SORRY PEOPLE THIS CHRONOLOGICAL DIATRIBE MAY SEEM HIGHLY indecipherable, I suggest that the Translator may have some problems.


So what is “FROM THE CITY TO THE BUSH”, well it is Just a cryptic condensed biography of an ordinary Australian, please excuse the Aussie slang.

My Preface:

Generally, a Preface is customary in written works. The author writes it, and it will outline the contents there in. I am reticent to analogize. However, to put it in A nutshell,

Me my raft and my Galah, from the city to the bush

Me my raft and my Galah, from the city to the bush

this book of propinquity and crappy poems is hugely self-indulgent. The writings and “Bushy” stuff is derived from, and emanates into, a rhyming Aussie vernacular. I understand absolutely zilch about writing poetry, full stop. Sometimes I cogitate this is good thing, if one gets over awed with the science of correctness, one may despair.

My speaking voice will quite often stray into this slang, be that as it is, I am sometimes known to speak “proper”. It is important for me to “tell it like it is’’. I would like to describe these written words as a narrative and roaming words addressed at you the reader.

Essentially and importantly, the impetus to write these world-shattering snippets came from a particularly tragic accident in January 2008. Motivation to write a poem came from this sad event, it happened on (our SES) patch. Within a matter of weeks I had penned several other hugely received works of great note. And yes, I say all this with ‘tongue in cheek’. I had never written a poem before.

The format is largely chronological, but regrettably you will have to work out the time frame. You will ascertain that the poems sort of follow an Aussie young bloke’s life, but are from the City to the Bush, and back again. Writing becomes an obsession, I was obsessed, the works are not brilliant, and they will irritate and antagonize some. The term; “cultural cringe” springs to mind, I too sometimes have this feeling, but change? No way. Constant editing and re-arranging words is my scene, but never altering the essence of the poetic narration.

It is important to note that all my poems are based on factual experiences, and while some may stretch the imagination, or seem stretched, the truth is / will be; “been there, done that got the T-shirt”. And you know what? I’ll tell you what, don’t care who you are, where your from, I’ll bet you can relate to the inert and sometimes poignant hidden stories. My web pages are full of narrative from a 79 year old bloke, lots could have come from a 79 year old lady.

Read well these incredible propinquity, I am just a bloke sitting at the table in the corner. I am just a grain of sand on Brunswick Beach. I am just a no-body. I live the life of a bachelor, every brick in my flat has a name. But I wager you will see right through me, regards john f.



Here are some facts and ground rules for you to contemplate;

  • The entries are largely “lifted” from my web pages.
  • This self indulgent and egotistical chronology is not chronological.
  • Every word, every Poem is as near the truth, as I will let you get.
  • Some trivia; I have been a Volunteer/ Emergency Service Volunteer for 44 years.
  • More trivia; Love me kids, me extended family, (they brought me up). Me bike, me camera, Brunswick Heads, anywhere I have been.
  • Still more trivia; My Mum’s ashes reside with me. She has asked me to scatter ‘Her’ at her birthplace, (‘Woolun’), New England), and Bega / Tathra. Her problem was; “will my parts ever join up”, her words not mine!!
  • As mentioned; my grammar and ‘Aussie’ strine and vernacular are intentional.
  • As mentioned; my poems are traditionally “Bushy”, sometimes obscure and cryptic.
  • I was 67 years of age before BDM, (Births Deaths and Marriages), discovered my original Birth Registration, and at considerable cost. Thank you MARTINA from BDM for your diligence and friendly and helpful participation, love ya.

And so, dear reader, THESE ARE EXCERPTS FROM THE BIG PICTURE, that is, poems and abridged ruminations, read on this obscure saga.


The two City schools I attended are dead set in the inner city, that’s Sydney Australia no less, let me commence with the inimitable Plunkett, (Plunko), Street Primary School, Woolloomooloo, line of sight three kilometers to Sydney’s CBD, and arguably the closest

Plunkett Street School Woolloomooloo

Plunkett Street School Woolloomooloo

school of any importance in “My Town”.

