Works in the Herald 1934

Centenaries, said George Alfred Applecrop, lounging on the sunlit verandah of his "Home from Home" guest-house in the scrub-country - Centenaries is things that needs a lot of studyin out.

Centenaries (he continued) is things that had ought to come a lot oftener -- say every ten year or so. Then a man could get a fair slant on 'em an' not get caught nappin' like I been.

To put it plain, I been done in the eye by them town shrewdies for once in me life, an' it's hurtin' more'n me bad back; an' that's sayin' somethin'.

You mightn't hardly believe it, but here, right in the middle of winter the whole of me house is booked right up for the next spring an' summer season, an' I'm goin' to lose money by it -- pots of money.

Had me fair puzzled it did for a start. When the first half dozen come along bookin' accommodation weeks an' months ahead I begun to run rings around meself in the mistaken idea that my great campaign for poplerisin' this here paradise for tourists was beginnin' to bear a bit of fruit at last.

But still they kept on comin' till I got fair rattled, specially as most of 'em wanted rooms for weeks an' months at a stretch till you'd think this here districk had turned sudden into the Garden of Eden an' all Adam's gran'-children was plannin' a Back to Eden movement. I never seen the like.

Finally we was booked right to the limit an' still they kept writin' with tears in the ink beggin' for a corner in the hay loft or a bed in the bath if we would only take 'em.

At last, when we didn't have a bed that wasn't double-banked or an inch of floor space under cover that wasn't booked, a hard-faced ole dame, who come up to plead personal for a home on the hat rack, give me her candid reasons.

She wanted parkin' space for her old man, three of her sons, one little daughter an' a invalid uncle, an' she was willin' to inspeck the fowl-house if the roof didn't leak. But that was already bespoke!

Through her tears of rage an' disappointment she made plain why she wanted to side-track her dear ones at thirty bob each per week durin' the big city boom. Then I made a few enquiries an' a great light broke in on me.

Now, listen. You might hardly credit it, but what this saloobrus guest-house in the bush is goin' to be for the whole length of this here centenary is a cheap thirty-bob-a-week boardin'-house for the relatives of city boardin' house keepers what will soon be rollin' in dough! An' I'm the mug.

What I ought to seen an' wot I never seen was this. All them shrewd birds down in Melbourne what keeps boardin'-houses or is goin' to keep boardin'-houses gets their eyes on the big Centenary rush down there when fablus forchins will be offered for bed an' breakfast, an' they empties out all their dead-heads and maiden aunts an' invalid uncles an' surplus progeny an' parks 'em on mugs like me in the country at thirty bob so they can let their rooms for five quid a week an' over.

Fair robbery, that's what it is! Here's me, If I only woke up in time, could have hopped me tariff up to three quid a week an' still filled me house an' get me cut of the loot.

Herald, 19 June 1934, p6

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2003