Friday 14 March 2014

Where Did All The Koala's Go?

Photo by Petra Campbell
Koala Road
We lived at 40  Koala Road Blaxland, in the Blue Mountains. Not Smith Road or Jones Road. Koala Road. A road named after our iconic cuddly cutie pie of a Koala, when Koalas were living there. There hasn't been a Koala sighted in the Blue Mountains since the 1940’s. Not until the Springwood bush fire of 2013 when to the incredulity of Blue Mountain folk, a few heat struck smoked out and bedraggled Koalas emerged from their incinerated hideaways desperately searching for safety and water. 

I can’t imagine how anyone could possibly point a gun at, much less shoot, a Koala. But the early industrial British had run out of their own furry wild animals by the time they arrived in Australia, and with the same efficiency used back home to exterminate wildlife, they went on to shoot animals en mass in Australia too. By 1924, the new settlers had entirely wiped Koalas off the face of South Australia, severely depleted them in New South Wales, and almost eradicated them in Victoria, bar 500 odd individuals. In 1919 alone, one million Koalas were slaughtered in Queensland, and when a moratorium on hunting Koalas expired in 1927, Queenslanders massacred a further 800,000 Koalas in a mind boggling single month.  One month!

creative coomons
I guess it would have been easy to kill 800,000 Koalas in one month. It’s not like they run away real fast anywhere. Most of the day, when hunters were out and about and on the prowl, Koalas were snoozing, or leisurely hanging around their trees, minding their own fluffy cuddly business, chewing away at juicy eucalyptus leaves, stretching their legs and arms and leaving them outstretched, and generally just lazing around in such impossible positions one wonders how it is they don’t fall out of their trees. I’m just surprised the hunters didn't rather pick them up and squeeze them to death, that’s how unbearably and irresistibly cute Koala's are.  Finally public outrage at the slaughter forced governments in all states to declare the Koala a protected species by the late 1930's. Not so however for the particular gum trees who’s leaves Koalas love to eat, which continue to be bulldozed to this day to make space for the nonstop growth of people. Koala’s never recovered in the Blue Mountains and they are now on the brink of extinction throughout Australia. 

Imagine an Australia without Koalas.

Growing up we used to look skywards at towering gums swaying in the mountain breeze desperately trying to spot a Koala. “I see a Koala! Do you see it? There it is- look ! Up there- in THAT tree”, one of us would holler excitedly as we trekked through the bush to our favourite waterhole, rock ledge or secret meeting cave. “Where? I don’t see it?”, another would complain squinting up at the sun. Then our hearts would sink with insulted disappointment when we realised that it wasn't a Koala at all, it was a swollen node of wood or some kind of hive tricking us into thinking it was a Koala hugging its branch. And so my street name lied to me and I never saw a Koala on my road or anywhere else in the mountains growing up. And I wasn't happy with the adults before us who so selfishly used up all the Koalas, not thinking to leave us any to enjoy.

creative commonsOur Koala Road was also not in some commonly named suburb either; we lived in Blaxland, a place named after one of the 3 wealthy landowners who opened up the Blue Mountains to human settlement in 1813. Gregory Blaxland came with his family to Australia as a free settler and soon owned large areas of farmland around Sydney. But Sydney was swelling with hungry mouths and more and more land was needed to graze more and more sheep and cattle. The settlement needed to push out west. Six other expeditions had tried to forge through the mountains but failed. Prompted by a severe drought, Blaxland decided that he would have a go. Coaxing fellow landowners William Lawson and William Charles Wentworth to trek along, he took a different route than the failed expeditions before him – across the ridge tops rather than through the valleys. Apart from three convicts and notorious Kangaroo hunter, James Burns, all the team took with them was four pack horses carrying  six weeks supply of salted meat and flour, seven handguns, tents, a hoe, cutting tools and a compass. It was a tough gig being a wealthy exploratory farmer back then: forging a track through impenetrable vegetation using only rudimentary hand tools; salted meat and bread for breakfast, lunch and dinner; sleeping at night in the dark without a fire, fearing the smoke would bring on an attack by Aborigines who never agreed to share Australia with the English invaders. 

