Forty-Six: Part 1
“It’s my tenth year of teaching this year. I taught the first two years in New Zealand and we just got so homesick that we wanted to come back to Australia. We applied for jobs all over the East Coast, from Hobart right up to Cairns and everywhere in between, but it turned out that in the end we both got jobs at Cessnock at the same school.
You know, by that time I’d done a fair bit of travel - New Caledonia, Vanuatu, South Africa, India, South America – but it was just nice to be back.
I grew up just down the road. We used to drive past here every single day. We’d ride our bikes to go to the caravan park to buy lollies and we used to play cricket in our front yard just down the road (if you hit the ball over the fence and into the cow paddock it was six and out). And we could smell the bread from Sylvester’s bakery, which I’m sad is gone now.
I loved being part of the community and playing tennis at the tennis club on Friday nights. That used to be massive! And I liked how safe the neighborhood felt; knocking on everyone’s doors and playing spotlight on a Friday night and just knowing everyone; riding bikes and rollerblades. Yeah. So, I just loved being back in my home town.
I have a lot of family history here. My ancestors were in Wollombi. We found their graves out there and we learnt all about them.
My great grandfather was one of the owners of the Bellbird Butchery. He started that. He and his two brothers came out from England because they’d been left this inheritance so they decided to come to Australia and find their fortune. And they moved here, of all places. And before they could afford a horse and sulky they would deliver meat on foot in a basket to the top of Mount View and all around the area.
And I know that’s probably a bit lame but I like old farming outbuildings - sheds and shearers quarters and the old cattle loading things. It’s just a whole other world that you can still see some of the evidence of … and I just like imaging what that life would have been like."