Licence to thrill

comments 4
Geography / Kimberley / Pilbara / PostaDay 2011 / You must be kidding?
The paddlesteamer "Emmylou" passing ...

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I learnt how to drive when I was 21! I was very nervous being on the road. It  was a brave man who took me on as his student! I had a new baby and was housebound in a small community, without a driver’s licence, and didn’t know anyone within walking distance.

I was living in Moama in New South Wales. Moama is on the NSW side of the Murray River. In fact I walked to over the railway bridge to Echuca, Victoria to do my shopping once a week. It wasn’t all that far but I like the sound of it 🙂

The isolation was getting to me so I plucked up the courage to start the dreaded, driving lessons. My fear of driving made my instructor very nervous. With practise and many lessons later, he decided I could sit for my test. I had to have the test in NSW as that is where I lived. The test involved a police officer sitting beside me as I attempted various manoeuvres with the car. In reality, I did hardly more than drive around the block. I certainly didn’t argue with being given a license after handing over my payment for it.

Driving locally became second nature. I was still a bit nervous but I improved with practise. When we moved to the Dandenong Ranges near Melbourne I faced a new challenge. It was really busy and very hilly. Those hill-top starts were the pits and I didn’t drive very much unless it was necessary.

A few years later we were in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, based in Fitzroy Crossing. By this time I hadn’t driven a car for a few years. I didn’t realise that I was expected to collect the mail each day for our employers. This may not sound like a big deal but the Post Office was a few kilometres from town; a dirt track that became a quagmire in the rainy season! I didn’t show my fear and did my duty! One day the road was flooded and I became bogged in the mud and someone had to tow me out of there.

They asked me to take on another task. This involved taking dead bodies to Derby to the mortuary as there wasn’t one in Fitzroy Crossing. There were lots of stories about former trips that frightened the daylights out of me. I said “No thanks” to that one.

After driving around town for a couple of years, I decided it was time to get a Western Australian licence. I lived not far from the police station and had driven past hundreds of times. They handed me a new WA licence in exchange for the fee. I was impressed at their efficiency 🙂

Since then I have driven on a regular basis. I had one car accident near Mt Magnet in WA and no-one was hurt. In one year in the Goldfields Esperance region of WA, I covered 30,000 kilometres over all sorts of terrain and loved the experience.

My confidence has improved with experience on the roads – thankfully – as I need to drive on a regular basis today.

thanks for coming along for the ride 😉




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