Tuesday 1 March 2022

We're Having Brains for Dinner

An odd smell was coming from the kitchen. Sweet. Mysteriously meaty. Caramelising in butter. But it wasn’t fish. Or chicken. Or steak. Or any of Mum’s Dutch concoctions. What was it?

Dad was flipping something in the frypan. It was unusual to see him at the stove during the week. 

“What are you cooking Dad?”

“Brains Petra. We’re having brains for dinner!”

“Brains! Ewe”. I looked at Mum.

“YUCK! Yuck, yuck, yuck, yuck, yuck, yuck, yuck, yuck!” Mum scrunched up her face in disgust. Her body contorted and shivered with revulsion.

I’d never eaten brains before. They didn’t sound appetising either. Going by Mum’s reaction, I didn’t think I wanted to. The ones Dad hadn’t cooked yet were translucent, and filled with white channels that looked like fat white worms had crawled through them, had eaten their innards out, and were still in there, quietly digesting.

In another bowl, a cluster of brains was soaking in water, “to extract the blood”, Dad said. I watched on as he carefully separated the lobes with his long fingers by removing the white central cortex in the middle.  

“They’re a bit fiddly” 

Someone had slit the lambs throat so its brains wouldn’t be shattered with skull shards, which is what happens when a little lamb is shot in the head. Then someone sawed the end of the skull off by hand, and, using their manly little pinkie, nursed the soft organ out of the brain cavity to which it was clinging, being ever so careful not to squash it all into a pile of mush. 

Mum pouted. “I’m not having brains for dinner”. 

“Why not?” 

“They’re slimy and mushy and yacky and UGH!”

“All the more for me then”. 

Dad was chirpy.

“What about you Petra?”

“Um. Is there anything else we can eat? What are you going to have then Mum?

“Oh, I’ll be fiiiine” Mum assured us with a snobbish European version of ‘not-happy-Jan’ written all over her face.

But I was hungry, and it smelt good enough to get my mouth watering.

They looked okay too when they turned up to the table, wobbling like jelly. Crisped on the outside and dripping in black butter, lemon, parsley and capers. I was familiar with the saucing; it was the same we often poured over fish.

I cut off a tiny crispy end bit. Yum! “I’ll have more Dad”.

As my tongue closed in around a larger piece, I froze. The inside felt uncooked. It was ‘slimy, mushy, yacky and UGH’. Exactly like Mum described. And ceramic white when it found its way out of my mouth and all over the dinner table in a lumpy spray. My sister was gagging. 

Dad was snickering, in sadistic kind of way. 

He loved his offal. Liver, brains and kidneys. Tripe and sweetbreads. The recommendation of the day by Women’s Weekly was to, “ Serve them often. In addition to their good taste, they are a rich source of nourishment at a low price”

Mum hated them all. She’d rather be vegetarian than eat offal. Couldn’t stand the smell. Couldn’t stand the preparation. Not like gravy beef – where you just throw the meat into the pot, sear it brown in butter with onion and garlic, bung in some nutmeg, salt, pepper, and cloves. Cover with water and boil for ever until the meat falls apart and is all flavoured up with its own fat.  

Offal required surgical preparation before cooking. Long enough to realise what you are preparing. Long enough ask yourself questions like, I wonder if this lamb preferred to have its brain in its skull? How was this lamb killed? Was it scared? Did other lambs hear its screams of terror? Was the lamb crying for Mummy? Did it have brother and sister lambies? How fearful would the other lambs have been? Why am I eating this innocent animal?

One day Mum went on housewife strike and refused to cook offal anymore. Hence Dad at the stove. Since I loved steak and kidney pie, but Mum and my sister didn’t, when Dad wanted one, the culinary task fell upon me. Preparing shiny slippery kidneys is as fiddly as prepping brains, in that you need to remove the skin, the fat, and the hard core, before cooking.

Lamb Kidneys                                                                                                                                                       Beef Kidneys

Steak and kidney pie kidneys come from an Ox: they are tough and need long simmering, along with the sinuous fatty meat it is being stewed with. My sister used to pick the kidney bits out of the pie while Mum sat at the dinner table scrunching up her nose in loathing as she tucked into snails and garlic butter. My sister and I couldn’t really fathom that either. Fancy eating unctuous slime oozing snails, which, when cooked, had the texture of rubber tyres? 

Mum did enjoy the richness of liver, fried simply in butter, salt and pepper. Like kidneys, liver skins have to be removed first. Liver pan gravy is rich and flavoursome. My favourite was chicken liver pate, a puree of simmering butter, onion, garlic, thyme, brandy, nutmeg, butter and cream. I made it as often as I could convince Mum to buy chicken livers, and generally polished the pate off in a couple of days.

When it came to tripe, and heart, my sister and I joined Mum and quivered with disgust while we watched Dad shovel them down and wondered what we were having for dinner.  Baked beans on toast probably. Tripe is the stomach of any ruminant animal. Tripe can come from sheep, goat or pig. Dad ate honeycomb cow tripe, stomach two of the cow’s four stomachs. 

The fourth stomach of the cow is also called the rennet bag, which is where cheese makers get rennet from to make cheese with. Humans don’t eat this stomach. This stomach is the one cows regurgitate their cud from. It feeds into the small intestine. 

Tripe stinks of a dead animal and tastes of septic sludge if not washed properly. No matter how thoroughly I bleached that reticulum to get the cow’s last dinner out, it still tasted like vomit to me.

Another of Dad’s favourites was cow’s tongue. Cow’s tongue looks a lot like something ‘adults only’. A giant adult. I hadn’t yet seen any adults only, much less a giant one. Yet it still felt somehow pornographic to handle, had I have known what porn was.  Once the Ox tongue has been cooked for nearly three hours, you then peel the outer skin off to reveal the smooth pink inner organ underneath. Like a circumcision. Only of the entire organ. 

Bone marrow was okay though. Finally, something we could all do in unison at the dinner table. Suck on bones. Sucking the marrow out of oxtails and the veal bones of Osso Bucco, and the top of the BBQ’d T-bone steak, out of the smoked pork ribs in pea soup, the sinuous connective tissue between bones. Slurp, slurp, suck, suck. Mum would draw on her bones with the same enthusiasm Dad would exhibit while melting the sheep pancreas around his taste buds. Neither of my parents hid their enjoyment of food from their faces.

Dad would say, “Now children, this is something you must never do at the dinner table”. Then he would pick up his plate, and with a tongue stretched out as long and as wide as the ox’s I’d been circumcising, he’d clean the plate better than our spanking new 1970’s dishwasher did. 

We were big fatty salty meat eaters growing up, and I am miraculously still alive. Dad would buy a half cow and a half pig off a local farmer. He’d take it to a butcher to carve up into different cuts. It was a whole of family activity to portion five of each into freezer bags ( one for us, two for Dad), label, and carefully order into the deep freezer - of the size humans often hide murdered bodies in, in movies, and in real life too. Hence, we also got the offal. And everyone else’s offal. One shouldn’t waste a perfectly good cow. If Dad had use for the hide, he would have taken that bit with him too.

But brains, they were his favourite.

He preferred lambs’ brains. They are smaller than cows’ brains, which win hands down over sheep’s brains were they to compete for the most hideous looking.

                                                                                                Sheep Brains

Beef brains are eaten in many countries around the world but are barely eaten in Europe anymore. They have even been banned in Germany since 2001, because of what the British, and others, were doing to cows for quite some time.

What were they doing to cows for quite some? 

They were feeding dead cows to living cows.

Feeding dead animals to livestock began in Europe in the 19th century, but by 1920 it was commonplace to feed abattoir waste, including bone meal, and the carcasses of sick and injured animals, to pigs and poultry as a protein supplement. During World War Two, milk and beef was in short supply, so the British started feeding abattoir waste, including sheep brains, to sheep and cattle, in order to increase production. Between 1960 to 1980, in a profit driven deregulated market, Britain doubled the amount of dead animal waste it fed to its sheep and cows. 

A cow would not naturally eat another cow, if it came across a dead one in the paddock. 

A cow is a herbivore. A cow enjoys daises, clover, magic mushrooms, and to leap high and joyously across green grassy meadows, chasing butterflies to the end of the distant rainbow, on hills alive with the sound of music.

Knowing cows would need some convincing to eat their own kind, abattoir waste was disguised as something cows might recognise as tasty. Referred to as ‘ruminant materials’ in food labelling regulation, the British animal feed industry didn’t tell anyone what was in their new ‘beefed up’ cattle feed. It was a ‘trade secret’. They called it ‘protein’. 

Protein. A cow version of Soylent Green

Seems no-one really bothered to ask if British farmers had turned their cows into cannibals. Not even organic farmers. As long as profits grew. And grew.

Higher up in the trophic level, eating your own kind never ends well. Hardly ever. 

Lower down the food chain, cannibalism does happen. Especially in aquatic ecosystems where, apparently, at some point up to 90% of species engage in some form of cannibalism in their life cycle. The trick is to recognise your own family and not eat them. Some species are still struggling with this, like stickle back fish. Whereas the spadefoot toad tadpole seems to know not to eat its brothers and sisters.

Sexual cannibalism is where one eats the other shortly after having sex, usually it's the reproductive female doing the eating otherwise sex would be pointless. There are parents who eat their babies, like sand tiger sharks. Salamanders have a few extra embryos hanging around for the strongest kid salamander to eat while it grows. Others eat just the extra eggs because they are hungry.

While it is usually a stop gap measure deployed by a species for short term survival, more often than not, cannibalism results in lowering the expected survival rate of the species as a whole. Reptiles and amphibians can get  diseases like sarcocystis and iridovirus; insects can come down with granulosus virus, Chagas disease, and microsporidia; and crustaceans can get stained prawn disease, white spot syndrome, helminthes and tapeworms. Not nice.

Higher up the food chain at the mammal level, in sheep, cows, deers, squirrels and humans for example, cannibalism is a DISASTER. Disaster in the form of a transmissible disease and death caused by a prion, a misfolded protein that behaves much like a zombie does – if zombies were real. It bumps into other healthy proteins similar to itself, then instructs that healthy protein to fold up and become a ‘zombified’ prion, until an army of zombie prions have taken over their hosts nervous system and kills them.  

Like Kuru, the cerebellar dysfunctional prion disease found among the Fore tribes of the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea. The Fore practised endocannibalism or necrophagic funerary cannibalism, to free the deceased spirit and return the dead relative's life force home. Until it was banned when the practise was linked to the spread of Kuru. It was mostly women and children of the Fore who ate the brains of their dearly departed. Serendipitously, Fore men thought eating dead human brains would diminish their powers in battle, so if at all, they ate muscles to increase their strength. 

Kuru is a human, fatal and transmissible neurodegenerative disease, a form of spongiform encephalopathy. It destroys the brain. Even though cannibalism was banned in Papua New Guinea in 1950, there was a significant outbreak of Kuru in the late 20th century, supporting the theory that the disease has a long incubation rate and symptoms may not appear until decades later. Or, that long held spiritual beliefs and cultural practises are hard to eradicate. 

Research traced Kuru back to one single individual who lived on the edge of Fore territory in around 1900, and who is thought to have spontaneously developed some form of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease. 

Kuru Case Zero. 

One theory points to the group sharing of infected prions that allowed the disease to spread, not the act of cannibalism itself. Probably not something we should be telling people because cannibalism is just not on. Unless you are a rugby team stranded by Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 for two months in the Andes mountains, in winter, with no-one coming to rescue you very soon.

Kuru symptoms include a broad-based gait and decreased motor activity control, tremors, difficulty speaking, the inability to stand, eat, or maintain bowel control. Victims develop chronic wounds, lose consciousness, starve, and die within three months to two years of the onset of the diseases. 

