leaving england 1: the fire

after we’ve carried the last bit of furniture

the corner cupboard

up the avenue to Pimlotts’

there is nothing left

but to pile my schoolbooks

and uniform

and other unpacked unclassified

unwanted things

onto the February earth

on the bonfire night site

where I set fire

to these last bits of England

as the flames eat up

my exercise books, my purple cap,

Beanos and Beezers and broken toys

I am already writing

to Mick Higgins, Martin Tetlow and Overcoat

letters full of wit

and Australia

leaving england 2: percy grantham, grocer and provision merchant

Dear Mrs Stuart

Just a few lines to say Thank you for your order over the past years. We do not like to lose a customer but the changes from time to time come along.

 

I wish you all the luck in your new Venture, you have some pluck I must say, but I am sure Australia is a grand country. I myself wanted to go 30 years ago and my old Boss wanted me to go but my mother started to cry when it came to signing up, so I am still here battling the Super markets.

 

Should you at any time require a reference in Australia let me know, and I will send you one.

 

I forgot to send you something for Christmas, so I am enclosing you 10/- for you to get some sweets for the children on the Boat when you are sailing to sunshine, and happiness.

 

Yours very sincerely

Percy Grantham

 

leaving england 3: railway station

grandad stands on Wilmslow station

his bricklayer’s back straight

his flat-hat on

nanna in her caramel coat

her wool-red lips pursed

copes privately

grandad shakes my hand

now I’ve become a man

and passes me a secret ten-bob note

the train comes in

wheezing through the mist

grandad studies the clouds

and his own white breath

the train waits

we say write I will please do I will

the shriek parts us:

we set off down the track

to the new south land

my grandad waves his hat

brown corduroy

on a grey-white sky

leaving england 4: ship and distance 1964 and 1971

the journey by ship

is measured in tens of thousands of minutes

the engines beating time

they stand on the dock

at Southampton , these:

found aunt, found cousin

to see my ship wash away

home is now no more

than an irregular shape

on the edge of a map of the world

distant, impossible to find again

except by accident

I wave unsure

whether I am leaving home

or going home

each day the hands of the clocks

are moved forward

and I wonder where the missing time goes

and how to measure it

against anticipation

drifting back towards a place

where my story

might also have no currency

THE FARM, PART 1: PIGS AND POULTRY

 

The farm was a natural place for me. We had been brought up in the countryside in England. Fields and farm animals were part of the landscape.

 

I liked cows. In England, where people often had right of way through farms by some ancient custom, you would often find yourself in a field full of these creatures. As a small person, it was an act of bravery to enter such a field, first because it might contain a bull, and second because cows are very big anyway. And they tend to follow you with a sort of dopey curiosity. By the time we had come to Fairbridge, I wasn’t afraid of cows at all, and felt quite at home with their habits and smell. Pigs, poultry and horses were also part of the experience I brought.

 

I did task, like all boys, for about a year, but then managed to convince someone – Mr Steele, no doubt – that I would be better placed on pigs and poultry on the weekends instead. This got me into the farm. Although I didn’t admit it at the time, it also got me out of church. As a confirmed fourteen-year-old agnostic, pigs were on a higher plane than prayers. In time, I also found unpaid work in the dairy during school holidays.

 

Pigs and Poultry. This was the domain of Mr Elliott, the thin, sunburnt, Valiant-driving master of few words. Or so he appeared in my mind. He stood outside each concrete floored pig pen with a cigarette in one hand, and a dribbling hose in the other. I stood inside each pig pen with a stiff broom, pushing the trickle of water into the sties and sweeping it out again with pigs’ droppings, straw and whatever else had gathered. They were very clean sties, and I became thinner and stronger. The pigs were fed skimmed milk from the dairy. They were robust. Mr Elliott reckoned that even the runts in the end pen were better than the best pigs on most farms.

 

The farm cat (did it have a name?) always lined up with the piglets at the trough, to take its own share of milk.

 

My job included feeding the boars, which lived in a paddock next to the sties. Their trough was in the middle of the paddock. I had to carry two large metal containers of dry feed from the gate to the trough. The boars saw it as their role to charge towards wherever the feed was. If I didn’t get to the trough before them, I became the target. I always got to the trough first, proving the great motivational power of fear. It was probably this lesson which steered me through my Junior and Leaving Certificates and six years of tertiary education. The boars appeared as exams neared.

