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Thursday, March 19, 2015

I, too, was a homeless person once

Sunday morning after the night before: chilling out on the front steps; "yours truly" in dead centre, wearing sunnies and checkered shirt. Notice the chap on the far right having a "hair of the dog" from a McWilliams flagon left over from the night before. If that didn't do it, there was always BEX powder and a good lie-down! Or take Vincent's with confidence for quick three-way relief. All things of the past now!

 

The Council to Homeless Persons says the people who live on the streets are just the tip of the iceberg as their definition of 'homelessness' also includes people living in rooming houses (smart move to up their 'membership'! ☺)

Thank you, Council to Homeless Persons, for your research which is probably as 'quackers' as, and probably even dearer than, the 300,000-Pound taxpayer-funded U.K. study Why-Ducks-like-Water.

It's one thing to regard as homeless those who slip into a pair of cardboard pyjamas and only read newspapers they've slept under, but to include people who live in rooming houses? Really! They could've made even bigger headlines if they had included people who live in houses with fewer than four bedrooms and an ensuite!

Anyway, at least now I know that I, too, was a 'homeless' person once as was my immediate boss in the ANZ Bank and many other 'Bank Johnnies' who in the 60s and 70s lived, two to a room, in what was then Barton House, one of Canberra's many boarding houses - or rooming houses, if you will.

The 165-bedroom Barton House in the late 60s

Another boarding house I remember was the ORIENTAL PRIVATE HOTEL at 11 Milsons Road at Cremorne Point. In that esteemed establishment I occupied the dark, windowless end of a corridor which had been walled off and grandly called a "room". No window, no ventilation, just a bed and a wardrobe but it was all I could afford at the time.

These boarding houses were the sort of "homes" that prepared me well for the house I later shared in Rabaul with two fellow-accountants and the camp accommodation I occupied when I went to Bougainville Island.

I am glad I was a 'homeless' person once. I wouldn't have missed it for the world because it gave me the confidence to go out into the world and deal with all manner of people and situations in future years.

 

P.S. The ORIENTAL PRIVATE HOTEL has since been turned into twelve strata-titled apartments, each costing close to a million dollars. And that's the cause of the real homelessness today: the lack of boarding houses which became uneconomical to run because of ever-increasing rules and regulations, rates, property taxes and insurance costs.

11 Milsons Road at Cremorne Point today