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Last Ghost Train Home Glossary

THE DAY JOHN SATTLER BROKE HIS JAW

John Sattler
 
John Sattler was a Rugby League football player for the South Sydney Rabbitohs - the team actor Russell Crowe now owns. He played in the 1970 Grand Final. His jaw was broken in several places in the 7th minute. He played on for the entire game; refusing his teammates repeated requests to leave the field. He was the team's captain and he led them to a famous victory. His effort is often cited as one of the most courageous in the annals of Australian sport. When I was old enough to start drinking in pubs, it seemed that every hotel in the inner-city had the famous photo of John Sattler being carried off the field on his team mates shoulders. Jaw broken in a couple of places, blood on his torn jumper but unbowed and defiant. It was like this photo had replaced the portrait of the Queen that some pubs used to have hanging over the bar.

Redfern Railway Station 
Gateway to the suburbs and the first major railway station built in Sydney. It has twelve platforms and the occasional riot. As kids we would torment the alcoholic guys that would sell hot dogs at the front of the station. These old guys would turn up at the football on the weekend sellin' programs and 'doubles' tickets (see 'Double On The Main game') as well as their hot dogs. They used to scare the shit out of me….

Railway View Hotel (no longer standing - cnr Eveleigh & Lawson) 
T
he RVH was situated directly across from Redfern Railway Station. In those days it seemed there was a pub on every corner throughout the inner-city of Sydney. The RVH was in a prime position for pulling in the workers just before they had to jump on a train on their way home from the railway yards and factories. It was usually teeming between 5-6 pm with men spilling out onto the footpath, cloaked in thick cigarette smoke and talking loudly. Kids would hang around and score soft drinks and chips. The pub shut down in the eighties as the area fell into a steep economic decline and the railway yards and factories were being shut down.

Cleveland Street  
The main artery that would lead to the Sydney Showgrounds. It was - and still is - populated with huge gothic terraced houses, Lebanese restaurants with belly dancers, illicit gambling parlours, brothels and my high school
Map 

Robert 'Pig Iron Bob' Menzies  
Australian Prime Minister 1949-1966. Cold War warrior, anti-union and a communist scare-monger that sent Australian troops to Vietnam. Tory Prime Minister for 16 years. Nobody liked this guy, at least not in our home.  
wikipedia 
menzies virtual museum 

Eveleigh Railway Yards (now Technology Park)  
A source of employment in the community for over a hundred years. A lot of my family worked there. It now hosts art galleries and computer software companies. 
 

Black-It  
A type of glossy enamel paint that was used on brick and cement. When I was a kid, women would often be out the front of houses polishing the step and the window sill. Every so often they would paint them with this stuff. On those days it could really stink up the joint.

Reschs  
Often the beer of choice in our household when I was growing up, although others were constantly under consideration. 

Botany Rd, Redfern 
The main road that runs from where I grew up all the way out to Botany Bay with its oil refineries and tanneries where a lot my family also worked.

Rabbit killers in old Ford Falcons  
A man used to come around sellin' dead rabbits from the back of an old Ford station wagon. Folks would cook 'em and eat 'em. He would skin and gut them on the tail gate right there in front of you! I guess he was one of the last in a long line of men that were known as 'Rabbitohs' throughout the old working class areas of Sydney.

T.A.B.  
T.A.B. stands for Totalisator Agency Board. They're government betting shops. There's nearly one on every street in Sydney!! A lot of guys loved this place, and still do - but not as much as they loved the bookie down the pub. 
 

Ladies Lounge 
An area of the hotel that was set aside exclusively for women to do their drinking. The one part of the pub that had the ash trays freshened hourly!! 

Flag Ale  
More beer. 

Dave Sands  
Dave Sands was the British Empire and Australian middle-weight, light-heavy weight and heavy-weight boxing champion in the late forties-early fifties Not just a source of pride for the large Black community of the area at the time, but for everybody that loved the fight game, which was a huge part of the working class culture that existed in Sydney. Dave grew up in Stockton, near Newcastle in N.S.W. but spent a lot of time in the inner-city of Sydney. He was killed driving a truck. He was 26. His record speaks for itself. I had an Uncle who was a fighter and he was lucky enough to have sparred with Dave Sands..  
http://adbonline.anu.edu.au/biogs/A160204b.htm
National Library of Australia ref.