Much like the neurodegenerative disease the British were suddenly seeing with their cows in the mid 1980’s.

Under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, deregulation went full throttle and a terrible thing happened to British cows. They began to behave abnormally. They had trouble walking, were spreading their legs wide just to stay upright, and lost weight rapidly. Their brain cells were dying off in massive numbers over the course of their degeneration in a type of Swiss cheesing of the brain. Within two months of the visual onset of the disease, the afflicted cows perished. British farmers had seen this before, with sheep, when they got a disease called Scrapie. In the US, they’d seen Wasting Disease in deer.

At first, the British thought the disease jumped species from sheep infected with Scrapie, to cows, which had been fed infected sheep. But that wasn’t the case. This cow disease was new. It was named Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) or Mad Cow Disease. 

From 1986 to 2015, more than 184,000 cattle were diagnosed with mad cow disease. The British meanwhile had exported the contaminated ‘zombie protein’ in beef exports, and infected cattle stock all around the world. And because countries like the USA have more relaxed regulations around what qualifies as ‘safe for human consumption’, a few thousand more cases resulted from importing infected American cows. 

An estimated 400,000 cattle contaminated with Mad Cow Disease entered the human food chain in the 1980’s, with the peak of new cases occurring in 1993. Mad Cow Disease has been confirmed in cattle born in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, and the U.K. 

Thankfully not in Australia after all that offal we ate growing up!

The British ran an enquiry which found:

"This problem has arisen as a result of the practice of feeding ruminant materials to herbivores, which are thus exposed to infective risks against which they have not evolved any defences. Such practices are a feature of modern intensive agriculture, but inevitably ... they open up new pathways for infection to the farmed animals and potentially from them to man" ( Southwood Report in 1988). 

The Southwood Report recommended to stop feeding cows to cows and sheep to sheep. Or cows to sheep and sheep to cows, etc. 

Just stop making cannibals of herbivores!

But it was already too late. 

Freezing, heating or cooking doesn’t destroy the zombie prion. Our digestive enzymes do not kill the prion either, so the disease jumped species, straight from cows, onto our dinner plates, and into our bodies, as predicted. 

It took a while for the prion to show up in humans due to its slow developmental phase. Ten to twenty years. When it first did in 1996, diseased humans, like cows, began to behave abnormally. They had trouble walking, were spreading their legs wide just to stay upright. They lost weight rapidly. Like cows, they died a horrible death shortly after diagnosis. 

They had the human version of Mad Cow Disease. vCreutzveldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD). V stands for a variant of the existing, but rare, Creutzveldt-Jakob Disease.

We had seen this before with in Papua New Guinea, with Kuru.

One hundred and seventy-seven cases of vCJD have been ‘recorded’ in the United Kingdom since the 1990’s outbreak of Mad Cow Disease, and 50 cases in the rest of the world up to the year 2014. Three cases of vCJD occurred in people from Ireland, Canada, and the USA, who had lived in, or visited, the UK, and had eaten a zombie prion hiding in their steak. 

                                                                    Justice for Andy

One mouthful of prion contaminated beef was all it took.

 “BSE is the first man-made epidemic, or "Frankenstein" disease, because a human decision to feed meat and bone meal to previously herbivorous cattle (as a source of protein) caused what was previously an animal pathogen to enter into the human food chain, and from there to begin causing humans to contract vCJD” stated Jonathan D. Quick, M.D., Instructor of Medicine at the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

A Frankenstein disease. 

A man-made epidemic. 

An unnecessary man-made catastrophe. 

Killing humans indefinitely into the future.

Born of greed. Stimulated by exponentially growing human populations with purchasing power, wanting beef, and wealthy countries wanting to eat beef every day. Several times a day even.

With the announcement of a new Frankenstein vCJD outbreak there was panic across Europe. The British were asking themselves: how did this happen and why now, when we’ve been doing this abominable cannibalistic thing to animals since the turn of the century, with no consequence?  

It is a pretty grotesque disease to unleash on cattle and humans around the world, so the British went on the defensive: we British could not have possibly done something so evil. Alan and Nancy Colchester, professors of neurology at the University of Kent, proposed in the 3 September 2005 issue of the medical journal, The Lancet, that it was India’s fault. They sent us Brits cheap bone meal mixed with vCJD-infected human remains scooped up from funeral pyres along the Ganges River and elsewhere, which had been poorly rendered with abattoir waste. We were just feeding cows to cows. The Indians were feeding dead Indians to cows, and then feeding dead Indians to us British, via their cheap bone meal we fed to our cows, which we then ate.

The real Soylent Green  

The Indian government denied the accusation claiming it 'absurd'. India had not had a single case of either BSE or vCJD she claimed, and "scientists must proceed cautiously when hypothesising about a disease that has such wide geographic, cultural and religious implications"

Native Indian journalist Maneka Gandhi, writing in the Statesman in 2018, claimed there are many cases of vCJD resulting from Indians eating Indian beef, and that India is pretending Mad Cow doesn’t exist. She noted the Indian government denies the existence of any animal disease at all like tuberculosis and leukaemia, much less Mad Cow. She wrote:

"Look at the condition of the cattle that go for slaughter. Seventy-five per cent are downer animals – those with disease, injuries, pregnant, unfit to eat, gangrenous. Their conditions are exacerbated by the way they are transported in overloaded trucks. When they arrive at the slaughterhouse, most cannot even walk out. They are dragged out of the trucks. Many are already dead. The vets are supposed to reject downed animals according to the law. But there are no vets in slaughterhouses. They sit at home and are paid vast sums by the butchers to sign meaningless pieces of paper stating that the animal was well and the meat is fine. There are no labs in slaughterhouses and no laboratory technicians to check whether the animal had any communicable disease. The blood and the bones are taken to filthy factories nearby and mixed and ground into bone meal that is fed to other animals, many of whom are vegetarian. 

These are called High Protein Pellets. 

This process of grinding up diseased, dead animals for feed or fertiliser is called “rendering”. India has thousands of rendering factories.

How can our government say that India is free of BSE when we have never tested a single cow for it? We denied having foot and mouth disease when, last year, thousands of cattle had it. We sent exports of meat contaminated with foot and mouth — knowing that it is also a zoonotic disease. We know that our cattle have brucellosis, which, in humans, translates into tuberculosis. Do we check our slaughtered animals for that? No, we deny it. Do we check our cows for bovine leukaemia, a disease that millions of cattle have been acknowledged to have in every country and which translates into human cancer. We don’t even allow our vets to even raise the issue.

Cows affected by BSE show progressively deteriorating behavioural and neurological signs. An increase in aggression, reacting excessively to noise or touch, losing the inability to coordinate muscles, a drop in milk production, refusal to eat and lethargy. Hundreds of our cows, buffaloes, sheep and goats have these symptoms. But our vets are not trained to recognise these symptoms as BSE. There are no proper veterinary hospitals in rural India (two rooms without light and water, in Pilibhit), no labs to test the brain even for rabies. No wonder we say our cattle are healthy."

Gandhi concludes India’s bovine meat export industry is huge, and that any admission of disease would destroy the industry. So, the Indian government and its (elite) medical establishment do not test for Mad Cow Disease.

Gandhi's article did not address the Colchester's claim that humans remains are being used to make high protein animals pellets for domestic and international markets. If this was so well known in the UK, did anyone question at the time why the British would import such animal feed from India? I twice requested a copy of the Colchester paper from the Lancet but it requires the Colchesters to permit its release to me and by the time of publication, they had not done so.

After much denial and ‘cause unknown’ declarations by the British Government, it was eventually settled that the trigger for the outbreak of BSE was a change in the way meat products fed to cattle were processed, or 'rendered' by the animal feed industry during the 1970’s when they used lower temperatures to save money during the oil crisis. The official BSE inquiry (published in the year 2000), suggested that the UK outbreak "probably arose from a single point source in the southwest of England in the 1970s". 

A single source went onto infect hundreds of thousands of cows. 

Cow Zero.

But the disaster did not stop at just consuming beef.

It turns out that workers in the cattle and horticultural sector could get vCJD from inhaling meat and bone meal when using it as fertiliser, and diabetics could get vCJD from bovine insulin injections, and patients could get vCJD through cosmetic treatments, and through surgical sutures derived from French bovine materials, and by contaminated surgical equipment, and in human growth hormones given to babies born small, and customers could get it in face creams containing collagen, and cooks could feed you vCJD contaminated pana cotta via the gelatine contained in it. 

And vCJD can be transmitted by blood transfusions

Currently around the world there are variations on permanent bans on donating blood if you lived in the UK, Republic of Ireland, Western Europe, Germany, France and Saudi Arabia, for a minimum of 6 months or an accumulative period of 5 years, from between 1980 to 1996. In New Zealand this resulted in ten percent of New Zealand's active blood donors at the time becoming ineligible to donate blood. 

Sperm donation from Europe is also banned which killed the popular, tall, blond haired, blue eyed, Swedish 'designer baby' industry.

And it gets worse. 

Prions are not destroyed by cooking, fire, freezing, disinfectants, sterilisation procedures or ionising radiation. The prion remains viable at temperatures over 600 °C. They can only be destroyed by denaturation, for example,  incineration at a temperature of over 482 degrees C for four hours, no less in time or temperature. Or in an autoclave, at 132  °C and 21 psi for 90 minutes. Prohibitively expensive for large numbers of cows. Much of it is all over the place in paddocks, in soil, and in grass, because that's where cows peed it out, got sick and were disposed of.

Zombie Prions Are Forever.

Mad Cow is a true Frankenstein disease.

There were warnings. An alarm bell was rung back in 1979 by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, which said: "The major problem encountered in this recycling process is the risk of transmitting disease-bearing pathogens to stock and thence to humans." 

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was in charge of this monstrous "recycling process". The reviled Margaret Thatcher, head of the conservatives. The Tories. The party with a record of undermining environmental and social regulations.

Thatcher refused to implement risk mitigation recommendations resulting from the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution. 

The British beef industry and all those who died, paid for her reckless negligence. Many more will continue to pay the price with their lives in the future.

The whole world banned British beef and live cattle imports. Over 4 million British cattle were incinerated. The EU banned British beef for 10 years: from 1996 to 2006. Russia banned British beef for 16 years. Incredibly, the British objected to the ban and even sued the EU. Everyone else’s health around the globe being far less important than the profits of British beef exporters. Restrictions remain in place today for beef containing "vertebral material" and for beef sold on the bone. 

France continued to impose a ban on British beef long after the European Court of Justice had ordered France to lift its blockade - while France was busy covering up its own BSE and vCJD scandal. Seven French citizens died of vCJD disease which supposedly didn’t exist in France, along with Mad Cow, government health officials told the public. 

Britain banned almost all BSE-sensitive beef parts (brains, spinal cords, offal, etc.) for human consumption in April 1990. It took six years for the French government to make the same decision (July 1996), once again with some serious exceptions, like guts for sausages. France also underreported French BSE cases, estimated at 4,700-9,000 cows. 

France only banned meat and bone meal for cattle, which ran the risk of cross-contamination through improper cleaning of machines producing food for different species subjected to different sanitary standards (beef, poultry, pigs, etc.), through human errors, or through outright fraud. 

In the UK and the US, slaughterhouse tissues that are part of the central nervous and lymphatic systems, such as the skull, brain, spinal cord, nerves, tonsils, ganglia in the skull, intestines, and eyes of cattle, are classified as ‘specific risk materials’ and must be disposed of by rendering, natural exposure, incineration, burial or composting, on-farm, or in an authorised landfill. 

As we have seen, none of these kill the prion. How many farm fields in Europe and around the world are contaminated with killer prions?

