When we were "on leave" from Papua/New Guinea in 1969, Bill and I stopped in Brisbane and bought a block of land and then we continued on to Sydney to stay with my parents. Bill had not seen Sydney before so I very proudly showed him around my beautiful city.
We climbed up the steps inside the southern pylon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. That was before the days of tourist climbs up the arch. The people on the arch in this photo would be workmen, probably painters as the bridge is continually being painted.
From the pylon lookout we could see developing Sydney. There were many more towers than when I left Sydney for PNG six years earlier. Now, even these are dwarfed by many more.
We could see the Opera House being constructed. Little did we know that we would have a daughter working there one day.
The phone rang, Mum answered, because Dad was out. A voice said, "Congratulations! You have won a boat." Mum laughed and said, "You must be mistaken we have never bought a raffle ticket for a boat."The voice enquired, "You are Mrs Speakman?" "Yes, but you must have the wrong person" However, the Voice didn't give up and eventually he asked if Mum had bought a fridge recently from Grace Bros. She had, and unknown to her, Dad had been given a free ticket in a raffle for a boat and trailer for shopping at Grace Bros. He had forgotten to tell mum. Finally she was convinced that they had won a boat.
So, there it was sitting under the carport all shiny and new. We asked them if they had tried it out. No they hadn't because they didn't know the first thing about boating and they were waiting for us to teach them. Well talk about the blind leading the blind. But that didn't stop us having a go.
So we towed it down to the nearest river, the Woronora, and launched the boat with much gusto.
We had fun learning to drive it along the small Woronora River and into the bigger Georges River.
We had to struggle to push the boat through metres and meters of mud until we got to the water. Finally, we were on our way back to the Woronora tributary and the car and trailer. As we edged our way up the smaller river the water got shallow and more shallow until it just became a series of water holes. There was no way to get the boat back to the car and evening was closing in.
Luckily Dad came up with an idea. Turn around, drive the boat back to Georges River to the rail bridge where there was a boat ramp and Como railway station. Dad and Bill caught the train and a taxi back to the car and trailer, which wasn't easy as they had left their wallets at home. So they had to sneak on the train and get a taxi to take them home first to get the wallet and then take them to the car. The driver needed some persuasion, he thought the story sounded a bit dodgy. Mum and I huddled under the picnic blanket near the boat in the chilly air as night started falling. After what seemed hours and hours, the boys arrived with the car and trailer and we joyfully hooked up the raffle prize and headed home.
Needless to say Mum and Dad were not enthusiastic boaties and they offered to give us their prize but we had other plans, like travelling the world. So Mum and Dad sold the boat but not before we had a few more outings and learning from our mistakes.
A few days later, we celebrated Christmas dinner together. There is nothing like your Mum's Christmas dinner, turkey and the trimmings.
After a few more sight seeing trips around Sydney and environs for Bill, we were on our way back to Papua/New Guinea and work.
The view of the south coast beach of Stanwell Park from the cliffs at Stanwell Tops. It is a popular place for hang gliding and it is where the early aviator, Lawrence Hargraves, first flew a box kite gliding plane in 1894.
He was leading the race in human flight. He invented the box kite wing, the curved wing surface and the thick leading wing edge. He didn't patent his work but shared it with other scientists.
The Wright Bros and Octave Chanute used his ideas to make the first flying machines.