Creative Commons
Because they traversed the ridges it only took six days to cross the mountains before the men spotted the grazing hills to the west they were hoping to find. Humans, cows and sheep soon followed – and right behind them were the fur traders slaughtering to near extinction all the Koalas in the Blue Mountains. The road our bus took every day to ferry us to and from school, and the railway line we became dependent on to cart us in and out of the mountains when we were old enough, follows the exact route Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson took.

Nor was Forty Koala Road Blaxland nestling in a banal patch of bush. It buffered what would become UNESCO listed World Heritage National Park. Of course we always knew our mountains were very special, only now they were special to the whole wide world. Starting fifty kilometers west of Sydney, the Greater Blue Mountains Area is 1.03 million hectares of jaw dropping magnificence: an ancient explosion of sandstone plateaux, escarpments and gorges carpeted with temperate eucalypt forest spanning over seven outstanding National Parks which include Blue Mountains, Wollemi, Yengo, Nattai, Kanangra-Boyd, Gardens of Stone, Thirlmere Lakes National Parks, and the Jenolan Caves Karst Conservation Reserve. These parks together parade the most intact scelerophyll forest wilderness remaining in the world, and the most significant representation of Australia's biodiversity. This includes endemic and evolutionary relict species, like the Wollemi pine, and significant numbers of rare or threatened species like our gorgeous Koala. Blue Mountain Koalas have high levels of genetic diversity so they are considered important to Koala conservation. The UNESCO listed area is precious to what’s left of Koalas Australia wide so it was a bitter sweet event when some Koalas escaped the 2013 fires to be spotted by humans for the first time in 70 years, because while it revealed that Koalas were clinging on, it also meant that many more probably perished in the fire, as did their trees. And as we are now seeing with the current Australian government’s attempt to de-list the UNESCO listed Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and with the same government's attitude to not protecting the UNESCO listed Great Barrier Reef, being UNESCO world listed is no guarantee of long term protection from human greed. As I write this post a new petition is going around to Stop Coal Seam Gas Exploration in the Blue Mountains, not only UNESCO listed, but the catchment area for Sydney's water supply. Will future generations of Blue Mountain kids be angry with us too when we leave them swimming holes, creeks and ground water so poisoned with hydrocarbons that they can't swim in them anymore like we did as children?

My childhood was stamped with history, nature and international significance, just by virtue of my address. It was a very privileged childhood of a non material kind. What else could a child want than an endless grand expanse of bush to explore, imagine and adventure in. We didn't have personal technology. We were down at the waterhole tying up meat or bread, or bits of our left over lunch onto a piece of string to lure yabbies out of their muddy hiding places.  We were dancing to the energy of nature under fresh unpolluted water falls and basking in the sun on sandstone rocks with blue tongue and frill necked lizards, turning our heads up to the sky to see fantails of light filtering though a carousel of tree tops. Kookaburra’s, King Parrots, Rainbow Lorikeets, Crimson Rosellas, Galahs and Cockatoos, Wrens and Robins – so many colourful symphonic birds chorused through the wilderness while the blended fragrance of boronias, swamp heaths, wattle, eucalyptus, lavender, and earthy fresh water engulfed our senses and relaxed our bodies. We were cycling home from school and to our friend’s places through bush tracks, and flattening our tyres as wallabies looked on. We went bush walking to wherever – sometimes we didn't know to where because the mountains were vast, but we went there anyway – and managed to find our way back without falling off cliffs or being bitten by snakes. We built secret hideaways out of branches, leaves and ferns. We grounded fine dust out of coloured sandstone, mixing it with water to paint our faces and bodies. And we would run very fast away from scary blokes we would sometimes bump into out in the bush.  Even our school cross country wasn't a boring run around and around and around some grassed oval– we ran literally across country, through the bush.

I had no idea that in the rest of Australia and throughout much of the planet, forests were disappearing at a metastasised rate. I thought the whole world was a natural paradise like the beautiful country I grew up in.

