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Tag Archives: primary industry

Before they’re gone forever

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1. The town cobbler

This very special little shop is a cultural jewel located in a precinct dominated by greasy spoons and purveyors of cheap imported junk.

Owned and operated by a skilled artisan it has miraculously survived the commercial cannibalism of corporate-owned shopping malls and the proliferation of pretend-cobbler kiosks within them.

Theo’s Shoe Hospital is crammed full of all sorts of interesting leatherworking paraphernalia such as glues, brushes and polishes as well as handbags, watchbands, gun and secateur pouches, dancing and orthopaedic shoes.

In this country which is riding high on the wave of throwaway consumerism, my town, at least for the time being, remains enriched by the daily sounds of a genuine working cobbler and the evocative aromas of his trade.

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2. The Cairns bulk sugar terminal

Opened in 1964 on the banks of Trinity Inlet these enormous sheds have a capacity of 234,000 tonnes of raw sugar.
The facility enabled 30,000 tonne cargo ships to be loaded within 24 hours when previously it took gangs of men weeks to load the same amount of cane sugar packed in jute bags.

It’s future is uncertain.

Several supplying sugar mills have closed down either because of urban sprawl consuming cane-growing land, or mill owners engaging in what they term “corporate and management restructuring”…….a commercially more acceptable way of saying “screw the cane growers, we can make bigger profits elsewhere”.

The Australian Government can also share some of the blame because of it’s appalling indifference to the fate of farmers and the future food security of our nation.
( Ref;   Australia;  The primary industry trollop.)

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3.  The small town motor garage.

A single picture can bring back a rush of memories.

For this kid who grew up in the 1950’s they include hand-pumping petrol into the glass measuring chamber on top of the bowser before opening the tap to gravity-feed it into the fuel tank of my parent’s Humber Hawk car.

The mechanic/owner, always dressed in grease-smudged green overalls, refueled every car, checked fluid levels and tyre pressures and cleaned the windscreen whilst dispensing all we needed to know about town gossip, road conditions, weather forecasts and football scores.


Just occasionally I begin to feel a little bit nostalgic.