bondi girls by lorraine lambert (nee irvine)
Here is my poem written for my old mate Robyn Millet and all us ‘boomers ‘ in memory of the great times we had growing up in Bondi.
Lorraine Lambert (nee Irvine), Geraldton WA.
We Bondi Girls from old Beach Road have been around the block.
Four corners of the Globe we’ve seen but in West Oz we’ve stopped.
We love the West and the life we lead,
free and uncongested,
and compared to life at Bondi now it cannot be contested.
The cafe crowd on Campbell Parade seems phony and affected,
not like the crowds of yesteryear with all those old-time battlers, long neglected.
Growing up at Bondi Beach seemed special I recall,
like the Fancy Dress functions our old school would hold at Paddo Town Hall.
Training at the Bondi Baths or dancing at the Stomps,
ice skating at the Junction, we had our romps.
The Christmas tides,
the awesome swells.
A body-surfers dream.
Even dodging turds and french letters was part of the fun, it seemed,
Bronze Mermaids on Ben Bucklers Rock,
the boys in Tiny’s Gym,
and fishing at the Murk, my dad said was never a dirty thing.
While round the “Rocks” we’d smoke a fag and laugh at the “flashers” who always made us gag,
never mind a scraping over the Bogey Hole rocks that gave us innocent rashes.
Those magic summer holidays at north Bondi, when we would play at riding waves on the old man’s back.
Those were such special days.
Then, when a little older we thought that it ‘refined’ to mix with the folk at the Double Bay Sheaf or the Royal Oak,
but that was a waste of time.
For we never landed one of those wealthy boys from Double Bay or Vaucluse, so we bade our time and saved our dough then took off on a world cruise.
To London and to Europe we went, many a girl from our school, for experience and ‘culture’, only to end up in a pommy typing pool!
But you went off to war,
In Vietnam you danced amongst the bombs on a makeshift stage.
You surely did take a chance.
There’s a culture within us….
Something that singles us out from others,
We’re old Bondi Girls, you see, even though, now, we’re all grandmothers.
I originally wrote the Poem Bondi Girls for my friend Robyn Millet (nee Wolsteholme) who also lives in WA . Robyn and I have been friends since we were 3 years old when her family moved across the road from us in Beach Road Bondi in 1949. We have been mates for 72 years, attending the same schools, Bondi Beach Public and Dover Heights Girls High.
Robyn had a really adventurous life since leaving Bondi. She was a Go Go Girl (dancer) in Vietnam, performing with her husband’s band for the troops (even under enemy fire) during the Vietnam War. In her second marriage she travelled extensively with Laurie’s work and lived in Saudi Arabia for some years in a US Company compound, where they distilled their own alcohol and she had to wear a burka if she left the compound due to strict Saudi rules and extensive scrutiny of the gentiles.
Laurie and Rob adopted 3 beautiful babies, two brothers and a baby siister from Equador, South America and brought them up in Perth WA where they are now bringing up Rob’s gorgeous grandchildren.
Robyn was not only a terrific dancer but was a great swimmer and diver, and not a bad surfer either. We trained together and swam competively for Bondi Ladies Swimming Club at Bondi Baths until we were teens and then started hanging out down South End near the board riders trying to catch their attention between waves.
Robyn was pretty good at most sports, tennis, skating and sailing. Now nearly 75 years old, she still teaches exercise called Prime Movers at classes in various suburbs of Perth.