Wednesday 30 September 2015

You Can't Even See Australia From Where We Are!

My parents were always coming home with something they won - the local pub chook raffle or meat tray, crystal home ware, BBQ kits, mixers and glasses for the home bar, and frequently the competition golf trophy. This year, 1976, and for the third time in a row, Dad won sales manager of the year at Eric Andersons, an electronic goods retail chain. Dad’s ability to sell his way to the top had as much to do with his charms, and looking like he’d been genetically crossed between Rock Hudson and Burt Reynolds, as it did to do with his business acumen, even though men loved Dad too. I suspect most of his sales were initiated by women. But that’s another story. The first year Dad won the award he
went on a salesman bonding trip to New Caledonia, leaving us all behind. The second year he whisked Mum to Fiji for two weeks, leaving my sister and I behind. This year he is taking us all away and I just can’t contain myself with excitement. Even if it’s only to another state in Australia, “I can’t wait!  I can’t, I can’t!”  I tell my diary the night before we leave.  This is the first family trip I remember since we boarded the HMS Oriana bound for an expat life in Holland and England when I was six, which is a long time ago in teen years. We are going to Tangalooma Resort on Moreton Island in the warm waters of hot humid sunny sunny Queensland. Only it’s mid-winter and freezing. Generous as Eric Anderson’s was, they weren’t going to give away a holiday to their best salesman in mid summer, during peak sales season.

This vacation was one of those significant childhood events that somehow shapes or defines some aspect of one’s life. I would categorise it as my first travel story. It’s rudimentary, but some basic facts, descriptions, and things to do and see, are documented at my 14-year-old level. Even more surprising to me and relevant to whom I became, my diary entries reveal how deeply I felt about the natural world. Back home after our holiday was over, I hilariously lament in my diary how much I miss Moreton Island, “It’s so peaceful. No smelly cars and trucks and motorbikes and buses, and no big ugly looking houses all over the place”. Which is not how I would describe today the soon to be UNESCO listed World Heritage National Park that my Blue Mountains family home was poised on the edge of.

The 186 sqkm Moreton Island is situated on the coast of south-east Queensland. While it’s the third largest sand island in the world, together with Fraser Island, Moreton Island forms the largest sand structure on earth. There are 4 tiny townships, five historical lighthouses, including Queensland’s oldest, just one rocky outcrop dangling off all that solid stationary sand, and a few lucky people living on the west side of the east coast of Australia who get to watch the sun set over the ocean. Mount Tempest, punching the sky at 280 metres, is reputedly the highest stabilised coastal sand hill in the world.

Moreton Island has lots of sand, and it also has a colourful maritime history of whalers, shipwrecks, and castaways, which is how the island was eventually settled in 1848, displacing the traditional Ngugi Aboriginal tribe who’d been living there for at least 2000 years. Tangalooma, the resort we’re going to, was once the site of Queensland’s only whaling station where up to 600 humpbacks were slaughtered every season as they migrated north. Framing Moreton Bay with its southern sister island, North Stradbroke Island, it also became the base for 900 troops sent there to protect the City of Brisbane during World War 11.

This great sandy beast was still around in all it’s splendour for us to have a holiday on in 1976 thanks to the outrage and unrelenting work of conservationists in 1974 and 1975 after Brisbane City Council permitted 60% of the island to be potentially sand mined for rutile and zircon. The flattening of Queensland’s coastal dunes by sand mining had become so systematic that people revolted, forcing an enquiry into mining Moreton Island. Despite recommendations that 94% of the island be banned from mining, mining licenses continued to be issued until 1984 by the Government of the said to be corrupt Joh Bjelke Peterson, until the only way to stop the then renegade state was for the Federal Government, under Prime Minister Bob Hawke, to decline export licenses for the island's mineral sands. In 1989 the Premier of Queensland, Wayne Goss, halted mining of the island altogether and compensated the companies involved.

Today 98% of Moreton Island is a World Conservation Union (IUCN) Category II National Park protecting the Island’s significant ecology while allowing the “fostering of environmentally and culturally compatible spiritual, scientific, educational, and recreational and visitor opportunities” on a scale that ensures the ecosystems live on intact for future generations. This means that even though the dunes and supporting natural infrastructure are protected, resorts could be built in designated areas on the remaining 2% and we were allowed to four wheel drive through the island, run up and slide back down the sand dunes, swim in perched lakes, and laze around the beaches among wildlife, as long as we didn’t disturb or destroy anything.

Tobogganing down the sand dunes was the main action activity at Tangalooma in the 1970’s. The 20 minutes of intense climbing for a few seconds of exhilaration was barely noticeable to us kids as we raced to the top clutching our toboggan boards, in anticipation of extreme fun. Standing on the crest of one of the highest dunes in the world, an icy wind propelling knife sharp grains of sand across my ankles before dropping them into the slip face I was about to plunge down, I couldn’t have imagined that the world might actually run out of sand dunes, much less sand itself. 

Why would I? My childhood was populated with images of plentiful sand: the Leyland Brothers four wheel drove through our endless coastal beaches, and up, down and around the great red sandy seas of outback Australia; Lawrence of Arabia ventured through dunes that rolled on and on like the voluptuous and curvaceous thighs of a thousand naked sandstone Nubians spooning; villains, damsels in distress, expendable film characters, and sitcom personalities like Skipper in Gilligan’s Island, would suddenly find themselves sinking in quick sand, either to be saved just in time, or lost forever, leaving just a hat floating on top as they ‘glub, glub, glubbed,’ down to whatever terrifying fate lay below – death usually, but who knew, it could have been a parallel universe since it was never revealed. Sinister desert storms would suddenly appear from nowhere and consume unwary travellers, or swallow the baddies just in time to save our heroes, or engulf our heroes to test their courage, an ordeal from which they would emerge a tad scruffy looking but alive, only to saunter off into more endless desert where an oasis would appear, also just in time, to save them from certain death by hyperthermia and dehydration, whichever came first.

Video: Skipper sinking in quicksand. Gilligan's Island

Sand is entire places where people live, and where exotic wildlife engage in ferocious battles as they migrate from one desolate place to another. Sand storms swallow up whole cities, real and fantastical. A “great and violent south wind rose and buried50,000 Persian soldiers in sand once upon a time. Sands dunes are bursting with myths and legends because they make spooky noises as the wind funnels through them - they boom and moan and howl and whistle – and trick people into going the wrong direction or suck
them into geological holes we know little about. Pirates stashed their treasures away in sand dunes which is bizarre but explains why they were pirates and not lawyers, scientists or brain surgeons who, by simple observation, would probably have deduced the treasure would be lost to the shifting sands or washed back out to sea whence they were stolen. Corpses have often turned up in sand dunes, in films and in real life. Dad used to shovel sand into a rotating mixer with gravel, cement and water to make mortar to brick our home sweet home with, and to cement the driveway, the carport, our footpaths, the swimming pool, and his vegetable beds, just like our neighbours did; as was doing the whole country; as was doing the whole world.

There seemed to be no shortage of sand for anyone who wanted it.

Then again, we never gave a thought to where the sand was coming from.

Yet as incredible at it sounds, the world is actually running out of sand. Humans have sucked it all up and turned it into something else, just like outback termites do to build their giant mounds out of the red desert.

We use sand for so many things:  we plant crops in sandy soils, put sand in aquariums, stuff geotextile bags with sand to create artificial reefs, to stop rivers bursting their banks, and to protect coastal areas. We use massive amounts of it to create artificial islands (UAE), and extend nations (Singapore). Sand goes into bricks, Cob, mortar, concrete, and glass. We use sand in landscaping and in golf courses. We mix it with paint for a textured finish. It is used to improve the traction of wheels on railways and on roads in icy and snowy conditions. Sand goes into castings to make moulds. We use it to blast and clean and polish buildings, and for filtering water. Most recently we began using sand in a massive way in hydraulic fracturing (fracking for gas).  A mineral extracted from sand, silicon dioxide is found in most things we consume from food and wine to paper, households cleaning and grooming products: even toothpaste. Humans also love to lie around sand, build castles, and kids sand boxes and sand pits. We use them as backdrops for films. And many of us just love looking at their incredible beauty and want them to be there for ever.

Without elements in sand, we can’t make computer chips that go in to today’s hyper connectivity – our whole ether existence.

Sand is as important to modern civilisation as is water and food.

When Captain James Cook stepped onto our shores in 1770 and gazed south across Kurnell’s 15,000 year old sand dunes towards what is now Cronulla Beach, he didn’t notice the extensive dunes system he was standing on because they were completely covered in shrubbery and woodlands. The glistening waterways that wove between the vegetated dunes nourished a wealth of life back then – waterfowl and birds , goanna, wallaby's, possums, medicinal and edible plants and fish – and sustained the Gweagal Aboriginal people who never ran out of food. Post colonisation, the Cronulla dune system was logged for Blackbutt and Ironbark by 1835, but the accidental iconic look that Cronulla became synonymous with, started with Thomas Holt in 1868 after he purchased most of the Kurnell Peninsula. When Holt finished felling the Peninsula, he planted the dunes with grasses for farming cattle. The cattle ate the grasses that kept the sand together which exposed the sand dunes underneath causing desertification of the entire dune system. 

By the 1930’s thousands of acres of the productive, albeit delicately balanced, ecosystem, had turned to moonscape. In 1933 the Sutherland Shire Council asked the Government to set aside the 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) as a reserve but the Government of the day didn’t see the point. In April 1937, Haymarket Land and BuildingCo. offered Sutherland Shire Council 720 acres (2.9 km2) of land near the entrance to Kurnell for 8 pounds per acre. But Mayor Joe Monro – shame be upon his name - argued the site "was nothing but sand” and “was completely useless" outnumbering everyone else in favour of the purchase by one with his ‘no’ vote.

Turns out dunes were not so useless. High in millions of years of ground down shell matter, and low in organic content, seventy million tonnes of it would soon be used to build most of Sydney.  The Holt family who ruined the dunes in the first place went on to make a tidy profit from selling off the desert they had unwittingly created.

There’s not much left of the Cronulla Dunes today – where once 3 famous Australian films were made including the Rats of Tobruk and Mad Max 3, where many of our great cricket, rugby and boxing sportsmen trained, where criminal gangs of the 70’s and 80’s dumped their many victims, and where two 15 year old girls Marianne Schmidt and Christine Sharrock, were found sexually assaulted and savagely murdered in the dunes at Wanda Beach (the killer was never found). The tiny remnant site that was left recently became a war zone between the ever combatant Sutherland Shire Council  - praise be upon them –spending $650,000 in an effort to save the dunes and stop developers Australand and Breen Holdings, which had much deeper pockets, from building 450 houses on them. The Land and Environment Court Commissioners - shame be upon their names too - allowed the development, "subject to conditions such as safeguarding the environment “. 

What does that mean? How can you “safeguard the environment” when you keep cementing it?

What happened to the Cronulla dunes has transpired all along the Australian coastline with hundreds of kilometres of ocean shores deformed by sand mining from beach front to high dunes going back to before Cronulla. The first place to be sand mined in Australian was another iconic location - Byron Bay. From there the sandmining industry ate its way through the east coast of Australia, establishing mines from the New South Wales Central Coast to the shores of Fraser Island. The once rolling fields of extensive beach ridges and low mobile sand dunes of the Gold Coast was completely removed and flattened into what it is today.

Frazer Island was on the way to being mined out in the 1960’s as well, but intense opposition lead to Australia’s first major victory over sand mining with the creation of the Great Sandy NationalPark in 1976. By 1992, Fraser Island achieved UNESCO World Heritage listing.

