View Full Version : A saturday night in Central Queensland

compressor stall
18th Jun 2001, 19:54
Last Saturday, I was deeply involved in a moving cultural experience at "Emerald's Top Nitespot" the Maraboon pub/club. I knew that this must be the best place - as names that are trendily mis-spelt usually indicate. Walking in the door early (1030pm) I was greeted with a wall of smoke, through which TV monitors playing music videos try to glare from across the dancefloor and behind the stage. A high vaulted roof leads the eye directly across to the bar, in no doubt the finest example of Feng Shui in the sub tropics. A sign above the bar proclaims forcefully "Patrons who throw objects at others will be asked to leave." It says nothing about throwing objects which are not directed at other patrons. Out to my right I spy Craig sitting with a beer at the only free bartable - a few metres away surrounded by pokies. Signaling a beer with my hand, he nods, and I manoeuver past the dust of ringers - all twentysomethings in flannelette shirts, short hair peering out from under a Caterpillar hat, tight faded jeans and RM Williams boots, well worn and dusty. I sidle up to the bar at an angle between a short dark haired man in the best nylon jacket K-mart had on sale in 1982, and a rather plump girl in her late twenties, her bulging forearm grasping her nylon velcro purse, a pack of winnie blues and a lighter. Her ample cleavege thrust out in front of her, not at all covered by her faded denim shirt. Her pout and scowling voice, emerging somewhere under all the mascara and eyeshadow could be used in rodent control.

The bright green VB barmats are flooded in a cocktail of beer and alcohol, and across the bar, the ubiquitous red and yellow XXXX signs proclaim their presence forcefully with the aid of backlighting. An early twenties barmaid, hair short in a bob, and wearing slightly too much makeup prompts me for my order. In my confusion of wondering what part of Australia I was in and whether I should be ordering a 'Pot', a 'middie', a 'schooner', a 'pint' or a 'handle' I am ditracted by her impossibly tight fluorescent green lycra top. So tight that the lace in her bra is clearly visible, as is a huge valley where the bra strap pulls the flesh towards the side of the rib cage. The fluorescence ended slightly above her navel, and immediately below protruded her lower stomach, forced out even more due to the constriction above. Her navel had obviously until recently been adorned by a ring, as now there was red raw scar tissue, and the wound looked like it would still weep occasionally. A tight leather belt across the top of the jeans helped to push the stomach out.

"2 pots of VB!" I bark out loudly in order to be heard over the clamour.

Plonking my change in the biggest puddle of beer on the bench, she said thank you, and waddled her fluorescence further down the bar to a more appreciative audience. I try to back away through a group of thick necked miners with large beer guts and fishing t-shirts. Realising that they are not really interested in trying to let me past, I use the password - "owyagoinmate!" . In Red Sea like fashion, beer and nicotine stained, Bonds clad blubber parted and I passed through. To the right was the TAB area, where the trots were on the TV, and scraps of paper and short pencils littered all the benches and the floor. A group of late thirty blokes stare transfixed at the TV when the greyhound races from Dimboola are screened. I pick my way through, and finally catch up with Craig, still at the bartable in the centre of the small pokies annex. Surrounded by the comforting "zzwring" and flashing lights of the pokies machines we started talking. An aesthetically pleasing sign on the wall, above the Black Rhino informs patrons that children touching a pokie machine will incur fines of $1500. The second machine from the end had a late forties man staring into it, hypnotised. His feet, adorned by grey vinyl Hush Puppies with no laces and the zip up the sides hung limply off the stool.

A train of 4 barely eighteen year olds (or most likely younger but with fake ID) made it way to the toilets, giggling. The first, long blonde hair, framed her blue eyeshadow and bright lipstick bulging out of her young face. Her gold wrap around top left a bare navel above jeans with the top torn off in late 90's Kate Moss fashion. Their svelte young figures stopped most blokes' conversations standing in line of sight. After they had passed, the blokes' 2 second knowing silent stare at each other, a quick shake of the head and a "now where were we?" got themselves back on track of their philosophical banter.

