Father O’Way – The Early Days 1


Wong O'Way
I’m the one not in the photo


Yes well hello. This is the beginning I suppose so I guess that you will all want to know what has happened. I was born, hmm, no, I mean yes, I was born but perhaps we don’t want to go there, well not just yet. Look, lets get down to facts. This is true fiction and no lies have been added to this story unless it has been necessary and it seems it has been necessary quite a lot.

My name is Sandy, well sort of, my real name is Alexander however I prefer Sandy. I mean lets face it, Sandy is better than Alex or Al or something. One reason I prefer Sandy is acronyms, yes acronyms. See my real name is Alexander Leonard Lyndhurst O’Way, ALLOW, dreadful isn’t it, so over time I have developed a love hate relationship with acronyms. Anyway as the story develops you will see what I mean.

So yes, I was born at the Inner Cyberia Hospital(ICH) and as little kids we couldn’t resist putting a “T” in there to make it ITCH as we all reckoned that if you ever went to hospital you always came home with an itch. Sorry, what was that, you have never heard of Inner Cyberia? Well it’s next to Middle Cyberia and on the other side of Outer Cyberia. Pretty simple really. Anyway I was born at the ITCH and unfortunately taken home by the wrong family. See I was born right on change of shift which immediately put me off side with the staff. Nurses hate having to do anything during hand over and guess what, that was me. Well my new family were Chinese and they named me Zing Zang however they gave me a nick name, Nick, phew, imagine trying to explain away Zing Zang when the local bullies are just about to bash you.

My dad, Walter, a very wealthy man, was a watch maker and he was very proud of his shop “Walter Wong’s Watches” (WWW) being displayed across the front in large letters. “One day all this will be yours Nick ” he would say. Well dad, my name is actually Zing Zang but hey, never call me a pedant as I don’t even know what that means. I think you have it on toast for breakfast, pedant butter and funny, yumbo.

My dad was always looking to get richer. He used to tinker with computers and one day at a large family gathering my Dad said “You know, one day computers will communicate with each other via the phone line, the information will be broken up into packets and reassembled at the other end.” “Preposterous!!” came the cries and the next day the men in white coats, other wise known as purse carrying nancy boys, came and took my dad away.

Soon after that the police arrived. My mum was feeling bad because she missed dad but more importantly she had just broken a fingernail, as you do, and the policeman said “Mavis” that’s my mum’s name, “Mavis you’ve brought home the wrong child from the hospital” “Yes, that’s right the Wong child, my Nick” replied mum in her broken English. “No the wrong, wrong child” emphasised the policeman “He’s a Wong” said mum, “No wrong, w.r.o.n.g. child meaning Nick isn’t yours” and so I was taken away to my new family, Farter and Mafarter O’Way.

My new family were poor but really good to me. They didn’t eat fish and rice like the Wong’s but lamb and potatoes instead. My dad was a Traffic Control Officer with the Main Roads dept., otherwise known as a lollipop man, good for a lick for a zac[2] to go to the shop, and my mum was a farmer’s daughter. But, my English teachers will cringe with me starting a sentence with but, but hey, who gives a fun, then they went and named me Alexander, hmm.

This was all very different and it took me a long time to adjust. The great thing was that my first mum and dad became good friends with my second mum and dad, so in the end I had two sets of parents. Farter and Walter would debate every issue under the sun while Mafarter and Mavis would trade recipes and take turns at cooking the main dinner, life was pretty good. And of course the real Zing Zang was nicknamed Billy, Billy Wong, hmm.[1]
One day the Wong’s came over, with sad faces, to tell us that they were moving to Outer Cyberia. Walter got a good job offer in charge of trying to put and egg back together that had fallen from a wall, so he took it.

Now let me tell you, you know how some things are a long way, well Outer Cyberia was a long way plus a bit, like another long way. See what I mean. Perhaps even further then a long way, maybe it might even been further then Coals(Thanks Dave) an, an, and you may not even eat cannibals, whats this world coming to, next there will something good on TV except Aunty and her little cousin

More to come so grit dem teeth and laugh so hard you hurt. Please avoid consuming liquids when reading this story. Your cat and keyboard may end up hating you.

