WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 10
Morning tea with my former Murwillumbah Brothers’ teammate, Kevin ‘Porky’ Weaver, who is in Brisbane to be with his wife, Jan who is in hospital. ‘Porky’ has had two hip replacements since his football days, when he was a skilful forward, with an awesome front-on tackle. He was a handy goal kicker as well. Kevin’s younger brother, Paul was my captain in the Brothers’ under-18 side in 1969, when our coach was courageous little halfback, Des Lee, who would go on to play first grade in Newcastle and Brisbane. Kevin Weaver represented Group 18/Gold Coast, no mean feat in those days, given the quality of footballer in the district.
His last year in league was 1975, the year I signed with Wingham Tigers. He was 29 when he retired. Although a clean player, there was one ‘blemish’ on Porky’s record. He was sent off in 1974 for belting Tweed Seagulls’ forward, Paul Mauro, but, from my understanding, that was a ‘get square’ for something Mauro had (allegedly) done the previous season. ‘Porky’ worked at Norco (dairy factory) at Murwillumbah, but it closed in 1992, forcing him to find work as a cleaner at Mt St Patrick’s School.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11
Indian cabbie drives me to Pineapple Hotel for Beer and Beef Club lunch. He is a ‘gentleman’, but makes, what many ‘progressive’ Australians, would consider inappropriate comments in regards to abortion and homosexuals. I told him so, but he could not see that perhaps it was best to keep those views private in a taxi, given they could be viewed as offensive. Mungindi farmer, Margaret Harrison is guest speaker at our lunch, and talks, sometimes with great emotion, about her family, and also the now defunct Mungindi Music Festival, which was her ‘baby’. Our youngest son, Lliam had stayed at the Harrison’s Mungindi farm (on the Moree Plains area of New South Wales), at the invitation of Margaret’s son, Stephen, a boarder at Nudgee College, Brisbane, where our son was a day student. Stephen’s uncle, Earl Harrison, played nine league Tests for Australia – from Gilgandra – in 1963-64 – three against New Zealand; three v Great Britain; two v South Africa and one v France.
A Sexual health seminar is held at Windsor International Motel, where my wife works.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 13
Former Test rugby league forward, Wally Fullerton Smith is on Radio MMM recalling the day – in 1983 – he was told he had been selected for Australia for the first time. He was having a beer at the Moreton Bay Hotel, Redcliffe, when I phoned to get a comment. At that stage he had not been contacted by the selectors, so I was the one to break the news. These days, he might just get a text from the coach. Australia, coached by Arthur Beetson, lost that Test – 19-12 – to New Zealand at Lang Park, a triumph for new Kiwi coach, Graham Lowe, who had replaced Cec Mountford. Fullerton Smith played in the second row alongside fellow Queenslander, Paul Vautin. Their rival second rowers were Kiwi skipper, Graeme West from Taranaki and Auckland hard man, Kurt Sorensen.
Tonight Marie and I attend the Indigenous All Stars v World All Stars rugby league match at Suncorp Stadium, with the World winning 12-8. The World’s English prop, James Graham wins the Preston Campbell Medal as player of the match. The national anthem is quite moving, and the crowd (37,339) is well behaved.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 14
Songs of Praise on ABC Television features Derry (or Londonderry), a place we traveled through in November, 1977 at the height of ‘the troubles’ in Northern Ireland. We were searched at gun point by British soldiers, given we were driving a Republican car. Our Aussie passports meant nothing. My wife, Marie; our daughter, Melanie and daughter-in-law, Channelle see ‘Cats’ tonight. I have two beers (Colonial Ale, Panhead Pilsener) at Catchment Bar, West End, as well as six Coffin Bay oysters. There are big queues at Boundary Hotel, West End for ‘disco music’.