Biographical Non-Fiction posted July 13, 2014 Chapters:  ...41 42 -43- 44... 

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A Last Look At Our Working Days & some travels.

A chapter in the book The Little Dog That Wouldn't Let Go

Our Retirement and some more trips.

by Sankey

It is now, more than four years since he passed away and we still miss him very much. He was a "one in a million" kind of friend.

Chapter 43(Word)
Louise and I had been working in a couple of different areas of the Australian Tax Office, in our final years of employment. I had obtained a transfer back to Tax in 1989 in the then Sales Tax Branch*, Parramatta, and then I fought for 18 months through our union to get Louise a transfer to the same office. Quite a long story there but then this is my story, not my wife's.

An attempt was made by my dear wife, in 1991, to organize a "Surprise" birthday party for my 40th, here at home. As the photo shows, I had been lounging around in a tee shirt and shorts. Try as she may, Louise was unsuccessful in getting me to dress up. We were expecting my mother that day. Imagine my surprise when our friend Gerard (pictured with me top left, above) turned up. Then Louise's parents arrived.  I was starting to realize what Louise had done. My mum arrived after Louise's folks, as she had the farthest to come. It was a lovely celebration. I felt very special that day.

In 1994 we both managed to get placed in the new Penrith ATO, for the time being still located in Parramatta. Soon after we all moved out to the new office in Penrith City CBD. Unfortunately, our work situations were totally different as far as congeniality of workmates.

My wife has always been treated unfairly by her family, our church and her work, prior to the move to Tax, for her. It was the same in her section in Penrith ATO. I was lucky to have a really great bunch of people with whom to work. Sadly, though my health was deteriorating and sometime later, Louise had an offer of a redundancy from work.

During my time in government employment, I had seen some - if not corruption, so much, perhaps gross favouritism. Especially concerning the speedy elevation of a new officer to a much higher position and pay. Maybe even her blonde hair and beautiful body helped, as well as her youth. I can't explain completely what compromises and, or favours this young lady may have had to make or give.

We just watched a movie again very recently called "Cassandra Crossing." In it, Burt Lancaster as the US representative for the "International Health Organization", has final advice for the Swiss Doctor. He warns her, in short, to keep everything to herself as to what he has done to "save the world" as such.

In the same way, my "Exit" Interview with my area director, was along the same lines. He praised my good job and so on, but I left the interview in no doubt that his compliments were a mite "loaded." That is, I was not to publicize a lot of the "goings-on" I had seen in the office, in especially the last almost 10 years.  Here is a poem/song I wrote - performed at a meeting in the office, sometime before I left, by the way, regarding my time in the ATO*.

Government Grief
To the tune of “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” 
(Click on the Link at the head of the page.)

1. The Office is in the pooh again oh me oh my.
The Office is in the pooh again and I know why.
The poor old gov't has run out of funds,
while the pollies are having their coffee and buns 
'N we'll all be better off when the Bureaucrats get the boot.

2. The Office has never got out of the muck, oh me oh my.
They're getting into a whole lot of 'truck' Do you know why?
The poor old ship has lost its rudder,
The system is bursting like old Bessie's udder 
'N we'll all be better off when the Bureaucrats get the boot.

Some years before, our housing loan had been taken over by a family member. This got us a much lower rate of interest, and also the promise that if we ever needed to leave work, there was no problem with the remaining balance of the loan being repaid.

This was another case of "God Never Letting Go" and left us free to leave work. Louise with her redundancy and me to just resign. Louise had been on Disability before she started work in July 1979 so there would be no problem for her to go back on the Penson. For myself, doctors had said I should have been on government support all my life. I was glad I was a taxpayer for 28 years, though. No way could I have taken disability all my life.

However, it was still an act of faith leaving a secure Government job not knowing if I would qualify for a Disability Pension. Praise God I did. I had only done this sort of thing one other time when I left a secure position in a University's employ to go to Bible College in 1977. On August 14th, 1997 we both ended our working life. From then on we had more time to do some more travels.