Authors Notes

[1.] Think about it

[2.] I think a zac was sixpence and then became five cents, robbed again as usual. You can see that I am still bitter and twisted about 1966

[3] I have no idea about what this story is about but I’m having fun, hope you are.

[4] I dedicate this story to Helvi who gave me much support and encouragement to get Father O’Way into space and to the WDAPAW Crew who have all contributed ideas for the hapless Sandy

Me and Bluey


I'm the one left right out
I’m the one left right out

This is the story of Me and Bluey or what could also be called, One Magic Day. Now with all my Early Days stories some of it is true, some is artistic licence and some is just pure bullshit however most of this story is true.

I started playing cricket in the backyard at mum’s and as my family grew up and left, or lost interest in cricket, my good friend Gerard Van Camper got me to join up with the local town team. Gerard’s brother Hank also played in out team as he was too old for the next division down so we had both of the boys play in our squad. And thank Gordon for that as they were both excellent players and our captain and vice captain as they seemed to know how to play the game. I asked Gerard one day about it and he said his Dad, Hank Senior, knew nothing about cricket but Gerard just picked it up, a natural I suppose you would call it.

So in this game we were playing the Toffs. Now a toff in my local area was a kid that went to private school. The state school boys referred to me as a toff as I went to private school but they tolerated me on game day. Gerard, Hank and another boy called Stephen were all toffs in the local side and were all subsequently tolerated especially seeing Gerard and Hank were excellent players. The side we were playing were kids at boarding school from the main part of the town and were allowed to join the local comp so they stayed out of trouble on the weekends.

Games were two half days on Saturday and the Toffs won the toss and batted on the first half day. The next week rolled around and when I arrived at the ground there was a real buzz around the place. One of the lads approached me “Gerard and Hank are on holidays in Holland and you and Bluey are leading the team” he shrieked, fancy a toff leading the team against the Toffs, class warfare was well and truly underway.

The coach came up to me with Bluey striding along by his side “Hung, you’re Vice Captain and Bluey is Captain, suppose you’ve heard the Van Camper boys are on holidays” I nodded, wow, vice captain at the age of 13 but no Van Campers, this could be a tough day.

The coach wandered off and Bluey put his arm around me. Now Bluey was taller, thicker, stronger and everything than me and he wasn’t someone you would pick a fight with. Bluey was from Hungary and his Dad was one of the butchers in the town. Bluey was pretty aloof even to the state school boys and I suppose a bit of a loner “Hung old son” Now when Bluey said old son you knew he was getting ready to fight “Hung old son, we are going to win. We are gunna beat these lousy Toffs, present company excepted, and go out in a blaze of glory. The Van Campers boys are back next week so this is out big chance” It was then I realised that I wasn’t able to breath and so Bluey let me go.

We still had four wickets to get to finish of the Toffs so we could bat. We all walked out to the pitch. Bluey said “Now spread out men”. One of the state school boys cried out “Spread out, you are supposed to tell us where to stand?” I immediately felt sorry for this boy, no one challenges Bluey. Bluey glared at him “Look old son, any minute now those Toffs are going to come out here and hit the ball all over the joint, you old son have to place yourself between the batsman and the boundary, get it, old son?” Holy shit three old sons and the kid was still alive.

With that everyone moved around the field to where they thought Gerard might place them. I started to go to my usual fielding position at mid on when I heard “Hey you, catholic boy” Bluey loved calling me this, “you bowl” and tossed me the ball. “I don’t open the bowling Bluey” I meekly replied “Well” said Bluey “you’re on a steep learning curve then aren’t you old son”.

Well for the record I took 4 for 28 and bowled them out. I had never taken that many wickets ever, I was stoked. Bluey came up to me as we were walking off the ground. The Van Campers usually opened the batting and Bluey and Stephen were probably the next best two “Hey catholic boy, me and you are opening, little Stevie wonder can come in next” “But Bluey, I don’t open the batting” I whimpered “Well” said Bluey “you’re on a steep learning curve then aren’t you old son”.