Campbelltown, Mount Druitt, St.Marys  
Outer western suburbs of Sydney. Ousted from the inner-city by rising rents and the promise of an indoor toilet, people were left to the government houses and cul-de-sacs of the outer western suburbs. Most of my family and old neighbours live there now. 
http://www.campbelltown.nsw.gov.au/
 

Sydney Swans  
An Australian Rules football team that was re-located from Melbourne to Sydney in the early 80's. They're famous for selling cappuccinos and boutique finger food at their games. At last, a football team for people that don't like sport. Only joking - sort of. 
Official Sydney Swans website 


KIDS DAY
 

Kids Day 
At the annual Royal Agricultural Show - more commonly known as 'The Easter Show' - that was held at the Sydney Show Grounds every Easter, a day would be set aside for children to get in free of charge. Often this meant that the more socially disadvantaged families would be able to have a day at 'The Show'. It was also a day when some of the kids that slept 'rough' - homeless children- would be able to escape from the inner-city streets and lose themselves for awhile in Sideshow Alley..

Show Bags  
Bags sold to children at The Royal Agricultural Show. They were full of crap like mini-jars of peanut butter and rubber geeks on sticks and plastic cowboy pants. They were/are amazingly over-priced. They're pretty cool if you're a kid, though. My Mum and Aunties worked in the stalls every year and would bring me back show bags. My favourite was the World Championship Wrestling bag with the Brute Bernard mask! 

The Wild Cat 
A roller -coaster. They would give you a badge that said 'I rode the Wild Cat!' I was a bit of a pussy as a kid and, therefore, can't claim to own such a badge of honour…

Brute Bernard 
Famous Canadian wrestler. The Brute. Incomparable. Favourite move was the 'Brain Buster', 
The Brute in action

Morton Bay Fig Tree  
There was a huge tree near one of the entrances to the Sydney Showgrounds. Vagrant men would congregate there and drink and sleep. People would walk by them on their way to the Easter Show. 

DOUBLE ON THE MAIN GAME  

Double On The Main Game Tickets 
Betting tickets sold at football grounds. If you got the first scorer for each team then you'd win money. They were often sold by guys who would wander around the football ground who were, kinda, borderline homeless alcoholics. Collecting your money was half the fun..

Captain Cook Hotel in Paddington cnr Flinders St. and Moore Park Rd 
A famous Sydney hotel situated next to the Sydney Cricket Ground. In the winter, football would be played at the S.C.G. every weekend and the hotels in the surrounding area would overflow with people on their way to and from the matches. 

The Sydney Cricket Ground (S.C.G.)  
Before the old stands were replaced with the more generic modern grandstands it was a place of real majesty. Better than any church!! 
Official website
 

Jimmy Sharman  
J
immy Sharman ran a travelling boxing troupe. Before the government banned it, he would set up at the Easter Show and put on exhibition bouts. Outside the boxing tent a man would beat a giant bass drum while the barker would shout 'Who'll take a glove?' Men in the audience could win money by taking on one of the Jimmy's fighters and lasting a round or so. Around this time you would see a lot of men walking the streets where I lived with black and blue faces. The answer to the Barking Man's question.  
http://adbonline.anu.edu.au/biogs/A160204b.htm
Lyrics - Midnight Oil's Jimmy Sharman's Boxers

Moore Park Showground Area 
The name of the area that contains the Sydney Cricket Ground and Sydney Show Grounds. Often a place for the homeless to congregate and sleep in the summertime. 
The Moore Park Precinct
      Centennial Parklands

Champion Ruby Tobacco  
Folks often roll tobacco to make their own cigarettes. If they use Champion Ruby Tobacco it's sometimes called 'rolling a Ruby'..

Luna Park  
An amusement park adjacent to the north pylon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I was never real good at working out a place to take a girl out on a date. Luna Park always seemed like a safe bet and even though it was pretty much shut down when I'd go there, at least we got to ride across the harbour on the ferry… One night, the Ghost Train at Luna Park caught fire and six kids were killed… 
History of Luna Park 
Google map

Red Rattler Trains  
Old trains that were a distinctive red colour. I used to love riding red rattlers on the city circle when I'd go into the city to buy records and guitar strings - they shook just like Sense-A-Round!!! 

