I do have photos of me teaching in 1971 and 1972 but I can’t find them , just now. Hilary went back to London and didn’t return. That left me desolate. I have a tendency towards being desolated. I think I tried to drown myself in the bathtub at that stage. Instead I went to visit Lesley J at Drummoyne where she was living in an Urban commune. 1972 is the year when I took a sudden plunge in hard drugs and dropped out. I matched up with a Greek lad by the name of Tony B and 1972 became my last year of teaching. It was silk nighties and Indian Sandals and there was no longer a need to iron my hair straight because long wild hair was in.
At the end of 1970. The Dept of Education transferred me out of Tumbarumba and into Queanbeyan South which is the offspring of our Capital City of Canberra. Still drowning myself in bottles of alcohol and still teaching infant children, I began a lonely and isolated life in a brick flat.
One day 2 motor bikes rode into said lonely and isolated life. One carried a College friend, the exquisitely beautiful Lesley Juknaitis riding behind an real live American by the name of Richard. T he second bike carried an hyphenated Englishman by the name of Hilary Eastwick-Field, who took a shine to me and stayed.
We had some wonderful adventures. We explored the countryside and made love and took a lot of photos. Hilary was a photographer and a most interesting man. By Term 3 I had transferred back to Sydney to teach at Lakemba School. Hilary remains one of the serious love affairs of my life. My sister was with Tony Dewberry who had been conscripted into the Army under the barbarous procedures of the time.
I Have photos of 1971 due to having excellent camera gear via Hilary. Somewhere, there is a pic of me at Queanbeyan South School, I may well find it but for now I have the shots of Hilary and me round and about Canberra.
We all lived at 27 Paxton Avenue in Belmore with Mum and Dad. Some of my favourite images are of the look of appalled shock on the face of the American Richard who was straight from the Hippy World of San Fransisco when he encountered a true Australian Suburban House with home cooked meals. I like the delighted smiles on the faces of my Mum and my Brother. Our worlds were fairly limited in Belmore.
Hilary used to say to me ” Hark at you. ” It began my love affair with the male English Accent.
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.
Paxton Avenue flooded in 1969. We were told it was something to do with the gates of Warragamba Dam being opened but I only have the myth in my memory and I don’t really recall the details. In any case it most certainly flooded there in mid suburbia. No rivers. No creeks – just canals. Drainage canals.
We went wandering barefooted in it. I had my hair extremely short by then to be done with the curliness. Note the brick houses. All of them in Paxton Avenue, The Vellermans lived next door and actually added a storey which was unheard of then. Vellermans were Jewish so we expected them to do odd things. They had a shoe factory up in Belmore and had survived WW11 in Europe. One day, when the first jet broke, the Sound Barrier Mrs Vellerman ran out into the yard screaming. She thought the bombs had come.
It touched me even through the self obsession of adolescence and the distance of Australia from War.
In 1968 I definitely discovered flavoured lipstick for kissing. If not discovered – then perfected . The skirts grew even shorter and my Mum used to boast that she only need a 1/2 yard of material to make me a skirt. I suntanned and went to Teachers’ College at Balmain. That was a great disappointment – almost all girls. It was a 2 year course . I don’t think University was really within the understanding of my working class family or me – not even with scores which would easily have had me admitted on scholarship. In January, we went, as usual, to Urunga for our holidays. Just north of Coffs Harbour was a zoo called Kumbaingeri. Aboriginal language was just beginning to re-emerge. I think I must also have drifted away from Len Bennett somewhere in this time.
I scored near the top of studious activities all the way through school and was a prefect etc. 1967 saw the end of Wiley Park Giirls’ High School for me. and it was wrapped up with a Formal dance. I went with Len Bennett, the love of my life and my sister, Susan who was 2 years younger came along even though she was at another school entirely. She very often accompanied me on outings. She was with someone called Ken and my friend with the coiffed hair is Carolyn Weaver who lived around the corner and she is with Trevor Jones. I think they married later on. Susan and I were in home made clothes. My Mum was renowned for her dressmaking and cooking. I didn’t know in 1967 that Susan resented the home made garments and wished she had store bought clothes. My hair is again ironed straight and I may well have slept with panty hose over it to get rid of the curls. I seem to be qwearing an orchid. We were at the tail end of a lot of traditional behaviours such as dates bringing corsages. Susan has a famous lurex top and the watch necklace my Mum treasured.