Behind me, beside another pokie machine with a name more suited to the battery-powered section of an adult entertainment catalogue, was the Sega Rally multi player console. Sitting in one seat was a girl of dugong proportions, tongue-lashing a quite respectable bespectacled accountant looking type. His head, with a slightly receding hairline was grasped in the clutches of her nicotine stained arms. Her right hand clutching the slightly passion-crushed packet of Winfield blues. "Multi Player mode - Insert money to begin" flashed in the background.

A cover band started playing the Living End - off key. How apt I thought.

Those who restrain desire do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained.
William Blake

19th Jun 2001, 03:26
ahhhhhh, Stallie, how I love this country :)


19th Jun 2001, 04:57
Geez..Brings back the memories..! Been over here in pommie land for too long!! :)

OzPax1 http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/cool.gif

Dave Incognito
19th Jun 2001, 06:53
Nice one Stallie.

I haven’t had the pleasure to visit Central Queensland as of yet, but I am filled will past memories of trips to various RSLs throughout our big brown nation. :)

Have a good one, Dave.

Flying is easy - just throw yourself at the ground and miss.

Bob Hawke
19th Jun 2001, 08:21
Mum, mum, I had a bad dream, it was really scarry,......geeze you summed up central Qld pretty damn well, the whole damn Bowen Basin is the same. They make the Americans hiccs look hip.

" I love a sunburnt Country, a land of Drunken pains.
Tons of Single mothers getting discount Rides on trains,
There's Yobbos, Ringers, & Miners,intellectual cream them all,
Them's don't need whores,
When alomony payments will make sure
They get them, and more."

Bloody sad, isn't it, what a piss poor image of a nation. Obviously an eye opener for you Compressor.

Capt Vegemite
19th Jun 2001, 08:41
Salt of the earth aint they Stallie?

If you're completely insane dont miss all the other little gems in the west.

Radar Departure2
19th Jun 2001, 16:12

You have been blessed with brains, an ability with words and I gather with reasonable looks. From that perspective I find your tirade rather sad.

We all need to feel superior to someone or something. Even murderers in jail for life look down on child molesters as someone lower on the evolutionary scale than they.

In terms of cheap shots per line, your diatribe rivalled that of the bitchiest journalists, but they have a position and salary to justify. They don't even need to believe what they say. You on the other hand presumably feel strongly enough about it to post here.

Plump? Working class? Exposed navels? R.M Williams boots? Fluorescent shirts? Do you feel better now? Did you talk to any of these people?

You have a good brain, my lad. Don't waste it on misplaced feelings of superiority. Whatever gifts you have are an accident of birth.


(Edited for beer)

[This message has been edited by Radar Departure2 (edited 19 June 2001).]

Kaptin M
19th Jun 2001, 17:20
A good read Stallie, and probably something akin to how I (and all the other "big city boys") felt, the first time we walked into the Cessnock Workers' Club back in the long lost years of my early flying days. Cessnock was also a mining town, that came alive on Friday and Saturday nights, with a live band, or recorded music played at ear-splitting volume to a tightly packed club that sported a wooden dance floor, surrounded by green carpet, the walls lined by a couple of hundred pokies, and the obligatory "Snack Bar" selling the usual curried prawns and rice, greasy chips, and sausage rolls.

The inhabitants ALL resembled those you described in Emerald - maybe they're recycled and moved on to different country towns every few years, under some Fe(de)ral Government programme!

Of course, being the newcomers, it was US who got the looks and stares - but WE didn't feel like the odd ones out - whereas THEY looked it, with their outmoded haircuts, and over-exaggerated sense of what was fashion....if mini skirts looked good on city girls, then country girls could make them look even BETTER, by squeezing their more than ample proportions into even shorter skirts - and so what if your buttocks hung out!!