The USA, whose cattle industry is worth nearly one trillion dollars to the U.S. economy, as much as six percent of the country's GDP,  have only partially prohibited the use of animal by-products in feed. While they have banned by-products of ruminants being fed to mammals, these potentially BSE contaminated ruminant materials can still be legally fed to pets or other livestock, including pigs and poultry ( called ‘restricted material’ in Australia on your livestock feed bag). Which is really where it all started in the UK at the turn of the 20th century.

The USA did not learn from the British experience. 

In 2003 the USA announced it had Mad Cow Disease and sixty-five nations implemented full or partial restrictions on importing US beef products because of concerns that US testing measures were insufficient. As a result, exports of US beef declined from 1,300,000 metric tons in 2003, (before the first mad cow was detected in the US) to 322,000 metric tons in 2004. 

The 65 nations who banned US beef were right about the USA's lax testing regime as the black angus producer, Creekstone Farm, found out.

When Japan banned the import of American beef, Creekstone Farm reported losing a third of its sales as a result and had to fire 150 staff. So Creekstone decided to test every single cow for BSE, at the cost of $20.00 a cow. However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which controls the sale of BSE testing kits, refused to sell Creekstone enough kits to test all of its cows. The USDA’s official position was that testing 1% of slaughtered cows, which is still the current testing regime in the USA, is enough to assure public safety. 

One percent. 

A first judge ruled against the USDA in favour of Creekstone. But the USDA appealed this decision and reversed the lower court's ruling. It ruled that under an obscure 1913 law, the USDA had the authority to restrict sales of BSE testing kits, allegedly to protect other producers from being forced to conduct the same tests to stay competitive. Observers noted the decision was more likely due to pressure from large American agribusiness.

Creekstone lost, and was not permitted by the American government to test all its cows for Mad Cow Disease. 

In 2006 a US biotechnology company, Hematech Inc, announced it had used genetic engineering and cloning technology to produce cattle that lacked a necessary gene for prion production, theoretically making them immune to BSE. These cloned cows contain human DNA.

Cloned Cows with human DNA.

Chickpeas anybody?

For countries like Australia that don’t have Mad Cow, disease control relies on import control, feeding regulations, and surveillance measures. As of May 2015, the Australian Government declared American beef safe for human consumption and permitted the US to export beef to Australia. Australia, the second largest beef exporter in the world. As if we need American beef. 

Something about free trade. 

Brazil, the largest beef exporter in the world, has had Mad Cow Disease. Cows born and raised in Australia or New Zealand are safe and BSE free. Maybe this is why cows are more sacred in Australia than they are in India, being practically above the law.

The full extent of the human vCJD outbreak is not known. Due to spasmodic outbreaks and a long disease incubation period, people are still being diagnosed with vCJD each year. The British have set up a compensations scheme and a memorial to those who have died of vCJD. The same forces behind the industry’s unwillingness to test every cow for BSE is possibly also at the source of suspected under reporting or alternate reporting of vCJD cases. A 2012 study ( only 8 years ago) conducted by the British Health Protection Agency concluded that around one in 2,000 people in the UK show signs of abnormal prion accumulation. In 2020 there were 131 recorded deaths from vCJD in the UK. Authorities expect the same number of French cases of vCJD in the future as in Britain.

Before Mad Cow, one in a million worldwide would get vCJD

We hit that boundary between wildlife and human life, where the wild hit back with a disease of our own making.


In August 1977, the late American artist Meat Loaf, a covid-19 anti vaccination proponent, who sadly died a covid -19 related death, was preparing to release Bat out of Hell, which is as good a segue as any in the Era of the Coronavirus and of humans playing God, to continue on the topic of livestock.

The global meat industry is worth up to $741 billion. Livestock represents about 40% of global output and employs almost 1.3 billion people. In the 14th century, farming employed 76% of the population, and today it employs less than 26%, excluding value adding activities along the supply chain. Factory farming has become the global norm to maximise efficiency and production to meet the demands of an exponentially growing human population. 

The cows my father bought home were from a local farmer. They had a free ranging life like all Australian cows used to have. Australia’s population was 13 million. We had plenty of space for humans, wildlife, and free ranging livestock. Today’s industrial beef cow could only dream of being a 1970’s Blue Mountains cow. While a free ranging cow puts on weight a little slower than factory raised cows do, I don't recall feeling meat deprived by a slim cow, or having to wait a little longer for a plumper one.

The documentary Earthlings confronts viewers with the painful reality of what factory farms the world over have become: unimaginable horror houses where barbaric cruelty is inflicted on animals, Kosher included in spite of claims. Cows are kept inside cages or feedlots like prisoners, where they’re engorged, unable to move. Branded on their faces with hot irons, horns are wrenched out of heads with large pliers and no anaesthetic; they’re packed so tightly on top of each other on their way to slaughterhouses they can barely breath.

Earthlings: Trailer.

Milking cows are kept tethered in the one spot their entire lives, getting no exercise. They are pumped with antibiotics which are used to increase milk output, and they are fed by grain dripping in toxic pesticides. They are kept in a state of perpetual impregnation and lactation until they die of exhaustion. A milking cow only lives 4 years on average, 16 years shorter than their life could have been. Their meat is then minced and eaten in fast food venues.

That tender veal steak is a baby cow. Baby cows are taken from their mothers within two days of birth, are tied at their neck and kept restricted to stop muscles from developing. They are fed an iron deficient liquid diet, denied bedding and light, and after 4 months, they are slaughtered for the supermarket.

Same fate for pigs. Sows in factory farms are breeding machines, kept reproducing through artificial insemination. They are held in gestation crates for up to four weeks once they are pregnant, and, once they've had their piglets, they are put into farrowing crates where they have no space to move, so they don’t accidentally crush their babies. Large factories produce between 50,000 and 600,000 pigs a year per indoor facility. They live in waste pits of their own faeces where they can be eaten alive by flies and maggots growing in their wounds, ruptures and abscess, before being cannibalised by other starving  pigs.

Because pigs are overcrowded, they will eat each other’s tails and ears. To stop this, their ears are snipped off without anaesthetic. Their teeth are also pulled out without aesthetic to stop them biting other piglets. Piglets are castrated so they fatten up, also without anaesthetic. Electric prods are used to stop pigs squirming and trying to escape from the cruelty being inflicted on them. Pigs are often electrocuted as a method of slaughtering. Pig hair and bristles then need removing; many are still alive when, shackled by the legs, they are dunked in boiling water, submerged and drowned. 

When I grew up, we only ate chicken as an occasional Sunday roast. Thanks to factory farming, the average days to market for a chicken has been reduced from 112 to 48, while the weight of a supermarket chook has grown from 1.1 kilograms to 2.8. Many Americans consume as much chicken in one day as they did in all of 1930 ( the Great Depression).

Like pigs, chickens are horrendously treated. With 60-90,000 birds squashed together in one building, their beaks are burnt off to stop them pecking and eating each other in claustrophobic frustration where they are unable to create their natural pecking order. Even with severed beaks, the birds will try to peck each other. Egg laying hens are held inside battery cages. Many lose fathers and develop sores rubbing against their wire cage. They’re so squashed together they can’t even spread their wings. 

Then they are piled on top each other when transported and suffocate. We know this because people with a conscience smuggle this footage out. Footage that repeatedly show farm workers being sadistic, often laughing and taunting as they kick, beat, stomp, whack and club chickens to death, or prod with electric rods before hanging the hens upside down on a conveyer belt, their throats slit, as they bleed to death. Or they’re placed headfirst in tubes while they bleed out.

Because of the movement towards the humane treatment of the animals we eat and export, the Federal and State government of Australia, bought in a series of US inspired 'Ag-Gag' laws to criminalise the activities of undercover investigators, whistle blowers, journalists, not for profits like the RSPCA, and the makers of documentaries like Earthlings. 

Regardless of one's position on eating animals, humans could all eat meat at a healthy and humane level if we weren’t heading towards 10 billion people on earth. What are the costs of rising billions eating meat every day? Twenty-four/seven horrendous suffering of billions of industrial animals on our conscience is one. Mad Cow disease is another. The scorched earth approach to rainforests and other remaining forests worldwide: firebombing and clear-felling them with chains dragged by bulldozers, them to make way for cattle ranches. Mass extinctions. The climate crisis. The cost of feed sourcing, manure processing, loss of land and biodiversity, desertification, the toxification of our food chain and the bio accumulation of harmful chemicals, the disappearance of vital fresh water supplies and aquatic life, and chronic water pollution of what’s left. 

Eighty percent of the destruction of the Amazonian rainforest is due to cattle ranching. Brazil is the world’s biggest exporter of beef. Brazil has mad cow disease. Brazil is now carpet bombing the amazon with pesticides to destroy the rainforest even faster than fire bombing, to make way for cattle farming. 

Brazilian Cattle Ranch

Of our 770 million hectares in Australia, 415 million hectares has been given over to livestock grazing, mainly cattle, sheep and dairy, and modified pastures. That’s 54% of Australia. There are 600 million chickens, 104 million sheep, 28 million and 2.4 millions pigs running around Australia. Sixty percent of cattle, 66% of lambs, and 35% of dairy is exported. 

Every eighty-six seconds an area the size of the Melbourne Cricket Ground is clear-felled in Australia. We have the highest extinction rate of species in the world. Our iconic Koala is threatened with extinction. 

Unapproved Land clearing at Olive Vale. A dozer and a chain

Our export industry is mostly in the hands of billionaires, oligarch, corporates, foreigners and family trusts which own massive tracts of land, like Gina Rinehart: 9.7 million hectares; British Tycoon Joe Lewis; 6.4 millions hectares; the privately owned North West Pastoral Company: 6 million hectares; Rupert Murdoch’s nephew: 5.2 million hectares; Guy Hands: 3.6 million hectares; Twiggy Forrest: 1.12 million hectares;  Kerry Stokes: 990,000 hectares; and here’s a list of the top 50 private land owners in Australia. Repeat offender Scott Harris who owns 931.000 hectares of QLD, is not satisfied with how much cleared land he has; he has to clear more. He was fined for one of Australia’s one of biggest ever single illegal land clearing. Shutterstock shows the 205,000 acre Elizabeth Downs Station, now owned by the Chinese Yian Ziange Assets, as compete desert wasteland. The red meat and livestock exports were valued at 16.3 billion to its owners. 

One standout on this list is the Brook Family which own 3 million hectares of organic farmland certified as completely free of chemicals, pollutants and additional hormones, as every food producing property should strive to be on a healthy, sustainable planet. 

More than 70 billion animals are consumed globally each year. Thirty-eight percentage of the worlds land surface us used for farming. Of that, almost 80% is dedicated to livestock or producing mostly monocultural livestock feedlots. Livestock consume six times more protein than they produce. That’s like paying $120.00 for a $20 steak, every time you eat one. Except the loss is not in your personal pocket but in planetary ecosystem demise. Meat, dairy, egg, and fish farming use the majority of the world's farmland yet provide only 18% of the world’s calories (Food and Agricultural Organisation website).

Livestock also uses up to 92% of our freshwater reserves. Twenty five percent of rivers in the world no longer reach the ocean because of intensive agriculture. Looking at the water footprint of food: the water footprint of vegetables is around 322 litres per kg; fruits around 962; chicken at 4,325 l/kg; pork at 5,988 l/kg; sheep/goat meat at 8,763 l/kg, and beef at a massive 15,415 l/kg. And a whopping 2400 litres of water is needed to make a hamburger patty which weighs 120 grams on average. Nuts, a popular protein replacement, weigh in at 9,063 l/kg which, while high, is still less than half of what beef uses.