Australia in July 1975

By 1975 when thugs and corruption ruled the underworld of our urban environments, the same thing that robbed us of our Koalas  was manifesting itself between real  estate developers and a groundswell of people who considered it important for Australian culture, young as it was, to preserve beautiful and unique historical buildings and neighbourhoods so finely hand crafted by our colonial ancestors. This month in July, Sydney newspaper publisher and heiress, Juanita Nielsen disappeared. She is widely considered to have been murdered by agents of the now dead property developer Frank Theeman, because she was crusading against his plans to demolish a historic part of Victoria Street in Kings Cross, an area which the National Trust compared to Montmartre in Paris. Theeman intended to replace the demolished  buildings with high rise apartments. Juanita, along with local residents had successfully lobbied the Builders Labourer’s Federation to impose a 'green ban' on the site in 1972, and Juanita used her newspaper, NOW, to push their case. Juanita’s body was never found. It is thought she is cemented into the foundations of one of the buildings that were going up in the Cross at the time. Juanita Nielsen leaves the legacy of raising the profile of a marginalised but growing conservation movement. The last scumbag likely to know her fate and thought to have been her killer, Eddie Trigg, died 2013 without confessing on his deathbed. This brutal affront to our democracy inspired two fabulous Australian films, The Killing of Angel Street  (1981) Directed by Donald Crombie: 

And Heatwave, (1982) Directed by Phillip Noyce:

The World in July 1975

ARPANET'S first Router

The INTERNET’S parents are born to the US Department of Defense this month: they called their baby the ARPANET. And putting a giant lump in the world's throat,the US Apollo and the Russian Soyuz meet up in space sealing the final chapter of the Space War and ending the Apollo Space Program with one final splashdown.  US astronauts would not be seen again until 1981 when they would swagger onto a tarmac to catch a Space Shuttle.

The first international agreement to protect wildlife and plants from extinction as a result of poaching and trade comes into effect this month too. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora took 12 years to be triggered following a resolution adopted back at a 1963 meeting of member countries of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). These things tragically take time compared to the speed at which animals can be made extinct.

He's A Sex Maniac. July 1975

Meanwhile at Springwood High School, I finally stop pining over Mark - much to my children's relief. There is a party on this month and for the first time I experience the sexual pressure boys were putting on us 13 year old girls. No wonder my parents found any and every unjustifiable excuse to ground me right before a party. Slut was a word commonly used among teens by now. The older Oxford Dictionary meaning for slut was ‘a woman with low standards of cleanliness'. Over time it morphed into meaning: ‘a woman who has many casual sexual partners’.  We were far from being women and I didn't know anyone who was having sexual partners, much less many of them and casually. It was only last month I found that being pinched on the bum meant you were 'sexy'. But we certainly knew the word was derogatory and had something to do with being with boys. Girls used it against other girls either because they did start experimenting early, or to maliciously ruin their reputation or in territorial posturing. Boys deployed the word for the same reason or out of rejection. While I just 'luv' all the boys and think their smiles are 'just beautiful', I wasn't at all ready for anything more than the innocent Postman’s Knock, where I could always get out of being 'next' - by needing to vomit for example. To spare readers from cringing, I have replaced a most unpleasant word that starts with 'f' and has more than four letters, with a family friendly word - after some consultation.

Tuesday July 1 I've got a real bad cold”

I've got a real bad cold and I might even lose my voice again. I went and talked to Craig and he said “How come you were away yesterday?” And I said "I had a cold", and he said “Oh” and was acting real hostile. So cold I felt. Blackborrow started blowing me up today and sent me outside for nothing.

Wednesday July 3 -  "My sister was a real angel”

didn't go to school today cause of my cold. God it’s bad. I feel really sick and it’s really bad. My sister was a real angel. She stayed home and made me stay in bed and fed me and never groaned when I asked her to do something. She was great.

Thursday July 3 “I didn't go to school today”

didn't go to school today again and I feel just as bad as yesterday. I miss Denton and Jason and all the rest of them.

Friday July 4 – 
Well I went to school today and I shouldn't have. I wore my scarf. I felt silly. But it was warm. Some kids laughed and some said it was good. Mark goes “whoo-hoo” cause of my scarf. Gees Billy doesn't talk much. Deb was going to postpone the party. I wish she had have cause there’s only going to be six: Jo and Mark, Debbie and Craig and me and G.  I hope the other girl comes. Anyway, I’ll leave the rest of the space for the party.