I am suggesting that “Plunko” was my initial introduction to greater intelligence, and not the least to becoming streetwise and City oriented.

For those of you familiar with Sydney the “LOO” is the area roughly bordered by William St. to the south, the Woolloomooloo docks and Garden Island, (HMAS Kuttabul) to the north, (Cowper Wharf Road), Lincoln Crescent to the west, and Brougham St. to the east.

The area was not what you would call a playground for the innocent, we are talking about a population of struggling citizens doing stuff to get a meal on the table, and some took shortcuts while the majority was salt of the earth working class.

At no stage would you have got any impression of my political leanings so you may as well know I am center left of the middle of the right dead set Social Democrat, I can’t be all bad because I follow Manly RUGBY LEAGUE FOOTBALL CLUB and before that South Sydney, regrettably both teams are now known as the “silver tails”.


None but multi-denominational, racial but multi racial, ethnic but who gave a rats, blacks whites yellows and that was only the day wear, blacks whites yellow and they were the original colors, religious but who gave a rats, working class kids, now your talking, co-educational that’s good.

Our parents never discussed quasi-political and religious uneasiness in our presence we all came from the same womb and lived in the same country, what has happened in the ethnicity SENSE out there parents?

My school friends must be pondering the same question, there were many cultures and creeds but we hung out together, played sport together, visited each others homes. Some of the kid’s parents had little or no English but there was always a smile and Shalom, G’day bloke, Bon Journo, ‘Ella mesa’, Yasous or other suitable greeting stuff.

As a boy growing up, “you can take the boy out of the city but you can’t take the city out of the boy”, and in my case of course the reverse applies.


I can’t remember the exact year of commencing at the dock side school, guess 1944 is close, and we would have been traveling back and forwards from god knows where and at this stage lived with Grandma Isabella Lovegrove at 112 Palmer Street just up the road.

Probably visited Plunko a couple of times before being introduced to Darlinghurst Junior Technical School, mind you all of the other schools are interwoven. Now “Darlo” had the misfortune of being similar to the previous, the big difference was some of the boys (and girls) were shaving.

In relation to the girls, “Darlo” was a segregated school and we were separated by a low fence and we were subjected to home science experiments in the form of lock jaw. And well you might ask!

Wait, must relate the first day at Darlinghurst, you see somewhere between primary and high school, when we arrived back in Sydney and although I had progressed to the upper level mum had enrolled me at the “Tech”.

The big day arrived and my thoughts revolved around, “no way, not another bloody school”, soooooo I wagged it.


So here I am sitting in a park just off William St, near College St. down from the Museum and I am minding my own business and quietly contemplating the hole I have dug, “bugger me I’ll run away can’t she give me break, there’s bound to be bullies only now there getting bigger”.

Remember streetwise? This bloke sits down on the bench alongside and attempts a conversation, “no school today son? You must be on holidays lucky boy”, now I know where he’s coming from, bloody pervert. OK, I can out run this guy so why not string him along, “no mister, just waiting for the other school kids so we can go the Museum”, replies, “and what school do you go to son? Seems your teacher should be here”, yes well he was getting pushy.

Well anyway the conversation continued and retreat was imminent, UNTIL this dude says, “I would like you come across road to the Child Welfare Department for a little chat”, and here I live locally, how did I miss that?

Oar More Got, (say it phonetically). This man really was a Truant Inspector and the long and short was being marched all the way to “Darlo”, met the Headmaster, reprimanded and led to my new classroom where we were greeted by Mister……., he was the biggest bully who drew breath. However, more later.

So here’s the more later, as I took my first step into the confines of year seven my cynical impressions of “Darlo” were shattered by several voices; “its Farls, hey where yer been” and “ Plunko rules, great to see you”.

Yes you good thing, many old friends from Woolloomooloo made up the class of 1952 and here’s the rub, logic is my strong suit, it never dawned on me that the nearest High School in location to “Plunko”, IS, and as dramatic as it seems my basic impressions indicated I did have friends. No hesitation existed during the ensuing three years in returning to Darlinghurst Junior Technical School.