Frazer and Moreton Island were saved, but North Stradbroke, an island with an ecological value similar to that of Frazer Island with its’ Blue Lake National Park, and many RAMSAR listed wetlands forming a lattice of pristine lakes woven between undulating sand dunes, dwarf woodlands, grassy forests, tall layered woodlands and tropical rainforests, hasn’t been so lucky.  Since 1950, sand mining has morphed Stradbroke into a Swiss cheese of tailing craters, broken reedy lakes, and migrating sand slides suffocating all in its way. Recently Queensland’s Anna Bligh announced mining Stradbroke would cease by 2027, which happens to coincides with the date the mining company has set to cease mining there anyway. By then it will be too late for Straddie. 

While Australian mining companies are expected to rehabilitate a dune system once they’ve completed operations, the original ecology rarely recovers because the rich seed bank that maintains vegetation has been lost. When doing Master of Environmental Management at the University of New South Wales, I studied a rehabilitated sand mine at Smiths Lake, NSW, as part of a core Ecology course. All that yummy stuff that makes up the top 20cm of soil and which conspire biodiversity to flourish –wild heirloom seeds, minerals, eroded rocks, decaying organic matter, microbes, fungus, and other living organisms had been removed. Landscaped top soil was bought in, and a replica forest was planted. What grew back looked like something out of Alice in Wonderland. It was stunted: a midget forest. On an adjacent dune area that hadn’t been mined, an original old growth rainforest towered, rich, and dense, teeming with life and glowing with vitality. The rehabilitated dune forest we were frolicking through was eerie in a bonsai and Fantasia way. I half expected pixies, fairies and giant toadstools, as I waited for my Disneyland dragonfly to sweep me away through a cartoon canopy and into the cotton candy clouds above.

Apart from providing shelter, safety, and a place many non-human species rely on for their livelihood and reproduction, what’s the big fuss about sand dunes? Sand dunes are our first line of defence against the onslaught of the sea. They are the shock absorbers of our coasts, marshalling when and how sand and water can move inland and back. They fortify life further in country against, storms, relentless salt spray and windblown sand.  There is a functional, intelligent relationship between waves and our beaches. In times of stormy weather they will deposit sand far inland in a ‘dune bank’ when they have plenty, then withdraw sand back out again when they are running low in order to pad the beach back up in time for summer.

That’s why we need to leave our beaches a buffer zone, even if we want to live right there with our toes dangling in the water. And that is why the South Pacific Ocean nearly broke through the Kurnell Peninsula into Botany Bay in both 1974 and 1998.  

Sand is a $70 billion global industry. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) estimates global consumption at an average of 40 billion tons per year, with close to 30 billion tons of sand used in concrete, which makes up 2/3rd of the world’s buildings. What does 40 billion tonnes even look like? It’s enough to build a 27-meter by 27-meter wall circling the globe. India, China, Brazil, Turkey and the USA use 70% of the world's sand to produce concrete.

Australia is the largest exporter of most mineral sands in the world. For all the high profile sandmining operations that were stopped in Frazer and Moreton Island, many others continue to alter Australia’s environment for an international construction industry characterised by insatiable avarice, corruption, and jaw dropping waste, and which is increasingly being run by mafia as the world’s sand runs out.

Where is the sand coming from? As we have used up most of the available sand gravel, today’s sand is mostly dredged from the ocean floor. A dredger can take between 4,000- 400,000 cubic tonnes of sand a day, so typically a dredging operation is comprised of a fleet of dredgers worth 32- to 240 million Australian dollars a dredger. Dredgers suck up everything that lives in the sand, and which form the basis of the food chain in the sea.

The Palm, Dubai
Selling sand to Arabian Gulf Nations sounds as absurd as selling them oil, yet that is exactly what’s happening.  The UAE’s futurist urban skyline that showcases superlative architectural imagination and engineering capability, has used up all the sand the UAE had. The emblematic sand dunes that frame the cultural image of Gulf Nations cannot be used for construction because their grains don’t stick together like riverbed and coastal grains do. The UAE, like Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, have had to get their sand from elsewhere.

Dubai's abandoned 'The World'
In Dubai, the cost of real estate had become so excessive by the year 2000 that it became cheaper to make sand islands than to build on existing land. The famous Palm cost US$12 billion and used 150 million tonnes of sand dredged from its own coastline. Adjacent to The Palm is the now fully formed but abandoned, The World, an artificial archipelago in the shape of a map of the world. It cost  $15 billion dollars. Three times as much sand was dredged from a pristine seabed at one end of the planet to be poured into the Persian Gulf at the other end, as was used to build The Palm. All that sand to build some abandoned water world – much worse than any one-off World Bank 'white elephant' of the 1970’s, and more ostentetious than any garish extravagance the indulgent 1980’s was renown for - was sold to the UAE by 3,500 Australian companies for nothing (well, apart from the $5 billion profit).

China's uninhabited cities
So much of this sand is going to real estate speculators to build ghost towns. In China 65 million apartments remain empty. In Spain, 30% of all developments since 1996, which includes unused airports, are empty. Ninety precent of the tallest building in the world – Dubai’s Burj
Khalifa - is vacant, but Dubai is still building. This is environmental vandalism by any definition.It should be a crime.

The Burj
Governments however, are by far the greatest consumers of sand, building roads and infrastructure; the sort of ‘nation building infrastructure’ that is relied on to provide ongoing employment. When countries like Australia send manufacturing overseas to cheaper labour in China and Vietnam, what is left to do but import more people and build them houses and roads, so we can all stay on the ‘ponzi-go-round’.

Our hunger for sand is causing nations to shrink and beaches to disappear, fast. Indonesia has completely lost 25 of its' islands dredging sand for export to help Singapore, the Switzerland of Asia, expand its' island. Singapore, which increased in size by 20% over the last 40 years, and which today promotes a three-child policy, intends to reclaim another 100 sq. kilometres sea by 2030.  But it can’t possibly do this without dredging sand from somewhere else
because Singapore doesn’t have sand of its own. Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia have all banned exportation of sand to Singapore, yet Singapore is still feverishly building, and local barges full of sand are docking several times a week in Singapore, illegally smuggled from Cambodia and elsewhere with the complicity of the Singaporean government.

Sand smuggling is big business. In India mass urbanisation and non stop population growth is fuelling a surging construction industry. Sand is illegally mined right out in the open, because the sand mafia have infiltrated every aspect of the construction chain right up to government.

Morocco is in the process of losing its beaches: 40-50% of sand in construction is stolen from beaches by the "sand mafia" to build tourist apartments and holiday homes. The irony being that tourists travel to Morocco to go to the beach. The same thing is happening in Sierra Leone.

In Cape Verde, 600 kilometres off the coast of
Senegal, the evidence of over population and poverty can be seen at low tide as locals descend en masse in dim light like some scary zombie film, to extract sand, bucket by bucket, because sand has long since disappeared from the high-tide shorelines. The military now patrols beaches to stop them, but with little effect. Only luxury hotels still have white sandy beaches Cap Verde is renowned for.

In the Maldives, ocean bed sand mining has led to whole islands being abandoned for the main island putting in train a self destructive cycle.  More people in the mainland, requires more building to house the arrivals, which in turn requires more sand mining around outer islands, thereby causing more loss of sand and more island disappearing. Look at Male, the capital, though. When are the locals going to wonder if their little island is unsustainable, and do something about the root cause – over population?

Male, Maldives
We cant get sand back from cement once it’s locked up there forever.

Seventy five to ninety per cent of the world’s beaches are undergoing some sort of disappearance for several well connected reasons. Humans have constructed way too close to shorelines, cutting waves short of what they usually do and causing them to drag the sand back out to sea with them instead of dumping them in dunes as they prefer to do. Bit by bit, this removes the overall volume of sand belonging to any given beach. Coastal dredging  for construction and to put sand back into eroded beaches, is sucking sand out from underneath islands and coastal areas, and also forcing waves to drag sand back out to sea to fill up the holes left behind, so to speak. Alluvial sand originates from high in the mountains, from weathered down rock carried drop after drop, through river systems and out to sea. The building of 840,000 dams around the world has interrupted this process, so coastal areas are not being replenished with sand: it is all being kept inland. Finally, rising sea levels caused by global warming, will drown remaining beaches that have survived the immense pressure our activities have imposed on them.

The following amazing must-watch film, warns us that by 2100 there won’t be any beaches left on earth. I recommend buying a download of the full video

Video: Sand Wars Trailer

I wont be here, but my babies will. I am so sorry my angels. I am doing what I can. I’m just not sure how to buy sand free toothpaste and hair conditioner, but hoping someone will bring out a “Sand Free Consumers Guide” soon.

The World in June and July 1976

Are There Really Plenty of Fish in the Sea?

In June 1976, Great Britain & Iceland ended the final of three ‘Cod Wars’, otherwise known by Iceland as "the war for territorial waters". The conflict resulted in the 200 nautical miles (NM) Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) we know today. Until this point, territorial waters were recognised as being 3 NM, which was about as far as a shore-based canon could shoot and sink a ship. Anything beyond that was ‘open sea’ all nations were free to enjoy.

The British love their fish and chips. By the 1950’s they were eating 430,000 tonnes of battered cod caught off the coast of Iceland. Since Icelands' Cod swam mostly inside their 3NM limit, British fishermen systematically ducked over the water line to get them. The newly formed Republic of Iceland, with not much to build an economy on, recognised their economic survival depended on their maritime resources. Denmark, which used to administer Iceland before independence, had been squabbling in the seas with Britain since the latter part of the 19th century when Denmark extended its territorial waters to include Iceland and the Faroe Islands, which Britain refused to acknowledge. In 1952 (in prelude to the first Cod War) Iceland extended its’ territorial waters to 4 NM. The British media called this “Black Thursday” and “darkest day the British fishing industry had ever known” because it meant there would be no-where to shelter from the weather. Either fishermen had to stop fishing and go home when the weather became tempestuous, as it frequently did in the Artic, or continue fishing in wild and dangerous conditions. Britain, Iceland’s principal market, responded by refusing to buy Icelandic fish, and continued fishing within the 4NM limit anyway. But it was also the Cold War, and Iceland was a strategic spot, so both the USSR and the USA stepped in to save Iceland by buying it’s Cod. 

The first official Cod War started in 1961 when Iceland again extended its territorial waters to 12 NMs, the distance they and other small nations had unsuccessfully lobbied for at the 1958 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The Brits ignored them again. Iceland’s tiny coast guard, boarded and impounded British ships, arrested captains and dished out fines. British trawlers claimed this was a threat to their livelihood and a violation of international law. At the cost of half a million pounds in oil, the UK sent 37 naval ships and 7,000 sailors to protect British trawlers, against Iceland’s six gunboats and 100 coastguards. Three months later Britain and Iceland agreed to settle any future dispute at the International Court of Justice in the Hague.