As we walked out to the middle Bluey approached me “No more hugs please Bluey I still haven’t recovered from the last one” I informed “Okay Hung but mate I’m shitting myself” said Bluey “but look I’m gunna go off like a fire cracker and what I want you to do is hold up one end, you have the best defence in the team” said Bluey. Well Bluey was a slogger for sure and after I read the Doug Walters Cricket Handbook my game had risen quite dramatically. “Okay Bluey, me and you to the death” I affirmed. Well Bluey’s face lit up and he smiled like I had never seen before.

Well for the record, Bluey went off, scored a century and we won the game. Me I batted as asked and got 25, my highest score then out and Stephen helped Bluey to win the game.

Me and Bluey had a bond after that, a bond that could not be broken, it was special, one magic day, one magic day.

Me and Gordon

The Face of God, Gordon O'DonnellSome of you that have read my stories will know about Gordon, Gordon O’Donnell, the astrophysicist from another dimension that is currently using our universe to study for his degree. Well this story is about when I first met Gordon. Now with all my Early Days stories some of it is true, some is artistic licence and some is just pure bullshit however most of this story is true.

It was about the middle of my last year at high school all though being a Catholic I was at college and I just wanted out, big time. My grades had been gradually dropping due to an event that occurred outside of my control. I was 16. I knew I was 16 as I said to my mother,

“Mum, how old am I?” I asked.

“16” she replied, therefore I was 16, would a mother lie, don’t think so.

It was Friday, how did I know it was Friday you ask? Well on Friday we had Fish and Chips for tea, so it was Friday. Oh yes, I loved Fish and Chips and still do but it was definitely Friday. I had been playing rugby league for my school and at half time I needed to do a wee however when I did my urine was basically blood. Hmm, how odd.

So on Friday night when tucking in to my fish and chips I said “Mum, when I go to the toilet my urine is red” thinking that at dinner this was the best way to raise this issue.

Little sis said “Oh yuck, how off Hung, go away” or words to that effect.

But Ma and Pa were pretty smart and Mum said “Well Hung, next time you go don’t flush and let me have a look” and so I did. Mum was shocked.

“Do you fell okay Hung?” she inquired, well yeah, duh “Well lets get you to the doctor Monday morning” said Mum.

Yes, there is a God,  a day off school just for pissing blood, bring it on, doesn’t get better than this, mate, I’m in heaven.

As the weekend passed I started to feel unwell and by Monday I was actually glad to see the doctor. They put me in hospital and within a day or two I was transferred to a hospital in the big smoke called the RPA or what I now know as the Royal Pigs Arms. My doctors name was Merv, my nurse was Glenda however my favorite memories are about the wardsman called Foodge. Oh yes, those were the days.  I was diagnosed with Glomerulonephritis and after some time I was sent back to my local hospital.

Glenda in a quiet moment
Glenda in a quiet moment

I told mum to bring me home. The food was shocking and I did most of the other stuff for myself.  I was losing weight at an alarming rate and for a skinny kid that was a real worry. The doctor let me go home as long as I drank this stuff what we would now call Sustagen. Me brother would finish in the Pit at 2 and come round at take me to the shower so Ma didn’t have to do everything.

“Wash your own dick” said big bro but it was just good to feel clean and to wash my hair, this was something that I never took for granted ever again. Big Bro then would towel me down and put me in clean clothes and take me back to my room.

Sleep. Yes sleep was one thing that I excelled at. I reckon I slept about 16 hours a day, take pills, drink this and then sleep. I wasn’t doing very well apparently, not that I knew but according to Mum I was fading.

Mum got the GP to visit, Dr. Gottafix. “Yes Mrs On, your son is in bad shape so I will give him S.H.I.T” said the good doctor.

“Shit” said Mum.