 Regarding the West Australian trips (1993 and the one below in 2000): Even though we did the two trips over there, and visited different parts of West Australia - we forgot to get our "Hat Pins" of the areas we visited, at the time. Recently we got a really good deal with our telephone and Internet provider company. This enabled me to call at no additional cost, other than local call fee, some of the tourist information centres of the areas we visited, in Western Australia. Sometimes kindly, on their part, we were given - FOR FREE -- some hatpins from the places we had visited. (See the Tea towel map in Chapter 25 - the other Trips chapter.)

We originally intended in the year 2000 during the time of the Sydney Olympics to go to America with a friend. She wanted company on the trip and I needed her help with Louise. Sadly, she could not get time off work so we had opted for a driving and train trip there and back to Western Australia, on the other side of our Nation.

On the trip in 2000, we took 2 weeks to get across the country and stayed in an assortment of motels and so on, en route. We had made the decision, long before that year when the Olympics would on in our City, to drive across Australia to Perth and the West Coast. It was our desire to get away from all the goings on at home during that time.

Crossing the border into South Australia we came into "Sherlock" a little town where we thought we would get some hamburgers for lunch. We had allowed for the half hour difference on crossing the border into Central Time and the Eastern States had already gone into Daylight Saving a month early that year. Fronting up to the counter I asked if we could have some hamburgers.

THEN IT HAPPENED... The lady said:
 "We haven't got the griller on yet!" I suddenly realized my miscalculation of the time in the area. You see - South Australia or Central Time had NOT gone forward with the eastern states on this occasion as they normally would have, at other times during Daylight Saving. So we had to be satisfied with sandwiches that day. Sigh.

During the trip across Australia by car, we did do one bit of air travel... we drove 130 km each way on the William Creek Road from Coober Pedy to William Creek (a pretty rough road it was too...) then boarded a little, light aircraft for a flight, over Lake Eyre. At that time it was coming to the end of its rare flooding period and, sadly, we missed out on a lot of the wildlife that comes there when the lake Floods every 7-10 years or so.

Something else we mentioned to Louise's Dad when we got home,  was the rough William Creek Rd portion, in the Mitsubishi Sedan, he was going to buy from us so we could purchase the Station Wagon we had until disposing of in 2018. He was shocked to learn, AFTER WE GOT HIS MONEY FOR THE CAR - that the William Creek Road from Coober to Lake Eyre, was classified, (we later found out); a 4WD Road! It figures after the horrifying run we had on it, BOTH WAYS! 

We returned on board the "Indian Pacific" train with our car on the back of the train and a three-day trip. We were so lucky we did not do this a few years later as there was a crash or landslide I think it was, came down on the train as it was coming through the "Blue Mountains," almost home to the west of us here and our car would probably have been wiped out as that was where most of the damage occurred.

We continued our driving trips up till 2009, including in 2008 to Adelaide for a fellowship meeting of our associated churches. We asserted we would try to attend all the yearly meetings from then on except to Western Australia. Sadly, following that trip, we were in a lot of pain from all the driving and started to realize the driving trips were going to be winding down.

A year or two after this time, we really HAD to do some other trips but they were more stretched with more stops due to the above problems.


*ATO Australian Taxation Office. *Sales Tax was to close down and become a part of Withholding Taxes...which in more recent times has now become Goods and Services Tax or GST.
Index to our pictures: Top, L to R: Deaf friends I came to know at the Tax office and also Department of Veterans' Affairs. Still close with one of these, today;
Second Left: My work team at my farewell in 1997; Middle and Right: my 40th and 50th Birthdays; Third & Fourth: Our house in 1989;2009 and 2013, incl Louise doing the painting of the new panel replacing the old Window a/c;
Fifth Left: Louise and me at our friend J's place; Right: My ancestors...a picture of us taken at Australiana Village a year after we were married. Thought it was good as a Retirement pic.
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