LAC, Lionel Probert's war diary entry, 15th December 1943
Friday, 27 November 2015
LAC, Lionel Probert's war diary entry, 15th December 1943
Only a short note, but filled with information. I can't imagine the excitement he would have felt, was he apprehensive or were he and his mates on one big adventure. I believe these blokes were ld to believe they were heading for adventure only to discover it had unimaginable horrors.
Rest in Peace, Dad your words still live in me.
Monday, 9 November 2015
Danny felt his fingers wander across his face and imagined his skin looked like the floor of a drought ravaged dam. He could be dreaming and rolled into the shade searching for sleep. It was no use; he was awake enough to feel his brain slosh like water in a balloon. Today, it was worse than ever and he wondered just what concoction was in the rum bottle he swiped from Dunga last night.
Sounds of morning filled the park near the creek, he looked at the shadows, they were still long and pointing west. He listened to the breeze, there was no murmur from the town yet. His legs dragged from the sleeping bag and he dropped his tracksuit pants on top of his shoes. He sniffed his tee shirt and pulled his head away, the brain sloshed and he had to steady himself against the back of the park shelter. The shirt dropped onto his pants and he thought about breakfast. His stomach heaved and he doubled over expecting a taste of bile, it didn't come, but he dry-retched. His brain sloshed some more and a headache started its daily climb into pain.
Danny, naked as his ancestors, staggered toward the hollow of a gum tree that had stood at the south end of the park before white man set foot in the area. He fought the turmoil of two cultures, but his physic resisted his belief that he was a loser. Now here if an onlooker saw him they would believe he was the perfect specimen of a hunter gatherer. Light danced across his back glowing ebony, brown and silver as he passed under the trees. He reached in and drew a string up and out, until a flour sack dropped at his feet. He found a bar of soap and headed for the tap to the west of the tree, he found the gardener's hose and tossed it over a limb of the tree. Yesterday a trigger fitting improvised for a shower head, today it was just the hose. He snaked the hose out into the sun and waited for the water to warm inside it.
At the tap he adjusted the flow, soaped his hands and turned it off until he lathered his body. He remembered a moment a few weeks back and it made him laugh. A lady dog walker spotted him in his ablutions and put a hand to her mouth. She seemed confused by the sight of him not knowing whether to run or stay. Danny called to her saying no matter how hard he tried the colour wouldn't come out. She turned on her heel and raced the dog up the path.
The water was warm and he held the hose in one hand as his fingers ran over coiled springs that was his hair. He lingered thinking about the promises he made his mother. Daniel, as in the lion’s den, she told him. He was a prince among men and he too would rise to be revered like King David. Why, he wondered, would anyone expect this little Aborigine to be capable of making a difference. It was easier to just do what everyone else expected, be a bludger. That is what he is best at.
He had no warning when the water turned cold and as he jumped about he spotted the dog walker again. It was tempting him to call out and tell her he was performing his tribal cleansing dance. Danny imagined a wet dog shaking when he tried to rid himself of as much water as he could. His thoughts drifted to the story of Moses and imagined him leaving the safety of the river and into the King’s palace. The oppression of slavery, but then to wander for forty years in the desert, Danny found it hard to comprehend.
Thankful his mother didn't call him Moses, he would have wandered aimless, not like Moses, Moses had a purpose. Anyway why did she give her kids these biblical names, he thought about his siblings, yeah that was why, they all had something to live up to. Daniel Mitchell, her only disappointment.
A quick rub with the towel and he set up his camp-stove and boiled some water. It had been a couple of days since his last shave and the beard was long enough to prickle him, time for it to go. He hung a mirror big enough to examine his features from a dead twig. He shook the shaving cream and fumbled for his razor. The blades were dull and he knew care would be required to prevent him portraying a black Norman Gunsen. He filled an enamel mug with water from the billy and soaped his beard. He was right, the blade was dull and a new packet should come his way at the first opportunity.
