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Sunday, November 20, 2016

My "Cabooltier" Past

What makes Caboolture real fruit yoghurt so much tastier?
Well out here the birds are chirpier, the air is cleanier
The grass is greenier, the cows are happier
They make it much creamier, with fruit that’s fruitier
In bits much chunkier, the breeze blows gentlier
The whole world’s friendlier, and things are less hastier
That’s why it’s tastier. Caboolture real fruit yoghurt.
There’s nothing artificial about Caboolture.

 

Before the internet, vacant positions were advertised in newspapers, and for financial positions none were better than the big display ads in the Australian Financial Review.

They were the only ones I responded to. The bigger the better! I mean, why reply to a small classified? If that's all they could afford, they couldn't afford me! ☺

Indeed, the only classified that ever got me a job was the one I placed myself in an issue of PIM, the Pacific Islands Monthly, in 1969. From memory, it ran something like this: "Young Accountant (still studying) seeks position in the Islands." (decades later I visited the National Library in Canberra and had all twelve 1969-issues of PIM sent up from their archives, but I couldn't find the ad again).

That tiny classified got me my first job in the then Territory of Papua & New Guinea. The rest, as they say, is history because from then on it was display ads all the way through until 1979 when, having returned to Canberra from my last overseas assignment in Malaysia and finding life in suburbia wanting, I started a working holiday caravanning up and down the Australian east coast.

I travelled as far south as Melbourne, as far west as Mt Isa, and as far north as Cairns, and found myself in Brisbane by mid-June 1980. An old friend from my PNG-days, Noel Butler, had just bought himself a small acreage near Caboolture north of Brisbane, so when I saw an accounting job advertised with the Caboolture Co-operative, I applied even though the ad was not 'display' nor was the job.

Noel (on right) visiting me at my 'mobile home' in the Northern Star Caravan Park in Brisbane

This dairy co-operative, owned and operated by the cow cockies in the district, had started its life as the Caboolture butter factory in 1907 which was also the age of its Dickensian office to which I was invited for an interview at the crack of dawn.

The interviewing panel was a bunch of cow cockies still wearing their cow-something-splattered wellies from the morning's milking. This was the real deal; there's nothing artificial about Caboolture!

They must've been wondering why this bright spark who'd just done a consulting job in Malaysia and been senior-this and chief-that in the past, wanted to be the accountant for an outfit whose only claim to fame, apart from their rightly famous yoghurt, was the production of a cheddar cheese speckled with peanuts and aptly named "Bjelke Blue". (Joh Bjelke-Petersen was the longest-serving and longest-lived as well as most controversial Premier of Queensland and also a peanut farmer - or, some might say, just a peanut!)

Mercifully, the cow cockies turned me down which, for a fleeting moment, made the birds sound a little less 'chirpier' and me feeling a little more ‘saddier’ as I would've had liked to hang around for a little bit 'longier' with Noel who'd been my best friend since our chance meeting on a Europe-bound ship in late 1967.

Still, before long I was once again responding to display ads and roaming the world, and Noel remained my very best friend until his untimely death in 1995.