Norman Whitby reminsces about life in the Towamba Valley.

Norman Whitby (L) and friend Max Ramsey.

I wrote about the wine saloon which was known to max and myself as "The old Pinky Shop". I have sung it with Max and his Brother Colin.
(The lass that won Belle of the ball was a miss Mcloud and she was up from Mallacoota.)


From steep hills and valleys of coast line I hale,
where strong gusty winds so often prevail,
rugged with ranges and granite outcrops,
snow known to settle on low mountain tops.

I've set up the stage and pulled out the prop
and pointed the way to THE OLD PINKY SHOP.

I refer to the forties when hard as we'd try
Short on was money and beers hard to buy,
light Ale from Resches and Lager by Tooth,
the main selling beers when I was a youth.

With beads in their action arose to the top
But never got sold at the old pinky shop.

If we couldn't buy beer it mattered but naught,
two thirds lemonade, topped off with some port,
Made it turn pink and sufficed at the time,
down there at Parkers and waiting in line.

We gave it the nick name and spilt not a drop,
Served up to us at the old pinky shop,

I've shorn round Towamba and close there about,
Trapped the old bunny and dug ferrets out.
I'm now over eighty and yet I feel fine,
for return to the old place I'm rather inclined.

To see that old building might make my heart stop,
That covered the bar of the old pinky shop.

I've driven my cousin to that village hall,
and won there that night the Beau of the Ball.
Waltzed round the floor with the Girl that won Belle,
Then took the lass home and kissed her as well,

I couldn't see William so I didn't stop,
and left him there at The Old Pinky Shop-----

A song by Norman Whitby 2009

WHAT OF THE FUTURE? Norman Whitby 2008

We were doing demolition,
in our daughter's older kitchen.
As we worked became aware,
of neatness in the joinery there.

Mostly done with hammer and saw,
Suggesting it was done post war.
It was intricate for those days.
The joiner had my instant praise.

We put to good use what we could,
Of the finer grained maple wood,
We ripped it four by one inch thick
to give the cupboards that toe kick

Once a cabinet on the wall,
With slider panels grooves and all,
Among the pieces for the tip
I saw a name on plastic strip.

The ink was black and plain to see
Upon there written Max Ramsey.
It's been a buzz this poem to pen,
for a tradesman and valued friend.

You'll mostly find him at his place,
In overalls of bib and brace
He'll ware a smile along his cheek
and lives from us across the creek.
We might have met at "Burragate" sports,
when we were young just out of shorts.
That'd be sixty years by my tally,
And he hailed from "Towamba" valley

He left "Bega" for the forties war
And served us well- of this I'm sure.
Joined the Air force as he told me,
An instrument maker there was he

We met by chance sometime before
on seeing my name behind the door.
For tenant use displaying there
On units placed within my care

He has six years above my age
And I was retired at that stage.
I knew some "Whitby's", he recalled
around Wyndham and Rocky Hall.

We two, were in the building trade
And friendship at that instant made.
We like to visit when we can
this gentle and endearing man.

He is a "Carer" of a different kind,
for wife and Daughter there to mind.
They love him and he loves them back,
God will reward him down the track.


Two old timers had a clapped out van,
a trade off to one from foreign trades man.
No registration for six months or more,
With no back seat and a slide open door.

It suited them both to take on their trip,
but needed some work to gain a blue slip.
So it's into repairs, they're handy with tools,
got all the spanners and wire on spools.

They'd visit old hands and have a good time,
Take care of the cooking and throw in a line
But the more they did the further it seemed
to get on the track and their holiday dream.

They worked day and night to fulfill their cause,
took skin off their knuckles and grease off their paws.
There wasn't much on it that they couldn't do,
and a keen sense of humour carried them through.

On the brightest of days a florescent light,
made one to appear like he'd been in a fight.
It fell on his mouth to cause him great pain,
but worried him not and he worked on again.

Now they are happy it's safe for the road,
so in go the chattels all carefully stowed.
They'd take many breaks in the five hundred clicks,
all the way to their home land, out in the sticks.

Well, they finally get going if late by a day,
two hours on the road to "water view way"
Went touring with family to see "Granite Falls",
Took some snap shots and heard the bird calls.

Its Saturday now and later that eve,
Had some luck like you'd never believe.
They've cleared "Batemans Bay" and on to "Bate Haven,"
where they make the pit stop their bladders were craven.

They're leaving the park after using the loos,
when they met these fellows with takeaway chews.
So they strike up a yarn for they're keen about chats,
and ask about parks or overnight flats.

Well what are you looking for came the reply?
We've got studio units do the mate and I.
No obligations but call in and see,
at 92 Smith St in lower "Broulee".

So they thanked them for that and walked at leisure-
and said that to call, they considered a pleasure.
They stayed overnight in the comforts of home,
and left in the p.m. and gave them a poem.

Their hosts were tour guides; appointed by self,
describing the scene of the Huge granite shelf,
where Granite was quarried for our harbor bridge
and the now condemned wharf for our privilege.
Our camera's gone flat and it's three hours to dark,
and a goodly way to "Moruya's Van Park".
To visit his brother one codger was eager
So they motored off then for downtown "Bega."

A mobile is ringing and in a safe spot,
discover a brake drum that's warming to hot.
Through landscape ahead its beauty unsparing,
they're hearing the sound of a worn axle bearing.

They reach destination and greeting are said,
the van locked away in their host unit shed.
It's driven down town, but the following night
they look for reason the brakes were so tight.

New bearings are ordered for both axles there,
while the rest of the week is full of despair.
The wrong parts are flown there and Wednesday is gone,
and the two couldn't fit them while the sun ever shone.

Then all of a sudden its Friday night,
the bearings are on and the job done right,
the phone does ring but they didn't hear,
and the engineers gone for his usual beer.

Its Saturday night and the axles are in,
and brake fitting drama about to begin.
When a bushy they'd met happened thereby,
says move over mate and I'll have a try.

It wasn't said in derogatory manner,
and he'd be leaving to bring back a spanner.
So off he goes and he's back pretty soon,
with both wheels fitted in late after noon.

Though he wasn't happy and I heard it said,
the brakes are spongy and have to be bled
So away they go to put it on ramp-
that bushy mechanic! oh What a champ.

Sunday now gone and the night air's falling-
the spuds are on and kettle near boiling-
when he returns with me crippled up friend-
and our Southern Safari had come to an end

There's a moral to this story I'll share.
say g'day to stranger when you're out there.
That's how we met him our bushy cobber-
wearing his hat and old riding clobber

A back support just above his belt,
told tales of the past now currently felt.
He'll remain for ever in our memory.
Along with the trials of our Southern Sortee

by Norman Whitby April 2010.
Revised 23 04 2011