|Bass Coast Post||
At a clearing sale in the hills, an old piano sings to Frank Coldebella of other days.
By Frank Coldebella
THE mounds of shells dotted along the Bass Coast are evidence that these have been relaxing and bountiful gathering places for millennia. On meeting Australia’s original coast campers, Captain Cook noted “They live in a tranquillity … and are far more happier than we Europeans … They think themselves provided with all the necessarys of life … they seemed to set no value upon anything we gave them.”
Years after houses replaced Wonthaggi’s tent town, many old people remembered their camping times as the best days of their lives.
Seventy years after the end of the Second World War, many local people are still haunted by personal experiences of war.
"Australia is not a country that goes looking for trouble,” Tony Abbott said recently, but our history tells a different story.
The 1960s finally came to Wonthaggi in 1968, writes Frank Coldebella, with a contingent of young teachers who didn’t use abuse, bullying or violence as teaching aids.
Handing out how-to-vote cards on election day provided plenty of opportunity for Frank Coldebella to contemplate voters, democracy, free speech and obesity.
All over the world, 1968 was a revolutionary year. Frank Coldebella was in year 9 and watched the spark of revolution reach Wonthaggi.
It started with a clothes line, a peg, an electrical cord and some cobwebs, and pretty soon a couple of grey fantails had crafted a fine home in a Wonthaggi garage.
In his years at a Catholic primary school, Frank Coldebella never saw or heard of sexual abuse. What he does remember is a daily ordeal of fear, brainwashing, guilt and boredom. The miracle, he writes in this four-part memoir of life at St Joseph’s Primary School from 1959-65, is that any of them survived it.