October Long Weekend

Today as I enjoy a relaxing October long weekend Monday on the Sunshine Coast, I remember my fist October long weekend in Australia. It was 1970 and I’d only been in the country for a few weeks. I was living in Kirribilli with a girl I’d met in a migrant hostel. We were both teachers who had come to Australia enticed by ads showing a bare chested tanned male wearing swimmers, an academic gown and cap, which urged us to come Teach in the Sun.
With visions of teaching on or close to the beach and meeting one of these gorgeous hunks, we had left the dismal Scottish weather to brave the long trip to Australia. A group of us attended an orientation held in Sydney Museum, while living in the hostel for single migrants in Dulwich Hill and eating in the local Chinese by virtue of free food vouchers. After two weeks of living in a cramped little room with three others we were all glad to be assigned schools and to find our own accommodation.
My Teach in the Sun experience was certainly that but, instead of the beach, I was located in the western suburbs of Sydney entailing a long train journey from my chosen place of residence.
On that October day, we decided to brave the beach. After all, that was the attraction of Australia in general and Sydney in particular. Clutching our beach towels and swimmers, we caught the ferry to Manly where, on disembarking, we immediately turned left to the beach. The small patch of sand and the calm water wasn’t quite what we’d been led to believe, but this was Australia, it was the beach and the sun was shining. We spent the whole day there, leaving the sand only to find some lunch.
It wasn’t till it was time for the return ferry trip that, walking around, we found the real beach, a long stretch of white sand with surf. This was what we’d come to see, but it was too late to do anything about it that day. Chiding ourselves for our foolishness we returned home, vowing to return to the proper beach another time.

Manly beach

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