My first Job – Apple Orchard

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So we got back to Armidale and we decided this was it. We stay here and find work. It was getting late and Wally said; why don’t we spend the night sleeping in the Park. We still had money, but why not, it was a nice night and we didn’t feel like looking for somewhere to stay. Next morning after Breakfast it was back to the Pub.

A different one, somehow it looked there was a better clientele. When we went in we spotted some foreigners, so we walked over to them and found 2 of them were German. So we went on and discussed our situation. One of them told us we should go to the Employment Bureau and ask about work. They also told us, if we were asked to tell them we had two weeks work with a firm called “Peterwright”as Labourers.

Tell them we were “New Australians” So we had one more Beer and went down the Street looking for the Employment Bureau. We found it upstairs in one of the Buildings. The Bloke behind the Counter was very nice to us and when we told him where we had worked last. He didn’t blink an Eye and wrote down “Peter Wright”. We laughed after. But he did get us a Job. Pruning in an Apple Orchard. The Farmer came the afternoon and picked us up in his “Morris Oxford” Car.

He said his Name was John Collins and that we should call him “John”. We thought we were going to have a problem with that as we were taught that you call anyone older than you “Mr”. His Property was nearer to the Town of Uralla. He told us proudly that at one Time they had found Diamonds at Uralla, but that was before his Time.

When we got to his Farm, he introduced us to his Family. He had 2 Daughters about our ages and a 6 year old Son. His Wife was lovely and she showed us to our Room, just inside the Door. That Night we had our first Home-Cooked Meal in Australia. It was lovely sitting around the Table with a Family. Wally was still very shy, which made it hard to communicate.

The Meal was beautiful done, and the only thing that we didn’t know was the “Pumpkin” We had never eaten Pumpkin but developed a liking for it just as we got to like “White Tea” Wally found a Friend in the young Boy and the younger one of the Girls was going to help me with my English. Her name was Elaine and we developed a lovely relationship, which never went beyond kissing. After Dinner we went into the Lounge-Room where Mrs Collins (Doreen) sat at the Piano and played some beautiful Melodies that were unknown to us.

Always after Dinner I went outside to have a “Smoke” and it’s funny but Elaine would follow me to give me English lessons. Wally would play a game of Domino’s with the young Lad (Mark). The next morning John showed us what he wanted done. I thought pruning was going to be easy. No way! By mid-day I had Cramps in my Hand so bad I had to use my other Hand to carry on. Midday someone always brought us a Bottle of Tea and Sandwiches.

After a few Days John told us that evening we were going to do what he called “Bunny bashing” It was quite an Eye-opener. John lit Fires everywhere in the Paddock and we went chasing Rabbits with a big stick and killing them. John explained to us that this was the done thing as they (Rabbits) were eating him out of his existence.

Mark always helped too. He was quite good at it. On the next Saturday John took us to the Town of Tamworth. He had hooked on a Trailer to his Car to get some Fertiliser. He suggested that we buy ourselves a Hat each. So Wally and I bought a Grey Akubra Stetson each and I stocked up on Cigarettes. Wally got himself some Beer which he said he would drink on Sunday. The Collins Family didn’t believe in Drinking and smoking. On Sundays the all went to a Salvation Army Meeting. The next Saturday we went to a Town called Glen Innes.

I don’t know what John was doing here. I went and bought myself another Shirt (Red). Then we went and had a few Drinks and did some looking around. The next Day while everyone was at the Salvation Army meeting. I told Wally that I was going to try to drive the Tractor (David Brown)

Very nice, but I knew nothing about driving and so I never got it out of first Gear. After a while we both were driving like Madmen trough the Orchard. John didn’t let on that he knew we had used the Tractor. A couple of days later we said our good byes. I still don’t know whether the Job was finish or we got fired.

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