By 1972 Iceland’s Cod stocks were in obviously decline. Iceland had seen their herring almost depleted from a population of 8.5 million tons in 1958, to almost nothing by 1970. The Swedish and Norwegian herrings had already been fished out; neither of which ever recovered more than 70 years later.  So Iceland extended its territorial waters again to 50 NMs, announcing the decision was based on the “rational utilisation of the Cod resource”. The UK went to the International Court of Justice claiming that the long held principle, ‘freedom of seas’, was being challenged. The Court ruled in favour of the UK, which again sent its' mighty navy to bully a pretty much defenceless tiny Iceland, which refused to accept the jurisdiction of the International Court. Unashamed and determined to fish wherever the cod were, British trawlers painted over their trawler names and numbers, and hoisted pirate flags much to the amusement of the Icelandic coastguard who knew all the trawlers and their captains by heart after decades of Monty Pythonesque high sea escapades. When Iceland threatened to board the pirate ships, the Brits deployed their secret ‘anti boarding device’, blasting Rule Britannia and biblical passages over VHF radios and loud speakers. With no naval force, the Icelandic coastguard deployed their own secret weapon- a minesweeper converted into a gizmo for cutting British fishing lines. A furious British navy rammed Icelandic vessels and fired canons. Volcano Eldfell intruded on the conflict by erupting, forcing the Icelandic coastguard to divert its’ attention to evacuating its' residents. In the end Iceland agreed to allow a UK catch of 150,000 tons.
But Icelandic Cod stocks continued to decline as other nations began fishing in Icelands' waters too. In 1975 Iceland declared a 200 NM limit. A Conservative British government was livid,“what right did they (Iceland) have to claim the whole continental shelf for themselves?” they demanded in the same breath that the UK claimed a 200 NM continental shelf ownership for oil exploration around their own shores. The UK argued their ‘historical rights’ to fish the Cod to extinction, and blamed the “communist government in Denmark”. It was bad timing too. Britain had joined the European Common Market and were mid negotiations on the European Common Fisheries policy where they were going to share their own fisheries with Europe and they were about to lose access to Icelandic fisheries.

A much more serious conflict ensued. Britain sent 45 vessels to Iceland and suffered millions of pounds of damage. The last two conflicts also became blurred with the Cold War, UK domestic defence spending (the British Navy needing to show off its naval prowess in order to stave off funding cuts), and NATO - both the UK and Iceland were allies and members of NATO and Britain used Iceland’s bases during the Cold War. Iceland unsuccessfully tried to acquire both Soviet and US gunboats to defend themselves, broke diplomatic relations with the UK, and threatened closure of the NATO base at KeflavĂ­k, a major threat to NATO’s defence capability in the region. So Britain was forced to back down and all fishing fleet were to stay outside the 200 nautical mile exclusion zone. The UK lost 9,000 fisheries related jobs. An Icelandic official who saw how much damage had been done to the British fishing industry, vowed that in Iceland moving forward, they would never “overfish so that Icelandic fish stocks would grow, so that young people of Iceland would be secure that the fish stocks would be secure in the future". Iceland, with no armed forces, won all 4 of the conflicts against the mighty British Navy because their cause was just. 

The Cod Wars were a David versus Goliath battle, but few nations have had the courage to protect fisheries since then - their own, or those in international waters. Following the Cod Wars, nations scrambled to declare their own 200 EEZ. This coincided with a total transformation of the fishing industry between the 1950’s and the 1970’s as the world’s population doubled to 3 billion in only 33 years.  Giant factory freezer trawlers arrived, fishing technology revolutionised with the development of radar, echo sounders and the Loran, to help find fish and navigate efficiently. Strong and lightweight synthetic fibres allowing for larger lighter nets became the norm; as did drag netting – dragging a massive net along the sea bottom scooping everything up along the way. Ships became faster and more powerful. On board refrigeration allowed ships to stay at sea longer while processing fish on board. A massive investment was made globally into capacity, with military and other vessels converted into fishery hardware especially in Japan, the USSR, Norway, the U.S and China. These advances were underpinned by lawlessness: everything outside of sovereign waters was a free for all, and as to how much the ‘first in first served’ could take, the 1955 International Technical Conference on the Conservation of the Living Resources of the Sea, decided that fisheries could only be halted if scientific studies proved that overfishing was occurring. To prevent that from happening, almost no country had an independent scientific research body, or invested funds into such third party fact-finding. All governments subsidised the fishing industry causing over capacity and over employment, and they set ridiculous quotas as if Jesus was at the bottom of the sea endlessly churning out as much fish as humans wanted. Finally, widespread fraud has been endemic, with both under reporting of actual catches where fishermen exceed their quotas, and over reporting catches to pretend stocks are in greater abundance than they actually are.

The 200 EEZ forced all major fishing fleets, now giant floating vacuum cleaners, out into fisheries no one owned. Under ‘pulse’ fishing, ships would suck the life out of one fishery and then moved on to more productive ones, only to deplete them too. One after the other from the 1970’s onwards, the world’s fisheries began to collapse.

The Atlantic northwest Cod fishery in Canada’s Grand Banks was home to one of the largest stocks of fish in the world. The fishery was mostly exploited by Canada once they expanded their EEZ to 200NM. By the late 1980’s, because of short sighted conservative governments, and equally self interested greedy fishermen, both refusing to heed warnings and reports of massive Cod decline, and in just 5-10 years of frenzied over fishing - in a take of fish equivalent to the entire previous 100 years of fishing - cod vanished from the Grand Banks. "I didn't take the fish from the God damned waters!" told the new Minister for Fisheries, John Crosbie, to a rioting crowd of Newfoundlanders refusing to accept the fisheries needed to be shut down. Thirty five thousand fishermen lost their jobs causing a mass migration out of Newfoundland. The damage to the coastal ecosystem was irreversible. The Cod never returned and the fishery remains closed. The Canadian government blamed the seals for the failure of cod stocks to rebound and increased the quota to kill seals in vain hope Cod would return.

Video: What happened to the Gran Banks Cod

In the Baltic Sea a similar fate stalks the 500-year-old fishing industry because spineless politicians and fisheries administrators in Sweden, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland and Germany, can’t agree on cod management and a totally insane fishing policy and practice is in place. A quota system is set and by law fishermen must throw back to the sea, not only any fish above the quota, but also any undersized fish. Because the fishing industry use drag nets to bottom trawl, they commonly catch above their quota, and by the time the nets come to surface all the fish have been compressed to death. Fishermen end up throwing anywhere from 40-80% of what they catch back into to the sea – dead. Not alive. Dead. This utterly insane and criminally wasteful destruction of resources that belong as much to future generations as to the present, just defies belief. This video will truly make your jaw drop.

Video: For Cod's Sake

There is one good Cod story, thank Cod, because it’s a delicious fish. Over in the Barents Sea where Cod was also facing extinction by the late 1980’s, in contrast to the Canadians, the Norwegian government acted on evidence based research, stopped subsidising the fishing industry, accepted job losses and recommended drastic cuts to quotas. As a result the Barents Sea supports a sustainable cod population and fishing industry.

Fishery conflicts have become commonplace now. Having over fished their Cod, Canada and other nations looked for an alternative fish in the Grand Banks, and settled on Turbot, also known as Greenland Halibut. By 1994, Canada documented over 50 violations of mostly European Union (EU) boats crossing into Canada’s 200NM EEZ limit. Political and media stunts ensued lead by the Canadian Minister of Fisheries, AKA the ‘Turbotonator’, Brian Tobin. Canada impounded a Spanish fishing vessel that was using an illegally sized net, the EU accused Canada of piracy, Spain made visas mandatory for Canadians and kicked some Canadians out of Spain, the UK and Ireland sided with Canada, and the EU with Spain, and after all peacocking was exhausted, a tighter regulatory regime and a reduction of Canada's own Turbot allocation was put in place.

Other fisheries have famously collapsed due to overfishing. By the 1950’s, the USA decimated the Pacific Sardine, once abundant off the coast of California, and then hounded them off the coast of Chile and Argentina, which desperately tried to keep the US out, to no avail. The same happened to the Peruvian Anchovetta in the 1970’s. Both anchovies and sardines are used as bait to catch larger fish like Tuna, and to make fish meal to feed chickens. They are also fundamental to the ocean’s food chain.

However, no fishery collapse compares to the spectacular demise the Walleye Pollock in the Donut Hole in the Aleutian basin; the greatest of all fishery collapses in human history. With the new EEZ’s, all those giant fish factories went in pursuit of fish in places no-one owned. The Donut Hole in the Bering Sea, world-renowned for its' enormously productive and profitable fisheries, such as King Crab, Bristol Bay salmon, pollock and other ground fish, was such a place. Walleye Pollock have been straddling and migrating between coastal fisheries with EEZ zones, and the Aleutian Basin for around 3 million years. In just 5 years, more than 148 fish factories decimated the entire Pollock stock from 1.7 million tons in 1987, to nothing.

Video: the shocking waste of ocean fisheries by factory trawlers

The collapse of the Donut Hole wasn’t reported and didn’t become the sort of news it should have been when one of the worlds' food bowls vanishes, because of systematic fraud, because no local fishing communities were gutted like in Newfoundland, and because the fishery was so far away, no-one noticed the disappearance of other species that relied on the Pollock for survival, like birds and sea mammals. Once the Donut Hole was sucked dry, the high sea Hoovers moved on, to nearby Bogoslof Island on the Abyssal Plain, and decimated Pollock there, also over about 5 years. Small Pollock fisheries in south Puget Sound, the Gulf of Alaska, and the Shumagin Islands region have also been fished out. Alaskan Pollock still available in EEZ zones, is said to be the last remaining source of palatable fish in the world. 

Then there’s the Peanut Hole in the Sea of Okhotsk, an area about 55 kilometres wide and 480 kilometres, surrounded by Russia's EEZ. In 1992 it supported as much as one million metric tons of Pollock.  The following description by Moscow News vividly illustrates what the fishing frenzy looked like: “Thirty-nine Polish super trawlers burst into the Sea of Okhotsk... followed by nine large South Korean trawlers and almost the entire Chinese fishing fleet. Somewhat later, fishing ships from Japan, Panama, Bulgaria, and Ukraine appeared... A wild revelry began... foreign fisherman set to clearing out the wealth of the northern sea”.

To save the Peanut Hole, the full United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf handed management of the fishery to Russia. The Barents Sea also has a Loophole and a Banana Hole where the same international free-for-all is being played out in complicated artic continental shelf negotiations aimed at protecting resources, while parties fervently overfish for their share of the treasure they are themselves depleting.

The fisheries of South and Southeast Asia are rife with conflict over foreigners versus national fleets and industrial fishing versus subsistence fishing. Coastal developments and human and industrial waste are destroying fish spawning grounds and polluting fisheries. Fisherman are taking juveniles and spawning females. Illegal and pirate fishing and corruption is the norm.

Today 63% of global fish stocks are now considered overfished and at this rate, by 2048, there won’t be any fish left in the sea to feed humans, much less anything else that lives in the sea. Ninety per cent of the oceans top predators like swordfish, marlin, tuna and sharks have been taken from the ocean. We have lost 99% of European eels, 95% of oceans tuna. Salmon have disappeared from many rivers on both side of the Atlantic. Too many species are on the threatened list. So rare has tuna become that in January 2013 a single tuna, weighing 222 kilograms, sold at Japan’s fish market for a staggering $1.8million dollars. Numerous other marine species are hooked and netted across the oceans in the hunt for tuna and more than 100 million sharks, and tens of thousands of turtles are killed every year as by catch using destructive bottom trawling dragnets.

Fish farming might seem like a solution – and it has grown since the 1990's to providing 42% of the world’s seafood supply. But this is not a sustainable solution because farmed fish need to be fed fish meal, and that fish meal comes from the sea in the form of fish. It takes roughly 2.3 kg’s of fishmeal to produce half a kilo of farmed fish, plus the cost of fuel and other expenses. At the same time the oceans' creatures are deprived of their food and they will die out.

In 2012 Australia had the courage to impound the Dutch Abel Tasman before it ran it's vacuum cleaner up and down our shores. The operators, Seafish Australia, know very well the damage such a vessel would do to our fisheries because the whole fishing world knows what vessels like this have done to global fisheries, yet they fought claw and tooth to plunder our resources. Stopping the Abel Tasman was hailed as a victory for sustainability, but it only takes a change of government as we have seen, for sustainability to be shelved in favour of short termism.

