Wednesday 17 December 2014

I Saw These Really Nice Surfies

We had an abundance of natural beauty to play with in the Blue Mountains. But even though we scaled the walls of our rocky edifices on foot and on bikes, and abseiled back down them using ropes and trees; even though we paddled through the verdant barrels of our valleys with our bodies and on tyres and in or on anything else that floated; even though we would stare off into the horizon to endless waves of green, as if some mythical creature would emerge from there if we wished hard enough, waited long enough and stared deeply enough, no-one ever called us “Bushies" , or "Abbies” or anything else special. There was no magical aura or popularised culture that surrounded mountain kids who hung out in the bush and interacted with its nature, like there was on the coast. The nature that dominated the coast was the beach. Athletic coastal kids played with waves, just like we played with mountains. Yet they had a name, a language with its own slang and signs, a reputation,  an attitude, a look, their own fashion, their own music and their own unique culture.
They were mostly boys who didn't seem to look anything like our boys. Their hair, framing permanently peeling noses and shoulders, was long and wild, mostly sun and sea or peroxide bleached blond. Their eyes were squinty from staring at millions of tiny wet mirrors bouncing around on the sea in the sun all day long.  They had beaten up Panel Vans, Station Wagons, VW campervans and old Holdens packed with clothes and towels and sleeping gear, and in which they always seemed to be doing something mysterious and secretive. 

I was 14 when I first recognised a 'Surfie'. In my dairy I wrote about having only just discovered these 'really nice surfies', as if they were Kangaroos in the wild or a prize museum exhibit.

Coming from the mountains I knew what  a surfie was from watching Gidget re runs  in black and white and other 50's and 60's American surfing movies, as well as video clips of the Beach Boys, the Californian band that crystallised what summer and surfing feels like in popular music. Good Vibrations was the most played album in our family home until the Sweet arrived. Dad would usually run it on a summer's Sunday afternoon as he retreated to his hippy seventies bar in a Hawaiian shirt, as if reminiscing his twenties at the beach, which he never had because he grew up and went to college in the Australian Outback. He also had the defining instrumental Wipe Out even though neither Mum or Dad were interested in sun, sand and surf and never took us to the beach; they sent us to their coastal relatives instead.  

We young girls thought Surfies were the coolest spunks with their toned bronzed bodies so finely honed from paddling against crashing waves and in lightening fast speed, pulling their own body weight up on tiny ironing looking boards as they rode the green wall for hours a day - or fell trying to. They had the hottest surfie chicks with them who had an "in" look  I was too innocent to understand the meaning of. To the Mums and Dads of the 70’s, Surfies were slack drug addicted beach bums and dole bludgers who corrupted their daughters and infected their sons.

Back then surfing was an affordable sport because real estate was cheap and most of Australia lived on coasts which hadn't yet become the domain of property developers, cashed up baby boomer sea changers and council park rangers squatting in Norfolk Island pine trees ready to pounce on you with 

a near $100.00 fine when you don’t get back from the beach at the time you told the parking meter you would.
Its not surprising that Australia is one of three countries in the world where surf culture developed, given we are almost entirely girt by beach, like Hawaii, only so much bigger.
Credit for inventing wave riding goes to Dolphins. Riding waves on a wooden board originated in Polynesian nations like Hawaii, Samoa, and Tonga, who were surfing well before contact with European explorers. In Polynesia surfing was part of life, culture and spirituality. It is hard to image, but the rather generously sized late King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV (whose 80th birthday celebration I attended in 2006) was the foremost Tongan surfer of his time. The ancient people from Peru apparently also rode the waves of Trujilli in the country's coastal northwest, in their reed watercraft 
called Caballitos de Totora. I have seen children in the Solomon Islands ride waves in dugout canoes which I suspect they've been doing since a Solomon Islander child was given a dugout canoe to play with.
In Hawaii, he'enalu, or wave sliding, was a sport of the elite, chiefs and warriors. They had dominion over the best surf beaches. Their boards made of only three local tree species were fashioned by selected craftsmen. It was such a sacred activity that where the tree was removed to make a board, a fish was ceremoniously placed  in the hole as an offering to the gods ( because everyone knows trees grow from fish). Ancient Hawaiians prayed to the gods for protection and strength to tackle the waves. If waves refused to manifest, frustrated surfers 
would call upon the kahuna  (priest), who would use his direct connection to the nature spirits to deliver a great surf (or not). In modern day Rapa Nui, surfers call upon the waves with an  “O –heeey – O”. Neither of these methods are successful in conjuring up a surf if the Wind God fancies blowing onshore. Checking the surf report on a Mobile Phone App God is much more reliable.
European missionaries arriving in the Pacific Islands to convert the animistic islanders to Christianity, had a similar view of surfing as our 1970’s parents did. It was a pestiferous recreational past time for the idle, who would be hard to convert away from being at one with nature, to idolising a long haired bearded blue eyed Jew from the stony middle eastern desert that was Palestine, thousands of kilometers away,  if they did things that preserved their oneness with nature, like surfing.

Surfing had to go.

