Redcliffe Pier

Monday, April 2, 2012

A HEAT WAVE OF DISAPPOINTMENT

In January of 1960 we had a heatwave and a visitor from England. Mrs R was the mother of my  parents' friend, Ida from Mudgee. Mrs R was on her way back to England from Mudgee. She stayed with us for a while before boarding a ship in Sydney.

 In these days before air conditioning, we often went to the beach to cool off. This time we went to Wottamolla Beach in the Royal National Park just south of Sydney and not far from where we lived in Loftus. It was a beautiful spot, pristine.
 There was a lagoon , which emptied into the sea. It was a great place for swimming either in the sea or the lagoon. The little dots on the beach are people. I took this shot from the top of the waterfall at the beginning of the lagoon.

Mum and Mrs R sitting on top of the waterfall.

The waterfall was only a trickle as it had been a dry summer obviously. Often there were brave stupid people diving off the top of the waterfall.

It was very hot and I was miserable. The exam results had been published. I had passed the Leaving Certificate and qualified for teachers' college, which initially had me happy and excited. However, over 250 applicants had applied for PE teaching at Sydney Teachers' College and only 80 were accepted and I wasn't one of them. I was so disappointed but my Dad was very supportive and encouraged me not to give up. He even took me to demonstrate outside government house against the low number of applicants accepted into colleges and universities. It had no effect. We were told to try again the next year, when more places would be offered.

My Dad then helped me to look for a job while I waited for the next year's intake. With his help I decided on laboratory work. I applied for quite a few lab assistant jobs. After a few knockbacks I finally landed a job with the Animal Husbandry Dept. at the University of Sydney. Meanwhile, my snail mail romance continued with LB in Newcastle.
Wottamolla Beach today, still beautifully kept in its natural state. (Photo from the web)

26 comments:

  1. I am really enjoying your stories from the past. Can't wait to hear whether you finally made it to PE college as I too went to teacher's training college to study PE!

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  2. I too am enjoying these tales and photos. Are blokes supposed to enjoy these things?

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    1. Yes , sensitive blokes do. It isn't much different from you telling your story, except you are a much better writer that I am.

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  3. That must have been a huge disappointment, to want to learn something and not allowed to. Your loving dad helped you very much. Looking forward to the following story.

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  4. the beach today is so very beautiful, looks pretty much the same as back in 1960 except for the glorious color. heat waves were really bad back then, we had no AC until 1980 in our house. i can look at your old photos and feel the heat you felt.

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  5. How amazing to see the comparison of the beach then and now. It is truly lovely and so wonderful it has been kept that way. I love hearing about your life story. Keep it coming!

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  6. Wottamolla Beach is beautiful. I'm glad it has been preserved in its natural state. Although the modern picture of the beach is beautiful, I really like your 'heat wave' photos. I know not getting a spot in college was a big disappointment, but things obviously worked out well.

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  7. Such beautiful photos and ironic that they frame your understandable disappointment and sadness. Sounds like your father was a truly terrific and understanding man.

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  8. Looking at those old photos brought me to that time, reading your story made me experience those days. I love the photos.

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  9. That looks like a very beautiful place even in black and white !
    Fortunately I never experienced snail mail love, I always had them "under" my hands, lol !

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  10. What a lovely spot. Must have been hot and sticky without air-con in those days. When we look back on our disappointments we can often see things worked out better in the end. Hindsight is a wonderful thing!

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  11. It is amazing what colour does with a picture.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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  12. What a beautiful spot! I can see why you enjoyed spending time there. You were very lucky to have such wise and wonderful parents!

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  13. What a beautiful place...the last photo really does it justice. Black and white is sometimes difficult I think. Your story posts are always so interesting too.

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  14. Wow, only 80 chosen out of 250 students. I can see why you would be disappointed. I love the old photos and the new beautiful shot of the beach. It is a gorgeous place. Great post, Diane!

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  15. i have several friends from england and often wonder how they coped with our (south australian) summers. 40 degrees is quite common here. dry heat too. i also am enjoying your photos and posts from the past. i'm pleased that the beach is still there and looks unspoilt. i can't help but notice that you have a pot of tea at your picnic. :)

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    1. I actually think it was a billy with a spout. Then again I doubt we would have been boiling a billy in a heatwave and there probably was fire restrictions at that time of the year. Dang I can't remember those details.

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  16. Hi Diane, I could feel that HEAT you all were experiencing.. We didn't have AC in my childhood home ---but I don't remember suffering from the heat like I do now that I am OLD.... ha

    Beautiful beach--then and now!!!!! Gonna be out-of-pocket for a few days...
    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  17. OMG - so prim and proper is Mrs R.
    The model of a G & S song, "I am the very model of a Modern Major General" - the photo is priceless.
    Looks like your father is most amused.
    Even your mother seems to have a bit of a smirk! Re: Mrs R's fingers gently holding the cup.
    I vaguely remember those southern beaches, the major problem was the extent of sand from the grass, over the boiling hot sand, to the surf. (Ouch)
    Some council down there is doing its duty, from the black and white photo of then, to the same today. Good for them.
    Yes excellent photographs Diane. You are quite the whiz kid ( tongue in cheek of course - ha ha!) Looks like you are in swimming carnival cossies??????
    Cheers
    Colin

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    1. Yes they were nylon speedos. I found them the most comfortable but I did have bikinis too.

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  18. When we were little, we always thought Oz was temperate, with snow. When my mum went to live on the Gold coast, it was hotter than Borneo. Mum asked," Are you sure you took me to Australia.

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  19. I just love old photos and the same photos today. This is wonderful. And I want to jump right into that lagoon. And right now. :)

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  20. I like this one very much. When I was small(in Eastern Washington State) we had to go to the beach to cool off too. If the temperatures got up into the high 90s, my dad would close his office and come home, then he could go with us! (I loved hot weather if only for that reason.)

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  21. I had forgotten that you wanted to be a PE teacher!
    I think over Easter David and I will go and find that lake.

    Thanks Mum
    xxx

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  22. How awful to be told to wait a year. I remember applying to two or three colleges and then deciding which one to go to. If I'd have had to wait for a year I don't think I would have gone. :)
    Love that you have the old to compare with today's view. That last shot is breathtaking. It looks so unspoiled and romantic.
    Thanks for sharing another chapter.

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