Saturday July 5 The Party-“you’re not a slut if you let someone touch you occasionally”

Wow the party was great. We played Spin the Bottle, Postman’s Knock and Truth and Dare. Plus the usual lying around, dancing and eating. The boys were stupid all night and I couldn't stop laughing. 
There was plenty of food but we had to bring our own drinks and supply transport. At one stage Debbie got the shits with Craig cause Craig had the shits with Debbie cause she wouldn't dance with him. Everyone was flirting so much. 

Sunday July 6 –

Debbie just rang and we had a great old talk about the party. 

Monday July 7 - “Are you going to sit next to me”

I missed my bus (on purpose) to try on a pair of Debbie’s jeans. I had to catch Borea Street bus and I started talking to Mark and Billy. Anyway we were rambling on and Mark asked me if I was going in the sports carnival and said that I was going to win it. Billy said “Are you going to sit next to me” but I didn't say anything. Then Turnbull told me to "Get in line!", and Mark goes “it’s all your fault”. As I got off the bus he gave this funny look. Sports carnival is on tomorrow and Thursday, and it’s a mufti day and I have nothing to wear.

Tuesday July 8 - 1st in high jumps, tie second in long jumps, 2nd in hurdles, 1st in 100m

Well today was the sports carnival and we didn't sit anywhere near the boys. But all the time I was in the events so it didn't really matter. I came 1st in high jumps; tie 2nd in long jumps, 2nd in hurdles, 1st in 100 meters, and 3rd in 200 meters. When I was running the 200 meters I heard the guys call out “Go Petra!”. Same with when I was hurdling and the 100 meters. They’re sweet. It was Mum’s birthday today and she was quite happy. Oma sent her a letter saying her sister had gone mad, her brother was being shitty keeping her out of the house, and the money is coming soon! WOW. I want some stripy socks to go with my jeans and some gum boots.

Wednesday July 9 - "These girls were calling me a slut, the f’ing moles".

When I was in woodwork Denton was close to me and he smiled and said hello and I smiled back and on the way to lunch he was walking behind me. At the end period 4 , these girls were calling me a slut, the f’ing moles.  Everyone at training gave me the shits. They’re always being nasty and harassing me at the bust stop.

Thursday July 10- I came 3rd in Javelin, 2nd in hurdles

We had second half of sports carnival today. Wow. Trevor and all them came down and sat with us all day. I think they like Jo cause Trevor called Jo 'sexy'. First of all Dixon and Mark sat next to me, then Trevor and Canon and Canon and Dixon had a fight over who was going to sit next to me. God it was funny. When I was under the blanket Billy asked if he could come under but I said there wasn't enough room. Trevor kept putting his hands and head up my legs and I once kicked him in the face which I shouldn't have cause it hurt him. When I was sitting next to Trevor and this other kids, Michelle and all them came over ( they were only a couple of yards away from us) to take a picture of  the boys, and B told me to Piss Off! The f’ing mole. Then they tried to take a photo of Marc and Amanda with their arms around each other but Mark wouldn't and he kept looking at me. With those girls near us I was sort of scared they were going to pick a fight with me. I came 3rd in Javelin, 2nd in hurdles 4th in 100 meters and 6th in 200 meters. Our relay came second and we did pretty bad in the ball games. Altogether 'Chapma'n was coming second by 6 points only. At a couple of stages we were coming first. It was great. Seeya.

Friday July 11- “Debbie is in hospital to get a wart cut out”

Nothing much happened today. Didn't see much of the boys. Last night I got a phone call from Paul Sharp but I didn't say much. He wanted to know whether my wanting to go with Reagan was true. Christ! Cathy’s little brother told him, the dickhead. Went and saw Debbie today cause she was in hospital to get a wart cut out. Seeya.

