Saturday, September 23, 2006

Me ole' mate Peter from Holtieshouse

This journey starts way back in the early 1970's. I had bought my first
car in 1970, a FJ Holden. It was second hand and cost me $150.00.
To obtain petrol and any possible repairs (which would no doubt be
likely, being a second hand vehicle) I would go to my local service
station which was just up the road from where I lived. The FJ Holden
was first released in 1953 and by 1962 a million cars had been sold,
then another million cars were sold in the next 6 years.

Warren and his first car The FJ Holden

In 1971, I went on a bus tour of Central Australia. Two Greyhound
buses were used and this was to be a "Safari" tour, although if you
wanted you could be a "tenderfoot" camper. Tenderfoots had their
tents put up for them and all their meals prepared. The safari folks
had to do everything themselves. I opted to go the safari way.
(a) it was cheaper and (b) I preferred to do my own cooking.
As it turned out this was much better (from my point of view).
There were 62 tenderfoots and 11 safaris. Can you imagine being
the last tenderfoot waiting to be fed. All the food was cooked on open
fires. By the time us safaris had cooked, eaten and cleaned up, the
last half of the tenderfoots were still waiting to eat. This left us time
to go out and explore.

Click onto the map to enlarge the picture and you will be able to see
where our coach trip took us in 23 days, starting at Brisbane, onto
Mt. Isa (where my daughter, Olivia now lives) then up to Darwin, down
to Alice Springs and west to Ayers Rock, south to Adelaide, then over
to Sydney and back up to Brisbane. All this in 23 that was
some travelling, but we still managed to see a lot of the countryside.
Anyway that's another story that I will post at a later date.
One day I drove into the service station and noticed that it was now
under new management.
The new people were Peter and Julie Holt.

Julie serving a customer at their new service station

Over a period of months while getting fuel for my car Pater, Julie and
I began a friendship. I then went on a driving holiday in my FJ Holden
up through some rough dirt roads to a place called Canarvon Gorge
where I stayed for a week sight seeing, photographing and hiking
through the numerous rain forest tracks. I then drove back to the
coast where I met some friends and we spent the next week at
Hervey Bay.

One view of Canarvon Gorge

When I arrived back home the next time I was up at the service
station I offered to come over to their house to show my slides of
Canarvon. (Ah remember the days when a slide evening was the
"big event"). Truth be know it was more like "shudder oh no not
another slide evening". This was the start of a "beautiful" friendship
that has lasted over 30 years.
Julie was a lovely hostess but couldn't keep up with our late nights and
would excuse herself early in the evening and go to bed leaving us to
continue our "ravings" until the wee small hours of the morning, which
haven't gotten any earlier as the years went by.
We spent many a evening watching each other's slides, some of my
home movies, having enjoyable meals and often going on day trips on

Julie and Peter preparing the evening meal.

We all enjoyed bush walking so whenever we could we would jump into
the car and head off for the week-end.
On one occaision we drove up to Bald Rock to camp overnight. We set
up the tent and went out bush walking.
This was in June (the middle of our winter). Why we chose June who
remembers but that evening we froze due to the low temperatures.
By jees was it cold. Sure it wasn't freezy snowny type cold but the
next morning the water in the basin on the outside table had a layer
of ice on it.
Bald Rock is the largest granite rock outcrop in Australia. It is 750
metres long, 500 metres wide and 200 metres high. The walk to the
summit takes 3 hours for the return trip and offers 360 degrees views.

Warren and Julie at the top of Bald Rock

Eventually Peter and Julie decided that they didn't want to lease a service
station any longer so they up and moved to Rosewood (not all that far
from where Peter's father and step-mother lived. Julie's parents lived in
Melbourne) and it was here they purchased a service station.
This now meant a much longer drive to visit the Holties, and they
thought they had got ridden of me?
On one of my trips to Rosewood I invited a friend to join me. We left to go
home at some wee hour in the morning and had only travelled a few miles
when the FJ decided "I don't wanna go any further" so it just stopped.
Ah the joys of a second hand car. A phone call to Peter (who had just gone
to bed) and he came and picked us up and kindly drove us back to Brisbane
as we both had to be at work the next day (actually that day as it was now
past the midnight hour). Later that day Peter collected the FJ took it back
to the service station and fixed the problem. I caught a bus up to Rosewood
on the week-end to pick up my car.
It was in Rosewood on another visit where John (Merle's son from Herons
Nest) was visiting and he had a car he wanted to sell. The ole' FJ was getting
"a bit old in the tooth" so I decided to buy John's car and the FJ was left
gathering grass in Peter's back yard. We both can't remember what happened
to the FJ. Maybe it's still there now completely enshrined under lots of tall
grass (hum maybe not!!).

Warren's next car the EJ Holden.

By now it was 1976 and Peter and Julie had decided to sell the service station
and move up to Toowoomba (even further away from Rosewood and about a
two hour drive from Brisbane). Were they trying to get further away from me!!


Peter said...

The answer to that last question is a resounding YES, you will no doubt read a bit further on that we were finally to succeed in this.
Not really, we have been friends for ever now, too late to change.

Margaret said...

Was That Daddy Cool Leaning on the FJ door??? There did seem to be a repeating them there with the moves getting further and further away! Cheers Margaret

Merle said...

Hi Warren ~~ Good post and I wait for Part 2 to come to light. I ddn't
know you bought a car from John. Learn something new every day. Did you wach Terri Itwin talks to Ray Martin tonight? It was good, but so heart-breaking. Take care, erle.

Meow said...

Great story, Warren. Love reading this sort of stuff. The cars are fabulous ... nothing nicer than an old Holden !!
Have a great weekend.
Take care, Meow

Hale McKay said...

Can't wait for part two of your Stooges postings.

Oh - this isn't the Stooges postings ... Sorry.

You and Peter certainly do go a long way back don't you?

Jim said...

Thanks, Warren, for sharing. I knew you and Peter went way back.
Also I learned some about Holden cars. They weren't owned by General Motors or Land Rover or anything like that?
Those were the days when we looked like you guys did then.

DellaB said...

oh the memories - I seem to recall I lost something in one of those early old holdens.

You often still see them around here on the Gold Coast around the winterfest they have vintage/veteran car gatherings and we see some fantastic old cars.

Great post(s) Warren, thank you.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

This is so interesting to read how you & Peter became friends and have remained friends even though they have moved farther & farther away from you. You can't lose a good friend...he'll find you wherever you go. Can't wait for Part 2.

Marcus said...

Wow Greenie, that first photo is cool, the old FJ and the young Greenie, sans stomach!
I used to play in the old FJ which even then, 1975-76, was attracting a jungle. I used to mow the grass at Rosewoodburgle but the grass in around and under the FJ was beyond my capabilities, this was in the days before whipper snippers of course.
I've heard the story about the first slide night, it's great to look back and reflect on the start of a friendship and trace your journey to the present day.

JunieRose2005 said...

I love reading the history of your's and Peter's friendship! :)