Big Dipper  
The famous roller coaster at Luna Park. Some time in the 80's, apartments were built near the park and were soon filled with 'young professionals'. They complained about the noise - which had been a part of the area for fifty years -and the Big Dipper was closed down. 

SIDESHOW ALLEY

Sideshow Alley
 
This was the main thoroughfare that ran down the middle of the carnival section of the Easter Show. It had all the usual stuff - Ghost Train, House of Mirrors, Fortune Tellers, Headless Lady, a half boy-half chicken and the Boxing Tent. Tom Waits would've loved it!! 
Sydney Morning Herald freakshow story

Driver Avenue  
The main road that runs along side the S.C.G. and the Show Grounds. Tens of thousands of people would fill this road whenever there was something on. When I was a kid, this stretch had a number of old wooden bus stops and they were often filled with men & women who would sleep and drink in them until the cops moved them on. 

Ronald Ryan  
He was the last man hung in Australia. His impending and subsequent execution caused a great outcry and still resonates today. I thought using his name for the main character in this song was kind of apt. 
Online biography
The Death of Ronald Ryan 
  

Sand Shoes  
These were cheap white canvas tennis shoes that were popular up until around the late seventies…They were good for wearing to the beach. 

Sunnyboys ( The Ice Block & The Band
The former was one of the great Australian ice blocks (orange flavour) of my childhood. The latter was one of the great Sydney bands of my teenage years. 
Richard Burgman interview
Sunnyboys video

PETER COTTONBALL 

Prince Alfred Park Municipal Swimming Pool (Central Station, Surry Hills) 
This is a council swimming pool that's situated inside a huge park that runs alongside Cleveland Street and down to Central Railway Station. The back area of the pool would slope down towards the train tracks that run along the back of the park. Once a week, council workers would clean out the needles and broken bottles that littered the area. When I was 17 I had a girlfriend and we would lay on this slope and watch the trains rushing by while we drank beer…the songs 'N.Y.E.' and 'Bonfires of June' - from 'Meter' - are about her and that time. My high school had this whole area as its playground - it was somethin' else! 

Cleveland St. High School (Now Intensive Language Center. Cnr Cleveland & Chalmers St.) Where I went to high school. It was close to the city and the second-hand record shops that I'd piss off to during 'sport'.

Muscle Cars Every year there was a motor show at the Show Grounds. It was where you could go and see all the latest car stuff and get your photo taken in the Batmobile!!
Australian muscle car sales

Aussie muscle car museum

Holden Torana XU1  
Iconic Australian muscle car of the 1970's.. 

Ford GTO  
Iconic American muscle car of the 1970's.. 

ANZAC DAY  
A holiday in which Australians celebrate those that have given their lives in war. It was always a big day for football at the S.C.G. Everybody would stand as they played the Last Post directly before kick-off. It was pretty dramatic stuff. If you were a soldier you could get in for free... 
Culture.gov.au

ANZAC Day Gallipoli

The Bomber Man (Footy player John Peard) & 
The Galloping Ghost (Footy player Brian Bevan)
 
Sportsmen with nicknames always seemed a helluva lot more interesting than other players to me when I was a kid. Maybe now, too..
The Great John 'Bomber' Peard
Era of the biff 
Rugby League Hall of Fame
 

Central Railway Station, Sydney  
Sydney's largest railway station. Built on a cemetery, it has 27 platforms. 
City Rail

Photo
http://www.sydneyarchitecture.com/cbd/cbd7-003.htm

Central Station Tunnel, Chalmers St, Surry Hills  
An underground thoroughfare that enabled you to walk from one side of Sydney's largest Railway Station - Central Station - to the other. There's always a lot of busking going on down there. I've never busked, though Joe Strummer seemed to be into it quite a bit.. 

AT THE SPEEDWAY 

Sydney Showground Speedway
(no longer there) 
Sidecars, midget racers, hot rods and smash up derbys!!! As the area around the Show Grounds became gentrified, less people appreciated the value of a place like the Speedway. It was quite a thing, though. The floodlights, the track announcer's frantic exaltations and the noise of the bikes & cars would spill across the adjacent streets. Just like the people that once flocked to it, The Speedway was shifted out west.. 