“Yes SHIT” said Dr Gottafix, “Subcutaneous Hypodermic Injectable Tonic, when I was in uni my tutor said when all else fails give ’em shit”

Anyway, later that night after my pills and special drink I just wanted to go to sleep. And I did. Me arse hurt from the injection as I was skin and bone and I was so tired I couldn’t care less about anything anyone said. Then something happened. My room lit up and a man appeared at the end of my bed. “Gidday mate, names Gordon, Gordon O’Donnell, some call me God but I prefer Gordy” said the creature.

“Are you a pommy mate?” I asked given his accent and flat cap.

“Well, sort of” said Gordon “but more importantly I’m here to help you save the universe”

Groan, went my brain. I feel like dying and here is some pommy illusion trying to tell me how to save the universe. “How can I do that fella?”

“Well” Gordon replied cautiously “On Boxing Day you and you dad will be watching the Ashes test in  the lounge room and your big sis will tell you a funny story about people she works with you that will be about male nurses. All you need to do is say “” I could do that”” and you will be set on a path to save the universe”

MaleNursesUnited“And if I don’t?” I ask defiantly.

“Well if you don’t you will not create me therefore I won’t exist and I created the universe therefore the universe will cease to exist” says Gordon.


I slept heavily that night and in the morning I finally felt hungry. Weeks later I returned to school and sat and passed my final exams. We had a wonderful family Christmas. Boxing Day arrived, me and Dad in the lounge waiting for the first ball when I remembered Gordon’s visit. Now what did I have to say to big sis,

Do that I could

I do that could

Could that I do

That could I do

Do could that I

That do could I

This was driving me crazy but apparently I needed to save the universe.

Big Sis entered, “You bloody blokes, always watching cricket, now let me tell you about some of the male nurses blah blah blah…”

 “I could do that” I utter on cue therefore becoming a nurse therefore creating Gordon therefore saving the universe.

Hungs Wide World of Shorts

Pic by Warrigal
Pic by Warrigal

Lillie approaches from the Vulture Street End, Boycott pads up, its bowled him, Boycott’s off stump knocked out of the ground, no shot offered, can you believe that……”, the lounge room roars into action, grown men cry, dogs bark, people flood the street tossing hats in the air rejoicing, backs are slapped, beers are poured, babies are conceived, this is summer this is cricket, this is heaven, their best batsman bowled without offering a shot, life doesn’t get any better than this, ah yes, cricket where the only thing better than cricket is more cricket.

Yes cricket, the one true national game. Forget your football codes cricket is life and life is cricket. Understanding cricket is easy. Get more runs then they do, simple. Nothin’ too hard bout that. And yes the culture, the joy, the atmosphere, its quasi-religious and coming from an atheist that’s saying something.

As a kid growing up in Wollongong all my mates played cricket and for me batting, bowling or fielding I couldn’t care less, just playing the game was all I needed. Weekends were cricket in the juniors Saturday morning, Grade in the afternoon. Sunday morning surf then when the nor’easter came in cricket in the park with me mates. Mum had to come and get me for tea as the sun had set ages ago. She’d call out from the street “Mark, get home, it’s as black as, tea’s on the table, how can you see that ball anyhow?”, “But Mum, a century beckons”, I always wondered why mum called me Mark when my name’s Hung, anyway some thing’s are a mystery.

My Dad, an Englishman tolerating us colonials, would get the bus to the bottom of Bulli Pass then from the roadside would hold up a sign “SCG”,

Pic by Warrigal
Pic by Warrigal

someone would always pull over and give him a lift. I was too young to go along at first but then my initiation came, the SCG, the hallowed turf, the smell of the freshly cut grass, the crowd, the banter between the Poms and the Aussies, always witty, never violent or abusive and supporters of both sides could sit together and barrack for their team. Mum would pack ham and mustard sandwiches and Dad would shout an ice cream, bliss.

Then as a young man going to the test with my mates, eskies full of beer, pies and hotdogs, hot chips and seagulls. Doug Walters would stride out and the crowd would erupt, “Dougie, Dougie” we’d chant. If he got a boundary the noise was deafening, all of us would rise as one, “You bewdy”. Then tragedy, Dougie caught in the covers, “Poms can’t field, how’d they catch that “.