Proselytizing Christians actually managed to almost stamp out the culture and art of surfing for several hundreds of years. At the same time they eradicated Polynesian animism, a religion that puts nature at the center of existence with a built in system that protects natural resources for future generations.  A small group of Hawaiians resisted the clergy by defiantly continuing to surf. In 1885, three such young teenage Hawaiian princes studying in the US revealed the sacred art of surfing to Americans for the first time when they took to the mouth of the San Lorenzo River on boards they had carved from redwood trees. Twenty two years later a half Hawaiian, half Irishman, George Freeth, was brought to California to demonstrate surfing at Huntington Beach to promote the opening of the Los Angeles-Redondo-Huntington railroad. He went on to tour the Californian coast, gathering a large flock of converted would be surfers along the way. Freeth was a product of real estate development in Waikiki where Hawaiians had begun to revive surfing, but now as a sport to attract tourists.  It was the era of the great Duke Kahanamoku, swimming Olympic gold medalist of Hawaiian chiefly, 

though not royal, decent. 
Duke Kahanamoku
The Duke bought surfing to the world, including to Australia in 1914, where he demonstrated surfing at Freshwater, on Sydney's north shore. The first Australian to stand up on a  board and ride a wave was female, at the turn of the 20th century no less. The Duke grabbed 15 year old Isabella Letham from the crowd and plonked her on the surfboard he had shaped out of a solid piece of Queensland Sugar Pine (which today is on display at the Freshwater Surf Life Saving club). Letham went on to become an accomplished surfer.

But Australian authorities weren't going to let surfing take off as easily as it did in the US and Hawaii where they were busy laying the ground work to turn surfing into the multi billion dollar business it is today. Aboriginal body surfers had been banned from the waves during the colonial era. In the early 20th century anyone of any colour with a board was banned from using waves from between 6am and 6pm. If you wanted to surf, it had to be at peak shark feeding times, in the early mornings and on nightfall. Then in order to use the waves, surfers had to register their surf board, like registering a car. Councils erroneously assumed the prohibitive cost would derail the majority of beach loiterers. Beach loitering- AKA waiting for a wave -was also an offense.
It wouldn't be until after World War 2, when Australians had more disposable income, cars became more available enabling surfers to mobilise and discover isolated beaches far from councils and the swimming public, and Melbourne hosted the Olympic Games, that surfing rose to the next level of soon becoming as common a past time in Australia as any other sport, to almost a national obsession. To coincide with the Games, a group of Californian lifeguards toured the east coast of Australia in 1956 with Hawaiian designed lightweight ‘Malibu’ surfboards we had never seen before. They attracted huge crowds to their surf shows ( 50,000 to Bondi alone). The Duke returned too, managing a 
Hawaiian surf team competing at an International Surf Life Saving Carnival being held at Torquay Beach, in Victoria. Three and a half minutes of  newsreel of the carnival was included  in the film Service in the Sun (1957) which was shown throughout Surf Life Saving clubs triggering critical mass passion for surfing and inspiring the emergence of Australian board designs like the Aussie Pig Board, Mals, Nose Rider and others. Boards and surfing styles have changed over the past half century, from short boards in the late 60’s and 70’s to performance hot-dogging of the 1980's to the professional surfing of the 1990's. Today, extreme surfing like tidal and towed in big wave surfing on giant 60 kilometer an hour beasts  is breathtakingly captured in surfing films and photography made possible thanks to modern technology like Go Pro, and brilliant photographers and film makers.

                              Video: Service in the Sun. Courtesy of National Film and Sound Archive

As population density explodes around the world's urbanised coasts, and surfing becomes more popular, surfers compete with swimmers and developers for waves, causing tensions often expressed in territoriality at one end of the scale and environmental activism at the other. Guarding the surf turf can become extreme as in Hawaii where the Wolfpak of Hawaii's north shore guard waves for the locals while protecting themselves from inexperienced surfers who could get in their way causing 
injury, and  in Malibu and Santa Monica as depicted in the film Lords of Dog Town and the documentary Dogtown and Z Boys who's surfers skateboarded swimming pools like they surfed a wave. Surfers still weren't appreciated by Australian councils or beach goers by the 70's either despite its burgeoning popularity, because it was also tied to public housing localism and  gang style behavior born out of economic hardship, parental neglect and drugs, as was the case with the Bra Boys of Sydney's Maroubra Beach. A look at the You Tube comments about the Bra Boys documentary shows that despite two of the central brothers concerned having been professional surfers, the tension between beach goers, local residents, the general public, and surfers, is still part of Australia's coastal landscape. In the Bra Boys film Koby Abberton holds a similar view to that that of the Wolfpak's, who are trying to protect native rights to their beach from non native surfers; "We think the beach belongs to everyone but when people to go a beach any beach around the world , they need to realise that there might be a whole history and a  culture there spanning for generations, and that should  be respected".

A clean environment is sort of a prerequisite for a surfer. Surfers surf the sea. Humans also dump their hazardous and solid waste in the sea, and into rivers and other water ways that flow to the sea.Oil spills, toxic algal growth, and coastal development also pollutes and kills water. Until 1991 most of Sydney's sewage, which is 42% industrial waste, was discharged from three headlands framing popular beaches of the wealthiest suburbs in Sydney (North Head, Bondi and Malabar).  Now, despite its wealth, Sydney's sewerage is pumped 1.7 kilometers offshore where fisheries are. 

