Australia: Intolerant and Soft In The Middle

Time was when an Australian could express an opposing opinion to a compatriot and that person would more than likely respond with something akin to this: “It ‘s a free country. You’re entitled to your view.”

Not any more.

Perhaps it’s because Australia hasn’t experienced a recession in twenty-six years that many of its people have seemingly become almost perpetual whingers. This is in spite of the average wage being around $AUD78,000 per annum. If they genuinely believe that this country isn’t for them anymore, I would like to see them live a better life in England where the wage is about the equivalent of $AUD33,000 and the cost of living comparable. It is no coincidence that 130,000 people have migrated here in the past three months. It’s not always how much one earns, but rather how much one saves and how these savings are invested.

I have also grown tiresome of hearing how much stress and pressure our children are under. Hello! Experiencing self doubt and anxiety isn’t new. My generation might recall that there were schools where pupils sometimes had to persevere in classes where a teacher(s) was sadistic and corporal punishment was the norm rather than the exception.

My younger sister and I attended a primary school that was sixteen miles distant. The school bus didn’t come to our door so we had to ride our bikes two miles to meet it. The fourteen miles was then covered in the back of a panel van which had no fixed seating and seat belts were unheard of. Each afternoon this had to be repeated, in the reverse order of course, whether it was the height of summer or the depths of winter.

Sometimes in winter there was so much rheum in our eyes that we could scarcely detect the dirt road in front of our bikes. There were no such things as helmets, so when the magpies were breeding we’d just lower our heads and pedal as speedily as we could.

When we would arrive home there was no such thing as electricity in our house. No flushing toilet, no such thing as a shower and, invariably, we would each receive just a kettle of tank water in which to bathe.

I won’t even begin to tell you what our father put us through.

Fifteen was the age when I first left school. By this time we lived in the city and my father wanted me to get a job and bring some money into the household. Conversely, my mother wanted me to remain at school. It was agreed that I should attempt to placate both of them and hence for sixteen months, five days per week, I would arise at seven in the morning and sleep from eleven o’clock, having arrived home from the aptly named night school.

Don’t tell me that today’s children experience a more stressful life than those of past generations. Perhaps, if our p0liticians and educators spent more time in attempting to raise our children’s ability to actually learn, rather than spend so much of it on ways in which to mollycoddle them, then our schools’ standards might rise and this nation’s educational standing might also rise to above twenty-fifth, where it is ranked globally.

Toughen up Australia, this country doesn’t owe you anything!


Rugby League World Cup: Saturday, 18th June, 1977

A cappuccino cost fifty cents at The Fair Restaurant, upstairs in Miranda Fair. Storm clouds moved in and it began to rain heavily from 12.50 p.m.

This afternoon I listened to 2SM and Frank Hyde’s description of Rugby League World Cup international between Australia and Great Britain from Lang Park, Brisbane; where, in spite of it being winter, it was twenty-five degrees Celsius. Having trailed by four points to five at half-time, Australia asserted its superiority in the second half before winning the match by nineteen points to five. Full-back, Graham Eadie, who scored two tries, was named ‘Man Of The Match’.

Because of the state of the course proper, horseracing at Sandown, in Melbourne, was abandoned after the third race on the card had been run. Channel Nine’s coverage of this afternoon’s international from Lang Park begins at half past six and lasts for two hours. Channel Two’s coverage of the third day’s play in the First ‘Silver Jubilee’ Test from Lord’s begins from half past eight, with Australia to resume its first innings at 1-51 after yesterday’s play had been interrupted by rain.

The tall right-hander, Rick McCosker, is bowled by Chris Old without having added to his score of 23 (2-51). A dour struggle ensues and only forty-eight runs are scored before lunch is declared. Australia is 2-99 with Greg Chappell on forty-one and Craig Serjeant on seventeen.

Lucky Starr

“I’ve Been Everywhere” was written by Geoff Mack, an Australian songwriter and performer. In March of 1962, the song, which had been recorded by the Australian singer, Lucky Starr, entered the national charts and quickly rose to the covetted position of No.1.

Born as Leslie Morrison, in December, of 1940 Lucky Starr became a regular on Australian television making appearances on such shows as the local version of ‘Bandstand’. He even replaced Australia’s “king” of rock and roll, Johnny O’Keefe, as the host of the series, ‘Six O’Clock Rock’, in 1960. Regardless, until his release of the single, “I’ve Been Everywhere”, his success on the charts had been restricted to three minor entries. Lucky’s only other single to register was “The Three Trees”, which reached its zenith, at No.12, in late 1964.

Lucky Starr had begun his career in rock and roll, in 1957, as the leading singer of the group, The Hepparays. In 1960, it was alleged that he had had a sexual dalliance with an American minor, Cheryl Holdridge, who was touring with Disney’s Mouseketeers from the television show, ‘The Mickey Mouse Club’.

Lucky also made numerous visits to the United States where he performed at such venues as The Flamingo, in Las Vegas. During the Vietnamese War, he made six trips to entertain soldiers who were stationed there.