OK the girls of “Darlo”. You will remember reference to girls during my journey, there’s always a girl in there and well there should be, you see girls can be an important element of society if you let them view their opinions. Many girls of the opposite sex will have progeny as is their wish, sometimes a boy child slips out there. To all of the girls in my life let me inform you that at the special time where you let me be a part of your existence I gave it my best shot, AND NOW I have dug the biggest hole in this foray of life things, BUT REMEMBER FOLKS ‘tongue in cheek’.

Some girls that have shared my life have names similar to Shirley, Robin, Alison, Cerise, Denise, Dana, Lorna, Julie, Hinemoa, Jillian, Charlie, Capuchin, (fair dinkum),

Lockjaw is a nasty thing, the reference first came about from the girls and their Social Sciences, and means Home Sciences, read; “how to look after the home ‘cause that’s your lot”. “Darlo” was being wound down from a segregated school to eventually being a girl’s school and the young ladies would experiment on the boys using various recipes.


The most notorious being a compilation of sugar and flavorings to form a toffee encased in a party cup, AS an excuse to chat up the girls, boys would gladly accept the incredibly rigid sweet and politely sink their teeth into the mess, first problem, the opposing molars would meet separated by a film of unbelievably adhesive vacumatic qualities, this my readers formed the basis for “The lock jaw Syndrome”.

I know that further description is not necessary, later I formed the opinion, largely accepted by the greater medical fraternity including Orthodontist’s, (stumped the spell checker), as a conspiracy to silence boys and promote a “spin off” to the generation of income.

Incidentally I sat next to a boy of Asian extraction his name was Arthur Yip, you out there old friend, remember the racial thing? Sports days are following.


Playing sports was mandatory at all of my schools; at least it was in the sense you got out of the classroom. We had a choice of many activities, soccer to rugby, rugby league, cricket, and swimming in the warmer months. There was baseball, basketball and rounders and athletics, most sports were team oriented but allowed for individual excellence.

Me? I was a team player then and I am a team player now. Regrettably I carry into my senior years with less than attractive feet, you see a lot of football has past water in my time, and I am the average player, if a try was awarded its because Farls fell over into the in goal area with the ball, my feet? Never wore football boots for most of my career couldn’t afford them.

Managed to have a go at most sports, about average in the main.


I maintain the above comments made about “Racial Terms” came from sports participation and nowhere better place to start than my City Schools; an example will be the team game of rugby league.


The HammerHead Crane, Anvil, Woolloomooloo

Sometimes when the ethnics allowed me I played “hooker”, please forgive memory loss, George was prop and Greek, Nick was prop he was Greek, Sergio was Lebanese and resided in the second row with Tony who was Italian.

The lock was Jewish, the wingers were Jewish, ’cause when they got the ball they could run fast and find two other balls, (sorry), the inside backs were sometimes Asian, selected for their ability to manage.

And so it goes, on and off the field we were friends. OH, on the bench were guys with excellent suntans, these were the original AUSSIES, at an appropriate time when the opposition seemed to have the upper hand their job was to re-address the status quo.

Plunkett Street Primary and Darlinghurst Jnr. Tech. won some games but mainly we lost because the other schools had bigger ethnics and black blokes.

There will be somebody out there who can substantiate my claims, (15+) nationalities at one time were enrolled at “Plunko” and probably as many up the “hill”, whatever, where did the acceptance for who you are get to, it really can’t be that bad, can it?

And reference to wogs and chinks? Well, in our school days using these derogatory words got you a bloody nose.


Now swimming for public school pupils was a buzz for us city kids regrettably we found the environment less than Spartan, our Harbourside pools were largely unfiltered, un-cleansed, un-sanitized, un-homogenized, unheated mistreated and were downright nasty places to cohabit, nevertheless the ROSE BAY BATHS, (Red Leaf), RUSHCUTTERS BAY, and BALMAIN BATHS while leaving a lot to be desired were the venues for swimming sports.

