15 February 2007


This was originally called Euthanasia, but I'm feeling mellower right now, so it's just Cressy. Cressy is a very small town in Northern Tasmania where I grew up. It's the sort of place people think their kids should grow up in, and in fact it was lovely. Lots of BMXs, forts in hedges, that sort of shit. A town with a top shop, a middle shop and a bottom shop (though these days the top shop has closed).

What parents who imagine their children growing up in these places don't take into account though is what happens when forts in hedges start to lose their appeal. For my friends what happened was a shoot out with police for one guy (maybe just a bigger, better fort in a hedge), and Friday night fights with rolls of 20c pieces in his fists for another. Though don't misunderstand me, most of them have gone on to become perfectly average blokes.

Anyway. In Grade 6 I left Cressy District High School and started school in Launceston, a place with about 40,000 more people than Cressy, and so lost touch with a lot of my old friends.

So, the following is somewhere between reportage and caricature. Certainly it's a conversation I had to listen to ad infinitum as I was growing up, circling endlessly around the dinner table, or over tea and scones while I kicked at the table legs and twisted on my chair. Enjoy


“What’s the name of that tea-room, Bev? That one your Sandra took us to?”
“Which one?”
“You know. The one just before you get to the Liffey turn-off.”
“Near the pine forest there?”
“The pine forest near the weigh-bridge? Or the one farther along, on the right?”
“The one old Royce Pritchard’s dad used to own. What was his name now? Used to know him like the back of me hand!”
“You don’t mean old Tom Pritchard?”
“No, no, no! That was his brother. He lived out the back of Breadalbane there.”
“I thought they logged that forest.”
“Him and me used to pick blackberries down by the Mill Dam.”
“I know the one you mean! The one that runs up the hill there – Squizzy Pritchard’s.”
“Squizzy Pritchard! That’s it! God, how could I forget Squizzy Pritchard? How long’s he been dead now?”
“Must be five or ten years now. Buried him up the ‘yard at Carrick.”
“Did they now? Did they now?”
“You remember that time at the Carrick Show, Bev? That time we tried to sneak in down by the river and you got your slip stuck in all that gorse and I said I’d have to leave you there, and you started hollering!”
“I remember! And you run and got Nora from the bakehouse, and the both of you got me out of there. Hardly a mark on me slip, neither!”
“Whatever happened to Nora? I ain’t seen her for a power o’years.”
“Didn’t she marry that bloke from up Bracknell way? The one who used to run that pub in Town?”
“No, that was old Jim Smith’s.”
“You don’t mean the Federal?”
“No, not him either.”
“I don’t know then. Where was it exactly?”
“Just up behind the old hospital.”
“That was O’Connor’s.”
“O’Connor’s was up there by the park next to the Methodist church.”
“So it was. You’re not talking about the Centennial?”
“That’s the place. Trevor Richardson used to run it and he married Nora. She was Nora Musselwhite and then she was Nora Richardson. They had two daughters, Sarah and Katie, and Sarah’s a doctor in Sydney. I don’t know what Katie’s doing.”
“She had a son by that Brett Easthouse fella. Brian or Barry or someone.”
“Barry, it was Barry.”
“Barry, that’s him. Turned out alright. Him and his wife run that little place your Sandra took us to last Easter. Oh, what’s the name of that now?”
“The Easthouse Country Tea-Room!”
“That’s the one. We should go there again.”
“Lovely scones.”
“They were, weren’t they?”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The only thing missing here is my mother. I do not miss Tasmania.