Water depletion is one side of the water threat, water pollution is the other. American farm animals produce 50 times more waste a year than America’s entire human population. That’s a shyte load of raw animal sewerage going into rivers, lakes and ground water where, in developed countries, we would never accept that human sewerage goes.  In Australia, we swim in rivers full of cow defecation and urine. The law requiring land owners to fence their land from waterways is not enforced. Other toxic cattle waste you don't want to accidentally swallow while swimming, includes nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilisers; chemicals in pesticides, weedicides, fungicides and petrochemical based fertilisers; sediment from waterway tree removal; bacterial outbreaks from oxygen depletion caused by cow excreta; pathogens like E coli; metals like selenium fed to cows, and worrying pollutants like drug residues, hormones and feed additives. Scientists are looking at the contribution the wide-scale use of antibiotics in livestock might be making to the rising resistance of antibiotics in humans. Riparian plant and fish life are battling with these conditions too.

Livestock effluent being dumped into US waterways

The livestock sector is responsible for 15% to 32% of global manmade emissions – that’s the same or double, depending on which basis of measurement is used, of all emissions from all the forms of transport in the worlds, planes, trains, cars, ships, vans all added up. A 2017 landmark study found that the top three meat firms – JBS (Brazil), Cargill (USA), and Tyson (USA) – emitted more greenhouse gases in 2016, than all of France. The USA consumes three times more meat than the international average. If the USA alone moved to a more plant-based diet, emissions would come down by 73% and save 1 million litres of water per person per year. On a global scale that would free up land the combined size of Africa, which would enable endangered ecosystems to rebound. This will take some convincing. Currently only 3% of Americans live a healthy lifestyle, while 42.4% are obese.

We the consumers, can help to stop this destruction, by making changes to our own diets. We can reduce our livestock intake and move to a healthier plant based one. Not everyone can do this, at least not suddenly. My 85 year old mother can barely tolerate a meal without meat in it. 

Farmers can make voluntary changes. They can take the initiative and move into organic production, biodynamic farming, permaculture, like the Brook Family in Australia have done with their 3 million acres. Farmers can fuse technology with environmental principles in the form of agroforestry, silvopasture, conservation farming, regenerative agriculture, or rotational grazing methods all of which encompass carbon sequestration, high biodiversity, soil protection, and give animals a decent life. 

The more consumer demands this, the more farmers will find markets. 

But what of giant companies, private entities, or recalcitrants? They would need legislative change which is difficult when they are so powerful, and governments are doing the opposite by passing AG-Gag laws. But we can demand that corporate agriculture implement the policies needed for a sustainable supply chain and we can influence their customers – grocery stores, restaurants, and food service operations – to implement policies within their own supply chains to only source sustainable products. And we can avoid fast food and other outlets that cannot implement supply chain sourcing.

Decades ago, you could only get organic food in health food shops or specialised organic markets. In Australia our big supermarkets have all kinds of organic produce, including meat and poultry. And the fully vegan offerings are growing annually.

Apart from still paying a little more for organic produce, which will help increase the supply of them and bring prices down, here are some supply chain demands we can make of our suppliers

Sustainable Feed Sourcing
  • Raise all meat on feed from suppliers verifiably implementing practices to prevent agricultural run-off pollution, soil erosion, and native ecosystem clearance across their supply chain.
  • Enrolment in nutrient optimisation plan to prevent excess fertiliser application
  • Implementation of cover crops and conservation tillage to protect soil health and reduce run-off
  • Policy against clearing native ecosystems and monitored evidence.
  • Incorporation and support of diverse crop rotations to improve soil health
Responsible Manure Management
  • Provide centralised processing facilities to process manure generated
  • Policy against placement of new or expansion of CAFOs in watersheds already classified as “impaired” from nutrient pollution
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions
  • Time-bound goals to reduce emissions across supply chain
  • Require meat suppliers to reduce emissions from direct and contract suppliers as well as feed production


Spain has its first democratic elections, after 41 years of dictatorship. Djibouti receives its independence from France but the Seychelles undergoes a coup d’etat; so does Pakistan, by the military, which ousts its first democratically elected Prime Minister. Somalia declares war on Ethiopia, starting the Ethio-Somali War, the Libyan – Egyptian war begins, and the purged Chinese Communist leader Deng Xiaoping is restored to power.  The Soviet Politburo orders Boris Yeltsin to demolish the Ipatiev House, where Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his family were shot in 1918. The Southeast Asia Treaty Organization is permanently disbanded, as is the East African Community, and the Women Marines, who are integrated into regular Marine Corps in the USA.

The first oil through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System reaches Valdez, Alaska, while the Soviet icebreaker Arktika becomes the first surface ship to reach the North Pole. French becomes the official language of the Canadian province of Quebec.

The United States launches the Voyager 2 spacecraft (before Voyager 1) to checkout Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus ( and is still up there), the first NASA Space Shuttle, Enterprise, makes its first test free-flight from the back of a Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft - shock and awe - and the Big Ear, a radio telescope operated by Ohio State University as part of the SETI project, receives a radio signal from deep space; the event is named 'the Wow! signal' after a notation made by a volunteer on the project. 

Elvis Presley dies; Grouvcho Marx dies three days later

Greece records a temperature of 48.0 °C.


I’m nearly 16 and both my parents are clamping down on my movements. They’re just trying to protect me from losing my virginity, being raped, getting pregnant, becoming a drug addict or being killed or maimed in a car accident at the hands of a drunk 18 year old, all of which has been happening to some of my peers and year 11 and 12 students. And to ensure I grow into an ethical adult who does the right thing. I can’t blame them. All I seem to think about is boys. But to my rebellious teenage mind they were being too harsh. Dad tells me I have done four bad things the past two years – was drunk twice and got myself signed into the Leagues Club underage. The older I get the more difficult it is becoming to bridge the divide between me and my parents. I’m not very kind in my writings as I am clearly a classic self absorbed teenager. And I am not getting over it. I vow to leave home the minute I turn 18. 

Not sure what was going through my head, but I wore a caftan to a dance. A friend told me they thought I was “a ghost”. A girl said, “I’ve got a curtain like that at home”. A boy said it made me “look fat”. Each year we have a sports exchange with Jesmond High. It’s a significant social and athletic calendar event. Team players also billet out visiting team members in their homes, a tradition lost to the public liability insurance takeover of Australia. I play for Springwood in the Volleyball and Captain Ball teams. 

I end up some kind of Prom Queen with Mr Casanova of Jesmond, the most sought-after boy in their school, and by our girls too apparently. Although we never even kiss. For that I receive multiple threats in graffiti around the school and to my person, to have my “face smashed in and rearranged”.
On the first night of the Jesmond meet I take my billet to the Leagues club. We were signed in by a member. We claimed we were 18 when we were 15. We didn’t get drunk, but I told Dad we were going to a party at the Ways. Then I told the Ways if Dad rings to tell him we went to a party at the Mitchells. When Dad checked up to find I wasn’t at the Ways he called every Mitchell in the Blue Mountains looking for me. This got me indefinitely grounded once the Jesmond meet was over. Dad got the police onto the Leagues Club for not checking ID’s and when they had to let me go to the Jesmond Dance because I had a billet and it wouldn’t be fair on her, well, I’ll let you read what my father had to say about how I looked.

It’s a full-on sporting three months. Barely a day goes by that I am not involved in some team or individual sport – playing, training, supporting other trainers, coaching, or umpiring. For the first time in seven years, our Premier Netball team, the Tigers, lost the Grand Final. By one goal. And the little under eight-year-old team I am coaching came up from nothing to be runners up and treated as Premiers by our netball club. I did well enough at school athletics to compete in both Zone and Area athletics.

We had a Rural Bank, because the Blue Mountains and Penrith area was considered rural. Both are suburban now. We had rural traditions too. When boys wanted to take me out, they always sought to meet my father first, usually with country music playing in background. If Mum didn’t like them, she was not very polite.
June 1977

Wednesday June 1 - Sport at Katoomba was cancelled. Thank goodness. Went home half day today.

Thursday June 2 - Getting badged on Saturday same time team plays. Sugar.

Friday June 3 -  Bored stiff!!!

Saturday June 4 - My little team won 11-1.

Well today I was badged, and I got my B. Just not good enough. I’ll try for it again soon. I hope. My little team won 11-1. Wow. Not bad eh. We Tigers played the Viscounts and won too.

Sunday June 5 - Worked all day. Wow Fun

Monday June 6 - Dear Bloody Diary

I’m angry at my family. How’s that for a start. It’s the bloody truth too. Father dear likes to think he’s King Shit, by bossing everyone around and cross examining everybody the minute they mention how nice a day it was or something like that. I can’t go to the film tomorrow night, can’t watch TV, and can’t go to the dance on two Fridays. Daddy Dear, if you are reading this at the moment, I hope you live with the guilt that you stuck your big arse into your daughters one and only private property (not that you care, you’ve done it before). My God as soon as I turn 18, I swear I will move out of this house and find somewhere to live because I just won’t be able to stand another 2 years  let alone more.

Tuesday June 7 - It's sort of like a blind date

Guess who just rang? Kim. Did I ask Kim who? Cause I don’t know. All I know about him is that he followed me once to Coles and asked Dianne about me and since then I’ve been getting ‘hello’ and ‘Kim sends you his love messages’ from Sue Smith. I hate it when someone sees you once and the next time, they get disappointed. I’m sure Kim will be disappointed. I hope not. I’m not cause I haven’t  clue what he looks like, or if he’s nice, or how tall he is, or anything. Anyway, he asked me out on Sunday. I said yes and he’s coming up Friday to meet Dad and Mum. I hope I’m not instantly turned off him or vice versa. I bet he’ll be disappointed in me. I just bet. Guess I’m nervous already. It’s sort of like a blind date. If I go. I hope I’m not a bitch or something. He’ll be disappointed in me. I bet. I wonder what he’s like. I’ll have to wait, wont I.

Wednesday June 8 - I felt 2 inches high

Went to Nepean to play netball. We got there just as they were having lunch. Everyone stared at us as if we were gloomps or something. Then I saw Greg and Rod so I talked to them, but I was more or less looking around. They were looking at my netball team. Had a good chat and everyone was looking at me. I felt 2 inches high. Then I saw Leanne’s friend, so I talked to her. Got a lot of remarks, stupid, smart. Won. Freezing. Home. Nothing. Seeya.

Tuesday June 9 - God. I’ve done it again. Got myself into something I can’t get out of

The phone rang tonight and when I answered it, it was for me. When I asked who it was, he said John. For a moment there I didn’t know who it was. Then I thought it must have been that guy from Penrith who asked me out. And it was. It was a bit embarrassing, so I said, "I didn’t recognise your voice". He asked me out for Saturday, I mean Friday, then Saturday, but I said I couldn’t, so he said next week. God. I’ve done it again. Got myself into something I can’t get out of. What a dill brain. Gees I’m stupid! Aren’t I?  Seeya

Friday June 10 - Mr Scarrat has been burnt in a fire and his grandchild killed

Well Kim came around and guess who turned out to be disappointed? Me! He’s not very nice looking. He’s not all that shy either. I could tell. The great fake presentation. I suppose he’s a nice person, but we sort of watched Willy Wonka until Mum turned it off. Then we just sat there till Dad came. Then I left them to have a chat. Mum was a real bitch too. I decided I don’t want to go on Sunday. But Dad consented in front of us so it looks like I’m stuck. God the things I get myself into! Really! Well it’s my own fault. 

A dreadful thing has happened. Mr Scarrat has been burnt in a fire and his grandchild killed. All his valuable property and his beautiful dogs and poor Mr Scarrat will have nothing left. God!!! Why do you do this? He’s now in intensive care and in pretty bad shape. THANKS!!!

Saturday June 11 - Dropped into the Rural Bank

Went to Springwood to get my nice warm sloppy joe thing and short and socks. Met Adam in there and we sat down and talked. He’s a really nice guy. Went home. Worked. Yesterday when I went into Springwood, I dropped into the Rural Bank to say hello to Paul and he smiled – he had customers. He is very good looking! Seeya 
P.S Tomorrow’s the big day. Sugar. How did I manage this? Seeya.

