Memories of A Special Birthday -No 60 – in Newcastle, NSW , Australia
January 2014 brought a special birthday . All those years ago, I used to make comment in the school staff room “about turning 40 “.
Forty came and went with a special holiday Harold and I flew from Sydney to Perth, Western Australia and then drove from Perth to Monkey Mia, to see the wonderful dolphins. From memory, I was in Kalbarri for my birthday,and earlier that day had taken a flight out over the Albrolhos Islands to see where the Dutch East India vessel, Batavia, ran aground in 1629. The plane then flew inland over the Murchinson Gorge . Stunning scenery and history .I often think of this most stunning part of the Western Australian coast, and my memories of the time spent here with Harold.
My actual 50th birthday was celebrated with a luncheon with friends in Bistro Fax Café ,at the Radisson Plaza Hotel ,Sydney . The Radisson was chosen, as it was formerly the Fairfax newspaper building, and I have written many articles over the years for the press . Bistro Fax was chosen, as I was known during my 17 year Council career to send many faxes! I was called “Anne Fax Field”…….
Birthday no 50 was again celebrated with an environmental theme . Harold and I travelled on The Spirit of Tasmania ferry to Devonport , Tasmania . Upon arrival in Devonport, we picked up a hire car and drove to Stanley. We had the opportunity to visit the Nut, do a night time tour to look at baby penguins, and the West Coast Railway. Another adventure……..
Birthday 60 was approaching …… I decided to return to Newcastle with my girlfriend,Maria. We stayed in Cooks Hill, one of the heritage suburbs of Newcastle.
The birthday dinner was held on the Saturday night, at a restaurant overlooking Merewether Beach. A great location with its ocean views. On the Sunday morning , after Mass , Maria and I visited Morpeth , and took a tour around the historic town on a Clydesdale- driven carriage. After lunch in Morpeth we drove to Maitland , Maria’s first TAFE teaching appointment.
Then, we drove back to Newcastle to have dinner with a former Federal Member of Parliament and his wife. We talked politics –Federal , State and Local , amongst many other topics.
Monday, we walked out to the breakwater and took photos of Nobbys Lighthouse . Then to Fort Scratchley , where my father was based at the beginning of World War 2 ,before he went to Darwin to join the Coastal Artillery. Fort Scratchley affords great views over Newcastle, and is worth a visit because of its important history.
We drove to Wallsend for lunch, and I swum a few laps in the West Wallsend pool.Then, a catch up with a family friend in Holmesville, near West Wallsend ,before returning to Sydney.
My life has had many twists and turns over its 60 years. Almost 36 years were spent with my larrikin Yorkshire lad , Harold ( known as Archie in football circles in north of England ).
Harold was a coal miner from near Wakefield , Yorkshire , who emigrated to Australia in 1970 . He developed a love affair with the water – he was a fisherman , a surfboard rider , and a lifesaver during his life time . He was always a straight shooter- telling it how it was . His untimely death of lung cancer, was in late September 2011.
I recall the comments of my late father to his guests, at his 90th birthday celebrations in July 2004-‘it is not who you are , but how you live your life that counts “ I have always tried to live my life by my late father’s example.
Sixty for me is an attitude, it is a state of mind. I hope to achieve much in the creative field in my 6th decade, and I hope that there are more decades…..
Who knows what lies ahead?
March 17 2014