‘Big Dick’: Tuesday, 2nd August, 1977

Australia was dismissed for 309 in its second innings. The tall Rick McCosker contributed 107 to this total. England only has to score one hundred and eighty-nine runs, in its second innings, to win. At stumps it had erased seventeen of these and still has all of its ten wickets intact.

We, again, visited “Mum”. She presented us with a new, plastic dish, from which biscuits can be served, and a small blue and white horizontally striped milk jug.

“The Naked Vicar Show” screened from 7.30 p.m. on Channel Seven. The irreverent cast announced, tongue in cheek, that the magazine, Cleo, had just declared that “Big Dick” Hamer is its ‘Mate Of The Month’. Dick Hamer is the Premier of Victoria.

Second Successive Loss: Wednesday, 3rd August, 1977

England won the Third Test overnight by seven wickets. The win marks Australia’s second successive loss. Such an occurrence last happened in 1956. The winning run took England’s score to 3-189, of which its captain, Mike Brearley, accumulated eighty-one. Geoff Boycott remained not out, also on eighty-one. England leads the series by two wins to nil, with just the two Tests remaining.

The motion picture, “Beneath The Planet Of The Apes”, is on television tonight. Produced in 1970, it stars Charlton Heston, James “The Naked City”/”The Investigators”/”Mr. Novak”/”Longstreet”/”Hunter” Franciscus and Linda Harrison.


Articulate English: Collective Nouns Take Singular Verbs

As collective nouns place like objects or things in single groupings, such a noun takes a singular verb.

Therefore, in the following sentences the usage of the verb ‘are’ is grammatically incorrect.

The crowd are becoming restless.

The team are playing well.

The series are about living within one’s means.

A range of antiques are to be auctioned.


Although a ‘crowd’ is comprised of many people, there is only one crowd and, therefore, the noun should take the singular verb ‘is’ and not the plural (more than one) verb ‘are”.

The crowd is becoming restless.

Similarly, there is only one ‘team’, ‘series’ and ‘range’.


Therefore, their respective sentences should read:

The team is playing well.

The series is about living within one’s means.

A range of antiques is to be auctioned.

Reciprocal Hospitality: Thursday, 4th August, 1977

On the 23rd of December, 1971 I departed from my place of lodging with the intention to ride my relatively new pushbike to Melbourne. The whole ill-conceived notion had really been based on a whim from which I then found myself unwilling to abandon.

That day, and the twenty-fourth, had a maximum of eighty-five degrees Fahrenheit. The highway became dangerously narrow and all too often undulating. The unavailability of drinking water became another concern the farther south I rode and by the time I had pushed my bike up the seemingly endless hill and into Milton, the only thing I wanted to do was to sell it.

This, I managed to do at the local newsagency for fifty dollars, which was almost a half of what I had paid for it. Nevertheless, I felt as though a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

A lift, by chance, from an elderly couple who had just so happened to have been in the barber’s when I had enquired as to where I might find a buyer, conveyed me to nearby Ulladulla.

An approaching thunderstorm was to result in me standing in torrential rain at the top of the hill in the main street, as I attempted to hitchhike for the first time in my life.

Perhaps half of an hour passed before, in the ever increasing darkness, a young man stopped for me. He was travelling to Narooma to spend Christmas Day with his parents at the local caravan park.

That evening, he took me from caravan to caravan as we partook of Christmas drinks with people whom he knew and that night I was permitted to sleep on the grass inside the annexe of his parents’ caravan. My preceding night had literally been a sleepless one, spent in the bush beside the highway, and despite my ‘mattress’ being nothing but the grass I was to sleep like the proverbial log.

Lunch on Christmas Day consisted of six potato scallops from a fish and chip shop in Bega. The night was spent in that town, too, due to an approaching thunderstorm. It resulted in me entering reception at a motel, wringing wet, and the spending of what I thought was an exorbitant eight dollars and fifty cents to stay for the night.

At least, I woke refreshed on Boxing Day and was to soon learn that my good fortune had not deserted me, as an elderly couple from Kiama were to transport me hundreds of miles to Warragul, Victoria. There, ensued another sleepless night as I lay on a lengthy wooden seat, at one end of a goods waggon, and listened to my transistor radio.

My pulse had discernibly quickened around midnight when two men with torches inspected the railway’s premises but, perhaps fortunately for me, did not shine them in my direction.