Turns out that those 'slack drug addicted beach bums and dole bludger' surfers are good friends of our earth, not only because they want to protect the waters and surf they enjoy, but because they travel and see for themselves the demise of coastal environments. Many are now wealthy. Surfers have founded NGO's like Surf RiderSurf AidSurf Resource Network and others to support coastal waste management, find positive solutions to the negative impacts of surf tourism, and prevent wave extinction. Yes, it is possible for a wave to become extinct. There is even a list of surf waves that are extinct and those facing extinction. Killer Dana, once a Californian reef wave reputed to be the closest to Hawaiian style waves, was famously snuffed out in 1966 when a pier was built in its environs. Save the Waves Coalition can be credited with the creation of a World Surfing Reserve at Ericeira, in Portugal in 2011: protecting waves helps protect everything else around it.

Although top end surf culture gravitates around contests and endorsements, surfing at all its levels is experienced as a spiritual enterprise, regardless of how a surfer may articulate their love of surfing. Some surfers practice their craft, sport, or their passion with a reverence and addiction typical of a religion. The deepest and purest form of surfing spirituality is 'dark green'. Author Bron Taylor writing about surfing spirituality, defines Dark Green Spirituality as a 'set of beliefs and practices characterized by a central conviction that nature is sacred, has intrinsic value, and is therefore due reverent care'. Like a contemporary form of animism based on scientific knowledge and 'to the DNA' understanding of what ancient Polynesian surfers and other animistic civilisations already knew, and how they lived their lives, before mainstream religions and other dogma turned a world at one with nature into one that took chainsaw to it.

The World in January 1976: Venezuela Nationalises its Oil Industry

                                                       Heaven on Earth

Venezuela is one of those very special places on earth that are so important to the rest of us in the world that we really need to be concerned. Venezuelans are the custodians of an  important preserved chunk of the Amazon Rainforest and an associated natural infrastructure that houses extremely high and valuable biodiversity, including protected humans. The 916 445 square kilometers that is Venezuela  stretches from the Andes in the west, through the expansive fertile llanos flood plains to the northern fringes of the Amazon Basin. Through the llanos - and engorged by the Caroni and Apure Rivers - flows the imposing Orinoco River. Together the sprawling alluvial delta fans its natural wealth westward to the Caribbean Coast. Captain Cook called Venezuela "Heaven on Earth" when he passed by. The first Spanish colonisers either named the it Venice because of the way houses were perched on stilts along the delta's fringe, or because of a tribe who called themselves "Veneciuela”, no-ones is sure who to believe on that first voyage of discovery in 1498. If some indigenous tribes of the Amazon are protected today it's in no small measure due to their willingness to fight for their land as far back as repelling Spanish expansion inland from early coastal settlements.That spirit of resistance infected ensuing generations of Venezuelans through history all the way to the late Hugo Chavez, although to no significant avail. Venezuela was the first Spanish-American colony in 1811 to declare independence under the leadership of serial revolutionary Francisco de Miranda, a Venezuelan-American marshal who had fought in the American and French Revolutions. Two decades of warfare followed during which between one-quarter and one-third of Venezuela's entire population of about 800,000 people died. Venezuela's history is so  blood-soaked by power struggles, wars, autocracy, and dictatorial rule, that the red in their national flag actually represents all the blood spilled  by the heroes of independence (yellow symbolises the wealth of the land, and blue, the ocean that's separates Venezuela from the Spain they so despised.)

Venezuela is one of 17 of the worlds megadiverse countries, called so because they harbor the majority of the Earth's species found mostly in tropical and subtropical regions.Our beautiful Australia is also a megadiverse country, as is Brazil, China, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, and the United States of America.
Venezuelans have the role of protecting manatees,two and three toed sloths, Amazonian river dolphins, Orinoco crocodiles, the giant anteater, jaguars, the capybara (the worlds largest rodent), 1,417 bird species, 48 of which are endemic, 25,000 species of orchids, and 3,900 of the few recorded fungi species in the Amazon. Some 38% of the over 21,000 known plant species are unique to Venezuela. But it is not coping too well with this responsibility because Venezuela has one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world, even though the majority of Venezuelans live in and around their capital, Caracas. Each year, a staggering 287 600 hectares of forest is permanently bulldozed for wood and agriculture while other areas are degraded by mining and oil exploitation. Between 1990 and 2005 alone, Venezuela officially lost 8.3% of its forest cover, which is approximately 4 313 000 hectares, as well as everything that was living in it.

All that mega diversity gone. All those amazing and precious plants and animals dead for ever.
For the moment 33% of forested land is protected, with  a biosphere that is part of UNESCO's World Network of Biosphere Reserves. Five wetlands are registered under the Ramsar Convention. It has 200 other protected areas, including 43 national parks, one of which in the far south is a reserve for the country's Yanomami indigenous people covering almost 83,000 square kilometers.

