Ron Price's Whyalla Page
"My Life In Whyalla: 27 Years Later-1999"
WHO SANG THE SONG?
On July 23 1999 I was 55. That day my wife and I passed through Whyalla where, twenty-seven years before alot of living took place transforming that community and the people in it. It was, though, a transformation that is difficult to describe in terms of its affect on the participants. Perhaps this is something better left to an essay.-Ron Price, Pioneering Over Three Epochs, Unpublished Manuscript, 1999.
We had six friends in the first month
that we came to live and then to teach
as part of a much elongated process,
or so it has seemed to us with troops
of kids from wall to wall.
When I returned 27 years later
I was not able to tell just who was left,
except perhaps dear Kathy.
As I walked around the town
I had not seen since half my life ago,
a sadness came from I know not where.
Perhaps it was the sense of life
“bearing the mere semblance of reality.”
Then a wisdom sank in deep,
perhaps from God or Man
bring life up to a boil,
but keep your temper cool
amidst the toil.
For this life is but mirage,
from birth to death one long birage.
All the work that once went on in this place
would seem, on balance, not to have left a trace.
Is there any point to all of this?
I’d say “By God!
This is something I’d not want to miss!
It can not be measured, yet, by numbers
of kids, words, meetings, et cetera.
23 July 1999
A PERSON ON THE MOVE
The lives of learned men have at many times in history been perforce nomadic. From Greek philosophers escaping from the Persians to Germans in modern times, the intellectual has often been a person-on-the-move or on-the-run. I have also been possessed of this nomadic quality. I write this poem from Hong Kong on what may just be the only day in my life spent on the continent of Asia, nearly thirty-eight years from the beginning of what seems a long nomadic road. I endeavour, in the course of this poetic narrative, to fuse the minute and seemingly random particulars of quotidian reality within the context of a vision which faithfully represents the transparent and not-so-transparent totality of phenomenal existence.
-Bertrand Russell, A History of Western Philosophy,1945, p.402.
Beginning with all that homework
and all those books just ten miles
from where I grew up, a peripatetic
existence began which continued
until today: you could call it traveling--
what with all those towns and houses
and thousands of books and deep and
meaningful conversation trying to spread
the seeds of ideas in a discouragingly
meagre soil, sometimes I felt like a refugee
and still the books pouring in and a striving
for the cultural attainments of the mind
within the context of the micro and the macro--
for my entire life.
17 June 2000
"Manning A Booth At a Show In Whyalla"
I think the first agricultural or community show I helped organize was in 1972 in Whyalla. In the last thirty years I have manned many a display in four towns and, increasingly, we have been tiring, more tiring and most tiring. In some ways it is a little like 'the poster.' One creates an impression of a significant presence of the organization you belong to at a show. Of course, one can not impress everyone positively. One does one’s best and you win some and lose some, as the book or is it a movie, says.
"Some of My Life and the World's While In Whyalla"
In the first eighteen months in Australia, from July 1971 to December 1972, there were some thirty friends my wife and I got to know--I counted them long ago. This town of 30,000 in that semi-desert country was lit up with the enthusiasm of kids, kids, kids. Thrilling developments did occur in our lives.
In the political world of Australia the Labour Party under Gough Whitlam came into power in December 1972, the first time for Labour since 1949. In the USA President Nixon, who had come into office in January 1969 was on his way to impeachment and resignation in 1975 due to the Watergate Affair of June 1972. In October 1971 Iran also celebrated the 2500th anniversary of the inception of the Persian Empire. Were I to list all the events on the national and international scenes this narrative would lead to prolixity.