MONDAY, JANUARY 25
Attend Australia Day long weekend festivities at South Bank – more specifically ‘Great Australian Bite’ food tents, where we tuck into calamari, beef cheeks and pork rolls. Live music provided by the likes of ‘Anonymous Heroes’. Everyone has a good time, and yes, it is great to be an Aussie. Earlier in the day Ray Hadley had played ‘The Seekers’ song, ‘I am Australian’. Judith Durham has such a wonderful voice.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 26
Get a text from a Kiwi bloke (who shall remain nameless) who took up casual driving for an indigenous health service. He refers to Australia Day as ‘Invasion Day’. He asks me if I have any information on a former indigenous rugby league player, Stan Smith, who, evidently played at Dalby, and in Brisbane, for the local ‘All Blacks’. I do my best, but no luck.
Listen to Australian songs on 4KQ, including ‘Julia’, ‘Big Time Operator’ and ‘All my Friends Are Getting Married’.
Marie and I to the movies to see ‘Carol’. Not bad. Lady behind us tells her companion that one of her younger, fellow employees is impatient when it comes to her IT skills. “I can’t believe how slow you are”, this younger person allegedly says. Is that ageism? Sausages being sold out of the back of ute in James Street.
Marie makes damper for afternoon tea. Cricket in park outside Grange Library.
Tonight watch T20 cricket international between Australia and India from Adelaide, with India getting the money in front of what was basically a home crowd for them. I suppose one day, perhaps 60 years down the track, those ‘Indian’ residents will cheer for Australia. Perhaps! The wild thing, Shaun Tate bowls six wides, at his home ground. I mean, really.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 27
Jeff Thomson and Wally Grout are inducted into the Cricket Hall of Fame. Grout remains my favorite wicket keeper, and was a class above many of those behind the stumps these days. Grout is especially remembered in England for a characteristically quick and fair act during the First Test of 1964 at Trent Bridge, Nottingham. England batsman, Fred Titmus, had collided with the bowler, Neil Hawke, and had been knocked over. The ball was thrown to Grout, who could have broken the wicket and run out Titmus at leisure, but, having seen what had happened, allowed the batsman to reach the crease. I was Thommo’s ghost writer for the ‘Telegraph’ newspaper in the 1980s, and he was a dream to interview. He pulled no punches and made no apologies.
The big story today is Roosters’ halfback, Mitchell Pearce’s drunken escapade, which involves a dog. It is even big news overseas!
THURSDAY, JANUARY 28
To Brewmasters, Grange for drinks. Draught beer is flat. To Citroen for dinner. Waitress is quick with water, and not much else. Bloke near us, who is only drinking water, is so loud, talking about money, Muslims and Mitchell Pearce. What would he be like on the drink!
FRIDAY, JANUARY 29
Attend QRL History Committee meeting at Milton and bump into former Broncos’ prop, Petero Civoniceva. QRL chair, Rob Moore sits in on the meeting. Our North Queensland rep., Greg Shannon has interviewed former Test forward, Greg Platz for our audio library collection. Platz has lived all his life on the Darling Downs, from where he was selected for Australia (to play the touring Kiwis) in 1978. Greg was coach of the Queensland Residents side in New Zealand in 1988, a tour I covered for ‘The Courier-Mail’.
Legendary Brothers’ trainer, Jimmy Johnson tells great yarns at the club. He reckons the Norths’ club was banned from Brothers’ home ground, Corbett Park for a time after they (allegedly) wrecked the plumbing in the dressing rooms – after a loss I presume. There is no love lost between these two clubs.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 30
Book into Meriton, Broadbeach and enjoy a surf. I watch part of the New Zealand v Pakistan cricket match from Eden Park, Auckland. Commentator, Ian Smith enthuses about Buller beating Canterbury in the New Zealand country titles. To Hatch and Co for dinner. Can’t hear ourselves talk above the din of parrots in the trees.