A recent post by President Anthony about his recent trip to Melbourne prompted some memories for me from the 90’s.

I had visited Melbourne, the city of my birth, several times over a number of years as a member of the now defunct Rangers Motor Club. I like Melbourne very much as a city, despite the often crappy climate – you know, the four seasons in a day etc.  In fact, I first experienced this in 1962 when I was just 14 years old and doing a trip in December with the YMCA (the real one, not The Village People’s version).

We were being given a tour of the city in the back of a truck by a most jovial host – you were allowed to ride in the back of trucks and utes in those days – when we had that climatic experience. I ended up with sun-stroke and was violently sick – I didn’t have a very happy memory of Melbourne from that episode.

Forward many years, and things were quite different – not necessarily weather-wise, but in my attitude to the city. I really liked the cultural diversity and of course the food that this afforded, but I was always happy to return to Brisbane. It wasn’t until 1996 when I drove to Melbourne (down the Newell Highway) and entered the city via the northern suburbs.

I was heading for Carlton to a friend’s place when I had the strange feeling that I was “coming home”. It was weird – here I was without a map or any other means of knowing where I was supposed to be going, but I knew precisely where I was and how to get to Steve’s place!  Boy, was that odd or what? It’s a feeling I’ve never had before or since. Even when my sister and I went to Perth (where we grew up) in 2007 for our Uncle’s funeral, I didn’t have the same feeling as I had in Melbourne. I kinda knew Perth better, and although it had changed heaps in 30 the years since I had left, I still knew the layout of the place. The main difference was that because of urban development, we got to places quicker than previously.

With Melbourne, it was different. I guess the northern suburbs hadn’t changed a lot In the intervening period, but I had never lived there either.  So it was very weird indeed – a definite feeling of Déjà vu, and I was quite comfortable with it. I haven’t been to Melbourne since 2005, except for a stopover at the airport waiting for a connecting flight to Launceston a few years ago, so perhaps it’s time for another trip “home”.

In the meantime, I hope you all manage to cope with the heat and humidity, and look forward to seeing you all at “Balls”.

Frank Croucher,

Mr Qld Leather, 1999.