Stu's Stories as at 2022

A few remembered anecdotes about my life Kids in their teens don’t think about mortality – they are bulletproof . . . or so their mind says! That is why they do some of the dangerous things they do . . . why they are willing to go to extremes and excitedly to war. During my teenage years in Goulburn, 4 of us got around together - most of the time. We varied in age by a couple of years, so the oldest were the first to get motorbikes. I was the youngest by a couple of years and, until old enough, I would ride on the pillion of the eldest, Jack Mitchell. In telling these tales, it must be remembered that there was nowhere near the traffic on the roads that there is today. You could travel for miles and not see anyone else. Also, helmets were not yet invented and would have been disdained as for “pansies” only. The best – the only – protection we ever had was a leather jacket (or just a jumper as can be seen). A few memories are of interest (to me, anyway): As young teenagers went, we were not bad kids, but could be described as “mischievous”. Fun was where you found it - or made it. Before we were old enough for motorbikes we got around on bikes or just walked. Harry couldn’t ride a bike because of his legs, so Jack was the one who usually “doubled” him everywhere we went on bikes. One of our common pranks was to stir up a market gardener whose property was out near the river where we swam. We would run through the outskirts of his fields helping ourselves to carrots and whatever was growing, stuff them down our shirts, and run for the river. He would always come out of his house yelling and firing off a shotgun in our general direction. We made sure we were out of range of this. I really don’t think he minded, it was all for show, as he and his wife (they were Chinese) used to come down to the river weir to catch masses of the little “guppy” fish that teemed in the area. We would often help them, filling their open kerosene tins and carrying them back to their home. They used to dry these tiddlers in the sun and considered them a delicacy. We simply took their word for that! Back to the motorbikes tales. Once, on the road to Canberra, Jack and I got the bright idea of locking the throttle (many bikes had a thumb screw you just tightened to lock the throttle) and standing up on the seats. First he stood up and then I stood behind him. There we were hurtling along the road at around 50-60 mph (80-100 kms), 17 | P a g e L to R: Keith Turton, Stuart Oliver, Harry Baxter (Jack Mitchell taking pic). Harry was crippled so needed a side-car outfit. However, that did not stop him joining in everything.