                                                 An 'OILigarchy'

Sadly for such mega diversity in a relatively people free place, Venezuela has the largest oil and natural gas reserves in the world, and is one of the top ten producers of both. It has more crude oil than Saudi Arabia, and has extensive deposits of bitumen, tar sands, ore and gold. The main oil deposits are found below the largest lake in Venezuela, Lake Maracaibo. Once 'heaven on earth', the lake is now heavily polluted and geographically mutilated. The 6,000 active wells in the lake - connected by 45,000km of pipeline and producing                     700,000 barrels of crude per day, plus the 4,000 odd         inactive wells, have pumped so much out from under the ground that the lake has sunk by 
about five meters. Continuing its subsidence at a rate of typically 5 cm a year along the coast, Lake Maracaibo is a catastrophe looking for a day to strike. An earthquake can cause the soil to liquefy and engulf thousands of people who live in and around the lake. Not to mention the derricks and underwater web of pipelines that will  disembowel their oil all over the place. The lake, mangroves, wetlands, beaches and docks are highly polluted with hydrocarbons. Oil smothers everything.Tourism has died.Fishing has been bought to standstill by death and contamination, and the lake is being strangled by duckweed.                                                                                   

In the first half of the 20th century when oil was first discovered in Venezuela, US oil companies flooded in to buy up oil concessions. By 1943, Venezuela, with the highest GDP in Latin America, began resisting the "new Spaniards" as they had been referred to by a Venezuelan novelist. The government introduced a 50/50 split in profits between the government and the oil industry. By the 1960's resentment over concentrated wealth protected by military dictatorships, grew into guerilla movements, including the Armed Forces of National Liberation and the Revolutionary Left Movement. At the same time Venezuela was leading the creation of  OPEC, a new consortium of oil-producing nations seeking to create a negotiating block between themselves and the 3 oil kings, USA, UK, and Netherlands, who were keeping oil prices too low for their liking. With the 1973 oil crisis and concomitant oil price hike, Venezuela's income exploded so the government took over foreign holding companies and created Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA). PVDSA went on to build an extensive refining and distribution system in Europe and the US. At the time, Venezuela was the USA's largest supplier of oil.

But the oil glut of the 80's caused oil prices to crash, dramatically reducing Venezuela's foreign revenue. Because Venezuela, like so many other oil and resource rich nations, became lazy, was producing little and relied on the importation of consumer goods, the consequences were mortally catastrophic. Lower oil revenues spiraled into an external debt crisis.  In stepped the US dominated International Monetary Fund (IMF) to give Venezuela a 'loaning' hand. As part of the 'condition' of the loan, the IMF imposed the privatisation of state companies, tax reform, reduction of customs duties, and the removal of state subsidies that had made life so affordable, and a reduced role of government in the running of the nations affairs. Prices doubled, and poverty nearly did to. GDP fell by 30%, back to 1963 levels. The ultimate prize was the re -opening of the Venezuelan oil industry to US and foreign investment. Oil was being pumped out to reach 80% of Venezuela's total exports and 85% of per capita GDP. In 1989 a mass demonstration in the nations capital, Caracas, against IMF dictated austerity measures saw the massacre of a staggering 3,000 people plus. By 1992 the death and carnage galvanised junior military officers led by Lt. Col. Hugo  Ch├ívez who staged a coup attempt in solidarity with demonstrators. Chavez was imprisoned for two years for it. By 1998 Chavez was in power attempting to implement reforms he had campaigned on under the flag of the 'Bolivarian Revolution'  ( named after the South American Independence leader Simon Bolivar). Chavez placed limits on foreign investment in Venezuelan oil. On May 1, 2007, Chavez severed ties with the World Bank and the IMF and fully nationalised  Venezuela's oil industry, again. Following he Global Financial Crisis he also began repatriating Venezuela's gold, more than 60% of which was held in London. Much of the western world was not happy with him. Republican Americans and Fox News rallying behind evicted US oil companies, campaigned relentlessly against Hugo Chavez until his early death, aged just 59.

It seems nothing good comes from most places with oil. Venezuela still hasn't manage to develop or enrich is mere 30 million people with 100 years of oil revenues and a foreign refining and distribution market. Since they didn't value add with a manufacturing industry or become in any way self sufficient, they keep running out of staple consumer goods, like toilet paper and flour, and have to keep pumping oil regardless of the consequences, to import them.

As in most 'OILigarchies', and honoring the blood red on its national flag, Venezuela is among the most violent places on Earth: a murder is committed every 21 minutes. It has one of the world's highest homicides rates ( 70 per 100,000 in 2013). An unbelievable 200,000 people have been murdered over the last 15 years! On the fluffy side, Venezuelan women are hot according to 6 Miss World, 7 Miss Universe, 6 Miss International and 2 Miss Earth titles they have won, which is more than any other nation. Stands to reason the men mustn't be too bad either, when they're not off murdering someone every 21 minutes like the former Miss World Venezuela, Monica Spear, and her husband, who, while on a visit home with their five year old daughter, were gunned down in their car. The current President Nocolas Maduro, blamed the murder on soap operas, which Monica Spears starred in, including one called "La Muher Perfecta", the perfect woman.