 

The chooks lived in an enclosure centred on a large barn. There were thousands of birds here, it seemed. I went in twice a day to collect the eggs into buckets. Usually it was a straightforward job. The eggs had been laid in the nesting boxes stacked right around the barn, and the layers had wandered of for a bit of a peck at something. Some chooks became clucky and would not move. Hauling them out by the neck was undignified for them, but safest for me. Then, I reported to Mr Elliott where eggbound and half-dead pecked hens were, and I suppose he dealt with them by axe.

 

Before Christmas there was a great poultricide. I was not involved in the slaughter, but certainly in the dressing. Dead chooks were plunged into a forty-four gallon drum of boiling water, the easier to pluck them. Then they were disembowelled. As well as plucking, I had the task of pushing a trolley, time after time, along the bumpy track to the tip. On the trolley stood a drum of innards, sloshing around, already beginning to stink. And around me and the drum swarmed the thickest, greediest swarm of flies I have ever seen. Still better than church, though…

THE FARM, PART 2: THE DAIRY

 

As well as Pigs and Poultry, I enjoyed working in the Dairy. During school holidays, I woke before four in the morning and made my way there in the pitch dark. Arriving, it was my job to go and bring in the cows. I think there were one hundred and five of them then, all ambling vaguely over the paddocks in the general direction of the milking shed. A few older ladies led the way. The beasts were assembled in a yard and let into the milking stalls several [five, as I recall] at a time. There we washed the teats and attached the milking cups. The cows munched as we milked.

 

Jonesy taught me how to milk. The first lesson comprised: ”This is a wet rag,” as he pulled it dramatically from a bucket of water. He taught me to shove my shoulder into the space between the cow’s leg and belly, so that it would not kick me. And how to wash, and how to attach the cups. A newly arrived boy, who had come from London under the Big Brother Scheme, came to the Dairy and didn’t listen to the Milking Lesson. He was hoofed under the chin. He flew backwards through the air, landing out cold on the concrete. I don’t think he went on with a career in milking.

 

It was freezing in winter out in the paddocks, barefoot in frost. It was freezing in the Dairy too. As the cows stood they sometimes let go of a huge gush of urine. This warmed the feet up nicely. Another Old Fairbridgian has told me that a fresh cow pat did just as well.

 

Being on Dairy brought with it other jobs. Periodically, calves were rounded up and put into the yards. Each was dragged, struggling and bucking, into a stock. A calf stamping on a bare foot could bring a toenail off, and tears to the eyes. In the stock, the horns were burnt off with a heat gun, and the testicles encircled with a thick, constricting elastic band. Then there were younger calves which had been rejected while suckling. They had to be fed by hand. We took to each a bucket of milk, into which we placed a hand to mimic the mother’s teat. Often enough, the drinking calf would throw its head up, sending milk and human all over the place.

 

This dairy produced superb milk to build up the cottage children. But most of the milk was separated. The high quality cream left the farm, and the skimmed remainder went to the pigs. We were dairymen proud of the fact.

SPORT

 

Most Fairbridge kids liked sport. I did not. Unashamedly, now, I can admit that I tried to get out of any sort of organised physical activity. I was often unsuccessful. Indeed, one day after school, I was relaxing inside Hudson, having a bit of a blow on my harmonica. Mr Wishart roared into the dormitory, ordering me outside to kick a footy. And threatening to whack me if he caught me wasting time again. Such was the status of physical activity over other pursuits.

At the most dangerous end of things was football. I had learnt the rules, the few I knew, by trying to play. The first thing I found out was that you were always ‘on’ someone, and that being ‘on’ someone meant that you had to stop that person from playing effectively. Whoever I was ‘on’ was almost inevitably going to be a better player than I, so the game was bound to be an embarrassing misery. In fact, I learnt that the real skill I needed was being able to look as if I were tackling the person I was ‘on’, whilst actually avoiding him. Cleverly allowing him just to beat me to the ball. Tripping on a stone or a honky nut to slow myself down. In time, I ended up permanently in the back pocket, where not much ever happened anyway. My only enjoyable football experience was when we clanked on the bus all the way to Melville, in Perth, to find that Mr Wishart had got the week wrong.

The other aspect of football was that one had to have a team to barrack for. I did not even know the meaning of ‘barrack’ when we arrived. But as the winter approached, I had to find a team. I chose West Perth, like Pick, but I think that most boys in Hudson barracked for East Perth. This may be a false memory. Nevertheless, on Saturday afternoons, when all games were played, the lounge room was full of cheering [and jeering] boys as the radio blared out commentary. Up the the Cardies! I understood none of it.

