Saturday 16 July 2016

I Got The Job!

I don’t remember how old I was when I became the household maid, but by the age of fifteen I am well and truly over it. My desperation to break free of the shackles of domestic duties festered in me like molten lava did in Krakatoa, before it spewed out 18km3 of ash 80km into the sky, triggering a 30m high tsunami that buried over 36,000 people.

wanted a real job. One that paid real money. Not the breadcrumbs Mum and Dad dropped around the house to lead me to the kitchen sink, where Dad fully expected me to live for the rest of my life, only in some other man’s household.

No sooner was I legally allowed to work and I was scouring the whole world (the lower Blue Mountains) for employment. My parents could not be trusted with my labour, I had come to realise. If I did anything to displease them - having already scrubbed the house inside and out until my knuckles burst out of the tender youthful skin I was keeping soft and silken to attract the man whose sink I would be tied to, I’d get something like, “If you speak to me like that one more time, you won’t get your pocket money”.

And I was beginning to resent being underpaid for doing what was really THEIR job. Mum didn’t work. She was a stay at home Mum. Why am I doing HER work? And Dad, well, it’s not my fault he didn’t produce sons to do his men things around the place.

We kids, and especially us girls, were the bottom feeders of the labour pyramid. Just as Dad went off to work for someone else, and he enjoyed Mum’s free housekeeping and cooking, both Mum and Dad used me - and for as long as they could possibly get away with it.

Well that’s what it felt like anyway. Try telling a young teenage lady that cleaning the toilet was an essential life skill. 

While I suspected that threatening not to pay me in punishment for something entirely unrelated to the work I actually did days earlier, wasn’t fair work practice, someone had to teach us a healthy respect for authority, what rules and agreements meant, the rewards of a strong work ethic, and how to function as society would expect me to when I left home – which for 53% of kids in Australia at the time might very well be next year. When I turn 16.

By giving us chores and governing our extracurricular, Mum and Dad were employer, arbitrator, judiciary and enforcer all at once. 

While my parents were entitled to pay me pennies for oceans of sweat, take if off me again if I was naughty, or refuse to pay me if my work wasn’t good enough, the neighbors weren’t allowed to get away with it. This month in 1976, my neighbour wants me to baby-sit for 77 cents an hour. Mum suggests I call Mrs Neighbour and tell her that the going rate for baby sitters is $1.00 - $2.00 an hour. Emboldened by Mum and indignant that Mrs Neighbour considered my baby sitting acumen so lowly, I call her and tell her as much. I succeeded in negotiating $1.00 an hour. It was only a 23 cent increase, as opposed to a $1.23 at the top rate, but it was 23 cents more than the day before. After all, I was probably going to devour Mrs Neighbour’s entire pantry, anything edible she left in the fridge, in the oven, or on the stove top, and her ice-cream, and watch TV while her kids slept.

If you don’t ask for it, it won’t be given, was the lesson I learnt that day.

It’s no coincidence that the legal age to work correlates with teenage rebellion and desire for greater independence. My parents would now have to be more inventive to cajole me into domestic servitude. Dad was giving me the Child Endowment payments he received from the Whitlam government ( In June 1976 it was renamed Family Allowance but we were still calling it Child Endowment). Child Endowment at this time wasn't means tested. All parents, regardless of their income, received it. For me it was $3.50 per week; for my sister, $5.00. Dad was the principal breadwinner and my parents we were still together so the money was given to him. With that I had to pay for my dental, medical, school and other bills. When I triumphantly announced that I got a job, Dad told me, “The money you earn HAS to go in the bank or you don’t get your Child Endowment!”  I was livid with disbelief. In my diaries I wrote: “HIM, telling ME what to do with the money I earn! Christ! I’ll do whatever I want with it!”

It was tough getting ahead in life when your parents were gate keeping your entrepreneurial efforts to get rich.

That this man, my father, was also the Central Bank controlling my money supply was a portend I’d have to reckon with one day.

I might have felt like a slave but the International Labour Organsation says my parents were doing the right thing because, “helping parents around the home, assisting in a family business or earning pocket money outside school hours and during school holidays contribute to children’s development and to the welfare of their families; they provide them with skills and experience, and help to prepare them to be productive members of society during their adult life.”

Were my parents depriving me of my childhood, my potential and my dignity, or of schooling? No

Was I being enslaved, separated from my family, exposed to serious hazards and illnesses and/or left to fend for myself on the streets of Sydney? No

Was I being sold into slavery, debt bondage and serfdom, or forced into compulsory labour, armed conflict, prostitution, for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances, being used to traffic drugs or doing work that exposed me to severe health risks? No

I was safe in my home and in my school. Unlike children whose misfortune it is to be born in countries where children don't go to school at all, and are working in the above life threatening or exploitative situations: Ethiopia 60%; Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, 30%; in Somalia and Sudan 40 % of kids are used in armed conflict, as bodyguards or sex slaves within militias. Like Buddhist Burma, where 40% of children don't go to school, and the army enlists 12 yr olds. Eritrea and Yemen are also among the top 10 worst countries for children to be born in, as is Pakistan, where the abduction, renting, buying and selling of children is among the worst in the world. China takes 20th place for exploiting children. In India, Vietnam, Russia and Brazil, child labor laws are often poorly enforced. Even the USA is said to represent a “medium risk”, alongside Cuba, Georgia and Kuwait.

According to this map, Australia is a rare 'green' country where kids are free from exploitation. This map should tell us all how precious we are in the world and how hard we must fight to stay that way. Although not all children in Australia are safe. Slave labor, sexual slavery and culturally and religiously condoned pedophilia (child bride marriage) has been discovered among recent immigrant communities where this is widely practiced in their countries of origin.

Of course I had no idea at the time how lucky I really was. The worst bone I could pick with my parents was that they were perfectionists. Everything had to be done immaculately or not at all. Like, I really, really, really, know how to clean a house. Better than any professional. I was taught to be the best possible sink chained wife a man could ever want.

It was this perfection that I would put on display like New Years Eve over Sydney Harbor to whoever would employ me, I decided, and it didn’t take long for someone to realize my potential.

Glenbrook Shops
On October 1, 1976, I got a letter saying, 

Dear Petra, 

Please call in at the milk bar regarding the position advertised in the gazette. 

There was no name to the milk bar. I must have told them they were the only establishment I had applied to because I could have applied to ten milk bars between Springwood and Penrith for all they knew. But I hadn’t.

The milk bar was the life blood of our communities. By the 1970's they had already morphed from an American-style soda and sundae parlour into an all round convenience pit stop. Our parents sent us there to get things they had run out of when they didn’t want to ask the neighbours for it, like sugar, butter, bread or eggs. We charged our parents a fee for undertaking the pilgrimage - a paddle pop,  a redskin, or a cherry ripe. As we grew older, we would take our pocket money there and hang out; slurping on milk shakes while boys played the pinball machines, our tummies grumbling after the long trek, and our mouths salivating as hamburgers we couldn’t afford to buy, sizzled away on the fryer, or we’d gaze droolingly over the hot meat pies, battered savs and chico rolls. Especially in winter.

Aussie burger with the lot
The standard Aussie burger as we made them in this little 1970’s Blue Mountains milk bar began with a beef patty on a processed buttered sesame seed bun, followed by fried onion, tomato (salt and pepper went on at this point), beetroot and lettuce. Tomato sauce was then lavishly slopped all over. That was it. You could have extras like barbequed pineapple, much to the horror of all civilised hamburger eating nations. I agreed with them. Ever since I sailed around the world with my parents drinking pineapple that tasted of tin at every meal, I associated pineapple with seasickness and couldn’t imagine why anyone would put vomit in a hamburger. But we did. Along with bacon, eggs and cheese (called “the lot”). No one else in the world put pineapple and beetroot on their burger, only us Australians. Apparently it was the market power of the food processing industry of the day – Edgells which canned beetroot in Australia, and Golden Circle which canned pineapple, that bought this twist to our burgers.

Eating an Aussie burger was as much a messy ritual as eating a mango, which in our family was done two ways, and only in summer when Mangos fell off their branches in Queensland: in our swimsuit under the garden hose, and in the bathtub. We didn’t know about cross hatch slicing then.  You just pulled the skin off and sunk your mouth into all that juicy sticky drippy sunny flesh, for it to squirt all over you. A real Aussie burger dribbled down your forearms in a more orderly manner than the mango. The juices of the fatty beef and the oil it was fried in along with the onions and the bacon, the runny egg yolk, the melted butter on the bun, the liquid from the beetroot and tomato flesh, and the tomato sauce, all met up like little mountain streams do as they form a river, to carve a trail of brown red down your arm in one continuous flow, all the way to the elbow. Any further than the elbow, the burger had been oversauced.

Little did anyone know the torture and humiliation I went through to produce so much pleasure. The very first thing that I had to do on arrival - before anything else at all - was to peel and cut a whole 20 liter bucket of onions.  I already knew how to chop onions properly because guess who’s job that was at home for Dad’s barbeque's and Mum’s Dutch stews. But the most I ever had to
cut up at the one time would be four or five of them. Try cutting 50 onions in one sitting. I dreaded it, but everyone wanted onions on their hamburgers. And what’s an Aussie hamburger without fried onions? Seriously though, who gives a fully made up self conscious teenage girl - needing to look half decent for any spunks who might come into the milk bar - a whole bucket of onions to cut! Within minutes of onion duty, I looked like Alice Cooper, only blood shot. 

I knew that very first day; working in a milk bar would not be my destiny.

You couldn’t have a hamburger without a milk shake. They went together like the Outback and Kangaroos do. The milk of the 1970’s was beautiful and simple: milk and cream. A good milk shake was just as simple: whole milk, two big blobs of vanilla ice cream and syrup, supercharged with artificial coloring and flavoring. The only 'extra' we ever added to a milk shake was malt. I had no idea what malt was at the time, but this light caramel coloured powder gave the shake a richer, creamier, and nuttier taste and consistency. To make a milk shake you would put the milk, ice cream, and flavor into a tall aluminum cup and latch it up into the milkshake mixing machine for the agitator to turn it into a creamy thickness, until the top of it had turned into a bubbling froth, like India’s Bellandur Lake – which looks a lot like the top of a milkshake because it’s highly polluted with chemicals and sewerage. Getting the cup to sit in the milk shake mixing machine without falling down and splashing everywhere was a challenge. I knew how to cut onions, but I didn’t have a milk shake maker at home. The boss, Peter, told me I made terrible milk shakes.

India's toxic Bellandur lake looks like top of a milk shake

I lasted seven weeks before I was fired. One day Boss Peter unwittingly cut my finger when he angrily took over a sandwich I was not preparing to his satisfaction. Having hit a surface vein, blood poured out of my finger like a burst water main. I asked the customer if he wanted tomato sauce with that. He dry retched and laughed, as my deep red blood seeped into his soft white Tip Top Sunblest bread.

Boss Peter thought I was the moron who cut my own finger. He told me told me to, “shove off”.

When Dad found out I had been fired he bought me a home milk shake making machine - for next time. But there was never going to be a next time. Onions had traumatised me, and unless Aussies were going to give up onions on their burgers, which was as likely as any of us winning Powerball, I would never work in a milk bar again. Ever.

The “milk’ bar was actually that once upon a time – a place to drink milk instead of alcohol. One version of its' origins is that the very first Milk Bar in the world started in 1930 in a rather odd place for a milk bar – in hot and steamy Bangalore, India, where temperatures range from 15.3C to 39.2C. The temperature is important because anyone who remembers milk delivery to the home, knows that if you didn’t pick the milk up before sunrise it would have an almost undrinkable ‘been in the sun too long’ taste to it. I don’t know if the milk bar entrepreneur, Englishman James Meadow Charles, had any kind of refrigeration at his Lakeview Milk Bar back then, but from Bangalore his concept spread to the much cooler UK where it was embraced by the Temperance Society as an alternative to the pub, and over 1,000 milk bars opened in the UK by the end of 1936. Effy Alexakis and Leonard Janiszewski in their book, Greek Cafes and Milk Bars of Australia write that the first Australian Milk Bar was opened on Martin Place in 1932, called the Black and White 4d Milk Bar, by the Greek Joachim Tavlarides, who got the idea from Europe. Milk shakes had been sold in Australia before 1932, just not in the way we know them today. They didn't have ice cream in them until the 1950's. They were made of water, ice, vanilla power and milk, and were hand shaken, like a cocktail. Milk shakes were a health tonic. People added fresh fruit, cream, butter, raw eggs, chocolate, honey, caramel, malt, and yeast. The not so healthy die hards added rum. Anyway, in our milk bar heyday, 1937, we had 4000 registered Milk Bars around Australia.

The USA would go onto corporatised the whole concept, split the burger and milk shake side of things into MacDonalds and Hungry Jacks and Co, and the supermarket component into similes, like the great sugar dispenser, 7Eleven. By 1971 the first MacDonalds came to Oz. Their burgers didn’t drip at all and their buns tasted of sweet cardboard. They put in pickles and mustard instead of beetroot and tomato sauce. It was heresy. But the industrial processed burger took to the Australian taste bud like the cane toad did to the great Australian landscape, and the franchise became just as unstoppable, and ultimately just as unwanted.

Our Milk Bars were a cultural hub; they knew their neighbourhood and could give instructions to lost visitors - unlike 7Elevens - they had all the local gossip, was where teens played with romance, and often got their first job, like I did. You might still see the odd sign that says “Milk Bar” in Aussie suburbs that time forgot or developers haven't yet reached, but today its' all shopping malls and fast food monopolies. None of the new estates being built around Australia make provision for the corner shop or milk bar. But there is good news. Australians have reclaimed their burger. Gourmet burgers are now so much in fashion that even MacDonald's has had to compete by bringing in a design-it-yourself Burger Bar, and Tip Top produces a gourmet burger bread range. In Britain, the Milk Bar has gone back to its' roots starting in schools, as a place to drink something healthy and enjoyable. Although not out of cultural nostalgia, but to encourage children to consume more dairy products, as the Scots have successfully done for the past 18 years. 


We are prepared to sacrifice 300 million Chinese for the victory of the world revolution.”   
Mao Zedong

This is an unusually log post. Because it's worth it. 
On October 6, 1976, a month after the death of Chinese Communist Party leader, Moa Zedong, the ‘Gang of Four’ was arrested, including Chairman Mao’s last wife, Jiang Qing, for masterminding the Cultural Revolution. People exulted in Beijing as a ‘turbulent’ era ended.

But really, there was hardly ever a time that things were not ‘turbulent’ throughout China’s epic timeline of elite dynasties and organised bureaucracy, of centralisation and decentralisation, of splitting and reforming, of failed and successful statehoods, of foreign invasions and colonial expansion, of opening up and closing back down again – mostly staying closed while expanding one way trade routes – of superlative greed, vanity, corruption, ambition, unresolved population growth, crop failures and mass starvation, jaw dropping violence and barbarity, routine assassination of family, regular genocide, and of a characteristic over production and compulsive over use of resources resulting in apocalyptic environmental destruction and the deaths of too many millions to count - because by 221 BC, there were already 40 million Chinese on planet earth. It’s 2016 and there are still only 23.13 million Australians on planet Oz.

