The Port Kembla Stack came down today. 200 metres of brick, steel and concrete.
I grew up in Port Kembla. My parents still live there. I attended the old Primary School, right underneath the Stack. Back then, we didn’t understand why we had to go indoors on certain days. As kids, we wanted to play outside during lunch time, however the teachers used to pull all the windows shut, turn the fans on inside the room and that was that.
It was only when I got older did I understand the implications of what the teachers did.
I also remember my dad putting in a claim for fallout damage to our house. The assessors came out and declined the claim. My father’s English wasn’t the best and the assessors exploited that weakness, so it was over to me to fight the good fight. All it took was one phone call, and one sentence;
“How can you deny my father’s claim for fallout damage, when you have approved the neighbours on the left of our house, on the right of our house, behind our house and across the street. Looks like the toxic cloud must have just missed our place”.
They put me on hold for about 5 minutes and then when they came back on the line, they replied approved.
“When a page turns, it turns fast.”
I saw that quote on a Bob Lefsetz post, that was attributed to Jerry Weintraub in the May issue of “Vanity Fair.” And finally that page has turned for Port Kembla. It took a while for the page to turn, but once it turned, it turned fast.
And with everything in my life, my thoughts turned to music and how songs about tearing down walls lead to new paths, new futures and new hope.
Let’s hope that the tearing down of the Port Kembla Stack is the start of a new path for my beautiful town.