Then as I aged a bit more and the Hill disappeared and my brother-in-law, Brad, and I would sit in the stands. One birthday, which falls in January, somewhere between the 4th and the 6th, hint hint, we went to the SCG and watched India play, Azzarudin, mate, me and Brad wanted to make him an honorary Aussie, he was brilliant. But it was against the Poms that was best, the old dart, the mother country, those were the days.

Tutu and I moved to Adelaide in the eighties and loved it. 15 minutes to the oval, no rain, 5 days of heaven. Saw the mighty West Indies, Adam Gilchrist, V.V.S Laxman, Wasim Akram and the graceful Brian Lara. In the first few years here, Tutu would bring books to the game to read but it gets hot in summer, 40 plus, so now she drops me at the Oval and goes on a spending spree on my credit card, I mean am I a winner or what.

So for those that don’t understand cricket, don’t worry. Just pretend you like it or compromise like Tutu and read a book, enjoy the fresh air, the sun, the community, being as one with total strangers, the total boredom, applauding your opponent for good play, all of these things are cricket and oh yes check the scoreboard occasionally.

The Minty Wrapper

more minties 2When I was young boy I was walking down the street a station wagon drove past. The window was open and someone was waving to another car and let a minty wrapper go. I picked it up and when inside to tell Mum and Dad. Now my parents were very serious people, mum starting crying “Environmentally devastated” said Dad.

Dad called a meeting in the town hall and a decision was made to send a small delegation to government house to protest. So Dad got out the Zephyr and we drove down to the big smoke.

The funny thing was that as we got closer to the city signs kept popping up on the side of the road like “Down with minty wrappers” and “Polluters die”. Somehow people knew about our protest, bush telegraph I suppose.

When we got to the main square a good size crowd had gathered. A man with a megaphone stood on a crate “Wadda we want, biodegradable minty wrappers, when do we want ‘em, now”. The crowd roared the chant back and more people poured into the square. People were yelling and rattling the gate of government house and yelling abuse at the guards. Riot police entered the square and protesters threw rocks and fire bombs. The police charged at Dad but he stood his ground, the copper said “look mate we all want biodegradable minty wrappers but no protest allowed without permit number 1068B”. The crowd surged behind Dad, now in the tens of thousands.

SAS troops piled into to the square discharging weapons into the air, cars were being turned over and set alight, “No more minty wrappers, down with wrappers” they yelled. Fighting was erupting all over the place, there were over a hundred thousand people now and machine gun fire sounded in the distance. Tanks were rolling into the square.

Suddenly a trumpet sounded the loudest sound imaginable. Everyone stopped in their tracks and looked to the sky. Anminty wrapper enormous cloud enveloped the square. The trumpet played one more note piercing ear drums and flattening any resistance. The crowd, police and troops all stopped and all eyes were fixed on the sky. The cloud opens and a figure appears that resembles a man with one of those flat caps. “Listen up” the creature says “haven’t got long Z Cars is about to start” he grumbles “God here or Jesus, Allah, Yahweh, Jehovah whatever just don’t call me late for dinner, get it, my real name is Gordon, Gordon O’Donnell, get it GOD, boy, you lot need to get out more”.

The crowd is stunned into silence, troops and police alike lay down their weapons.  “Look” the creature says “It’s 1966 your time and biodegradable wrappers aren’t ready yet but they will come, it won’t be long. Computers will be the size of a pocket watch and a man will walk on the moon”. A man to my left yells “He’s a fake, a computer the size of a watch, man on the moon, he talks in tongues”. God points his  index finger at the man and the man vaporizes and God shrugs his shoulders “Look, it will happen, a time will come when almost every home will have a computer and they will all talk to each other via the telephone, I will contact you when this happens, look to the ABC, my name will be Emmjay, any questions?” “God, what will become of us, what’s the meaning to life?” “Life, well, a writer will appear and give you the answer, 42 but no one will take him seriously. Look I can read your minds, sorry no cash or winning numbers and with football don’t worry everyone will continue to hate Manly” I thought to myself, I guess some things won’t change. “Is their life in the universe besides Earth, of course, but not as you know it Jim, anyway enough now. I am now going to make you all forget what’s happened. I want you to stop fighting and go home”.