 

Mr Wishart was responsible for sport. He insisted that I went in the swimming carnivals even though I could not swim. Every time I reminded him of this fact, he ignored it. So I found myself on the starting line, on the bridge, flinging myself clumsily into the South Dandalup River. When I hit the water, I had a stark choice. I could drown, or I could thrash around madly, trying to stay afloat. I invented swimming on the spot! I could hear the gales of laughter over the noise of my splashes, until instinct told me that at last the race had finished, and I could heave myself out of the embarrassment. Other boys could swim, and engaged in a number of tricks to entertain the crowd. Sometimes, they would swim en masse under water, to bob up in unison at the imaginary finishing line. Or they would simply swim on, around the bend in the river and out of sight.

Did we play cricket? I think so. I was never batting for long, and rarely made a run. This did not make me a bowler. In the field, I favoured the outer, where balls rarely made it. If they did, they were not in the air, but rolling, so much easier to retrieve.

There must have been more, but the dreadfulness of it is sealed into a vault in my mind, never to be recalled.

 

Except for Belly Training. Mr Wishart initiated a form of torture almost as terrible as football and swimming. It was Belly Training. After dinner the High School children returned to the Dining Room for Prep, and back to the Cottages before bed. Until the introduction of this new regime. After Prep, we moped into the Clubhouse, where Mr Wishart made us stretch, star-jump, do sit-ups, push-ups and any number of similarly unspeakable contortions. I could not see the point of this unproductive exertion. Within weeks I had managed to convince Mr Steele that I needed to spend more time studying for my Junior Certificate, so that I stayed on at Prep, never to star-jump again.

PERTH TRIP

 

Our mother left Fairbridge after the first day or two. I was upset. Perth seemed a continent away in comparison to the tiny distances which marked the map of our home district in England, where you could find everything and everyone you needed on foot. Perth was fifty-odd miles of hot road distant. Those Fairbridge kids who had mothers could communicate by letter once a week, but never by telephone. The only other contact was by the Perth Trip, once a month.

 

There were still plenty of Fairbridge kids who had no one to meet in Perth. They were the orphans, or in some cases, children with a parent who did not want contact. Or those with a mother outside Perth. Their cases were often complicated, and I do not have enough knowledge to comment on them. The new wave of Fairbridge kids were generally from one-parent families, the one parent invariably the mother. We were the ones who went on the Perth Trip.

 

We went to Perth on the Fairbridge Bus, the Sub as it was known. This Very Slow Vehicle, driven by the affable Mr B, set out in time for our arrival at around ten in the morning. Up the South West Highway to Armadale, then through the suburbs. Somewhere along this way was an aeroplane on a huge stand. It marked the fact that Perth was not too far away. The Sub pulled up at last outside the tea rooms on The Esplanade, between the city buildings and the Swan River. Mums waited there anxiously; children peered out of the slowing bus to catch sight of the One and Only Mum. As we disembarked, we were reminded to be back on the bus for a five o’clock departure. A few precious hours, then.

 

I suppose our Mum, and others, had to think of things to do for the day, on a limited budget. I have a few memories of these outings. The Perth Zoo was always a good standby. There was a miniature railway circling what is now the African Savannah exhibit, and the poor elephant, nowadays well housed with step-calves, stood in a concrete enclosure, chained by the leg and swaying compulsively. Once we went to a beach, where I think we ate fish and chips. It was probably Scarborough. As I remember, here was my first ever experience of this meal, despite my English upbringing. We spent a lot of time waiting for buses. They came infrequently on Saturdays, when after midday, everything was closed. No chance to shop.

 

At five the Sub was growling and ready to leave. We boarded, some in tears. On the long trip back to Fairbridge, many children fell asleep. Those who did not cheered each other up with songs at the back of the bus. How patient and kind Mr B was to put up with this cacophony!

The cow kicked Nelly in the belly in the barn

Didn’t do her any good, didn’t do her any harm.

Next verse, the same as the first!

The cow kicked Nelly in the belly in the barn…

Or:

My eyes are dim, I can not see –

I should ‘ave brought my specks wiv meeeee!

My-ah eyes are-are diiim, I caaaan! not! see!