However, in relation to Woolloomooloo, one must not forget the inimitable, sometimes grotty, ‘Corporation Baths’, or Fig Tree Baths, or Farmers Pool, now known as the Andrew ‘boy’ Charlton Pool, Google it. As kids from Plunkett St. we swam, sometimes walked in this pool.

We are talking about the greater SYDNEY HARBOUR basin, correctly described as the most beautiful place but the cesspool then for everything that lived and died.
These harbor side pools had a protective barrier of wire mesh allowing the swimmer to negotiate a shark free course while dodging the flotsam and jetsam from this great place;

I will leave your imagination to the likely objects that could be encountered, not pretty, any body from a big city harbor? You will know what I mean.

I guess that if I had an Olympic medal you would have to put up with bragging rights, and I don’t so you are spared. As close as I came was in the noble art of fencing, saber/SABRE was my forte’.


Saint Mary’s Cathedral is a splendid edifice not far from our place; a school friend introduced me to the fencing school situated in a hall on the eastern side of the great church.

Our fencing coach was a teaching Brother, he was an excellent exponent of the art, I very quickly learnt the skill of attack and parry and the rules of engagement, and a short time later became school champion using sabre. I found an aggressive streak in me and applied it vigorously, that is until a visiting team of Austrian champions were invited to demonstrate their skills to the assembled school.

These men and women were thermodynamic, my word for; they would not stand still long enough for you to get a strike, most of us got one or two in and then they were gone. Their favorite pastime was to allow you to have the attack position, that’s when you have the right to cut and thrust.

Very deftly your attack was dodged exposing your back to the full length of their saber, they struck fast and hard, boy that smarts. Looking resplendent in my white canvas coat and long sleeves and a long glove to protect the entire arm, my fine mesh helmet and my prized sword, white thigh length pants and “Volleys” you addressed your unfortunate adversary.

THE GREAT DUNLOP VOLLEY. (A worthwhile digression).

I was way down the track in my yarn, about 1968 in fact, when I realized some people use another word to distinguish their personality. My description of the fencing saga

The Famous Volleys, you can't kill them

The Famous Volleys, you can’t kill them

included the term “Volleys”, some people associate this word as ‘footwear’, they will be very wrong, it is a term that donates a being, a symbol of how you ‘stand’ in society.

Me Volleys.

You have no right to live on this earth if you have not had the pleasure of being a “Volleys” person. Nobody will enjoy the peculiar and personal aroma of their person unless they are a “Volleys” identity, you will have moments of pleasure with your body that only the “Volleys” can unlock.

OK, this may seem like nepotism and a parochial approach to life, you are bound by certain laws of society, I will tell you if you want recognition and acceptance, if you want to be seen and the essence of your being graciously accepted by all concerned be a “Volley Person”.

Remember my words of wisdom; He who says, “what’s that smell down under?” should vote Labor, or should wash their feet, it not the “Volleys”, it’s the person”. And remember, the Volley was invented the year I was born I was destined to be its friend and worshiper.


Standing with one’s leading foot pointing at the opponent and your other foot at right angles, one addressed the assembled group at the other end of the ‘Piste’. At about ten paces stood the antagonist with his seconds on either side, your seconds stood beside one. NOW are you ready for what follows?


You acknowledge and salute the fencing party thus; one held the saber in an upright position close to your face. Pointing your saber downwards you addressed the opponents second on your left, he is the second on the right of the opponent, secondly you acknowledge the opponents second on your right, he is the second on the left of your opponent, right?

Thirdly you address your own second, on your left first and your second, you are on his left, next, right? Fourthly, one addresses the only person left, he is the one directly ahead,

The Dunlop Volley

The Dunlop Volley, not just a shoe

the one in the middle of his left and right seconds, you know that he is the one because he has a sword, you raise your saber to an upright position in front of your face then point the sharp end at his face and gallantly sweep it away making a “Zorro” sound.

And finally if he is still awake the unfortunate does likewise, now if you are left handed? I continued with this sport for some time and just like most things found other interests. Alarmingly, I have an idea I may have plagiarized, these can’t be my thoughts!


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