Australia in January 1976 - No Fault Divorce Begins

Amid ongoing political and social turmoil in Australia and around the world, this month in January 1976, Family Law is set to become a system that is forever lagging behind an Australian society in constant change. The Family Law Act 1975, known as No Fault Divorce, was bought in by the change maker government of Gough Whitlam. This was particularly significant for women at the time because in an era where it was considered socially unacceptable to divorce, to cast adrift from a  failing marriage, one party had to prove the other was  'at fault' for the demise of the union. A woman – and in the 70's it was mostly happening to women – who's husband was abusive, alcoholic, drug addicted, violent or philandering, had to not only prove to the whole world (in the Supreme Court for anyone to attend) what her husband was up to, she had to suffer the humiliation of being derided, read about, gossiped over and being fingered as the person at fault for the marriage break-up. The social stigma mothers endured during divorce proceedings also undermined their rights to their children as prime care givers, as well as to property which meant divorced women frequently ended in utter poverty at 'no fault' of their own, while their children were deprived of their nurturing mothers. Most people couldn't afford the previous fault based court process either so unable to afford a divorce, many woman were forced to live in intolerable relationships where men just did what they liked to their wives and for themselves. Either way, it was risky business for a woman to get married. Staying single was not much of an option either as economic possibilities for women were limited. Not that there weren't happy women. The Family Law Act 1975 abolished 'at fault' divorce and bought in a dedicated court to attend to family matters, the Family Court of Australia. This was unique in the world because like Australia , most other countries handled divorce through multi jurisdictional courts. From now on applicant parents only had to state their marriage has suffered an irretrievable breakdown and demonstrate they have been separated for twelve months in order to divorce. Thanks to the Malcolm Frazer led Coalition coup of November 1975, the new court opened with less than half the intended staff in place causing huge delays in proceedings, a situation which has never improved since.

No Fault Divorce was so controversial  that the legislation was passed in the House of Representatives by only one vote, but then the House of Representatives was mostly run by men, so that's hardly surprising.

Diary January 1976

Diary 1976

Its the first month of 1976, and the second half of the school holidays. I'm back in the Blue Mountains after spending time on Sydney's northern beaches with relatives. Not much is happening except our group spend a day at the iconic Luna Park and I agonise over whether or not I will be allowed to go and if I will have enough money. School has begun again too. I'm still a fourteen year old but in 3rd form (Year 9). I haven't quite yet moved on from Jason, whom I now call 'Mr Maturity'.

Thursday January 1 - Happy New Year!

Dear Dairy,

Happy New Year! Well I've started a new diary. All I did all day was fix up my old diary. I wrote a list of eventful days and stuck it in my scrap book. I tried to tape some songs, but the tape recorder buggered up. Dad just bought a new one home last night cause the other one's all buggered.Now this one is too. Guess what! Fox on the Run was number 1 for the Year 1975. Isn't that great! We had visitors today and gradually the whole neighborhood came over. I didn't get to sleep until 3.30 last night. I wish Jason had have come down. I really miss him even though I don't like him as much as I used to. Deb said he was going to ask me again so I don't know but I wish he would.

Friday January 2 - Why do boys have to be sex starved?

Dear Dairy,

I rang Jason. He said Debbie told him that I didn't like him as much. He said he had made up his mind. I said, "You're not going to ask me". He said, "No". Boy did I cry. I didn't realize I liked him that much. S--t did I swear at Debbie. Then today I wrote Jason a letter which I posted, which I regret posting. Then I rang Debbie, and she said she told Chris that Jason wasn't going to get anything out of me. Why can't she just shut up. Anyway Chris is having a party and Debbie reckons, that Stephen is taking me. God. He won't after he reads the letter cause I know Jason will show the letter around. S--t. God I'm a dick. I've got myself in a spot like I always do. Why do boys have to be sex starved? I doubt if I ever will get the answer.

Saturday January 3 - He's just as dirty as before.

Dear Diary,

Well I've been sewing a dress. It's a bit of a disaster area but its all my own work. It's OK. I wish I had have got nicer material though. Uncle John came by surprise. He rung last night and said he might come but we forgot all about it. He's just as dirty as before, he started going on about how you develop in some areas so you need room to grow and all this crap. GOD. I'm getting my pocket money again starting from next Thursday. See-ya,

Sunday January 4 - I'm as white as a ghost

Dear Diary,

Its pretty hot today and I've done a bit of sun-baking to get back my tan I once had. I'm as white as a ghost. All I have to do now is put the buttons on my dress and its finished. It sure is boring in the holidays. There's absolutely nothing to do. See-ya

Monday January 5 - If it hadn't been for Debbie opening her bloody big mouth

Dear Diary

                                                            Video: HR Puff N Stuff Theme Song

I've sewn all the buttons on my dress. All I have to do now is the button holes which I have to do by hand. UGH. Going to Penrith tomorrow. Don't know what for but we're going. Jenny and Kim are going to see H.R. Pufnstuf. Glenda and me are going to roam around Penrith. Might be going to see Aloha Bobby and Rose on Friday. Sharon and Glenda are allowed. Mum said she'll talk it over with Dad. I hope I can go. If it hadn't been for Debbie opening her bloody big mouth I'd be going with Jason instead. Wish I was.

Tuesday January 6 - "I got a sharks tooth"

Dear Diary,

Went to Penrith today. Got a new necklace. Its a heart. I also got a sharks tooth. Anyway, went to Penrith pool. There were these guys there. They sent this kid to tell me this guy liked me. Then the little kid came over and told me I had nice nipples! Later they asked how old I was. I said 18. Would you believe it. This kid (Milton) said, "I'm 65". I said, "You don't look it". He said, "You don't look 18". Then I told him I'd be 15 in September. Then these other guys left and they waved and I waved back. He asked me what my name was and I said Petra. He said, "Come off it. That's the name of the dog down the road". He wouldn't believe my name was Petra so he said "Ill just call you Siegfried". Then they left. They were quite nice. My sister had her ears pierced. I'm allowed to see Aloha Bobby and Rose. Great. Got a new scrap book. Good. The other one's all full.

