The Far Side of the World, Pt 9

Last time we heard from Tony Reavley, it was August 1975 and New Zealand was preparing itself for a closely-fought general election in November. That election was won by the anti-immigration National candidate Muldoon, persuading Tony that spending another southern summer in NZ wasn't really worth it.

It's now December 1975, and Tony's making his way back to Oz.


Coles Bay, Tasmania

Christmas greetings from the east coast of Tasmania! Left NZ somewhat regretfully. If things in England are as bad as we've been led to believe then maybe I'll be back. I've got a re-entry permit valid until January 1st 1977, but home ties are always strong and I'll probably give the "sinking ship" a year or two if I can get a job.

We flew out by the French UTA at 1pm and arrived three hours later in Sydney. Stayed here for four days in a luxurious house with friends who pay £82 a week for the privilege of living in one of Sydney's posher suburbs. We slept in a converted boat house down by the waterside and had an enjoyable "rest". Australia must be one of the most expensive places to live in. We are told prices are just as high in England now but I simply can't believe it. This aerogramme for instance is costing me 15p compared to 5p in New Zealand. Milk is around 15p a pint compared to 2p in NZ. Fruit is fairly cheap in season and meat is certainly cheaper than back in England as is Aussie-produced honey.

We hitched a lift in a truck from Sydney south to Melbourne (560 miles). Quite an experience as the huge Volvo carrying seven cars on a trailer blew two tyres and the driver just managed to hold it on the narrow road which masquerades as the "Hume Highway". The tyres cost a cool £143 each and our friend nonchalantly informed us that he estimated he blew at least one tyre every three trips! We drove from midday until 11pm before stopping to snatch some sleep. The driver slept in his cab, Baz slept in the back of a Holden station wagon on the lower deck while I stretched out in a van on the upper deck. At 2.45am we were off again, arriving in Melbourne at 6.30. Visited our friend Hazel, an intellectual Womens' Libber who fed and watered us for three days before throwing us out on the road again.

We managed to wangle ourselves student cards by enrolling on a fictitious business course at Hazel's college of commerce. At present I am a youthful 25 year old studying for a diploma in Business Studies at Holmes College of Commerce in Melbourne. This entitles me to a 25% discount in air and bus travel in Oz, which is handy. We flew out to Tasmania five days ago and have really enjoyed ourselves so far. We hardly slept the first night due to cold and the close proximity of low flying aircraft from the airport at Launceston. With the occasional train blasting its horn at the nearby crossing and the kookaburras laughing at us as soon as dawn broke, we felt somewhat below par the following day. Tasmania is very hilly and quite wild and remote. Very beautiful countryside, similar to NZ. We reckon to be here two or three weeks, so it looks like Xmas in Tasmania.

Best wishes


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