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Dispatch: 23 January 2017
Conversations from Passion Lane/McCarron, Hele/Paper/1921406518/S029-F
In 1973 my eighteen-year-old adventurous spirit took me, via Singapore and Perth in Western Australia to the hot, dusty, red landscape of Iron Ore mining in the Pilbara and then to Kununurra and cattle country in the Kimberley regions in the far north of the state.
I spent two years amongst miners, government workers and determined spirits that wanted to earn a good few bucks, stockmen, farmers, local residents, hippies, Aborigines, men with guns and some bloody good drinkers.
On Christmas day 1974, in the town of Kununurra I felt the torrential rain from the fallout of Cyclone Tracy as it wiped out the town of Darwin. I had arrived just a month before and had moved into Passion Lane, the female staff quarters of the Hotel Kununurra. I developed a strong bond with the ‘girls’ and for a year I spent my time with them in many conversations, in our small rooms. There was always plenty to talk about since we lived amongst colourful characters and the Hotel was indeed the heart of the town.
I went back to London in 1975.
In 2004, after thirty years and a deep longing my – nearly fifty-year-old – spirit took me on a return journey to the north of Australia. I wanted to see how life had changed and yearned for a Kimberley steak and the smell of Frangipani and I wanted to see Passion Lane again. So I packed up my life and spent six months retracing some of my earlier experiences. It was, without doubt, another adventure.