The history of China is one long quest to control the ever-expanding population of the largest continent on our globe. China’s exponentiations began much earlier than in most of the world, being a cradle of ‘civlisation’ - one of those places where humans first became more organised. In China that was around 7000 BC. By 2070 BC, everyone had been turned into slaves by the elite, a convenient form of free labour China has not shed since.

For more than 1500 years, family run feudal dynasties, named by the ethnic group or the geographical or topographical place they came from, ruled China. Kings, and later Emperors, exerted power through the aristocracy. As one dynasty was in decline another was emerging to take over. From 2070 to 479 BC, China was a confederation of dynasties ruled by a hydra of kings. This was followed by an intermission of 225 years of perpetual war. From 221 BC to 1911 AD, the ‘Imperial’ dynasty system began, when one emperor ruled a united China. This period was known as “Imperial China”.

Through each dynasty China refined the art of crowd control. The largest ethnic group bearing a dynasty of the same name was the Han, who make up the majority of Chinese today. 

Video: Visual Map of 3000 Years of Chinese Imperial Dynasties in One Minute

There were a few standout, dynasties. The longest lasting of them was the 816-year long Zhou Dynasty (1046 BC to approximately 256 BC), which ended the Confederate Dynasties and introduced ‘Imperial China’. The first King of Imperial China, King Wu of Zhou, invented the ‘Mandate of Heaven’, giving himself and his successors a type of divine right to rule China, which consecutive emperors invoked when taking power. According to the Mandate of Heaven there can be only one ruler of China whose authority is legitimised by a virtuous and enabling leadership. There is no perpetual or hereditary Mandate, like in England, because emperors eventually turn into tyrannical psychopaths who corrupt public behaviour by way of their own decadent example. An immoral society brings on natures wrath in the form of floods, earthquakes, epidemics, comets, storms, famines, social decay and finally revolt. Being evidence that the Mandate of Heaven is lost, whoever has rallied the people or killed enough of them into submission, can declare themselves Emperor. Their Mandate is established after the fact by lining up all the ducks – the disaster signs that affirm his Mandate.

The Zhou oversaw the first colonial expansion into Northern China but this was their downfall as local military leaders, so far from their Emperor, began declaring themselves King of their conquered patch. Hundreds of kingdoms resulted. For the next 300 years they warred for the Mandate of Heaven (a period called the Spring and Autumn and Warring States 770-221 BC)

Although over 1 230 000 people are thought to have died during this time, the Warring States period was the only moment in Chinese history where, in a vacuum of chaos and in absence of centralised control, intellectual ponderings thrived uninhibited. With the breakdown of the Zhou state, former administrators wandered China teaching philosophy and advising rulers in concepts they specialised in when they worked for the Zhou. It was called, The Contention of a Hundred Schools of Thought of Chinese Philosophy. These “masters” had ambitious disciples who interpreted original texts. These texts have defined China to this day.

The Chinese never invented a God in the Abrahamic sense. They were more occupied with whether humans are inherently selfish and bad, or selfless and good, whether they needed to be educated and enlightened, or kept ignorant and controlled - and how this should all be managed to advance both society, and the individual.

One religious school of thought did emerge at this time though. Predating the famous Confucius is the philosophical, religious and ritualistic Daoism, attributed to the ‘Old Master” Lao Tzu or Laozi. (369-286 BC). Laozi means the accumulated knowledge of old wise men and women. Tzu’s original teachings, Tao Te Ching, were put together over time in the same way the bible was. Daoism has at its roots ancient, nature revering tribal China.

Daoist Temple
Daoism promotes achieving union with nature, the essential energy of life, going with the flow of a naturally and perfectly ordered universe, the pursuit of spiritual immortality, being humbly 'virtuous', and self-development. This is achieved through inner alchemy (breath exercises, massage, martial arts, meditation), and external alchemy (diet, natural medicine, feng shui, reading, complex rituals, fortune telling, and chanting scriptures which has the power to banish evil sprits, cure sickness, bring good luck). The ultimate Dao creator is female: she was “the mother of all things,” “the mother of the universe”. But she is neither God, nor worshipped in temples, although other lesser Gods, which depend on her, are. Because the body is a miniature version of the universe, a person can detach themselves from their organic self through intense alchemic discipline and become pure spirit or primordial “qi” – the cosmic vital energy - to join transcendental spirit people. Daoism is fatalistic and laissez faire. Humans are inferior to the order of the universe so if they intervene in the way it works, they will just stuff things up.

Daoism has many peaceful and positive elements to it, like gender equality - women could become priests and at any rank - but charity, doing good for others, and giving, isn’t one of them, because the focus is on the self as a pathway to collective improvement. And a fatalistic, non-interventionist approach to life doesn’t emancipate a slave or rid a dictator.

Incorporated into Daoism’s three alchemic and magical dimensions is the School of Yin Yang by Zou Yang. Yin Yang categorizing basic forces in nature: the force of Yin (dark, cold, negative - and surprise surprise, feminine) and the complimenting yang (male - light, hot, positive), and the Five Elements (water, fire, wood, metal, and earth)

Daoism has dominated China’s private spiritual life for most of its' history. Somewhere along the line though, they seem to have forgotten that bit about achieving union with nature, since they have destroyed much of theirs.

Confucius (551 – 479 BC, real name: K’ung Fu-tzu) was the status quoi man, a philosopher of the ruling class. His beliefs, and extrapolations of them, became the foundation of modern Chinese philosophy and public life.

Confucius based his ideas on the 800 years of Zhou. After all, if they could run a land the size of China uninterrupted for 800 years, they must have done something right. To Confucius it is the destiny of rulers to rule and of the people to follow. Discipline starts within the family (family dynasties ruled China): if you can’t discipline your extended family you can’t control a nation. If you rule ethically you merit the fruits of wealth, and the trust of your subjects. If not, you deserve to be overthrown.

One of the most influential interpreters of Confucian sayings, Mencius (371-289 BC) had the benefit of living through post Zhou war and chaos to color his espousings. Mencius believed that man wasn’t born evil; it was the lack of a positive cultivating influence – that caused bad moral character. Therefore education and a constructive home and social environment was key to churning out a decent human being. Mencius incorporated some Daoist concepts, such as human nature being fundamentally good. But unlike Daosits, he prescribed intervention in the order of things to attain social evolution, like freedom from slavery.   

Confucius admired Kings. But Mencius maintained a King wasn’t above the people. He could be overthrown and assassinated if needed. Apparently speaking of the slaying of the wicked King Zhou of Shang (1105-1046)– China’s most notorious emperor who engaged in opulent orgies and immoral acts with concubines, was excessively self indulgent, had a favorite pastime of canoeing on a giant pool of wine over which hung a forest of cooked meats on skewers made of tree branches, and who reveled in sacrificial torture to stimulate his sexual appetite, like stuffing a bronze cylinder with burning coal until it was red hot, then making prisoners, including those from the ruling class, hug it to their brutal death – said, "I have merely heard of killing a villain Zhou, but I have not heard of murdering him as the ruler."

Of course, as legend would have it, it wasn’t King Zhou’s fault AT ALL. It was all his WIFE’s fault, SHE made him do it. SHE was possessed by the evil Fox Spirit. The ‘She’ Fox is also blamed for the “Shrinking Penis Syndrome”, Koro, a mental illness listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and usually found in southern China and Malaysia, places that are causing the extinction of wildlife with their demand for ‘natural’ medicines that do not work AT ALL, to cure what sounds more like a proportion state of affairs. But what would I know……

Anyway, diametrically opposed to the more idealist Mencius, was the realist Xunzi (c.300-237 BC) a Confucian who preached that man is not innately good at all; he’s not that nice in fact. Goodness therefore is attainable only through training one's desires and conduct. The School of Law agreed with Xunzi. Humans are inherently bad, selfish and greedy, at both the individual and when in crowds, so military and police backed laws are needed to control them or anarchy would reign.

Confucius had an anti establishment rival, Mozi (470–c.391 BC). Mozi, believed that "everyone is equal before heaven", social goals are only achieved through unity of thought and action, and meritocracy should dictate social position, not family ties. He advocated frugality, condemning the wastefulness of war and the extravagance of Confucian rituals, although he supported the Mandate of Heaven and obedience to the state. Mohism died out with the soon to rise Qin Dynasty but was resurrected by both the 20th Century Revolutionary, Sun Yat Sen, and his Communist competitor, Mao Zedong, as a philosopher of the people.

Others schools included the School of Diplomacy, School of Agriculturalists, (which advocated egalitarian self sufficiency, price fixing, and that leaders should plough side by side with farmers rather than exploit them), the School of the Military which gave birth to Master Sun’s famous Art of War, and his “All War is based on deception”; the School of Miscellany which integrated teachings from different schools, and the School of Minor Talks which encompassed all the thoughts expressed by ordinary people, as collected by government officials sent into the streets to, well, collect them. I failed to find some attributed street thoughts but this is cute: ‘Like me, like my dog”.

It was a truly wonderful time in Chinese history. But all good things come to end when someone thinks their idea is best and is intent on making everyone else agree. Along came the bloody and wholly merciless King Zheng in 201BC who, according to the Records of the Grand Historian ( the History of China compiled during the Han Dynasty), brutally suppressed all other schools of thought except the one his Qin came up with - Legalism - burnt all the philosophical treatises of the The Contention of a Hundred Schools of Thought of Chinese Philosophy and buried 460 Confucian scholars alive. Zheng declared himself the First Emperor of everyone and established the now Imperial China with the first centralised, unified, multi-ethnic state in Chinese history.

The Qin conquered because they had mastered horsemanship, metal forging technology, mass weaponry production, infantry armies, and they re-engineered the environment to increase food production by sawing through a solid mountain using fire and water to re direct the mighty Min River into an irrigation canal. The resulting crop success led to a population boom, which provided an army to invade and unite other states. Once unified, soldiers were freed up to labour, one million of which were then enslaved to build a national road network and the Great - easy to get through, mud brick at this point - Wall of China, to symbolically lock the Chinese in and warn the nomadic raiders of the northern steppes off. A quarter of the slaves worked or starved to death. They were buried in the wall. 

The thing about being at or near the top in China, is that you are almost certainly guaranteed to die young, horribly, and at someone’s else hand - or even at your own when ordered to. Emperor Zheng escaped a few assassination attempts, including by his own mother and his stepfather, who wanted to put one of their sons on the throne. He banished his Mum and killed her children and her lover. Sensing his own looming death, he became obsessed with immortality, and sent his 'physician' off to find the magical potion for eternal life. He returned with digestible liquid mercury, which over time poisoned Zheng to death, because he drank it. In the meantime Zheng prepared for eternity. He had slaughtered so many soldiers in battle that he was terrified of their revenge in the afterlife, so he built himself a booby trapped, city sized mausoleum in the shape of China, and the size of the Pyramid of
Giza. In the centre was his massive bronze tomb; snaked by flowing rivers of liquid mercury. He flanked his tomb with a larger than actual life terracotta spirit army to protect him from the ether enemies he created by butchering so many people. Suits of stone armour were buried to re robe the tens of thousands of his own dismembered soldiers who he expected to re enlist in the afterword to fight his enemies once more. In one hundred and eighty separate pits, statues of thousands of giant dancers, musicians, and acrobats were buried to entertain him. After Emperor Zheng died, hundreds of his concubines, and all the designers, builders, architects and engineers who constructed this monolith to a tyrant, were entombed alive with him.

Video: Zheng, The First Emperor of China

Zheng said his dynasty would last 10,000 generations. But his brutal megalomania and the people’s fear of anything like it again – little did they know the future would be like Chinese Ground Hog Day -  ended his dynasty after a mere 15 years. The Great Wall and his mausoleum bankrupted the state and too many lives were sacrificed. Replacing feudal fiefdoms with provinces - revolutionary at the time - was not at all appreciated by aristocratic families. Murder and forced suicide followed for the top job, but the next Emperor, Huhai, Zheng's son, wasn’t very nice either and by now, 22 million Chinese had disappeared off the face of China. The Qin were eventually overthrown by the ethnic majority Han who established a long period of militarised and colonial stability and prosperity, consolidating the foundation of China as a unified state under a central imperial bureaucracy, with Ministers and a Prime Minister. It is now 206 BC – 220 AC.

Video: The rise and Fall of the Western Han Dynasty

Under the Han, Confucianism, combined with less extreme aspects of Legalism, was elevated to orthodox status. They introduced the Confucian Imperial Examination to educate and form would be government officials. Knowledge of Confucianism became the selection process for government from this time on until the 20th Century Xinhai Revolution. The Han granted land to people for first time, kept taxes low, allowed the development of a private economy and expanded China militarily. But the emergent mercantile class had become so powerful they were economically competing with Han elite, which nationalised resources in response. Merchants speculated in land instead so huge tracts of territory ended up in private hands, defended by gangs of organised crime, something the Chinese hadn’t experienced before. Meanwhile corrupt Han family members had stockpiled fortunes of their own. The colossal divide between rich and poor that developed was untenable and the starving masses which had now bounced back to 57 million, rioted.

Wang Mang
One day 400,000 peasants turned up at the Prime Ministers door, as did 500,000 bamboo petitions, supporting Wang Mang for Emperor. He was a Confucian revolutionary idealist, scholar, and imperial administrator, who went on to overthrow the Han, became Emperor, and started a disruptive program of land nationalisation and redistribution, among other economic reforms, including outlawing the Han’s widely practised slavery. Wang Mang was seen as a saint after he forced his own son to commit suicide in atonement for accidentally causing the death of a family slave, which wasn’t even a crime at the time. Wang Mang wanted to give land to every Chinese person, but didn’t realise there had been a six fold increase of the population, while the total area of farmland through colonisation or irrigation had only barely increased, so this was neither possible or acceptable to the merchant landed class who quickly killed him, stringing his body up in a town square like a piƱata, for rioters to whack.

The Han temporarily took control again but it was too late. They had already lost the Mandate of Heaven, so China split back into separate kingdoms and 400 years of war lording ensued. This incredibly violent period thinned out the population significantly, assisted by nature when the Yellow River flooded, together wiping out 40 million of China’s 57 million people.

