My First Holiday As A Licenced Driver

My interest in travelling Australia began at an early age when my father was a conductor on the trams in Sydney. When going on holidays he was issued with a free rail pass for travel anywhere in New South Wales. Although sometimes my mother, two younger brothers and dad would go away to-gether, often it would be just dad and I. We would always go to the end of the line somewhere and take the same train back. There was sometimes only an hour or so turn around. When we were walking home from the tram stop where we lived at Coogee, dad claims I would always say, “where are we going next dad ?”When dad finaly bought a car in 1956 (a Hillman Minx) we ventured further afield and would go bush every chance we could and any season. We loved to bush camp, dad was a very good axeman and just loved chopping wood for the camp fire. Although we didn`t even have a tent at first, mum would use her domsestic skills in making up a makeshift shelter with calico sheets joined to-gether and fastened to anything handy such as a tree or a barbed wire fence and the car door handles. She also made us up a comfortable bed on the ground. When dad got tired of driving he would let me take the wheel even though I didn`t have a licence. In 1964 Eventualy dad traded in his car on a Hillman Imp for me. It was time for me to get a licence which I did and three days later I Took off for Mt Isa in north west Queensland with my mother and young brother Cliff. The car was only new to Australia and with a rear engine wasn`t quite suitable to our dusty outback roads especially with me having no mechanical knowledge and not keeping a check on the air filter which became clogged with dust. I think I can be connfident in saying that I had the first Hillman Imp in outback Queensland as at every town we stopped, interested onlookers would eye off our little heavily overloaded car and ask questions. All went well until travelling between Richmond and Hughenden we began to lose power and the little Imp was struggling. No one could solve our problem in Hughenden and it wasn`t until we reached the big coastal metropolis of Townsville that we found a `Routes Group` a Hillman dealer that we were able to get attention.When it came time to pick up the car the machanic told us that he had never seen an air filter so clogged full of dust and was amazed that we had managed to drive it so far from when the problem began. The rest of the journey was uneventful until we were nearly home when we realised that we were short of money. In those days wives, ie my mother didn`t have her own bank account and all that Dad had given her was spent , I had no savings , just my holiday pay and my brother , well he was still at school. We managed to fill the car at Fredricktown on the north coast of New South wales and also filled a one gallon container while remebering to keep a shilling for the Sydney Harbour Bridge toll. We arrived home on almost an empty tank and with a penny halfpenny. Mounted Print

My First Holiday As A Licenced Driver

Terry Everson

Whalan, Australia

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Artist's Description

This is an account of my early days travelling and a jouney in a Hillman Imp to outback Queensland three days after I got my licence.

Artwork Comments

  • Joe Mortelliti
  • Terry Everson
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  • Leanne Nelson
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