QF1 flew our family beyond grime and litter of
Industrial Birmingham history, only Patience tested
2 years of red tape on desks at Australia House
To emigrate, to wait, divert my 12 year mind,
From dwelling on leaving kith and kin, but relieved of
Peer group bullies, though missing Top of the Pops on BBC1,
Not local Crossroads cardboard motel we watch for laughs.
And I could do without reading the sordid News of the World
Whilst Nan cooked Sunday roast.
The one Australian we thought we knew was Rolf Harris whose
‘Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport’, was an instant hit into our
Humble terraces, where Rolf spun yarns and mesmerised us by
His deft house brush, slapped house paint onto expansive cardboard.
We caught the vision of Aussie bush and sky then back to British
Landscape familiarity, he was a smart chap who left entertaining
Small town Perth to sojourn ex-pats Earl’s Court.
This musing about wobbling masonite board helped the
13 hour flight and the handsome Qantas crew with slim
Suntanned men a sight to be seen!
Black and white T.V. had become colour in the land of Qantas.
Melbourne via Bahrain and Singapore route to
Start over, my family and I, new jobs, better pay,
And the film shown at Australia House in Manchester
Imprinted Kangaroos and koalas lazing in the back garden!
Saying goodbye to my working-class ancestral home, lastly sorry to the
Spirit of Nan turning 68 years old, and Dad hoping he was right about
Signing his 3 children to the other side of the world where
Opportunities, and a better life awaited –
The lingering last of white Australia’s $10 pound poms (13 pounds by 1978).
END NOTES. CULTURE SHOCK
1 Australian born Rolf Harris, Household name, entertainer, artist, Queen’s favourite was charged and jailed in London for sexual assaults on girls and women throughout his career.
2. Donald Friend esteemed artist born Australian, left a legacy of diaries which described sexual abuse he committed against young boys in Bali and Sri Lanka.