'Down By The Banks of the Ohio' - Olivia Newton-John song
My Dad would take me and my brother on drives on Saturday nights when we were kids and this is the sort of stuff they would play on the radio in between the greyhound races.

TAB Tickets  
Betting slips. If my Dad had a good day on the 'punt' (gambling on horse racing) he would take my Mum, my two brothers and myself out, invariably, to a Chinese restaurant. If he didn't do so well, we'd stay home and watch Hawaii-Five-O 

Sawn Down Shotty (Shotgun)  
Scary shit done by scary people, of which, there was plenty - back in the day.. 

Ute   (Holden Utility) 
It's an Australian version of a pick-up truck. A little less bulky. 
http://www.beaututes.com/gallery/

Django Rheinhardt
Video

Bio on Red Hot Jazz site

 

Gibson Flying V guitar 
A guitar that came to prominence when Jimi Hendrix, among others, started using one. The first guy that I ever started a band with stole one from a guitar shop on Cleveland Street. He was a drummer…but he loved playing Van Halen riffs on his Flying V.
Gibson Guitars website

'Space Truckin' - Deep Purple song off 'Machine Head' album 
When I was 8 years old I had a cousin that was about 15 at the time. He told me that Deep Purple's 'Machine Head' was the 'loudest' record ever made!! His Mother was deaf and mute so he would crank his stereo up to the max and never get into any shit for it!! He was also into Neil Young's 'Harvest' which, when he would play it at full volume, would sound just as loud as 'Machine Head' in parts - funnily enough.

Video

Canton Café - Chinese restaurant on Botany Rd, Redfern. No longer there. 
The pre-eminent Chinese Restaurant where I grew up. Situated next to the local T.A.B., winners and losers alike would seat themselves behind a formica top table in a cramped booth and enjoy everything from the more up-market Prawn and Pork Combination Omelette to the Losers Special - chips & gravy with a small fried rice. When I inevitably die of heart disease this establishment will have been primarily responsible for my (and many others) early death. Dim Sims Kinda like Chinese meatballs. Hard to tell if they're made out of meat or not but they're pretty good with sweet & sour sauce and beer.
Aussie Dim Sim

Recipe

P.C. 
A Cop. Or a Police Constable - if you prefer.

MATTHEW TALBOT'S BLANKET 

The Matthew Talbot Hostel 
Since just before the last world war this has been a shelter for homeless men in Sydney. It provides over a quarter of a million meals a year and it's beds are used almost 37,000 times a year. One night, after finishing a taxi shift - I sometimes drive a cab -, a couple of drivers were talking about a homeless man that was found outside the major cinema complex on Sydney's main street. He'd lain there, dead, for almost 12 hours before anyone noticed..
Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney
Community Groups - Matthew Talbot Hostel
Sydney Morning Herald article

R.S.L Taxi Cab 
Sydney's oldest Taxi Company. The letters stand for Returned Servicemen's League. It primarily serves the inner-city of Sydney. Every year, during the ANZAC DAY march on April 25th, R.S.L. cabs are used to transport old soldiers to and from the march, which begins at the Martin Place Cenotaph and then moves down the main street of Sydney.

Martin Place Cenotaph  
The major war memorial in the centre of the city. 

Tupac Shakur  
On a Saturday night in the city, young guys from the suburbs in their muscle cars will do laps of the main section of town, hip hop and heavy metal blasting through the sub-woofers.. 
http://www.2paclegacy.com/ 
http://www.tupacfans.com/home.php 

Hoyts Cinema, George Street, City  
The major cinema complex in the city. A lot of guys from my high school would get jobs as ushers here. Between the age of 15 and 18 I never paid to see a movie once! 

IN ANCIENT ROME

1963 Ford Fairlane 
My girlfriend once hired an old vintage car for me on my birthday and we got driven around in it with the top down - I felt a bit like Lucy Jordan.

The 'WALL' - Darlinghurst Rd between Oxford St. & Burton St.
I first started driving taxi cabs just before the 2000 Sydney Olympics. One of the things that struck me hardest during those initial night shifts was the amount of kids that were sleeping rough in and around the central parts of the city. In the lead up to the Olympics the government installed new park benches and bus stops that would make it harder for somebody to sleep on. The Wall is an infamous stretch of road on the fringe of the red light district. Young men lean against the old Sydney sand stone with their heads bowed, covered in hoods, waiting for work from the passing cars.