Saturday July 12 – YUM, YUM” 

We played the Blue Jays today and won 28 to 10. How about that eh? They are just about the hardest team. That beautiful guy was there again, gees he’s nice. YUM, YUM   Didn't think he took much notice of me though. I don’t blame him, who would. I’m supposed to play a netball carnival tomorrow and bloody Mum wouldn't f’ing let me cause I didn't find out any details, when bloody Mrs Goetze never told us any. I was going to watch a horror movie then Dad wouldn't let me, then he just decided he’d let me cause he wanted to watch it, and not the cricket. Now he wants to watch the cricket again and won’t let me watch the movie.

Sunday July 13 – “Only 2 goals off the trophy. GEES”

Us - the Tigers - went to a netball carnival today and we won every game except the last one which we lost by 2 goals. Only 2 goals off the trophy. GEES. That gets me. We had great fun and Cassandra and all them were real nice to me. Mrs Goetze said that Linda Carey is going to be in our team next year. God.

Monday July 14 – “He said I must like him if I would ring him”

Jason was in the library today and I said “Gaday  Jason” and he smiled. Gees he’s got a nice smile, so I smiled back. I didn't see any more of them today except from a distance. We went and visited Debbie again today. Glenda and I rang up Craig this arvo and I had him guessing who I was. He thought I was Joanne Fletcher or Anne Blackborrow. Gees. Then he finally caught on and we talked for ½ an hour. Then he said I must like him if I would ring him up and I said "well if I hated you I wouldn't be talking to you". Now he thinks I've got a crush on him. What have I done? I wanted to ring up Denton or Jason but I couldn't work out their phone numbers.

Tuesday July  15 – “G said at the next party she was going to let him touch her”.

We went to the Choir Festival  first and second period and boy are we bad. We saw one primary school that is fantastic compared to us! I got a pencil case for my pencils and it’s too small. G and I were discussing G and his fingers and G said at the next party she was going to let him touch her.

Wednesday July 16 – “Jo and I had a good old talk about G and his fingers and what it feels like”

We had a whole free 3 periods for Gunner in choir and we were out at Area 1. Trevor came down and they were talking about the archery cord being back. Jo and I had a good old talk about G and his fingers and what it feels like. Went to choir festival. Went and talked to this guy and who looked a lot like Craig, and he was older too. He was quite nice. He kept putting his arm around me and trying to kiss me but I wouldn't let him. He kept saying let’s go to a quiet place and..... and I don’t even know his name. Seeya

July 18 Friday – “I was the Champion of 14 years girls’ in the athletic carnival”

Guess what! I was the Champion of the 14 year girls in the Athletics Carnival. Wasn't that great!  They announced it over assembly. The zone sports carnival is on Tuesday and Wednesday and I haven’t even practiced. I went up to practice at lunch time but the football was on. Denton and all them were up there and Jason and a couple of other guys asked me if I would go out with Bill Cannon to the theater tonight and I said I couldn't cause I have to go out tonight and they asked if I would have gone with him and  but I just said I don’t know. Then Jo went and said that I liked someone else which sounded like I liked someone not in their group.  And they told him when he was right behind me so I would hear. Then Chris later told me that he didn't really want to go with me, and then he did.  Then they said they are trying to pair me up with one of them. I wish I could be with someone I liked. At period 7 they wanted me to go upstairs but I couldn't cause of Turnbull. That kid who kept trying to kiss me last night came around and he wouldn't piss off. He kept on following me. I read my stars and they said "offers to go out on dates" and "winning at sports games" and that’s exactly what happened.

Saturday July 19 – “I heard about you and David R”

Well nothing happened today. I umpired my sister’s team last and one of the girls from the Blue Jays came up and said “I heard about you and David Reagan” and some other David kid who I never heard of. That’s all. Isn't that boring?

Sunday July 20 – “I’m paying her back for the time I was sick”

Well my sister was sick today and I had to look after her. She has a real bad cold and I’m paying her back for the time I was sick. I worked real hard and cooked the tea – which bombed out. Nobody liked it including me. When I asked Mum if I could watch the Matt Helm Movie – Murderers Row (on Sunday Night I might add) she actually let me. It was fantastic and really funny. We also watched Miss Universe and from the very beginning. I wanted Miss Finland to win and she did. How about that. Oh, got to go now. seeya.

Monday July 21 - "Did you enjoy your trip?".