By 581 Liu Hen, a Buddhist no less, murdered 60 of his brothers and relatives to make himself Emperor Wen. Eight years later he united China once more under the Sui Dynasty. Wen took a page from the Qin, enslaving 5 million people to build a 12000-mile canal joining the Yellow River in the north, to the Yangste river in the south, and extending the Great Wall. Emperor Wen was murdered by his own son Wang - who then became Emperor Wang - who went on to complete his father’s work. Over the six years it took to build this longest canal on earth, around half the labourers died, being overworked, beaten, or starved to death. The canal enabled irrigation, which exploded agricultural production, economic integration between north and south, and yes, with more food, the population exploded again. In a characteristic Confucian display of obscene opulence, greed and indifference to the yet again starving masses, Emperor Wang of Sui, sailed down the canal upon its completion, demanding exorbitant tributes of food along the way which he callously dumped overboard once he and everyone else had finished stuffing their faces, in full view of the emaciated people who built the canal and had paid up the food. Along with one of its’ many occupations of Vietnam and Wars with Korea, the Sui overused their resources on warfare and mega projects, and their dynasty, which now stretched from Afghanistan to Vietnam, collapsed. Emperor Yang lost his mandate. His own generals bumped him off.

The Tang then took the Mandate of Heaven from the Sui, and held it for 300 years, between 618 – 907. Its’ founder, Emperor Gaozu of Tang, claimed to be the direct descendent of Laozi, the ‘popularised’ founder of Daoism. He united all of China once more. But he would be forced to abdicate in favour of his ambitious son Li Shimin, who had encouraged the coup against the Sui in the first place, murdering his own two brothers, one of which was the Crown Prince, in order to claim the throne (when Emperor, he murdered many of his close family members and associates). Even so, Emperor Taizong of Tang as he was called, is considered to be one of the greatest emperors in China's history, who promoted Buddhism and Nestorian Christianity ( which believes Jesus isn’t the son of God, he is just at one with him). He oversaw a ‘golden age’ of military expansion and economic prosperity, fending off the Turks and subduing the Tibetans. He released 3000 ladies in waiting so they could be married, although in no time, he enslaved a similar number for himself. One is starting to understand what Mozi meant by “Confucian extravagance”. How can one man possibly service 3000 women? But what would I know……

The Tangs dynastic success has as much to do with the first Empress Regent in Chinese history, Wu Zeitan, even though most male Chinese historians haven’t see it that way.

Wu Zeitan
Wu Zeitan, became the concubine of Emperor Taisong but had no children with him, so when he died, she was banished to a Buddhist nunnery as was customary for the concubines of dead Emperors.  Before Emperor Taisong’s death though, she was apparently having an affair with his son, Li Zhi, who had been made the next Emperor Gaozong of Tang following Emperor Taisong’s death, and he bought her back to the palace from the nunnery, making her his highest-ranking concubine. Emperor Gaozong became ill young, so Wu was effectively running China alongside him.

When Emperor Gaozong's suffered a terminal stroke in 683AD, she took control of government as Empress Dowager, placing two of her sons on the throne in succession, but shortly after removing one for failing to perform, and exiling the other for treason.  Finally in 690AD, she proclaimed herself Empress of her own Zhou Dynasty. Well this was enough to make the Yellow River turn around and flow north without any help from Chinese engineers, because women weren’t permitted to rule China under Confucian order of succession.

Wu then took a scythe to her opponents by massacring twelve entire branches of the imperial family.  Through her network of spies and secret police, she did a type of corporate raid on officials who had opposed her, with exactions, forced and voluntary suicide, exiles, house arrests, accusations of treason, slavery, poisoning potential concubines, starvings to death, demotions, loss of royal title, and routine conspiratorial murder. 

But killing family, friends, relatives and other living obstacles for wealth and power, was not new to Chinese rulers.

What was innovative, was that when Wu removed much of the traditional ruling class, she allowed commoners, nouveau riche and people from other clans and regions who were previously disqualified by their background, to do the imperial exam, giving them greater representation in government, many with prominent positions and generous promotions.

She stuck up for her gender, by publishing Biographies of Famous Women, and required children to mourn both parents when they died, not just the father. She favoured Buddhism over Daoism so Buddhism became the official religion of the masses. She went so far as to predict that a reincarnation of the Maitreya Buddha ( a future bodhisattva who will succeed the present Buddha Gautama) would be a female monarch (herself) who would save the Chinese from all things bad. And so she did for a while: the economy was humming along, living standards rose, she allocated land fairly enough to enable farmers to be self sufficient, and provided relief for the poor and hungry through Acts of Grace. She maintained an affordable military by giving soldiers land to farm in return for several months of service a year. This enabled Wu to expand China into Central Asia, and go to war with Korea, again.

Wu has been upheld throughout a history written and interpreted by men, as a shining example of what could go wrong when a woman heads the nation. She was rehabilitated in the 20th century by the much-hated communist Jiang Qing (Moa Zedong’s wife), as part of a propaganda campaign to succeed Mao. This wasn’t helpful to Wu Zeiten, even if she was long since dead.

Wu managed to stay alive and reigning until the age of 80 when the former Emperor son she banished, took back the throne, because Wu was neglecting state affairs. Much to the scandal of absolutely everyone, the elderly Empress was spending too much time on aphrodisiacs, fornicating with the much younger Zhang brothers (court officials). They were subsequently assassinated by her son’s administrators. Murder and suicide for the throne ensued until finally Wu’s grandson became Emperor Xuanzong, under whom China became the most affluent country in the world.

Emperor Xuanzong allowed an ambitious, lying, cheating, murdering, far eastern military man, An Lushan, to climb the ranks of his court to the point that the Emperor built Lushan his own luxuriously appointed palatial mansion. Everyone else but a besotted Emperor, saw that Lushan was planning a coup. But it was too late. Thirty six million dead Chinese later, after An Lushan declared himself Emperor of Northern China, Lushan was assassinated by his own son who feared his father was going to assassinate him first. Two thirds of the entire population of China was erased over just eight years ( about one sixth the of the world’s population at the time). 

The An Lushan Rebellion rates as one of the largest atrocities in human history.

For the next 54 years China was divided between Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms, and the usual warring between violent greedy brutal men. In the absence of birth control, the population bounced back again, for the Song to enjoy when they set themselves up for 300 years of prosperity.

The Song are famous for having officialised neo Confucianism. Criticism was not allowed. Nor was innovation and personal freedom. Under the Song, women were made publicly inferior to men, again, as enshrined in Neo-Confucian inspired sayings like:

" A woman's duty is not to control or take charge."

"A woman's greatest duty is to produce a son."

"A woman ruler is like a hen crowing."

"A husband can marry twice, but his wife must never remarry."

"Men should not be too familiar with the lower orders or with women."

"The woman with no talent is the one who has merit."

"Disorder is not sent down by Heaven, it is produced by women."

"There are three unfilial acts: the greatest of these is the failure to produce sons."

"Women are to be led and to follow others."

"Those who cannot be taught, cannot be instructed. These are women and eunuchs."

And my favourite: “A woman should look on her husband as if he were Heaven itself, and never weary of thinking how she may yield to him." 

Also in full swing was foot binding. To make sure women couldn’t go anywhere, do anything, or escape an attacker, foot binding – the torturous practice of crippling a girls feet at the age at half-past-toddler, until the bones were broken and the flesh mutilated, pussy and rotting, then wrapping them tight in a cloth, so they deformed into animal hooves – was made a symbol of beauty. Perhaps the shrinking penis syndrome is some sort of primordial qi revenge for this brutality of women. 

Foot Binding.

Meanwhile the Mongol empire under Genghis Khan was chipping away at China in the north, and by 1279 had also subdued the Song in south. For the first time in Chinese history, all of China was under foreign rule. The Mongols established the Yuan Dynasty out of Beijing. Because the Mongols, under Kublai Khan, (Genghis Khan’s grandson), didn’t trust the Chinese, and there weren’t enough Mongols to control so many of them, they gave foreigners important positions in government, the most famous being the Italian merchant traveller, Marco Polo.  Kublai Kahn ended the civil service exams, which infuriated Chinese elite. Resentment festered against the Mongols and finally the Chinese rebelled against them and reestablished their own government under the Ming Dynasty in 1368. It would last to 1644, interrupted for a bit with more war and violence.

Under the two chapters of Ming, apart from organising government into six ministries which was novel, China exerts its greatness in the world for the first time, with a one million soldier standing army and a navy fleet of 2000 military and treasure ships up to 100 meters long, known as 'floating dragons'. This fleet surpassed the number of all flotillas in Europe combined. The imposing armada took 30,000 builders to put together and when completed sent 27,000 men off to the Middle East and East Africa lead by a Mongol muslim, Admiral Zheng He. Zheng He had been stolen from his family at the age of eleven, his penis and testacies chopped off, before being gifted to the Emperor's son as a eunuch play thing servant. Castration was the best way to get a job at the palace. Royal families felt safe surrounded by eunuchs. Since eunuchs couldn’t have children they wouldn’t be tempted to seize power and start a dynasty of their own. Some eunuchs did very well for themselves as high ranking civil servants, like Zheng He did. At the end of the Ming Dynasty there were about 70,000 eunuchs employed by one very paranoid emperor.

Zheng He died during one of his adventures abroad. When his fleet returned they found a new emperor not only disinterested in his adventures and conquests but hostile to them. The cost had drained the economy, as did reengineering the Great Wall, fortifying the Forbidden Palace, and land battles against the Dutch and Portuguese. The military were fed up and were deserting en masse. Zheng He’s entire fleet was burnt to the ground it is said, along with records of his expeditions. The Ming increased taxes to make up for overspending which compounded widespread famine. Repetitive flooding caused by environmental reengineering, a major epidemic, and the deadliest earthquake of all time which killed 830 000 people, was an obvious manifestation that the Mandate of Heaven had deserted the Ming.

It would be another non Chinese tribe, the long pony tail wearing Manchus, from the mineral rich North East land of Manchuria, that would invade and unite all of China a second time, to establish the Qing dynasty (pronounced ‘Ching’ 1644–1911), the very last Imperial Dynasty of China.

Up to 25 million lives were sacrificed in the battle the Qing waged to take control off the Ming. Twenty five million. That’s like killing all Australians alive today, plus 1.7 million more who aren’t even born yet.

By the 19th Century, trade is booming for a self-sufficient China now ruling more than one-third of the world's population, with the largest economy in the world and which, by area, was one of the largest empires ever. European and other powers wanted in. China didn’t need anything the Europeans had to offer except their silver, the flow of which into China for Chinese goods was causing a shortage of silver back home in Europe and America, and China refused to open trade to foreigners to balance things out a bit.

At this time the British The East India Company (EIC) had a monopoly over trade in Asia. The EIC was a private company with a Royal Charter run by a handful of wealthy English nobles and merchants. This exclusive club - which even had its own private army of 380,000 men at one point - accounted for half of the world's trade, particularly in basic commodities like cotton, silk, indigo dye, salt, saltpeter, tea and opium.

Not much into corporate social responsibility at the time, the company’s innovative approach to getting its’ silver back was to addict the Chinese to opium by creating a monopoly of opium growing and buying in India so no-one else could get in on the act, and smuggling it into China through third parties. Soon enough the flow of silver was reversed, aided by bribable Chinese officials.

However, China was now bleeding silver just when the Qing needed it to fend off threatening rebellions throughout the state. So Qing authorities confiscated British opium, hung a death penalty over smugglers, killed quite a few foreigners, and blockaded trade with the Brits, who retaliated by waging two Opium’s Wars against the Chinese between 1839 and 1860, both of which they won thanks to a naval strength the Chinese abandoned, and through which under the Treaties of Nanking and Tientsin, the British nabbed Hong Kong and Macau. Russia got the left bank of the Amur River under Treaty of Nerchinsk, and the area where it would found Vladivostok, giving Russia non freezing access to the Pacific. Eleven more ports were opened to Western trade with the right of all foreign vessels to navigate freely on the Yangste River, and to travel over land to previously banned internal regions of China. The British staffed the Chinese Maritime Customs service with their own people, made English the official language of all treaties, and forced China to abolish tariffs. Foreigners were exempted from Chinese law. Opium addiction grew.

Christians rejoiced because AT LAST they had the right to evangelise in China, and what a mind-blowing catastrophe that would turn out to be. Kowtowing – prostrating (or as the English saw it, grovelling) before the Emperor until ones head hits the ground – would end, since this also implied submission of the English Monarchy to the Chinese Emperor, and that was out of the question. 

The Kowtow
AND, shock horror, the Chinese now had to recognise foreigners as EQUALS. China had hitherto considered all foreigners barbarians, inferior to themselves.  Which is fair enough one might suppose. It had taken the Europeans 500 years longer than the Chinese to figure out metallurgy, and the Chinese did invent paper, printing, gunpowder, the compass, grenades, bombs, rockets, rammed earth architecture, bull head partitions, the suspension bridge, the dagger axe, lock and gate contour canals, bore hole drilling, oil wells, gas cylinders, bells, inoculation, dental amalgam, helicopter rotors, ink, pottery, lacquer, sericulture, fermentation, rice and soybean cultivation, nail polish, the chain stitch,  steamers, playing cards, the kite, stir fry, tofu, noodles, chopsticks, millet wine, tea and tea pot, football, toothbrush, toilet paper, coffins – they needed quite a few of those - and so much more, ahead of anyone else.

Video: Chinese Ancient Machines

But the West had caught up and had a navy, where China had burnt theirs. To teach the Chinese a lesson for having tortured and executed British officials to death by slow slicing with the application of tourniquets to severed limbs, the British looted the Emperor’s Summer Palace of its’ valuable artwork, then burnt it to the ground.

China had to pay many millions in silver compensation for destroying British opium and for the hassle the invaders had to go through to force open China’s legs and bend her over.

So much for Master Sun’s war tactics.

These humiliating one way treaties stamped the beginning of what China would call, a “century of humiliation” when foreign powers, outmaneuvered a population that outnumbered them ten to one.

Hong Xiuguan, Jesus's brother.
Many of China’s problems of famine, land shortage, and poverty have stemmed from overpopulation. By the mid-nineteenth century China’s population had reached more than 450 million, three times the number in 1500 AD, and no amount of systematic culling by war, genocide, famine, or natural disasters was stopping the growth. Not even Jesus who finally got to leave his mark on China when a miffed and delusional Hong Xiuguan, who, after failing the imperial examinations four times, found another way to the top. Smack bang in the middle of the Opium Wars, when China was busy fending off an invading foreign force, Hong declared himself Jesus’s younger brother. He founded the God Worshipping Society in its own Christian state he named the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, anointed himself 'Heavenly King', and built himself a palace in present day Nanjing - just as Jesus would have wanted.

King Hong raised an army of 30 million believers, and between 1850-1864, off they marched through China to subdue, convert or murder in what was the largest war in China since the Qing conquest of the Ming in 1644. This war was one of the bloodiest wars in human history, the bloodiest civil war, and the largest conflict of the nineteenth century, with estimates of war dead ranging from 20 to 70 million, including from drought and famine induced starvation. Chinese authorities, supported by the west, went on a reciprocal mass murder spree to stop Hong’s disciples, at one point executing 30,000 ethnic Hakkas a day in Guangdong, and doing much the same in Anhui and Nanjing. King Hong said that God would defend his holy city, but in June 1864, as Qing and foreign forces seized Nanjing, King Hong died of food poisoning after eating wild vegetables because the city had run out of food.