Wednesday January 7 - Dads' gonna give me $5.00 a week to fix his lunch

Dear Dairy,

We went to Blaxland to find out train times and sessions.  We're going to catch the 9.40 train and going to the 2.00 session. Finished my dress. Its OK I spose. Buttonholes weren't all that hard to do. Rang Debbie. Chris stayed at her place  four days and nights in a row. Wow. Talked about a lot of things for at least 3/4 of an hour. Dad had a go at me about the phone. Now I'm not allowed to use the phone until the end of February. S--t  he makes me sick. Dads' gonna give me $5.00 a week to fix his lunch for him. If I get it every week without spending a cent, I'll have $400 at the end of the year ( with my other pocket money). Wow. Bet that wont last long.

Thursday January  8 - Did absolutely nothing  today. How boring.

Dear Dairy,

Did absolutely nothing  today. How boring. Stayed at the Taylors all day just about. Marion, Heather and Terrese came down and we talked. Tomorrow's movie time. It keeps reminding me of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I wonder if Jason got my letter. I hope not.

Friday January 9 - Went to Aloha Bobby and Rose 

                                                   Video: Aloha Bobby and Rose Trailer

Went to Aloha Bobby and Rose Today. We were at Blaxland shops and Stephen was there. I said hello to him and we talked for a while. Then at the station I saw Brendon O'Donnel and we talked a while. Then as we were going up the stairs to the station, Craig Stratten leaned out the back window of a bus and shouted my name and waved. Then someone else waved at me too. I had a feeling it was Jason. Eyed off a lot of guys at Parrammatta and Glenda and Sharon kept complaining. One time I was by myself and these two creeps came in my direction. I began to walk away and Sharon and Glenda came back thanks goodness. Anyway, later I had the sh-ts in the theater.

Saturday January 10 - How boring can you get.

How boring can you get. Did absolutely nothing today. Not a thing. Got up at 11.10am . See-ya

Sunday January 11 - Did absolutely nothing. How boring

Its my sister's birthday today. We're supposed to go to Paradise Gardens. She's being real b--ch today and real shi--y to Claire. Did absolutely nothing. How boring.

Monday January 12 - Debbie asked me if I'd come to Luna Park with them

Dear Dairy,

Went to the shops and Brendon O'Donnel and his brother Michael went past on their bikes, and he goes, "Ga'day Petra.What are you doing?". I said, "Walking". He goes, "Oh yeah". Phoned Debbie and Chris was there. I talked to him first and he started rambling on about stuff and how this guy and gang nicked about $80 worth of stuff! Debbie and Chris are going to Gosford for two weeks, lucky stiffs. Debbie asked me if I'd come to Luna Park with them and Jason's gang next Monday. Wouldn't that be far out! What would I wear? I haven't got anything to wear. I spose I could wear my dress. Oh what's the use of worrying about that. I wont be allowed to go. I know it, cause once before Dad said Luna Park is out. So that does it. Damn. I wish I could go. I just hope I can. I hope so. Please Dad, let me go.

Tuesday January 13 - She got in a photo with a Maori, just for the record 

Dear Dairy,

Debbie rang. We tried to organise a slumber party, but we couldn't. So Debbie and me are going to Penrith on Friday. I don't know what for. I can't afford it. The most money I can get for Luna Park, if I'm allowed to go, is $8.00 at the most. So I'm in a bit of a spot. Sh-t. I owe Glenda $1.00 and Sharon $1.00 and about 36 cents. Got a card from Jenny. She's having a good time, lucky stiff. She's met plenty of guys and got in in a photo with a Moari and her - just for the record, she said. She goes, "How's Jason". If only she knew. I haven't heard from him for a year. I bet he laughed his head off after he read the letter. I just bet. Deb reckons he's going to Luna Park too. Shit. Steve Lay and Ferret Owe me 50 cents each. Ill never get it back.

Wednesday January 14 - No use writing about today, nothing happened.

Thursday January 15 - He said I'm too immature for him.

Dear Diary,

Went to the shops and rang Debbie. You know what Jason said? That he was going to ask me again, until he got the letter, and that I'm too immature for him. Ha! What a b-----d. Like hell he was going to ask me. If he wanted to go with me he would have asked me ages ago. And as for immaturity, he's not bl--dy half as mature as he thinks he is. If he was so mature he wouldn't use people the way he does. I hate him. He's going to Luna Park. S--t, I don't want to go now. The people who are going are Debbie, Chris, Eddie and Dianne, J.B and Jason and Me and Steve. Not in that order, not for me and JB. I have to be at Blaxland Station at 9.30. I don't want to go. Bloody Jason. I wish he'd crawl up himself. I'm not going to Penrith either. I can only just scrape up enough money for Luna Park - IF I can go.

Friday January 16 - Maybemight find myself a guy who will like me for who I am and not for what I can give them.

Went to the shops and saw Linda Carey. She asked me if I was going to see Jaws with Jason tonight! The b-----d. I hate him and his bl--dy 'maturity'. Why did I have to write that letter? God I am an idiot. I could kill myself. We're going back to school the week after next and he'll tell everyone. Of s--t, I've had it now! Why! Why! Why! I wish I could go away and start all over again. Maybe if I'm lucky I might find myself a guy who will like me for who I am and not for what I can give them. One-day maybe. Why can't I just accept things and not persist? I hope one day he'll find someone he really likes and they use him and just dump him somewhere! Oh Gees I don't want to go to Luna Park.

