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Today's quote:

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A true story except for the parts that are not

"Declared open on 19th April 1987 by Mr Jack Myers
an employee engine driver & fireman of the Co.
from January 1937 to December 1973."


Whenever I visit Ulladulla and happen to walk past this plaque where Mitchell's Mill once stood - see here - , I can't help but think of a couple I used to know in Townsville - let's call them John and Elizabeth, because those were their names.

John had come here in 1957 as a young man, leaving his small country Austria to see the world. He took a job in Sydney and, on his first holiday, bought an old motorbike and drove north to explore Australia.

He got as far as Home Hill which, just a hundred kilometres south of Townsville and with a population of no more than a thousand at the time, was a backwater of a backwater.

John put up at the local pub where he met a young buxom barmaid who fell for his Viennese charm and accent, and they eventually settled in Townsville where John became the papercutter at the local newspaper.

He was still the papercutter at the local newspaper when I met them almost three decades later. By then, they had swapped their dreams of seeing the world for six kids and a small house in the suburbs. As Elizabeth wistfully remarked, "I married John in the hope of leaving Home Hill to see the world and got as far as Townsville."

That was in 1985 and today the only plaque with John's name on it is in Townsville's cemetery.