Following the Taiping Rebellion between 1876-1879, came the most disastrous famine in recent Chinese history which starved a further 9.5 – 13 million people to death. During all this, the Qing went on a military modernisation spree to catch up with the west. It was called the Self Strengthening Movement and it sent Aussie dogs and cats packing for New Zealand. The Yellow Peril was licking our shores. But fears that China would invade and colonise Australia was put to rest in 1894 when China lost Korea to Japan, which was now stalking China for resources to fuel its own modernization.

Making all the decisions at the top at this point was another formidable woman, the Empress Dowager Cixi. She entered the imperial palace in the 1850’s as a concubine to the Qing Emperor Xianfeng. He died at age 30 from “over indulgence”. It’s hard to believe anyone dies of natural causes in a Royal Chinese arena, but apparently he drank himself to death after hearing that the British burnt his Summer Palace down). Xianfeng’s son Zaichun was made Emperor Tongzhi at the age of five with Cixi pulling the strings behind the curtain. He too suddenly died at 19 of ‘smallpox”. Two months later, his wife, Empress Alute, also 19, mysteriously died of some ‘illness’ as well. Pregnant.

Life must have been really bad for the man on the street in China that running the gauntlet through the Forbidden Palace was a preferred life option, not that babies born into royal and aristocratic families had much of a choice to go farm rice anonymously, since they were often murdered while still children.

Anyway, Cixi then installed her nephew Zaitian, now Emperor Guanzxu, on the throne but under her tutelage. In 1998 Emperor Guanzxu, initiated the Hundred Days' Reform in an effort to modernize China and reverse the humiliation it was enduring. His reforms were based on a Confucian interpretation of democracy, as espoused by Liang Qichao, scholar, journalist, and philosopher.

But Cixi had a plan of her own. She orchestrated a military coup against Emperor Guanzxu, secluded him under house arrest and executed his reformers. Cixi was supporting secret martial arts based rebels called the Society of the Righteous and Harmonious Fists, or Boxers, as the British called them. In 1900 she declared war on all foreign nations with diplomatic ties with China, unleashing the Boxers on them.

A Boxer assassination

For three months the Boxers whirled swords, flew their bodies into impossible and contorted acrobatic positions through the air – just like in the movies, or so they thought, well before these movies even existed – actually believing they were invisible, chanting gobbly gook incantations whilst head-butting and kick boxing to death hundreds of foreigners in Peking (now Beijing) and pounding the life out thousands of Chinese Christians more. Foreigners, mortified by the butchery of their own, crushed the delusional Boxers with an international force of 20,000 troops. The Chinese had to pay reparations again for their pretensions. They were not allowed to buy weapons, and had to accept an occupying foreign defense force around foreign legations.

Feeling things slipping away, Cixi went on to initiate reforms more radical than those of whom she beheaded, copying the Japanese model. But it’s now too late. The very idea of an Emperor had lost its Mandate of Heaven.

Toddler Emperor Pu Yi
On 15 Nov 1908, Cixi was about to die. The day before, the 37 year old Emperor Guangxu, still under house arrest on an island in the Forbidden City gardens, was murdered by arsenic poisoning ( Cixi being a prime suspect), the same day that Cixi anointed the last Emperor China would ever have, two year old Henry Pu Yi ( Emperor Xuantong). Pu Yi, cloistered under a dome of ancient history, buffered by lying thieving eunuchs and an eccentric English tutor, carried on a bizarre life in the Forbidden Palace, under an illusion that he would be Emperor of all China. But revolt was boiling up all around his palace walls.

Teen Pu Yi tries to see whats going on outside his palace walls

Sun Yat-Sen
Outside the Palace, Chinese thinkers searched for their place in a geopolitical landscape they had bubble wrapped themselves out of, one where the western ‘barbarians’ were a global force. Followers of revolutionary leader Dr Sun Yat-sen were calling for a Republic. In 1911, the Xinhai Revloution happened. Sun Yat-sen, who had lived most of the revolutionary period overseas, meeting stakeholders and looking for sponsors for his revolution, returned in 1912 as President of the new Republic, but not for long. He had promised the former Prime Minister of the Imperial Qing government, and now commander of the revolutionary army, Juan Shikai, the Presidency, if he got Emperor Pu Yi to abdicate. This wasn’t hard. Shikai just walked into the Palace and gave him his marching orders. Pu Yi wanted to ‘march’ to the fabulous England his tutor told him so much about, but the Brits refused him passage, and so he fled to the Japanese Emperor instead.

Yuan Shikai
Yuan Shikai, who clearly liked the thought of the palace for himself, went on to declare himself Emperor in 1915. But faced with rebellion he abdicated, and died the same year which left a decade of chaos and war lording again, during which time Pu Yi was reinstated as Emperor twice. The Pro socialist democrat, Sun Yat-sen, then founded the Kuomintang, the Nationalists’ Peoples Party. But he died in 1925 to be replaced by Chiang Kai-shek who rejected western democracy. Chek wanted a return to traditional Chinese culture so he encircled himself with Chinese warlords.

Meanwhile World War One was happening, which China had managed to evade by staying neutral for most of it – being too busy fighting among themselves, and against Japan which had attacked, with Britain’s help, then occupied, the German military colony in Shandon Provence, territory which Germany acquired from China in 1898 after the Opium Wars.

In 1917, China finally entered WW1 and on the side of the Allies, expecting to regain land Japan had stolen. Under the Treaty of Versailles, which China refused to sign, the Allies forced China to recognise Japanese occupation and all of Japan's occupational demands. All except the fiscal and policing management of China that Japan wanted. Western powers objected to this as it would give Japan effective control over China, and no-one, especially America, wanted any one country to have control over China (known then as America’s Open Door Policy).

Japan had already won Manchuria in the Russo-Japanese War in 1905 and emboldened by the territorial prezzie the Allies rewarded it with, Japan continued to expand its' territorial gains in China’s northeastern provinces, including Manchuria.

In 1921, outraged by China’s submission to the Treaty of Versailles, and on the heels of nationwide protests that started as a student demonstration at Tiananmen Square in May two years earlier, Chinese nationalists and anti Versailles campaigners formed the Chinese Communist Party under the leadership of Mao Zedong and Chou En-lai ( who had eyebrows like Leonid Brezhnev).

Long March
Mao Zedong and Sun Yat-sen’s nationalists had good relations, with a mutual aim of Chinese nationalism and social democracy, but when Sun Yat-sen died, Chiang Kai-shek, went to war against the communists, waging an exterminatory purge against them for the next 20 years. In 1934 Mao Zedong and 100,000 soldiers were forced to retreat on a mythical series of withdrawals, known as the 67 day, 370 900 kilometer, Long March across 24 rivers and 18 mountains. Along the way they kidnapped recruits, took hostages, blackmailed sons to join the march in return for family members they ransomed, and stole food, until they reached China’s rugged and harsh northwest where they establish a gorilla base. Only 6,000 of the original 100,000 Tough Mudders made it all the way.

Video: The long March

But when Japan invaded China in 1937, War Lords forced Chiang Kai-shek to team up with Mao Zedong to stop Japan. Remember that Emperor Pu Yi had fled to Japan? Well, the Japanese made him Emperor of a whole new country they invented in Manchuria called Manchukuo, and had promised to return Pu Yi to his rightful place as Emperor of all China, as soon as they had conquered it. 

Video: Last Emperor of China

With full knowledge and support of Pu Yi, who, like all Emperors before him, didn’t care how he would regain the throne of all China, watched on as Japan committed horrific war atrocities against the civilian population, including biological warfare and the Three All’s Policy: "Kill All, Burn All and Loot All". In December of 1937, the Japanese Imperial Army marched into Nanking and for six weeks proceeded to murder 300,000 out of the 600,000 civilians and soldiers in the city, (known as the Rape of Nanking).

Japanese desecration of women

Japanese slaughter in Nanking
Japan’s genocidal spree pales in comparison to atrocities the Chinese have committed against themselves all throughout their history, including the most recent battle between Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong where 1.8 million to 3.5 million people were killed between 1927 and 1949, millions of which were non combatants, deliberately murdered. Even so, China was not satisfied with Japan’s 2015 WW2 apology.

Chiang Kai Check
When Japan surrendered after WW2, the nationalists and communists went back to killing each other. But in 1949, Mao ambushed the nationalists near his stronghold slaughtering almost 560 000 of Kai-shek's men. Mao won, and Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan declaring himself the President of the Republic of China in exile. There he put in place what he would have done to mainland China if he hadn’t have lost it to Mao: he threw 140,000 Taiwanese in prison for not being his friend, 3000–4000 of whom died, and he ruled over the second longest totalitarian martial law backed regime in the world, until his death in 1975.

But the Chinese were stuck between rock and a hard place. Either way it was going to be Chinese Ground Hog Day.

Mao Zedong proclaimed the People's Republic of China in 1949.

No sooner had Mao and Kai-shek finished killing tens of millions, Mao embarked on a program that exterminated many millions more with his three-year project to instantly transform China from an agrarian economy into an industrial collectivised socialist society. During The Great Leap Forward (1958-61) Mao whipped up the peasants into a murderous frenzy. They executed over one million ‘exploitative’ landowners. He instituted collectivisation, and set up the largest slavery camps in the world, which still exist today – just as past emperors have done, only differently. Whistle blowing was set up with mailboxes for anonymous denunciations of corrupt business owners who were publically sentenced to a fever pitched audience. Wives openly denounced husbands, some condemned their own parents, who were then executed or imprisoned, like the good old Dynasty days. A terrifying hysteria of mass compliance cloaked China.

Moa's Great Leap Backward

Crops production failed as result. Mao blamed the famine on four pests – rats, flies, mosquitoes and sparrows who were eating all the grain he said. In an incomprehensible assault on nature, Mao summoned up a ‘Kill a Sparrow’ Campaign, a presidential order to assassinate millions of sparrows. The crusade ignited a frenetic sparrow killing attack, which sent millions of the innocent little things to their brutal death by gunshot, slingshot, bamboo poles, poison, fright - by banging pots and pans or beating drums to scare the birds from landing - and forcing them to fly until they fell from the sky in exhaustion. Nests were torn down, eggs were broken, and nestlings were killed. Rewards per volume of birds eradicated were offered in schools, the workplace and government agencies. Truckloads of dead sparrows were triumphantly paraded on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

Mao's Sparrow Ecocide Campaign

The sparrows became nearly extinct and a plague followed because sparrows eat locusts and so locust populations ballooned, eating everything and compounding the ecological and agrarian problems already caused by the Great Leap Forward, including widespread deforestation and misuse of poisons and pesticides. The following year Mao announced bed bugs as pubic enemy number one. One can only imagine what went on behind closed doors to get rid of them!

As many as 46 million people were killed or starved to death under the Great Leap Forward and the Great Famine that resulted. Famine affected areas were sealed off and people were left to starve, fearing each other as cannibalism became common with extreme cases of people eating their own children.

The Great Leap Forward was a cataclysmic cascade backwards, for which Mao was marginalised in his party. To save himself and expunge his critics he reinforced his psychopathy with the Cultural Revolution. Mao alleged that bourgeois elements had infiltrated the government and society at large, aiming to restore capitalism, and they needed to be removed with a violent class struggle. China's youth formed the chilling Red Guard, which ran around the country in terrifying and robotic vigilante squads, waving their little red books of Mao quotations while sniffing out the ‘traitors’.

Terrifying Documentary of Chairman Mao and the Cultural Revolution

It was a mass purge of everyone, including the military, the Communist Party leadership itself, and foreigners. Historical, cultural and religious relics and artefacts were destroyed. Religion was banned, churches closed.

Mao was now God.

Jian Ching, former actor and Moas wife, was the deputy head of the counter-revolution group who helped Mao implement this mind-blowing period of violent cult devotion and obedience. In 1969, two and half million people were beaten or tortured to death, and one to three million suicides later, Mao officially declared the Cultural Revolution had come to a ‘successful’ close. Just like that. Everyone can be normal again. Shaved your teachers head, jabbed her scalp with scissors, poured ink on her head, and beat her until her eyes rolled into the back of her head and she died? No worries comrade Song Bin Bin, you can go unpunished, get a PHD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, work as a civil servant in the Boston area, marry a wealthy businessman and be fabulously rich, as can the rest of your family (true story).

Following this horror, an earthquake buried 655,000 people on July 28, 1976. 

This would have been cause for a loss of Mandate of Heaven under Imperial China. And Moa did die a few months later. Having caused the death of 60 million people, he was the greatest mass murderer of all time.  It wasn’t HIS fault though. It was his Wife. Jing. SHE made him do it. That damn Fox Spirit. Jing was arrested and condemned to death. She committed suicide it is said.

The rest of us living in a comparitively sane world, had no idea how fortunate we were that this complete psycho was finally dead. So used to the historical and present day routine extermination of tens of millions of human beings, Mao Zedong was prepared to unleash nuclear war on the planet and sacrifice just as many people outside the Chinese Border. So convinced Mao would do so, Nikita Khrushchev, the leader of the USSR, refused to give Mao access to nuclear arms technology when he requested it. Khrushchev even asked the USA to support the USSR should it attack China's military installations, because clearly Mao was a threat to everyone on planet earth. This is Mao’s second speech to the party congress in May 7, 1958:

"Do not be alarmed either if there should be war. It would merely mean getting people killed and we've seen people killed in war. Eliminating half of the population occurred several times in China's history. The 50 million population in the time of Emperor Wu in the Han Dynasty was reduced to 10 million by the time of the Three Kingdoms, the two Chin Dynasties and the North and South Dynasties. The war lasted for decades and intermittently for several hundred years, from the Three Kingdoms to the North and South Dynasties. The T'ang Dynasty began with a population of 20 million and did not reach 50 million until Emperor Hsuan. And Lu-shan staged a revolt and the country was divided into many states. It was not reunited until the Song Dynasty, some 100 or 200 years later, with a population of just over 10 million....   Not very many people were killed in the two World Wars, 10 million in the first and 20 million in the second, but we had 40 million killed in one war. So, how destructive were the big swords! We have no experience in atomic war. So, how many will be killed cannot be known. The best outcome may be that only half of the population is left and the second best may be only one-third. When 900 million are left out of 2.9 billion, several five-year plans can be developed for the total elimination of capitalism and for permanent peace. It is not a bad thing".  (Mao's Second Speech to the Party Congress, May 17, 1958)

He also said,

“Let’s contemplate this, how many people would die if war breaks out. There are 2.7 billion people in the world. One-third could be lost; or, a little more, it could be half... I say that, taking the extreme situation, half dies, half lives, but imperialism would be razed to the ground and the whole world would become socialist.


“Don’t make a fuss about a world war. At most, people die... Half the population wiped out – this happened quite a few times in Chinese history... It’s best if half the population is left, next best one-third...” 