more mintiesWhen I was young boy I was walking down the street a station wagon drove past. The window was open and someone was waving to another car and let a minty wrapper go. I picked it up and when inside to tell Mum and Dad. My parents looked at each other and as their eyes met a meteor burned up in the stratosphere causing a bright trail across the sky, “Be a good boy Hung and put it in the bin” said mum, Dad smiled, the dog yawned. Life’s a funny thing sometimes.

Me and Bondy

ThirroulSource:  http://beachsafe.org.au Thirroul Beach

Hey, Hung here, Look my last story was about playing cricket in the back yard at mums. This is about a mate or two I made after that. For the record most of this is true, some is pure bullshit and some is artistic licence. All the names have been changed to protect the infertile or what ever.
It was my job to go to the Halfway shop for Mum whenever she ran out of anything. I mean this was 1968 and as consumers we wanted goods, well that’s what Ma would say. Anyhoo, I’d go to the Halfway shop for Ma and Pa whenever they wanted things like sugar, butter, cigarettes, blow up dollies well you know, the Halfway shop had one of everything.
One day Mum sent to he shop about four times. The kid who lived next door to the Halfway said “Hey mate, you got the runs or what”. Well I didn’t know what he meant but he was playing cricket by himself by throwing the ball against a wall and then hitting it with the bat.
“No mate” I said “Just getting stuff for Ma for our tea” I replied.
“Well, wanna a game of cricket? “ said this kid “Tomorrow down the park? Nine o’clock”
So it happened. The next morning , me and this kid turned up at the local park for a game of cricket.
I said “ Mate, before we start, I’m from the country, my dad was born overseas and worst of all I’m catholic”
“ No worries mate. I’m from Thirroul” Instantly we were mates.
I said “My names Hung” I spurted. He said in reply “ Bondy”
I enquired “What’s your first name?”
“Don’t worry about it Hung, no one ever refers to me by it so just call me Bondy”
The Halfway shop was owned by Mr and Mrs Threw or as we eventually got to know them George and Mildred. They were wonderful people and came from London. George was ex Royal Navy and was doing well until the Germans decided to blow the shit out of his boat. Many died but George survived but with many injuries and much later he and Mildred emigrated to Australia. They landed in this hell hole called Sydney. One day, on a drive, they found Austinmer and a shop for sale and they brought it.
George and Mildred were fantastic and really looked after me and Bondy. We would stack shelves and fridges for them for a few bob. Mildred had a full time job and George’s injuries prevented him from doing lots of physical stuff so me and Bondy did it for him. Mildred always finished early and when she got home George would take the dog for a walk past the Headlands Hotel and well, being thirsty would drop in for a couple of beers and then bring a few home as you do.
One day Bondy said “C’mon Hung lets smoke, men smoke, George smokes, lets smoke”. So one day after getting our wages from George, me and Bondy decided to go and get some smokes. We caught the bus to Thirroul, over Kennedy’s Hill on a Dion’s bus from Moore Street for 2 cents. The corner shop sold packet’s of Viscount 10’s for our “Dad’s” for 15 cents. We had two bob each so we was rich.
We walked down McCauley Street. Bondy pointed out a house called “Wyewurk”
“Famous house is that Hung” said Bondy “Some pommy poofter lived there”
“What’s a poofter Bondy?” I asked innocently
Bondy stared to turn red, breathing hard and making a grunting sound. Now Bondy was big, mean looking and about three times my size. Kids would cross the road rather than deal with Bondy however the whole time I knew him he did not hurt a soul.
“I don’t know what a bloody poofter is Hung but don’t say anything to your Ma and Pa because when I did I had the crap belted out of me so it must be bad, I just heard one of the big boys say it”
We walked in silence down Bath Street and dropped into the public baths at Thirroul. The Sydneysiders that were too scared to swim in the ocean swam here. We just watched them for a while from outside the fence.
Me and Bondy then went to the northern end of Thirroul beach, out of the wind, to light up our smokes. We didn’t inhale as it made us sick but we were men and men smoked. This bloke came along the shore. He had a sack and would forage around the rocks for squid and shell fish.
“Hey Hung” said Bondy “Here comes the old dagoe” Bondy smirked.
“Hey boys” said the old dagoe “ Smoking ain’t no good for you young fellas” he said
I felt guilty as. This fella had been going up and down the coast for years, hardly speaking to anyone. “Hey mate, what’s your name? “ I called.
“George, mate” he replied. From then on we always sung out hey George and he would reply hey boys. Me and Bondy had long given up smoking when one day George said “Boys, come up and see my house”. We followed George up a goat track to this beautiful house, painted blue and white, overlooking the ocean. We met Mrs George, Effie, who gave us soft drink she made from lemons and pastry with honey and nuts. It was all good.
“You boys better get going to beat the tide” George said “And come up any time you want”
“Thanks George, we will” I replied as me and Bondy headed down the goat track back to the beach.
Each weekend after that me and Bondy would head to George and Effie’s house after buying a few things in the main street of Thirroul usually toy cars that we both decided to collect. One day when we got to George’s house something was different. The house was locked up and all the furniture was gone from the house. A note was taped to the door,
“Boys, George has passed away and I have moved to Marrickville to live with my family. Thanks for you infectious company and I love you both, Effie”
We walked home in total silence. This time we went via the highway over Kennedy’s Hill past Austinmer beach. As we got to the Halfway shop Bondy turned and said “Hung, there is something I have to tell you” Bondy said in a deep tone and a sad face “ I’m moving to Bulli”.
Well I never saw Bondy again and George and Effie gone this life thingy was a funny game.
The following week school holidays started. I went down to the Halfway shop and stacked some shelves, replenished the fridges and put out the papers. Mr Threw went to give me some money but I asked for a pie and a drink instead. The shop had a table and chairs at the front and I went and sat down to eat my pie when this strange kid came in the shop. He got a pie and drink and came and sat next to me.
“You from around here?” he asked.
“Yeah mate just up the road” I nodded in the direction of where I lived.
“Just moved in mate, the names Jono, do you like cricket?”