What strikes me as brazenly is that those who raped and plundered the world’s fisheries demand compensation for their loss of income and stranded assets, a loss they bought upon themselves by their own unrestrained rapacious practices. The industrial fishing industry made their fortune. Why should they double dip and receive compensation payments? It should be them paying compensation to future generations who won’t have the privilege of knowing seafood.

Clearly all the following, to name just a few measures, needs to happen if there are to be any ocean life left in the future: industrial factory vessels like the Abel Tasman need to be decommissioned immediately; government subsidies for fishing to stop; wasteful and destructive fishing methods like bottom trawling must stop; quotas must be according to evidence based sustainable yield; dissuasive penalties for violations; international fisheries to be subject to strictly enforced international agreements; a network of sanctuaries covering 40% of the world’s oceans should be put in place to protect spawning grounds and allow marine ecosystems to recover; excess fishing boats should be removed from the industry, and the world’s navy’s be mandated to use force to remove pirates and illegal fishing vessels.

And humans need to accept that we are too many, and must work towards limiting our own numbers on earth, because other species have a right to survive and eat seafood too.

In other world news in June and July 197

Sagarmatha National Park in Nepal is created which later became UNESCO World Heritage listed for its' natural treasures. Thankfully some of our predecessors had foresight and power, and used it wisely.

Diary: June and July 1976

Finally, after watching everyone go on holidays for years, we are going on a holiday too hooray! My parents give me complete freedom during this trip and I must say I am mortified at how early and how much I was drinking. Even my parents were buying me drinks at the bar and I haven't even turned fifteen yet. At Tangalooma I set the record for the longest toboggan on a brown board - whatever a brown board was compared to other boards - though I'm sure staff  said that to all the girls! I drive everyone mad telling them of my adventures, and being my usual obsessive self, I pine over Tangalooma for the next two months. I also get the hots for a teacher! Things are going down hill between my parents and me. Dad tells me he is not going let me ruin his marriage (?) and my problems at home spill into a conflicts at school. I throw myself into sport as usual, and am Under 15 year athletic champion again.

Sunday May 29 - I've packed just about everything I own and that’s not much either

Dear Diary,

Well today was a busy day. Cleaning the house and packing and all of that. I've packed just about everything I own and that’s not much either. Mum bought me a bra but it’s too small and she also bought me a pair of stockings. I finished my dress. I had to sew the hem and the sleeves. Well tomorrow's the big day. Just think. This time tomorrow I’ll be in my cabin at Tangalooma. I just can't wait. I can’t, I can't. Well I'll have to. Seeya.

Sunday May 30Jees it was beautiful in the Sky

Dear Diary

Well we finally got here. The trip wasn’t that long. Neither was the plane trip. But jees it was beautiful in the sky. It really was. Especially the clouds. We even flew through some. Everything looked small yet they were so big. It felt real queer cos when we went through turbulence, the plane would jigger upside down. And boy did it make you feel rotten. Well we finally got to the airport. Funny. I didn't feel anything. Here we are in Queensland and it feels like Toukley or something. Anyway, we are at Brisbane airport. A bloke drove us to another little airport in a private little bus just for us, and then we got on board a private little airplane with a lady that works at Tangalooma.

I honestly thought we were going to crash

Lift-off took a long time cause the plane was going so slow but it was beautiful all the same. At one stage when we were in the air the pilot just about stopped the engine and we flew at such an angle sideways that I honestly thought we were going to crash. So did Dad and Mum. Anyway all that was good fun. Then we got to drive right along the sands of the beach. That was great. Then we arrived at the resort. We were shown to our own private lodges. My sister and I have one, and Mum and Dad the other, which is good. The lodges were really fantastic. They have their own bathroom, four beds and plenty of cupboard space. They even have a jug and tea and milk for when you're thirsty!  Well, we unpacked and took a look around.

You can’t even see Australia from where we are!!!

I went for a walk down the beach a million times. Jees the waves are big. At least three inches! The place is absolutely gorgeous. Mum and Dad said it reminds them of Fiji.  But it reminds me of national fitness camps. I went for a swim in the freezing cold pool which is next to the bar. It has a slippery dip which is great fun except for the plug which is right where you land. You can't even see the mainland - or should I say "Australia"!!!! - from where we are. It’s absolutely delightful.

Did you know Tangalooma has the biggest sand dunes in the world?

Did you know Tangalooma has the biggest sand dunes in the world? They even look big from the air so they must be big. Anyway we had a beautiful tea. We had a buffet of pork, lamb, veal, chicken, salads, veges, and other stuff, and about twenty different variety of things for desert. I couldn't make up my mind what to have so I had a bit of each, especially cream. Boy will I get fat. Then I went and watched television and started writing what I'm writing now. Oh yeah, today I wore my jeans and brown polo and Hawaiian shirt, and to tea I wore my satin dress. The only sad thing about it is there aren't any kids my age. Or even three years older. So all I've got is my sister. Ugh. I shouldn't remind myself. Don't say that. That's not nice. Especially on my holiday. Oh well. Picked up a lot of stuff for my scrap book. Seeya

Monday May 31Today We had a fishing competition.

Dear Diary, 

Today we had a fishing competition. I won the children's one but I came late to get my prize. You should have seen the millions of fish. All over the place. Had breakfast and a big lunch which was beautifully set out. Anyway, after lunch we went on a Land Rover trip to Ocean Beach, Blue Lagoon, and Lakeside Beach. 

We dug into the sand and got a whole stack of oysters and clams for tomorrow

You should have seen the beach. It was absolutely beautiful. It was really long and went for ages. The waves were really huge and went a long way out to sea. It was beautiful to see, and a gorgeous beach absolutely uninhabited. We dug into the sand and got a whole stack of oysters and clams for tomorrow cause we're going to have a BBQ if the weather is fine. Anyway, I went off for a trundle up the really big sand dunes but then I heard Mum calling me so I had to go back. One was really steep.

Then we went driving through a swamp and nearly drowned

Then we went Jeeping along the beach and saw some wild horses and wild goats and a dead emu, and lots of birds. Then we went up a trail to Blue Lagoon. That wasn't much though. Boy was there a lot of bush. Then we went driving through a swamp and nearly drowned in the water. Then we came out the other side and you'd never guess what we saw. A bunch of streakers! God it was funny. They showed all too. They were in the middle of nowhere and suddenly three drovers turn up from the middle of nowhere. Mandy took a photo of them.

Oh yeah. Mandy’s a girl I met up here

Oh yeah. Mandy’s a girl I met up here. She lives in Brisbane and is a year older than me. Anyway, I had tea with Mandy's parents and brother and sister. It was just like a restaurant. We had a menu and all. Jees it was good, except the food wasn't too good. After tea we played bingo. My sister won $2.85 and gave me the 85 cents. This bloke who happened to work there along with the rest of the workers, kept winning. He won the jackpot of $35.00. Poor Mandy was one number off the $35.00. But she won a bottle of champagne before the lucky stiff. Then we went to the bar and had a drink and played the Duke Box and talked. Then I left. I went home to write in here. Seeya

Tuesday June 1 - We trudged along with our tobogganing boards

Today me and Mandy (my friend I made yesterday) went for a walk about 4 miles around each side of the island and collected a whole bunch of shells. We came back, played a bit of squash and tennis, had lunch, and got ready to go to the sand dunes. We loaded up the Land Rovers and off we went. We all piled out when we got there and went up this great big dune which we thought was the big one. BUT when we got to the top, there was a million of them everywhere and one monster of a one. It was absolutely gigantic. It was really truly high and steep. We trudged along with our tobogganing boards. I was absolutely dead trying to take a couple of steps up this great sand dune.

Incidentally, the sand dunes on this island are the world’s highest and biggest stationary dunes.

Incidentally, the sand dunes on this island are the world’s highest and biggest stationary dunes. When we finally reached the top we had to grease the bottom of our boards with wax. You had to lie on the boards, hold your leg up and hold your board up and slide down head first. God it was terrifying. I didn't have the guts at first but then I did. It was great fun EXCEPT I got a mouthful of sand. You should have seen me. I was absolutely covered from top to toe in sand. I even got some photos. I hope they turn out. But the sight was truly beautiful. We jeeped back and Mandy and me went for a swim, and the stupid dog kept on attacking us.

We're going to the desert

Then we got our post cards and wrote them. Well I got JB's, Debbie’s, and Jo's done so far. We had tea and expected this great dance to start. They said there was one on but there wasn't so Mandy and I had some Brandy and Dry, some Kahlua and Tequila, Southern Comfort and Orange and Mandy had Southern Comfort and Coke. I felt a bit dizzy so I went and watched TV. Then I came back and had a ping pong game with Dad. I had a bit of trouble with my periods. Takes me to get them for tomorrow. We're going to the desert and we oasis and we might be tobogganing too. Seeya

Wednesday June 2
- I set the record for the longest toboggan 

Dear Diary,

Well I posted all my post cards today and got ready for the safari to Tangalooma desert. And guess what! We didn't go to the oasis. Anyway, we Landrovered to the desert. Jees it was great. We also collected coloured sand. The desert is really great. We went tobogganing again. I was the first one to go down.  I went down on Mr Bulls back on the board that you don't have to pull up at the front. Boy was that fantastic! I set the record for the longest toboggan on a brown board by myself, and when I was trying to break it my board started swerving and I fell off and the board fell on top of me. I rolled about 7 times and hurt my eyes with sand. My nose was sore too, and especially my head. I had a massive headache afterwards. I had my periods too, and I’m sure Jim, one of the blokes that was helping me, saw it. I hope not. The dunes were huge, but not as huge as the other one.

I also collected a whole lot of different coloured sands.

I also collected a whole lot of different coloured sands. When I was told about it, I honestly expected red, blues, greens, purples etc. Took 3 photos, but only 2 turned out. We came back and did a bit of sun baking but the sun got covered by clouds. We past a naval ship and some spunks got off but they soon went back on again. So Mrs Bull plucked Mandy's eyebrows and we went for a walk to the summit and took the wrong turn and ended on the track to the desert. We reached Tangalooma Summit which was absolutely nothing - all you could see was nearby trees and dune area. Then it started to rain so we went to the bar. Stayed a while and then got changed for tea. Had that, then we talked to the barman who’s real nice. This other bloke was there and he was beginning to get a little too friendly!

Then we had a few drinks and listened to this bloke playing the guitar

Then we had a few drinks and listened to this bloke playing the guitar before the barman kept pushing the button on the juke box and giving us free songs. He kept doing it all the time, jees it was good. Anyway, Mandy and Karen had to leave but before that, John Wayne (Jim) bought us all drinks which he had already done earlier in the day. He's going tomorrow and he started stirring me about boobs (mine), and sex, and about how Southern Comfort is bad for you cause it’s a great leg opener and all this. But he was funny. I got introduced to a whole stack of people and most of the male staff are nice. It was all good fun.

Dad bought me an Advocate and Cherry Brandy and Ginger Ale

The guitar bloke, Peter, was waiting for me or something queer. Then Dad bought me an Advocate and Cherry Brandy and Ginger Ale. It was real nice. They have a dance night on Saturday night because Chris (that nice bloke) is leaving with this chick Lisa, to NZ. Poo. She's nice she's also hoping they'll get married. I don't blame her. He's nice. Anyway, had a good day today. No complaints, except the weather. Oh well it can't all be perfect.  Seeya

Thursday June 3 - Today went on a free safari to Ocean Beach

Dear Diary,

We didn't do much today. Went on a free safari to Ocean Beach and it would have been fantastic if it wasn't so cold. Boy was it windy. Me and Mandy tried to sun bake but every time we did, the clouds got in front of the sun and the wind would be blowing. Got a couple of photos; nothing much though. When we came back there were some guys from the navy. Some of them were quite spunky, especially one.