There were rats, rats, as big as bloomin’ cats

In the store, in the store

There were rats, rats, as big as bloomin’ cats

In the quartermaster’s store!

When we arrived back at Fairbridge, we might have gone to the Saturday night film in the Clubhouse, or we might have fallen into exhaustion. Usually the second.

On one occasion in Perth, we were introduced to our future step-father. After our Mum remarried, she went to live in Kalgoorlie, so that the Perth trips became few for us. We had a school holiday together, once, instead.

 

Then the trips came to an end. We left Fairbridge. I wonder how long they continued: children off to see Mum for a few short hours.

GOING TO HIGH SCHOOL

 

Running for the Fairbridge Sub, I hear Mr Wishart yell: “Here comes Big Bad Barry!” I leap up the steps and find a seat somewhere in the middle, between the ratbag boys down the back and the well-behaved girls near the front. Mr Wishart’s call is more alliteration than fact.

 

We are on the way to Pinjarra High School. The bus shudders off, Mr B at the wheel, to stop again at the Dining Room. Fairbridge burgers are loaded. Fairbridge burgers. The greaseproof-paper-wrapped sandwiches which will feed us at lunchtime. Like all institutional food, they were much criticised. In this case, the criticism was probably deserved. The burger consisted of two slices of bread, each smeared with a molecule-thin layer of butter or margarine, and filled with spread sardines, or vegemite, or sometimes jam. Other fillings, if there were any, have disappeared from my memory. Were there baked-bean burgers? On the way to school, the Sub often passed the bus from North Dandalup. As it did, its windows opened, and a hail of Fairbridge burgers were lobbed at our rivals. Soon, after disembarking at school, there was more burger attrition: they were thrown with great force into the metal rubbish bins. As they hit the bottom, the bin was kicked to give a sound effect appropriate to the supposed staleness of the missile. It was surprising, after all this, how many burgers made it to lunchtime. Enough for everyone, it seemed. A great gourmet exchange then occurred: “Swap yer a peanut paste for a vegemite!” “Nap!” Or, “’Kay.” And so on. At these eating times, the Fairbridge kids all sat together, near the outside stage. Was this in solidarity in the face of the awful burger, or, more pragmatically, to enable these swaps among equals?

The burgers kept us alive, though.

But back to the journey.

 

Before crossing the Murray River bridge, the bus called in to Pinjarra Railway Station. There were three reasons for this visit, two deliberate and one otherwise. First, the mail for Fairbridge was picked up. Then, on Fridays, the film, in several brown leather reel-boxes, had arrived. The busload called out possible titles [refer to John Sumner’s Toby Tyler recollections]. Thirdly, Jim Dixon had to run away. He frequently dropped out of the Sub through the rear emergency exit, and made off on foot. He was always caught. I remember his return to school one day with Mrs Taggart, who had spotted him in a field between Pinjarra and Mandurah.

 

Going to school, the journey, finished as the Fairbridge Bus pulled in to the gravel strip alongside the High School. We elbowed off, leaving the noise, the songs, the biffs behinds. Ghosts for Mr B’s quiet return. Our bus was always the last in the line of many, from Dwellingup, North Dandalup, and other places. Ours was brown and yellow with “Fairbridge” painted along the sides; the others were schoolbus orange. Did we mind? I do not think so. We were Fairbridge Kids, after all. Ready to be so at another day at school.

PORRIDGE

 

The first question was: where did this porridge come from? The obvious answer: from the store, was not sufficient. It did arrive at the cottage in the wheelbarrow with all the other shopping, true enough. We had a theory that before the porridge came to the store, it had been the sweepings at the porridge factory! The questions of what a porridge factory was, and where it was, did not come into it. Why examine too closely a perfectly good theory.

 

The second thing about porridge at Fairbridge was its Highland-like relentlessness. It never ran out. And it was served up at almost every breakfast eaten, in Hudson at least. One presumes elsewhere too.

 

Thirdly, the porridge was extremely bitter, and contained husks. Hence the Origin of the Porridge theory. No amount of soaking and boiling softened or sweetened it. Whoever cooked it, the result was the same.

 

In Hudson, the cooks were the four older boys, on weekly rotation to do the cottage job called Kitchen. This meant getting up very early, and lighting the Metters wood stove. A lot of predawn muttering was issued if the chips were deficient: Bonar and Tim would be in for it later! The stove was set, and lit using a porous stone clasped in a wire cradle with handle, and soaked overnight in a tin of kerosene (or DDT if the Kero had run out). Eventually, the fire would be roaring with ghastly heat in summer, and dim, welcome warmth in winter.

