Features Australia

The Thawley Essay Prize 2016

25 March 2017

9:00 AM

25 March 2017

9:00 AM

Mulga Creek Farm Sept 15th 2026

Dear Sis, I thought I would write a long letter this time seeing as I heard they are cutting back from weekly to monthly postal delivery. The 95th birthday present of the chocolate much appreciated, especially as the local supermarket no longer sells it, what with the current protests and all. Anyway, the main news at Mulga Farm is that I will see another year out. As you know the ‘Right to Die’ mob had been putting the screws on me to turn it in. But I wangled a year’s extension on account of the missus still being alive and kicking. That said, between you and me, I kept the brochure…

But it’s true I am getting a bit long in the tooth to work on the farm. So I thought I might get a job in this so called digital economy. The only trouble is that I can read and write. The lady at the Department of Employment said this was a ‘Redundant Skill Set’, whatever that means. So I got sent to the back of the line, which nearly stretched to Dingo Creek – must have been about three hundred of us.

Yes, I’ve still got the ute, but not for long. Vehicle Registration told me it’s a symbol of ‘male aggression’ and I have to trade it in for some solar-powered cycle contraption. I’m buggered if I know where the dog will sit. Apparently he requires a safe space. The garden is looking fine, except while I was having my morning pee on the lemons, the grandson spotted me from the window and was straight on the blower to CAP (Cruelty Against Plants). Turned out all right. I got off with just a warning.

Oh before I forget, just to let you know our address has changed. It seems Black Fella Track is disrespectful. I’m not sure who to because me Aboriginal mate Jezza said it was his great great grandfather who first named it. The Council now calls it ‘Sustainability Boulevard’ (seems a bit foreign to me). Well Jezza went real crook at them and reckons they can’t do it, what with the new Treaty all signed up. Good on him I say.


Now keep this under your hat but I was having a yarn to your old friend Mrs Choo from the Chinese Take Away. She heard from her cousin in Beijing that China is willing to pay off the Australian government’s national debt in exchange for South Australia. I reckon it’s a cracker of an idea. We could throw in the submarines. They already know how to make them anyway.

And call me a stupid old coot but I wouldn’t necessarily knock back the New Zealand proposal we become part of them. After all, they are the Switzerland of the Pacific now. Plus I heard a whisper Canberra’s still sweating on this month’s cheque from the World Bank. Also, let’s face it, the Wallabies haven’t won a Test match in yonks, so we might as well get with the strength. Yes, I still enjoy my tucker, especially the meat we’re allowed twice a week. But the buggers cut back on my beer vouchers. Maybe you could bring us up a few next time you visit – the missus gets real snaky when I pinch hers.

Mind you, she had a bit of luck recently. You know that joker from Wombat Gully who called her a ‘Silly Old Bat’ for reversing over his roses? Well, she took offence at that. As you do. So she formed ‘SOB’ and scored a bloody big grant from the Human Rights Commission. She flogs bat badges on the side. It’s a good little money spinner. But I’m not sure it will last, there’s another mob called ‘FOB’ (Friends of Bats) who reckon it’s demeaning to bats. Looks like it might even go to the High Court.

Talking of money I had a bit of a run in with the local bank manager. He wanted to charge me 10 per cent just to keep my savings. I told him I’d rather put them under the chook house and take my chances with the foxes. You would think they’d be a bit more accommodating, seeing the local real estate agent now puts our two bedroom weatherboard at $15m. Only trouble is no one can afford it. Strange really, seeing I read the RBA have dropped the official cash rate to minus 7 per cent and reckon the Aussie Dollar should be even lower at $US10c to stimulate the economy.

You remember Ali the Muslim bloke up on Goanna Road? Well, him and me have become quite matey over the last year, so I invited him over for Christmas Day (won’t be pork this year!). He said he would, if I gave the mosque a bit of a go. I don’t mind the praying. The missus made me a nice mat out of a bit of off-cut carpet we were saving for the spare room. But I still can’t come at the showering five times a day. It wasn’t that long ago, four times a month would see me through. Actually, Ali and me got in a bit of strife recently. What with the constant shortage of gas and electricity we thought we would try that ‘fracking’ down the back paddock. It’s always had a bit of a pong round there. So Ali brings over his post hole digger, and we drop thirty feet of pipe into the ground and light the top. Talk about a bang! Next thing we know there’s an Anti-terrorist Squad swarming down the hill. As soon as they see Ali in his robe, all hell breaks out. But it settled down. I remembered the smell came from an old septic tank me Dad built, and once I signed an affidavit that Ali was never a member of Islamic State, all was sweet.

Oh, a bit of bad news – you remember Tony, the Italian baker? Well, he had a blue with the local coppers. Three police officers wanted to get married at the station and asked Tony to bake the cake. Apparently he jacked up at this, being religious and all. Anyway they arrested him. He’s out on remand but I don’t like his chances.

Sis, I reckon this used to be a great country, if a bloke set his mind to it he could do whatever he liked, and if he needed help he would ask his mates. Now it seems I’m getting daily advice from every tinpot organisation under the sun on how to run my life. I don’t know when it went off the rails. Was it having to get a permit for the street party or when the RBA started running the economy. But it’s the kids I worry about. They’re missing out on a lot of what we had: ice cream, climbing trees, owning a house…. Still, mustn’t grumble, had some good news from the NBN last week. We are due for connection in two years. But I still checked with Telstra. I got through to their Icelandic call centre in only four hours yesterday. I wanted to be sure I was right for the election. I reckon Albo’s new party with Bernardi as deputy could be the go. Mind you, that last on line voting system was a bit of a balls up. Beats me how Michelle Obama and Prince Harry got elected. I see Nick X’s still got tickets on himself, but at least he’s taken over leadership of the Greens, so I might hold off on turning the dam into an integrated eco system, and keep the water for the cows. That’s all for now, keep taking the tablets! All my love, your brother, Les.

PS I’m pleased to hear your grand daughter is doing well. Not exactly sure what an Online Life Coach for Stakeholders is, but as long as she pulls in a quid that’s the main thing. And if she does manage to get her hands on a nice piece of Scotch fillet, it’d go down a treat up here at Mulga Farm.

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