"Take your bikini off and I’ll rinse it out for you"

I'm quite proud of myself you know. Since I've been here I've bought myself one alcoholic drink. All the rest of them, mostly guys, have bought me. That’s pretty good cause I don't ask them. I either slightly hinted or they bought me one on their own accord. Tonight I went swimming before tea and when I came out this guy bought me a Brandy and Dry for deserving it-for going in freezing cold water. As I was going out of the bar, the barman (he’s real nice) said to me, "take your bikini off and I’ll rinse it out for you". I said, "You're very kind but I think I can do that for myself". After I had a shower he came over and asked me how my swim was and talked to me (sitting next to me). He's real nice.

Had a bingo night again

Had a bingo night again and I didn't win a thing. Mandy won $2.00 and Mrs Bull won $50.00. She shouted everyone a drink. I had Advocate and Cherry Brandy and Ginger Ale. Before I left Lance bought me a Brandy and Dry. Anyway, while we were at bingo, the real nice guy (Chris) was the commentator and we, or I, kept staring at him. He stared at me back cause every time I looked up he'd quickly look away. He's probably staring back for a stir. Anyway John Wayne and his friend left today. I didn't want them to go. Boy is he nice, really truly spunky. I wish I was going to NZ with him. And he's a real good bloke. After bingo we went to the bar but he was talking to Lisa. The week goes too quick. Well I’ve got to go. Seeya

Friday June 4 - We went off in the Landover to the beach

Dear Diary,

I do hope you realise that I’m writing this at 3.20 in the morning cause I've been to a party. This morning I took some photos of the Bulls because they left today. I got a Tangalooma T Shirt. Anyway, Brendon bought us a farewell drink and we went off in the Landover to the beach where we had a last farewell, and were telling each other to write and all this, and at some stage I felt like crying and nearly was. Then off went the boat. I waved till they weren’t in sight. The manager offered me a job in two years’ time. I missed out of the lighthouse tour. I chose to see the Bulls off, but I don't really mind. We had a big lunch all dressed up cause the owner came.

They had Tangalooma Amateur Turf Club with these wooden horses

Then I was in the bar, and had five glasses of Baileys and this guy came up and asked me about myself - where I was from, and was I allowed in here, and if I was by myself. But I soon went anyway. Then they had the Tangalooma Amateur Turf Club with these wooden horses. Jees it was funny. Then this drunk came up and asked me to dance, and guess what! Chris came up and asked to dance with me! Wow. But I didn’t so he escorted me back to my chair and talked to me. But Lisa kept coming. THEN Chris was talking to me. All through the night I talked to him. Jees he's spunky.

I got slightly on the merry side.

After all that Bodega, Advocate and Cherry Brandy and Ginger Ale, I got slightly on the merry side. Then at the bar Peter talked to me for quite a while and had a whisper in my ear. Boy it felt funny. Anyway, I stuck with the staff most of the night. Chris kept putting his arm around me and patting my bum and pinching it. Boy is he nice. His friend kept asking me for a dance and he bought me a drink. So did this bloke I'd never seen before and so did a chick on the staff. She was nice. I danced and stayed with Greg for a while. Anyway it was all great. Then I went to bed. We took some photos of the staff but none of them with Chris in it. Peter is 17, Greg 22, and the other Peter, 23. Seeya

Saturday June 5 - I felt mostly sorry for the fish, so I let a couple go

Dear Diary,

Today I finally booked to go up to Cowra Heads and Shell House. Chris is leaving today, sob, sob. I was in the lounge room while Chris was there and finally the time came to go. I thought I had he had left but he came back in and winked at me, and waved his hand and said bye. I said, "Seeya Chris". When we were in the Land Rover his plane flew above us but it was too late to take his picture. Damn it. I wish he didn't go. I really liked him. Anyway Cowards Head was nothing. We saw some men fishing with big nets and I felt mostly sorry for the fish, so I let a couple go.

We stopped at the shell house where they have beautiful shells.

I was shivering cause it was cold and windy. John came up and said are you cold? I said "No. I always shiver like this when I’m hot". He pushed me in the water and said "Cheeky". Oh by the way, we stopped at the shell house where they have beautiful shells. Stacks and stack of them. This old lady who was 76, came out and showed them to us. God her skin was yucky. It was all crinkled up and black and blotchy and UGH.  It’s not her fault, I suppose.

I went and sunbaked again until the sun went away

Anyway, we came back and I went out to sun bake. It was Peter’s day off and he came over and sun-baked with me. He said he'd challenge me to that game of ping pong we never had and I beat him two games to one.  I won the next game too. I think he might have deliberately lost. This was at lunch time when all the boaties and lunch day trippers were here. Then I went and sun-baked again until the sun went away. I changed and went and played squash. Then Peter came and I played against him. We've become real good friends in the last couple of days.  

I wore my satin dress and all the boaties kept eying me off.

Anyway, I wore my satin dress and all the boaties kept eying me off. They're all dirty buggers. Last night they asked Peter to fix them up with four chicks. He said "I'm not Houdini mate". Hee, Hee. After tea (my last one here) I went in the bar and talked to Peter and Greg. I went over and Peter (bar) said, "Gaday spunky". Greg goes, "You’re full of compliments tonight". Peter said to me, "Come back when you're 16 and I'll accommodate you". I said, "Don't forget to be here before I leave so I can say goodbye”. He said, "I'll tell you what. I’ll show you my room, and if I’m not up you can come and get me" and he gave me a funny look. Then he started off saying, "You won't know what to do, but pretty soon you will".

We saw a wild horse but it seemed like I was dreaming.

Anyway, I started drinking wine. I kept asking Peter to fill it up all the time and in the end I got so full it wasn't funny. I felt so sick that Lisa took me for a walk and we saw a wild horse but it seemed like I was dreaming. Then on the way back Dad asked me how much I had to drink and then he started saying, "If everyone was smoking pot you'd have gotten into the stuff'. I was screaming at him and I ran away, and went balling to Mum screaming “Dad accused me of taking drugs” or something. Mum was comforting me. She went to Dad and came back and said I could come back. So I went back with my eyes all red and puffed up. I apologised to Dad and he said something about being an adult to apologise like that. I said if I went for a swim I'd feel better. He said no cause I'd be the main attraction, and he was all very good about it. Any other parent would have blown shit out of me. But not Dad. Then I went past Greg and he said, "Feeling better?" I said, "No. worse", and he laughed.

She was real nice and said I shouldn't drink anymore

I called Lisa and we went for a walk again. She was real nice and said I shouldn't drink anymore and that’s why they’ve all been trying not to serve me at the bar. She was real nice. So I went to bed. It was really early too. Takes me to bloody well balls up my last night. It would have been good too. Boy do I wish I hadn’t have got sloshed. Never again, I swear. Why! Why! Why!  I had plenty of time to sober up a little. God I’m a fool. I really am. I can’t even remember very much what happened. It all feels like a dream. It really does.  I don’t even know how the night went. Oh well, serves myself right. I shouldn’t be so immature. Seeya. Just think. This time tomorrow I’ll be home. UGH!!!


Sunday 6th June - I don’t want to go. I really, really, really, don’t.

Dear Diary,

Well todays the dreaded day. I don’t want to go. I really, really, really, don’t. I didn’t have a hangover after yesterday either but I was pretty tired. I had breakfast, finished my packing and walked around the island. I said Goodbye to Guitar Greg and asked him to say goodbye to everyone for me. He said, “yeah sure”. I said goodbye to Peter (guitar) but he just shrugged me off as if he didn’t want anything to do with me.  I hope nothing happened so they hate me. I felt awful. As I was walking around the island I had to walk past this group of boaties which had all joined their boats together and when I did one of them would yelp like Tarzan you know, “Aaaaaah ee Aaaaaaaah ee AaAaAa eee Aaaaah ee aaaaaaaaaaaaah”

We had a whole crowd of people saying goodbye to us

Anyway, we had a whole crowd of people saying goodbye to us and Chris’s two little kids came up and cuddled me and everyone was kissing everyone goodbye. I started balling my head off. I didn’t stop till we were well off the ground. We left and I forgot my bag so we had to go back and get it, but finally we were on our way worst luck. When we got there we had to wait about ten minutes so I took some photos and balled again. Finally it came – worst luck. I went to kiss John goodbye and he saw me coming so he turned his head and came forward so that I’d kiss him on the lips and not his cheek, but it was good. It seems like we were going for ages instead of about 7 seconds.

We got in the plane and it took off

We got in the plane and it took off. We waved our second final goodbyes and I balled again. I’ll really miss it. I really will. I loved it so much, especially the staff. I loved them. I’ve gotten such good friends. Maybe if I hadn’t had I wouldn’t miss it so much. Anyway, we landed and went to Brisbane airport (driven by private bus) and went to the bar – ugh. I’ve had enough of that stuff to last me ages. There were a few spunks in there too. Finally the plane came – worst luck and we went out waving to our friends who saw us off. And this guy who was in the bar started to wave to me so I waved back. We boarded the plane. Take off.

It was a great trip. Mostly through clouds.

It was a great trip. Mostly through clouds. Dad and I talked a lot. He told me that quite a few people told him that I had a good figure, including Peter Young (the barman). Dad reckons he’s bisexual. He reckons he gets that impression. Peter was a model for the AMCO Jeans campaign. Come to think of it, I think I’ve seen the ad. I bet now that I want to see it, it won’t come on. He also worked as a masseur before he came here. On Friday he told me he’s married but living apart and he has one child and one illegitimate child. His last name used to be Bottomly. But he didn’t like it so he changed it to Young.  I’ve also been told he’s been in trouble with the police but I didn’t believe a word of it.

Hopefully they might write back but I doubt it.

I think I’ll write to them. Hopefully they might write back but I doubt it. Anyway we landed in Sydney. So close to home already. UGH! Walked to our car (which was filthy) and off we went. Stopped at Kentucky Fried Chicken and then came home. Ugh!! Ugh!! Ugh!!  Boy was it cold. Freezing actually.

I miss Tangalooma so much already

I hate being home. I miss Tangalooma so much already. I keep thinking about Peter, Peter, Greg, Chris, Greg, Broughton, John, Brendon, and Paul. And again I balled out all over the place. Went up to Sharon’s but she wasn’t at all interested so I came home and Glenda came down. And I couldn’t stop talking. At least she listened.  I hope I can go to Brisbane in August if Mandy still wants me to come.  Oh I hope so.

I had such a fantastic holiday

I had such a fantastic holiday. Mum and Dad gave me complete freedom. I did whatever I wanted to do and went to wherever I wanted to go.  It was FANTASTIC! Just think this morning I was at Tangalooma. Now I’m home. UGH; back to house cleaning and school. UGH. Boy do I miss Tangalooma. 

What I wore in the nights

Sunday - satin dress no jumper and scarf
Monday - blue skirt and brown jumper
Tuesday - jeans and southern comfort t shirt, white scarf.
Wednesday - first of all green dress and green scarf, then satin dress
Thursday - brown and tan dress
Friday - jeans and brown jumper and Hawaiian shirt
Saturday - satin dress


Monday June 7 - I really miss Tangalooma. That’s all I ever thought about.