Here’s some interesting links if you get insomnia and want a quick cure.





Cricket in the Backyard at Mums

Backyard cricket


Here’s a story. Some is true and some is pure bullshit, some artistic licence, I’ll let you decide.

I was born in Tamworth, the country capital of NSW however as a young kid my parents moved down to Wollongong on the south coast or should I say more precisely, Austinmer, a northern beach suburb of Wollongong. Seven surfing spots within a 5 minute walk, how lucky was I. For anyone that has travelled down the coast from Sydney to Wollongong we lived opposite the Headlands Hotel which strangely enough is on a headland.

We were considered strange as we were from the country, my dad was from overseas but worst of all we were Catholic, what ever that was. Later in life I learned that Catholics have caused all of the world’s problems but as a kid I neither knew nor cared, as long as we could play cricket.

Strangely enough, in the small row of houses were we lived our neighbours to the north were the Bowlers, to the south were the Bettermen’s which we renamed the Batsmen so we called ourselves the All Rounders. Sadly this is a true lie.

But hey, let me introduce you to my family. My Dad was called Dad, Dad One On which turned out to be very convenient. My Mum was called Mum One On again which turned out to be very convenient. My mum and dad had doctorates from the University of New England which is no where near England at all. Mum majored in Crap whereas Dad majored in bullshit. My big brother’s name was Have, Have One On and my big sister was called Urge, Urge One On, oh and lets not forget our blue heeler, Sandy, who never told me what his last name was but Mum said a priest had given her Sandy as a pup and his name was Sandy O’Way, so I guess mum named him after the priest. Anyway we were considered strange as we were from the country, my dad was from overseas but worst of all we were Catholic.