The present day Chinese government and it's population revere Mao Zedong to this day. He is still such a God to them that they have built a 37 meter high gold painted statue in his honour.  He is not seen as the most evil man that ever lived - what's the genocide of a mere 60 million people, right? Mao Zedong is to this day, the official father and hero of Communist China. I can't even begin to imagine how a nation like China, with such a horrific propensity for violence,  mass murder and mass thought control, can even begin to reconcile with it's past - all the way back to King Wu of Zhou. There doesn't even seem to be signs that this might be remotely on the governments' or the people's radar.

This statue of the genocidal maniac Mao Zedong, currently being erected !

China’s recent expression of mass organisation - the China Dream - has pulled an estimated 150 million peasants out of poverty at an average GDP growth rate of 11.2%. To achieve this, more than 40 million farmers were forced from their land, Moa style, using eight million slaves in labour camps just like in the past. Sixty five million apartments built in China remain empty - built using non-renewable construction materials the planet is rapidly running out of  - in an overspending extravagance, just like the Emperors of the past have done.

Apart from the shocking events of thousands of dead pigs floating down the Huangpu  River, excessive melamine in baby formula, Chinese faeces in the frozen berries we have been importing and putting into our Power Bullet super food shakes, the extraction of bile from the gallbladders of 10,000 Asiatic black bears annually who are caged for life to make imaginary tonics, the skinning of dogs alive - often in front of children and other live dogs - and so much more revolting animal cruelty and wildlife extinction caused by archaic superstitious demand for Chinese medicine and food, China’s environment is in a catastrophic state.

China has one very long ever-growing nose when it comes to facts about their environment, economic output and anything that might reflect poorly on the government or the Chinese. But this is some of what we know about China:
  • Most cities don’t meet international standards for air quality
  • China is running out of usable water: 70% of its water supplies dedicated to agriculture, 20% is used in the coal industry. Groundwater supplies in more than 60 % of major cities are categorized as “bad to very bad”. Former Chinese premier Wen Jiabao has said that water shortages challenge “the very survival of the Chinese nation.”
  • One quarter of China’s key rivers are “unfit for human contact.”
  • 28,000 rivers have disappeared due to uncontrolled and unsustainable extraction of water for industry, agriculture, and making roads out of them.
  • About 1.05 million square miles of China’s landmass are undergoing desertification, affecting more than 400 million people
  • Only 2% of China’s forests remain intact, and only 0.1% are protected.
  • 398 species of vertebrates face extinction across China 
Letting the resource hungry China loose on other people’s environments just when the world needs to become sustainable with utmost urgency, is a catastrophe in waiting. 

China’s population growth and wasteful production an consumption has been its trademark since it began recording its’ own history. It’s population almost trebled from 500 million to 1.3 billion in 50 years. China recently reversed its’ one child policy which will easily push China’s population to 2 billion. In the past, China simply went to war, slaughtered millions, and let famine take care of the rest, when its population began to burst at the borders and resources ran out.

Now in a position to dictate its' terms to the world, China has identified Australia as the number one place to feed itself – ahead of Africa, Canada, Russia, Myanmar, and the US. Chinese migration to Australia has doubled since 2005 from 205 200 to 447 400 in 2014. Investment into Australian agribusiness has reached dizzy heights.

In Africa, one million Chinese have so far settled, doing what the West has been doing there for centuries but on a much grander and faster scale, ravaging the continent’s oil, platinum, gold, diamonds, and minerals. China is taking up to 70% of all timber from what remain of Africa’s old growth tropical rain forests, especially in the Congo. It is building highways, funding ports, flooding nature reserves with massive dams and fueling civil wars with arms, being now the third biggest arms exporter after the US and Russia. There have been riots in Zambia, Angola and Congo over the flood of Chinese immigrant workers.

Whatever China has become through various reforms that occurred after Mao, it still only has one ultimate leader. It is still a totalitarian regime. Oligarchical families still control the economy. Those who committed horrific atrocities under Mao are still alive and in government.  China still runs the largest slave labour camps in the world. The underlying public and private philosophies that have created a culture that is historically violent to the present day and cares little for human or animal life, is still there. The Chinese people are still easily whipped into scary mass acts of anything – mostly buying right now, but what might it be in the future. 

And Mao is still God.

China is now claiming a nearly 3,6 square kilometres of open ocean giving it control over half of global merchant shipping, a third of the planet's oil shipping, two-thirds of global liquid natural gas shipments, and more than a 10th of Earth's fish catch.  China’s response to the recent ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, which deemed its’ claim of the entire South China Sea was without legal basis, was to ignore the ruling, be prepared to go to war with the US, and threaten the Australian Foreign Minister. 

In 2003, China's President Hu Jintao addressed the joint sitting of the Australian Parliament and told us "Back in the 1420's, the expeditionary fleets of China's Ming Dynasty reached Australian shores. For centuries, the Chinese sailed across vast seas and settled in what they call the "southern land", or today's Australia. They bought Chinese culture here and lived harmoniously with the local people, contributing their proud share to Australia's economy, society and its thriving pluralistic culture".( David Hunt, Girt 2013). The theory that Zheng He found Australia first has been widely debunked by every self respecting historian but the Chinese believe and promote otherwise. 

The world has only a few decades' experience of a China outside of China. We don't know yet what China is prepared to do for its’ survival as the whole planet runs out of forest, seafood, sand, phosphate, traditional fuels and the ecosystems that support our survival. China's cementing of coral reefs  - in spite of the fact that reefs produce food and doing so is killing that food supply - and their middle finger to The Hague is a first good indication. 

If Chinese history is anything to go by, is a global Chinese Ground Hog Day on the menu?


My latest boy interest is Lex Nixon, an Aboriginal who lives in what we called Woodford Boys Home. Lex is  statuesque and devilishly handsome, and I am not the only girl after him. I'm jealous of the other girls he shares himself around with when he is not giving me his undivided attention, especially Megan Taylor. Lex is about to leave school and start working at the age of 15, so our short lived relationship never gets off the ground. He leaves me a tender letter before he goes, then asks me to 'go with him' - from a distance.I say yes. Then Mum forces me to go to a fashion parade dinner with a boy I don't want to go out with, and I use all the heartless tactics I know of to avoid him.

I get my first job. Hooray! In a milk bar. It doesn't last long. I make terrible milk shakes  because I can't get the milkshake machine to whir, I add up wrong on my first day, I drop a bottle of orange juice, I don't cook or prepare sandwiches to the Boss's liking. So I return to the ranks of the unemployed poor teenagers, undeterred and on the hunt again for a part time job.  

I have had several nicknames at high school: Steel Wool because of my thick wild hair, Passionfruit ( I don't know why) and now Fluff, because my bikini bottom wasn't pulled up properly at swimming one day. My Dutch Grandmother, Oma, is vsiting from Holland.

 Its' Rocktober 1976,  a month of rock'n roll on commercial radio and in music venues across the land. Australian Jaan Torv, former creative director of Digamae programme consultancy came up with the the idea in 1974, and in 1975 our top rock and pop AM stations 2SM, SNX, 3XY, 6PM, 4IP, and 2CC all came aboard the Rocktober Express. Torv was inspired by how the Germans add words to another to extend one word , like "Octoberfest". Roctober is yet another Aussie export that still lives on abroad especially in the USA.

Rocktober 1979

Friday Roctober 1  - I bet I won't get the job

Guess What! Well I checked the mailbox today and in it was an envelope with just ‘Petra Campbell, 40 Koala Road’ and no stamp. It said:

Petra Campbell

Would you please call in at the Milk Bar regarding the position advertised in the Gazette.

D.W Parker

N.B Anytime in the near future. We are open 7.30 am to 7.30 pm

Boy was I happy. So I went down there and he asked me all these questions and told me to come back Monday and they’ll pay me from 2.00 to 6.30pm. I bet I wont get the job cause they’re trying out lots of kids. Cathy Barker’s going too so I haven’t got a hope, but even if not, the money will do. Bye.

Saturday Roctober 2 - It was very boring today. Did this, that and the other. Mum’s started my dress but I think it’s a bit old for me. Had hamburgers for lunch. I didn’t like it.

Sunday Roctober 3 - Gee I hope I get the job

Today we were supposed go outside and garden but I did the spinach and worked inside (not doing very much) while watching the Hardie Ferodo.  Poor Mass and Brabham got rammed at the very beginning. Well, tomorrow’s the big day. All I’ve been dreaming about is serving and everything. Gee I hope I get the job. I bet I won’t but wouldn’t it be fantastic. Some kid phoned me last night and said he liked the way I wiggled my Bum when I walk and how brown I am. He reckoned he was Glen Couchman, then Gaven Chambers, so it must be someone on my bus. Probably one of Howard Carter's friends. Seeya

Monday Rocktober 4 - Guess what! I got the job! Isn’t that fantastic!

Guess what! I got the job! Isn’t that fantastic! Guess who turned up. Bloody Carter and his friend (from my bus). Peter said that I wasn’t going to get the job cause of them. He also accused me of having a job somewhere else but being in trouble so I got sacked - and not telling the manager. He raved on about getting the police if I stole money and all this. GOD. After all that I thought I wasn’t going to get the job but I got it: $7 for four hours every Sunday. That’s not bad. I started out real bad and kept doing things wrong and then it got better. First I did little jobs. Then I cooked hamburgers and ended up selling. It was OK. I had to peel a monstrous bowl of onions. I was crying all over the place and a bunch of boys came in. Gee it was embarrassing. Then after that he handed me $7.00. It’s not much but its $7.00 more than before. Maybe if I’m lucky I could get a job on Saturday and Thursday night, but I doubt it. Seeya

Tuesday Roctober 5I heard you got a phone call the other night

Well Jenny Higgins is going with Derek Cluff and Lex was real upset. Today he reckoned I had English when I had History. Tomorrow’s Life Saving. Seeya

I forgot. Howard Carter called and he goes, “I heard you got a phone call the other night” as if he didn’t know he was there. I told him that too but he wanted to know who it was. I didn’t want to talk to him so I said we were having tea. We’d just finished mind you. Seeya

Wednesday Roctober 6 - Greg asked me what I’d say if Lex asked me to go to the Gub party

Well today was Lifesaving. We got these new books and they’re real hard to understand. Guess who does it too? Bloody Howard Carter. He kept staring at me so I kept my towel around me all day. I didn’t go in cause it was too cold. Lex does it too. So does Jenny. Gee she has a nice costume. A good figure too. It’s just not fair. Te, he. Greg asked me what I’d say if Lex asked me to go to the Gub party (which he won't but he’s thinking about it). Gee what an honour. Ha! Only cause he cant take Jenny anymore. I’ll ask Mum and Dad if I can go now just in case he asks me on Friday but I don’t know if I want to now. He saved me from being stabbed today. Gee it was fun. Howard rang again but I was at Glenda’s. seeya

Thursday Rocktober 7 - Did nothing today. Gee it was broing. Seeya

Friday Rocktober 8 - Guess what! Lex invited me to the party today

Guess what! Lex invited me to the party today. Actually Glenda did for him cause he didn’t have the guts. He took long enough though. Boy did he take long. Just as well I asked on Wednesday otherwise I wouldn’t have been allowed to go. But I don’t know if I want to now. I spose I may as well. Well see ya later. I’m going to see if should go or not. Seeya.

Saturday Rocktober 9 Well I went and it was fantastic.

Well I went and it was fantastic. I was so nervous on the way up I didn’t want to go. But I was all right later on. When we got there I just had a quick troddle around. Everyone was saying Lex was too gutless to come out. Finally he did come out and all this. Glenda goes, “She came”. Gary goes, “I knew you would”. But I said Glenda had to talk me into it. I had to go over to him first, cause, well, I just had to.  So I went over and told him about the record we dropped down the drain. After that he showed me around the place, where he slept and his actual bed. We watched TV for a while and went for a walk cause it was freezing that night. All the Gubs were telling us about everything and what’s happened around here. It was so funny I was crying. Then everyone went to the rocks for a smoke. And they all got sprung by The Bear, so then we went inside to the heater and some kids went for a swim and everyone was watching them. 

I had a staring competition with Gary.

Then tea was ready so we all went down in the rain to tea. I had a small baked potato and some sweet and sour chicken. In the second helping of sweet and sour chicken there was this wormy thing in it and everyone started poking their fingers at it. So I didn’t eat that. Later on I had some apple pie and cream. Anyway, I went off with Jodie to get some chewing gum which tasted like banana, and then some kids went for a swim. Then we all went back down to the fire and talked. I had a staring competition with Gary. Then guess who arrived - Megan Taylor. Trudy goes, “Here comes Megan. I want to ask you something” and Lex goes, “Come here Megan, I want to show you something” and I got the shits and walked off. Cause I hate her. All night she kept coming past Lex and he’d look at her and I kept asking myself "where's Megan, and what is she doing, and how long would it be before he notices her, and when she would get him to notice her" cause when I was with him the other day she walked past and goes, “Hi” Ooops, hahahahha”. The little troll

He knew what he wanted to do and I knew what I wanted to do

Anyway Lex came up but before I was sitting on my own and everybody kept asking me what was wrong. I was on my way to the loo when he came and showed me where to go. And then I went back inside and came back out and me and Lex just walked around. He kept saying, “when is the party going to start”. This is boring. Just before I left the fire he said, “isn’t this exciting" and I said, “yeah” and walked off. Anyway, to get on with things we just walked around and we went to the pond and just stood around and walked in circles and did nothing. It was so funny I couldn't stop laughing cause he knew what he wanted to do and I knew what I wanted to do and we both knew what each other wanted to do but no-one would start. God it was funny. I kept looking at him and he’d look away with a funny grin. He’s got beautiful eyes, Gorgeous eye lashes. They are long and shapely and they look fantastic. He said, “what can we do?” I said, “I can think of plenty of things”. He said, “so can I” and when I turned around he was grinning and he looked beautiful. I said, “do you want to go back down to the fire?" So we did but we walked straight through the rocks and everyone followed (in pairs). 

Mostly every one was smoking all night

Mostly everyone was smoking all night. Lex wanted a smoke but I wouldn’t let him. After about 3 times getting up at the rocks I finally got conformtable ( next to Lex of course . Then all of a sudden he put his arm aournd me and kissed me (wow). It was about time too. But it was good. We didn’t stop . Everyone's going, “you better stop for a breather" and all this. God it was funny. He got cut so he went, “get forked”  without the (or) and with the (uc), but that’s all they said all night. THEN we all got sprung in the dark by The Bear so we went to the rec room. But about 5 or 10 minutes later we went for a walk up to the school with Gary and Glenda and Jodie and Mark but it was too cold so we started on our way back. But Lex and I just parked ourselves in the middle of the grounds and kissed. We kept losing our balance and just about falling over so we walked further and ended up in the cave and stayed for a while, just there. Gee it was nice. 