 

Porridge needed three ingredients: water, oats, and a third.

 

A very large pot of water was set on the stove. When boiling, an approximation of oats went into the water, and the mess was stirred. Often the third ingredient, soot, fell out of the chimney, into the porridge. One was supposed to scoop it out, but it was as often as not mixed in, to create swirling grey stains though the mess. We must have been the first humans to run on carbon. Hence, we are carbon-based life-forms.

 

Throughout the cooking, a glue of congealed porridge was setting on the bottom of the pot. It would take more than a breakfast’s calories for someone to prise it off later. Meanwhile, the porridge-carbon mix was slopped into bowls and mixed with plenty of honey or sugar to take the edge off its bitterness. Milk and cream diluted it a little from a drying concrete to an edible consistency.

 

It is odd that I still like porridge. It is rather the same as liking poetry after what was done to it in school.

 

Postscript: Since writing the above, I have found out that the poor porridge-pot scrubber was usually my own brother, Tim.

MOSQUITOES

 

Well, let’s use the right word, first: mozzies, they were. These insidious members of the phylum arthropoda, zizzing throughout the night to cause misery to man, and no doubt beast. They plagued Fairbridge, or so it seemed. They had been unknown to us in England, where only their cousins, the feeble gnat, clouded on summer evenings. And being non-gnashers, they caused us no trouble at all. We arrived at Fairbridge, then, unbitten by the mozzie, and without natural resistance to it.

 

Mosquitoes knew this. They sniffed out newcomers with whatever mozzies use for a nose. And they bit! It was not only the pale skin that marked out the Fairbridge kids straight off the boat, but the measles-like constellation of red lumps which were mozzie bites. For us, arriving in February, during the mozzie high season, the problem was excruciating.

 

Mozzies being crepuscular creatures, in the vein [literally] of Dracula, nights were worst. Unlike Dracula, they had no preference for where they sucked blood from. Any capillary would do. In bed, if you were covered by a summer sheet, they would Messerschmitt around your head. Lying still, you waited for the mozzie to whine as close as you thought possible, then whacked it. Or, more accurately, you whacked your ear or cheek. But not the mozzie, which would go quiet for long enough for you almost to drift off to sleep, then: zzzzzzzzzz. Whack! All night, it seemed. If a foot or hand drifted out from under the sheet, mozzies would aim straight for the parts with the least flesh: the heel, the outside side of the foot, the base of the thumb. Anywhere else would otherwise do.

 

I gave up on the flimsy protection of a cotton sheet. I went to the ATOMISER! Filled the tank with DDT, and sprayed my whole bed. The mattress, the sheets, the pillow, and for good measure, under the bed too. Surprisingly, I am still alive and, so far as I know, genetically undamaged. The mozzies seemed to enjoy the DDT.

 

There was no StopItch, no Savelon. The only remedy for the excruciating itch was the scratch. Scratching broke the skin, and fingernails carried bacteria. Mozzie bites became infected, and the infections never seemed to heal. My brother Gordon recalls poultices made from laundry soap and other ingredients, but they had little effect. I only remember scratching and infections. One day, with several large sores on my feet, I visited Sister Braemar™. She told me to wash my hair and cut my nails, and sent me home. After an age or so the sores did heal, but I still have several purplish scars.

 

When my son was about eight years old, I took him to Fairbridge for a bit of a wander and a mess around in the river. He was attacked by the local mozzies, so that I had to stop on the way back to Perth for some StopItch or Savelon. They didn’t bite me. I am now immune!

TASK

 

High School boys did task. Girls did not. This discrimination of this fact did not concern us: it was the culture of the time. Boys did Task, after school. Task was essentially a job, and the jobs were rostered, so that every few weeks your job changed. And the jobs varied from the grievously boring to the relatively cushy. Depending, to some degree, on one’s point of view.

 

Elsewhere on this website, John Sumner has described the financial arrangements associated with task, and how hard it was to extract any of the accrued one of two shillings’ payment put into ‘trust’. Trust was an imaginary repository of money, held by someone somewhere. I managed to persuade Mr Brayn one pleading day to release 2/6d from this theoretical cache so that I buy a harmonica on a Perth Trip. I needed to provide a receipt.

