit. That was my First season at Cane-Cutting. I did three more seasons of Cane-Cutting after that I had enough. I stayed in Mackay for a few more Years, married my first Wife in Mackay, there were 3 more to follow.

Boat People!

By; George W Rehder

What do I passionately think of them? Good Question. It’s kind of funny me writing about

Boat-People. I came to Australia in 1957. I was not a immigrant. I was a Sailor on an Oil-Tanker and when we got to Geelong in Victoria I went ashore and never returned. After working in the Bush on a Sheep-Station I went to a Police Station in Brisbane and reported myself as a deserter. To be honest I thought the least they do to me was throw me in Jail or deport me. But it was different in them Day’s. I was taken to the Department of Immigration where they took all of my Details. Then I was asked what I would like to do. They could make arrangements for me to return to my Ship, get send back to Germany or stay here in Australia. I couldn’t believe my Ears. So I said that I loved it here and would like to stay. I was told to sit down and then they gave me a piece of Official Paper and told me that I had to report once a week to the nearest Police Station. Then seeing I didn’t have a Job they send me to the nearest Employment Bureau.

Anyway I got Naturalized in1961 and now in2013 I am happy that I made that decision back then. But this Story is not about me. It is about People that are desperately trying to find a new Life. Put yourself into their Shoes. Go to Africa; go to one of these Camps. What you find is thousands of People that had to flee their Homes. Why? Think about it. These People fled their Countries and Homes, Only because they were being Tortured, Raped and watched their loved ones being killed. If they were Lucky they found Death quickly, but most of the ones that got killed had to endure a slow painful death in front of their loved ones knowing that they would fall next to the Butchers Knife.

So you wonder why they would want to come here, where the only Butchers worked in the shopping-centre. The Immigrants, Refugees and others that I have met were very adapted to the Australian Life and made their contribution to Society. I have also read and heard about others that come here to start afresh with a new and better life, but their Children despite their pleas turn to Gangs and Crime. What can or should we do? I believe that anyone that will not get naturalized or assimilates; despite what can happen to them should be deported. A lot of People are scared off the so called Boat-People, because of the Unknown; we don’t know anything about them. The only thing we know is from the Media, which can present the Facts at times way out of promotions.

This is what we believe; the Media drums it virtually into us. We get more Bad news than good news, because bad news and Tragedy will sell Papers or Air-Time. I have met People that came out to this Country, Build a Life, raised a Family and lived their own way, without bothering anyone. Sounds like the bleeding hearts club. Lot of the Immigrant complain that we are not fair to them. In a lot of cases you can tell the Immigrant/Refugee by what he/she is wearing. I have to be honest, when I see a Women in a Burqa what do I think. Believe it or not I think; is that a women or a man under that Burqa? Does he/she carry weapons under there? Is he/she a walking Bomb? Why can’t they Dress like we do? In Melbourne in Balaclava I have walked down the Street and thought; ah there goes a Jew. He again is not dressed like a Australian. I have seen Greeks and Poles that have been dressed in their National Costumes. But that is only on special occasion.

Only Muslims wear their traditional clothing at all times. Why do they want to change us and our Country to what suits them. After we accepted them into our Country, isn’t that a bit ungrateful? It won’t happen in my lifetime, but I fear for my Children and Grandchildren.

What happen to the Spirit of the ANZAC’s?   

Things that can happen to you!

by George W Rehder

My Wife and I had gone shopping at Newman.

For us it was the closes place to do our shopping as we were working at Jigalong Aboriginal Community. It had been raining continuously for weeks and all the Roads were closed to all traffic by the Main Roads Department. We were getting short on some food items and others.

 So we decided to take the back-road through “Sylvania Station”. A picture containing outdoor, tree, ground, nature

Description automatically generatedEither way was about 170 kilometres of water and bog, plus we had to cross two Creeks. While in town we met up with John our Boss who had just returned from his Holiday in Albany with his Family. John was not just our Boss, but we had also become good Friends with him and his Family. Both John and I had good SUV, s and seeing I had made it into Town alright we thought there shouldn’t be any problems getting back.