Anyhoo, this was the mid 1960’s and I had had enough of my big brother giving me a hard time. Throughout the entire year, through scrimping and scraping I had managed to save five bob, can you imagine that, five whole bob, yes, gob smacking. Anyway, a mate of mine called Gerard who came from Holland showed me a trick with tennis balls. Remember how they were always yellow, bounced to much and had the big circular line through them. “Pump the ball half full of water Hung” said Gerard “That way they skim along the ground” Gerard grinned. Gerard didn’t seem to mind that I was from the country, my dad was from overseas and I was a Catholic. I think it mainly because Gerard was from another country, his dad was from overseas and he was a Catholic but I’m not really sure.

Gerard’s Mum and Dad had the best sausage in town. His mum would fry it and the smell was amazing. “Bedunk Mrs Van Camper” I would say, yum. The adults washed it down with beer but we were to young to drink so we had soft drink. . Gerard had five brothers, Hank, Henk, Hink, Honk and Hunk. We all referred to them as the “Vowels” although I never knew why as their last name was Van Camper. Mr Van Camper ran the local shop but it was tough going with all those mouths to feed until one day he got sick of been asked about holiday rents in Austinmer and opened up a business called Hank’s Camper Vans which was a play on his name. He is now a millionaire.

So Gerard gave me the doctored ball, my precious, my time had come. Boxing Day 1966, Mum’s backyard, “Hey Have” I called rather exuberantly “I bet you five bob I can get you out under double figures” I baited knowingly. See my brother Have was a pugilist of the first degree. As when we moved to Austinmer, being strange as we were from the country, my dad was from overseas but worst of all we were Catholic, my big brother belted the crap out of the biggest villain in miles, suddenly he was a hero. “Listen, you little prick, I belt you for a hundred then I’ll belt the shit out of you” replied Have, smirking to himself for the easiest five bob he would ever make.

Anyhoo, I put Sandy in as keeper and Urge at mid on, mum’s flame tree as mid off. The first few deliveries I let him tonk me around the place and while he wasn’t looking I threw the ball over the neighbours fence and replaced it with the doctored ball. I bowled the doctored ball and bowled him middle stump as it slid through along the ground.

Have started to come for me with a stump but Sandy realised what was happening and started to growl and bark at Have. Sandy started to bite Have just as Mum appeared, “ What’s all this noise?” she shrieked “ Have, bugger off and leave Hung alone, who owns this five bob?” Mum’s and questions hey.

Me and Sandy went down to the Halfway Shop with our winnings. I had a whole dollar. Can you imagine that, one whole dollar, ten shillings in the old. My newly found wealth was staggering, I was rich. Mrs Drew, who ran the Halfway Shop, was rapt when I told her the story, I had a pie and a can of soft drink and Sandy had some left over pork sausages that Mrs Drew got out of her fridge and I had 85 cents left over, 8 and a half shillings, can you imagine that. It doesn’t get any better that this.

Funny though, after that things changed. My big brother started his apprenticeship at the steelworks as a fitter and turner. When I asked him what did a fitter and turner does, he replied “they fit and they turn”, wow, what a guy. He never played cricket again, that was for little kids like me, he was a man now.

My sister Urge was very pretty and was a boy magnet however she went to uni and eventually married a rich bloke but she stopped playing cricket. Cricket was a little kids game, not for a beautiful intelligent woman with her life ahead of her.

Sandy got killed by a truck and mum and dad were always too busy arguing about things like thermal currents in the upper atmosphere and their effect on climate so it boiled down to just me.

Luckily Gerard came around. “Hey Hung. Thirroul are looking for players. Wanna come? Train Tuesday and Thursday afternoon at Gibson Park.” “Is the Pope a catholic?” I grinned, you know sometimes when things change it’s okay. Life just got a whole lot better.

First published at The Pigs Arms