Australia is indeed a spacious land. A safe Haven mainly, where we can explore and wander and discover, if we are so inclined.
In the 1950′s Australia was billed as a Land of Milk and Honey to migrants. A land of untapped wealth and needing workers. So they came, to help build the infrastructure and to discover. In a way they were pioneers with sight, prepared to make a better life, learn and work hard in a strange land. They were from all walks of life and prepared to take any work.
Look at a few of these examples. Migrant City folk who had to learn about the land, agriculture, livestock, farming, animal husbandry. Or farming folk, homesteaders in their own country having to adapt to an extremely different climate. Australia being a land of flood AND drought. A vast land. Then the labourers, brick layers, hardy men on their own hoping to bring family to this new country and working hard to save.
We were privileged because our family was befriended by kind and generous Australians who taught my parents about the new country. My mother was a city girl and my father knew or had learnt tool making. Both longed for a new safe place to call home, raise a family and were prepared to work for it. So thanks to the family of Mr Malthouse a hard working farmer near Bradbury, South Australia our family started their life in a new country. I feel sad though because as happens in life we lost contact, and this is my mother’s constant regret in her age where she has time to reflect.
I was a child in a strange land and it was only later as adults did we truly realise the blessings we had and have around us. The abundance, even when making do. We knew no different. There was freedom of space to discover and learn.
We also learnt that if it rained and we missed the bus to school we had to walk in the rain. There was no car! Instead, with raincoats and gum boots on we set off remembering to beware one particular bend on that narrow road near a Beech Forest in Stirling. A dip in the road where a monstrously long puddle formed next to the footpath. You see we had to strategically plan this stretch because if we didn’t take it at a run from one end to the next we were bound to get drenched. I know I got soaked at least once when I didn’t see a truck approaching the bends. A snaking road past ancient, dark and looming trees on a huge property. Huge and menacing to a child and it hasn’t really changed much now.
So now a few generations on as my little grandson and I take a walk…
I have learnt how to go walking with toddlers
I have learnt how a grandmother can alleviate cabin fever
I have discovered exercise can be fun
…to be continued in Part 2
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