In 2002 and 2003 he toured Australia¬† with the show, ‘Long Way To The Top’, which featured that country’s popular entertainers from the 1950s to the 1970s.

Geoff Mack wrote an American version of “I’ve Been Everywhere” and in September of 1962 this was recorded by Hank Snow. It entered the country chart there and proceeded to reach No.1. The song has been revived by such artists as Lyn Anderson and Johnny Cash.

Shades Of Colour: Sunday, 19th June, 1977

Australia is 7-278 at stumps, which means it holds a lead of sixty-two runs over England in the First ‘Silver Jubilee’ Test. Western Australian Craig Serjeant, who is appearing in his first Test, scored 81; Greg Chappell, 66, and Doug Walters, 53.

It began to rain at ten past nine and conditions just deteriorated from that point in time as rain and fierce winds lashed Sydney.

I found the ‘Tusk Ivory’ I applied in the laundry this morning to be a lighter shade than that applied yesterday. Therefore, I repainted most of the two-thirds of the room before moving on to the sunroom. Using the roller extensively, I finished this room, as well.

This afternoon, Frank Hyde broadcast the match between St. George and Canterbury-Bankstown. The game was played in the mud of Belmore Oval, with the former being the victor by five points to two. Manly-Warringah defeated Penrith in similar conditions, at Brookvale Oval, by thirteen points to eight.

We viewed the last thirty minutes of Channel Seven’s screening of “Tarzan And The Jungle Boy”, a film produced in 1968, which features Mike Henry as Tarzan. “Seven’s Big League”, from half past six, shows edited coverage of the contest between St. George and Canterbury-Bankstown. An hour later Channel Two shows the highlights from the First ‘Silver Jubilee’ Test. At eight o’clock we switched to Channel Nine and the second half of “Hawaii Five-O”, in which a policewoman and three men are placed in a punctured rubber raft, in the Pacific, before it is cast adrift from a yacht.

“The Great St. Trinian’s Train Robbery”, a British movie, may be watched on Channel Seven from half past eight. It stars Frankie Howerd and Reg “The Rag Trade”/”On The Buses” Varney.


Pascoe Accused Of ‘Chucking’: Monday, 20th June, 1977

It was still teeming with rain and just thirteen degrees Celsius, as we left for work. Nonetheless, the sun appeared by eleven o’clock before showers made an appearance by the middle of the afternoon.

Ted Dexter, a former English captain and dashing right-hand batsman, has accused the Australian fast bowler, Len Pascoe, of throwing — of being a “chucker”. Len Pascoe’s style of delivery is compared to that of the highly controversial Ian Meckiff on the back page of today’s “The Sun” newspaper. Ian Meckiff’s career in Test cricket ended, in 1963, when he was repeatedly no-balled by umpires because they deemed his action to be that of a thrower of the ball.

Channel Seven’s news, which is read by the amiable Roger Climpson, from 6.30 p.m., reports that the Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin, is missing, amidst reports that he might have been assassinated.

Tiki drove through the rain along General Holmes Drive as we made our way to visit with friends. The radio was tuned to 2UW and “Sam Gallea Gold”. Sam played “Undercover Angel”, which is a current release by Alan O’Day; “The Night Chicago Died”, from 1974, by the British group, Paper Lace; “Come A Little Bit Closer” (1964) by Jay and The Americans; and Barry Manilow’s new single, “Looks Like We Made It”.

“Dance Little Lady, Dance” by the English singer, Tina Charles, has been atop the pop charts here for about five weeks, however, “A Mean Pair Of Jeans”, recorded by the Australian, Marty Rhone, is improving its position rapidly. Marty is Indonesian by birth.

I drove home in rain that amounted to little more than drizzle. David “Starsky And Hutch” Soul’s “Going In With My Eyes Open” and his follow-up to “Don’t Give Up On Us”, was on the radio, nevertheless, I turned to 2BL and learned that England was 1-29 in its second innings.


‘…The Champion Of The Little Punter’: Tuesday, 21st June, 1977

Frank Kennedy, the self-professed “champion of the little punter”, lost his battle against leukaemia last night at half past ten. He appeared for years on the “Punters’ Post Mortem” segment of Channel Seven’s “Sports Action” programme, with fellow panellists, Ian Craig and Max Presnell.

It is raining, again. We viewed “The Flintstones” from 5.30 p.m. before switching to Channel Two for Lorne Greene’s “Last Of The Wild” which, this evening, is about the Arctic. Singer, Renee Geyer, is interviewed on “Willesee” prior to another serving of the American comedy, “Good Times”.

Highlights from the First ‘Silver Jubilee’ Test are shown on Channel Two, from eight o’clock. Australia was dismissed for 296, which meant that England was eighty runs in arrears. Tall, gangly English right-arm fast bowler, Bob Willis, had finished with the highly impressive figures of 7-78. By stumps, England had fought back to be just two wickets down for one hundred and eighty-nine runs. Bob Woolmer remained unbeaten on one hundred and fourteen.