 

John has described some tasks which I never experienced. Perhaps they were later innovations, or perhaps the roster was drawn up randomly. Chopping Wood at the Girls’ Cottages was a job I never got. Maybe I wasn’t muscly enough. But Toilets, and Cleaning Out the Grease Traps at the Dining Room was a speciality of mine. Ah, the stench – acrid and sweet – when one prised off the concrete lid of each trap! A thick, viscous, pitted scum sat on top of the grey water in the trap. You had to scrape the scum off delicately. So as not to mix it with the putrid liquid below. Then what? I do not remember what we did with the grease. Where did we throw it? Into the grass? Toilets and traps, as one would expect, also included toilet cleaning. Just outside the Dining Room was a Girls and a Boys. This part of the job was easy: sprinkle a bit of Ajax around here and there, and hose everything down.

 

Task at Mr and Mrs Steele’s house was cushy. One raked up the leaves. Then Mrs Steele, kind soul, brought out scones and a drink. I sat on the back lawn with these reminders of my Nanna, and watched rival tribes of ants attack each other on the hose pipe. Black ants and brown ants. I wonder whether my observations eventually led me to the study of history and its pointless conflicts.

 

Julyan Sumner and I were often assigned to Coke. Even now, I do not know why Coke was necessary. We worked in a concrete-block-constructed shed, at the back of which was an enormous landslide of coke. Our job was to shovel the material into a water-filled bath, and shovel it out again. Some dust fell to the bottom of the bath. Otherwise, the work seemed pointless. On boiling hot days, after we had washed a quantity of coke, Julian and I emptied the bath and refilled it with cold war. We stripped off our t-shirts and languished in the cold water until no time was left. Perk!

 

Sometimes I was assigned to the Hospital, the domain of Sister Braemar. There was little to do. Sister Braemar intoned in her low, slow voice: “Light the Braemar,” which I did. After that, I slouched around looking busy at doing nothing much.

 

The big question, then, I why did I seem to spend most of my time on Toilets and Traps? Why did I never get the job of chopping wood at the girls’ cottages? Perhaps it was as well. I was not particularly deft with the axe, and I might have been laughed at. Maybe cleaning grease traps, smelly – true – but a solitary, hidden occupation suited me. I could think. And I could listen to the music blaring out of the kitchen:

 

There she goes just a-walkin’ down the street

Singing Doo-wa-diddy-diddy Doo waddy-doo…

or …..

For goodness sake

It’s the hippy hippy shake!

Then, after a year, I got my job on the farm and was excused from Task.

 

THE ROLLING STONES

In 1964 it took a long time for groups, singers and their songs to reach Australia from overseas. When we arrived, The Beatles were known, though “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” hadn’t been released. The Rolling Stones were unknown.

 

Our train to Southampton and the Oriana and the great Sea Voyage made one of those clanking, unscheduled, long stops in the middle of the night. I peered out of the window, to see – fantastically – the Decca factory. The place which had pressed “I Wanna Be Your Man”, with “Stoned” on the B side. How impressive. I looked at the pictures of the Stones in my pop magazine and imagined them inside the Decca factory. A highly unlikely event, but dreams are the stuff of life!

 

We chuffed off down the track at last. My Rolling Stones posters were in one of our ships’ trunks, somewhere, I hoped, in the goods car of the train. They survived the long sea voyage remarkably well. Once I’d been assigned a bed in Hudson Cottage, with my own bit of wall, I pinned up the posters.

 

Only recently, and far too late! Betty Steer [as she was then called] told me how much she’d admired me for my posters. Damn, I could have done with an obvious female admirer at the time.

 

Alas, the other boys in the small dormitory did not share Betty’s feelings. They tried to mimic my Cheshire voice, calling out “Ehh, the Rorlin’ Storns, hoots mon!” One day I returned home to find my posters full of dart holes, ripped, and defaced. So much for their survival on the high seas.

 

THEN the first Stones LP was released in Australia. In the Dining Room there was a very basic record player. Those with good musical taste played our single Stones album to death. In fact, the only person I recall being there for the good stuff, apart from me, was Alan Pringle. He got it. In fact, it was likely his album. He had Stones attitude. Alan walked around everywhere leaning slightly backwards, singing in a very passable Jagger voice:

 

“Walkin’ the dawg

I’m just a-walkin’ the dawg;

If yer don’ know how ter do it

I’ll show you how ter walk the dawg!”

And other songs.

I’d lost my posters but the Stones had arrived!