1970. As you know, I was raised in the city with holidays on the North Coast, visits to Canberra and camping trips to occasional western towns. Now, I graduated from Balmain Teachers’ College in 1969 and then waited in Urunga for my posting In those days, a young teacher was trained for free and paid $10 per week at College and was then bonded to the NSW Dept of Education for 3 years. In those 3 years, a young teacher could be sent anywhere in the State and I was sent on a couple of days’ notice to a school called Rosewood. It took us visits to Police Stations and Post Offices just to find out where it was. Where it was, was the Western Side of the Snowy Mountains in the Far Sout of New South Wales.
You turned left at Gundagi. down through Adelong, Batlow and Tumut to Tumbarumba and then the school was 12 miles past there. Only 2 teacher – Mr Garth Love and me. Way into the bush. When I started the heat was on and fires surrounded the school in 30,000 acres of pine trees and within a month, sleet and box snow were freezing us while I drove my Mini Minor on black ice and lit fires to keep the kids warm.
I shared a ghastly flat left over from the Snowy Mountains Scheme, with 2 other teachers. One of them went quite loopy and began hitting mice over the heads with a hammer and skinning them to make a purse.
I started drinking Sweet Cinzano from the bottle, went hunting on the back of utes and had a strange love affair with Mervyn Piper who drove a Blue Holden Monaro. 1970 was a most interesting year.