Tuesday, November 30, 2010

recollections about myself: early married and police life in Parkes and Tottenham

* 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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I took Sal back to Parks after we were married where we rented a little old house at 74 Bogan Street.  Times were hard and we would run out of food before payday each fortnight.  We had some white leghorns in the backyard that Georff Luland gave us for a wedding present and we used to get a few eggs.  We got a dog but it ate some of the chooks and I had to shoot it.  (no vets in those days)

Sally got pregnant and on 10/5/65 our lovely little daughter was born in Parks Hospital.  It was 12.45am and Sal was uncomfortable in the bath!  I had to race over to the Ambulance Station up the road and get Sal to hospital and Karin Louise came into the world.  Sal wa in Hospital for 2 weeks which was the regulation period back then.

When Sal came out of Hospital, Thel and Ray came to Parkes to help out.  I was broke and had no food.  Went to the RSL Club to get some bottles of beer for Ray (Sal's father) with the last of my money.  Had 2/- change and put it in the poker machine and cracked the jackpot!  Twenty quid!  So we were able to get some supplies in for Ray and Thel's visit.

We were transferred to Totenham, a one-man Police Station in June 1966.  Karin was 1 year and 1 month old.  We made lots of good friends at Tottenham.  Sid and Joy Fitzalan, Bert and Lorna Hand, John and Pam Eggleston, Bernie and Pam O'Neil, Rex and Maureen Wiseman, Kay and Jim Burton and many others.

We were there in an 11 year drought and used to get dust storms that came through the cracks in the boards of the the Police House.   One time, it rained and the Bogan Rive was rising and I went to Tabratong Bridge to check it out and as the water rose, millions of yabbies were crossing the road ahead of the water. I filled the Police Car boot and went back to town and told some of our fireds who also came out and loaded up.

I was the Policeman, Clerk of the Court, Inspector of Slaughterhouses, Clerk of Petty Sessions, Motor Registry and Mining Wardens Clerk.  I did a lot of work in the Mining as the mineral boom was on and all the mining companies were taking out all sorts of licenses.  I didn't have a clue as all I knew was Police work.

I was alloed to used the Police Car privately as well as for work as I could get called out any time - there was no-one else.

Sally worked at the Tottenham Cottage Hospital.  Karin went to work with Sal til I finished work, then I picked her up, the patients loved Karin - Karin loved to play in the hospital yard with cats and chooks.

Motor Registry was huge in wheat harvest time as all the farmers would register quarterly all sorts of weird trucks for carting wheat to the Railway.  The trucks would be in queues hundreds of yards long.

We left Tottenham after a wonderful send-off in the Town Hall/Picture Theatre in October 1969 and moved on into the lock-up at Port Macquarie.

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