Saturday January 17 - Dad said I could go to Luna Park on one condition

Dear Diary,

Dad said I could go to Luna park on one condition - that if anyone didn't turn up I have to go straight home. Also he's going to ring everyone's parents to make sure  they're going. S--t. Why don't I just tell him their whole life story if that will help? God I'm humiliated. He doesn't trust me enough just because maybe a couple of kids might not come or something. Jees I'm furious. Can you imagine! No-one will talk to me. Ill be completely ignored and everyone will hate me. S--t Dad makes me sick sometimes. I rang JB and she's still got a crush on Ken. Debbie Wheatly is also coming. So far I've managed to scrape up $2.50 plus $2 - that $4.50. Plus $1.00 for car washes tomorrow. That's $5.50, plus maybe $1.00 from Mum - $6.50. And I hope my pocket money in advance - $9.50. I hope, I hope, I hope. And I don't even want to go!

Sunday January 18 - "Well if it isn't Mr Maturity himself"

Dear Diary,

Went to visit Auntie Georgie and Uncle Willie's cause they just came back form Holland. Jees Georgie's pretty. She so nice too.And so is Uncle Willie. Mum got a diamond ring from Oma. They have a beautiful dog named Mitsy. Stopped at a pub and had some chicken in a basket and then home. Debbie just rang. I have $8.00. Dad owes me $2.00 and 50 cents for washing the car, but there's ingrained dirt on it so now I have to do it again. Debbie rang. Chris was there and so was Mr Maturity. He got on the phone and said, "yeah, what do you want". I didn't say anything. He said, "what did you ring me for?" I said, "I'm going" and he said "No don't hang up the phone". I felt like saying, "Well if it isn't Mr Maturity himself", but Dad was there. Well I'm practically ready. I'm nervous cause I know I'll be stirred. I wish Jason wasn't going.

Monday January 19 - Well I went to Luna Park today

Dear Diary,

Well I went to Luna Park today.It was great. On the way to the station this garbo truck drove past and whistled at me. Then they stopped and one said, "good morning" and the other whistled. Then  when I got on the station Jason came up and put his arms around me. I turned away and he started going on about me hanging up on him. So all the way on the train, all he talked about was me hanging up on him. First of all Debbie, Chris, Steve and Jason were sitting in seats facing each other. I sat behind them but then Debbie told me to sit in the seat with them. But then Jason made me so sick I had to sit in the next compartment, especially when I asked for some chewing gum and he said, "Get F'd you B--ch". I hate him now. So Steve came and sat next to me, then Debbie came, then Chris, then Ferrit. Then Jason came. He went to the dunny and forgot to do his fly up. God it looked funny. Anyway, we caught a train to the city circle.

We had to wait an hour to get into Luna Park. I bought $4.00 worth of rides, that's 20 cents a ride. But I didn't use all my Blue Ride. There weren't many good Blue Rides. Then Mr Maturity kept going on about not getting the letter. I went in the River Caves twice. Once by myself where this attendant tried to kiss me. The other time with Jason. He put his arm around me and tried to put his hands on my boobs but I wouldn't let him, and when we got out the said, "spoil sport". We went to Coney Island. Jason stuck with me in there and he bought me a couple of tickets to go on one of the big slippery dips. When we came out of Coney Island he bought  me a drink. Also when we bought tickets he gave me $1.00. Ferrit gave me 50 cents. I went on the Big Dipper 7 times. It was great. I also went on the Wild Cat 4 times. Went on the Cha Cha 2 times, and those bumper cars 4 times. Most of the time I was with Jason, but he came to me; I didn't go to him. But then I got sick of him. He goes, "You're spunky". I said something, and he said, "When I tell you you're spunky, your're spunky'. I asked an attendant if I could keep my ticket for my scrap book. He said, "That's the biggest excuse I've ever heard to keep a ticket". But he let me keep it. There was this real nice guy working on the Old Cat. He kept smiling at me and waving. For lunch I had some chips and 3 drinks of cordial, one thick shake and one milk shake. And a pie for tea.  We were on the last ride and the last people to go. On the train home these scouts were saying hello and goodbye and when  I got off the train they waved at me. Then this guy drove past and yelled out, "ga'day spunky". Altogether it was a great day except for O'Donnell.

Wednesday January 21 - Did nothing today. Watched TV.

Thursday January 22 - Did nothing again. Still raining. UGH.

Friday January 23 - Had my tooth filled. Yak

Dear Diary,

Went to Penrith today. Had my tooth filled. Yak. He didn't really hurt though. You'd never guess who I saw. Milton from Penrith Pool. He was working in Woolworths. He said, "Hi Siegfried". I told him I lost my sister. He got real worried but I told him, "Let her stay lost". Then as I was coming down the escalator he said, "Did you find her". I said, "Yeah, she was looking for mice". So we started talking about mice. Then we talked about jobs. Then I bumped into these guys I didn't know and everyone of them said sorry. Then as I was walking across the road, one of them yelled, "there's that Sheila" and one of them came and said, "I'll walk you over". I said, "Gee thanks" and he goes, "I'm a real gentleman". I have to go back to the dentist for two more fillings and maybe three. Got some junk for school. We got back on Wednesday. Worst luck. See-ya.

Saturday January 24 -  Did nothing today and its still raining. Went to Mrs Marsh's to get my Rep uniform.