I wore my summer uniform to school today and I had to go to the office first period. Jason tried to say hello but everyone got in his way but he finally said it. He’s sweet and I really like him. I showed him to Glenda and she goes “Oh is that Jason? I know him” and she’s raving on. Then I tripped over a rock and Chris goes “did you enjoy your trip” and I said “Oh yes, fantastic really great” and he said “And you didn't even send me a postcard”. And me being dense I said “What for?” and then “Oh yeah”, and Glenda started rambling on. I finally went up to practice and there was nothing for me to practice on so I did discuss. Sharp reckons I’m gonna win. Ha! Funny boy he is. I haven’t got a hope. But I’ll try. Wish me luck for tomorrow. Thanks I need it.

Tuesday July 22 – "Just missed out on the record by 2 seconds".
Doctor Dolly, June 1975

Well today was the sports carnival. I came first in the 100m hurdles and I just missed out on the record by 2 seconds. And I missed out on the area by 1 second, isn't that sickening. I came 2nd in discuss and about 6th or 7th in High Jumps – isn't that terrible. I was reading this Dolly Magazine when Chris Dixon and Mitchell Pash came up and started reading it with me, then we came up to Doctor Dolly  God it was funny.( see articles I pasted in dairy, Jan 9 and 10)

Wednesday July 23 “Someone came in my room and tried to strangle me”.

I had the most horrifying dream last night that someone came in my room and tried to strangle me. I woke up sweating and my heart was beating real fast. 
Well today was the last day of the carnival. I was in nothing today. I did absolutely nothing ALL DAY. Our school came second altogether. Damn. The girls came 2nd and the boys came second. I don’t think I’m in anything for the Area. Damn. I got my photo taken with Chris Dixon and these other dicks. The girl who took the photo said we are going to be in the school mag. I met Craig and Billy on the way home. We didn't talk much cause Billy wanted to go home, thank God. Craig goes “what’s the matter, why aren't you in a talking mood”. Christ I was nervous.

Thursday July 24 She wants to drop Craig cause he keeps going up her top”

Nothing much happened today. Jason and all them play handball now so I don’t see much of them anymore. I made a bet with Glenda and Mark and JB that I wasn't going to be in the State and they reckoned I was. If I win I get 90 cents, if I lose, I lose 90 cents. Craig said hello and said “Weren't you feeling well yesterday?” and I said "no" and smiled. Deb rang and we had a good old talk. She wants to drop Craig cause he keeps going up her top and she wanted my advice. Then I remembered that Craig had told me that he couldn't give a dam if she had both her tits cut off. When I told Deb she was real relieved and now she won’t drop him. But Jo wants to drop Mark cause she doesn't like him anymore and she wanted my advice. God I hate 'that girl'.  Every time I say something she has to correct me or say something nasty and when I’m not talking to her she always interrupts or goes “whoop whoop stiff shit”. I cried real hard yesterday cause everyone’s going on holidays and I’m not and cause we are poor. Mum tried real hard to cheer me up and she was really fantastic.  Seeya

Saturday July 26 – “But a fat lot of good my advice was...”

We played the Viscounts today and we won 14-6. God the umpires were bitches. They were all for the Viscounts and they kept pulling up Cassandra. Well Jo dropped Mark and Deb dropped Craig but she’s gone back with him. I rang Craig then Deb and Jo and we had a good old nag. She reckons someone’s trying to cause trouble but we're not sure who it is. David Yates asked Debbie to go with him and Mark's all friendly with her now. I wonder why. Went to Euroka today for a picnic and Sharon and I went bush walking most of the time. We even walked down to the Nepean River. I thought these blokes were chasing us so we ran like crazy. It was great. Seeya

Sunday July 27 - “Fox on the Run” was on Countdown today

Nothing much happened today. It was absolutely boring. Mum and Dad played golf and I worked all day. My periods came again on Thursday and they are killing me now. I watched a fantastic movie last night called 'Satins School for Girls', it was really good.  I told Glenda about Jo and Mick and her expression didn't show much and when I looked at her she said “Don’t look at me like that” and I said “Like what” and she said, “You know”. My favourite song, 'Fox on the Run' was on Countdown today, but half of it was interrupted by some stupid sharpies dancing. Anyway, Seeya.

