Once upon a time, early 1965 to be more precise, lived a young family on a remote dairy farm in the foothills of the Australian Alps in Victoria. A place called Kancoona. This is almost as far bush as you can get in that part of Victoria. In December 1964 a young farmer, Barry, and his wife Margaret brought a new born chubby little bloke home from hospital (yes they had hospitals then) for the first time to their single bedroom weatherboard shack. This shack barely had electricity and it would be another four years before it got a TV. Half the kitchen was taken up with a big old black wood fired stove. They had running water in the shack but the dunny was a drop toilet in an outhouse that had to be moved every few years when the hole was filled. God it was primitive. The nearest town was about an hour away on a mountainous windy road.
It was a modest yet grand place to raise the first of their four children. Idyllic in many ways. Well, except for the bushfires. Bushfires nearly took out the young family on a least one occasion. But that was a couple of years in the future. The kid had a little brother by then too. In the meantime though, in the years before mother nature unleashed her fiery fury, it was rural bliss. The young family were broke but happy. They had cows and pigs and chooks and cats and dog name Blue. And Bluey was a good dog.
The kid (10 weeks old), the cat and the new dad.
Now, some 45 years later, the kid is expecting his first child. Sydney is a long way from the bush, both temporally and geographically. Things aren't quite so primitive now either. He has lived in the big smoke for so long now he can barely remember growing up in the bush. But he hopes, fervently, he can be as good a parent to his daughter (she'll be along any day now) as his mum and dad were to him under more, shall we say, challenging circumstances then. Some things never change though. The kid still has a cat.