Nomads abound, especially these days as the grey variety stock up their caravans or Winnebagos to go touring. The holiday parks are packed with them. I guess I became a nomad when Dad sold the farm at Imbil in Queensland and moved the family to Boreen Point, a lovely spot on the shore of Lake Cootharaba. I was four years old. Later we travelled in a family group when my Uncle, Aunty and their two children joined us. We’d moved from Boreen Point to Pomona and Mum had decided to make tracks, leaving Dad to care for my brother, sister and myself. Aunty Dorrie to the rescue! Then the men got the brilliant idea there was money to be made fencing sheep stations west of Dirrinbandi.
The old green truck was packed up to the extent that the chicken coop was strapped to the roof of the cab. Tents, canvas water bags, Tilly lights and camping gear were thrown aboard. Mattresses stowed amongst the gear served as seats for the five children while the three adults travelled in the cab. On reaching our destination the tents were pitched and the campsite set up. We lived in the middle of the bush for many months and we thought it a great life. There was an abundance of wildlife and I had a pet Emu for a while. Aunty Dorrie taught us our school lessons via correspondence. When the fencing contract ended we moved into Dirrinbandi where Dad got a job with the railways. He was soon transferred to Mount Tyson, a small town near Toowoomba, where we attended school.
My teacher’s name was Miss Seganto. I liked her a lot. I quickly caught up with the rest of the class so our correspondence lessons proved to have been successful. One day Miss Seganto spoke to me as I was leaving the classroom. She opened the doors of a big green cupboard that stood in the corner of the room and showed me shelves filled with books. I was allowed to take a book to read anytime I wanted. It was like discovering a goldmine! I avidly read everything in that cupboard.
We moved around a lot more after that but my love of reading had been well entrenched. I entered my first writing competition at the next place we lived with a short story called “My Rascally Brother”. It won second prize.
After many years of location shifts with my husband, who was employed mainly in the retail industry, with a six year interlude as a Youth Pastor, I’ve retired. I now have much more time for reading and writing. But we’ve bought a caravan. It won’t be long before we’re on the road again. My laptop and broadband make a portable life easy! A couple of months in Queensland during winter is sounding good! I’ll look up Miss Seganto, who married a local farmer and is now Mrs Janke. I’ve been in touch and she is now 84 years old, in fine form and is looking forward to seeing me again. What a wonderful lady she is.
Shirley Rose Chalmers