Article in The Age http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2002/03/16/1015909912443.html

Lost Youth: A Story of Hope

DALE BUGGINS DREAM
 
Dale Buggins
 
Dale Buggins was a dare-devil stunt motorcyclist. He'd perform all around the country, a lot of times in rural areas where not a lot of entertainers of note would go. I remember when I was about 15 seeing a guy on the news. He was about 40-50 years of age and he was crying. I asked who it was and my older brother said it was Dale Buggins' Dad. It turned out that Dale had just shot himself in a motel room in Melbourne. He was 20 years old. Dale was like Australia's Evel Knievel. Evel was a big deal when I was a kid. Heaps of broken collar-bones on my street… 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fb5JP3aV_BU
http://www.geocities.com/cyclejumper_2000/dalebuggin.html 

Holden Precision Driving Team 
This was a bunch of guys who would do stunts in their cars…they were pretty wild!!
Video
- Monaro holden ad

Eli Wallach  
The western was a big deal in our house. From 'Bonanza' to 'Once Upon A Time in The West'. I always loved that scene in 'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly' where Eli Wallach says 'We don't need no stinkin' badges!'. Where I grew up there were a lot of guys who lived that sort of attitude.. I tried to get Warren Oates into the song but I couldn't get it to work. Maybe next time.
Article - imagesjournal.com
Bio - nnd.com
Darren Hanlon lyrics - Eli Wallach

Mini Bikes  
When I was a kid it was every boys dream to own a mini-bike. Most of us had to settle for a skate board. My little brother 'scored' one when he was about 14. I think it came from one of the carnivals down on the beach…he gave it back, later. 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9agnTIREYnk 
http://www.minibikecentral.net/ 

Dragstar Bicycle  
High handle-bars and a long sloping seat. This was the shit in 1975.. 

JOE STRUMMER
 
Joe Strummer 
Joe wrote the best rock'n'roll lyrics, ever. He had the biggest rock'n'roll heart, ever. An absolute Inspiration!! 
http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/music_specials/s1397180.htm 
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=gKYG0DzKjdc 

Red River - Howard Hawks' classic western. 
One of my all time favourite movie scenes is the one in Red River when John Wayne hits Montgomery Clift. I saw a lot of father and son stuff that was just like that during the local kids junior football every Saturday at Waterloo Oval. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kA6TZ26jAc

City of The Dead 
A Clash song title from the 'Black Market Clash' EP. 

Arthur Scargill 
Leader of the British Miner's Union during 1985 miners strike When the British miners went on strike in the mid-eighties the nightly news would be full of images of the picketing workers facing off long lines of English Bobbies… Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and Rupert Murdoch. The Forces of Darkness had taken hold of the reins with only Ken Loach standing in their way! In those days I looked at the world through a naďve kind of rock'n'roll filter and I remember watching the TV. and thinking - the world needs The Clash to get back together…real quick. 


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/3499611.stm

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/a/arthur_scargill.

Montgomery Clift 
American actor and inspiration for The Clash song 'The Right Profile'.
Video 
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001050/ 

San Souci Suzy  
This was the title of a song I wrote when I was 17 about a girl I liked. It's a kinda naďve teenager Beach Boys-esque love song! 

The New Deal 
U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt initiative during 1930's depression era 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Deal

THE LAST GHOST TRAIN HOME
 
Every weekday during the evening rush hour around Sydney's Central Station, thousands of commuters on their way home make their way towards the various terminal entrances. Later in the evening, after most people have left the city, the homeless congregate in the various parks and thoroughfares that, just hours earlier, were teeming with commuters.
Later in the evening, after most people have left the city, the homeless congregate in the various parks and thoroughfares that, just hours earlier, were teeming with commuters. The title comes from the question - What kind of train do you catch to get home when you no longer have a home to go to?

The Clock Tower - Redfern Post Office on Redfern St 
Every second Thursday on Redfern Street a long line forms outside the Post Office doors as people wait to collect their welfare.. 

The Sky Bar - opposite Redfern P.O. 
Once paid up, a lot of folks then cross the road to play the poker machines that, nowadays, fill up large sections of every pub in Sydney. 

 

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