Having seen enough of Melbourne, a few days later I embarked on the 7.30p.m. ferry bound for Devonport, Tasmania, some fifteen hours distant. New year’s Eve was spent in that state’s second city, Launceston. The highlight of my visit to Tasmania was that of being offered a lift by a Hobartian family who took me fishing for flathead on the Derwent, but not before I had spent two of three nights at their weekender, in Eaglehawk Neck, where I was fed on lobster, and strawberries and ice-cream.

The parents’ son had been shown similar hospitality when he had visited a cattle station in the Northern Territory some years previously and they had felt that such generosity should be reciprocated. Tragically, cancer had since claimed his life.

My hitchhiking actually conveyed me to Adelaide, South Australia, where a couple of friendly lads from New Zealand wanted me to travel on to Perth, Western Australia. However, they were travelling in a 1957 Holden and I was unsure as to whether it would withstand the Nullarbor Plain at the height of summer. Nor did I wish to find myself that far from home with limited funds.

In total, I travelled for nearly six thousand miles and spent nine of the fifty-four days in private accommodation.

Here are just a few of my photographs from that venture:

The coastal landform known as London Bridge is located along The Great Ocean Road in Victoria


A view along The Great Ocean Road between Warrnambool and Port Campbell, Victoria


Arthur’s Circus in Hobart, Tasmania


Cat And Fiddle Clock, Hobart


An industrial site along the polluted Derwent River, Hobart, Tasmania


“The Garry McDonald Show” followed “Peach’s Australia” on Channel Two, but as it did not impress me I turned the dial to Channel Ten, at nine o’clock, and watched the second half of “Number 96”. The movie, “How To Break Up A Happy Divorce”, from 1976, is on television tonight from half past ten until midnight. It stars Barbara Eden and Hal “Barney Miller” Linden.


Bound To Beg: Friday, 5th August, 1977

During the course of my day, I spoke to an elderly lady whose son was stationed with the Royal Air Force, in India, during the Second World War. There he witnessed parents condemn their children’s lives to those of beggars. This was achieved by binding their hands extremely tightly while they formed clenched fists. Eventually, their nails would protrude through the backs of their hands, thereby, rendering them useless.

This evening, I walked and jogged to Miranda by a quarter to eight. The centre of the suburb was seemingly occupied by gatherings of young ruffians, who loitered about as they smoked.

The motion picture, “Torn Curtain”, screened on television from half past eight. Bearing the copyright of 1966, it stars Paul Newman and Julie Andrews.


Articulate English: Four Types Of Nouns

There are four types of nouns (or “naming” words)

Proper Nouns

These should always begin with capital letters.

Examples include the names of countries (Canada, India…), specific physical features (Mount Everest, Amazon River, Niagara Falls, Lake Victoria…), man-made structures (Eiffel Tower, Sydney Harbour Bridge…), people’s names (Cameron Smith, Ben Simmons…), pets’ names (Fido, Kitty…)

Common Nouns

Common nouns are the names of everyday objects and things. These should begin with a letter in the lower case.

Examples: pencil, aeroplane, house, stone, tree, ceiling, giraffe, river, tea, bicycle, street, girl, father, country, animal, rainbow, car…

Collective Nouns

As the names suggests these refer to collections of like objects.

Examples: fleet (a gathering of ships); swarm (bees/insects); library (books); forest (trees); litter (kittens/pups); pride (lions); crowd (people); team (players); herd (cattle); flock (sheep); pod (whales/dolphins); school (pupils/fish); class (children); university (students); jewellery (rings, bracelets, etc.)…

Abstract Nouns

These nouns denote intangible possessions, emotions, desires or needs.

Examples: thirst, hunger, joy, sadness, loneliness, excitement, valour, embarrassment, talent, honesty, pride, greed, intelligence, stupidity, honour, glory…

Quebec Separatism: Saturday, 6th August, 1977

An overnight thunderstorm has brought the first rain since the twelfth of July. Nonetheless, we have received but a small amount.

I helped “Dad” replace the heavy, old terrazzo sink, in the kitchen, with a second-hand stainless steel one, which he had been hoarding in his garage for years. He replaced the old brass fitting beneath the original sink with new, ess-shaped, plastic piping and used it to replace the squashed and split, lead pipe which had been leaking beneath the sink in the laundry. I then glued some plywood back in to place, for it had broken away from near our ‘new’ sink. “Dad” improvised by using an adjustable spanner as a clamp until the adhesive had dried.