He was probably trying to find out if I was slack and what he could get away with 

We kissed and he had his arms around me and every now and then I’d tingle when he just moved his hand. He had his hands on my boobs over my clothes. That was OK. No harm in that. But then he tried to get inside my top and when I stopped him he didn’t do it again. Would you believe. He was probably trying to find out if I was slack and what he could get away with, and when he found out he thought, “fair enough”. Once after we kissed he said, "gees I like you” ( but not enough to go with me. Just as well I think that way too) but I ignored it. He was probably bull sh---ing anyway. Then two other pairs came in and went out again after a while but we just stayed in there talking. He’s a Virgo too – 5th of September. Anyway, then Gary and Glenda, and Trudy and  someone, and Jodie and Mark came and made it a family affair. But it was funny. Honestly, it was so funny. Every time I was kissing Lex someone would say something funny and I'd laugh all the time, or I'd laugh at nothing. Lex would say, “what are you laiughing at”. I’d say, “nothing” and Lex would say, “oh”. All the time. 

This flame came flying out and I thought my eyelashes had melted

I could hear him swallow cause my head was on his chest. Everytime he'd swallow I'd tell him so he started doing it to me. Then Mark said something about that moment I was kissing Lex and I burst out laughing and all my air went into his mouth and it practically exploded.  God it was funny. I didn’t stop laughing. Then The Bear was running around with his torch so we all went out and ran away in a line. God it was funny. We went back inside and my bra strap suddenly broke, so I went in the boys loo to fix it and Glenda was helping me and the Bear walked in! He knew I was with Lex and Lex walked past and he goes, “Are you behaving yourself Lex?”. Can you imagine what he thought! We all sat around the heater and I put my face to the heater and this flame came flying out and I thought my eyelashes had melted. And I ran out with my hands to my face. Gee it felt horrible. Then we all went back to the cave and Lex got up to get the radio. And someone reckoned The Bear was on the prowl. Incidentally, The Bear is the owner of the place. So we went out for a walk  and while the radio was on “Hey Jude” came on. I said, “That's number 1” and Lex goes, “You’re number 1 too”. Bull. 

I think the Gubs are a lot nicer than people with parents

Anyway, cars came driving past and I raced into the bush. Then we went back into the cave and Lex said, “I didn’t think you were going to come”. I said I wasn't going to. I asked him if he preferred Jenny to me. He said, “No”. I said, "You wouldn't tell me anyway” and he said, “I would”. I said, “No you wouldn’t” and he said, “Yes I would”, and he said, “She’s going with Derek Cluff anyway". So that means he would have. And he does like her. Anyway Beth's Dad came and Glenda comes and tells me he’s here. Me and Lex just kept kissing and I said, “Seeya later” and he said, “Seeya” but we stayed together till the car. Then I got my bag and I ran past him and said, “Seeya” and he didn’t even see me. Sniff. So he doesn’t like me. I know he doesn’t. He can't. Damn it. Every time I like someone, that someone likes someone else better. Before when we were in the rec room Megan Taylor came in and Lex kept looking at her so I went out and sat on the stairs, and all those guys that came from Katoomba just visiting came up and talked to me.  Lex was looking for me and was looking straight at me but apparently he didn't know I was there cause when I came over he asked me where I was. Once I said to him, “Gee you’re warm” and he said, “Thanks”. God he’s an idiot. I think the Gubs are a lot nicer than people with parents. Before I didn’t probably cause I didn’t know them but now I’ve changed my mind. Gee I had a good time. I really did. The next one isn’t until December so I won't be going to that one cause Lex won't like me then. He doesn’t like me now. Let alone then. Seeya.

Sunday Roctober 10 Today was my first day on the job

Well today was my first day at the job. I started off OK. Then I had trouble with counting and I made a massive mistake. This lady and man came in and they bought this and that and they piled more junk on the counter. I didn’t see it so I added it up all wrong. Sharmane was embarrassing me and practically blew me up for it. I was nearly crying. I could have killed myself. Anyway, after that I had finished it was 11.30. He gave me my pay and said when I get the hang of it he’ll put me up to $2,00 an hour. Wouldn’t that be fantastic? Also I’m working now every second Thursday from 5-7, so if I do get my raise, I'll be getting $20 every 2 weeks. Wouldn’t that be fantastic? (If I don’t get sacked by then for adding up wrong). I made several adding mistakes. Keep thinking about the party. Went to Glenda’s and talked about it. Seeya.

Monday Rocktober 11 - Why won’t they leave me alone and stop being so SQUARE.

Today at recess I talked to Lex for a little while and told him the joke about the lady and her shirts, then I went away. After lunch he was behind us and said a couple of things. Jee he’s beautiful. He really is. He’s so fantastically good looking, and he’s got gorgeous eyes. They’re beautiful. This arvo I went into the Jeanery Shack and tried this top and slack on and it looked really nice. Everyone reckons I did and so did I. I loved it. It costs $34.00. When I told Mum she said, “You’re not having that! It looks like you’re a slut” and all this. Bloody hell they drive me up the wall. Dad raved and ranted about how I didn’t need a half cut bra at my age. God, I wear a bloody costume don’t I?  Why won’t they leave me alone and stop being so SQUARE. I hate it.  They drive me up the bloody wall. Mother said she’d have a look at it tomorrow. With a decided bloody mind too! No!

Tuesday Rocktober 12 - HIM, telling ME what to do with the money I earn!

I’m sure Lex likes Jenny cause he was talking to Jenny and Derek while I was with Glenda and Gary and as soon as I left he came over. I was very upset. Also, me and Jenny were on library duty and he walked past us both, looked at me and then Jenny. That reminds me, me and Jenny went for a walk but didn’t tell anyone and we were away for about two periods. We got in real trouble (probably suspended) and everybody saw us in different places. Brook knows and we have to see him tomorrow. We’re RS. Had a massive fight with Mum and Dad. Now Mum's gonna bring home the top (probably not) but I’m not allowed to have the slacks would you believe! Dad goes, “Im not going to let you buy $22.00 slacks, not even with your own money. The money you earn HAS to go in the bank or you don’t get your Child Endowment!” HIM, telling ME what to do with the money I earn! Christ! I’ll do whatever I want with it. I'll probably end up not having the top. Let alone the slacks. Seeya.

Wednesday Roctober 13 - “He reckons he’s going with you”.

Sport was called off cause it was raining but they didn’t tell us until we went to the pool, soaking wet. Lex was swimming and we had to go so he and I walked back to school and talked. Then we went to assembly hall where everyone was watching films and Lex sat next to me. Derek Cluff was with us! Both of them were being stupid. I had the feeling Lex was going to ask me cause Derek kept calling him gutless. And later Derek was yelling something at Lex, and then he came over and said, “He reckons he’s going with you”. I should have said he was, but instead I just stood there (I mean sat there) and said nothing. We were both sopping wet. I must have looked awful but he still looked nice. Come to think of it, if he asked me to go with him I think I would. But he won't. Even if he wanted to he’d be too gutless. I couldn’t stop laughing and he kept stirring me about it. Gee it was funny. We talked about stacks of things. I wonder if he was going to ask me. I wish he did. I bet Mum doesn’t bring home the top. I just bet. Seeya.

Thursday Roctober 14We were making all these plans

Lex came and talked to me at lunchtime on the stairs. It was raining so him and Gary sat on my books. Lex said he wants to go out one weekend so he might ask. So I said, “How would you, Gary, Glenda like to come out?” and they wanted to. We probably won't but we were making all these plans. We’ll either go to the pictures and the pool and the beach, or the pool and bowling. I’d rather the first. They were real enthusiastic about it too. Gary was especially. I hope we can go out. Debbie and Dooley and all them kept calling Lex and giving me dirty looks, and Amanda asked Glenda if he was going to ask me to go with him. (I wish he would. Gee I like him). Worked tonight. It went real well. Ian Hook came in and later he came in again with Geoff Lear (Poseidon Adventure). How embarrassing. Seeya

Friday Roctober 15 - He got 5 cuts and 100 potatoes to peel

Smart little Alex got himself in trouble today. At the Gubb House he tripped Ken Tillman over. And belted into him so he missed the bus. Lex had to go to the Principal's office where Lear picked him up and took him back to the Gubb house where he got 5 cuts and 100 potatoes to peel. I was really worried cause I thought Lear would lay into him. I couldn’t work out what the school had to do with it. Anyway, he came back to school at lunch and he came into R15 with us and he was real bored. He kept asking Gary to come out for a smoke so I said goodbye to him but he wouldn’t go. Gee I wish he’d ask me cause I’d go with him now. He’s going for a job on Monday at 2 o’clock and if he gets it he’s leaving school. But I don’t want him to leave. I finally find someone I like and he’s leaving. He’s getting his hair cut too. It’s short enough as it is. Alison Rowe just called and asked me (for Robert Elis) to go to a party tomorrow at Swiss Valley Restaurant and then at someone’s house. I’m going but I’m supposed to pair up’ with Rob. If only I was going with Lex. I don’t want him to leave.

Saturday Roctober 16 - Saw this guy get run over at Penrith on a motorbike

Went to Penrith and got some slacks and shorts. Spent $27.00 out of $28.00. Saw this guy get run over at Penrith on a motorbike. On the way home, Peter Ryan was on the bus and he asked me how the Gub party was. I said good and he said Lex was on the train going to Sydney, and he said something about having a job. When I got home guess who rang? Lex! I didn’t believe it at first but when he said, “F--k off” to Robert Howe I knew it must be him. He also said he was getting a job on Monday, and all this. I forgot what we talked about. He rang me from Woodford cause he just came back from Sydney. 

Mum and Dad blew the sh-t out of me from coming home at 12.30

Went to the party. It was terrible. The worst party I’ve ever been to. We didn’t eat at the restaurant; we just got food from there, which was horrible. It was mainly kids from Grammar School. Peter Chacoo’s brothers is quite nice and actually he looks like he should be a Gub but he had a girlfriend, a Second Form chick I remember from our school, but she left. Alison was really nice to me. She had a boyfriend too but somehow I got the feeling he didn’t like anyone knowing it cause when I was around he sort of pretended they were just friends. Like I used to do with Trevor. Anyway, me and 3 guys went to Springwood to a buy a beer but all I had was a weeny bit of Blackberry Nip I don’t like so had nothing. It was freezing cold and raining. We went up in a taxi and back in one. Robert kept trying to pair up with me but I told Alison I already had a boyfriend and I shouldn’t have come. So I went in the bedroom and went to sleep cause I felt real bad and sick (the food). Everyone was fussing over me and being real nice. They woke me up when it was time to go. Mrs Elise took me home. Mum and Dad blew the sh-t out of me from coming home at 12.30. I’m not allowed to go to any more parties this year. This time last week I was with Lex. Yum

Sunday Rocktober 17 - Mr Porter blew me up and said I make terrible milk shakes

Worked today. Didn’t do too bad except with the milk shakes. Every time I put it up it stops. Mr Porter blew me up and said I make terrible milk shakes. I also have a funny feeling Sharmane maybe doesn’t like me. Got $10.50 today. I have a funny feeling they want to sack me but don’t want to be nasty. Had to walk home again. These guys walked past and waved at me. Then they turned around and drove past me again. And practically stopped and smiled and waved. Then they drove past again. The one driving asked me if I wanted a lift. I said, “No thanks. I’m right”. So he said “Ok” and waved and drove off. Then I was at the top of Koala Road and they drove past AGAIN then waved and drove off. Gee it was funny. I couldn’t stop smiling. Then these other guys drove past and beeped at me. Supposed to go to a BBQ tonight. Probably won’t. Seeya.

Monday Roctober 18 - Eric got out his guitar and we sang to it

Well nothing exciting’s gonna happen today. Its freezing but I’ll tell you about last night. Went to the BBQ and it was really boring at first. I had 2 whiskies and dry and Moselle. Did feel a bit funny. Met these people and they’re real nice. They’ve got 2 kids and they go up to Queensland and take a girl with them to baby sit. She said next time they go they’ll keep me in mind. She probably won’t. But I’ll hope. Also she said she’ll give me a tingle. She probably wont do that either. Anyway, then Mrs Peters, Mrs Dukes, and Mrs Hassler’s sons came up and asked me if I wanted to go to their place if I was bored, so I did. We talked and talked, then Eric got out his guitar and we sang to it. When all the parents came over we sang some Abba (huhum) Beatles (yeah), John Denver (yeah) and some other things. Gee it was good. The boys were really nice too. I’ve forgot Mrs Hassler’s son’s name. Dam. I always do that. Seeya.

Tuesday Rocktober 19 - Me and Lex got kicked out about five minutes

Lex didn’t get his job, bad luck. Oh well. It’s still raining. Lex came into our woodwork class and stayed both periods. Then me and Gary and Lex stayed behind last period to help Gary with his job but we didn’t really, we just hung around and talked. Then me and Lex got kicked out about five minutes before the bell so that’s OK. Lex still wants to go out. I bet we don’t though. Well better go. Seeya.

PS. Got a letter from Kent FINALY. He says he never sent that card. I wonder who did then. Probably Steve or one of his beloved friends. He wants to me to come with him to port Stephens. Wouldn’t that be fantastic ! I wouldn’t be allowed to go though. Seeya

Wednesday Roctober 20 - So if that’s how he feels, good. I’ll drop dead

Well today Lex dear told Gary to tell me to get F----d. So I asked him what for, and he reckons he was only joking – because I wouldn’t go and talk to him. Ha! When I did he said nothing and walked off to talk to Droopey and all those moles. God that gives me the sh--s. If he wants to play it that way he can stuff it. Sport was off again today and we went to the hall to watch films. First we stayed with or near Lex and Gay, but moles came so we moved up. Then across the room, then to the other side, then to the back of the room, and then to the other side and towards Carter who was sitting behind us. He said hello. I don’t think I like Lex very much now and same with him. Moles are also trying their hardest to turn him off me. So if that’s how he feels, good. I’ll drop dead. Seeya.

Thursday Rocktober 21They had a car smash-up thing

Today was 6th form farewell. It was poor – raining too – AGAIN. Mulheroon cut everything out too and gave them 10 minutes to give their assembly so they didn’t do it. They had a car smash up thing. Me and Lex watched it in the rain. Then he disappeared and I left. On the way I met Lex and he turned around and came with me. He nearly pushed me down the stairs. I went up and talked to him at recess before his friends came. Then at lunch he came and talked to me. Then the moles came so I got up and left and he talked to them. That does it I’m not talking to him unless he comes up and talks to me, when he’s free that is. Went to Penrith to get some slops and a bra and got neither so I’ll have to wear nothing. Had a fight with Mum as usual. Hate going shopping with her. Found a nice carpet but its light and Mum doesn’t like it. It’s not her room. She doesn’t have to sleep in it. God that shits me. Got a letter from Joanne.

Friday Roctober 22 to 23Well tonight was the forum dance. It was OK I suppose.

