Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Bogged down in growing up in New England

This is your life, Channel 9, 1977. Peter Allen, Peter's Aunt Nancy, Clare Napier-McCann, Roger Climpson
Some years ago my old  friend and blogging colleague Neil Whitfield commented that he and I seem to have grown up in different Australia’s. The trigger for the comment lay in an exchange of experiences relating (among other things) to first exposure to things Asian.

Neil was right, of course. Australia is not and never has been uniform. There are many different stories depending on location, time, ancestry and family circumstances.  I mention this now because I have been bogged down in New England Travels. The current chapter, Growing up on the New England Tablelands is due for posting here tomorrow. I doubt that I will make it.

The piece was triggered by four autobiographical books that I had been re-reading, all set on the Northern Tablelands. The age of the writers vary, although all were born before the Second World War: Maslyn Williams was born in 1911, Judith Wright in 1915  Binks Turnbull Dowling in 1923, Judith Wallace in 1932. Three of the four became writers. The fourth, Binks Turnbull Dowling, was the daughter of a writer.

Each book describes different aspects of life during formative periods in the writer’s life. They are very different, but each tells stories of personal and family change set against a backdrop of major historical change. I thought that the piece would be doable, but then I added Peter Woolnough to the mix. Peter is better known as Peter Allen, the name he would adopt.

Peter was born in Tenterfield on 10 February 1944, but moved to Armidale with his parents soon after his birth. He lived there until his father suicided in 1958, after which his mother moved to Lismore. I did not know Peter, although he was only a year ahead of me at primary school. Now, digging down, I have found some wonderful stuff. But, oh, what to do?!.

I do need to finish what I'm doing at the moment, at least in working draft so I'm sticking to target. That has to be my priority. But then I feel another series coming on!


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