* a collection of stories and memories, in no particular order, from the life and times of John Clarke, who served as a policeman in the Australian Police Force, a great practical joker, he also had a great affinity with people and wildlife, was a champion swimmer, snooker player, loved golf, still loves fishing and is also an artist. I hope you enjoy his recollections - cheers, karin (his daughter)
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Back in in 1974 I was the Lockup Keeper, Senior Constable at Port Macquarie. In those days, the Lockup was another name for the Prison Cells, and they were a long way away from the actual Police Station. We lived in a convict built brick house, which was adjoined to the Prison Cells by a heavy metal door with a peep hole and a large padlock was all that separated us from the inmates.
At that time I had a mate there Const. John Sweeney, who had purchased a small property just out of town.
I talked him into getting some white leghorns (chickens) in partnership with me to have an egg supply. When he was away I would go and feed the chooks and pick up the googs (eggs).
Anyhow, this morning I was working, in Police uniform and had to feed the chooks, took a patrol out on the Wauchope Road and pulled off the road to do the chore. On collecting the eggs, one particular pullet had laid its first egg - it was completely round like a small ping pong ball. I thought - just the thing for the young egg collector - he'll never work out what sort of egg this is.
I got back in the car, put the egg in my Police cap and then proceeded to the post office to get the mail.
The boss back in those days (and there's been no change since then) insisted that we wear our caps when out of the Police car. I duly placed my cap on and walked to the mail boxes, got the mail and was then spoken to by a family of tourists desiring directions.
I pulled my cap off, scratched my forehead, when the egg precariously balanced on my head, rolled down my face, bounded off my nose and smashed on the footpath.
I was a bit stunned, but finished the directions, got back in the Police car and drove off. The tourists didn't say a word but I would have loved to hear the conversation after I left.