• 1st day starting school in Corrinda high

The top picture is one of me and a mate walking through C Block Wacol Hostel on the way to starting Corrinda High where i only lasted one day and asked not to return as I had been expelled from Oxley state high and the schools decided they had no room for a troublesome Pomme kid from Battersea South london, which I thought strange as the country was built on convict labour from England so should be best suited to deal with me..But this was OK with me as I buked off most the time and the old man had broken his neck in a car crash in Inala and still had to work (see bottom picture taken on the steps of C27) so I began full time work at 14 after being made to look for work walking round the various factory estates in Brisbane in the scorching summer heat looking for work being told to tell the guvnor I was 18...I did manage to get a job at Detroit engine and tool as a cleaner and tea maker at smoko only to get the sack 2 weeks later when they found out i was only 14...

I had earlier broken my arm after jumping off the bridge of Sandy Creek on the way to Wacol station by the stock yards bunking off with me mates Brian Henderson who lived on the army base and Roy Bremmer another Pomme kid from Birmingham..

So me and the old man used to hitch a ride from Wacol (the car smashed up) to a place called Redcliffe near a chicken farm where we were building our house, the old man in a body plaster caste and me in an arm caste were a sight as we walked the dusty hot roads in the burning Queensland summer getting to work by thumb but somtimes we managed to get a ride most of the way there by the man who cleared the hostel kitchens of pigs swill who had a farm near by.....an even better sight was us fitting jack rafters on the roof him holding the rafter and me belting nails in rock hard sun baked wood with me good arm or mixing up compo one handed for the old man as he laid bricks in his plaster caste or learning to brew tea in a billy can and pour it without spilling a drop (how many of you that may read this can brew proper tea in a billy can on a fire you had to light).....but we sweated and suffered and built the brick house and it is still standing today...

When the house was finished we travelled around a bit a kinda mini walk about as he was still not fit for work and in a lot of pain but worked when we could..We used to go to the Gold coast surfers paradise where there is an old black/white photo of me in shorts walking across the hot sand wearing his shoes on the burning sand and in the background nothing but bush and little shack selling coke,s and hamaburgers (changed a bit now eh!)..Then head across the Tweed river into NSW where they would do fish hopping with lamps at night and some would cast off the Cane barges to later put a rope on them and claim the salvage later..We would stay on cane plantations watching the cane fires of a night time ready for the cutters, the reason we stayed here was we were Opal mining in a place which i wont mention where I dug into the Blue clay on the deep bank by a stream of cool water finding mother of opal and a few good specimens, the bug bites and you dont want to stop knowing the next whack with the pick could be the biggest ever Opal found...we ventured further afield to old diggins where i would chuck water over the old spoil at dawn and the old man would watch for the glint of the freshley washed off gems we may find..On one occasion I found a small fire Opal and the old man sucked it clean only to swallow it as he tried to swat a fly. he dropped his (daks) and took a dump behind a gum tree where the ants ate the delicious deposit leaving the fire opal on the ground, this was made up as a ring for me Gran back in England and saw it on her hand from time to time but never told her the story or no what happened to that ring.....

Night times on the hostel as a teenager consisted of going to the shop to see "marilyn" if I could, then siiting out the back on the Post office steps to see if her dad would let her out to come and speak to me, then into the youth club for ping pong and old tremeloes and "Samathas"  walker brothers records and watch the night sky crackle with electric storms and Mosquitos...Day times were taken up watching the new arrivals from all over the place and homing in on the kids of our age. Some dutch kids became good mates I remember Wybren and Ashwin (dutch indonesian)  we would take the new kids for a walk in the bush toward the sewer works scaring them with stories of snakes as we had all the jungle greens we got from the army surplus in Brisbane armed to the teeth with knifes and air pistols then when they were not looking pinch the back of the legs and scream "Snake bite" and they would run like F*/%=...And we would laugh like F*/%=..One night we discovered seance,s after a pomme girl told us how to do it followed by countlessand scary nights holding the glass as it slid over the table,after what happened (The inevitable) i still will not mess with this stuff IT WORKS!..dont open doors..

The Hostel shower/Toilet blocks with seperate mens and womens which took a lot of the new Imigrants from the mediteranean area to undrstand YOU DONT USE THE LADIES DUNNIES..! which they did with repeatedly or use the mens shower to shit in....but it was good to wash off the sweat and dust if the day and last nights methylated spirits from the Mosquito and sand fly bites..then down to the canteen for tea time with the flintstones on telly in the hut taking our mugs with us, this was usually OK as there was lots to eat but still some complained I would sit with me brother Bernie and our mates all misbehaving till the Old man walked in then we were liitle angels...we would pick up our packed lunch at breakfast in the morning usually baked bean sandwiches a bit of cake and a piece of fruit all in a brown paper bag with our names on.. allthough the range of sandwiches was good but again people still complained (wingers) after a while you picked up the Aussie slang and before you new it you spoke like one all thought the london accent was hard to loose...

I remeber just before I left C27 Wacol Hostel, Wacol Brisbane 4076 Qild Aus they fitted stainless steel hand basins with cold running water (most of the time) into the huts and I think the brick E block was just being built, I remember too the swinging wire washing lines that would all most decapitate you if you didnt watch out and lots of new arrivals like I did when I first arrived got caught out..I remember too the stainless steel big laundry sinks the women used to use to wash the clothes where we took great pleasure in placing any snakes we caught then stand and watch as the women ran screaming from the laundry... 

My last day as I left the hostel was spent saying goodbye to me mates none of which i am sadly in touch with, to leave the main gate past the administration office to the Brisbane river to board the Castel Felice bound for Southhampton where only months before me brother Bernie had left on the ill faied last voyage of the Fairsea where the boilers blew up and captain shot himself and bernie like others were adrift for days with no news of their fate the same fate that took him to that ship to avoid his conscription into the Australian army and maybe fight in Vietnam..(how many other Pom kids ended up there)...But before departure one last mini walkabout to a place enbeded in my mind we visted somwher in the bush looking for opals on a hot hot Queensland summer day I lay with me Dad in a beutifull shallow cool clear stream with the cooling water running over my shoulders looking at the blue sky thinking "perhaps no one has ever trod on this spot before I thought" as was Queensland then.. to end up eventually on the gang blank of the castell felice berthed on the brisbane river in me old denims and now broken holdall me mum had packed a couple of years earlier on me shoulder to be denied boarding as i was on me own and just 14, luckily I saw my mate Pim who,s family were on the hostel and were returning to Holland and his dad Mr Vis agreed (at my Dads relief) to sign as my chaporone and i eventually boarded with a tear in me eye as I watched for me Dad in the crowd of people and coloured streamers to see the Federal police in their blue shirts  moving towards him, I tried to shout a warning to him but was lost in the noise and mayhem as they dragged him off the dock to Bogger road jail as the ship slid off its berth en route to Tahiti....Thus was the end of Wacol Hostel and the Aussie experience, so to was it the end to my boyhood where Aus helped mould me into the man i am today and will never forget..But the adventure did not end here how could I return to normal life back in school in england at 15...My adult life had begun and what a great life...Steve Trude 2018

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