Dear Diary,

Today at school the minute someone asked me how my holiday was, I couldn’t stop talking. Everyone must have been getting sick of me. I hate school and being home. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. I really miss Tangalooma. That’s all I ever thought about. I kept thinking about what I would be doing now if I was in Tangalooma and what everyone else would be doing -if I was there. And I cried again. I want so much to go back. When I’m old enough I’ll get a job there. I hope. But none of the staff that was there would be there cause it’s a travellers place. But I’m definitely going to go again. Something about that place made me feel I’d seen a lot of people before somewhere. I loved it so much, and the staff. It was fantastic. I wrote a letter to them addressed to Peter thanking them and all that. I remember when I had a fight with Mum about my hair, Peter said I should have it in a bun cause it would suit my face and Greg (cook) agreed. I hope they write back. I bet they won’t. I just bet. Seeya


Dear Diary,
I sent the letter today. It should get there either Thursday or Friday I hope. I bet no-one writes back. I guess I shouldn’t even hope. They couldn’t be bothered with a girl like me. I cried again today. Boy do I miss Tangalooma. I really do. I wish I could go back. I doubt I’ll even be able to see Mandy in August. Boy I hate being back. I HATE, HATE, HATE it. I loathe it, I despise it, I detest it, I, I, I, I want to cry - again. I want to go back. I don’t want to stay here anymore. No-more. You hear? NEVER

Gave Colin, Geoff and Wayne the sex test. Colin got 60%. So did Geoff. Wayne got 50% I WANT TO GO BACK TO TANGALOOMA. Seeya

Wednesday June 9 - Wrote a five page letter to Mandy

Dear Diary,

I absolutely cried my eyes out this morning. I miss it so much. It’s so peaceful. No smelly cars and trucks and motorbikes and buses, and no big ugly looking houses all over the place. Played Saint Mary’s and won 56-4. This girl I played against had this Hayman Island T shirt on. Jees it reminded me of Tangalooma. I wonder if she felt the same way I did when she had to go.  I doubt it. She didn’t make as many friends as me. Wrote a five page letter to Mandy. I bet it either gets lost in the mail or she won’t write back. Either will any of the staff. You know what I found out? That Peter Young didn’t know Dad was my Dad until Saturday night! How about that! When he found out he raced out to 2 other guys and told them something as if: “her old man’s over there”. That was probably Greg and Peter. Dad reckons he’s bi-sexual, but I don’t believe him. I wish I could go back. Seeya.

Thursday June 10He said he liked my hair cause it looks natural and beautiful 

Dear Diary,

Did not work again today. I still can’t keep my mind off Tangalooma. Jees I wish I could go back. I really do. One week wasn’t long enough. Peter and them should have got my letter buy now. Unless it got lost in the mail or something. Oh I hope not. I bet they don’t write back. I just bet. I remember one day when I was talking to a fat lady, she asked me if my hair was natural (so did a stack of other people and Greg (guitar) was there and I said yes. He said he liked my hair cause it looks natural and beautiful and some other real long complicated word which I forgot what. I felt good after that. Boy, I forgot to tell you that on Friday when Mandy left, we organised a photo to be taken of all the staff. Actually we wanted Chris but we had to ask Peter to ask Peter and we ended up asking just about the whole staff, though we didn’t get much cause hardly anyone turned up. I think I got Peter in the background faintly. I’m not sure. I hope so. Chris was one of the people who didn’t turn up. Everybody kept asking me how I was. Guitar Peter asked Peter to get him a drink and I said I will, so Peter (guitar) came with me and the bottle was just in front of the fridge and cupboard and Peter goes “shucks” cos he wanted something out of me (in the fridge). God it was funny. Seeya.

Friday June 11 - She let me keep the dress! Wasn’t that fantastic!!

Dear Diary,

Didn’t go to school today. Went shopping with Mum. You know my silk dress? It had all markings in the material so I took it back and the lady gave me $18.20 back ( that’s how much it cost) and she let me keep the dress! Wasn’t that fantastic!! So I got it for free. Also I took my bra back. I got a better one for $1.00 cheaper and I could keep the change but the lady didn’t give me my money back for that stupid bra I got and she wasn’t even supposed to make exchanges but she made an exception this time and we had to pay $2.00 for another one. THANKS A LOT LADY! Jees they’re nasty people there. I also got a purple and maroon cardigan thingy with ties. It's ok I spose.  I nearly got some slacks but the stupid thingy’s wouldn’t fit me and Mum was losing her temper too. Oh well. It was pretty good day after all, especially with that dress. Seeya.

Saturday June 12 - Mrs Goetze asked me to play for the 16 year Rep team

Dear Diary,

Did absolutely nothing today. Played cards and tidied my room and cleaned the bathroom. JB rang to tell me the slumber party is off. Glenda was supposed to tell me but she didn’t. Thanks Glenda. What would have happened if I had have gone  up to JB’s with my sleeping bag and everything and it was off? God that would have been funny. Watched Go Ask Alice. Mrs Goetze rang to ask me to play for them, the 16 year Rep team, at Manly. WOW. Fantastic eh. I jumped at the idea but Mum wasn’t over enthusiastic. Oh well. I suppose I wouldn’t be either if someone rang and asked her to pay I spose. Oh well. That’s mothers for you. Seeya

Video Trailer: Go Ask Alice

Sunday June 13 - The first two games I nearly threw up

Dear Diary,

Got up early and off I went in the dark to Mrs Geotze’s place. Mr Goetze took me to Mrs Hillia’s and she took us, me and Mert (Margaret Bell) to Manly. Played 7 games I think. The first two games I nearly threw up cause I went straight on and played my hardest without even a warm up! I did some pretty good jumps too. Everyone kept saying, “Good Petra, lovely Petra”. We won 2 games, lost 1 by 1, lost 1 by 4 and the rest we were walked over. After that we went back to the flat where they were staying the night ( right near Manly Beach) and had a party and packed. I went for a walk to Manly beach. Seems funny that I went there now. I didn’t even go for a swim. Everyone was being real nice too, including Gai and Meshelle. Meshelle kept saying, “We were going to bring you up last night cause we went to Manly fun pier” and all this (I wish they did). Me and Mert had to go with this lady home. Everyone said, “Thanks a lot for coming down, we couldn’t have done it without you” and all this. And off we went in the dark. It was real pretty. I got off at the shops and walked home. Seeya.

Monday June 14 - We rode Zeppy and Prince and had great fun

Dear Diary,

Chris and Lisa would be in NZ by now cause they left yesterday unless they’re going by plane. I wonder how they’re going. I wish I was Lisa. Today I went to a BBQ at Zeppy’s place ( JB’s horse) and we rode Zeppy and Prince and had great fun. I was going real well too. We had lunch which was real nice and we went for a walk and met these other kids who had a horse. I went on this horse that was in season and I was going real well on it until it decided it wanted to go home and it ran away with me. They’re real dangerous when they’re in season cause they kick and buck and I was scared it was going to throw me off. But it didn’t. Then Mum and Georgie and Willie and Uncle John came and picked me up and I went home. At the moment I’m cooking tea. Er, I just had a terrible thought: school tomorrow. UGH. Oh well. Better go. Seeya.

Tuesday June 15 - “We heard about you at Tangalooma”

Dear Diary,

Nothing much happened today. Went into the library and Colin and Geoff came up and sat next to me, then Stave came, the Mitchell, and they talked to me. They kept saying, “Oh yes, you think so? blah blah blah”, it was something about me. Then Geoff goes, “We heard about you at Tangalooma” Colin goes, “Did someone break you in Petra? No, you wouldn’t know what to do”. God I wish people wouldn’t say that. It’s really sickening, embarrassing too. Then Dominic Moffit goes, “Gaday. How about it?” Funny. Had two English exams, and one really hard maths exam which I’ll flunk cause I didn’t know how to do it all so I left questions out. Seeya

Oh yeah, got my stool made in woodwork. I just have to paint it and all that.

Wednesday June 16Guess what I wrote about! Tobogganing down the sand dunes

Today MCrorey accused me and Debbie and some others kids of cheating in our exam. I know Debbie didn’t. I copied I think one or two of her questions. He wants to see how we did some questions. Oh Christ!!!!! I have to go to school tomorrow or I’ll look like I’m gutting out. Anyway, he’ll probably get me some other day. Beat Colyton 64-7. Playing Viscounts on Saturday. I bet we lose. I just bet. Had another English exam. We had to write a composition starting or ending with “ 'Don’t look Down!' he shouted”. Guess what I wrote about! Tobogganing down the sand dunes. God I miss that place. I bet nobody writes back. I just bet. Seeya.

Thursday June 17 - Did nothing today. It was tremendously boring, as usual

Friday June 18 - “It’s not fair you copied off me and got more marks”

Dear Diary,

Did nothing again today. MacCrory called us out to ask us how we did a certain question and he found out I coped one of them. I had a big fight with Boardman and she wants to move. THANKGOD. She goes, “It’s not fair. You copied off me and got more marks” I said, “The question I copied was wrong anyway, so that means I got more right than you did anyway".
What about that whole matrices assignment you copied off me?” (now getting down into the nitty gritty). She replied.
“What about you! When we came in you said “You help me and Ill help you” and I don’t know how many millions of time she said, “You help me and Ill help you”. Then she cheated in the science test, the stupid B---ch. Had assembly in the Assembly Hall.

Saturday June 19 - We slaughtered them 22-11.

Dear Diary,

Today Mr Corbet gave me a lift to Glenbrook and I was far too early so I went for a troddle. Then the courts weren’t marked out and I got myself covered in lime trying to mark the courts out. I was supposed to umpire at 10 o’clock. Then cause of two unplayable courts I had to umpire at 10.30. Then at 11 o’clock I was supposed to umpire. Then Alison Rowe came along. THEN at 12 o’clock we played the Viscounts, Boardman’s beloved team, and we slaughtered them 22-11. Pretty strong. I didn’t say a word to her the whole game. She was too busy being the big tough captain anyway. It’s so sickening the way she loves herself. She can’t wear school slacks because quote, “Chris likes to look at my legs” unquote. Her actual words. Anyway. Seeya.

Sunday June 20 - Painted my stool with pretty crummy paint

Did nothing again today. Slept in till 11 o’clock. Then Sharon woke me up. Painted my stool with pretty crummy paint that scratched off real easy. It’s raining now and probably will tomorrow and all my junk is in the wash. Oh goodness gracious me. Seeya

Monday June 21Guess what! I got a letter from Mandy. Isn’t that great!

Dear Diary,

Had to wear winter uniform – brown jumper and this daggy looking rain coat thing. Boy did I look ridiculous. I really did. School was boring as usual. Going to Old Sydney Town on Thursday. Had a fight with Boardman in Maths. Am sitting next to JB now. Guess what! I got a letter from Mandy. Isn’t that great! Haven’t had one from Tangalooma yet and I won’t so there’s no use thinking about it. Anyway she told me all about the wedding and everything and it sounded great fun. She said I can come up, but I have to find out for sure what days our holidays are on cause she thinks  they’re different to ours. Oh jees, I hope not. I really do cause, I think I’m allowed to fly up there by myself. Wouldn’t that be fantastic. It sure would. I’m glad Mandy wrote to me. I’m glad I went to Tangalooma, and I’m glad I made friends with Mandy. I’m just Glad. Seeya dear friend.

