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In 1961 when I was nine years old and my brother nearly four, we moved from Sweden to West Australia travelling with our parents on a small Danish cargo ship which went all the way from Rotterdam in the Netherlands to the West Australian port of Fremantle. It´s hard to realize just how much has changed over the years with the globalization and modernization constantly going on, but when my brother returned there in 1994 he discovered that not much of the old OZ we once knew remained. In those years, Perth along with Fremantle was populated with less than four hundred thousand inhabitants, there wasn´t much pollution around and life was nice and slow the way it was back then in most parts of the world. We were amazed at this fantastic new country having come all the way from the other side of the earth. Everything was so different, the plants and flowers, the wildlife, even the ocean which rumbled in with breakers that caused the ground to tremble way inland.   

CottesloeThere were lots of beaches to choose among all the way from Leighton up to Scarborough but we mostly stuck to the sands of northern Cottesloe until after a year or so when we moved away to a rural town called Katanning which is situated right  in the middle of the barley and wheat district. It was a nice and wild place to live in, at least for us. The aborigines, however, were confined to a shanty town in the bush just outside of the community border.  My mother worked there for a year or so and she was shocked at the appalling conditions which these people had to live under.
Perth

Stirling rangeEach summer and often during weekends and holidays we escaped the furnace heat of the inland to Kwinana which is situated south of Fremantle, just north of  the sea side resort of Rockingham. This meant we regularly had to travel 176 miles to get to our beloved Indian ocean and then back again. But we could also turn south and pass the Stirling range until we reached Albany and Denmark where it was a lot cooler and where one could sometimes  spot dolphins in the clear blue water below the cliffs. Further to the west near Pemberton we sometimes made it by car to the tingle trees and the Karrie forests, which second to the Californian Sequoia are said to reach higher into the sky than any other trees in the world. Other remarkable plants of the Aussie verdure are black boys which look like they´ve been taken right out of "Jurassic park" and also the national flower Kangaroo paw which doesn´t look like anything I´ve seen apart from its cousin the Cat paw. 
 

Us kids in CottesloeEventually the family once again ended up on the west coast, this time in the lovely sea side resort of Mandurah where there was good surfing and a relaxed atmosphere. It was a daily half an hour drive by car to high school in neighbouring Pinjarra, which lies further inland. My father was a teacher at the same school so we usually made that trip together. It did happen though that I had to go by school bus like everyone else and at one of these occasions there was a huge triangular spider which came tripping along ever so happily upside down in the ceiling above the seats until it suddenly swung right down in front of me, which naturally gave me the shock of my life! Australia is infested with spiders of every kind, some of them very poisonous and some not. And at that moment I wasn´t exactly competing to find out the toxic status of this particular specimen! It was huge and hairy and it seemed as if it belonged to the bus far more than we did. Which I figure the bus driver reckoned the way he was sitting clutching at the steering wheel and laughing out loud. Well, if I ever see him again he´d better watch it or I´ll  feed him to my pet huntsmen, the eight legged monsters which used to dash around the walls of our Kwinana cottage! Or make him some new friends with those transparent little devils that trail the north Australian waters and which they call stingers...

Cottesloe beachNorth Cottesloe beachBy 1966, Australia had itself all tied up in the Vietnam war. So to avoid having me drafted for when I got older, my parents decided it was best to call it quits and hastily get ourselves back to the old country. But we were also suf- fering from an invasion of microscopic spiders (oh no, not now again!) called mites which multiplied in billions and eventually mobilized themselves in big, mushy clusters which appeared to be everywhere in the house, especially in the kitchen. So you could say that because of little spiders and a stupid war, I´m where I am today and not Down Under!


Pinjarra high school class 1F, 1965Here are some of my class mates from 1F at High school in 1965 with me second from the right on the bottom row, as with the rest of my fellow pupils wearing that maroon coloured jumper with a gray shirt which made up  the Pinjarra High School uniform at the time. This photo is featured here by kind permission from my beloved school teacher Jeff Carroll and  by my former class mate  Gordon Stuart.
Pics as shown from top to bottom:
1:  Walking the dogs in Peppermintgrove, Perth, 1962 with me to the right and bro in the middle
2 & 3:  Cottesloe and down town Perth
4:  Bluff knoll in Stirling range, West Australia
5:  Kids of Cottesloe in 1961 with me to the far left and my brother in the middle
6 & 7:  North Cottesloe beach in Perth
8: My fellow class mates in High shool, Pinjarra in 1965, with no "sheilas" on this one!
                                                              
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