Danny stood back and through the haze of his hangover admired himself. If they ever needed a black Captain Jack Sparrow, he was their man. He took yesterday’s clothes to the tap and scrubbed them with soap, he rinsed them and lay them onto the slabs of bluestone lining the creek bank to dry. Pleased with his work he stood in the sun and decided to dress for the day.
Breakfast would wait until he could scrounge something from behind the bakery or the grocer's store. Times were tough to be a hunter gatherer. He took a book out of his sack and tried to read it, but his head fought him. A ukulele came to hand, he tried to tune it and even that added to his discomfort. He could lay down in the shade and doze the morning away while his clothes dried, but his body called for exercise. He pulled on a pair of shorts his runners and a tank top. The best way to get rid of the hammering in his head, would be to run it off.
Danny started at a jog and in a few steps found his rhythm, he like the sound his feet made on the kangaroo pad that followed along the edge of the creek. Roos can bound over ledges, but he needed his hands to scrabble over the ridges. All good exercise, the bank opened up and he ran along the flat until the big gully before the reservoir, he dropped into that and crossed to the other side of the creek. At the dam wall, he ran up and down the concrete steps of the overflow until his legs cramped. A jog back to camp would do as his cool down routine and by camp, his headache should be gone.
Back in town he mooched away the day, perfecting his dirty, no-good-Abo persona. This was Danny's life as he understood it, for now.
CHARACTER CHART: SCREENPLAY-----SMUDGE
Position in story: : Supporting Role
Socioeconomic level as a child:
Socioeconomic level as an adult:
Welfare Drunk and likes weed or gives the impression he does
Can’t remember, just drifts around
Sleeps in a car behind Smudge’s Garage
Charismatic, technical abilities kept hidden, mechanical sympathy intuitive driving skills
Wastes everything and not frightened to bot borrow or steal to get what he needs
One of five, he is the third child
Siblings (describe relationship):
Michael (Micky), Mary, Ruth, Lydia
Spouse/partner (describe relationship):
Children (describe relationship):
None he lays claim too
Parents (describe relationship):
Eunice (Mother) Jack
Black and curly
Glasses or contact lenses?
Shape of face:
How does he/she dress?
Scruffy, likes things with brands that he defaces
Habits: (smoking, drinking/drugs/addictions etc.)
When he can and a bit of weed
Any physical illnesses?
Play station games, darts, pool, he is a gambler
Puts on an aboriginal twang when needed to capture his audience
Born Black and can’t change it.
Style (Elegant, shabby etc.):
Shabby, but can put on the Ritz when required
He has a poor opinion of himself which he hides
He knows he should live by the Christian principals his mother taught him and knows he hides them by playing the clown
Personality Attributes and Attitudes
High school in Pt Augusta dropped out in year eleven. Took up a trade as a fitter machinist and found a love in modifying cars, while in Adelaide at a football training camp.
Any Mental Illnesses?
Lots of life skills with tribal elders
Character's short-term goals in life:
To get through the day
Character's long-term goals in life:
Make it to the grave
How does Character see himself/herself?
As a failure and always will be a complete fraud to his outside persona
How does Character believe he/she is perceived by others?
Happy, fun to be around, lazy abo bastard, good in bed, great little goal sneak, daring, charismatic, useless. Be dead before he is forty
How self-confident is the character?
Total self-conscious and feels he is unworthy, a fraud, a liar and a cheat. Nothing his mother wanted him to be.
Does the character seem ruled by emotion or logic or some combination thereof?
He is driven by what he wants to do now, but those traits are balanced by lessons he has learned and therefore logic will sometimes overrule a spontaneous thought.
What would most embarrass this character
To be found out that he cares
Does the character believe in God?
Yes, he is conflicted by the teachings of his Baptist mother and the old ways. Both lines of thought have a creator and the Aborigine in him desires to be liked by the spirits of his ancestors
What are the character's spiritual beliefs?
He hides his belief from everyone
Is religion or spirituality a part of this character's life?
Only when alone and confused, does he reach out to the white God his mother believes in
If so, what role does it play?
Not often needed