My brother was born in 1944; there are only the two of us. He was a lot different to me, even as a kid, he was very academic, loved school and study and went to Uni.
Until he retired recently he worked as a Professor of Sociology at Gippsland Campus of Monash University
He has written a few published books, one on animal rights that I know of and he caused a big stir once when he did a paper on exploitation of teenagers in the fast food industry.
On the other hand I hated school and left as soon as I was allowed.
I was Ok at maths and bookkeeping but wasnít keen on chemistry, physics or Latin and French.
I finished secondary school at St.Laurencesí College but did some further study at night at what was the old Trocadero Dance Hall in Sth.Brisbane , when working in the MRD to improve my job prospects.
I wouldnít do it any differently today, although one thing I would change if I had the chance and could turn back the clock, would be smoking.
I wish I never started smoking. Growing up at 16 or so, we would buy cigarettes to smoke at the flicks Friday and Saturday nights without our parents knowing. I would hide the packet in the roots of a big tree under the fence of a yard on the corner on the way home.
We used to buy anything we could get. Australian cigs were rationed and kept under the shop counter. Craven A, Ardath etc were the tops and those on the shelf were Martins, Players and some other inferior English brands.
Going into Poppa Dourosís shop and asking for a packet of fags you would hit the jackpot if nobody else was around.
Poppa would check out that no one was watching, then heíd put his hand under the counter and slip you an Aussie brand one of those mentioned or Capstan or Three threes at the worst.
I gave up smoking after I had a heart attack in 1985.
I was in St.Vincentís Sydney in intensive care for 10 days and havenít touched a fag since.
As a kid I had a few bikes, the first was a Christmas present it was a ĺ Malvern Star roadster red and khaki frame, big fat tyres, with a foot brake and mudguards.
Len my mate got a Preston Star, yellow and black; there were limited colours due to the war.
The bikes in those days were all made in Australia. Malvern Star, Special, Speedwell, Ashby, Hoffy, Local.....were well known brands with bike shops in every suburb.
Now most are made in China and are imported from overseas.
I took up bike racing when I was 13 or 14 joining the Brisbane Juvenile Amateur Cycling Club.
It was run by Bill Tindall who lived in Harriet St. and whose son Grantley, (Darb) Bill called him, was a gun rider.[attachimg=#]
Bill sold Perkins Soft drinks door to door and on Saturdays we would all pile onto the back of his truck with a few cases of cold drinks and our bikes, either to a track, Balmoral, Kelvin Grove or Bundamba in summer, or out to Nudgee Rd or Grassdale in winter for the road races.
My first racer was a semi racer bought from Bob Toddís Local Cycles near the Blue Moon Skating Rink south of the river near the Victoria Bridge. It was gold with some decorative markings and I used it until I could afford a better one.
Mum made me a set of colours green with a gold sash and gold piping on the sleeves.
The BJACC colours we used in club events were white with a red poinsettia badge on the breast.
While I wasnít a Group 1 rider I did manage to win the 8 mile Club Championship under 15 on the Nudgee course in July 1950 and still have the winnerís blue and gold sash as a memento.
First time out on the Kelvin Grove velodrome I led all the way but was fined 5 bob by the referee for looking around.
This was very highly banked bitumen and metal track, very bloody scary, not like the flatter Balmoral we were used to.
One day a rider, Alan Bunn, lost control when the strut and handlebars came out in his hands on the top corner and he crashed into the bamboo safety rail .
He wasnít seriously injured in the accident. If that happened today itís likely someone would sue.
That day at Kelvin Grove was my first use of singles on my bike.I remember they were very expensive, five quid they cost.
It was the first real racer I had, specially built by Bernie McGrory who owned Aussie Cycles in Boundary St. West End.
It was made to measure, iridescent darkish blue with contrasting hand painted panels with my name engraved and flowery artistic lines.
Bernie was a racegoer and he was fitting my singles before going to the races that day and was having a bugger of a job getting the bostick right.
He was cursing and swearing while I was ready to cry in case he buggered up the job.
It all ended well, he got to the races and I got to Kelvin Grove, we were both winners.
We used to ride our bikes 50 miles or so down the coast some Sundays and hitch a ride home on the back of a truck if we found an obliging truck driver.
We never had an accident although some of the truck drivers drove like maniacs, foot to the floor all the way, which we thought was great fun passing all the cars and poking fun at them.
Coming home one day from Nudgee after our usual Club handicap there was a dead horse lying spreadeagled on the ground outside Doomben ,probably waiting to be collected by the dogger.It was the first real deadun I Ďve seen.
My first job
When I left school I got a job as messenger boy with J.D.Garland a local carrier in Jane St. opposite the old Davies Park baths.
J.D was a dashing figure, tall and handsome with a toothbrush moustache and slicked hair.
He wore custom suits with flash ties, two tone shoes sometimes, and drove a big American Hudson sedan.
He could pass for a Hollywood star.
Mrs. Garland, a very stylish woman, was very nice to me, they both were.
They were very social, no kids that I knew of and they were well up in the Australia/American Society, always entertaining.
They lived at St.Lucia across the river from the yard at West End.
Soon after starting there Mr.Garland merged with a Melbourne transport carrier named Collier, forming Collier Garland Co.
This allowed them to expand the existing carrying business into interstate transport with semi trailers.
Locally they had contracts with Olympic Tyres at Geebung which was a big client.
My job, on the bottom rung of the ladder, meant going into the city and delivering and receiving documents to and from shipping & customs agents and running other messages.
I listened to Deltaís Melb Cup in the Customs House the year it won.
Had I stayed with CG I may have learned the ropes as a customs agent and had a ride on the gravy train that those in that exclusive occupation enjoy.
I used to ride my bike on company business and to the tram stop on Boundary St.
JD very generously paid for my tyres and tubes.
One day, one of the office guys, Doug Graham- Clarke, borrowed my bike to go to the pub at lunch time.
Until he was half way there he didnít realise it was a track bike with no brakes and a fixed wheel.
He nearly killed himself, so he said, coming back freewheeling down the hill on Jane St. with no brakes.
And that would have cost him a new bike for me.
The transport manager was a guy named Pat, he was always on the go, the most energetic man Iíve ever seen to that point, he ran the place, and it would have stopped without him.
His secretary was a Miss Taylor who admired him greatly.
I think she was secretly in love, but Pat wouldnít have noticed, he was so wrapped up in his job and was probably happily married.
I got on well with everyone and was eventually promoted to junior office boy with a pay rise.
I recommended a local kid for my old job and he took over the messages while I did some office work.
I was under strict instructions not to let him know how much I was paid.
I think it was a bit more than 3 quid a week.
In those days nobody knew what the next person earned unless you had a sneaky look at the discarded pay envelope left in the wpb.
Although too young for a driverís license I learned to drive on some of JDís Vanguard Utes.
With the tacit approval of obliging truckies, I would take one for a spin around the back streets.
Once I stalled on the tram line at the intersection on Hardgrave Rd.
That put the wind up me, big time, but I managed to get out of the way of the oncoming tram and got back to the yard with the Vanguard intact.
My boss in the shipping dept was a tosser, a real
, he was up himself, walking around posing with his silly bloody pipe.
It was rumoured he made some stupid or insulting comment at a party to a Dutchman or some sailor and was decked.
The story goes he fell off the wharf into the river where a ship was moored.
He was very sheepish when he came to work with a black eye.
He left after a while and was replaced by another poor bugger who was going so bad he wore an old Air Force uniform to work.
I got the message, that was it for me and I left for greener pastures.
Back with more ...................tomorrow
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