Wain rang. Asked me out Sunday, no Saturday, and then Sunday. Couldn’t, so I said, "how about next Saturday at netball?". He said he’d drive me home because he has his licence. Said OK. Seeya

Sunday June 12 - I hate guys coming on strong! 

Well, got up. Dressed. Kim came with car. Sue and Ray in the back. All the way they were ganooking. It was annoying. Went to Sue’s uncle who's with another guy as poofta’s. It was strange. Fits. It was alright on the way up, but when we got to the actual show, it was bad. Firstly, I had to go to the loo. So, we did. There were plenty of guys but nothing exciting. I kept wanting to move away from Kim and he kept standing on top of me. Then he tried to put his arm around me. God you should have felt the feeling I felt. It was terrible. I’d never felt that way before. Gees it was bad. 

Anyway, I moved away. It didn’t look obvious but the second time it did. We were looking at a motor bike and the way and the place I was standing gave me no choice but to stand still. But I didn’t. He put his arm (or tried to) around me and I sort of moved. Then he did it again. So I moved on. And when he tried to fasten his grip, I moved completely. He moved his arm roughly away, and out of the corner of my mind I saw him mad and move his head. I felt sick. I really did. Then he didn’t stop standing on top of me. When we picked up his brother, I had to move over to him. There was plenty of room in the back, but Kim said he had to sit in the front – typical!

Then we finally went home but not directly. We went to Roy’s place first. I was very suspicious until Roy said he wanted to show me to Roy’s Mum. Then when I finally got taken home. Roy and Sue were going to go later, but I got Sue to go now and she knew why. But I could see on Kim’s face that he wanted to take me home himself. Finally, he got me home and I just said, “Thanks a lot Kim, I had a good time. Seeya”, and went. I hate guys coming on strong! I really do. I didn’t even know Kim! UGH.

Wednesday June 15I kept trying to get rid of them cause they were real dags

I had great fun today. We played Penrith who are real moles and we beat them. Mark watched the last half then left cause I was going to Penrith. Mac drove up behind me and we had a chat. He wanted to tell Wain to ring me about the dance on Friday. When I was walking across the oval, these guys were yelling at me to turn around, but I didn’t. I kept walking and all these guys came up behind me. Soon there was a whole tribe. It was very embarrassing. But it was funny, and I didn’t really mind. Half of those guys were going to the station. The other half followed me into Walton’s. I kept trying to get rid of them cause they were real dags. I went to the station and on my way out that spunk I used to see at Penrith with the blond hair was standing in front of me.  I looked at him and kept walking. He was very nice indeed. Went into Coles and said hello to Lewis and everyone. That guy with the blond hair drove past and gees, he’s nice. He used to come into Coles and is a friend of Mrs Stratten. I’ll have to visit her one day and ask about him.

Anyway, I was walking along the pub side when I saw the blond spunk guy and a whole stack of other guys, so I crossed the road to save embarrassment and I heard someone yelling my name. I turned around and recognised Paul and David Taylor. They were waving me over. Then their Dad came and I said hello. Then I had the hysterics on the train and fell on the floor laughing ( which I shouldn’t have). It was really funny. I had great fun today.

Thursday – No entry

Friday June 17 –  The Dance

Well the dance was tonight. It was fairly good. I was quite bored. I don’t know why. Steve talked to me for a while about my little netball team. Guess who was there - Kim. Ugh. He came and talked to me and his hair was real greasy. UGH. And guess who else turned up. John and his friend. His friend talked to me and John waved and smiled. He didn’t ring today. Thank goodness. I wasn’t allowed anyway. I wore my pit suit. There was this guy there I noticed too, very masculine and very nice. He didn’t like me though. He looked at me a couple of times. Then guess who turned up? Wain. So did Paul and Dave and Steve Taylor and Milton Taylor and his friend. Dave Elks was sitting in the car. I mean sleeping. 
Wain was drunk so I got the shits but he was so drunk and nice that I had to talk to him. I ignored him a bit. You know what diary? I wanted to kiss hm – Wain. Yes. Well. But something stopped me. He left a bit early. Gees he was funny. Said he’d drive me home after netball tomorrow. 

Thus guy I know came up to me and said something. Then he tried to pash me off. But I pushed him away. Deadshit. These 3 dickheads and real creeps and stood in front of me, looked me up and down and said “do you wanna dance?” I just gave them real foul looks and said no.  One said, “what did you come here for then?” But I couldn’t be angry so I just said I didn’t feel like it right now. Then they just stood there so I walked off. Jo stayed till 10pm but I wasn’t very good company for her. She danced with Sharon.  Wain said I looked nice. Everyone did but what does he know.  God I was getting some looks. Went home straight away. Went to the dance at about quarter to nine cause I went to a Fellowship Reunion and gees it was sick. John invited me to a management party on Saturday. Am not allowed.

Saturday June 18 - My little team won again. We had a bye. Excitement. Wain rung.

Sunday June 19 - Did nothing this weekend.

Monday June 20 - Well tomorrow the sports carnival. Going to go bad as usual. Seeya.

Tuesday June 21 - Came 2nd in both age and hurdles.

Well as I predicted I went shocking. Came 2nd in both age and hurdles and I was in useless heats. The hurdles were bad. They weren't spaced properly. I couldn’t do it in 3 steps. Mandy Tate’s brother is very nice looking. Second form though. Worst luck. Practiced long jump. Geoff Tate was there. And Shane and that lot. Well Seeya. Oops almost forgot, that spunk was at the station again. 

Wednesday June 23 - I came first in high jumps – only because Helen broke her ankle. 

Well I went even worse today. I came first in high jumps – only because Helen broke her ankle – what a bloody bummer. She can’t play for the Tigers now and there's two Grand finals, and we could have won both. It also wrecks our grade team up. We could have won that too but now we haven’t got a chance. Imagine how she feels though. Don’t be selfish Petra. Anyway, came 5th  in 100m and 4th in hurdles. Gees it was bad, I was going real well unit I couldn’t jump them. I was doing just what the 12-year old’s do. God I was embarrassed.  Didn’t come anywhere in long jump. Our Captain and Tunnel ball team  - yes well. All 3 tunnels got disqualified. The first captain ball too. The 2nd, 3rd, and the last one we won– yeah team!!  Our relay came last. The results showed that Chapman (my house) won but they haven’t run some events yet, so I bet Moore wins. Oh well.

Thursday June 23 - Boy am I sore. Every tiny inch of me.

My God am I sore. Boy am I sore. Every tiny inch of me. Talk about out of condition! I got a letter from Mandy Bull today – how about that! I spose I’ll write straight back. Trained my little team – well that’s about all for excitement today. Seeya

Friday June 24 - I found out what he was going to tell me at the dance.

Went to Penrith after school. Thrills. Got $10.00 out of the bank to pay back school, and then went straight home. Gary's back from QLD. He had a good time.  He has a mo now. I like him better without it. He’s cuter. Oh well, I can’t very well tell him to shave it off. He asked when he'd see me again. But I didn’t know. Seems Wain rang. Asked if I could go to the drive-in. I wanted to but no way would I have been allowed. So, I invited him up and he stayed until about 10.40 for Dada to come home which he did. Just as Wain was leaving. I found out what he was going to tell me at the dance: I could have anyone I wanted. Ha! That’ll be the day. THAT WILL BE THE DAY. God how I wish it were true. It was really funny when he left cause I could tell he wanted to kiss me goodbye but he didn’t have the guts. He just kept hanging till I told him to go. Oh well Seeya.

The drive-in movies

Saturday June 25 - My little team has finally lost

Well disaster has finally struck. My little team has finally lost. SHIT! I don’t mind them losing that much; it’s who they lost to that I’m groaning about. That big fat King Parrot team - 6-1 it was, and wow did they play bad. I mean really bad. Boy was I cranky. Then we had our photos taken and boy did I look shocking. I wasn’t smiling or anything. We (the Tigers) lost also. We had Leanne and this other girl. Leanne played well but the other girl – well put it this way - no comment. That Terry spunk was watching, very nice indeed. Nice footy players there too! Going to the football tomorrow with Wain. Should be good. Well Seeya.

Sunday June 26 - I got really upset cause I know I’m not a slut. 

Today I went to the football. It was really good. Wain met me at the station. Well he watched me go by. I nearly didn’t notice him. Mac was there and so was Dave. Dave’s really nice. Gees he’s brown too. A really nice brown. Mac's a good kid too. He’s really funny. There were a lot of spunks. I got a lot of comments and looks etc. I also saw a lot of people I knew – Lex, John and others. It was very cold. Wain's a good kid too. He told me that this blond kid called Spike thinks I’m a slut. He also thought he heard two chicks call me a bitch, but he wasn’t sure if it was me – probably. 

I got really upset cause I know I’m not a slut. A bitch maybe – but not a slut.  And I hate it when people go by what other people say to form an opinion of one person. I hate it. Why me though. I must look like a slut. I must. I saw Mrs Stratton’s two little twins. Talked to them. Gees they are cute. Talked to a guy from Bathurst on the train. Got yelled at and whistled at by railway workers and the whole train was watching. Embarrassment.

Monday June 27 and Tuesday June 28 - No Entry

Wednesday June 29 - Played St Mary’s – won.

Played St Mary’s – won. God it’s cold today. Talk about freeze. Julie Steven’s and I went to Penrith and saw her Mum. Then I went home again. Talked to Mrs Geary and Ken Broderick on the train. All these railway workers were staring at us. And when we got to Penrith, half of them went to one door, and the other half to the other door, so we were stuck in the middle. Boy it was embarrassing. Seeya.

Thursday June 30 - Trained today. How thrilling.

Don't cry for me Argentina by Julie Covington, is number one in Australia, June 1977

JULY 1977

Friday July 1 - Caught train home – excitement

Saturday July 2 - Helen played ankle and all

Won today-just. God you should see our great team. Helen played ankle and all. My little team lost 5-1. Wow talk about bad. I don’t know what’s the matter with them. I’ve lost all hope. Seeya.

Sunday July 3 - A miracle happened today. I was shooting really well.

Went to a netball Carnival at Richmond today. We did really well considering who we had in or team. It looked like we were going to win or at least get runners up, but we came 3rd. We won 10 games out of 13. Two of them we lost by 2 goals. Damn it. And the other we lost by 4. Wow. Two goals and we could have won the comp. A miracle happened today. I was shooting really well. I hardly missed any goals. My legs got a tiny bit browner. I played all 13 games. I was the only one who didn’t go off. And boy am I buggered. I’m absolutely achingly sore. 

Monday July 4Mr Scarret died. Isn’t that bad.

Boy am I sore from yesterday, all over the place, I trained my team. They mucked up and I got mad with them. Mr Scarret died. Isn’t that bad, my sister was upset. She’s going to his funeral. Seeya.

Tuesday July 5 - Trouble in the gang. Boy is there trouble.

Worked on my little team’s banner in Enrichment Course. It’s looking good – almost finished it. Trouble in the gang. Boy is there trouble. We are training in a silent war but my God am I going to erupt soon. I can feel it.  Seeya.

Wednesday July 6The stupid mole 

Today we played Kingswood. It was really bad cause this player wouldn’t throw the ball to me. I got the shots, so I swapped positions and we started losing. The player knew it too. The stupid mole. She started telling everyone nasty things about me and by the end of the game all Kingswood thought I was a mole.  Anyway, the game was finally over and we won thanks to me ( yes well). I went off cause I was going to Penrith. I was walking past the footy fields and was getting yelled and whistled at. Then someone called “Campbell” and it was Mac. So I stopped and talked to him and all the guys were yelling at me from everywhere. They kept coming up and talking to Mac to have a look at me. 

