|LORNESLEIGH HOMESTEAD. LATE 1960s.|
Source: Personal Collection.
Dad was hoping that Mum would stay in Townsville for a few months, given the state of our home after the flood, and because mine had been a difficult birth. Apparently I had a large head (which I was reminded about every birthday).
The birth was further complicated by the fact that Mum’s regular doctor had popped off to the racetrack to have a bet. Evidently, he thought that my birth would take longer. Seems I was eager to arrive, and another doctor had to step in at the last minute to fill the breach.
Mum stayed at her parents’ house in Townsville after we were discharged from the Mater Hospital, but after six weeks’ away from the place, she had grown impatient. I was christened in a hurry and soon after we were returning to Lornesleigh Station.
The road to Lornesleigh was still muddy and the usually dry creeks were running, so it was inevitable that Dad’s old soft-top Rover would get bogged crossing a creek. Which, of course, it did. That meant my first night in the bush was spent in the back of a Rover, stuck in a creek in the middle of nowhere, being attacked by mosquitoes. Better get used to it, Little Fella, and welcome home!
Maud and the others were still cleaning up when we arrived the following morning. Mum got stuck in, just like everyone else. She was most upset that she’d lost photos and her favourite chinaware. The photos couldn’t be replaced.
Sometimes, even many years later, Dad would ride back home from mustering cattle with a newly found teacup or a saucer in his saddlebag. A lot of china was found in the paddocks sometimes many miles away.
So, I started life in my new home, surrounded by the smell of decomposing stock and rancid mud, and swarms of mosquitoes. I’m so glad I was too young to remember it.