Burnie, Tasmania 1979
There’s a killer on the road
His brain is squirming like a toad
Riders On The Storm, The Doors
I don’t buy into the idea of ‘the good old days’. “Oh we didn’t have to lock our doors in the the good old days”. I still don’t lock doors. Those days were more about Auntie Lil, who wasn’t really your auntie looking after you for the afternoon and Uncle Derek, just being hospitable, letting the kids have a go with the air rifle. Children burnt by fireworks every year and dying from head injuries after coming off bikes.
But I was just a kid myself and mostly didn’t know what was going on. Not a joiner of Scouts, or a school boarder or from a broken home, so I was at reduced risk of being preyed upon. The magnitude of what Australian adults have done to Australian children over the decades of ‘the good old days’ has come to light in my lifetime, and it’s changed how we think about that relationship, for ever.
But I did read The Bulletin, and watched the ABC News along with my dad – that was a 7 o’clock fixture and we were not allowed to talk over it. I knew about the nefarious Painters and Dockers Union, and Putty Nose Nicholls ending up dead on the highway on his way to Melbourne to testify. I remember the Truro murders and the feeling that life was cheap, (particularly in South Australia for some reason). A girl my age who lived just down the hill but went to a different primary school was abducted on her way home, and murdered. There’s a killer on the road Jim? Ya don’t say.
I listened to Burnie’s own 7BU exclusively as a kid. My primary school was a slab of tarmac in the very middle of Burnie, and 7BU was across the road