Courtship and Rats in the Shop

Speaker: Emmie Blackhurst
Date: 1997, talking about 1930s
Topic: Courtships and Rats in the shop

Hitchhiking 1962

When the June long weekend came along in 1962 and a friend offered to give me a ride from Woomera, in the far north of South Australia, to St Arnaud, (between Horsham and Bendigo Victoria), I accepted his kind offer; hoping to hitchhike the remaining two hundred and sixty kilometres to Melbourne. I had became quite fond of this economical but unreliable mode of travel during a nine week Army training course at Wodonga Victoria, where, almost every weekend I had successfully 'ridden my thumb' to Melbourne, so I decided to try my luck again.

Saving the Country

I'd just turned 19 and living on the family farm when the government sent me a letter explaining that I was needed to defend the country. Australia was fresh out of wars at the time so it was no big deal. Just three months basic training at the Puckapunyal Army Camp, followed by three month's part-time in some specialised outfit. I didn't want to do this service as life was good in Civvy Street, but they reckoned the girls went for uniforms, so I asked my Old Man for advice.

"I can get you an exemption, son. I'm doing the same for your brother."

How?" I asked.