Then somebody yelled, “does she root” God it was humiliating. Peter Zegless was there too. After I’d talked to Mac, I said bye and went and talked to Rod, Greg and his friends. They offered me a lift to Penrith and I accepted. They had their car parked right where all the guys were and I had all the looks all over again. It was bloody embarrassing. We stopped out the back of Coles. And I got out, said bye and trundled off into Coles. Said hi to Louise and Gayle, etc. then went into the plaza and had a look at the new section which is pretty good. This photography bloke was trying to get me to have my photo taken and he was an idiotic poofy. I was in hysterics. Mucked around, came back to the station where I saw Steve Lyons. I talked to him on the train and then I went home. 

Thursday July 7 - He’s not going to get rid of me that quick

Caught train home and spunk was at the station. Met JB on the train but she knicked off somewhere, so I was by myself. Was supposed to buy Mum a pot plant but I didn’t until last 10-15 mins. Firstly, went to the loo and then to Farmers where I went in the new section of the Plaza into the Imports shop – boy was it crowded. Milton Taylor works there, and he came up and served me. This other bloke helped and I said to him, “How did you get to work here”? 
He said, “Working very hard”. 
I said, “But you had to have seen someone”. 
He said, “yes, me, I’m the Manager”. 
Gees I nearly died. Milton said Wain reckons I ring him all the time - ooh trouble.

Anyway Mischief was playing at the Plaza. Greg Lyons was in it, so I watched them. And was getting all sorts of looks. – nice ones – guys – dirty ones – chicks. Saw some chicks and talked to them. Then this guy came up and talked to me. I’d never seen him before. He said, “they’re not bad”. He asked me my name. I told him. He said, “Yes, I’ve I’ve heard of you” and all this. Then he went. Then I went to Coles and talked to Mrs Stratton to find out that blond headed guy’s name and she couldn’t remember him. In fact, she wasn’t aware who I was talking about. 

The she persuaded me to ask for a job again , so I did. And he said no. I asked him about Christmas, and he said come about August, so I will. He’s not going to get rid of me that quick.  Then I asked him how Mr Harris, who was in a car accident, is. And I went. Talked to Greg and Rod and they said they’d give me a lift home. I didn’t really want to but what could I say? So I said yes and they drove me home. I ended up buying Mum 3 pot plants. Well I had a good time tonight. Except I didn’t have enough time.  Was going to try out for Jesmond but the team had already been picked, if you know what I mean. Seeya.

July 8 - He had a dirty great love bite around his neck

Today was Mums birthday. Happy Birthday Mum! Was supposed to train my little team but only two turned up. We went to a Chinese Restaurant. The food was very nice, but you don’t get much. We had six dishes and I wasn’t even full after desert! Dada said that David Price ( the Jakaroo) came in to his shop to see him. He asked how I was. He said he was going to Narrabri. He had a dirty great love bite around his neck! I’d have thought it be the other way around. Oh well. I wish I had him back. Well it’s my fault. No use sobbing about it. It would have been worse if I’d have gotten too emotionally involved before he left. What’s done is done. Have to go. Seeya.

July 9 - Today my little team won against the King Parrots 3-2

Dear Diary

Hi. Well today my little team won against the King Parrots 3-2, but they lost points because Cheree didn’t sign on. My fault I spose. Bloody hell, wouldn’t you know we’re on equal points with the Finches. The King Parrots knew it but wouldn’t tell us. What a weak team. I’ll have something to say about it

We Tigers had to forfeit cause we only had four players. I saw Mac and Dave and Wain walking behind me. We walked to their car ( Dave’s father’s) and Dave threw a ball and it hit Wain in the head, and then went into the bush. Dave went after it and was looking for it way down in the gully. But Wain had it. God it was funny. We went to Jellybean pool. Then Dave drove me to Blaxland shops, and I said bye and thanks and went. Dave is nice. Baby sat for Mrs Kerrison for $4.50. It went alright. God George is a horrible kid. Seeya.

Jelly Bean Pool

Blaxland shops, 1970's 

Sunday July 10 – Worked. Wow.

Monday July 11 - Nothing happened today out of the ordinary. How boring 

Tuesday July 12 – Finally got my little team’s banner finished. BANNER

Wednesday July 13 - Dave said they’d have to be pretty bad if you haven’t scored anything

Played Nepean. It was a really good and we beat them – well almost. They got a goal on the last minute, so we drew. Went to Penrith and was walking past Red S, and there were all these Penrith guys there and they all whistled. Then one called my name. I turned around and they were all looking. Then on my way back from the station  I met up with a guy I knew, and we had a talk. I said I’d see him later and I went to the plaza. On the way back he came and asked me if I wanted to come over for a drink. I said, "oh well", he said, "don’t worry there’s only me and his two friends and you don’t have to have anything alcoholic". He introduced me to his friends. They said they were celebrating beating St Marys’. It was really funny. But we went to the station. On the station I got out my health food bars and gave them a bite. On the train I was having hysterics cause they were stirring me. Then Dave asked me what the guys at Springwood were like. I said, "they're alright". Then Dave said, "they’d have to be pretty bad if you haven’t scored anything". Wasn’t that nice. He’s not bad either. They got off the train and said goodbye and I was feeling happy.,

July 14 - It's freezing today.

It's freezing today. Really windy. Caught Mt Riverview – no I didn’t, I caught the Hilda Street bus. Had a good chat to Mark. Little Fox and his friend said all the guys at Jesmond will be after me – ha! That will be the day. I’m getting my hair cut soon. How should I have it cut? Seeya

Friday July 15The Dance. Kevin Boriche

Well the dance was pretty good but first I’ll tell you about the excursion. Today we went to Sydney to see The Picture Show Man. Debbie sat next to Julie on the bus and I sat next to Doug. Poor Doug likes Debbie and he saved them a seat but this girl knicked it. 

Picture Show Man ( an Australian Film) Trailer

The movie was pretty sick but I enjoyed myself. We went to MacDonald’s but I didn’t buy anything. Anyway, getting onto a brighter subject – the Dance. I wore my caftan, flower and all my beads. A lot of people said I looked really nice. This girl I know goes: “I’ve got a curtain like that at home”. JB said she was just jealous though. Dad dropped me off practically at the other end of Springwood, so I had to walk all the way. I nearly froze to death. 

On the way my bra busted. Just my bloody luck. I was standing in line very uncomfortable. I asked this chick I’d never seen before to do it up. She didn’t really do it up properly though and boy was it loose. Anyway, I sat down with Jo and Rod was sitting next to me so I said Hi and we talked a while. Later on he said he asked this girl I know why she hated me. She told him all this stuff probably things like I luv myself etc. He said it all boiled down to she was jealous. Then Jim MacKenzie and Shane Appas came over came over, said I looked really nice and sat down and talked and then went. Then Ian Farnsworth sat down next to me and didn’t say very much, then later left after I kept talking to some people and they kept coming and talking to me. Then Mac, Wain and Dave came so I went and talked to them. They stirred me about what I wearing. Mac said it made me "look fat". 

By that time, I left cause I was sick to death of filthy looks and comments so I sat down but they came over and talked. Then Jim came over and asked if I wanted to dance so I did. When I came back everyone laughed. Then I really got the shits so I got up and moved but Rod kept talking to me. Mark arrived later and came and talked to me and everyone said hello and chatted. Later I asked why they all laughed. They said they were laughing at Jim because of the way he asked me to dance. But I didn’t think it was funny. Rod asked me to dance. Then Shane asked me to dance, so I went up and danced. He kept looking at me but not saying anything (cause he was drunk). 

Then he put his arms around me. I was trying to push him off and one of his friends laughed and that was it. I was sick of people laughing and staring at me so I stormed off and went back to Wain, Paul, Mac and Kim. They were all giving me strange looks. I was really getting mad. Until Wain showed me this guy with ear muffs on. I went into hysterics. Talked to Steve Lyons too. When he saw me outside, he though he saw a ghost. Ha-ha. For the door prize they called F20. I had F19. Gees there were a lot of spunks there. There really was. I stayed and helped the Quirks clean up. I finally got home about five past one. Anyway, I was tired. It was a fairly good night but why do people have to knock people who are different? Seeya.

Kevin Borich

Saturday July 16 - Well my little team won

Well my little team won. They played fair and well too. The Finches beat the King Parrots and we’re still on equal points. Bum. We Tigers played the Viscounts. We only had 6 players. In the first quarter we were winning but in the second and third, we were down by 11. Then we put Annette Convington in and we came up 10 goals, but they beat us by 3. What a bloody bummer. I hated playing against two defences, they sandwiched me. God it was  fast game. Peter Sheen and Neil Dorsan and friends watched me umpire for a while. Embarrassment. Seeya.

Sunday July 17 - I did absolutely nothing today. Isn’t that thrilling.

Monday July 18 - Beginning of a new day and a new week. Wow.

Tuesday July 19 - Did nothing today. Boredom.
Wednesday July 20 - We had a bye today for sport. I went to Penrith and had to borrow 40 cents of Gary to pay my train.

Thursday July 21 - Got in the Captain Ball Team for the Jesmond school meet. Wow. Trained. That’s all. 

Friday July 22 - I think I’m certain to get a billet. 

Tried out for volleyball but no way have I gotten in. I know I haven’t. Even to get in as reserve would suit me. It’s not long before they come either. I think I’m certain to get a billet. I hope so. I hope I get someone nice. I really do. I hope I get in a team, even as reserve. Wouldn't that be great? Well Seeya.

Saturday July 23 - I voted for a Grand Final 

There were these guys in the train this morning and they eyed me off and waved bye and all this. They were ok.  Wain and Peter walked with me to netball. My little team won thank god 3-2. Wow wasn’t it a close game. And they’ll do it next time. Mrs Higgins called us all up to the desk and said, “now we bought this up ages ago but never really decided on it whether we’d have a Grand Final or not. I had an 8-year-old team last year and the strain on them was too much etc”. I was the only person who knew what was going on so I voted for a Grand Final. But since I was outvoted they’re having it on point scores which they knew dam well was what they’d do in the first place. We’re 2 up and we have to play 4 more games. We have to win at least 3 of them which I doubt very much we’ll do. If only we could . God I hope so.

Sunday July 24 - Did nothing today. Supposed to write an essay but I spent all day reading about it. Seeya

Monday July 25 - Our Science teacher, Mr Schuck, is leaving today. Tomorrow is zone athletics carnival but it’s going to be freezing.

Tuesday July 26 - Today was zone athletics

Today was zone athletics. And God it was cold. It was absolutely freezing. So windy. Gees there were quite a few spunks there too. Especially from Penrith. Millions of them. There was this green car full of Penrith spunks. Especially the one with the broken leg. And this other guy with long brown hair and a little mo. No it was a beard. They were the tug-o-war and were parked next to us. I went in the hurdles and came second in discuss. I’d have come second if the wind hadn’t blown it right back. Didn’t do well in high jumps. Came second in hurdles. A friend of mine from the station was there. I made friends with quite a few people including these chicks from Kingswood netball team. Gee I wish I had more confidence to get me a spunky boyfriend.

Wednesday July 27 - One guy threw a javelin into the electrical wires. 

Today was just as cold at the Zone athletics carnival. I came nowhere in Javelin, nor in ball games. But our relay came second, and to be quite honest I ran really well. I could feel it. And everyone told me too. The Penrith spunks were there again. Yum. As I was walking past them Paul Taylor came running out and talked to me, but I had to race off to throw my javelin. One guy threw a javelin the electrical wires. You should have seen the explosion. The noise scared me. We had all these spunks watching our javelin. It was really good. Embarrassing though. Gees I had fun in the relay. I’m going to Area Athletics. But God it was cold. These guys came up to me when I was sitting down and reckoned, I was meditating.. Said Hi to Dave’s friend. That guy followed me again today. He’s okay though. Talked to the Kingswood chicks. Oh Diary, I’m so lonely. I really am. Gees I wish I could find myself a guy or move and start again where no-one knew me. How I wish ….

