Michael Marquette started the ball rolling with his Expose, so here goes mine – given he is a little younger than me, I’m afraid mine may be a little longer.
I was born in South Australian and although born in the Capital City Adelaide, spent most of my childhood and youth in country towns throughout South Australia. The one place I vividly remember is Goolwa, which is an Aboriginal word for “Elbow”.
Goolwa is placed on a bend on the River Murray, which in its day, was one of Australia’s grand rivers. Aboriginal heritage in Goolwa is strong and a legal case was heard when the community planned to build a marina and bridge connecting Goolwa to Hindmarsh Island. (There are a string of islands in this amazing archipelago, connected by locks and barrages and Hindmarsh Island is the first island in the chain.)
The site for the proposed development was on sacred land, land sacred to Aboriginal women for “Secret Women’s Business”.
I was young and had not long started school when we moved to Goolwa. We bought the Goolwa Hotel, with my Grandmother. In those days, hotels (pubs) closed at 6pm and were never open on a Sunday. How things change! I hope I haven’t given away my age. It was a wonderful place to grow up in. The hotel was full of history. We found a bomb in one of the cellars (been there since the Second World War.)
The dining room tables and chairs had been saved from a shipwreck at the Mouth of the River Murray, as was the figurehead of the ship, which still overseas people walking into one of the bars. The ship was named the Mozambique. The River Murray ends at the Coorong, a little way down the river, before heading out to the Southern Ocean. In early times, many ships came to a tragic end in these treacherous waters.
Unfortunately today, the River Murray has all but dried up. My swimming hole as a child is no longer. I was always swimming in the river, swinging off a crane on the wharf, or diving between the pylons of the old timber built pool enclosure.
I learned lifesaving skills at Goolwa Pool, earned my first winning dollars when I was dared to swim from Goolwa Wharf to Hindmarsh Island and back and I was typically known as a ‘water rat”. I was also one of only a few girls in town.
I had two best friends, one who lived on Mundoo Island, the other in Currency Creek. Both places were about an hour away by car. Parents were not big on taking their children everywhere then! So I had to be “one of the boys” with my brother, hence my tomboyish behaviour – I do hope that has changed a little!
Going to school was fun, except on Thursdays. My Mum and Dad always had the Headmaster home for dinner on a Thursday evening. I think my Dad would have a few drinks with him in the hotel and naturally their friendship grew. Wish I could say the same!
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