The Snow Bear
I grew up in Goulburn, a small country town of about 20,000 people, a couple of hundred kilometres southwest of Sydney.
I had a wonderful childhood, and it is full of the memories of which a childhood should be made: dad taking me for rides on his bike; thick white fog that didn't lift till noon; going to the Saturday matinee at the cinema (or 'The Pictures' as we called them then) and having change from a shilling to buy lollies; the smell of burning autumn leaves; a birthday present of a box of 12 Derwent coloured pencils (which I left on the school bus one day and never saw again); Easter egg hunts in the house in Albert St; early morning thunderstorms that meant a ride to school in the car; scorching summers buzzing with cicadas; listening to Life With Dexter* with dad by the light of the valves from the old valve radio; the smell of chlorine and suntan lotion at the swimming pool; hot Milo on the back steps with mum.
Some of these memories (but surprisingly few, all things considered) are recorded in photos taken on an old Box Brownie camera which I still have.
Now, snow is a rare sight in most places in Australia, and outside the main mountain ski fields of Perisher Valley in New South Wales and Mount Hotham in Victoria, snowfalls are consigned to a few brief days a year in places that get cold enough.
During my childhood Goulburn was cold enough twice.
Luckily for readers of The Cow, the creation of the Snow Bear is one of my memories that has been preserved on film for posterity. This shot was taken around 1963. That's my brother Steve on the left.
*Overseas visitors: here's an mp3 of an episode of Life With Dexter. You can have no better impression of what it was like to be in Australia in the early 1960s.