I had red hair, was tall, slim and could run the pants off a kangaroo. We were farm kids. We talked, played, kicked football. If you had a football and a bike, that was your life. In 1950 dad bought me a 26” Swansea bike. I used to put one sister on the front and one on the back. Every Friday, as the family only used to come to town to shop once a month, my mum would send a list in and Ashbolt’s would put the grocery order on the school bus. I’d then cycle my sisters and the groceries about a mile home off the school bus. I’d sit the groceries in the middle of the handlebars and my older sister would hold them there.
So I’d ride the school bus for 45 miles (so 90 miles a day – we had the longest run), get the extra mile home by bike, then if I didn’t have the cows milked by 6 o’clock I’d get a belting. You did as you were told.
Through the whole of my schooling I was very involved on the farm. My dad was crook for 10 years and died in 1962. But even before then I used to come home from school and drive the header until 10 o’clock and then go to bed, get up and go to school the next day. I used to put all the crop in, even at that age. Just imagine a little 12 year old with a bag on his back weighing 180 pounds. When I was 12 I also used to drive a fully loaded truck of sheep to Midland because dad couldn’t do it. I’d come back and get dropped off at the school and he’d drive home after having rested most of the way. I don’t know if anyone twigged that I used to sit up high on a cushion to do the driving; the police would go passed and wave. I never got caught. Then when I came to get my licence at 17 the police sergeant said ‘You’ve had your licence for three or four years, I’ve seen you driving around!’
I only had one girlfriend. I met her at my auntie’s 50th birthday. We looked at one another and thought ‘Wow’ but that was as far as it went. Then she came to see me about two months later and it went on from there. We’ve been together for nearly 51 years now.