Monday July 28 – “Wish me luck in Volleyball. Thanks. I need it”

I tried out for volleyball and I had to come back. I haven’t got a chance though. I wish I had tried out for softball. Damn. I want to try out for netball but I don’t have a choice. Wish me luck in Volleyball. Thanks. I need it. Seeya.

Tuesday July 29 “I got into the Jesmond Volleyball team!”

Deb was at school today and now we go to the library again. Guess what!! I got into the Jesmond Volleyball team! Isn't that great! I was trying out for it when a volleyball came over and I picked it up and it was Chris Dixon. I said “I don’t think I’ll give it back”, but he squeezed my neck so I gave it back. Denton, Jason and B Craig were walking practically next to us and they didn't even say Hi. But then later Denton said “Hi Petra” and Jason said  “Gaday Petra”. Little Craig hit me in the arms and said hello. I lost my Jacket. Damn.  I asked Blackburn of I could look for it and when I came back I had to write on a piece of paper I've lost my Jacket”, and sign it.

Wednesday July 30 Dad said that I have to go on the pill. GOD what does he think I am! 

Jason said "Gaday Petra" and when I was in woodwork he smiled at me. God he’s got a gorgeous smile, it’s really beautiful. And he was talking real fast and stopped suddenly and said “Gaday Petra”.  Carol Irons gave me this love letter from David. It was really mushy and ugh! (See envelope).  He wasn't at the bus stop so I couldn't give him my reply.  I want to tell him to get stuffed but it’s not very nice. Ann Horton told Debbie and Jo the true story of what really happened at Area 1. God it was bad, really disgusting. Anyway, You know what Dad just said to me? That I have to go on the pill! Soon too. GOD what does he think I am. Christ!

Thursday July 31 – “I had to walk home in the dark all by myself, boy was I scared”.

At woodwork Jason was walking behind me. He smiled a real sweet smile and said hello. And he said “Oh I won’t dob on you,” and I said “For what?” and then I said it didn't matter and he smiled. God he’s got a beautiful smile.  I am definitely in the Volleyball team but its only for Penshurst, not for Jesmond. Drats. They don’t have a junior Jesmond volleyball team.
I caught a bus to the plaza and Geoff, David Hurst and Brent Stone were on it. Then guess who got in it? That dreamy boy I was telling you about on Saturday. God he was beautiful. It looked really bad - me with 5 boys catching a bus. I must admit I was rather scared. Geoff kept trying to crack onto me. I saw quite a few nice boys at the plaza but the one on the bus was the nicest. I found out his name but I forgot it. I had to walk home in the dark all by myself, boy was I scared. I got some stripy socks, they’re really nice. And I bought a whistle but it sounds real sick. I forgot Jo’s back with Michael and JB’s having a party and that means Ian has to come, which will cause trouble with Craig and Debbie. It’s all very complicated.

JB's decided who she’s inviting – Glen, Craig, Mark, Streak, Michael, Peter, Geoffrey, Maurice, Me, Glenda, JB, Debbie Wheatly, Trudy, Jo, Debbie. But bloody Mum said I can’t go. I was looking forward to it too. I’m gonna TRY and speak to Dad, not that he’s’ gonna do much good now. SHIT. Mum thinks I’m too young to go to parties now. CHRIST.

Written By Petra Campbell

Twitter: @petraau

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  1. In july 1975 the Bravo "Starschnitt", a life size Poster like a puzzle divided into various parts so you had to buy every single magazine to get the whole picture, from Sweet was hangin on my wall. It had started mid summer 1974, ended around christmas and I, yes me! - had it! Fox on the run was one of my favorite too. In 1975 I was only 13, still hanging out with the same group at home and still being more interested in my friend Gaby and going to take care of the horses than anything else. There were a few parties, in the afternoon, windows made dark so we could pretend it was night. Slow dancing (which was more a moving while clinging to each other) with sweaty boys, but most of them had no idea where to go to and what to do with their hands. But keep going, I'll catch up with you, I'm sure….