That’s me, in 1967, sitting somewhere between Hay and Maude, beside my v.w..
About 30 minutes from Maude, with its, two houses, one pub and a one-teach school and 9 hours away from Eastlakes, in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs.
Sometimes, but hardly ever, someone else would be on that 52 km dust road between Hay and Maude and since it seemed to be for ever being graded usually there were side-tracks to side-tracks to drive on.
My parents had a v.w.. and so did the friends that we shared the house, in Matraville (Hillsdale) with and we went everywhere in them. (Like Sydney Melbourne, more than once.)
During my last weeks, at Maroubra Bay High School, I was allowed to drive my father’s vw, to school, a few times and we, the students could park, outside the assembly hall.
(I saw that part of the school grounds, years later, as a setting of Heart-break High. )
I was also allowed to drive my first date ever, to the MBHS school dance, in that same hall (Not knowing that her parents followed us secretly all the way.)
It only took one day, to convince my parents and me, that public transport to the first school that I was appointed to, was not satisfactory.
The school was Riverstone Public, roughly half-way between Blacktown, and Windsor and Richmond, etc, on the western outskirts of Sydney.
It involved a steamtrain from Riverstone to Blacktown. Then a suburban train to Central. Then a bus to Matraville and a couple of hours.
Again, I was allowed to drive my father’s volkswagen, to drop him off in Newtown, where he worked and then continue on to Riverstone and the reverse, in the afternoon.
After three years, at Riverstone, I still had not done my country-service, which we were obliged to do, as part of the bond. (Riverstone wasn’t really country_, although it seemed a bit like it!)
As soon as possible, after less than a year of teaching, I’d earned enough for a deposit on my very own volkswagen.
On the weekends, I’d drive it through the empty streets of Sydney. (The shops closed at 12 noon, on Saturdays and it is now hard to believe how deadly quiet it could be, whether driving past my old high school, to my favourite beach, or through the middle of the city, which I also liked to do.
So when the telegram came, announcing my country-service destination: Maude-via-Hay, accommodation at the hotel. (No running water. No mains electricity.), I drove my own little vw, out of Sydney and across the Hay plains, to Maude. (_After running out of petrol, twice.)
Home to Sydney, for the Easter Break. (Shut the school at 3:30 p.m., arrive home, in Eastlakes, at exactly mid-night. No stopping anywhere.)
After two terms, in Maude, I was transferred to Bourke.
Once again, a 9.5 hour drive.
In 1967, petrol stations shut at 6 p.m.. A big advance was being able to put coins into some petrol pumps and leaving very early in the morning, say 4 a.m.., to arrive in Bourke at a reasonable time.
By now, my V.W., was a Fastback 1500.
And, in Bourke, from Term 3, 1967, through 1968, it also often had a redhead in it and that was a lot more fun.
Enrolling in the Art Teachers Conversion Course, gave me the opportunity to transfer, out of Bourke, to start at Mascot Public School, in 1969 and it was while I was there that I replaced the VW, with a second-hand Holden Station Wagon, which had had the speedometer wound back and had tyres which sprang a leak, the first time I tried to leave Sydney via Hornsby.
Someone up there thought that was unfair (That rhymes.) and, in the Deaf and Blind Children’s Art Union, I won a car. So I traded in the mistake for yet another station wagon, which proved capable of carrying a full junior soccer team, several times!
Naked beside a V.W?
Oh yes. That happened later.
For a day’s worth of sitting beside a brand-new VW, being advertised as capable of accommodation all sorts of body-types, we were paid a nice sum of money, although we realised, later, that it should have been a lot more.
This picture was not taken by me, of course but by a professional photographer, on a ladder, in a studio, which was an light-industrial building,
who took lots and lots of shots, for which we alternately had to smile, and not smile, and the women had to cover breasts and not cover breasts.
The one with the covered breasts soon appeared in the main Sunday papers, (Sun-Herald, in NSW, spread across two pages.), (On the day, after the elections) as well as the Qantas and Mens’ Health magazines.
O.K.. I’ll admit it! Trying to attract the attention of ex-Maroubra Bay High School students, to urge them to attend the reunion , on March 7th, 2009.
The volkswagen and me.