Thursday, May 10, 2018

bush races and nostalgia trip

Weekend before last, my cousin Ted talked me into a road trip to the Western Australian wheatbelt where our families farmed in the early 1900s.  As well as the family odyssey, his son-in Law Kevin was driving his massive motor home and race car to a meet at a small town near Narrogin named Cuballing.   It all sounded good and I agreed to accompany cousin Ted on a three day car race/trace the family homesteads trip.  We arrived at Narrogin and then on to ‘Cubie’ and set up home in Kevin’s monster mobile home on a farm which had been set up as a race track.
Kevin’s mobile images to enlarge

Inside Kevin's van
It would seem that these track races are held all over Australia and the next scheduled race is in Darwin.    I estimate that there were probably 30 race cars there and Kevin was a designated race controller which meant that his race car had to test the 15 kilometre race circuit before the races began.   This was where I was invited to be a passenger in his CanAm rocket machine.  Well, just getting strapped in was a major.

part of the course
We headed out on the track quite gently which I perceived to be a ‘treat the old fella easily’ move, then it started.....very fast jumps over small hills with 90 degree right and left turns at speed which was close to messing
my pants.  I loved it! 

In the afternoon Ted and I drove through several country towns having a look at our relatives’ old farms. Of course, these days, none of our families live on these farms and it was interesting to see what changes had taken place over the last 50 or so years.  We visited the site of my grand parents’ farm which was my annual holiday place from when I was around 10 years of age.  During the second world war my cousin Val and I were sent to the Toolibin farm when it was likely that the Japanese would bomb Fremantle where we lived.
Baby Kev and cousin Val with Nanna Lee at Toolibin 

  The Lee home at Toolibin is a bit decrepit now, with parts of the roof collapsing and showing the mud bricks the three Lee children; my mother and her two brothers, made after school on sunny days. 

Mud bricks and Lathe and plaster ceilings

 I had annual trips to ‘the farm’ every school holiday up until around 1960 when the Lees ran out of farmers and shifted to the city.  I had completed an apprenticeship as a turner machinist at a large government engineering company near Leighton on the Swan River.    After I finished my apprenticeship I spent a year studying for my Leaving Certificate and was selected to go to Papua New Guinea to train as a teacher in 1961.

1 comment:

Richard said...

I went to PNG towards the end of 1963.

Spent a few years as a chalkie (miserable profession IMHO) and then gravitated to Industrial Training Officer, Dept. of Labour.

We offered full day training courses over 3 days preparing what were then lower to middle management PNGeans so hopefully those folk graduated to top tier management jobs in the public and private sectors.

Met wife Judyth in Moresby mid-1969. Married 1971 so have navigated 47 years quite successfully.

She was a very game early 20s person. After viewing a "Persons Wanted' ad. at the Sydney Royal Show went to PNG in her early 20s and lived in that women's hostel on Touaguba Hill.

Left PNG in Dec. '76 after 13 years straight --- 9 for wife Judyth.