Friday, 8 November 2013

Youth: No word could describe the joy I felt...

July 1960. I come home from school on my 7th birthday. There in my bedroom is my brand new Cyclops scooter. And.. it has pump up tyres. A foot brake for the back (with a hand control for it as well) and a luggage rack.

I had never known such joyous emotion.. still to this day I sometimes wonder if  anything since then has made me feel the same. That scooter was made in Australia. And unlike other scooters of the day that had no bearings in the wheels or steering.. or perhaps needle roller bearings in the wheels… this one had ball bearings in the wheels and steering!

And man could it fly. It even had a centre stand for parking just like my Super Tenere Yamaha. Mum would often send me to the shop to buy a bottle of this or a packet of that; and that scooter would be parked on its centre stand outside the local delicatessen.

I fitted a small wooden box to the back rack and carried all sorts of things home in there.. even dad's fags or cigars. All my friends were in awe of it.. they all wanted to ride it. Brother max gave me a VDO speedo for it and when the paint looked a bit off from a few prangs.. he had it rebuilt for me when I was 10. God I loved that two wheeled freedom machine!

When I turned 12 a bike came into my life.. and the scooter sat forlornly under the house behind the fireplace for the old copper boiler.

The days turned into months, the months turned into years.

How many years?

Try 48!

Until today when I dragged it out… poor old thing. It's once shiny red paint long gone like the once sparkling chrome wheel rims. What I now had before me was a rusty hulk with perished flat tyres. The road to hell is paved with good intentions so they say.. and I had always intended to rebuild this little scooter. One day!

Well you know what John Lennon said…. "Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans."

So with a heavy heart, I loaded the little beast into the skip. Genuinely sorry to dispose of a very happy part of my childhood here at Clayfield. But, one cannot drive through life looking in the rear view mirror and we need to junk a lot of stuff for our move to our new house.

The next part of this exciting journey as we orbit the sun each year.

Sixty orbits completed so far.. and hoping for a lot more to come!

But the really sad part is this: This little scooter was made here in Australia as were the Dunlop tyres. (Have a look at the photo) We don't make scooters here any more, nor even tyres for cars, let alone scooters. To me it is another stark reminder that we are killing off our manufacturing industry. No tyres, no refrigerators, soon no cars… Australia is fast becoming a quarry.

My little scooter will probably return as part of a Chinese gas barbecue to be sold at K mart one day. And while I am on the subject; if I hear one more person tell me that Ford and Holden don't build the cars we want.. well I am going to be sick. The biggest selling car in the world at the moment is the Ford Focus. And we Australians buy a lot of them.  Yes Ford (and Holden) do make the cars we want to buy.. but they make them in Thailand and we import them with no import duties as they are a developing country.

When all of the factories shut.. where will our kids work; and don't forget the secondary industries that are component suppliers to these factories.

Ending that scooter's life in that skip is a symbol of the ending of our manufacturing industries!

Although I look forward to our new home and we'll be alright mate; I wonder where Australia will wind up!

About to leave this mortal coil!

Dunlop - Made in Australia. Not anymore!