John was not a very confidant 4 Wheel Driver, but he said that he was going to stick with us. So off we went. Before we even left the Bitumen John got a Flat-Tyre. I had an Air Jack which is very much like a Balloon. You place it under your Vehicle near the Flat Tyre and then inflate it using your Exhaust System. But the road was wet and the Car was wet and we were getting wet. That is a lot of Wet. Anyway the “Balloon” kept on slipping so we got the “Kangaroo Jack” out and using both Jacks we soon got John on his way again.

 When we came to the first Creek, which was on “Sylvania Station” we stopped ad had a Sandwich and a Drink. We then crossed the Creek without any problems. On the other side I suggested to John that he drive in front that way if he got into trouble, hopefully I could get him out of it. I said whatever he did, not to stop. So we drove off and it was going amazingly well. We kept in contact by 2 way radio but there wasn’t much talking as we had to concentrate on the road. Most of the time we didn’t know what the road was like as all we could see was extremely muddy water. Sometimes we were over our Headlights in the water. But we were quite cheerful as we were getting closer to home.

 Suddenly John stopped; I didn’t get any warning over the radio so all I could do was stop the vehicle a few meters behind him. I got out of the SUV and stepped up to my knees into dirty water cursing John. He had a big grin on his face and calmly announced that he was bogged. I told John to start clearing sand away from the front of his Wheels. Which was no fun as it was drizzling at an even pace. Luckily it was pretty warm.

 I got a 10 meter “Snatch-Strap out of the back of my vehicle and hooked it up to the front of Johns Vehicle and the back of mine. Told John to put it in 2nd gear and I was going to go past him as fast as possible. I started my Vehicle, hit the accelerator and nothing happen. I was hopelessly Bogged too. Well we made a few feeble attempts to move either car but to no avail.

 As we were standing around talking “PW” one of the Elders from the Community came by and as he could see that we were bogged he stayed well on the other side of the Track. He sang out he was going to come back with help. I was getting thirsty and John said that he had some warm Coca Cola. I said that was alright. While I grabbed a can of John my Wife came over with a bottle of Scotch Whisky. Well we kept drinking till it was all gone. The Scotch was gone not the Coca Cola.

 I was hanging onto John’s Car Antenna to keep me upright but I broke it off and fell into the water.

 John said it would be nice to have a long handled Shovel. I said; What, like that one, pointing across the track where there was in plain sight a Shovel standing in the Dirt. We all laughed and John got all energetic.

 But again no luck. After a while we saw a couple of 4wheel drives approaching. It was PW he had brought his son and my Mate Tom from the Store. Believe me we were glad to see them. The first thing that happened was that PW, s Son got bogged too. But he was in a good spot; we just used a Kangaroo Jack and got him out of trouble. Tom then took PW, s Vehicle and the longest Chain that was available. He first hooked on to Johns Vehicle using the Chain and my Snatch-Strap.

 He drove like mad and with a terrific twang pulled Johns Car out. Once Tom had him on hard surface he came back to get me out. When he looked where John was bogged he found a Jerrycan that Johns Vehicle had sat on. He than proceeded to my Car, told everyone to push while he was going to give it a hard pull. He had to try a couple of times before my Vehicle started to move. It sat on the Mud and the suction was holding it down.

 My Wife and PW, s Son where pushing at the back. When we started to move, my Wife being under the influence of Alcohol fell flat on her Face into the Muddy Track. PW, s son couldn’t help but burst out laughing. PW, made him apologize the next Day. But we still had 17 kilometres to go to Jigalong. The road was absolutely full of running water and we couldn’t wait to get home.

 Before you get into the Community you have to
cross a small Creek. Yes you guessed right we couldn’t get across. We had to sit around for about 2 hours before the water was down enough to get across. The last thing John said to me before retiring was;

 I am not going to join your 4 wheel drive club.