Thursday July 28 - Today we had a moderating exam

Today we had a moderating exam. They were quite hard. Three comprehension, and two essays. Gees my essays were bad. They were absolutely shocking. It was about what we thought about when we thought of the moon. Another was from a play. The maths test was quite easy. I did well in that. Section 2 was a bit hard though. Mum picked me up from school. Thanks Mum. I didn’t particularly fancy waiting hours for the school bus after the exams. Wain finally rang. It’s been almost 2 weeks since I heard from him. Was getting a bit worried. Seeya. 

Friday 29 July - Went to school today. Gee it was fun (only joking) Seeya

Saturday 30 July - Well my little team lost

Well my little team lost. That’s them done. They haven’t got a hope now. Shit. Same with us. Helen Campton busted her ankles and we’re playing the Viscounts in the semis. And the Grands, so they’ll finally get to beat us. Footballers were there today. There were some spunks too. I walked home and this guy tried to pick me up three times. I was getting a bit scared cause he just kept driving next to me, and boy was I shitted. But he finally got the hint. Went to the cheese and champaign night and there were these two married guys. I talked to them and their wives kept looking me up and down. And once they caught me listening to jokes. Embarrassment. Everyone was telling me how beautiful I was. They need their heads examined. Fatness once more.

Sunday July 31 - All I did today was try to write an essay

All I did today was try to write an essay, but I didn't know how to get started, which reminds me, I’d better go and do it now. Cooked a beautiful dinner – all sorts of oven cooked meals. Yum. Fatness.

Number 1 in Australia in July 1977 - Walk Right in by Dr Hook


Monday August 1 - Mark didn’t sit next to me on the bus today. He must hate me now too. 

Tuesday August 2 - Did nothing today. Isn’t that exciting?

Wednesday August 3 - Wain hasn’t rung for years. He’s given up

Played Katoomba in sport today. We beat them. I went to Penrith. Shopped around. Came home. Wain hasn’t rung for years. He’s given up. And I’ve done it again. Why do I always do that huh? Well it serves me right. Good on you Wain.

Thursday August 4 - I bought a black velvet haram suit

Went shopping today and I bought a black velvet haram suit. I don’t like it. I wish I never bought it. Talked to Peter Zeglis and that – well one of those Asian twins, I wish I knew their name. Well once again I buy something I regret. God I’m useless!

Friday August 5 - Did nothing

Saturday August 6 - My little team won

Well we Tigers lost our semis by 3 against the Viscounts. I just hope we win the final then massacre them in the Grand Final. My little team won but that was to be expected since they played the Black Cats. It’s next week and the week after I’m worried about. They won’t win it. We had a whole line of spectators. It was really good. I was shooting well too. Rod and Craig were there and after the game they came and discussed how nice, Cathy and Cassandra were. 

Sunday August 7 - Spent all Sunday wasting it

Monday August 8 - Had training.  Mark didn’t ride next to me again. Seeya

Tuesday August 9 - "I’ve got the day off tomorrow to go to that horrible bloke in Coles and crawl for a job"

Well I talked Dad into letting me have a day off school – don’t ask me how. He said, "This is the absolute last day you have off school this year” and I said, “Unless I’m sick.”, and he said, “Yes”. So, I’ve got the day off tomorrow to go to that horrible bloke in Coles and crawl for a job. God, I hate this. Well, till tomorrow.


Wednesday August 10 - Would you believe, the only day I got off, and I’m sick.

Today I went to Penrith and Parramatta. Would you believe, the only day I got off, and I’m sick. And boy was I sick. I could hardly walk, and I almost fainted. I must have the flue. Anyway, I went into Coles ( at the wrong moment as usual) and he told me go back Friday - once again I get knocked back. BUT that won’t deter me – tada! Anyway, I went to Parramatta, and I looked everywhere, and gees there are some nice clothes there – everywhere. They’re all on special. I’d love to have $1000 with me but all I had was $43. 

I bought some white ankle strap shoes which are really high. I’m scared Ill fall over in them and make a fool of myself ( which I will for sure): $25. I also bought a skirt and jacket suit which is really nice, but the skirt is $8 and the jacket $10. But once again I regret what I bought. I walked back to the station just I time for a train and God I thought I was dying. It was so stuffy and no water and my head was about to explode, my eyes hurt and my throat and my stomach and my legs, and my whole body. Got off at Penrith and caught the school train home. Got a lot of grunts and stirs and went straight to bed. Seeya.

Thursday August 11 - I went to sick bay and I got into trouble

Had to go to school today. I was just as bad as yesterday.When I went to sick bay, I got into trouble, but I was allowed to stay there for 2 periods. We had a form meeting and we have to decide our subjects by next week. There’s nothing I’m really interested in except I want to take biology. I’ll have to consider everything carefully before I decide. Only 4 turned up for training today and I had to stay there for one hour with them as sick as I was, sob, sob ( bring out the violins). Well, Seeya

Friday August 12 - Well, nothing stays the same forever

I stayed in bed all day today trying to get better but it’s a bit hard and I don’t feel well at all. I wasn’t allowed to go back to Coles. Dad said he’d go and tell him I was sick, but he won’t be interested. He’s probably forgot I was supposed to come. Then again, it wasn’t really an appointment. I wish Mr Roberts was back, and Mr Piplica, and Mr Valenze ( he was really nice). Well, nothing stays the same forever.


Saturday August 13 - My little team lost by quite a bit.

I nearly wasn’t allowed to go to netball today, but I did. My little team lost by quite a bit. If they had have got all the goals they tried at they would have won it. Bloody Hell, that’s all my hard work and hopes down the drain, and you know what. It wasn’t my fault either. All the cheating and scandals going on in our association. No wonder. 

My team played finals today. We won but I was too sick to play and my shooting was off. Rod and Greg were there. Talked to this spunk who followed me once when I was working, and he came to netball often. Cassandra called me over during a quarter and asked me if I’d met Bones or knew him. I said no. He reckoned I had. There were quite a few spunks around. So now we play the Viscounts on Saturday. God, I hope we beat them. We won’t but I hope we do. Seeya.

Sunday August 14 - Well I felt better today but I’m still in bed. It's nice and sunny and I wanted to sunbake for Jesmond so I can wear my suit. Next Sunday it won’t be sunny.

Monday August 15 - Trained my little team and that’s about it.

Tuesday August 16 - Had Volleyball practice today and I also stayed after school to help train the Junior Jesmond netball and we had a game against them. Seeya.

August Wednesday 17 - Stayed at school for Volleyball training and all of 4 people turned up

Played Penrith in sport today. Talked to some of the girls there who were really nice. Stayed at school for Volleyball training and all of 4 people turned up.


Thursday August 18 - Netball training for my little team. Came home and had a massive fight with Mum, and she wouldn’t let me go to Penrith. God she’s a ..... Well doesn’t matter. Seeya.

Friday August 19 - Well tomorrow’s the Grand Final. God, I hope we beat the Viscounts. I bet we don’t though.


Saturday August 20For the first time in 7 years, we lost.

Well I have very horrible news. Today was our Grand Final. Guess what! For the first time in 7 years, we lost. By 1 goal too!

But first, my little team. They drew, and never in my life have I seen such a beautiful game as they (my little team that is) played. They tried so hard and they drew 7-7. But they should have won. If it wasn’t for the shocking umpiring, they would have 3 goals that bloody awful blue team got that they shouldn’t have. That’s the honest truth. And everybody who watched (millions of them) knew too. 

Me and my little team, the Wrens.

God was there bitching too – 8-year old’s! After the game I balled me eyes out and everybody stared. Then Debbie balled. When I finally got control of myself, they bought me a present – a pen and a card. So I balled again, and I bought them all an ice cream. Then we lost our game by 1 goal. I could have kicked myself for missing that 1 critical goal I missed. We had the biggest crowd of the day – my little team and my own team. My little team came runners up and they got a trophy. Mrs Goetze said they may be treating them as Premiers in the Club. Our banner was the best too. I baby sat Dianne for $6. Mr Fin said I could go on holidays anytime to QLD with his mum and 16-month baby. Surfers Paradise. Wouldn’t that be great. 

August Sunday 21 - Did nothing today. Worked, tidied, and stayed in the sun for about 10 minutes. Seeya.

Monday August 22 - Guess what! I was offered a modelling job for Hot Chocolate

Guess what! I was offered a modelling job for Hot Chocolate. I don’t get paid or anything, but it’s to raise money for trophies for some football club. But just modelling clothes would be great. But in front of all these people is what I’m worried about. I don’t know if I could do it. I’d probably make a great fool of myself. I’m beginning to have second thoughts about it now. Should I have said I’ll do it? Oh God, here I go again, regretting everything I do. 

Tomorrow’s Jesmond. Can’t wait. It should be good – I hope. While I was sick and, on my diet, I lost almost 1 stone. But I’m putting it on again and looking very fat. I’ll have to go and do my exercises and have a bath and go to bed and wake up looking like a disaster area – as usual. I hope they have some spunks coming down. Kent is coming but he’s not really a  spunk. I don’t know what to do tomorrow night. Haven’t been invited anywhere. So, I bet I end up staying home. Seeya

Tuesday August 23 - Jesmond are finally here

Well Jesmond are finally here. It seemed like ages, but they finally got here.  After period two we went out the back of the canteen to get our billet envelopes. Then we walked to Lamatia Park. We didn’t have to wait very long before they came and when they did, they stood around for hours deciding what to do.

So me and Mark went to their buses. All these guys were staring at me. They asked me who I was billeting and I said Marie Hoffman. They go  “Lucky Marie”. Anyway, went down to the BBQ which also took hours to get started. So, I went around and introduced Marie to everyone. And she was introducing people to me. We were having a great time. There were a few spunks – Mark Bray: blond hair, brown skin, brown big eyes, and yum. There was also another guy – long straight golo hair. Brown skin. But he had a girlfriend. There were quite a few 6th form spunks. Andrew from last year ( the Cabbage Patch) was there. Anyway, everybody was checking everybody out. 

They finally got the food cooked. We had to stand in line waiting for it to be cooked. Mark was right in front of us too. I stuffed myself and put on millions of calories. Kent came and talked to me. He had a haircut but it doesn’t look any different. I introduced Marie to Glen (spunk), and Alan, at the pool. I forgot who’s name. Marie liked Glenn. Then we went to the loo and on the way,  I was introduced to a lot of guys. After that we walked to the school and we were at the hall (near Mark Bray) trying to work out what to do. 

We decided on Yolanda Way’s party and Ian said he’d pick us up at 8. Meanwhile I was eyeing all these guys and vice versa. Then we had the welcome and we caught the bus home. Raced home and back to the station and then down to Penrith. We just looked around the plaza and went back to the station. We met Katrina and Alison (her billet). 

Then when we got home, Mum and Dad interrogated me about Yolanda’s party. I knew Dad was going to check up on me. Ian picked us up at 8. I wore my cream satin jump suit and we decided not to go to Yolanda’s but to the Leagues Club instead. But when we got there Mark Couchman wasn’t there. We were just leaving when they arrived. Anyway, we went inside. Mark signed us in. 
When it was Maire’s and my turn he asked us, "how old are you?"
"18" We said. 
He said, “do you have any identification?”. 
We said, "no". 
He said, “Well next time bring it or you can’t come in”. 

