A Travellerspoint blog

This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.

Down the Malay Peninsula

Kuala Lumpur and Malacca

Kuala Lumpur


(above & detail below right) The Malaysian Houses of Parliament building, opened in 1963



The Masjid Negara, (National Mosque), completed in 1965


At the National Mosque


Downtown Kuala Lumpur

* * *



Dutch Square, with the Clocktower, Christ Church (centre) , and the Stadthuys (right)


Statue of St Francis Xavier and the ruins of St. Paul's Church


Five stars on the beach at Malacca


Kampong among the palms


Last days of freedom


Fishing platform at sunset, Strait of Malacca

* * *

Posted by Ozac 01:37 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

See You Thursday

Last Days on the Road

From a letter home dated Friday 11-11-1966


Dear All,

This is the last letter you will receive from me abroad, and I expect it will reach you just one or two days before I arrive home by QF732 next Thursday morning. We came down to Singapore yesterday from Malacca. The long journey is virtually over; now it is just a matter of getting on a plane. That is still five days away, but already I am getting nervous and excited. I am looking forward to being home very much. I received your letter at the High Commission yesterday and am sorry to hear that Dad is not well. I hope my coming home will cheer him up. I expect I shall receive a second letter from you early next week, confirming that you have received the flight instructions.

I bought the slide projector yesterday. It is a Japanese one, a Cabin ‘Automat’, and it is a little beauty - fully automatic, remote control, the works. It cost me 135 Malayan Dollars, the equivalent of about $40 Australian. That is more than I wanted to pay, but I think it was a worthwhile buy, and certainly much cheaper than at home. Due to the extra cost of the projector I was not able to afford a suit, but am having a pair of trousers made and have bought a shirt and tie so that I can arrive home decently dressed at least. I have just enough money left to see me aboard the plane, if I don’t eat too much and if I don’t buy anything else.

We are staying here in a very nice place, a hostel not unlike a YMCA. It is clean and comfortable, with all amenities, and is costing $1 Aust. each per night. That is more than we are usually inclined to pay for accommodation, but it is the last few days and it is nice to end them in relative comfort. Singapore is a great place, full of life day and night. It is satisfying to be here again, as when the Galileo called here two years ago during all their Indonesian troubles, we were not even allowed ashore and did not get to see it at all. It is also very satisfying to think that we have done the overland journey across Asia twice and are none the worse for it. This second journey has been remarkably free of worries, and as smooth as we could have wished.

We had a thoroughly enjoyable time in Malaya, as Ade knew several people there through friends in England. So we met and stayed with wonderful people in Alor Star, Penang and Kuala Lumpur and were shown all over. They were also very inexpensive days - fortunately.

Well the last two and a bit years have been a tremendously worthwhile experience and they have been harder work than you might think. Now it is all over and I am coming home to knuckle down. See you Thursday,

All my love, John

* * *


Sampans on the Singapore River


Low tide


Street stalls


Rickshaw driver


Singapore street scene, with the future on the horizon

* * *

Posted by Ozac 21:30 Archived in Singapore Tagged boats markets rivers singapore waterfront streetscenes sampans Comments (0)




The Sydney Opera House as it was at the end of 1966

* * *

As I recall, we lived on bread and bananas for the last few days before boarding that Qantas flight to Sydney, broke and ravenous, and nothing was more welcome than the airline meal out of Singapore. I arrived home with 46 cents in my pocket. My mother was aghast when she saw how thin I was and broke down in tears at a neighbour’s place later that day. I was in bed fast asleep by then. She needn’t have worried, I was in excellent health, if not as plump as she remembered.

I can’t begin to think how much anxiety I must have put my parents through during the two years and three months I was away. My mother lived from letter to letter. She never travelled overseas herself, but my brother reckons she did so vicariously through her regular correspondence with me, much as I have done while preparing this blog. She followed my travels every step of the way, never missing a beat, and though I might not have realized it at the time, it was that feeling of constant support from home that kept me going.

The most obvious change taking place in Sydney during my time away was the gradual progress of the Sydney Opera House, which, like most Australians, I had followed with keen interest. Though it was still seven years from opening, by the end of 1966 the construction of the famous shells, the most difficult stage, was complete, so the external form was largely in place. I had always promised myself that I would perform there one day, and though I had made little headway in my ambition to become an actor while overseas, coming back to Australia allowed me to begin formal actor training, and in 1973 I was in the first company to perform in the Opera House Drama Theatre.

Ade and I wrote about our travels for a while and put together a couple of narrated slide shows which were well received. During 1967 we prepared a detailed manuscript called Asia on $1.73 a Day, a guidebook for backpackers on the overland route. Though a literary agent did his best, it was eventually decided there wasn’t a sufficient market, and nothing came of it. Five years later another couple of travellers had a similar idea and they managed to build an international publishing empire on the back of their endeavours. As all actors know, timing is everything.

Ozac 2015

* * *


My mother Norna, photographed in Sydney in the summer of 1966 - 67, shortly after I returned

Take a bow Mum

* * *

Posted by Ozac 17:12 Archived in Australia Tagged opera_house sydney harbours Comments (0)

(Entries 31 - 33 of 33) « Page 1 2 [3]