Live coverage of the match began at half past eight. I observed it until ten o’clock. Bob Woolmer was dismissed when his score had reached one hundred and twenty. Tony Greig, the tall, lanky, right-hand all-rounder, remained unbeaten on eighty when I called it a night.

‘Luigi Risotto’: Wednesday, 22nd June, 1977

A trifecta on the races at Ballarat’s racecourse, Dowling Forest, this afternoon returned approximately $11,500 for a successful investment of one dollar. Trifectas have only been held on the T.A.B. in New South Wales for the past few months.

‘Claws’ is the title of this evening’s programme from the “Last Of The Wild” series. At seven o’clock, on “Willesee”, its host, Mike Willesee, receives a visit from ‘Luigi Risotto’, a character who is portrayed by the Australian actor, Colin McEwan. He is talking about the Australian Government’s plans to buy a cubist painting for one and a half million dollars. He proceeds to point out that the female nude’s derriere isn’t even new because it has a crack in it.

“The Paul Hogan Show” screens for an hour from half past seven. We viewed the progression of the First ‘Silver Jubilee’ Test, on Channel Two, from half past eight. England had scored three hundred and five in its second innings, of which Tony Greig had contributed ninety-one. Australia, in its pursuit of the 226 runs it required, in order to win, had its back to the wall at 6-114 when I retired to bed at a quarter past nine. The normally swashbuckling left-handed batsman, David Hookes, had contributed fifty of these 0ne hundred and fourteen.

‘John’ Fraser: Thursday, 23rd June, 1977

The First ‘Silver Jubilee’ Test was declared to be a draw overnight. Tiki drove the Chrysler ‘Galant’ to work with me seated beside her singing along to the songs being played on 2KY. “Raincoat In The River”, which was a moderately successful ditty for Australian Dig Richards, in 1962, was one I particularly enjoyed hearing again.

Prince Charles appears on the front page of “The Sun”, swimming with a blonde skinny-dipper in Fiji.

“Last Of The Wild”, this evening centres upon dolphins, whales and seals and how they are being trained by the U.S. Navy. Channel Seven’s ‘News’, which is read by Roger Climpson, from half past six, shows the President of The United States, Jimmy Carter, addressing Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser, as “John” in welcoming him to the White House. It appears that no-one in Mr. Fraser’s entourage had informed the White House that the Prime Minister uses his second given name in place of his first.

“The Naked Vicar Show” follows “Willesee”, on Channel Seven, and, in turn, from half past eight, there is another programme in the series, “Policewoman”.

The Newbeats

Despite Larry Henley having been born in Texas and the brothers Dean and Mark Mathis having hailed from Georgia, it was to be in Shreveport, Louisiana where the three would meet and form the vocal group, The Newbeats, in 1964.

It was in this same year that the trio released what was destined to be its first hit, “Bread And Butter”. It reached No.2 in The Newbeats’ homeland and No.15 in both Britain and Australia. The recording, on the label, Hickory, appears on the soundtrack to the film, ‘Simon Birch’, made in 1998. It was also employed in the comedy, ‘Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy’, in 2004.

“Everything’s Alright”, written by John D. Laudermilk, followed and peaked at No.16 in the United States. Nevertheless, a group that tended to lack versatility in such a competitive market as the Sixties was always going to struggle to achieve a modicum of longevity and, alas, for The Newbeats, it fitted into this mould. “Break Away (From That Boy)” — a recording I really like — struggled to an apex of No.40 in America. Despite this, it was to be warmly received in Australia, where its zenith was to be that of No.4.

The Newbeats did have one last hurrah in the United States when, and also in 1965, “Run Baby Run (Back Into My Arms)” ascended to sit at No.12. This same recording was to finally gain attention across the Atlantic where it belatedly sneaked into Britain’s Top Ten. However, by that time, it was 1971!


The Medical Benefits’ Fund: Friday, 24th June, 1977

Rain was falling when I arose, nonetheless, it had begun to clear by half past eight. I paid our monthly contribution of $40.56 to the Medical Benefits’ Fund, inside the store, Waltons, in Caringbah.

Undersea killers, such as the cone shell, are revealed in this evening’s programme in the series, “Last Of The Wild”, on Channel Two, from six o’clock. “Doctor At Sea”, a British comedy series from 1974, which screens from half past seven on Channel Seven, is set aboard the ‘M.S. Begonia’. Robin Nedwell is cast as Dr. Duncan Waring, Geoffrey Davies as Dick Stuart-Clark, John Grieve as the ship’s purser and Ernest Clarke as Captain Norman Loftus. Another British comedy series, “Mother Makes Three”, follows on this same channel. It has Wendy Craig playing the role of the ‘Mother’, Sally Harrison, while Robin Davies and David Parfitt are cast as her sons, Simon and Peter.

We remained on Channel Seven to witness the film, “Home From The Hill”, which bears the copyright of 1960 and contains amongst its cast: Robert Mitchum, Eleanor Parker, George “Banacek” Peppard and, a young, George Hamilton. Channel Nine opposed it with “In Like Flint”, a film from the mid-sixties, with James Coburn cast in the title role.