Tuesday June 22 think we’re having a secret little war

Did nothing again today. Said just about nothing to Debbie. I think we’re having a secret little war which will probably turn out to be a loud one and she’ll call in Christopher dear, cause she can’t fight on her own battles. You know how everything has gone so well with Mum and Dad and me? Well today bloody Dad came into my room and asked me how come I wasn’t doing my homework. And complained cause I watch too much TV (which I don’t by far). Then he complained about my housework and my room and told me HE has to ARRANGE MY room. All because Mum complained because she doesn’t like me going up to Sharon’s. I’ve noticed this lately. Why? Why do they do this? And they just kept raving on about this and that and I WANT TO GO TO TANGALOOMA AGAIN! It’s not fair. Oh guess what! Mandy’s holidays start 8th to 22nd and ours 27th to 13th. DAMN IT I can’t go now unless I’m allowed to take time off school. DAMN Seeya

Wednesday June 23 -“Look how Petra crawled her way into the car”

Dear Diary,

Today sport got called off and so did the Old Sydney Town Excursion. Boy. Did nothing today. Terribly boring. Bludged a lift with Wain and everyone goes,“Look how Petra crawled her way into the car” and when I was at Sharon’s , Glenda didn’t know I was there, and she goes, “You should have seen the way Petra crawled her way into the car” and then she saw me and went red, and said, “That’s what Lynette said”. Then she came crawling after me the two faced hypocrite. Well I’ll give Wain 10 cents for giving me a lift and I won’t do that again. So there. Seeya.

Thursday June 24Dad said I couldn’t watch TV for a week

Last night I went to bed at 10.30 and Dad chucked a mental and said I couldn’t watch TV for a week. Then Mum said I could stay home; we were going to go to Penrith to get me some slacks, but because Dad was so cranky I wasn’t allowed so I just stayed home and did nothing.

Friday June 25 - I’ve fallen in love with a teacher. Mr Johnson.

Dear Diary,

Guess what! I’ve fallen in love with a teacher. His name is Mr Johnson and boy is he a spunk. Boy. He’s tall, dark and handsome. He’s got dark brown hair and brown eyes and is really good looking. But I only seen him once a day and that in the morning when he comes to school. Jees he’s nice. Wrote Mandy another letter. Guess who rang? Stephen Frankham. How about that. He kept saying, “Say something” and I couldn’t think of anything to say. Mum and Dad were there too and that makes it difficult for me to talk cause they listen. He kept saying, “hang on” and talking to Peter, then he put Peter on and I talked to him and he got the sh-ts cause he thought I didn’t want to talk to him. He asked me why I wasn’t at the dance and I asked him why he wasn’t at the dance and he said cause he was babysitting. He ended off with, "A waste of 20 minutes". I said "Thanks a lot” and he said, “That wasn’t very nice thing to say” and I said, “No, goodbye” and hung up. Keep thinking about Tangalooma and that teacher.

Saturday June 26 - At 10.00 I umpired an orange team, at 12.00 I played an orange team

Dear Diary,

Played netball today. At shops I met Colin and we talked for a while, then I went over to the station and then came home and I was talking to Cathy and John Stearman – UGH. It was real queer. He reckoned he nearly picked up someone last night but that’s a load of bull, whoops, I just used Mandy’s name in vain.  I sent her a letter today too. At 10.00 I umpired an orange team, at 12.00 I played an orange team – the Jays - and we won 22-10. Then I went home and did some gardening and worked, cause tomorrow I cook a massive Chinese dinner. I’ve got over 8 courses each serving 4-6 people. Gotta go. Seeya.

Sunday June 27 - I got the first lot of photos back

Guess blinkin what. I didn’t cook my Chinese today. Mum didn’t want to eat at 7.30 so we had a chook instead, right after she bought all the ingredients too. And Dad said I’ll cook it next Sunday. No way am I gonna cook it. Never again. No siree. Never. That’s the last time I ever prepare anything. Mum can do it all since she balls up my go up. Oh jees, you know what I forgot to tell you. I got the first lot of photos back. Some turned out ok. Others turned out no so ok. Jees I take shocking photos. I don’t know how many times I looked at them. I’m homesick, for Tangalooma. I wish I was back. Seeya.

Monday June 28 - I wish I was older and he was younger

Dear Diary,

Did nothing today. Didn’t see Mt Johnson today worst luck. Gees he’s nice, I wish I was older and he was younger. It’s not fair. I have a very bad cold. And a touch of laryngitis this morning. Prichard blew me up for coming to school with the flu. The @#$%?!!!! Boy did I feel lousy. I was really sick. Wednesday is the school dance. I’m really looking forward to it. Seeya

Tuesday June 29 - Mr Johnson left. He’s gone – kapoof!

Dear Diary,

Guess what! (sad one this time) Mr Johnson left. He’s gone – kapoof! He and the rest of the student teachers left last week. That’s why I didn’t see him today, I mean yesterday.  I was just about crying. I really liked him. He was real nice. Everyone seems to be leaving me lately. Robert, Chris, Lisa, Tangalooma, and now Mr Johnson. IT’S NOT FAIR. I lost my voice completely this morning. I had to whisper and everyone was stirring me. It was real embarrassing too.  Something else that was embarrassing too. In the library Ian Stanton goes, in front of everyone, “Someone told me you’re a rotten kisser”. He said it about three times. And boy did I go red, just like a beetroot. It wasn’t very funny. He kept saying, “You’re gonna kiss me tomorrow”, and I kept saying, “bullshit, that’s what you think”. Steve goes, “Oh you’d believe him with an ounce of encouragement”. I’m too scared to kiss anyone now. Tomorrow – nobody at the dance. I wish my runny nose would go away. Oh yeah, Ken Brodrick asked me to go with him to the pictures on Friday. What will I say? I know I wont be allowed. Seeya

Wednesday June 30 - We did the Bump Dance

Dear Diary,

Yesterday arvo Ken gave me a lift home again and he asked me out to the pictures and all this. This arvo Howard rang and asked me if I was going to the dance with anyone. I said no. He said I’ll see you there then.  I thought he was going to ask me to go to the dance with him. I stayed home today. Anyway, I got dressed. I wore my silk dress. Dad took me up. We got in the hall and everyone told me how nice I looked, modestly. Guess who I danced with? Jason. We did the Bump Dance. I danced with everyone just about. Seeya

Everyone kept asking me for a kiss but I wouldn’t

Dear Diary,

Everyone kept asking me for a kiss but I wouldn’t. Ian Stanton reminded me that I owed him a kiss but he didn’t get it and every time I went to the canteen, that guy who was in the library with us, kept saying, “Has Stanton caught up with you yet”. Howard kept following me around all night and I’d have to hide. Guess who’s going with Craig Stratten? That slut. You should have seen what she was wearing; anyone would think she’s going horse riding or something. I danced every dance and boy did I get buggered. Fabrice, Robert, David and Stuart kept pestering me for a kiss all night even after the dance was over. Fabrice was supposed to take me home and he knicked off, the ??111*2. Boy was I swearing. Mr Masey took me home. And I was squashing poor Flea and Beatle. After the dance I went to Ken, who was there, and I apologised telling him I can’t go out. Oh yeah, Steve was there for about ten minutes. Outside he said goodbye to me. The BlackJack’s are better than I thought they’d be. The whole night was quite good I spose. I hope I’m allowed to go to the Girl and Boys Club Dance. I bet I won’t be. Better go. Seeya.

JULY 1976

Thursday July 1 - He asked if there was any chance of him taking me

Dear Diary,

Was a bit tired today. Everyone came up to me and asked me if I was going with Geoff Higgins, and same with Geoff. It was ether Colin or this 2nd form chick that started it all off. But it was all very funny. This morning, Ken was at the bus stop and he asked if there was any chance of him taking me out even with Jo and Geoff and I told him I’d talk to them about it. Little does he know. Seeya

Friday July 2 - Dances like that weren’t made for 14 year old girls

Dear Diary,

Did nothing today except fight. Asked Dad if I could go to the dance this morning and he said, “We’ll talk about it tonight but he knew then and there he wasn’t going to let me go. You know what he told me tonight – THAT I WAS TOO BLOODY YOUNG. THAT’S THE LIMIT. Dances like that weren’t made for 14 year old girls. I will be 15 in 2 months. I can’t wait until I’m 16. Dances like what! He just about told me that he suspected me to get pregnant, to mention the least. Then Mum and Dad had a fight and he went driving off somewhere and when he came home he blamed me! The #$%@*&% @. Now Mum won’t even let me go to the Forum Dance. I was allowed before but now that I’m TOO YOUNG  I definitely won’t be. GOD PARENTS MAKE ME SICK sometimes. We were getting on real well too. Steve rang too but Dad wouldn’t let me talk to him cause it was TOO LATE. I was right next to the phone too.

Saturday July 3Sharon cut my hair

Haven’t talked to Mother Dear yet. Played the Tornados and won 40-2, and umpired at 10.30 and 11.00. Came home cranky. Sharon cut my hair. Did my room and room and dunny and that’s all. Seeya

Sunday July 4 - Gardened, did my room again and washed the beer bottles

Dear Diary,

Gardened, did my room again, and washed the beer bottles. Mother informed me that she was paying me more because Sharon cut my hair. I have a pair of jeans to cover my legs. One pair, and that’s to wear out and at home. I’m sick to death of wearing rotten bloody clothes that I’ve had for 4 years and more and that are 50 sizes too small. So I got all dressed up and did my housework in that! I’ll have to spend my money that I’ve saved on myself and forget about Christmas presents and all that. It’s OK for Mum; she can buy herself as many pairs of slacks and jeans she wants. In fact she does, and she blames me for all that money she has to pay back to Farmer; $150.00 worth of stuff and exactly none of it was spent on me. Shift the blame why don’t you Mum. Seeya

Monday July 5 - I’ll probably be grounded and get my head smashed in

Dear Dairy,

Did nothing today. Auditioned for Eat at Cinderella’s. Went really bad. Had a whole stack of stuff in my throat. Had a fight with mother again. Bloody Jenny put dirty clothes in my room and I left a towel in there. Now I can't watch TV cause my room is messy. So I blew my brain. Mother of course went running to Father and I’ll probably be grounded and get my head smashed in etc. WHY CAN’T PARENTS JUST LAY OFF! Seeya

Tuesday July 6A tragedy has occurred. I can’t high jump anymore

Practised a bit of athletics today. A tragedy has occurred. I can’t high jump anymore. Christ. And bloomen Jenny Kelly can jump 3 times higher. I miss Mr Johnson. Seeya

Wednesday July 7 - I qualified for long jump discuss, javelin, shot put

Today we had qualifying things and I qualified for long jump, discuss, javelin, shot put, and I just scraped into High jump. God, I’m gonna get nowhere this year. I’ve been keeping my eye on Stephen Daily but I’m not sure about him yet. Seeya

Thursday July 8 - I don’t get pocket money anymore

Dear Diary,

Went late night shopping tonight and came home with Dad. I had to buy Mum a present. That’s the only reason Mum let me go down. On any other occasion she wouldn’t. Got her a toilet thing. Did practically nothing. There were stacks of guys around though, all over the place. It was quite boring too. Oh yeah. I don’t get pocket money anymore either. Seeya

Friday July 9 - We went to Old Sydney Town

Dear Diary,

Today we went to Old Sydney Town. The trip was good. When we got there we were counted and allowed to go wherever we wanted to go but had to be back by two. I had 3 shots left in my camera and I took 2 would you believe. The best part of it was the ship. Jees it was good. They had this horse and buggy ride and bullock rides. And we were the only girls with a cartload of boys, but we talked to them and all that. They came from Newcastle. There was this one guy who had long wavey blond hair, blue eyes (of course) blue Levis, a bluey grey sloppy Joe, and a blue and red necked short. Jees he was nice. This other bunch that was on bullocks, we saw them later and they go, “There’s that spunk” and all this. And also I was running down a hill and I ran behind a bush and out again and they said, “Jees that was quick”. We had this short thing to answer but I only got some of it done. Seeya

We saw a convict getting chased, and one getting whipped

We saw a convict getting chased, and one getting whipped and some court cases and all this. It was quite good. The trip home wasn’t all that good. Guess who rang and asked me to go with him? Howard Carter. First he asked me if I liked him. But I said that I don’t want to go with anyone. He goes, “Now that I’ve found out that interesting bit of news, will we still say hello to each other when we pass?” (mush mush). Oh well. Then Paul Sharp rang and talked to me and he said he’d come down tomorrow to watch me play netball. Ho hum. Seeya.