Anyway, we sat for a while then Marie and I played the pokies. We won heaps too. It was really fun. There were these three guys there who were helping us and talking to us. It was really funny though cause everyone around was really serious when they won something and when we won $30 we were running up and down and carrying on. Then we came back and I bought a drink. 

I was really worried that Dad would find out so I tried to ring him but I couldn’t get through. So I tried the Ways number and I got through. I told Yolander if Dad rang, we were at the Mitchells or the Leagues club. All night I was worried something would happen. Anyway, after my drink I had one more go at the pokies and won quite a bit. When I came back to the table, Mark was sitting opposite to where I was. He made this rocking thing out of a coaster. I asked him how he did it and he showed me. I kept it for my scrap book. He looked rather bored. 

At about 10 to 10 o’clock we left and said goodbye to everyone. I didn’t really want to go. I wanted to stay a while and talk to Mark but we had to go. On the way home we stopped off at Yolanda’s and found out that Dad had rung. Mrs Way said we had gone to the Mitchell’s, so I was in big trouble when we came home. I bought Ian in to help explain everything, but Dad was asleep and Mum was half asleep. She said he rang millions of Mitchells to find where the party was. She said I couldn’t go to the dance. I was grounded indefinitely.  God I was wetting myself. So, I spent the night trying to work out something to say. All this year I’ve been planning for Jesmond and just look at the mess I got myself into.

Wednesday August 24 - There was a rumour going round 

Well today was the beginning of sports but all I thought about was the Dance. I told Mark Couchman and everyone and soon everyone knew what had happened. There was a rumour going round that after the Leagues Club we went somewhere and got drunk. Anyway, the first match was Basket Ball. And opposite to where I was standing was Mark Bray. I kept looking at him and he kept looking at me. All day I was getting introduced and hello’s and looked at. Later on Mark said hello but he was talking to Cathy's billet and all them. When the footy match was on he was up the back on the fence. When he only had two friends with him I went and talked to him, - yum! I found out he does milk runs at 12 o’clock pm Fridays, he has an older brother,  and one younger sister, he lives in Jesmond and other things. He said Mack had told him about last night. 

When I told him I couldn’t go to the dance he said to get up a petition, and all of Jesmond would sign it (wasn’t that nice). Then I was real upset because I really wanted to go to the dance now especially as I’d gotten to know Mark, and he was going and he wanted me to go. While I was talking to him, Dianne Smith and this Linda chick came up and were going, “Hi Mark” and giving me filthy looks. And then these two chicks were telling them things about me. To get on with things, after I’d left Mark and his friends, Marie and I caught a bus to Penrith cause the train wasn’t working. I kept talking and thinking about Mark.

I went into Dad’s shop. I got myself so psyched up that was crying, and I hadn’t even talked to Dad yet. Just as I was leaving the shop he called me over and asked what I wanted. I told him what Mum said and he said he had three things to tell me and not to worry about it. So, it looked like I was going to the dance, HOORAY!!! So, Marie and I went home, and I quickly put the tea on and got ready. For the dance I wore my velvet harem suite, high shoes, belt, choker, flower in my hair, my shawl. Maire said I looked nice, but on the way to the dance, boy did Dad give me the third degree all about last night - and then you have the hide to dress like a slut! You look like the biggest tart ready for any pickup and all this, and that I was  grossly overdressed. Then Mum said I looked bad. By the time I got out of the car I felt an inch high. I didn’t want to go in. But I did. Absolutely everyone said I looked nice. All I did all night was get stared at. But then I found out the real reason.

About 5 minutes after we got there Mark arrived and he came over. We stood around talking for a while. Then we sat down and talked, when I talked to him he’d look me straight in the eye and my face, as though he really liked me. God he has beautiful eyes. And teeth. When he talked to me, he practically kissed me (worst luck he didn’t). Then he told me I looked very nice tonight, then about half an hour later he told me again I looked really nice. I felt really happy until Sue told me that this other girl liked him. Just before Jesmond they got on really well. So all night I was getting filthy looks from everyone. And I couldn’t understand why. Then I found out he was the Casanova of Jesmond High and all the chicks like him. And there was I, having him all to myself. All these guys kept coming up to Mark and talking to him, and then Mark would introduce me. This guy kept wanting to stroke my hand but Mark wouldn’t let him. Then we got up and danced – square dance and disco and rock and roll, then to this Greek thing. Gees it was fun.

Mark had his arms around me and all I wanted to do was kiss him. Then for about 10 or 15 minutes he disappeared. I thought I’d lost him, but he came back. We sat down and talked some more. And every minute I was liking him more and more. The time flew so quick too. Mark Couchman tried to leave early so just before we left, we had a last dance. Then he bust my balloon. I walked him to the door and outside we stood  there for what seemed ages – me dying to kiss him goodbye but I didn’t know if he wanted to kiss me. Also I was really tall and he was really short so it was awkward. So, he said, "I'll see you tomorrow", then and slowly walked away. Even all the Springwood kids were eyeing me. I talked to stacks of guys and chicks and I had a really great time. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Then when the dance was finished, the lights went on, and I had more stares than ever - and I wasn’t even with Mark. Daryn came up to me and said, “gees you look nice”. And all these people were telling me how lucky I was to be with Mark. Got home and had a massive talk with Marie.

Thursday August 25 - “If looks could kill you’d be long dead"

Well today was the last day. Worst luck. When I got to school everyone came up to me and asked me if I had a good time, with a nudge, and how lucky I was, and how nice I looked, and and all this. Then Mark was practising for his basketball match. I said hello and while I was talking to Kent, Kent said, “Gees you’ve changed since last year – for the better too!”. When the basketball started, I sat in the canteen in front of everyone and all the guys were looking at me. Linda and Dianne and this girl from Jesmond High kept giving me the foulest looks. Marie was next to me saying, “If looks could kill you’d be long dead. Same with the dance last night too”. Then I got changed and went up to the oval and sat with Marie. 

Then and Mark came out of nowhere to talk to me. I learned allot of things about him. He wants to be an engineer, he’s colour-blind, which he found out when applying for the airforce, he had a dog, and all sorts of things. He said if I came down to Newcastle he’ll show me all the beaches and take me out. He liked Mr and Mrs Couchman, his billet parents, and he went on about all these lectures they gave him. He said to come down to practice my volleyball. He came with me. As we were walking across the quadrangle, I felt really proud to be with him. He’s such a good kid too. When I first saw him, I thought' "Wow. What a spunk". The best that came. And he was never alone. 

Anyway we got to volleyball and I practiced with the Jesmond chicks for a while, then Amanda came  and I practised with her. She asked me if Mark was with me and I said yes, feeling really proud. She said, “well he’s not to put you off”. And after that Mark helped me practice. Then we went back up to the hockey and watched it for a while. Mark was getting all these stirring remarks from these guys and Mark said, :They’re all jealous cause half of Jesmond likes you". I said, "They need a psychiatrist". 

Everywhere Mark went there was someone trying to take his photo. At the BBQ these guys kept trying to take mine but knowing how bad I look in photos I turned away.  I was as nervous as hell and I could see people staring at us. Or one person would say something and they’d all stare. Absolutely everyone was staring, I couldn’t believe it. 

When the volleyball game started I ballsed up quite a few times. Felt very embarrassed. But then the soccer was starting so the crowd dwindled and I got much better. Everyone said I played well, including all the Jesmond chicks. Three people said I was the best player. Glen called me the star of the game and said I played well. But I didn’t. I know I didn’t. I played really bad, afterwards I went to the oval to watch Mark play.

Someone told me about all this stuff that was written on the blackboard like “Petra Campbell and Mark Bray and if she doesn’t watch it her face will be rearranged", and “Petra walks around with a stick up her bum” and all this. When I went to have a look it was rubbed off. Mark must have read it because after the game he didn’t say much. These three girls told me someone was going to smash my face in and rearrange it. And Mark's face ( but no one would to Mark). But to me they would. 

Then this chick says, "God there are some ugly chicks at this school", and they all wear heavy eye shadow and mascara which seemed to be directed at me. But I don't wear heavy mascara and eye shadow. She was no ravishing beauty herself. Anyway, after the soccer we had to get Jesmond’s baggage onto the buses and everyone was staring at me. I took a photo of Marie and friends, and she took 2 of me. Then we had the farewell (by the way, Springwood won the shield) and I walked Marie to the bus; the same one Mark caught. Marie was really upset and said she would write. Then Mark came and said he’d get my address off Marie and write too. Then I was saying bye to everyone and waving. I waved to Mark but he didn’t seem interested. As the bus was leaving, I blew him a good bye kiss. I didn’t even get to kiss him. It wasn’t fair. I cried (as usual) and now I feel very sad and depressed. Well that was Jesmond 1977. Now I'll wait to see what I cop tomorrow at school (a new face). Seeya.

Friday August 26 - Guess bloody what! Dad phoned the police.

Guess bloody what! Dad phoned the police. He actually went to the police – he dobbed his own bloody daughter in. The bastard. Now I’m getting other people into trouble when it was all my fault. Why diary. Why. Oh God, what am I going to do? I have it bad at school and bad at home. I have no-one to go to. Then I get other people into trouble. Then today I found out that Dad rang Mr Condon to make sure I was at the dance. Why does he always have to check! I feel like a little baby. I am. That’s why. Oh God I wish I had younger, more modern and understating parents. As soon as I’m old enough, I’m out. No way will I stay in the same house with them if I can avoid.

Sunday August 28th - The police went through the Leagues Club with fine tooth comb.

Well I finally found out what’s going to happen. The police went through the Leagues Club with fine tooth comb. Mark Couchman will be very lucky if he doesn’t get his badge taken off him. I have to get rid of my black harem suit ( it’s too old for me, and he - the only one - doesn’t like it). He’s going to go through all my clothes and the ones he doesn’t like he’s going to throw out. I don’t get my endowment anymore. I can’t go out with guys more than 1 year older than me. I’m not allowed in anyone’s car unless driven by an adult. If I ever want to go to a party he has to know the exact details - phone number - to check up on me. I’m not allowed to have any clothes until December. What a bastard! I hate him. Doesn’t he realise that doing this is making our relationship worse than it is. 

Also he said that I’ve done 5 bad things over a period of two years. Four things I know he knows, but  the fifth I don’t know what he knows about. I can’t think of anything I’ve done bad. Even the other four things weren’t really bad – well three of them weren’t anyway – getting drunk at Tangalooma, Dixons Party, and going to the Leauges Club. Oh God. Why do I always do this? It’s all my own fault too. Why do they have to kick up such a fuss over things. They’re so bloody protective, and I don’t appreciate. I’m supposed to but I don’t. They are so worried what everyone will think of their daughter. They want me to be a perfect little angel and run around in pretty little party dresses. Why can’t they leave me be. I get it bad at school and bad at home. God I wish I had someone I could turn to.  I miss Mark right now. 

Sunday August 29 - Sun-baked all day today. Got a bit burnt. I hope I don’t peel. Gee I miss Mark

Tuesday August 30We organised to go to The Deep

I rang Julie today and her and Marcia drove down and stayed a while. We organised to go to The Deep on tomorrow and  Luna Park on Friday. I sun-baked this morning. I found out off Julie that these girls and all the moles on their bus said I looked really nice at the Jesmond Dance. Then they said I always look nice. Well what do you know – imagine those girls saying that about me!

The Deep, Trailer

August Wednesday 31 - Today Julie, Monika, Jenny, and I went to The Deep

Today Julie, Monika, Jenny, and I went to The Deep. It was quite good but not as good as I expected to be. We just trondled around Parramatta.

Number 1 in Australia in July 1977 - I go to Rio by Peter Allen

Written By Petra Campbell

Web: www.petramcampbell.com
Email: kpmm@ozemail.com.au
Twitter: @petraau

The research for these posts are found as links in the body of the text.