Authors: Tony McKenna
Tags: #Fiction, #Fiction - Australia, #Fiction - Young Adult
KEY TO MAP
â â â â âJack & Harry's route
This 2014 edition published
Boddington Western Australia
Copyright Â© Tony McKenna and Mervyn Davis 2005
ISBN: 9781742984834 (eBook)
1st published in Australia 2005
2nd edition 2006
3rd edition 2007
Audio Book 2009
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher
All Characters in this publication are fictional and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental
Cover design and typesetting by Working Type (
National Library of Australia Cataloguing in Publication data
McKenna, Tony 1944
Davis, Mervyn 1940
Jack and Harry â No Turning Back
Digital edition distributed by
Port Campbell Press
It was November 3, 1950 in Perth Western Australia. The hot afternoon dragged on at Ashmorton public school. Jack Ferguson was restless, fidgeting with his pencil, drawing doodle circles on his workbook as the teacher droned on about polygons and fractions â not Jack's favourite subject. He glanced at the wall clock above the teacher's head. It was almost three o'clock and he willed the large black hand on the clock to move more quickly to the magical âbell' time. His mind wandered to the coming weekend when his mate Harry would be staying over.
Harry and Jack had been inseparable friends since they met in primary school. With the same interests in football and cricket, fishing and just having fun, Jack knew the weekend would be a great time. They planned to go down to the creek to catch yabbies. These small freshwater crayfish were delicious cooked and eaten with fresh crusty bread and a dash of vinegar. Even more fun was catching them with a hunk of red meat, or a lamb chop, tied to a piece of string. It was a skilful art to gently pull them to the bank and scoop them up with a handmade net, usually made from Jack's mum's discarded stockings, and Jack and Harry considered themselves master âyabbie catchers'.
After what seemed like an eternity to Jack, the hand eventually crawled to the â12' at the top of the clock and the bell signalled the end of the school day and â more importantly â the school week and two whole days of fun. There was a scramble as the students spilled from the classroom along the passage and into the schoolyard. Jack searched for Harry in the bustling throng. Harry was in a class behind Jack being exactly one year younger, their birthdays being within two days of each other which meant they usually had a combined party.
âHey, Harry! Over here.'
Harry, a tall gangly kid with a shock of sandy coloured hair and a mass of freckles on his angular face, ran to where Jack was standing. Smiling, he slapped Jack on the back and they feinted in a mock fight for a few seconds.
âGot your gear with you?' Jack queried.
âYeah, in here.' Harry indicated his school bag. âDon't need much, just a change of clothes and me toothbrush. I left the schoolbooks in the desk 'cause I guess we're not doin' any homework this weekend are we, Jack?'
âNo way! Let's go then.'
As they walked from the schoolyard, another boy caught up with them. âHey, you blokes, what are you up to this weekend?'
âG'day, Billy, not a lot,' Jack replied. âHarry's staying over and we'll probably go down to the creek tomorrow, see if we can catch some yabbies. Might have a game of cricket or somethin' this arvo.'
âCan I come over and join in?'
âYeah, suppose so, but you'll have to bring your bat as we only got one.'
âOK, see ya.'
âSee ya, Billy.' The boys continued walking.
âHey, did you know it's my birthday tomorrow?' Billy called after them.
âThat right? You havin' a party, Billy?'
âNo, my dad says I can't have a party
âYou gettin' a bike for ya birthday, Billy? How do ya know, aren't presents supposed to be a surprise?'
âDad let me go down and pick it out at the shop. It's a Malvern Star racer. I'll bring it over to show ya tomorrow.' Billy turned on his heel and was quickly lost in the gaggle of bustling school children.
âThere's somethin' about him I don't like, Jack.' Harry glanced over his shoulder at Billy Munse's, retreating back. âNot sure what.'
âBilly's all right, Harry, just a bit spoiled I reckon. His old man's a snob but.'
âA Malvern Star racer for his birthday lucky bugger, and a
one.' âYeah, well his dad
a solicitor so I suppose he can afford it.'
âMy dad says you can't trust solicitors.'
âDunno, Harry, never had anythin' to do with 'em, don't even know what they do really except it's somethin' to do with law and criminals and stuff.'
âYou ever been over to Billy's house, Jack?'
Harry shook his head.
Ashmorton, a subdivision on the eastern outskirts of Perth with rows of neat three and four bedroom brick houses set on quarter acre blocks of land, bordered natural bush parklands with a creek, that was called a âriver' meandering through it. The park separated Ashmorton from the more affluent suburb of Kelsborough.
The Fergusons lived in one of Ashmorton's red brick houses with a white picket fence behind which was a rose garden that Alice Ferguson, Jack's mother, tended with loving care. A concrete driveway ran down the right-hand side of the house that led to a single timber-framed garage. The backyard was spacious with grassed areas, shady trees and the inevitable wood fuelled brick constructed barbecue around which most of the Fergusons' social events took place. Jack's father, Jack Senior, was proud of his home, his wife Alice and family of six children. He had worked hard to achieve his success and was a Stock and Station agent with Elder Smith Goldsbrough Mort, having joined them when he was thirteen years old as a yard hand at the saleyards. Eager to learn he had shown natural ability to evaluate sheep and cattle and worked his way up the ranks reaching the position of Buyer, travelling to remote stations and sometimes interstate on behalf of clients to purchase stock. Forty-five years old, he had a tanned face and arms, a result of hours in the open at the saleyards. He was considered an honest, no-nonsense bloke you could rely on; he was steady, liked a beer, a barbecue with his mates and enjoyed a bet on the races although he was never known to wager beyond his means. Tall and muscular with black curly hair and brown eyes, everyone said that young Jack was the spitting image of his father.
âG'day, Mum,' Jack called as he and Harry entered the kitchen from the back verandah.
âHello, son. Oh, Hello, Harry.' Alice Ferguson turned from the kitchen sink and wiped her hands on a floral apron she was wearing.
âG'day, Mrs Ferguson.'
âHow was school today, boys?'
âOK I guess,' mumbled Jack.
âYeah OK,' Harry added.
âWhat time's Dad gettin' home Mum?'
âHe called to say he was stopping off for a couple of beers on the way home as it's Friday but said he'd be here about six o'clock. I've got tea planned for about seven. What are you boys up to?'
âNot much, probably have a hit of cricket; a couple of kids are comin' 'round. Got anythin' to eat, Mum? You hungry, Harry?'
Alice smiled, taking a plate of sandwiches from the refrigerator and placing them on the kitchen table. âThought you might be a bit peckish. This should keep the wolf from the door until teatime. There's a billy of milk in the fridge too if you want it.'
âWhat's for tea, Mum?'
âGrowing boys!' Alice mused, âalways thinking about tucker. Lamb's fry and bacon tonight and there are stewed quinces with custard for afters. You eat lamb's fry, Harry?'
âEat anythin', Mrs Ferguson.'
âOK boys, make sure you let the littlies join in the cricket and don't bowl too hard at them.' She looked at them with mock sternness.
âWe won't, Mum.'
Alice could soon hear the kids playing cricket out in the street. Fortunately they lived in a âNo Through Road' and only resident traffic used the street. Not everyone owned a vehicle and those that did knew that most of the kids living in the street played outside after school and on weekends, so they kept a watchful eye out for them.