Meekatharra Brickies

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ALANM
Posts: 30
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2019 2:57 pm
Location: Tasmania

Meekatharra Brickies

Post by ALANM » Tue Oct 29, 2019 10:29 am

Meekatharra Brickies
(By Alan McCosker September 2019)

At the end of my sea-farin’ days in the west , I was broke with no place to sleep
lucky for me my mate had found work and his boss was providing his keep
he’d slip me some tucker and I slept in our van, spendin’ each day at the job shop
I needed some luck or else I’d be stuck in the van, really stretching the friendship

The first job I got was to drive a flash ute, deliverin’ tyres all ‘round geraldton
after one day the tyre man said, “great job, good reports from all ‘round town”
after two days the tyre man said, “mate, of your licence I must have the details”
by then at sixteen, I still didn’t have one, so back to the job shop I hightailed

The very next day I said yes to a job, at meekatharra off-sidin’ a bricky
meekatharra was far nearly 400 miles, way out in the hot desert country
three of us crammed in the front of a ute, hot and sweaty the heat was intense
somewhere along the driver passed out, we crashed and got tangled in wire fence

The old ute survived and we three did too, a cold beer or two then we drove on
we pulled into mullewa pindar and yalgoo, stopped at mount magnet just on noon
wherever we could we bought a cold beer, it was steamy and hot in that ute cab
we finally got out to meeka tharrah, walkin’ sideways like three tipsy land crabs

We pulled into town took a quick look around and then fronted up at the royal mail
a lovely old pub where we booked in to lodge, as we helped to build them a new jail
a short easy walk to the site of the job but the brickies would drive every day there
a short stagger down street, the commercial hotel, at times we also would drink there

First day on the job the sun blazing down and all of us sufferin’ hangovers
I thought I had died and had gone straight to hell and in mortal pain wished it over
I had just turned sixteen and it was my job to mix mortar and carry cement blocks
to keep up with two brickies but thankfully they, were every bit battered as I was

As the hot days went by I managed to keep, my end up and was really grateful
the month on the cray-boat had toughened me up, of hard work I really was able
we started each day in the chill of the morn’, took siesta for two hours at noon
then laid blocks ’till dark, all but for sundays, which I’d spend fast asleep in my room

Each day after work, with everyone else, I’d breast up to the bar to knock back one
you weren’t s’posed to take, a drink in a bar in the West if you weren’t twenty plus one
I was only sixteen but no-one gave a care, my money was good as the next bloke
but my ten quid a week was barely enough to cover the cost so I stayed broke

December came ‘round I was still in the town, a telegram came from my old mate
“I’m headin’ back east” said he in the scrip “if you’re comin’, let me know post haste”
I was really tired of the heat and the flies, havin’ xmas there didn’t enthuse me
so I telegrammed back “ just give me a week, I’ll be there as fast as I can be ”

Next day I did quit, the boss had a fit, to replace me out there would be harder
but he paid me right up, nine quid was the lot, the rest had gone on swan lager
then I hit the road with my clothes in a roll, to hitch a ride back to old geraldton
It took me four days and each freezing night, I slept under a bush all my clothes on

Once I got back, we packed up the van and headed back home to the east states
crossed again nullarbor then some hundred miles more, home, just in time for xmas
thinking back now I’m not sure I know how, I survived all that at such a young age
bein’ big young and dumb I’d give most things a run, not always to my advantage

Authors note:
After I was laid off from the cray-boat it didn’t take me long to find another job, which I also lost, due to not having a drivers licence.
Shortly after that I was offered a job as a brickies labourer, with a contractor who had a contract some four hundred miles
away out at Meekatharra, laying blocks for the a new Police Station.

Terry
Posts: 2757
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:53 pm

Re: Meekatharra Brickies

Post by Terry » Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:07 pm

G/day Alan

I've spent a bit of time over the years in the Meeks area - nothing much has changed,
Still hot as hell in summer - might be even more flies now though.

Good on ya mate

Terry

ALANM
Posts: 30
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2019 2:57 pm
Location: Tasmania

Re: Meekatharra Brickies

Post by ALANM » Thu Oct 31, 2019 7:15 pm

G'day Terry,
Thanks mate, glad you liked it.
Sorry about bringing the flies and heat memories back, as you are well aware, after you've been to Meekatharra in the summer
they are two things that leave a lasting impression.

Cheers
Al

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Shelley
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Location: Maryborough, Queensland
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Re: Meekatharra Brickies

Post by Shelley » Fri Nov 01, 2019 6:11 am

Now there's a place I haven't been yet! Another one for the bucket list????

I don't think I'd survive as a brickie's labourer though!
Shelley Hansen
Lady of Lines
http://www.shelleyhansen.com

"Look fer yer profits in the 'earts o' friends,
fer 'atin' never paid no dividends."
(CJ Dennis "The Mooch o' Life")

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Maureen K Clifford
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Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 10:31 am
Location: Ipswich - Paul Pisasale country and home of the Ipswich Poetry Feast
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Re: Meekatharra Brickies

Post by Maureen K Clifford » Fri Nov 01, 2019 1:43 pm

It's the hard yards done when we were younger and fitter that makes us who we are today, and also the memories of those times that gives us grist for the poetry mill, so nothing is wasted and you have had an interesting life. Bloody flies and the Aussie salute ... enough to drive one to drink or poetry, or both. I enjoyed the read mate - thanks for sharing it
Check out The Scribbly Bark Poets blog site here -
http://scribblybarkpoetry.blogspot.com.au/


I may not always succeed in making a difference, but I will go to my grave knowing I at least tried.

ALANM
Posts: 30
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2019 2:57 pm
Location: Tasmania

Re: Meekatharra Brickies

Post by ALANM » Sat Nov 02, 2019 10:52 am

Hi Shelley,
Put it on your bucket list for sure and it's also not all that far from Mt.Augustus, which is reportedly larger than Uluru.

Cheers
Alan

ALANM
Posts: 30
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2019 2:57 pm
Location: Tasmania

Re: Meekatharra Brickies

Post by ALANM » Sat Nov 02, 2019 11:00 am

Thanks Maureen,
Glad you enjoyed the yarn, trawling through the memories of my early years now makes me wonder how I survived but as I said in the last line
' bein' big young and dumb I'd give most things a run' seems very apt now looking back.

Cheers
Alan

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