He broke the dilapidated terrazzo sink top and sawed through its inbuilt steel rods. This permitted me to carry it, in halves, down to the front gates where I laid it in our gravel driveway to provide it with greater traction and stability.

Channel Two’s abridged “Top Saturday League” screened from six o’clock. It covered this afternoon’s clash from Jubilee Oval, in Kogarah. Playing on its home turf, St. George soundly defeated Manly-Warringah by 29-12; having led by nineteen points to four at half-time.

Following the ABC’s news bulletin, at half past seven I turned the dial in order that we could watch the elderly Buddy “The Beverly Hillbillies” Ebsen portray the private detective, Barnaby Jones, in the series of this name. An hour passed and then we returned to the ABC’s Channel Two, this time to watch “4 Corners”, which, this evening, is concentrating upon the threat to the Canadian nation should the province of Quebec secede.

The British comedy, “Carry On Cruising”, follows from twenty-five past nine. The film, which was produced in 1962, stars Sid James, Dilys Laye and Liz Fraser.



Hard Times: Sunday, 7th August, 1977

We paid forty cents to travel on the F6 “motorway” — I refuse to call it a ‘freeway’ — between Waterfall and the top of Bulli Pass. When we arrived at our friends’ house they took so long to answer the door, Tiki began to think that we had come on the wrong day. They claim that they cannot get much to grow in their garden because the soil is too poor. In addition their project home is sending out signs of distress as gaps appear between walls and flooring. Meanwhile, grout crumbles as tiles lift.

Following a game of backyard cricket and lunch, Ralph drove me, in his clapped-out manual Holden, up the Macquarie Pass to the town of Bowral in the Southern Highlands. I was somewhat surprised that his car was only seven years old, but, then again, it was obvious it hadn’t been cared for.

We each paid two dollars and fifty cents for a round of golf. Ralph began well and led me by four strokes after eight holes and by two after nine: forty-five to forty-seven. My nine holes included two pars and a birdie: at the 144-metre seventh, where I had sunk an uphill putt of twenty feet.

It was on the tenth that I sensed that I could win for the first time. Despite this sudden burst of optimism, it was really a case of the much taller and larger Ralph experiencing difficulties, as opposed to me excelling in any way. I parred only one hole on the inward nine: the par 4, fourteenth and three-putted five of its greens as I carded fifty. Ralph’s sixty meant that he had again failed to break one hundred on this particular course, at what he said was his twentieth attempt.

My ninety-seven was pleasing as I seldom play the game and it was my first at Bowral. I tended to blame the extreme cold — a golfer has to blame something! — which had quite suddenly descended upon the course, for me having carded an eight and a seven on the two closing holes. Ralph and I departed at half past five and passed the famed Bong Bong Racecourse, complete with its hill in the midst of the circuit’s circumference.

Following dinner, Ralph played some records by The Carpenters, Johnny Tillotson, Pat Boone and The Everly Brothers to name but a few. Ralph and Joyce attempted to teach Tiki and I to play five hundred before eventually abandoning the idea. We talked until half past ten.

The pair is on the breadline because in addition to having their own children to support, they have been providing food, clothing and accommodation for Joyce’s two younger sisters since the death of their mother.

John Laws’s Birthday: Monday, 8th August, 1977

My right ribs and left elbow are sore as a result of having played golf yesterday. I listened to John Laws, on this his birthday, on 2UW. I was particularly interested in his political comments, which were made in conjunction with Michael Shulberger who was formerly a reporter on Channel Nine’s “A Current Affair”.


‘Rip Van Australia’: Tuesday, 9th August, 1977

“Willesee” devoted a segment to John Singleton’s book, ‘Rip Van Australia’. During the interview, the author stated that the Royal Australian Navy could only defend nine miles of Australia’s coastline at any one time. He later proceeded to comment that it would be a travesty if Australia were to be invaded in that space in time between the running of the legs of the Daily Double.

“Love Thy Neighbour”, at eight, features a huge spider that has crawled from a case of bananas. Half past eight issues in the penultimate episode of “Number 96”. Amidst this evening’s goings-on the Deputy Town Clerk, Reginald P. MacDonald, — played by Mike Dorsey — dresses in a blonde wig, underpants and shoes to spy, at the beach, for the ‘T.C.’