Saturday January 25 - Someone has to get fired at Mum's work

Dear Diary

Didn't do anything again today. Sun-baked a little. Worked. Guess what Dad said. We have to take turns in making his lunch. That means I'll only get $5.00 every two weeks.  Someone has to get fired at Mum's work and Mums the only eligible person. But so far she hasn't been fired. See-ya.

Monday January 26Sunbaked again today

Sunbaked again today since its finally sunny. Yeah right when we have to go to school. Sharon reckons I owe her $3.00, and Glenda $1.00. Then someone came up with $2.38. I owed her $2.00 and 1 cent cause I remember the 1 cent. And that's all I'm paying.

Tuesday January 27 -  Mums money has finally come through.

Dear Diary,

Well the holidays have ended. It's not fair. They don't give us long enough! Went to Penrith. Got a filling, only this time it hurt and my whole mouth was numb.  I had an appointment at 2.30 and I went in at exactly 5 to 4! Boy was I mad. Saw Colin Boyd and stacks of kids. Got my money out of the bank - $11.83. Wow I'm rich. Guess what! Mums money has finally come through. Guess how much? $6,000. Isn't that great! Finally I can get some more clothes. Well school's tomorrow. I don't want to go. To think the holidays are over. Makes me shudder.

Wednesday January 28 - Meet the tough 3rd former.

Dear Diary,

Meet the tough 3rd former. Wow. Well school started today. It was great to see everyone again. Everyone's saying 'hello'. Jim's Mum wants to move to Penrith but Jim doesn't want to. I hope he doesn't. Spoke to Grant. He did nothing in the holidays except watch TV. Saw Colin Boyd. He asked me if I had seen that guy I don't like. I said no, thank-goodness. Colin said, "You love me" and I said, "Yes I love you", and Steve Podmore said, "What about me". I said, "I love you too'. Then Colin said, "Shes two timing". Colin's a good kid. Talked to Denton. He didn't go anywhere in the holidays either.  Gaven is back from Canada. Chris told Wayne Humphreys off for sending Debbie a post card when she was the one who asked him to. Jees. We asked Wayne what Chris told him and he said that we were off limits to him. I found out that that day Craig waved at me from the bus, his girlfriend stuck her fingers up at me - and I thought she waving to me! He thought I was upset. Steve Podmore asked me if I had my bus pass yet. Guess what. Craig and Perry catch our bus now. Boyd goes, "I like you're earrings. They're pretty cool."  I got in some OK classes: 3E2, 3M2, 3S4, 3H1, 3AC1, 3HS2. They're OK I spose. For sport I took Life Saving. Im going for my Bronze Cross. Jees. Ill never make it. Oh well. Ill try. Another boring day at school

Thursday January 29 - The bloody cat got into my sisters mouse cage

It was pretty boring today. When I went to see if they had my bus pass yet, Steve Podmore called me and asked me if I had my bus pass yet, and he came into my class  later to see if I had my bus yet. Jees he's nice. Colin Boyd talked to me today and he put his arm around me too.  He's nice too. When I was catching my bus I met and Colin and Steve again and they asked me if I had my bus pass again. Then they kept getting in my way and wouldn't let me catch my bus. Jim McKenenzie and Grant Carson both got bitten by a sheep yesterday. I was at the canteen and Grant called me and said, "can you believe we both got bitten by a sheep". They chucked a rock at it and it started chasing after them and bit them. Jees it must have looked funny. Talked to that Michael kid. He was away for two weeks cause his Dad was running in an election. Fleas brother is in first form. Jees it's funny. We have P.E last period and we have to do dancing. All the  of 4th form are out cause they don't have scripture and they all watch. Its terrible. Went to Penrith to buy some junk. Saw Milton. He asked me if I liked school and I said no. He said why and I said "cause its boring". Debbie's parents took me home. The bloody cat got into my sisters mouse cage. We found one mouse, so the cat must have eaten the other one. He was my favorite one too. Bl--dy Cat. My poor sister. She was practically hysterical. See-ya.

Friday January 30 - I ran after him and kicked him real hard

Dear Diary,

Colin Boyd asked me to go to the pictures with him. I was at the canteen. He came up to me and asked me, "Have yo seen any good pictures lately" I said "No". He said, "We'll have to go one weekend". I said, "You're bull-----ing me" and he said he isn't.  I said, "You are". I asked Steve if he was, and he said no. Then he goes, "We'll have to go halves in you" and Colin says, "No, she's all mine". God they love stirring me. Later he came and sat next to me cos I was eating a Snow Pop and he says, "How are you going?"  I said, "OK. How are you going?" He said, "Terrible', I haven't had a girlfriend for four months!" Oh poor Colin. Steve said hello a couple of times. He's nice. I like him. Billy Cannon's little brother and Flea's little brother came up to me and Billy's little brother kept trying to reach up to my height, so I bent down and he asked me if I would go with Fleas little brother! At lunch I was talking to Jim and Neil came up to me and  put his hands on my boobs. I ran after him and kicked him real hard. Jason and all them were watching me.

Saturday January 31 - Enrolled for Netball

Dear Diary,

Went to Thomas Park to get enrolled for netball and nobody was there cause I was too early and when it finally did come time to enroll, Mum was in a bad mood ( as usual) and wouldn't let me go, so I rang Mrs Geotze instead to take me. That's all. Seeya.

Diary 1976. 

Written by Petra Campbell

Twitter: @petraau