Robert Drewe


I arrived in Western Australia to live as a six-year-old child in 1949. The plane from Melbourne - where I was born and where my father was a young up-and-coming executive with the Dunlop Rubber Company - was a DC-6. With stops in Adelaide and Kalgoorlie for fuel, the journey took 12 hours. My mother thought we were going to the end of the world; my grandparents did too and our departure from Melbourne was a very tearful one - at least for the adults. My mother was widely thought of among her friends as very 'brave' for agreeing to set up house in Perth. Certainly in 1949 the prospect of living in Perth, WA, was not one to excite wild envy among the eastern Australian middle class. The burghers of Melbourne thought of WA, if at all, as wilderness - sand and snakes and a sea-coast bordering on quite the wrong ocean, the Indian Ocean, not the benign Pacific that they knew. God, what was next? Africa and Asia and all those sorts of places.



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