Tasmania in the 1950s was an isolated outpost of Australia. Outside the towns it was a wild, rugged place. A beautiful place. A place for an outdoor life. A place for hunting, fishing, camping. A place for guys to challenge themselves and each other. To both endure and enjoy the wildness, the ruggedness. To be amazed at the beauty, the complexity, the variety of the creation God has given us. To be close to natural world. Actually close, with all it’s discomforts and problems. The cold (this is Tassie, after all!), the wet, or in the summertime, the heat and the flies.
Not through the sanitised world of a computer screen or a television screen. Not sitting in the comfort of 21st century air conditioned lounges, or even arriving in the comfort of a 21st century air conditioned four wheel drive. Just an old Buick, a 1928 Buick, complete with wooden wheels and the inevitable flat tyres, mechanical breakdowns and repairs on the road. Rugged roads and machinery unreliability meant that each trip out beyond the town was a real adventure. And no mobile phones to call the RAC when there was a breakdown. You had to sort it out yourself.
In spite of what we hear people say about how good cars were in the good old days, the cars of today are vastly better and much more reliable. When I was a boy – that was the good old days! – a car that got to 100 000 miles was thought to have done remarkably well. Now a car with just 160 000 kilometres is advertised as low mileage. Computer controls, electronic fuel injection, ABS braking, stability control, power steering, air conditioning … even heating! Many of the early cars didn’t have heaters – that would have been fun in a Tassie winter! Life is so much easier and more comfortable now.
But these guys look as though they’ve had a good time! Returning from a successful rabbit hunting expedition, posing in front of their car with their rifles and their prey. I reckon they would have gone into the pot that night and made a good dinner.
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