|South Side Quills. That's me second from right.
I have several pieces published in the book and my images are on the front and back cover. So today, instead of continuing with stories from our recent Kimberley trip, I am going to share with you here the short piece that I read at the book launch - Bilbarin Morning. This piece is close to my heart, as my mother spent her early years in the tiny wheatbelt siding town of Bilbarin, north of Corrigin in the central Western Australian wheatbelt. Those were tough years..... My Mum passed away in 2012 but in her memoirs she wrote....
My early years were the humblest of beginnings near Bilbarin "in the bush". Our home was a tent-cum-shack My mother has told me it was the hardest time of her life before and immediately after I was born (1924). She knew what it was like to be really hungry and went without herself for the children. There was no fresh milk, fruit or vegetables, and meat was probably rabbit, kangaroo and even parrot.
When I was two or three we moved to the siding town of Bilbarin where my father John, who was called "Jack" by many people, had built a cottage with a dirt floor, walls of corrugated iron and bush timer, cut on the property, corrugated iron roof, and white washed hessian linings. We had one small rain water tank. Two soaks produced fresh water which could be used for washing, but also to water a beautiful vegetable and flower garden.
....My brother Phil, born in 1927 in Corrigin, was closest to me in age, so we played a lot together. At Bilbarin there were trees and scrub up the back end of the paddock, and we played there. We got big sticks to ride, pretending they were horses. Down the front of the property a gully ran when it rained.... We played in the gully and dug out frog's holes to get to the eggs right down the bottom.....
.....We had a horse called Daisy. She was very very quiet. She had been a baker's horse in Narrogin before we got her.
... At Bilbarin there was a one teacher school within close walking distance. Miss Laurie Jeffrey was my first teacher.
|Bilbarin Sunday School, circa 1929. My mother is the small girl standing in the centre, in the light coloured coat, next to Mrs Smith.
by Jill Harrison
A wild wind whips across the yard scattering leaves in devilish dance, battering a loose piece of tin on the roof and whistling through a crack in the sapling walls of the hut. Tendrils of golden morning light seep thinly through the trailing branches of the peppermint trees. It bursts through the door as we tumble out onto the verandah in a blur of coats and scarves. Icy water baubles clinging in wait for us on the eaves release themselves as we bound down the steps. The ground crunches noisily under our boots like a military tattoo. The gate clatters behind us.
Daisy stamps impatiently in her stall. Her hot breath swirls around her like a smoky wreath. She thrusts her head into the stream of grain spilling into the feed bin.
Dry wheat stalks whip against our legs as we run across the stubble paddock. Through the stringy gimlet trees, jumping the gurgling water in the gully, pushing our way through the scrub. A kangaroo bounds away into the mist. Red gum flowers are bursting from their cups and we stop to pick a spray for Miss.
The clanging bell calls out to us across the dusty school yard. The welcoming warmth of the fire in the stove as we slide into our desks and pull out our books.
Miss smiles at us, absorbing the perfume of the bush as she arranges the flowers in a jar on the window sill.
|Red gum flowers are bursting from their cups
Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.
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I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!
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Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
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Some more flowers from the Western Australian bush nearly Harvey this past weekend.