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Around The Sun: The Lucky Country

...I travelled to work every day by ferry across the emerald green waters of Sydney harbour. Work was a breeze. At weekends I lounged by the seaside on Balmoral beach. Naturally I attended the compulsory barbeques...

Steve Harrison arrives in Australia.

When I arrived in Australia I discovered that it was called the lucky country. People worked until 4 pm then enjoyed long evenings at home. They shopped on Saturday mornings then spent the rest of the weekend at a barbeque or the beach, or sometimes both.

I recall sitting on the town hall steps in downtown Sydney on a beautiful hot summer day, with the sky perfectly blue and crystal clear. I looked across at what used to be a Woolworth’s department store. I saw a newspaper billboard which announced “John Lennon shot dead in New York City”,.

At first I thought it was a joke. That Australians had a peculiar sense of humour. Then the truth sank in. It's sad that I pinpoint my arrival in Australia to the time when John Lennon died.

I had relatives in Australia, an uncle and an aunt. I stayed with them for my first two weeks in the country. They lived some 50 kilometers west of Sydney in Panania, as boring a place as you could ever encounter.

Because of my creative work in advertising agencies I was able to choose between a number of jobs. They were crying out for British folk with creative ability. I worked for Reader’s Digest for about six weeks while checking out other positions. There was tons of work and no shortage of full time job offers.

I rented a small cottage attached to a large house in Mosman, one of the most exclusive areas of Sydney. My aunt was absolutely gob-smacked. She asked why I wanted to live there. The answer was that it is a gorgeous place. I travelled to work every day by ferry across the emerald green waters of Sydney harbour. Work was a breeze. At weekends I lounged by the seaside on Balmoral beach. Naturally I attended the compulsory barbeques.

Ever-faithful Jacquie came out to join me after I had been there for two months. She loved the house. I bought a new Morris Mini. We were having a great old time. This was paradise.

And yet something was not quite right.

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