PETER

At this time of year I stop to remember the good times I spent with a very dedicated aquarist, Peter Tsang.
Peter sloshed his way through more weird jungle type creeks, than many folks realize, with nets and camera he captured most of what swam in those creeks.
Sadly Peter, was born into a world of his own, money and fine lifestyle, was secondary, his talents both with aquaria and photography, not recognized, or misjudged by his contemporaries.
Many years ago, Peter was heading North upon another collection trip into the rainforest creeks near Tully, North Queensland. The main highway, just a narrow bitument road, with a long, long stretch of nothingness between Rockhampton and Mackay, because of smashed windscreens they called it “The Crystal Highway”. Near enough to half way was the one and only petrol station. That was where Peter cracked his skull on some garage equipment, valuable Chinese blood pumping between the bowsers. Too far for an ambulance, they lay Peter in the aisle of a passing tourist coach. Trying hard not to die, welcome to Australia Peter.
Before you reach Mackay there is a small town called Sarina, complete with tiny country hospital, just what the coach driver needed.
Still pumping what blood was left in his system, they lay Peter out on the operating bench, the small medical staff collected around his prone body, a nurse shoved her head through the doorway and shouted “They’re off !”
In a flash, doctor, nurses, completely deserted Peter, he would have to die alone, this was The Melbourne Cup.
Peter did not die then, that was to come some years later. Every year on Melbourne Cup day he looms back into our memory bank, we drink his favourite recipe, mash up a ripe Avocado, add instant coffee, pour on boiling water, the most revolting drink you ever tasted. Peter was a great bloke but for a Chinese he was a bloody rotten cook.

PETER

iAN Derrick

Tweed Heads, Australia

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Artist's Description

A true wee tale, of Aussie culture, from somewhere in the early sixties.

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  • Matt Mawson
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