Well tonight was the Forum Dance. It was ok I suppose. There weren’t many people there. The Gubs came and Lex was shitted about something but he wouldn’t tell me. Once Denis came and told me that Lex wanted to dance with me. So I went up and he put his arms around me but I drew away and sat down. Harry came up quite a few times and talked to me. He was pissed. Peter Hitchens did too. So did Steve K’Neally. Adam Whealer comes up and goes, “It’s my birthday today. Are you going to give me a birthday kisss?” and he kept asking me for a kiss and he wouldn’t leave off. He goes, “Have you been kissed yet?” I said, “No, and you’re not going to be the first”. I wore the dress Mum made. Everybody liked it. I didn’t wear a bra under it and my titis were all rubbed sore like when you get new shoes. Once Brenden O’Donnell’s brother and Brendon and Robert came up and were talking to me and my dress was right across and he was having a good old geek. And I didn’t know. JB had to tell me. I was practically revealing everything. Boy was I embarrassed. 

I swore at her but God I wanted to punch her one. 

Michael’s brother kept putting his arm around me, so I got up and left with JB. That kid that kept pinching my bum last time was there and dong the same thing. This kid kept staring at me. Lex was out in the foyer and he had the shits but he wouldn’t tell me. They had to leave early. I wish now that I had have gone up to him and kissed him goodbye. If only I had. Alana Darian was all over him like a rash. The group was really good. There was quite a few fights too and bloody Kathy F  kept pouring orange juice and coke all over me. I had it all through my hair and dress. I swore at her but God I wanted to punch her one. Her and Meshelle G, the bunch of moles. Debbie, Jo and Glenda went too. Debbie isn’t going with Chris. He was there too (pissed). His parents had to take him home. Ha! They’ll get back together again. If the Gubs weren’t there I would have enjoyed it more. Seeya.

Sunday Roctober 24 -  I could have looked like an Abo.

Work went quite OK today until Mr Porter came in. This boy asked me to put some eggs and bread in a bag for him cause he couldn’t do it.  Mr Porter came over and blew me up and pulled me away. I was practically crying. Then he put them in for him! God I was cranky. Mum came and picked me up but we stopped at Dawns, so I walked home. They left the washing for me so I wasn’t allowed to sunbake and it was so HOT, and a beautiful day. I could have looked like an Abo. But no, Mother dear wouldn’t let me. God she sh-ts me. Wasn’t allowed Saturday either. Oma’s coming in 3 weeks on Monday. That leaves us the weekend to completely scrub the place. My God, I’m not looking forward to it. It’ll take us years cause it has to be spotlessly clean. Shit. Seeya.

Monday Roctober 25 -  Lex came and talked to me at recess and I asked him what was wrong with him. He reckoned I ignored him so I started raving on about him ignoring me and all this. Well, seeya.

Tuesday Roctober 26 - He had the sh-ts with me was because I wouldn’t let him

Well today Lex told Christen to tell me that the reason he had the sh-ts with me was because I wouldn’t let him do enough to me! Ha! He didn’t do a thing. He didn’t want to. He kept telling Christen to tell me but she wouldn’t and finally she did. I got so insulted I went up to him and said, “Why are you trying to give me the shits?” and really blew him up and walked off. Boy, the nerve of him. What a nerd. Seeya.

Wednesday Rocktober  27 - “Petra Campbell, Eloise said to tell you you’re a slut”
Today in woodwork Lex came up and talked to me, both 1st and 4th period. First period he apologised twice for getting me in a shit yesterday and for what he said, and 4th period he apologised for getting me shitted all the time when he talked to McCowen and all them. Every time I talk to him they call him over and he goes. This time he wouldn’t go cause he found out I got the shits with him  - but I told him to go.  McCowen goes, “Petra Campbell, Eloise said to tell you you’re a slut”. The stupid slut. Somehow I don’t think they like me talking to him do you?  At the pool (the last day at the pool without black Jenny Cubis which I bet he likes when she comes back). I talked to him for a while, then Ben Hall pushed him in. Gees it was funny. Anyway, better go. Seeya.
Thursday Roctober 28 - Can’t seem to hook one without someone else interfering
I didn’t talk to Lex today. He was too busy talking to McCowan and Chi Chi and all them. God that shits me, he just finished apologising to me yesterday. He said hello and waved but his dear little friends wouldn’t leave him alone. Gary said Lex still wants me to go to the party with him. How could he? Wait till Jenny comes back. Oh well, I just can’t seem to hook one without someone else interfering. Seeya.
Friday Rocktober 29 - Mrs Kerrison said she’d pay me 77 cents an hour! What a miser.
Didn’t talk to Lex again. Too busy as usual. ALL lunch he sat behind B block with McCowan and Chi Chi. I know, I was sitting behind D block. God I wish they’d leave him alone. Glenda was talking to Lex in Woodwork and he said he was still going to ask me to the party next Saturday. He said he’ll ask me Monday but I bet you anything he won’t ask me. I just bet. Derek will drop Jenny on Monday so she’s free for Lex. Bugger it. These people phoned and said that Hayden got kicked out of their place and also the house they moved into after that, and they live somewhere in Adelaide now! What a waste of 18 cents. I bet that bloke will read the letter. Mrs Kerrison said she’d pay me .77 cents an hour! What a miser. Mum said I should ring her and explain that the average baby sitting fee is $1.50 to $2.00 an hour, but I haven’t got the guts. I hope Lex asks me to the party. I really do but I know he won’t. Seeya
Saturday Rocktober 30 - Peter is writing a song called “Passionfruit Delight” about me

Video: 'Afternoon Delight' by Starland Vocal Band

Mum and Dad went out today and Steve and Peter rang. Steve was talking to me as if he really liked me. He kept wanting to come up and saying he'll come up. We talked for ages. This was last night. They rang again tonight before I went baby-sitting. We talked for a while. Peter is writing a song called “Passionfruit Delight” about me. Yes well. Sun-baked all day practically today. Got burnt on the top. Hope I don’t peel. I rung Mrs Kerrison and she said she’d pay me $1.00 an hour. 

Slept most of the time. Got home at 1 O’clock. Then had to put daylight savings on so it was 2 O’clock. Had 4 hours sleep. David Ross was selling hot dogs with me. Well he wants me to come to a fashion parade with him and its $10.00 a head. He’s paying and we have to wear a long dress. Mum said I was going but I haven’t got a long dress. I don’t want to go. God. What am I going to do? Seeya
Sunday Roctober 31 - Some guy came in and asked if there were any beaches around here! Wonder where he came from?
Well had to work today. It went OK. I got $10.50. Mrs Kerrisson hasn’t paid me yet. I’ve decided I think I don’t want to go cause I haven’t got a dress and I don’t really want to go with David Ross anyway. So what should I do? Ring and say I can’t go. I baby-sit instead? I go and put up with him for a free night of eating - but paying for a new dress?  Which will cost me a fortune. Decisions, decisions. Help me Diary – what am I going to do! Well it’s up to me. Don’t help me then. Seeya. Oh yeah. Some guy came in and asked if there were any beaches around here! Wonder where he came from.  Seeya.

                           Abba's Dancing Queens is still Number one by Ocotober's end, 1976
Monday November 1It rained today
It rained today and was very boring. Went to A room at lunch. Lex came in but guess who followed? Sue Dear McCowem and Chi Chi and all them and he went to them. Ha! Well he can stuff it. He talked to me for a fair while. He’s going for an interview tomorrow. I’m going to the dentist. Seeya.
Tuesday November 2 - I might get drunk, then pregnant – AS BLOODY IF
Well today I went to the dentist and he took 4 X-rays at $3 an X-ray - $12.00 he charged me. He didn’t even need to X-ray the other 3. I went round everywhere to look for a long dress and at the last moment I bought this Indian type Caftan and it’s a real nice colour. And pattern. The dress isn’t all that smashing but it’s cool and was only $20.00. Well that was the cheapest I could find. Went to the travel agent. Its’ only $26.00 return to Brisbane. Isn’t that fantastic! BUT Mummy Dear said to me, “I don’t think you’ll be going”. I said, “How come?”  She said, “Cause I don’t want you to go”. The bloody little bitch.  She’ll keep nagging at Dad until he wont let me go. I just bet. She will too. I bet anything I won't be going to Queensland. I just bet. I might get drunk, then pregnant – AS BLOODY IF! Went to Coles. Have to come back end of November! Would you believe. Got a choker for my dress. Guess what! Won $25 voucher at Vivians. How about that! Wonder if Lex got his job. Oh well.
Wednesday November 3Well I better start crying cause Lex is leaving

Guess what (a sad guess what). Lex got the job and is leaving everything on Monday. I don’t want him to leave. I’m sure his little friends don’t want to either.  He came and talked to me at woodwork and asked me why I had the shits but Curtin called him. Even then, Vercused and them came in. Went swimming today. Im sure I looked fat. Talked to Lex for a second and I had the shits with him so I told him to ask his brother. Just think. Monday he’ll be moved down to Sydney. SH-T. Maybe if I’m lucky he might get sacked. But I doubt it. I might get him a card. He’d probably give it to Sue and Debbie. He was talking to Megan slut. She’s not going to the party on Saturday either. I talked to Nikko. He said Lex had a girlfriend he likes a lot. He probably hates me now. Got a letter from Joanne today and I gave her a ring. We had a good little chat. It was just my luck Mum was trying to ring so I got into trouble, so I said I rang Debbie. Dad said I can definitely go to Queensland, unless something drastic happened. Well I better start crying cause Lex is leaving. Sob, sob. God I wish he wasn’t going. Seeya
Thursday November 4 God I luv Lex, but I didn’t realise until I found out Ill never see him again

Well tomorrow is the last day I see Lex and I probably wont even talk to him. Didn’t talk to him today. Just gave him some dirty looks. He’s not going to the party now. Glenda talked to him in woodwork and told him I don’t want him to go and he said he could come down, but everything he does seems to be wrong. So I’ll probably never see him again. Oh sh-t. Ill miss him. I don’t want him to go. Glenda said she’ll get me a card to give him but I bet she’ll forget.  Jenny Cubis is leaving today too. She’s moving to Carlingford. That’s where Lex is moving to. SH-T. She got kicked out. Oh Lord, please don’t let Lex leave. I’ll have to talk to him tomorrow. I’ll just have to. Got a letter from Mandy and I just finished writing to her. God I luv Lex, but I didn’t realise until I found out Ill never see him again. He wont come down. God I hope Glenda gets the card. Seeya.
Friday November 5“Well I’ve got something to remember him by” 

Well today was supposed to be the last time I'll see Lex but I rung up the Gub House and Mr Wier said he wasn’t leaving for a week yet. He talked to me at the bus stop for a couple of seconds until the bus came. He said he’d come down tomorrow instead of going to the party but I bet he doesn’t. I caught the Borea Street bus home and when Lex left I balled my eyes out. Sue McGowen and Chi

Chi came and asked me if I’ll miss Lex. I said, “Yes. Will You?”  They said, “Yes”. I said, “I bet you will McGowmen” and McGowen goes, “Well I’ve got something to remember him by” and raved on about this letter she got when she was going with him. Went and saw Jaws last night. God it was good. At the end I was so scared I kept screaming. It was really realistic too, except a couple of pieces at the beginning. Mrs Hassler and Mrs Dickenson were there. I wish I could remember their son's names. Eric wasn’t though. Hope Lex comes down. Seeya.
Saturday November 6 - I'm a dick
Today I went to Penrith and got some shoes and a surf shirt and another shirt, some slops and some envelopes and a big card for Lex. It says, “Mith You” and on the inside it says, “Mith me too?” (probably not). That’s all I could find. $1.50 it was. I came home and went to Glenda’s and she told me that Lex and Gary and some other kid came up about 11. Mum said that Lex rang and two boys came to the door. Oh well. God I’m a dick. I wish I had have caught the train home. It takes me to be away when they come down. God I could shoot myself. Now they’re going to the party. DAMN IT!
Sunday November 7Mr Parker cut my hand and blood went everywhere

Lex rang yesterday from Woodford after I came back from the Jewellery party.  He said he came around and he stayed at Denise's. It sounded like he only rang me cause he thought he had to. He said he wouldn’t come to school tomorrow. When I said I wasn’t going he said he will. God I wish I had have been home. Work was a disaster. Mr Parker cut my hand and blood went everywhere. God it was bad. And what got me was, he didn’t know he did it and thought it was my clumsy mistake. I also dropped an orange juice and it went all
over the place. That guy who’s usually at the shops came in too. He kept looking at me and smiling. Today I’ve been slaving in my room, taking everything out so the carpet can be put in. God it took a long time. Oh yeah, on the way home, these guys drove past in a ute and asked me if I wanted a lift (the same ones as a couple of weeks ago) and also the one’s yesterday at the shops). When I got off the bus they followed me. Seeya.
Monday November 8“I thought you were having the day off?”

Lex did come to school today and so did I.  I was supposed to stay home but I had a test and I miss out on too much work. Anyway he came up and said, “I thought you were having the day off?” and he said, “I was only joking”. That hurt. Talked to him after that.  Later moved back into my room. The carpet is ok. Better than my last lot. Well better go.  Boy am I tired.
Tuesday November 9“Haven’t you heard of a name?” 

Lex talked to me at history on the way out to recess and where he, “Had to do his rounds”,  so he said. He kept smiling at me in English. And he walked past and smiled and
said hello at PE. Also in woodwork. Ian Eldridge kept wanting me to read his palm. And I was fighting (friendly) with him. Lex stuck his nose in the air and walked off ( joking). Gee it was funny. Then after that he whistled at me so I waited for him and said, “Haven’t you heard of a name?” Then I told him about my finger. I said I’ll drop it off and he can have it. He said I’ll have that as a remembrance of you – a finger. God he’s beautiful. Went to the pool and he got my splinter out. He’s really brown. He kept talking to me and asking me if I was winning. He’s nice. These kids came to talk to me and Graham was there and Ian Eldridge. Caught the train home with Chris. We had some chips. He’s ok, I suppose. Seeya.
Wednesday November 10 - "Nice big bum" UGH. I hate big bums.
Lex walked me to English today and we talked and all this. Gee it was funny. Then at woodwork he talked to me while I was reading EVERYBODY'S  palm. Today was really hot and nice to go to the
Springwood Pool (Flicr)
pool.  Didn’t talk to Lex much. I was too busy trying to teach my DUMB group.  My God are they hopeless. I’ll never pass them. I went up and talked to Derek and Lex.  Derek goes, “Gee you’ve got a good figure”. I said, “I’m too fat” and was just about to say, “and got a big bum” and he said, “nice big bum”. UGH. I hate big bums. Anyway he said to pull my costumes up cause they had fallen down and little of my hair was showing. God it was embarrassing. Anyway, I stayed after life saving. Derek came down and he must have told everyone cause everyone, especially Adam Wheeler kept calling me ‘fluff’. How embarrassing. Glenn (the attendant) talked to me today and let me off cause I didn’t have 10 cents. My God is he SPUNKY!! Helen Robson was talking to him all afternoon.  Gee is he nice. Seeya.
Thursday November 11“These guys like you, and so do them, and them. The whole bloody school does

Got stirred a lot about ‘fluff’ but I thought it was funny. Talked to Lex a little. Went on the excursion today. That SPUNK from Kingswood and the one at the sports carnival were there.  Gee it was funny. I was getting eyes off everyone. These guys came up and talked to me. They weren’t anything fantastic. Then this guy came up and said, “Hi. I’m Grant”.  He was OK though. THEN – that spunk came up and talked to us. YUM. There was a Bitch Fight between a girl from our school and some Kingswood chick.  Fabrice was talking to these guys and later he came and goes, “These guys like you, and so do them, and them. The whole bloody school does”. This other guy kept going past me and  calling me spunk and saying hello. Another passed and hit me down below. You should have seen the expression on my face. It was good fun – the excursion that is. There were some spunks, but not that many. Worked tonight. It was OK. Not very good though. Seeya.
Friday November 12I just looked at him and burst out crying

I think I’ll commit suicide. When the bell went, Gary came up to me and gave me a note and said, “Lex left last night”.  I just looked at him and burst out crying. I just couldn’t stop. Then I read the note. I cried even more. It said,
“Dear Petra,
                  Sorry I couldn’t tell you I was leaving today as I only found out last night. I caught the 7.45 train this morning.  I'll try keep in touch with you. I would have liked to go with you but I only had a few weeks to go. So I just kept good friends with you. I'll try be up for the Gub party so I hope you’ll be there.  Write back if I write to you. See you later.
Love Lex
Petra (in a heart)
God I was upset. I just couldn’t stop crying. I didn’t want him to leave. He won't write. I know he wont write. I probably wont see him at the party. Was in a Bitch Fight with Annette E. at the Fete. Mum is a Bitch. She’s being so bloody bitchy. I HATE HER.  I wish I was dead. Oh God I want Lex back.

