Some old haunts

I recently visited sites around Elizabeth that were favorite hangouts for friends, siblings and myself when we were kids.

I’m looking forward to seeing them again in more favourable light.

Uley Road Cemetery

Just outside Elizabeth, the Uley Road Chapel was an isolated and spooky place at night. Kids would drive up there when it was dark and frighten each other with scary stories. Sadly the Chapel no longer stands.

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The olive grove

With its gnarly old trees that in places would block out the light even on a bright day, there was always a sense of mystery about the old olive grove. Still, it was fun tearing along its many paths on pushbikes.

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The quarry

The old quarry is now all fenced off for the local Pistol Club. Back in the day, kids would climb rock faces of varying difficulty here. I remember one unfortunate boy got himself stuck and needed rescuing. He made the front page of the newspaper for his efforts.

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The old go-cart track

Disused for a very long time, it is surprising that remnants of the old go-cart track still exist. It doesn’t really seem so intimidating to look at it now, but for many kids racing down here in a home made go-cart at full speed was quite terrifying.

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The lookout

A lookout has been built next to the old quarry. It offers a panoramic view right across Elizabeth. Here we can see the Holden factory lit up by the afternoon sun.

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Doing the research

“I think I’m lucky that I joined a band and didn’t end up in jail or dead.”

Jimmy Barnes, Working Class Boy

 

Working on an assignment like this requires a certain amount of reading and research.

Reading academic books from various perspectives about the historical context and what is occurring now in Elizabeth, and in the vehicle manufacturing industry, helps put into place parts of the puzzle that makes up the city and its people.

Absorbing other people’s experiences of growing up in Elizabeth, along with delving into my own memories, surfaces complex and sometimes long-buried emotions that help with expressing something meaningful through the project.

Jimmy Barnes’ Working Class Boy can be quite harrowing at times. However, Jimmy writes with such frankness and humour that it is a pleasure to read. He is able to talk openly about his early years, which were filled with alcoholism, violence and poverty. Somehow, it seems, he has found a way to make peace with his past.

As a kid Jimmy, like many others his age, became immersed in the rock and roll records that recently arrived migrants from the UK brought with them. This music was to have a wide impact on the creativity and desire of many local kids to play music. For Jimmy Barnes it provided an escape from the poverty and the lack of a meaningful future. The rest, as they say, is history.

Jimmy Barnes with Cold Chisel, 1980