Saturday July 10 - Had a fight with Mum and my sister about the TV

Dear Diary,

Well he did come down, with his friend. And the only thing I said to him when he came was, “Oh hi –yes” when he asked me if I was refereeing. Also I told him that “I had to go. Seeya”. So he came all the way down for a, “Oh hi, yes, have to go, seeya”. I didn’t think he’d come down actually. Had a fight with Mum and my sister about the TV. She wasn’t allowed to sit on her bed and she was allowed to sit on my bed, so the TV was taken out. GOD I HATE MY SISTER. THAT STINKING LIITLE GREENEYED B--CH. Seeya

Sunday July 11 - He got up and belted me fair across the head 3 times

Dear Diary,

Didn’t do much. Painted my chair again. Had a big fight with Mr and Mrs Campbell because Mummy went running to Daddy because my sister and Mummy were being unfair and unreasonable to Petra. Father bought another 3 TV’s so we have 5. But he bought 2 portables, 1 for my sister and 1 for me. Anyway, cause of last night Dad’s gonna sell both of them and he raved on about us secluding ourselves in our rooms if we have one. He never bloody gave us a chance. Cause my sister was so Goddam jealous of me having the TV in my room. That’s what really shits me about parents. They make their minds up about something without giving anyone a chance first. I asked Dad 5 times to stop interrupting me but that’s just what he kept doing. So he got up and belted me fair across the head 3 times. It’s like talking to a brick wall. They don’t listen, they don’t want to listen. They won’t listen or they can’t, it’s all the same once they’ve made their mind up that’s it. Once I disagree with Dad or try to state my point of view, he won’t let me cause he doesn’t like to be disagreed with, and he loses his temper and thinks “right I’m king shit, I think this, so this is what it’s gonna be. Anybody who disagrees will have their head chopped off, or belted off, whichever suits me”. I might as well talk to myself. They don’t listen. GOD IT SH-TS ME. Seeya

Monday July 12 - People were getting killed off in a nudist camp

Dear Dairy,

Stayed in bed all day and read two books: Mortgage on Life which was real good, and the The Eve of His Dying where people were getting killed off in a nudist camp.  It was good too. There was a union strike – a major stoppage cause of the ACTU and Medibank, so there was no school. Seeya.

Tuesday July 13It rained all day

Today was supposed to be the sports carnival but it was postponed until next week because of rain, which it did – all day. Seeya.

Wednesday July 14 - It rained again today so did nothing again. Seeya

Thursday July 15 - Discuss finals today

Had discuss finals today and I threw mine well in front of everyone, and this 5th former came up and bloomen well move it up 2ft so Karen Gibbons beat me. Damn it. %@!!! X2. I had an audience too. A whole stack of 5th form guys including Steve Podmore. Seeya

Friday July 16 - They were all their photos of Tangalooma

Dear Dairy,

It was a bit warmer today. Did nothing. Funny how I used to tell you when people would say hello to me, well now it doesn’t matter anymore. Guess what! Mandy sent me this padded envelope and when I first saw it, I thought it was tickets, but they were all their photos of Tangalooma, the wedding, and some party and a long letter but not half as long as the one I wrote back. Seeya


Saturday July 17 - I wrote a distress note to Mandy

Dear Dairy,

Played the Attackers. Won. Umpired two little bratty teams and I lost my temper with them. Walked home from Glenbrook. Tiredness. Had a big fight with Dad and he made me ball. I went outside and lost control of myself. I couldn’t stop balling. Then Oma rang and she needs Mum over in Holland so Mum is gonna go. Please don’t leave me with Dad. I was absolutely hysterical. My face was all puffed up and my eyes red and I looked awful. So I wrote a distress note to Mandy. I’d better not send it. Seeya

Sunday July 18Dad said he’s not going to let me wreck up his marriage

Dear Diary,

Did nothing today, the usual slavery. Still upset about yesterday. Dad told me as far as he is concerned we are enemies and that he is not going to let me wreck up his marriage. Ok then. That’s how we’ll play it. Oops, I forgot. Went to netball carnival today at Hawksberry and guess what? We lost winning by 4 goals. We lost one bloomen game and won the rest, which was pretty good considering we were in a cadet carnival. The trophies were really nice too. The Viscounts were there. They lost 4 games! I never said nothing to Debbie, not even hello. Seeya.

Monday July 19Sports Carnival: Boy am I disgusted with myself.
Dear Dairy,

Today we had the first half of the sports carnival. I came 1st in the hurdles, 2nd in 100 meters, 3rd in the high jump, 3rd in Javelin and 4th in long jump. DISGUSTING! Isn’t it. Boy have I gone shocking this year. As I hurdled I could hear everyone going “Go Petra”. It made me feel real good. Also when I came to the 2nd hurdle I had to push it cause I couldn’t jump it. Boy am I disgusted with myself. I really am. Seeya.

Tuesday July 20 - I feel rotten cause we lost. I could kill myself,

Dear Dairy,

I went even worse today. I came 3rd in the hurdles. I should have come 2nd except I started on the wrong leg so I went all cockeyed. Then I could feel myself toppling to one side. Damn it. I came 4th in the 200 meters final but I made the zone relay. Also I was complaining because the last lane always seems to come last in the relays, so I was dumped in the last lane and guess what? We came 1st! That made my day. I was real happy about that. Our ball games didn’t go too well, but then we knew that. So far Chapman is coming 2nd for once, instead of last. I feel rotten cause we lost. I could kill myself. Seeya.

Wednesday July 21 - They didn’t expect me to kick back

Today in maths, Jackie someone and Debbie Whitby were arguing at the top of their voices and I couldn’t hear the announcements. Everyone was silent and suddenly I turned around and shouted SHUT UP! And turned back around. Debbie said, “You shut up” and kicked me, so I kicked her and then we were all kicking each other and Glen said I was going real well and kicking them real hard (proudness) and I beat them. Then I turned back around and everyone was staring at me (I was the only one they could see). So I had to see the teacher and on my way every single person either went, “What happened?”, or “sprung” or something, but everyone said something and all day I got remarks about it.  But what was funny was they didn’t expect me to kick back and hurt. They didn’t even hurt me but I bet their shins are sore. Lost in Grade Netball against Dunheved. I wasn’t playing and neither was Helen, and nobody could shoot. Bum. Now we are coming 3rd unless we beat Nepean, but we play the next week and most of our grade will be at Zone athletics. Bum. Oh well. Seeya

Thursday July 22 - I overheard a conversation

Found out that Kim Smith Likes Steven Daley. I overheard a conversation between her and Donna Gorden. Oh well. Seeya

Friday July 23 and 24 - I am the champion 15 year in Athletics

Dear Dairy,

Guess what! I am the champion 15 year in Athletics. I don’t understand how come though cause I went real rotten. Then I looked at the  sheet and found that I came a tie with Jenny Kelly, and bloody Vicki Perry is having a trial for discuss and she can throw further than me. That’s not fair. Now I’ll go down to third in discuss and Jenny 1st

I actually went to the Forum dance tonight

I actually went to the Forum dance tonight, Mum bought me some slacks and a jersey top which fitted perfectly would you believe. When we got here I was real nervous but after the dance I realised how stupid I was. The first half of the dance we had White Light and they were absolutely hopeless. They just weren’t worth dancing to. Practically everyone was sitting or standing around. But then then the Starlitters came on and they were a rock and roll group and they were absolutely fantastic. I couldn’t stop dancing. They were really great. They had one real slow dance and they said  “this is for those of you who want nudge , nude, wink , wink,  - a bit of a cuddle”. Boy it was funny. There was this boy there and he gave me the creeps and he kept pinching me on the bum and hitting me on the bum and purposely brushing against me in the boob with his elbow, and he put his arm around me and asked me if I was alright and he did this about 3 times. Peter Sheen kept looking at me. Hmm. Neil Dorsan, Wadwell,  Dominic Moffit and this other new kid and all of them lot were  dancing next to us all the time. Gee Neil Dorson is nice. There were a lot of other spunky guys too. But the Group and the dancing was the best. Seeya

Sunday July 25 – I’m glad for her cause she really likes him

Dear Diary,

Mrs Taylor took us home last night and when she dropped me off she said, “There you are Miss Campbell”.  Colin Boyde and Steve Podmore got sloshed and when I called them they put on the biggest act I’ve ever seen. Dead set. Ken was there too. Earlier this week he drove past us and I had to wave. Then they turned around and told me to get in. I said, “what for?” and he said “don’t worry about it”. Then he said is, “Is there a dance this Friday?” and I said, “I don’t know”( and I did and so did he ) and I said, “I’ve got to go. Seeya”. And walked off. Last night he said “Gaday Petra” and he was with Dianne. I’m glad for her cause she really likes him, and that gets him off my back.  Seeya

Monday July 26 - So boring it’s incredible.

Nothing happened today. It was just so boring it’s incredible. Tomorrow is Zone athletics. Seeya.

Tuesday July 27 - 1st day of the zone athletic carnival

Dear Dairy,

Today was the 1st day of the zone athletic carnival. I wasn’t supposed to go in anything today but I ended up going in the javelin cause Christine Waldren didn’t turn up. I would have come third if my javelin had have stuck in the ground. Jees there are a lot of spunks there. They’re all over the place. Anybody would think all our guys had gone into hibernation or something. Why it is Springwood High doesn’t have any spunks? Oh well. 


In zone I came:
3rd in Javelin
2nd in discuss
3rd high jumps
1st in tunnel ball
4th in relay

Wednesday July 28 - . I came 2nd in discuss!

Dear Dairy,

Guess what! It’s a happy guess what. I came 2nd in discuss! Isn’t that wonderful. The chick that beat me got 22.79 and I got 22.78. Wouldn’t that make you sick. I miss out on a ribbon cause of that. Gee fellas. Anyway, I thought this other chick beat me and I got cranky and I accidentally pulled at my blouse and I pulled all the buttons off and flashed everywhere. So had to safety pin it in the middle. Once I thought it was safely pinned and I walked off and it flapped open. I fell to the ground in embarrassment. And then I couldn’t stop laughing. All this was just before my relay. As I ran I was flashing everywhere and I got 5 whistles! Embarrassment. Our relay came 4th. Also in high jumps I came third and our tunnel ball came 1st! But we didn’t even get a ribbon. Our captain ball came 1st too.  More spunks. Seeya

Thursday 29 July -  I got in the Jesmond Netball team

Nothing happened again today. I sold raffle tickets for a canoe and had them all sold by recess. I’ll have to bring some more tomorrow. Guess what!! I got in the Jesmond Netball team. Wasn’t that fantastic! I’m very happy about that. I wanted to try out for basketball but the team was already picked. Damn it. Seeya.

Friday July 30 - Did nothing today. It was very boring. Seeya

Saturday July 31 - So far we’re undefeated

Today was the semis in netball. We played the Viscounts and won 22-11. The 1st quarter they were wining 6-2 but we caught up. So far we’re undefeated. I sure hope we beat the Viscounts in the Grand Finals. I bet we won’t. I just bet. Seeya


The top single for July 1976 was Sherbet's "Howzat"

Written By Petra Campbell

Twitter: @petraau