Lex's letter

Saturday November 13 - The Fashion Show - “Don’t take that one, I cant afford it”.
Well today was the dreadful day. I got all dressed up and when they came I went out the front door and looked at him and went,“Oh sh-t”.  Mum was behind me. I had to sit next to him on the way up. UGH! It was a dinner dance at the Kyaf. We got there and walked to our table. I felt real ashamed to be with him cause it looked as though we were boyfriend and girlfriend. UGH. I wouldn’t have minded it he was nice to talk to but he wasn’t even that. He was stuffing his face with lollies and he wouldn’t offer me one, and when he finally did he said, “Don’t take that one, I cant afford it”.
He kept raving on about paying for my ticket

So I reminded him that he didn’t pay for anything, his sister did. I didn’t have much to drink. Just fell dizzy after the first 2 drinks but after that I was alright. Had Moselle, Rose and Riesling, but nothing very nice. Practically everyone was drunk. Our table was the noisiest and the funniest. I got so sick of David so I moved my chair around to the other side of the table and every time I moved my chair, he’d move his chair too. UGH!  

Anyway, to make excuses to leave the table I got more drinks and went to the loo.
Then I met these spunks. They were wine waiters at the bar. The real young one kept smiling at me but then he went off with this chick. But there was another guy there; tall, dark, handsome. He had glasses which made him look really spunky.  I like him too but in the end he went off with the same chick who went off with the younger one. And I got stuck with this other guy, but he was ok. So I stayed at the bar a lot of the night and talked. They came from St Ives and go water skiing every weekend at Wisemans Ferry. Bob and Peter invited me and said to look for Bob’s Bus and for Toshees Toilet or something. But God it was funny. All I wanted was lemonade so I went over and they said, “Oh she’s back for more”. Gee they were nice.
Anyway, David kept wanting to dace with me but I wouldn’t cause it was waltzing and UGH. 

So I ran off and then my dress busted and everyone was having a go at me for not dancing so I went over and talked to Bob (who was pissed up to woop woop), and this other guy came and asked me to dance but I wouldn’t. Finally I did and then I made a sacrifice and went over and danced with David for about one and a half minutes when I said, “Oh my goodness my dress has busted’", and went to the loo and then back to the bar. John Boy, first of all he called me Terry, then I told him it was Petra, and he kept calling me Victoria, then Queen Victoria, and later he asked me to dance again and I did. We did the bunny hop. 

                                                Video: The Bunny Hop

Then at the car park he shouts next to me, “See you next year Victoria. You should see David dance, he looks like he's having convulsions. He looks like something out of a horror movie.UGH. 

Anyway, there was this other guy there who kept telling everyone I should be Miss World. 

And that I'm beautiful, and he said that ALL night and just kept looking at me. But he was a nice bloke. The food was terrible. All they had was chicken, chicken, and chicken. Not to mention chicken. Also the cream for the fruit salad was curdled. UGH. The cook was drunk, that’s why. I was talking to him and he kept the tomatoes for himself, and the eggs. The only thing that was OK was the coffee. I went for several walks. It would have been OK with better company. Mrs Hassler was there and she kept wanting me to sing “Rock me” with her AGAIN. 

                                                               Video: Abba, Rock Me

Finally we left. David was walking on top of me practically. Then when they dropped me off they made him walk me to the door, and GOD what did he want me to do? – kiss him goodbye! My God UGH. So I just said, “seeya” and went inside. Gee I’m bad. God I miss Lex. WHY did he have to go? If he hadn’t have got his job I would be going with him. SH-T. Every time I find someone they leave. Or I do. God I luv Lex. COME BACK. I didn't even get to give him my card. God I hope he writes. Please write Lex. I hope they find Nob and I hope they have a party, and I hope Lex goes, and I hope Im allowed to go. PLEASE let me go. Oh God I hope I can go. God I hope I see Lex again. I bet I don’t. I bet I never hear from him again. Well better go. That’s the last time I ever go out with anyone I don’t like. Seeya.
Sunday November 14 I'll forget him like I’ve practically forgotten Tangalooma.
Blue Pool
Worked today. Went dreadful as usual. It was really sunny and these guys came in and they were going to the Blue Pool. I said that’s where I was going to go this arvo. He said, “We’ll come and pick you up, OK? We will. But I said I couldn’t cause I have to work, which I did – cleaning the bathroom. God it took me ages. The other guy was really spunky though. Blond hair, brown tan. Nice. Mr Porter took me home. Been thinking about Lex. I know now I'll never see him again. I'll forget him like I’ve practically forgotten Tangalooma. To think that I could have had him. Now he's going to race off with a million other chicks. Oh Lord, PLEASE bring Lex back. PLEASE.  I don't want anyone else to see how spunky he is. Got to stay home tomorrow to help Mum (who had a cry today). Don’t want to stay home. Seeya.
Monday November 15 - Went to the dentist and had a filling
I had to stay home today to help Mum for when Oma comes. Went to the dentist and had a filling. I have had a million of other ones too on my lower teeth. UGH. They really hurt. Well seeya.
Tuesduy Novemebr 16 - I came home and cleaned the house
Had a maths exam today. God it was hard. I left practically every question. I'll be lucky if I get one question right. Went to the pool. No I didn’t. I came home and cleaned the house. Oma comes tomorrow and I wont see her at the airport cause I have a maths exam.
Wednesday November 17 - "My goodness you've grown. You look just like your father" 
Well the exam wasn’t on so I could have gone to pick Oma up. When I was coming home Georgie and Willie drove past and said hello and this and that and the other. Then I came to the door and Gus and Tina were just leaving, but they were waiting for me to come home. I got the usual remarks, "My goodness you've grown. You look just your father”, etc. Oma was in bed when I came and when I left so I haven’t seen her yet. I got a necklace from her. The chain is real nice. Seeya.
Thursday November 18She’s really sweet but I can't understand her
I’ve finally seen Oma. She’s really sweet but I can't understand her. Supposed to go to Penrith today but I was too late. Seeya.
Friday November 19Had netball presentation night tonight

Had presentation night tonight. I got a shirt to play in next year, a little banner, a spoon, a badge and another banner for the Coca Cola Comp. When I went up once I got cheered. The Kerrisons took me up and back. Seeya.
Saturday Nov 20Did nothing today. Worked a bit and lazed around. It's Phillips party tomorrow. Seeya
Sunday November 21- My God it was a disaster
Work was a disaster.
Well today was Phillip's Party. My God was it a disaster. Everybody was bored. But he thought we were having a fantastic time. We asked Craig, Flea, Jason and other kids to see if they wanted to come. I wanted to go home. Went for quite a few walks and got bad cramps like someone was stabing me. Gee it was bad. I rang parents twice asking them to come and pick us up, so Mr and Mrs Taylor came and took us home. The food was UGH too except for a beautiful creamy chocolate roll their nextdoor neighbour made. Yum. Hardly anyone turned up. Ian and Russell left about ten minutes after they came. I wore jeans rolled up with black stockings and high shoes, my checked top tied and my black choker. Uncle John and Leo and Patricia were here too. Oh, you should have heard Phillip go on about his passed evils, My God!
Monday 22 November - Bought some pin stripe material to make the suit

Stayed home today. Went to Penrith and bought some pin stripe material to make the suit. It's white with blue stripes  I bet it looks terrible. It will probably be too much. I hope not. Oma gave me $5.00. Seeya
Tuesday November 23 - My Sister's home again. UGH.
My sister's home again. UGH. She stayed for the weekend at Oma’s (the other Oma). Elizabeth and her two kids came too. Elizabeth invited me for a week after I come back from Queensland. That would be good. Bye.
Wednesday Nov 24 Tried out for zone netball

Tried out for zone netball and got in as Goal Keeper. Would you believe. Bloody Smith didn’t give me a go as Goal Shooter. She put me in as keeper on the last minute. Gee we've got a hopeless team. We had to wait for over an hour for the bus to come.  Then she had a hernia cause we wouldn’t hurry up. I had no shoes and I got sunburnt. Seeya.
Thursday November 25  I got the sack.

Well guess what Diary. It's finally happened. I got the sack. Everything went absolutely perfect on Thursday, then Peter comes and says, “Can I have a word with you?”. He raved on about how I wasn’t good enough and wasn’t what they wanted - that I wasn't reliable to cook. Wasn’t reliable! Ha! Last night, every time I went to cook, Sharmaine would come and say, “I’ll do it. You do this”, and so did bloody Peter on Sunday. They didn’t give me a chance. It was probably that business about the sandwiches last Sunday that decided him. Anyway, he told me to “SHOVE OFF”. He gave me $5.00 and a box of chocolates. Thanks a lot! I felt like throwing it in his face. But $5.00 I could use, and I was going to give the chocolates to someone else for a Christmas present. But then I left them on the train, but I told everyone I threw them away which I was going to do but I didn’t. I thought I was going to start ballen in front of them but I didn’t. I sobbed on the way home, but when I got home I balled. Sh-t he’s a bastard. Seeya.
Friday Nov 26 Went into Coles and saw the manager about a job
Went to the dentist today. Ouch. Have to have 2 more filled. Made my booking to QLD. Wow. I can't believe it. Went into Coles and saw the manager about a job. He gave me a form to fill and all these sums. I got 1 wrong and nearly died. Anyway, he told me to come back Thursday with some form of identification, and to wear something comfortable but I don’t know what he wants me to do. Maybe he’s trying me out but I have to be there at 4.30. God I hope I get this job. Seeya.
Saturday November 27 - Have been grounded for the weekend
Have been grounded for the weekend. Mum started to make my slacks.  Got into trouble for leaving the oven on and then being rude to Mummy Dear. Dad doesn’t know yet but he just came home. Sh-t. Michael O’Donnel rang last night and invited me to a party tomorrow night but somehow I don’t think it was a party. I wouldn't have been allowed anyway. I didn’t really want to go. I wrote to Lex last week. He should have my letter by now unless the people at the boarding home don’t give it to him. Gee I hope he writes back. I really miss him. Seeya.
Sunday November 28 - I couldn't think of anything to say
Guess what! Well, Lex rang this morning and he said he’d been to the dance last night and that he was about to go to Megan's cause Wayne was going, and had a bit to say about that. Anyway he said he’d come up this arvo and I said, “If you could find the time" and he said, “I will”. And they did, while I was washing the cars in a horrible top with my hair in. I saw them and raced straight inside and took my hair out and as I was coming out the bathroom Lex and Wayne walked up the stairs. My God was I embaraased. Anyway they came in and the house was a real mess, especially my room. They met Mum and Dad and Oma. Then we went outside again. I got them a drink but I asked them if they wanted a beer. I asked Dad but we didn’t have any. Gee they were embarrassed. We stayed outside and talked a while and then we went to Glenda's and stayed there a while. Wayne had to leave to catch a train so off he trotted. I couldn’t think of anything to say. I wanted to go for a walk but we just sat in Glenda's yard. Mr and Mrs Taylor thought we came out to see Glenda. So did Glenda for that matter. We didn’t talk for very much. I just wanted to be alone with Lex but then he had to go because he wanted to go to Denise's. He could have stayed lomger if he wanted to.  But he didn’t, so he hung around another 10 minutes saying he'd better go, seeya. I wanted to kiss him goodbye but if I did he'd probably turn away and I'd make a fool of myself. He was more good looking than ever. Yum Yum. I felt so jealous to think of all the girls he’d been with. Gee I luv him. When he left I watched him go, then I walked away upset. Naturally. I bet I'll never see him again. I wish he hadn’t have left. I wish he was MINE. Sob sob, seeya.
Monday Nov 29 - Lex asked me to go with him!
Yesterday Lex rang again - just before he went - to say goodbye. We talked a little. Then he went. Anyway, guess what happened tonight? Well, Lex rang. He asked me if I wanted to go to the beach with him on Sunday. He’ll meet me at Central at 9 o'clock. He also asked Mum if I could go and she said, “I don’t know” which means “no”. ANYWAY after that he asked me TO GO WITH HIM! ( on the phone,naturally). Well I said “Yes”. But what would be the point when I hardly see him? He said,“Yes you would”. So I said OK. Diary I am going with him! I won't be allowed to go I bet . I don’t know if I want to go.I'm scared. You know what he said when I said yes? “Thanks”. Funny isn’t it? Yes. Well went to the dentist today. Ouch, he punctured my gum and made it bleed. The spoof. Well I'd better go. Seeya
Tuesday November 30 - If he did invite them he's had it
I talked to Sue today and she said she was with Lex all night. Lex and Sue and Chi Chi are going to the beach with Lex on Sunday. HUMPH! That’s what they think. And if by any chance they turn up on Sunday ( if I go that is) I'll leave. I'll catch a bus to Narabeen. But no way ( if I go) will I stay around with them. NO WAY. And if he did invite them he’s had it ( if I'm allowed to go which I won't be). So I had another fight with Mother Dear and she's making me make my own suit myself, the B--ch. I'M DAM BLOODY SICK OF HER  NAGGING at me and running after my poor little sister, never saying anything to her. I'm going. Bye.

Brian Ferry's 'Lets Stick Together" is number one in the first half of November 1976

Abba's "Money, Money, Money" is number 1 by the end of November 1976

Written By Petra Campbell

Twitter: @petraau