Monday, November 29, 2010

Recollections of Katoomba: air guns, shanghais, billy carts & paper boys

* 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 was a paper boy at Katoomba for quite a while and used to sell papers on the street corners and deliver Sunday papers in a billy cart to the guest houses.  A bloke gave me a 10/- tip one Christmas - it was a red letter day!  I used to clal out 'Paper, Sun or the Mirror!'

  • We went through a big billy cart craze and used to race them down the Cliff Drive!

  • On one occasion, a boy called Cawley who lived up the road, shot a lady hanging out the washing next door in the bottom, with his air gun.  When the Police came, he told them I did it and they came to my place and confiscated my air gun!

  • Shanghais (catapults) were very popular and we used to make them out of a forked stick, car tube rubber and the tongue stolen out of someone's shoe (mostly Dad's).  These days you can't make them, as the rubber of car tyres have no stretch anymore.  We bound all the parts together with copper wire.  I was a crack shot and could hit a bird flying overhead.  We used to 'wing' the local King Parrots and Crimson Rosellas and keep them in aviaries.  We always had our catapults in our back pockets.

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