But the men - hicks and illiterate drunkards in the main, who probably couldn't spell their own names but more than likely scrawled an "X" - took the prize in our books, and didn't seem any threat to us suave, sophisticated "soon-to-be" commercial pilots.

Due to circumstances, I stayed in Cessnock for a couple of years, and had a passing acquaintance with some of the local guys, and a "deeper" relationship with a few of the town's females (mainly nurses).

The town thrived on coal dust and football, and when the new captain of the Cessnock Goannas arrived in town, from Sydney, he was hailed as the greatest thing since sliced bread - here was The Saviour of Cessnock's rugby team - someone who would take the small NSW country town to the dizzying heights of League premiers. And didn't he lap it up!!

It was just my (usual bad) luck one Saturday night to be pushing my way through the usual crowd on the edge of the dance floor, to receive not one, but two kicks to my shins. Okay, one was accidental - but two!! I reached out and grabbed the guy by his shoulder and looked straight into the eyes of.....OH SH!T - the new captain of The Goannas. I yelled at him...he yelled back at me...a small, circle clear of everyone except the two of us formed, in anticipation of blows being struck. Suddenly, from out of who knows where, two of my "passing acquaintances" (BIG coal miners) stood between me and my potential adversary - "Leave him alone", they told Norm (the team captain) "we saw what you did!". And it was all over.

I haven't forgotten those guys names to this day, even though I felt I hardly knew them, but, as someone posted earlier they are "the salt of the Earth" - honest, hard-working people, who call a spade a spade, and enjoy life to the fullest in the confines of their environment.

Thanks for refreshing good memories, Stallie - half your luck!!

19th Jun 2001, 18:11
Mr Stall You've made me home sick, I was once one of those Ringers but with a John Deere hat, and I can't wait to get back out there away from all these p00fters here in the city who judge a man by what he wears not by what he says and doesn't say.

19th Jun 2001, 19:20
So Stallie... what did you get up to on the Friday night then? :)

Dispela olgeta samting i pekpek bilong bulmakau!

The Voice
20th Jun 2001, 02:46
Oh Stalled One, so, apart from the geographic, the green lycra top and the cowboy hats, what's the difference between there and Rorkes?


Capt Vegemite
20th Jun 2001, 04:33
The Voice

I would think about $3 a pot!

Stallie come up and do a piece on Palmerston.
Building cities for social security benificiaries has reached an art form in the NT. :[

20th Jun 2001, 05:18
Reminds me of all the you can't get there from here towns,in this,serve somewhat chilled country. Sniff...

20th Jun 2001, 08:26
I used to hang out with a bunch of ozmates from Queensland. (The Royal Australian Regiment's second battalion "recruited" from there in the days of conscription). The above reminded me of the 'canecutters' Garry, Mick, Gozzer and Rat; Millie's Bar, the Britannia Club and Bugis Street. Solid Gold, all of 'em. The best bunch of people you could ever be with if you got in the sh*t AND the most likely to get you in it! :)

"ANZAC Day party at the Ringer's. Starts at 8. Ends when the last man falls. Everybody welcome, even poms can come." - sign over the gate at Selarang barracks on the Upper Changi Road - April, 1971. Precious memories...

Personally, I'd much rather have a beer and conversation in 'Emerald's Top Nitespot' than most of the places that pass for taverns in England these days.

Through difficulties to the cinema

20th Jun 2001, 11:45
Is the Brekky Creek still in existance?

Kaptin M
21st Jun 2001, 03:43
Ahhh yes, the Brekky Creek (in Brisbane - for all those unfortunate enough to have not yet discovered it) - home of the world's best T-bones, rump steaks, and beer on the wood! Once [pre-1990) the regular meeting place for ATC'ers, Ansett TAA crews, it lost the majority that clientle after the '89 Dispute, but is now rumoured to occasionally hold impromptu Virgin Blue crew meets on Friday nights - although reports have also been received that the "Hammo" is frequently besieged by Branson's birds on week-ends!