Archie Roach, the great First Nation musician, left this world on July 30th, 2022. Last night, I saw on the news that his funeral procession went to Warrnambool, western Victoria. I did not know the connection between Archie and the town, where I lived back in 1969. There’s plenty of songs and stories on his YouTube channel.
I read his story on Wikipedia here. I recalled that he was one of the “Stolen Generation” but did not know that his family had lived in Framlington. I remember the name of the town and my memory does not connect it with Warrnambool, even though it is only a short distance away.
My Warrnambool Story
I met my husband-to-be in Mt Gambier. He had befriended an old boyfriend of mine from my earlier days in the town during my nursing training. I was invited to a party by them early in 1967, not long after I returned to “The Mount” where I was enrolled to do my Midwifery training. (The course was cancelled only days before it was to start).
Over the next few months, I travelled to Warrnambool to spend time with my new boyfriend, and as it turned out, we married the following year and I moved there. I worked for a short time at Koroit hospital – just out of Warrnambool. (Koroit was famous for growing potatoes.)
Living in Warrnambool
It was in Warrnambool that we made amazing friends, some of whom I am still in contact with, though a few of our friends from those days have passed away. I didn’t drive in those days (I only learned to drive a few years later) and did a lot of walking, and catching rides with friends.
It was there that our first child was born, and where I had an appendectomy a few months later. We lived in a unit close to the Warrnambool Botanic Gardens and I remember visiting often with my baby in the pram. It was just before our daughter was born that my husband gave me a little puppy, whose name I can’t recall. She had seven puppies, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and we had quite a few adventures with them all.
We enjoyed life there, but it was short lived and my husband was transferred to Melbourne, so that was my last time there, and it was another 50 years before I returned to the town.
The Puppies and the Phone Cable
One day I had been out into town with my little one in the pram, leaving the 8 canines at home, of course. As I walked along the street to our home, I saw many vehicles in the street. There were workmen everywhere, digging up the street with machines. I was a little curious, wondering why all the action was close to home, but wandered on.
On arriving home, I put our daughter into her cot and went outside to check on the canine family. I was gobsmacked to see a rather large shallow hole at the back of the garage and the pups and their mother running around with pieces of black cable in their mouths. Would this be something to do with all the PMG (as it was in those days) action in the street?
I wandered out and asked for directions for the supervisor/man in charge, and told him of my find in our back yard. He followed me back to our place, and out to the back of the garage. What a surprise!!! Yep, the little canine family had found what the vehicles in the streets had failed to find. Soon, the streets were cleared and some workmen worked for a short time in our yard. It seems that many years earlier when the cables were installed, the workmen took a short cut across the corner, instead of following the road – hence the issue.
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