This is Rod. His mum was a popular model and hairdresser from Melbs who did the hair of all the celebs about town. One day she met Rod’s dad – a country lad who had recently returned from serving in the Korean War – fell in love and wham bam they got married. As part of the government’s ‘soldier settlement scheme’ of the 50’s, they were given a plot of land in Eden Hope in west Victoria where they moved to become dairy farmers. Along came Rod who…
Why are you wearing a lizard?
She is not a lizard she is a dragon. I rescued her from a kookaburra in Eden Hope when she was a baby. She likes coming to the pub with me. She also tells me when she is:
- Hungry, by flicking her tongue
- Needs the toilet by lifting her tail
- Wants a cuddle, by getting up in the warm of my neck.
- But she is never angry, I’ve never seen her puff out her beard. She is a gentle lovely dragon. She is more popular than any other pet you’ll ever meet.
GIVE HER TO ME and now tell me interesting stories from the farm.
- We lived next to a Frenchman WW2 POW who survived concentration camps by cooking and eating rats.
- growing up I drank fresh raw milk from our jersey cows – there is no comparison between raw milk and this shit you’re sold today in shops. The taste was out of this world, totally different to carton crap.
- female dogs are better than males on a farm, but any old bloke will tell you that. Collies and kelpies are the best breed!
Your dad was in the CFA in the 50s/ 60s – are the fires worse now?
By god yes the fires are worse. This one now is the worse ever in my life. I don’t care about the properties burning, I care about the wildlife – animals and birds that are going to be extinct. Climate change is fucked because it’s humans who have done it – the Adani mine, selling water, fucked policies… This is the real tragedy – all you get is a politicians and they’re all mongrels.
FKCIN AYE. Your fam left the country but your dad stayed being a cowboy in the city.
Before the Korean War he broke in horses – all my family were cowboys. When we moved to Melbourne in the 70s, he would still act like he was in the country. I remember he rode his horse through the doors of the Bayswater Hotel, dismounted at the bar and ordered two beers – one for him, one for the horse. The bouncer came up and said ‘Alan, you can’t bring your horse into the pub.” Dad said “Why not? These blokes brought their dogs in here?” and the barmaid looked at the dogs on the floor beside some other fellas, poured two beers and gave them to dad and his horse.
And you ran off to join the NAVY – pls tell me you saw UFOs out at sea?
I was a gunner in the Navy on HMAS Melbourne which was the first aircraft carrier in Australia. I didn’t see UFOS but I did see:
- a helicopter pilots mistook the landing lights on deck and crashed into the water. They survived luckily.
- the first harrier jump jet that just lifted off and whoosh off kinda like a UFO
- flying fish being chased by a predator. They flew up 4 storeys higher onto the deck above water!
- sunfish sun-baking – it was magnificent.
You ended up leaving the seamen and living in London illegally TELL ME ABOUT THE MURDERS.
After the NAVY I went to be bestman at my friend’s wedding in London. I lost my passport that week, and when I got it renewed, put in the wrong info so got a extension to stay. I ended up travelling everywhere by train, boat and car (no planes) but based out of the town of Gloucestershire.
I used to walk past a house everyday and see a couple digging in their garden and would smile and nod as I went by. When I moved back home to Australia I saw them in the papers – it was Fred and Rosemary West. I’d been walking past serial killers and watching them dig holes to bury all the bodies in their front garden. Lucky they didn’t ask me in for a cup of tea.
You moved to Collinghood which, as my grandmas tell me, was the worst area in Melbourne for a long long time.
Rough as guts. I moved here 30years ago when Fitzroy, Collingwood and Carlton were super dangerous. My neighbour – who was real fair dinkum – told me about things that would happen in the room under the Grace Darling on Smith Street – people used to get bashed and hung to death from the beams. But there were always stabbings, shootings and murder going on in the area.
WTAF and um did you know Chopper?
Yes I did. He was great – I went to his 50th bday and he came to mine. He would have me over for dinner. He found out I was in the navy for 6years but didn’t have a tattoo. He wanted to give me a home-made one and I said ‘No Mark, I haven’t had one and I don’t want one’ but I’ve always wondered what tattoo he wanted to give me. Probably a Ned Kelly.
How are you dealing with gentrification of your hood where lame ass bloggers like The Sprink live 10 houses from you?
It’s why I like The Gem. It was the first pub in Melbourne I drank in and it’s barely changed other than they got rid of the carpet. It is one of the few places you can bring your pets into the pub, so I come here every arvo keeping up the family tradition of being a cowboy in the city, drinking in my favourite pub with my favourite pet, who happens to be a dragon. Look she just fell asleep on you, can I have her back now please?